The most important sporting and entertainment event of the year is Wrestlemania. Last night's mania showed us why in spades. The theme was "all grown up" and they showed us how some of their younger stars are grown up by consistantly mixing them with their better established superstars. Come with me as I give you my opinions of the show, match by match. ...
Money In The Bank Ladder Match - What a way to start the show! As usual, a ladder match that involves Edge and the Hardy Boyz is great. But we also saw some great performances by Finlay, the eventual winner Mr. Kennedy, Hornswoggle and the mighty King Booker. Ladder matches are tough. Not only are they physically tough, even to watch, but having been in a few myself I know they are tough to keep interesting for any length of time. How many different ways can you keep someone from climbing up the ladder and getting the prize? How can you set up a highspot without it looking too contrived? How do you handle extreme injuries? Matches like the one last night show you why these people are considered the best of the best. After watching that match I felt sorry for everyone who had to follow it up because it was a lot to live up to. I just hope that Edge isn't hurt too bad from going through that ladder.
United States Championship Match - Chris Benoit vs. MVP - You can always count on a great match out of Chris Benoit. He has proven that no matter what, he will be amazing in the ring. Honestly, I haven't been watching weekly wrestling programming ( because I don't have cable ) but from what I have seen I have thought Montel Vontavious Porter( MVP ) was a joke. After last night, I can easily say MVP deserved to be at Wrestlemania in a match with Chris Benoit. The two of them put on a great wrestling clinic. MVP quickly and easily kept reversing and getting the best of Benoit. It was very smooth, he has the skills. After seeing that match, I could see MVP going a long way.
The Great Khali vs. Kane - This was the snoozer of the night. The Great Khali is big, we get it. He makes Kane look like any other wrestler and he makes other wrestlers look like cruiserweight. He also makes the Big Show look like an olympic sprinter. Big guys don't have to move fast but I would really like it if he had more of a personality in the ring. I don't doubt that a man of his size can take a lot of punishment and give a whole lot more but I didn't feel it, even with Kane doing a tremendous job of selling for him. And I'll be the first one to champion the belief that finishers should be sacred but I thought Kane went down a little too easily. I mean, its Kane! Kane is definately all grown up but even at his size Khali has some more growing to do.
ECW Originals vs. The New Breed - ECW Originals Rob Van Dam, Sabu, Tommy Dreamer and Sandman in a tag match versus the New Breed comprised of Elijah Burke, Matt Striker, Marcus Cor Von & Kevin Thorn with Ariel. This was a wrestling match. Many people don't think about ECW and wrestling unless it has extreme as a prefix. One thing people forget about ECW is that they knew how to wrestle and decided to do it extreme. That is why they have legendary status. Last night's match highlighted the story telling and wrestling ability of these eight men. I was happy to see Elijah Burke in a Wrestlemania match because he was a joy to watch and had a lot to teach back when I was at OVW.
Womens Championship - Melina vs. Ashley - It's tough to watch women's matches. Too much of a gear change. These women worked hard to put on a good match, and succeeded, but I miss wrestling. The WWE has some gorgeous women but I have seen too many good looking women who can wrestle to put up with the psuedo - wrestling done by a lot of the divas that end up in the ring. These two did work hard though and I can easily see them improving as they go along. I remember Trish Stratus's early days and she turned into a great wrestler over time. So, a worthy Wrestlemania match for these two but I guess I've been spoiled by some great women wrestlers.
World Heavyweight Championship - Undertaker vs. Batista - This is the match I was most looking forward to. Unfortunately I missed it do to a baby who did not want to go to bed. But my wife got to see it, which is nice since 'Taker is her favorite ( since Jericho left ). I'll watch it tonight and put in an update shortly. 15 - 0, that's an amazing record.
EDIT: Well, I saw it and it was good. JR would call it a slobberknocker and it was. These 2 are amazing athletes and have great charisma. It was an easy match to be glued to the screen.
Battle of the Billionaires - Hair vs. Hair - Bobby Lashley vs. Umaga w/Stone Cold Steve Austin as guest referee - This match was a lot of fun. They took some expected and unexpected turns. Though I had a suspicion Vince would lose his hair, these entertainers did a great job of keeping me guessing. Were they actually going to shave Donald's head!? This was done extremely well. Having Austin be referee was fun, he doesn't take shit from anyone. Having Umaga give him the Samoan Spike, not once but twice, suprised me. In the end we had a good laugh watching a classic Vince McMahon getting what's coming to him display. I swear, he loves being silly - he is a genious.
Main Event - WWE Championship - John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels - My friend Stro said this would probably be the show stealer. I think Shawn Michaels is great but Cena, I'm luke warm about, especially his in ring skills. The match started slow. Classic wrestling, not a big deal but after some of the excitement we had been witnessing earlier, it felt slow. However, they told a story. In fact it was almost an epic. With each moment that passed the intensity grew. And then came the point when most matches would be over, a spiked piledriver into the metal steps. Piledrivers frighten me so, and this one looked vicious. Instead of ending the match these two seemed to be just ending their warm up. Now it was time for the real match. Stro's prediction about this match would be proven true. This was a great match to the end. I didn't care who won and I was sad when it was over. I wanted an encore, but it was not to be.
Wrestlemania proved that many stars are all grown up. Of course Booker,Edge and the Hardy Boyz but yes Mr. Kennedy and Finlay. Of course ECW Originals but the new breed is definately worth watching. Absolutely to Benoit but wow MVP has some skills. Taker is more than grown up and Batista continues to prove himself. Shawn Michaels doesn't need to grow up any more, but Cena is definately proving to me that he deserves the push that he has been given. Last night proved once again that Wrestlemania is the best sporting and entertainment event in the world and will remain so for a very long time.