WWE WrestleMania 22: Top 10 Moments from an Excellent Show in Chicago
In 2006, WWE took their biggest event of the year to Chicago. It was the final WrestleMania to take place inside an arena. Ever since, the show has been held in huge stadiums.
While the 20,000 fans in attendance were certainly a wonderful crowd, I certainly do not fault WWE for holding future 'Mania cards in much larger buildings. On this night, WWE certainly gave fans a night they would never forget!
Boogeyman defeated Booker T and Sharmell at WrestleMania in a handicap match.
Honestly, this just felt like a favor Booker was doing for the new wrestler in WWE. The crowd did not really care, and it served no real purpose.
Boogeyman was gone months later, while Booker T won the King of the Ring tournament and World title.
9. Pillow Fight
Once again, the Playboy cover girl at the time lost.
Torrie Wilson beat Candice Michelle in a pillow fight that was simply "filler" between the main events.
They both looked great and did a nice job. Let's all just move on...
8. Opening Match
Big Show and Kane were the reigning tag-team champions. WWE had actually done a nice job of making these two look dominant.
Carlito and Chris Masters were the challengers on this night. These two had a bright future in WWE, and this was simply a way to get them on the card.
While most were expecting a title change, WWE thought differently. Kane pinned Carlito, and the big men retained their titles.
Shortly after Mania, Carlito was feuding with Masters, while the Spirit Squad beat Big Show and Kane for the belts.
7. Money in the Bank
This was a very enjoyable Money in the Bank match.
The participants were Matt Hardy, Finlay, Bobby Lashley, Ric Flair, Shelton Benjamin and Rob Van Dam. As you can see, it was a nice collection of talent.
Like other years, you could eliminate a few potential winners right off the bat!
Shelton was never a main event talent, so he was out. Finlay's job wasn't to win big matches, and Hardy was nowhere near a major title at any point in his career.
Honestly, I could have seen Lashley picking up the big win, but his time would come later on in the year with ECW. He never did become WWE or World Champion.
Flair was in the middle of trying for one more run near the top, but the WWE was certainly not going to pay off that story. The only other choice was RVD.
With the ECW event coming up in the summer, it was an easy decision to give the briefcase to Van Dam. As usual, the WWE knew exactly what they were doing.
6. Casket Match
Undertaker defeated Mark Henry in a Casket Match.
Nobody thought Henry would beat Taker here. Nobody expected a great match. Nobody ended up caring about this feud, despite it returning a year later.
Both are wonderful talents, but the outcome was never in question.
Undertaker extended his undefeated streak at WrestleMania, and Mark Henry went back to his dominating ways afterwards.
5. Mickie vs. Trish
This may have been the last classic women's wrestling match. (Please do not even mention anything in DixieLand)
Trish Stratus was the dominating champion, and Mickie James was seemingly an obsessed fan. The story took a few months to get to the point, but it was well worth the wait.
Mickie became a "crazy heel," and her new character was so well done. On the other hand, Trish was on the way out of the company, so it was only logical for her to put over Ms. James in the end.
After an amazing title match, Trish did just that.
Mickie was the new champion, and WWE had a very unique talent to showcase on a weekly basis.
4. World Title Match
This was such a great show that the World Title match is ranked here. Sorry, just my opinion!
Kurt Angle was the World Champion on SmackDown. Rey Mysterio won the Royal Rumble in 2006, and Randy Orton defeated Mr. 619 in February for that very title shot.
Once again, it is reasons like this I prefer one on one title matches. The entire feud just becomes a mess real quick.
This instance was no different. Also, the triple-threat match at Mania was given less than 10 minutes. There isn't too much you can do in that time frame.
All three men put on a top-notch showing—but 10 minutes is still only 10 minutes.
Angle wasn't retaining, and Orton was not going to be rewarded for his behavior here. Thus, it was time to give Mysterio his first major title win in this business.
His title reign was handled very questionably, but the fact remained: Rey Mysterio won his first ever World Title at WrestleMania XXII.
3. HBK vs. Vince
Oh, this was fun.
I can't remember specific names, but many gave this Match of the Year in 2006. I certainly won't go that far, but I am also not going to fault them for their opinion.
Shawn Michaels was taking on Vince McMahon in a No Holds Barred match, and brutality was set to be an all-time high. Both men wanted to hurt each other, and everybody knew it.
With Jim Ross having an excellent call, we all witnessed one great match. You could feel the emotion from beginning to end, and an HBK victory was the icing on the cake.
2. Edge vs. Mick Foley
Truth be told, this was probably my favorite match of 2006.
Edge (with Lita) defeated Mick Foley in a very intense match. There were no rules. There were no road blocks. There was nothing in the way of these two destroying each other.
Make no mistake about it: Both men brought it, and I will forever look back with good memories on this match.
Mick allowed for the rising talent to go over (Edge), and Mrs. Foley's baby boy was given a true WrestleMania moment that will live on.
Job well done all around.
1. The Main Event
As you can tell by now, I loved this event!
It may be a controversial statement, but I think this was one of the best WrestleMania shows ever. Right along with 2001, it is right up there at the top of WWE history.
The WWE Hall of Fame class was memorable with Bret Hart, Eddie Guerrero and other greats inducted. Plus, nearly every match on the card delivered big time!
That brings us to the main event of the evening. John Cena was defending his WWE Championship against Triple H. While the champ would retain in shocking fashion, this entire match was an incredible way to close the night.
In over 20 years of watching WWE, I don't think I have ever witnessed such a back-and-forth battle. The feeling of seeing this match live on PPV will never escape me.
The crowd reaction live compares to the likes of Punk vs. Cena at Money in the Bank. Or even Undertaker vs. HBK at 'Mania in 2009. It was that loud.
These two put on an absolutely phenomenal show, and the fans loved every second of it. Just watch the video. Listen to Chicago. Look at everyone's faces!
Years later, this still ranks as one of the greatest experiences I have ever had watching a wrestling match. The moves, the kick outs, the fans, the finishing sequence...everything!
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