In exactly seven days, the annual spectacle WrestleMania comes our way, an event that we wresting fans wait for anticipate all year long. Thinking of the upcoming WrestleMania makes me think of the previous, and how it can be improved or moments that may never be replicated.
This event I'm talking about is none other than last year's WrestleMaina 26. The event may not be known as the best Mania there has ever been, its solid card made for a great, historical and interesting pay-per-view.
In this article, I will analyze each match on the card on March 28th, 2010, including each bout's successes, failures and awe-inspiring moments. The aftermath of each Superstar and Diva that participated in the event will also be included in each analysis.
Following my presentation, don't forget to leave your feedback in comments with your thoughts on how this year's Mania could be affected by last year's and whether it has the potential to be something greater.
The idea for this slideshow was given to me by fellow Bleacher James Curran. You can read more of our work at my website linked below.
Visit my website at Next Era Wrestling for more of GSM's writings, along with WWE/TNA news, recaps, and more.
Starting off the night was the Unified Tag Team Championship Match between reigning champions Big Show and United States Champion The Miz, collectively known as ShoMiz, against the challengers John Morrison and R-Truth.
The match was basically put together in order to get all four men apart of WrestleMania, since none of the men involved had any chemistry whatsoever. The buildup was lackluster, and leading up to the event, no one really seemed to care which team would be deemed champions.
As expected, the match was nothing special and purely predictable. The action was solid, but had no meaning. Big Show hit the inevitable knockout punch to retain the titles for his team.
At least the titles had some meaning left. Nowadays, the tag team championships change so much its difficult to care. Luckily, there will not be a WWE Tag Team Championship Match at this year's WrestleMania.
Showmiz would go on to lose the tag titles to the Hart Dynasty at the WWE Draft in April, before Big Show was sent packing to SmackDown thereafter. Morrison and Truth would also be drafted to RAW, but their partnership would not be stabilized.
The Miz would go on to be the so-called "Shawn Michaels" of ShoMiz when he would go on to become the WWE Champion in November, while Big Show currently lays to waste on the blue brand.
R-Truth would be pushed for a short while as United States Champion, before being demoted entirely back where he started. Morrison would meet the same fate as he contended for the WWE Title, then being dropped entirely.
The Miz will be defending his WWE Championship against John Cena at this year's event, while John Morrison is stuck in a mediocre mixed tag team match with Trish Stratus and Jersey Shore star Snooki. Big Show's match with Corre has yet to be confirmed and Truth is also not currently scheduled for the card.
In the beginning of 2010, Randy Orton's faction The Legacy, consisting of himself, Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes, was slowly meeting its braking point. It was rumored DiBiase would be the one to turn face from the group and go on to face Orton in a singles match at WrestleMania 26.
Obviously, plans changed and it was Orton who was turned on, becoming a face in the process. The buildup for their Triple Threat match was very well done, giving DiBiase and Rhodes more and more heat each week.
The match itself was very solid, providing us with suspenseful spots from all three men. The Legend Killer picked up the victory with a punt kick followed by a RKO to cement his face status.
The aftermath between all three men has been heavily discussed and mentioned, so none of this should be news to you. Randy Orton would continue to become (alongside John Cena) one of the top tweeners in the entire company with more and more cheers each week, although his gimmick is starting to grow stale.
Cody Rhodes would be drafted to SmackDown in April, receiving a repackage as "Dashing" Cody Rhodes and becoming a breakout singles star in the mid-card on the blue brand. The future looked bright for DiBiase, but unfortunately, he hasn't been able to get over.
Despite new music, the Million Dollar Championship, and the acquisition of Maryse as his valet, Ted DiBiase has seemly become a footnote on RAW, losing to Daniel Bryan each and every night. Hopefully his luck turns if he is drafted this year, rather than be released.
In seven days, Randy Orton will competing against CM Punk, Cody Rhodes takes on Rey Mysterio and DiBiase sits on the sidelines.
Of all the Money in the Bank matches in WrestleMania history, I would mark this one as the least memorable. It could be debated it was the worst, but don't get me wrong, the match had its moments.
The main problem was that the match was being put together at the last minute, and wasn't given any real hype besides the weekly qualifying matches. Unlike previous years, this Money in the Bank Match featured 10 superstars, the largest capacity ever recorded in the match.
This meant more chaos, and not in a good way. The entire match was cluttered, with few shining moments from Evan Bourne, Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler. It also seemed as if each superstar were taking a ticket to get into the ring, since there were about two to three wrestlers in the ring at once.
After nearly 30 seconds of trying to retrieve the briefcase, Jack Swagger finally won the match and the future World Championship title shot. Ironically enough, this botch by Swagger is shortened on the DVD release.
Mr. Money in the Bank Jack Swagger would go on to cash in the briefcase successfully five days later on SmackDown, winning the World Championship from Chris Jericho. Sadly enough for the All-American American, his paper title reign would be misused, abused and basically forgotten.
As for he other men in the match, they too would hold grim futures. Shelton Benjamin, Matt Hardy and MVP would depart from the company, Kofi Kingston, Drew McIntyre, Evan Bourne and Christian would soon be forgotten and abused on their respective brands, and Kane and Dolph Ziggler would receive temporary pushes only to end up back where they started.
This feud wasn't given enough time to be built properly, but it was decent in the way it was presented. For those behind the average fan, Triple H took part in the training of Sheamus and requested to have a match with him at WrestleMania, so it made for an interesting contest.
The match was better than expected, and got great time. Even though Triple H picked up the victory, the Celtic Warrior looked strong in defeat.
The two would continue to feud until Extreme Rules the following month, where Sheamus would defeat Triple H in a No Holds Barred Match to nearly end The Game's career (in storyline). Sheamus would only grow from there as a strong heel on RAW, winning the WWE Championship in June and the 2010 King of the Ring tournament in November.
It was speculated Sheamus won the King of the Ring only to set up an imminent return feud between the two, where the Game's return was expected during the fall and into the winter. Unfortunately, plans were scratched for the two to continue their rivalry and instead had Triple H brutally attack Sheamus upon his return.
Tripe H made his return to television on the February 21st edition of RAW, and will now be facing The Undertaker in nine days. Sheamus just recently won the United States Championship from Daniel Bryan, where the two will compete in a rematch for the title at WrestleMania 27.
The rivalry between Punk and Mysterio was perfectly executed in my opinion, and was able to get in much needed promo time before WrestleMania. The stipulation that Rey Mysterio would be forced to join the Straightedge Society if he lost also added more suspense into the match.
The bout, however, did not live up to my expectations. These two are capable of so much more, but were instead were treated with only six minutes. It was also highly predicable the Ultimate Underdog would be crowned the victor, despite interference from Luke Gallows and Serena at ringside.
They would continue to trade wins until the Over the Limit pay-per-view in May, where Mysterio would defeat Punk with the stipulation that Punk had to shave his head due to the results. Soon after, Mysterio would capture the World Heavyweight Championship for a short period of time before engaging in feuds with Kane, Alberto Del Rio and most recently Cody Rhodes, whom he will face at WrestleMania 27.
CM Punk would be traded to RAW in October, becoming one of the biggest heels in the company while leading the New Nexus. The Straightedge Savior takes on Randy Orton at the Show of Shows April 3rd.
The buildup was hot in the beginning, but started to slowly fade out as time progressed. With the added No Holds Barred stipulation and Hart's disabilities, we knew we weren't going to get anything special. But for a feud thirteen years in the making, the bout was going to be at the very least historical.
Before the match could begin, Mr. McMahon approached the ring with a microphone and exclaimed he was now adding the stipulation of a Lumberjack Match, with the entire Hart family serving as the Lumberjacks.
Bret Hart would use his family to his advantage and dominate McMahon in a unappealing fashion for ten minutes to get the victory. The special guest referee, Bruce Hart, had Charles Robinson punching himself in the face. Yes, it was that bad.
Watching this at home, I rolled my eyes at what I had just witnessed. At the very least, I would have expected a legitimate match, but instead McMahon gets brutally attacked in order to write himself television, even though he returned two months later.
Bret Hart would remain in the WWE, managing new Unified Tag Team Champions The Hart Dynasty while engaging in a mini-feud with The Miz. The two would face off on the May 17th edition of RAW, where Hart would emerge victorious and become the new United States Champion.
A week later, Hart would drop the title and become the new RAW general manager, before he and Mr. McMahon were attacked by The Nexus. Hat would return to take part at SummerSlam, before once again disappearing from the WWE unexplained.
Mr. McMahon recently returned last month to television. As of now, neither men are taking part in WrestleMania 27.
Anytime you see either of these men step in the ring, you know it's going to be good. When you have two of the top performers in the company compete against one another given their history, you know it will be nothing short of epic.
Edge made his surprise return in early 2010 to win the Royal Rumble Match, setting up a World Heavyweight Championship Match between himself and reigning champion Chris Jericho at WrestleMania 26. This came after Edge was injured in summer of 2009, leaving him to be placed by Big Show in his tag team with Jericho.
Maybe it was just me, but the buildup felt like it should have been something a whole lot more than it was, with its annoying theme of hearing the word "Spear" in every segment they were involved in. Nonetheless, the match at Mania made up for all the nonsense.
In a breathtaking 15 minute match, there were multiple moments where it had this viewer on the edge of his seat. When the smoke cleared, Jericho proved he was the best in the world at what he does by defeating the Rated-R Superstar to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
Five days later on SmackDown, Y2J would lose his World title to Jack Swagger after he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract. Despite that, Edge and Jericho would resume their feud that would culminate in a Steel Cage Match at Extreme Rules, where the Rated-R Superstar would pick up the victory.
Both men would be drafted to RAW the following night, but it would turn out it wasn't for the best for the both of them. The dynamic duo would both have lackluster summers, leading to Edge being traded back to SmackDown, and Jericho being punted in the head in order to be written off television.
While Y2J is off dancing with celebrities, Edge will be defending his World Heavyweight Championship against Alberto Del Rio at WrestleMania 27.
This match was literally made official only 24 hours before the event. That goes to show you how much WWE cares about the Diva division. Even worse, non-wrestler Vickie Guerrero was competing in the contest. Could it honestly get any worse?
It was basically an attempt to get the Divas on the show, since hardly any of the competitors were engaged in rivalries with one another. The lack of respect showed during the match, which was only given three minutes worth of botch-filled horror.
Vickie Guerrero got the pin for her team following a Frog Splash onto Kelly Kelly, although she did land on her feet before making contact. No comment.
There was nothing to begin with, so there was really nothing to follow. Each Diva went their separate ways, engaging in separate feuds. Vickie would continue to manage Lay-Cool, and will resume to do so at this year's WrestleMania.
This year's inclusion of Divas at WrestleMania 27 will be more of a Special Attraction match than anything, pitting Lay-Cool and Dolph Ziggler against John Morrison, Trish Stratus and Snooki. Let's hope to see some better wrestling this time around.
Unlike Edge and Jericho, the feud over the WWE Championship was built with excellence and being heavily being hyped as the second ever meeting between the two. Oddly enough, WWE was able to deliver.
The match included every element a major title should have: History, chemistry and the suspense. In a 13 minute bout, John Cena and Batista delivered one of the best matches in either man's career. With multiple finishers hit and near pin falls, I began to question my theory on Cena winning the title.
Although Cena did end up winning the prestigious championship that night, I really felt I paid my moneys worth for a valuable contest between the two. The match lived up the hype, as history was certainly made.
Thankfully, the anticipated rivalry continued through Extreme Rules to Over the Limit in May, where Cena defeated Batista for the straight time to retain the WWE Championship in an "I Quit" Match. Arguably, the Champ was the reason the Animal quit WWE the following night storyline wise.
Cena's reign as WWE Champion would end up to be his most recent, as he dropped it to Sheamus in June and was never able to retrieve it back. However, that could all change in seven days, where we will probably see Cena win back the WWE title from the Miz.
This rematch from WrestleMania 25 was nearly identical as the previous, but this time, everything was on the line. Shawn Michaels was willing to put his illustrious career at stake in order to end Undertaker's infamous WrestleMania streak.
The new stipulation added more drama to this WrestleMania main event than any other match contested at event, much less either man's career. It could be debated whether their first match together at Mania was better than the second, but either way, this monumental contest did not disappoint.
Every second of those breathtaking 23 minutes had every spectator in Phoenix, Arizona that night on their feet, intrigued by the fate that awaited either man. In the surprising turn of events, Undertaker extended his lengthy streak to 18-0, while HBK stood in the ring looking back on his historical career.
The following night on RAW, Shawn Michaels would bid farewell to the WWE Universe one last time in one of the greatest heartfelt promos he has ever conducted. This year, HBK takes his rightful spot among the immortals as he is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame the night before WrestleMania.
Following Taker's 18th win at WrestleMania 26, the Deadman would return to WWE sporadically due to injury, and most recently on February 21st, 2011. In seven days at WrestleMania 27, could we see the next victim, Shawn's close buddy, Triple H, be put to rest as well?
Thanks for reading, Bleachers! Make sure to comment on your own analysis and comparisons on last year's and the upcoming WrestleMania. GSM out.
Visit my website at Next Era Wrestling for more of GSM's writings, along with WWE/TNA news, recaps, and more.