It's just after 8 a.m., the morning following WrestleMania. The image of The Rock standing on the turnbuckle as the show ended was roughly four hours ago, so as you can imagine, I'm a little rough getting up for work this morning on an hour or so of sleep.
I didn't want to write live results for the event as it's WrestleMania and I wanted to take my time to enjoy the show, but I'll discuss what I thought here—though I must warn, my judgment of events can be questionable after just one watch. We'll see how I get on.
I felt a little cheated to be honest. I'm a huge Sheamus fan and a big Daniel Bryan fan and was very much looking forward to seeing what they could do if given enough time. Their match on RAW where the Celtic Warrior took the belt a few weeks back was the best television match we've received in some time and I thought they'd be given a bit more time and creativity here to express themselves and deliver a potential show-stealing match, but that wasn't to be.
They were demoted to the dark match that was blown off in a mere few minutes to make way for the annual battle royal to get the roster on card and earn their 'Mania bonus cheques—another thing that annoyed me.
I design ring gear for several WWE Superstars; Trent Barreta currently wears my gear and both Evan Bourne & Curt Hawkins would be debuting new gear designed by myself on the show. I heard reports earlier that the battle royal would take place during the broadcast and was therefore extremely excited to see my designs on WrestleMania. But WWE never announced this, so I won't criticize.
However, WWE did announce Daniel Bryan and Sheamus for the card and I paid my money. As I said earlier, I'm a big Sheamus fan; being from Ireland I can imagine several other homes ordering, and paying for, the event to see our country's hero.
So to be told we're getting to see Sheamus and Bryan and then not able to after we pay was a shambles. I hope that WWE offer them a match on RAW tonight and give them enough time to entertain and impress. I am not happy with this at all.
The Opening - The Rock's Promo
I both liked and disliked this. With The Rock as "the host" of WrestleMania, despite his exclusive involvement in the WWE Championship picture over recent weeks it only made sense for him to open the show—and what better way to kick off the show and get the crowd ready than to send out The People's Champ to deliver a classic promo.
That's exactly what he did. But I couldn't help look at the clock 20 minutes after 'Mania had begun and ask myself, "is this going on a bit too long?" Maybe with a bitter taste in my mouth wondering did the pre-advertised match that we missed make way for extra promo time. But alas, for what it was worth The Rock did what was needed off him and kicked off WrestleMania in a big way.
World Heavyweight Championship - Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio
When I heard Justin Roberts announce this match I wasn't sure what to think, but as Shane Helms pointed out on Twitter, the opening match is a vital part of the card in the modern era and wasn't a bad thing whatsoever for the match.
The formerly annual Money In The Bank ladder match used to occupy that spot and everybody loved those matches. I think everybody expected this to steal the show and in an open-air arena, the first match will always be tough to judge as fans are only getting used to the different environment of watching an event outside of an arena for the first time in 12 months and the ability, or lack thereof, to properly hear the crowd.
The match, for what it was, was entertaining, and I don't mind Edge winning as long as the program continues; Alberto Del Rio will get his chance in the sun and as long as it comes out of this feud I'll be happy, and he clearly deserves it.
To make the Royal Rumble seem prestigious, though, I would have liked Del Rio to have won. Not since 2007 has the Rumble winner won the title at WrestleMania, and it's beginning to lose its prestige.
The match wasn't given enough time to steal the show, and when you see the seven minutes that were spent after the match of Edge and Christian trashing Del Rio's car, you'll scratch you head and wonder why.
Surely this would have made more sense to apply it to the match, but no, Edge inexplicably wanted to trash the car despite winning. Like it seems a lot of 'Mania was about, it was more the continuation of storylines as opposed to the usual "end of the wrestling year" culmination of stories that we usually get.
Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes
I though Cody Rhodes' video behind him with the newspaper clippings was fantastic. I was a big fan of the Dashing character but like this transformation that currently sees Rhodes in limbo. Character-wise, this surely isn't a gimmick he can work with forever but it does drop the Dashing character so he can be taken more seriously and elevated to the bigger stages, like tonight.
He and Rey had a great match and I liked the back-and-forths using each other's protective gear against each other. I'm also very glad that Mysterio took the pinfall for Cody. Rey can be stubborn at times and I'm glad he realized that Rhodes would benefit far more from getting the pinfall at 'Mania than he would.
Obviously Mysterio will get his revenge next month at Extreme Rules and possibly again at Over The Limit, but as far as WrestleMania goes the right man won and I have nothing bad to say about this match.
The Corre vs. Kane, Big Show, Kofi Kingston and Santino Marella
What a waste, if you wanted to demote something to a dark match why not this? Eight men in one match and they were given no more than 90 seconds to do it.
That's just over 11 seconds each of offense. I remember not even settling down as this match started, then when it ended I was caught off guard and wasn't really paying attention 100 percent yet. The Corre were (what can only be described as) squashed in a minute.
Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett, Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel, the Tag Team Champions and Ezekial, The Powerhouse that is seemingly unstoppable were all dropped in a minute and a half. I can't see any intelligent booking in this one. If it was that desperate to get them on the card for the sake of it, they should of played it safe and added them to the battle royal. It would have done less damage than this as The Corre look incredibly weak and nobody remembers anything from the match to credit the babyfaces with. Nonsensical booking that I just don't understand.
CM Punk vs. Randy Orton
Like the Rhodes/Mysterio match I was hoping that they'd give it to Punk for the reason that it would hurt him far more than it would benefit Randy for Orton to go over. Punk needed to look stronger than his Nexus cohorts who were sidelined week by week by Orton. So when Orton won, Punk - although he put up more of a fight, was no different than any of his faction team mates in falling to the RKO.
With that being said I liked the finish, Punk actually went for his springboard clothesline and tasted RKO. I hate it when people dive off the top rope just to be fed to the other guy without actually going for a move that they will then have reversed. But we're past crediting Punk with smart thinking, he's proved time and time again he's got a fantastic mind both in and out of the ring and that's why a win would of worked and helped elevate him to that next level. He's yet to be World Champion material on RAW as a heel and winning this match would of done a lot to help that.
It'll be interesting to see where this feud goes and what exactly CM Punk gets out of it so for that reason I'll hold judgment overall. It was a good entertaining match and I look forward to more. I will note however, the show thus far was missing something that felt WrestleMania. It could have been any month of the year booking these matches.
Michael Cole vs. Jerry Lawler - Stone Cold Steve Austin is the special guest referee.
I thought Cole's outfit was so ridiculous you just had to hate him for it, which worked for his gimmick. I didn't understand having Stone Cold come out before Jerry Lawler. Stone Cold was nearly forgotten about on this card with the returning Rock, Triple H & Undertaker being far more active in TV in recent weeks.
But that being said Austin was there to referee and did just that. Michael Cole teasing a truce with Lawler at the beginning of the match was great however in the in ring action was not. We've had Michael Cole on our screens for 14 years now and not once have we seen him in the ring, why? Easy, because he's not a wrestler. So god knows what they were thinking when they booked him to get offense on the Hall of Famer for a long period of the match. The man who a month ago nearly won the WWE Championship was now being taken to school by a 40 year old plus, 140 pound man in his first ever fight. It didn't make sense and certainly didn't work or look good. The finish was fine, but more people would of got a kick out of seeing Cole knocked out for a three count.
The post match celebrations seemed rushed, why Booker T decided to go in and do a Spin-a-rooni during Austin's celebration made no sense. They tried to say it was because they work on Tough Enough together? For Booker to take the Stunner was just to get rid of him from the announce desk I think, the same with Josh Matthews as nobody has ever attacked Michael Cole for the months and months he's read emails but Josh reads one and he gets attacked.
The Undertaker vs. Triple H
First off, I was disappointed to see the same video package that they used on Monday night. One thing I love about 'Mania is the build up videos and we got a 4-5 minute one that was nothing new. Triple H's entrance was pretty cool. The lights go out to reveal him on the stage was well done. Undertaker's was just standard which was alright, they can go over the top with his entrances so I think this worked.
Right from the get go they went at all out. The brawling on the outside was well done. It was apparent that Undertaker isn't 100% and had it not been WrestleMania he would still be out healing, but that didn't stop him from doing his usual dive over the top rope and taking a bump against the Cole Mine at ringside.
There wasn't a continuous flow to this match, there was a lot of stalling and selling but I really liked it. After the spots outside when they moved back in, Triple H was all over Undertaker and Undertaker took, I think, three Pedigree's, kicking out of each of them. The chair shots reminded me a lot of Rock & Austin from WrestleMania X-Seven and the shot to the head was a reminder that Taker & Triple H can do what they want basically. That move being banned last year.
As Undertaker struggled to get up to his feet, Triple H telling him to stay down, just like Michaels the year before, 'Taker in a groggy state throwing punches at the wind, just like Ric Flair back in 2008 it was fantastic, Undertaker (and we've said this before, but each time it makes sense) has never been in this vulnerable position before it was really something weird to see.
When Triple H picked him up for the Tombstone I thought that was it, and credit to him for hitting the Tombstone, Undertaker usually hits the move on people up to and over half a foot smaller than he is, making it easier to cushion their head, Triple H had to do it to a guy nearly 6 inches taller, so credit where its due.
Then in the Hells Gate they teased Triple H using the Sledgehammer to get out of the move and Undertaker was just giving everything and anything into locking the hold in it was nicely done. Having two submissions in a row I wasn't sure off, but at least Triple H didn't do the frantic tapping like Cole before. It was soft, it was subtle it was from a man who truly had to give up.
And if you saw the scenes post match, Undertaker has refused help in the past but to not only accept help but to be driving out of there on a stretcher was remarkable. That in a way, put Triple H over best he could, because the streak shouldn't be broken. Triple H lost but walked out so he seems stronger and can show up on RAW tonight where as Undertaker won't be around for a long time. I'd be surprised if we see him again in 2011. If he is to make a return, I'm guessing he shows up next year before 'Mania and comes for a rematch or a match with John Cena.
John Morrison, Trish Stratus & Snooki vs. Dolph Ziggler & LayCool
They basically had the job of cooling the crowd down following the Triple H / Taker match. It was a match where the faces got their spots in and then Snooki got the win to set up the newspaper headlines, but in fairness to her, she did arguably one of the most athletic moves of the night doing the handstand backflip run into the turnbuckle or whatever its name is. Was a match to get media attention and it'll do exactly that.
John Cena vs. The Miz
I was very bored by this match. It had no rhythm it had no logic. John Cena spent the first 5 minutes over selling then a minute later he was perfect after acting had he been shot. Do one or the other. The Miz has improved tremendously but we saw tonight in his first real challenge, he needs someone who can work. The Miz isn't the kind of guy who can carry a match and tonight that was left to John Cena who quite frankly can't do it either. This is where the guys like Shawn Michaels & Triple H come in, they can work a match with a broom, it just looks better when theres somebody in there with them.
Well this match seemed to have two brooms. The first finish was terrible. I'm not sure exactly what happened with the clothesline over the barrier as the camera angle missed it but it seemed as if Cena charged from the ring and dived at The Miz with such power and strength yet when he hit him, he lay motionless on the ground following it.
The Rock's insertion into the match was as predicted and I didn't expect such a quick finish after the restart. Very cheap I think. The Rock hitting his moves on The Miz would of been special had he not done the exact same thing 6 nights ago on RAW.
Overall it felt as if the show was building towards something instead of being that culminating moment that WrestleMania always is, the night after WrestleMania on RAW is usually the first day of the wrestling year and now it's all gonna be a continuation from WrestleMania. Too many loose ends for my liking. I really enjoyed Cody & Rey, delighted with the result too. I just hope in their likely rematch next month at a lesser pay-per-view they'll be given more freedom. Undertaker and Triple H was just phenomenal. You watch it and it was a sound, tried and tested wrestling match. It was a story, and it was told in such a fashion that it will go down as one of the best matches of all time. I don't remember anything being done quite in the way that they did last night so I'm being very careful on how to compare it to others. But that match will go down in history, the rest? Not much. Taker & Triple H is the silver lining to a mediocre pay-per-view that wasn't WrestleMania standards, not by a long shot.
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