WrestleMania 27 is in the books.
I was pretty quiet on the buildup to this show because, really, what more could have been said? Thehype surrounding this year’s Mania was boosted by The Rock’s presence and for the most part, the angles were all solid stories that left people anticipating their eventual payoffs.
Unfortunately that’s where WM27 fell apart for me. Aside from one or two matches, I don’t think anyof the major angles were properly paid off. Once the credits had rolled and the show was over I was left feeling….weird about what I’d just watched. It didn’t feel like a WrestleMania. This is the one show ofthe year where definitive answers need to be given and stories have to conclude. Instead, it left even more questions, causing it to feel like a B-grade PPV at best, and an average RAW at worst.
The night started with a promo from The Rock. I love Rocky as much as the next wrestling fan but starting off WrestleMania with a 10 minute speech was the absolute wrong move. For me it killed any momentum the show had before it even properly started. It just left an awful taste in my mouth that never went away throughout the night.
World Heavyweight Title
Edge (C) vs. Alberto Del Rio
Once that was over the show proper began with…the World Heavyweight Championship match? Again, just plain weird. Goes to show you that winning the Royal Rumble doesn’t mean quite as much these days. The match itself was rather good, although a bit short. Edge and Alberto Del Rio both performed well. But this was a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP feud that has had almost 2 months of build up and they put it in the 12-minute opening match warm up spot. I would love to know the logic behind making thatcall instead of opening with, say, Sheamus and Daniel Bryan (which of course got bumped from WM entirely-more on that later). On top of the odd placement and preliminary-feel of the match, it had such a strange ending. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they went the unpredictable route and had Edge retainrelatively clean. Christian didn’t turn heel either. But now the question is, where do you go from here? E&C ended the segment by beating up ADR’s car. I suppose that’s going to be what keeps fueling Del Rio (stupid) but, what reason does Edge now have to give him a rematch? He beat the guy clean. He proved himself. End of story. Also, this whole program is inevitably leading to an Edge/Christian match. How do they get there now? This was one of the few angles going into ‘Mania that we all knew would continue past the event anyway, but it seems like they took the most illogical route possible and will now have to shoehorn in various reasons to keep it going. Good match, but I didn’t get the thinking behind it.
Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio
Thankfully, this match made up for the strange decisions made in the opener. Cody and Rey were given even more time than the WHC match and used it beautifully. Cody’s entrance with the newspaper headlines was great, and really helped to push his “Deformed” character. Rey’s obligatory Hollywood costume this year was Captain America, and it’s possibly my new favorites out of all his WM getups. This was a really good match. I was so happy that these guys got just enough time to tell their story well. I was afraid that they’d be shortchanged like Rey and Punk were last year. I was also thrilled that they gave Cody the win. Hopefully this is the start of a decent push for him. Ted Dibiase never did anything for me during the Legacy days, despite the claims of his future stardom. Cody was always the better worker for my money. Looks like WWE agrees and I’m happy to see his good fortune. Although, each year feels more and more like Rey Mysterio is an afterthought in the grand scheme of the main event.
Next up was a backstage segment featuring Teddy Long and Snoop Dogg holding tryouts for….something worthless I’m sure. I didn’t care enough to pay attention. Long story short this was all basically 5 minutes of stupid, unfunny, pointless buildup to the introduction of (drum roll) Rapping Hornswoggle! I usually don’t condone the actual harm of wrestlers, but please, somebody throw that little waste of airtime off a cliff. Horswoggle alone is bad enough. He almost singlehandedly ruined the Royal Rumble this year. Rapper gimmicks are embarrassingly out of touch and obnoxious (see R-Truth), especially white rappers (see Too Cool/Slam Master J). Now we have a rapping white midget? F*#k you WWE creative…
The enormous amount of time that was wasted on that shitskit directly ate into the next match:
The Corre vs. The Big Show, Kane, Santino Marella, & Kofi Kingston
The entrances were longer than the match. The 8-man tag match was 90 seconds long. Seriously,who did Wade Barrett piss off since December? He literally kicked Kane once during the all-man brawl then got taken out of the match. Big Show punched Slater and that was it. What a waste. And again, Sheamus/Bryan got bumped to make room for this BS and the prior skit. I bet the guys involved in this “match” almost wish they weren’t even on the show at all. Absence would have been less embarrassing.
These two segments were TNA-level bad. WrestleMania is not the time or place for this kind of crap.
This was all followed up by another skit featuring The Rock, Eve, and Mae Young. It was more pointless, unfunny filler that could have been used in actual matches. This particular bit, though, was saved by the anticipated face-to-face meeting of Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Just seeing those two on screentogether again was great. They could have very easily just done their encounter without the Eve/Mae nonsense. It would have been so much better.
Randy Orton vs. CM Punk
Thankfully those 15 minutes of torture came to an end once this match started. As expected, these guys put on one hell of a match. There was really no way they could have screwed this up, and again, I was happy they got ample time (15 minutes approx.) I can’t really complain about this placement either since it was a major highlight to have this match after the shitstorm that had come before it. Orton sold his leg injury for the most part, making the match rather slow and methodical. But with these two guys that was just fine. They pulled out a great match capped off with Orton’s beautiful RKO counter to Punk’s springboard. Really good stuff and a nice win for The Viper.
2011 Hall of Fame Class came out next. Everyone looked happy to be there. Sunny still looks hot. DrewCarey got booed but smiled anyway. I wasn’t crazy about Shawn Michaels getting an individual entrance, complete with song and video but, what are ya gonna do?
Jerry “The King” Lawler vs. Michael Cole with Jack Swagger (Special Ref. Steve Austin)
This, like the opening title match was another one that left the fans with no real closure. On the plus side, Booker T and Jim Ross got nice pops for their introductions to the announce table. The first half of the match was painfully boring, watching Michael Cole beat up Lawler’s Swagger-induced-injured-leg was almost as cringe-worthy as the Hart/McMahon fiasco from last year. It went on a good five minutes too long (again more time that could have gone to an actual match). All people wanted to see was Jerry Lawler beat up Cole. There was no need to drag it out as long as they did. Once Swagger was stunned out of the equation the tide turned. Still, all King did was punch Michael Cole over and over again. Really? The guy couldn’t learn to take at least one bump? For as much buildup as this match had, Cole got nowhere near the beating he needed to make fans happy. Lawler ended up winning via Ankle Lock (ugh) before the anonymous GM switched the decision on account of Austin’s involvement (uggHH). A beer party followed, along with stunners for Booker T and Josh Matthews, thus leaving the announcing duties open for the JR and King for the rest of the night. Big letdown of a match.
The Undertaker vs. Triple H
It’s basically a given every year that Undertaker is going to win and continue the streak. But I’ll be damned if I was jumping off my seat at every two count. It wasn’t as flashy or quick as the HBK matches of the last two years, but this one had just as much drama and excitement. I legitimately thought at times that HHH was going to end up being “The One.” Thankfully I was wrong. Still, as good as the story was, the match itself was basically just a series of high-impact finishing moves. It felt like a match I’d play in WWE No Mercy on the N64. Hit the big moves and let the guy kick out. It makes for great drama, but not exactly the most exciting “match.” In the end Taker busted out Hell’s Gate, forcing Hunter to dramatically tap out. This was really well done and after the beating Taker took, the perfect way to give him the win. After the match Undertaker sold his injuries, having to be carried out on an EMT four-wheeler. I wasn’t crazy about that. A bit melodramatic for my tastes. But, here’s hoping that leads to the story of him being so beaten up we won’t see him again until the Royal Rumble, at which point he sets things up against whomever they decide will be victim #20. After that, I’d like to see The Deadman retire. I’m a massive fan of his, but he’s well-past his days as a regular performer.
Dolph Ziggler & Lay-Cool vs. John Morrison, Trish Stratus, & Snooki
You got what you’d expect out of this match. It was the bathroom break filler between the two main events. It wasn’t long enough for JoMo or Dolph to really do anything. Trish ended up carrying the brunt of the match (and man did she look amazing doing it!). The end came when Snooki hit Michelle McTaker with a cartwheel/handspring/ass smoosh. It was impressive given the guidette’s shrub-like stature. She did botch the seemingly-simpler jumping splash, though. In the end Team Snooki won. Did you really think they’d pay her to lose?
WWE TitleThe Miz (C) vs. John Cena
The Miz’s entrance video before this match was incredible. It used footage of the greatest champions of all time and mixed it with clips of The Real World and early WWE Miz to really get under the skin of those who say he doesn’t deserve his spot. It also solidified Miz as a legit main event heel. It was just perfect. Cena’s video used an Atlanta choir and DMX to illustrate John’s relationship with Jesus(?). I have to think it was the first time a gospel group was booed in Atlanta. The match itself never had a chance to be good. It went about 12 minutes and then ended in a double countout before The Rock restarted the action. He then followed that up by immediately hitting Cena with the Rock Bottom, allowing Miz to retain. Rocky then beat up Miz anyway, killing the champ’s heat in the process. I really didn’t like this finish. I knew Rock would be involved, but again, a screw-job-question-filled cliffhanger ending belongs on RAW, not WrestleMania. The show ended with The Rock standing tall. It’s pretty clear this means he’s going to wrestle Cena, but they could have set that up on tonight’s show instead.
Overall WM27 grade: Meh