Tuesday, April 5, 2011

JC's Take: Wrestlemania 27 Review, Plus a Look Ahead to Rock/Cena

JC's Take: Wrestlemania 27 Review, Plus a Look Ahead to Rock vs Cena at Wrestlemania 28

Hey everyone. Sorry I didn't finish my Wrestlemania preview or ranking of the Mania's past, but I was just so busy getting ready for my trip to Mania I couldn't find the time.

Before I get to the actual review of the card, I guess I can talk about my weekend. Axxess is fun to go to and meet the WWE stars. The lines for a lot of them were long, but every wrestler I met was very nice. Surprisingly, the nicest people were Laycool. Vickie Guerrero was very nice and seemed happy to be there. Layla ended up giving me her coffee after I made a joke about not being able to get one in the morning. I joked around with Christian about the Leafs missing the playoffs again this year. Everyone was very nice and outgoing.

Everything else at Axxess was kind of geared towards kids. Superstar entrances, Hornswoggle's house, WWE tattoos. But it's a fun experience. My only 2 small gripes were that they didn't know who would be at what station beforehand. I guess I can understand if you have someone like Christian at one stand, and the Usos at the other. But people would still go meet whoever no matter what. Also for some people, like Christian and Wade Barrett/Justin Gabriel, they would stop pictures about half way through. I really don't think that is fair for the people at the back of the line.

The Hall of Fame was nice. Eveyone had good speeches. Drew Carey was booed heavily, but he came back with "I'm skinny, rich, and famous, so boo all you want!' which was funny. The Road Warriors and HBK's speeches were great. Since stuff was edited down for TV, I would recommend watching the full version on the Wrestlemania DVD. I will say people doing the stupid cat calls during HBK's speech were just stupid. Let the man talk. But it was a fun night, especially with the Kliq reunion.

Now for Wrestlemania. It's a whole different experience being there. I know some people hated it, but I liked it being there live. Anyone who bashes wrestling needs to ask themselves one thing: Can any other TV show or form of entertainment, not counting sports, but that many people in one place to watch the show? No I don't think so.

On to the show:
-The Rock opened in typical Rock fashion. The crowd was into him the whole time. He's the one man in wrestling history that can have the crowd in the palm of his hands all night. He got the crowd involved with some chants, then went into a great rhyming promo to end it. Typical Rock, nothing really new, but a fun way to start the show.

Edge defeated Alberto del Rio to retain the World Heavyweight Championship: ***
After the Mania intro, I wondered what would open the show. Since I knew Bryan/Sheamus was on the pre-show, I had no idea. Then I saw Ricardo Rodriguez in the ring and thought, 'They're really opening with the Smackdown World Title match?" Turns out, it was a good choice to open. In my opinion, the crowd was more into this match then Cena/Miz. I was surprised how many cheers there were for Edge. I met a lot of people at Axxess that liked Del Rio. But I would say the crowd was about 80/20 for Edge. It was a fun match. Nice in-ring psychology by Del Rio, continually working on Edge's injured arm. Christian and Brodus Clay's interference outside was fine. In the end, Edge speared Del Rio for the win. As Edge & Chrisitan were leaving, they destroyed Del Rio's car. By the end of the night this turned out to be the right choice for the opener. I'm really surprised Del Rio did not win. I thought the WWE was high on him, but there must be something that made them not want to pull the trigger here. It would have been nice to give them 5 more minutes, but it was a fine opener.

Cody Rhodes defeated Rey Mysterio: **1/4
Another surprising win. I didn't think Cody was winning here. Cody has been playing up his gimmick perfectly. I thought it would be at least another year before he had a shot at the World Title, but now I could see him having a program with Edge once he's done with Rey Mysterio. Cody was impressive here. He had a nice spot where he held Rey Mysterio on the second rope over his head for a superplex for a good 20-30 seconds. In the end, Cody hit Rey with his knee brace, then Crossroads to pick up the win. I'm glad Cody used his finisher too after using the knee brace. I expect this one, like pretty much everything else at Mania, to continue to Extreme Rules. I think Cody needs to come out on top in this feud, especially if Rey is taking some time off for knee surgery.

-Next was a comedy segment with Snoop Dog and Teddy Long. They held auditions with various superstars, which ended with Hornswoggle showing he could talk and rapping. Nothing too funny or memorable here.

Big Show, Kane, Santino, & Kofi Kingston defeated The Corre: *
Nothing special here. The faces won after a Cobra and Knockout punch on Heath Slater. WWE need to do something quickly to get heat back on The Corre.

-They cut backstage to Rock talking with Eve. He said he could make magic with anyone, and he would with the next person who walked around the corner. Of course it turned out to be Mae Young. It was tough to hear in the arena. Mae ended up spanking Rock before she left. Rock was complaining then turned around to see Stone Cold. They stared at each other before they both said they were ready to kick ass. Fun nostaglia moment seeing Rock & Austin on the same screen.

Randy Orton defeated C.M. Punk: ***1/4
An obvious outcome here, but it was a good match. Punk's facial expressions were great during the match, constantly mocking Orton. Lots of Punk working over Orton's injured leg here. Orton went for a punt kick to Punk, but his leg gave out. Punk laughed to himself, then moved to Orton. Orton surprised Punk with an RKO attempt, but pushed him away. Punk then went to the top rope, but Orton countered his jump into an RKO for the win. It was a good match. You knew Orton was coming away with the win, because Orton apparently needs to look super strong in their eyes. Punk continues to be the best character/worker in the company. Again, this continues to Extreme Rules.

-Rock chatted with Mean Gene Okerlund backstage. He said Cena's biggest fan was here, and he turned to see Pee Wee Herman. Rock said Pee Wee had potential, and said he should join Team Bring It instead of being the leader of the Fruit Loop Troop. Pee Wee said he was coming over to Team Bring It, then finished with "If You Smell What the Pee is cookin!' Funnier than the Mae Young segment, but still nothing too entertaining.

Michael Cole defeated Jerry Lawler via RAW GM reversal w/Steve Austin as Special Referee: *
Everyone was ready to see Michael Cole get his. But that didn't happen here. I like Cole, but even I wasn't too entertained here. Nobody was buying into Cole's offense. Cole was good on the mic walking to the ring. Austin was funny too, driving his ATV to the ring and almost running over Jack Swagger, then chasing Cole around the ring. Cole was also funny doing warm-ups in the Cole Mine before the match. But Cole was not good during the match. Once Lawler regained control, he put Cole in the Ankle Lock. Austin asked Cole four times if he gave up, even though Cole was tapping immediately. That was funny. Afterwards, Booker T came into celebrate. He ate a Stunner after doing a Spinarooni. Then the RAW GM chimed in saying that Austin over-stepped his bounds and he was reversing his decision. Austin then stunned Josh Matthews for announcing the decision. Lawler returned to the announce booth to call the rest of the show with Jim Ross.

Undertaker defeated Triple H in a No Holds Barred Match: ****3/4
This match was epic. It's tough to do it justice by writing about it here. HHH's entrance was awesome. He came out to "For Whom the Bell Tolls" by Metallica before transitoning into his normal entrance. Undertaker came out to his "Ain't No Grave" song by Johnny Cash. The entire arena was quiet during Taker's entrance. Not because they weren't cheering for him, but because it is just so awe-inspiring. I would say the crowd was about 50/50, honestly. Maybe a slight tilt to HHH, but not by much. This match was just one big spot after another. They would do the spot, then rest for a couple of minutes. Both these men haven't wrestlied in a while, Taker because of injury and HHH because of time off, so they needed that. The crowd bought into every move. They did just enough near falls after them to not go over the top. I for one don't think the Streak should be broken, but I'll admit there was a tiny sliver of doubt in my mind after HHH hit that Tombstone.

This match told a great story. HHH did EVERYTHING he could to try and end the streak. Multiple pedigrees, chair shots, and even a Tombstone couldn't do it. It showed that Undertaker is damn near unbeatable at Wrestlemania. HHH threw everything at him, and he withstood all the pain. After Taker kicked out of the Tombstone, HHH backed off with a stunned look on his face. He went to go get the Sledgehammer. Before HHH could use it, Taker put him in the Hells Gate Submission. HHH went to go grab the Sledgehammer, but couldn't muster the strength to use it and tapped out. After both men laid in the ring for minutes, HHH got up. Taker tried to get up, but couldn't. He was carted to the back.

This was a great classic. It's not comparable to HBK/Taker of the two Mania's past. Those were two great in-ring matches. This was an all-out brawl. Both men did everything possible to gain victory. It would definitely make a top 10 Mania match list if I re-did it next year. Just two ring veterans going out and giving it their all.

John Morrison, Trish Stratus, & Snooki defeated Dolph Ziggler & Laycool: *1/4
This was the short buffer match in-between main events. Snooki was heavily booed before the match, but the crowd completely changed its tone when Snooki did the double back flip. They were all stunned by it. Snooki pinned Michelle for the win. Fine buffer match here. Nothing to write extensively about.

The Miz defeated John Cena to retain the WWE Championship: **
Miz came out first to a great entrance. They showed a video of WWE Champion's past. The song "Hate Me Now" played. I'd go out of my way to find it. Then there were inflatable letters that spelled 'AWESOME" with Miz and Alex Riley coming out. Miz looked a bit choked up. Understandable. The guy is living his dream of main eventing Wrestlemania as WWE Champion. Cena came out with a Gospe choir and a decent video package as well.

Now, the match. The crowd was dead silent for the first half of the match. I think it was the fact that EVERYONE knew The Rock was going to do something at some point. But it was your typical Cena match. It was nice to see The Miz kick out of the Attitude Adjustment. The two fought to the outside. Cena clotheslined Miz over the barricade. Miz took a nasty bump. His head smashed pretty hard against the floor. Probably got a concussion. The match ended in a double countout.

Rock came out and said Mania wasn't ending that way. The RAW GM sent an e-mail. Rock went to read it but threw the computer to the ground. He restared the match as a NoDQ/Countout match. Cena went for the AA but Miz got out of it. Rock then came in and gave Cena the Rock Bottom, allowing Miz to pick up the victory. Afterwards the Miz celebrated before being attacked by Rock as well, then taking a People's Elbow. The show ended with Rock standing tall.

OK, I get that people were expecting Rock. Which is why the WWE should have had him out there the whole match. There's also a strong possibility that people were expecting The Rock to do more than he did as host. I also don't like the fact that Rock attacked Miz afterwards. It would have been nice to just see him eye Miz down and do nothing before leaving. But I understand that the WWE likes to send the fans home happy.

Overall, I would give the show a 7 out of 10. Being there live might have changed my opinion, but going to Wrestlemania is just a once in a lifetime experience. I want to go next year again, provided I get the proper $$$ funds. And the main reasdon I want to go next year is because....

The Rock and John Cena have already agreed to fight one another at Wrestlemania 28. First off, props to the WWE. They have a good amount of guts to go out and book this match a year down the road. A lot can happen in the span of a year, so they are taking a big risk. It will be interesing to see what they do in between now and the Mania 28. The Rock obviously wont be on all the time, but I'm sure he will make appearences here and there. What does Cena do? I'm sure he will go back to fighting the Miz. I'm guessing he will win the title at least once in between now and Mania. With it being in Miami, you can bet Rock will be heavily cheered. Do they turn Cena full-fledged heel? I doubt it. Although I'm of the belief that the WWE was testing the waters of a Miz face turn yesterday. He got a good pop when he came out, and Cena came out and said he respected the Miz, which is something that faces don't normally say about heels. Either way, the WWE has some interesting ways to keep the Rock fresh in the minds of fans for a year. It's something unique and different that the WWE has never done before, so that's always fun. I just hope the awe and allure of The Rock doesn't die down by the time Wrestlemania 28 come along.

Where We Go From Here?
Extreme Rules is the next PPV. Lets say we get:
John Cena vs The Miz: Steel Cage Match
Edge vs Alberto del Rio: Ladder Match
Sin Cara vs Sheamus vs Daniel Bryan: Falls Count Anywhere
John Morrison vs Dolph Ziggler: No DQ #1 Contender's Match
Randy Orton vs C.M. Punk: Last Man Standing
Cody Rhodes vs Rey Mysterio: I Quit
Kofi Kingston vs Wade Barrett: Tables Match

That's all I have for today. I'll leave you with some pictures from my Wrestlemania Weekend.

Until next time,
Justin C

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