As we continue down the road to the biggest show of the year, I’ve been going through each event to prepare for the big day.
Instead of doing recaps for every WrestleMania (other people here do that much better), I’ve been putting together a Top Ten list of WrestleMania matches and have been updating it after each show.
WrestleMania 25 – April 5, 2009
How no one explained during marketing meetings for WrestleMania 25 that the “25th anniversary” of WrestleMania in 1985 would be the following year is beyond me. That they did it again for the Survivor Series a few years later probably proves that they just didn’t care.
Of course, for an “anniversary” show, WrestleMania 25 is a long, mostly underwhelming card that probably could have been great with a few tweaks. A stipulation change here, a match dropped there and WrestleMania 25 is remembered as one of the greatest ever. As it stands, the one great match on the card can’t bring it to top tier status.
I watched this show from a bowling alley bar, with very few people actually focusing on the show. Eventually, we moved from the bar area to the lanes, where I downgraded from a wall-sized TV to a 13-incher hanging on a wall. Perfect way to watch…
Best Match: Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker. I mean, duh, right? Two legends in the business, two guys who have had great matches before set up together during career renaissances and looking to steal the show. If you’re going to have matches filled with near-falls and false finishes, this is the way to book it. Both men clearly pulled out all the stops, getting increasingly frustrated when a big move didn’t get the three count. The Michaels moonsault into a tombstone is one of my favorite finishes of all time. Of course, the match is not without flaws. Sim Snuka not catching Undertaker on his suicide dive drove the match to a screeching halt and it understandably took them some time to recover. Without the 3-5 minutes of Michaels stalling to let Taker recover, this match might have been the greatest WrestleMania match of all time, but instead, it simply becomes one of them. Still, that’s not something to scoff at.
Worst Match: Santina wins 25-diva Miss WrestleMania Battle Royal. When WWE doesn’t even bother to announce the participants in the match – including returning Divas Sunny, Torrie Wilson and Molly Holly – you know you’re not getting a four-star classic. According to Wikipedia, Nikki and Brie Bella combined to eliminate six Divas. Beth Phoenix took out 13. But you wouldn’t know any of that from the commentators, who didn’t seem to care about the match until they were able to spot Santino Marella in drag and a wig. A WrestleMania moment? More like a waste of time.
Speaking of Wastes: The Miss WrestleMania match was preceded by a 10-minute concert from Kid Rock, doing a medley of his hits before performing his new song, “So Hott” to play the Divas down. For this, the main show missed out on what could have been a great tag team titles unification match between Miz and John Morrison and Carlito and Primo. It’s a shame those two tag teams didn’t get to perform in front of a global television audience, but hey, at least they got on the preshow, right?
Fitting Him In: I never liked the build to the Triple Threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship. Edge is champ, Cena wants the belt. Have them fight, no? No. Toss in a love triangle between Edge, his storyline wife Vickie Guerrero and Big Show, which Cena revealed, and you’ve got a title match with a giant wedged in. If I never see Big Show making out with anyone ever again, it will be too soon. The match was just OK, typical Cena fare.
Twice As Money: Man, I was really rooting for Christian or Shelton Benjamin to get the briefcase at WrestleMania 25. Try to continue the tradition of using the briefcase to elevate someone new into the main event. And I won’t lie, I was a Peep. But no, CM Punk wins it again. And again, I thought, “This is the year the briefcase cash-in fails.” And again, I was wrong.
That Main Event: Triple H defending the WWE Title against Royal Rumble winner Randy Orton was built up as a blood feud. Orton punted Vince McMahon, he hit Stephanie with a DDT. He… uh… brawled with Shane McMahon. Triple H wanted to KILL him. So, a stipulation gets added (man, the Authority really didn’t have much stroke back in 2009) saying that if Triple H gets disqualified, he loses the title. OK. The obvious path here is Orton pushing Hunter over the line and Hunter getting DQed to give Orton the title and set up more matches with Hunter still looking for revenge. Instead, they have a fairly typical “WWE Main Event Style” match where Triple H teases going over the line. A referee gets knocked out, giving Triple H the opportunity to use a sledgehammer, punch Orton some, hit him with the Pedigree and win. OK, so, you “send the fans home happy,” with the face winning, but it sacrifices a lot of logic. It’s not a bad match, not by any stretch of the word, but it doesn’t fit what needed to be done here, given the story they were building up.
The Top Twenty!
Just one new addition this time around.
1 – Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin – Submission Match (WrestleMania 13)
2 – “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat – Intercontinental Title Match (WrestleMania III)
3 – The Rock vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin – No DQ WWF Title Match (WrestleMania X-Seven)
4 – Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit – World Heavyweight Title Triple Threat (WrestleMania XX)
5 – Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior – WWF Title vs. Intercontinental Title (WrestleMania VI)
6 – Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Shawn Michaels – WWF Title Iron Man Match (WrestleMania XII)
7 – Edge & Christian vs. Hardy Boyz vs. Dudley Boyz – Tag Team Title TLC Match (WrestleMania X-Seven)
8 – Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho (WrestleMania XIX)
9 – Edge vs. Kane vs. Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit vs. Christian vs. Shelton Benjamin – Money In The Bank Ladder Match (WrestleMania 21)
10 – Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker (WrestleMania 25)
11 – Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. “The Rocket” Owen Hart (WrestleMania X)
12 – Ultimate Warrior vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage – Career Ending Match (WrestleMania VII)
13 – Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels (WrestleMania 21)
14 – Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon – Intercontinental Title Ladder Match (WrestleMania X)
15 – Undertaker vs. Edge – World Heavyweight Title Match (WrestleMania XXIV)
16 – Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle – WWE Title Match (WrestleMania XX)
17 – Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair – Career Threatening Match (WrestleMania XXIV)
18 – Undertaker vs. Randy Orton (WrestleMania 21)
19 – Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar – WWE Title Match (WrestleMania XIX)
20 – “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock (WrestleMania X8)
Top Twenty Celebrity Appearances
Mike Tyson – WrestleMania XIV
Pete Rose – WrestleMania XIV/WrestleMania XV/WrestleMania 2000
Bob Uecker – WrestleMania III/WrestleMania IV
Mary Hart – WrestleMania III
Cyndi Lauper – WrestleMania I
Donald Trump – WrestleMania 23
Snoop Dogg – WrestleMania XXIV
Alex Trebek – WrestleMania VII
Vanna White – WrestleMania IV
Burt Reynolds – WrestleMania X
Regis Philbin – WrestleMania VII
Gennifer Flowers – WrestleMania XIV
Jonathan Taylor Thomas – WrestleMania XI
Mickey Rourke – WrestleMania 25
LT’s All-Pro Team (Reggie White, Steve McMichael, Carl Banks, Rickey Jackson, Chris Spielman, and Ken
Norton Jr.) – WrestleMania XI
Muhammad Ali – WrestleMania I
Elvira – WrestleMania 2
Jenny McCarthy – WrestleMania XI
Alice Cooper – WrestleMania III
Pamela Anderson – WrestleMania XI
Top 15 WrestleMania Musical Acts
Ray Charles, America the Beautiful – WrestleMania 2
Little Richard, America the Beautiful – WrestleMania X
Fife and Drum Corp performing Piper’s entrance – WrestleMania I
John Legend, America the Beautiful – WrestleMania XXIV
Steve Allen rehearses in bathroom with the Bolsheviks – WrestleMania VI
Drowning Pool, Tear Away – WrestleMania X8
Aretha Franklin, America the Beautiful – WrestleMania III / WrestleMania 23
Nicole Sherzinger, America the Beautiful – WrestleMania 25
Boys Choir of Harlem, American the Beautiful – WrestleMania XX
P.O.D., Booyaka – WrestleMania 22
Kid Rock Medley – WrestleMania 25
Boyz II Men, America the Beautiful – WrestleMania XV
Motorhead, The Game – WrestleMania X-Seven / WrestleMania 21
Jones High School Marching Band, The Time is Now – WrestleMania XXIV
Limp Bizkit, Crack Addict – WrestleMania XIX