In the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania featured both amazing and terrible matches with matches like Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker and Triple H vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship.
Match 1: Money in the Bank – CM Punk vs. Kane vs. Mark Henry vs. MVP vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Christian vs. Finlay
The first match at WrestleMania was the annual Money in the Bank Ladder match which featured eight competitors. It’s tough to put on a good Ladder match now a days because they can easily become very repetitive matches with the same spots over and over again. However, the Money in the Bank ladder matches are so different because it’s on a grand stage the spots need to be innovative. This match helped jump start the show on a good pace and credit goes to all the men who busted their asses off in this one. What I really liked about this match was everyone in it stood out. Everybody had a great spot and nearly all of them were flawlessly done. Whether that be Shelton jumping off a huge ladder outside of the ring or Mark Henry smashing Kofi through a ladder, everyone had a great moment in the match. The ending of the match was a nail biter when Christian reached for the briefcase to win the match. With Christian trying to grab the briefcase, CM Punk and Kane entered the ring and climbed the ladders to do their best to take them down. Kane went on to Chokeslam Christian but CM Punk kicked Kane off of the ladder to retrieve the briefcase to win the match for the second year in a row. This was a good choice of a winner because it set off CM Punk as a main event heel who went on to wrestle The Undertaker in later shows.
Winner: CM Punk
Match 2: Miss WrestleMania Diva Battle Royal
Coming out to a long musical melody by Kid Rock, the Divas competed in a huge battle royal to crown the first ever Miss WrestleMania. I have nothing to say about this other than it was a giant slap to the face of the consumer. I highly doubt anyone payed their good money to see this cluster of a match with no meaning whatsoever.
Winner: Santina Marella
Match 3: Elimination – Chris Jericho vs. Jimmy Snuka, Roddy Piper, & Ricky Stemboat
What did Jericho do to deserve this type of match? Something so much better could have been done for him. Anyway, Chris Jericho quickly eliminated both Snuka and Piper but things finally got better once it was down to Jericho and Steamboat. Steamboat is over 50 years old yet he is wrestling like he is Chris Jericho! He landed moves off the top rope and out of the ring! He put the crowd on their feet by himself and really made this match memorable. This match really should have just been Jericho vs. Steamboat because Steamboat looked like an absolute star out there with some of the moves that he performed. After nearly pulling off a crazy upset on Jericho, Steamboat was put down with a nasty Codebreaker to end the match.
Winner: Chris Jericho
Match 4: Extreme Rules – Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy
We now finally get a match that is worth mentioning since the opening bout in the brother vs. brother match. After Matt cost Jeff the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble, Jeff was seeking revenge against his brother and he went out to get it at WrestleMania. From bell to bell, both men definitely brought the best out of each other with some incredible spots and moments. As soon as Jeff slapped Matt right in the face, you knew that we were in for a treat and that’s exactly what happened. Both men were looking for vengeance and they looked to get it by knocking the hell out of each other with all sorts of foreign weapons. However, business really picked up when the tables were brought into the match. Jeff set Matt on a table on the outside and then put a chair on top his body. That was not enough for Jeff who then stacked a table over Matt’s unconscious body as he flew through both Matt and the table. Even after this, Jeff still couldn’t keep his brother down so because of this, he brought in two ladders to land a huge legdrop onto Matt. Jeff went in for the kill but Matt moved out of the way which let Jeff crash and burn. Matt then set Jeff’s head through the chair and landed a Twist of Fate on Jeff to end the match. This is how an Extreme Rules match should be, a fight with both men looking to destroy each other and both men played their roles brilliantly with the short amounts of time that they were given.
Winner: Matt Hardy
Match 5: Intercontinental Championship – JBL (c) vs. Rey Mysterio
Before the bell sounded, the Intercontinental Champion ran his mouth about the state of Texas and about the supposed greatness that he possessed. After, he nailed Rey Mysterio in the face with a straight up kick to which he followed with a brutal beat down on Mysterio when Lillian Garcia was announcing the match before it started. When Mysterio told the referee to ring the bell, he took out JBL with a 619 to win the match at 21 seconds. Say what you want about this match but it made perfect sense. It was very symbolic in that it totally represented JBL’s career. He talks a lot and does anything he can to get the win but at the end of the day, the good guy always wins against him. And anyway, who wants to see a half ass performance by an injured JBL when there are other guys on the card who can be able to put on much better matches.
Winner: Rey Mysterio
Match 6: Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker
Sometimes, it is hell getting to heaven. For Shawn Michaels, heaven was defeating The Undertaker at WrestleMania 25. However, Michaels needed to go through hell, The Undertaker, to achieve this seemingly impossible feat. Though the two have had matches before in years past, none could compare to the importance that this one has set upon us. Let’s just cut to the chase, this match is perfect. From the symbolic entrances of Shawn Michaels coming down from the Heavens above and The Undertaker rising up from the depths of Hell to the jaw dropping close finishes, this match is an absolute classic. Things started off hot in this match with Michaels getting in The Undertaker’s head by giving him the crotch chop, faking a knee injury, and even standing right to the face of the Phenom and just landing nasty knife edge chops to The Undertaker’s chest. However, when it seemed like Michaels had The Undertaker, The Undertaker would sit right back up and show Shawn Michaels why he is undefeated at WrestleMania. Because of this, Shawn Michaels became desperate and tried to pick up the win by a count out after The Undertaker landed on his head after missing a dive over the top rope out of the ring. The Undertaker wouldn’t let that happen, however, as he got right back into the ring and continued on with the match. Not often in professional wrestling matches will you be engrossed so much into a match, conversely, this match was so phenomenally engrossing that even the referee trying to count out The Undertaker made everyone drop their jaws in awe. From there, the two men just simply did what they do better than anyone else in the world, wrestle. To a Tombstone, to a Last Ride, and to a Chokeslam, The Undertaker just could not keep Michaels down for a 3 count and everyone attempt at getting the 3 count on Michaels made The Undertaker shocked while it made every fan amazed. The Undertaker would not be the only competitor that was shocked by a kick out from a finishing move, Shawn Michaels was as well when he landed a couple Superkicks to which The Undertaker amazingly kicked out of. This set a path for Shawn to do wild moves like a silly and careless moonsault off the top rope which ultimately sent Michaels down to the depths of hell as The Undertaker caught him and hit him with a nasty Tombstone. That was your true main event right there. This match proved that indeed, it is hell trying to get to heaven as running up that hill can be a lot more difficult than it may seem but even still, everyone should forgo their fears and do their best to succeed because God knows that you won’t every single time. Just ask Shawn Michaels.
Winner: The Undertaker
Match 7: World Heavyweight Championship – Edge (c) vs. John Cena vs. The Big Show
It’s not easy to follow up a 5 star classic but give credit to these three men who worked their asses off to put on a tremendous match. It was easy to tell that these guys really wanted to put on a great following match because they did some very uncharacteristic moves such as Cena landing a legdrop off the top rope to the outside and Edge landing a Spear on The Big Show through the ringside barricades. Everything that they did had so much more impact because everything they did was done to make the match much more interesting than things may seem. It’s a shame that the storyline of this match is two guys fighting for the love of Vickie Guerrero with one guy thrown in there to make this match worthy of being a WrestleMania main event for the World Heavyweight Championship. It’s also a shame that this match went on before the previous match because it could easily have been a lot more interesting and a lot better. It’s the little things like that which bring down this match and make it a forgettable. However, a very memorable moment was when John Cena picked up both The Big Show and Edge at the same time to try and land the Attitude Adjustment. Edge was able to escape but soon after Cena landed The Big Show with an Attitude Adjustment to which he landed the same move to Edge on The Big Show to pick up the win. Much respect goes out to all three of these men who simply did their best to put on a great show for the fans.
Winner: John Cena
Match 8: WWE Championship – Triple H (c) vs. Randy Orton
In a match that has happened literally over twenty times on WWE television, it happens again as the WrestleMania main event! Unlike the last match, these two seemed uninspired and looked like they were wrestling a match on Monday Night Raw, I think they forgot that they were headlining WrestleMania. The bell sounded and Triple H stares down Randy Orton! Triple H has been wanting to kill Randy Orton for taking out Stephanie McMahon so he tries to do so by staring Orton down! The two then engage into the slowest match possible with the lamest spots possible like the obvious back body drop onto a table by Orton or even the pointless use of the sledgehammer by Triple H! Everything they did brought the crowd down little by little until they finally stood up because it was time to leave. Triple H landed a Pedigree at the 23 minute mark to win the match and retain his title. That match went on 23 minutes too long and had no business being in the main event slow. This was just slow wrestling at it’s finest and absolutely nothing memorable occurring. I can’t even tell you how ridiculous this match was, this was simply an abomination of a WrestleMania main event.
Winner: Triple H
Overall Show Thoughts and Rating:
The 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania can be remembered for great moments and terrible moments. The true main event match was The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels and it definitely made this show something to remember by. However, the main event which featured Randy Orton challenge Triple H for the WWE Championship was quite possibly the worst WrestleMania main event of all time. It was so uninspiring and so ridiculous that it left such a bad taste in my mouth. I want to say this was a great show because of some of the great matches that were produced but because of the awful main event, I can’t. Even through the darkness that is Triple H vs. Randy Orton, you should still check out some of the great matches and moments that happened, just ignore the stench in the room.