Coming off a less than stellar WrestleMania 25, WrestleMania XXVI looked to get the bad tastes out of our mouths with some high quality main event matches.
Match 1: Unified WWE Tag Team Championships – The Miz & The Big Show (c) vs. John Morrison & R-Truth
For the first time since WrestleMania 22, the Tag Team Championships are being defended on the WrestleMania PPV broadcast. While I really would much prefer seeing Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk or the Money in the Bank match jerk the curtain, I have no complaints about this one doing so since there really is no good spot to place this match on the card other than the opening spot. The match only lasted about 3 and a half minutes so there really isn’t much to say about it other than it was a great way to expose young talent and get The Big Show a spot on the card. In the short 3 minutes that they were given, they gave us some great moves and displayed their talents on the grandest stage until things came to an abrupt end when The Big Show knocked out John Morrison to retain the championships for himself and The Miz.
Winners: The Miz & The Big Show
Match 2: Randy Orton vs. Ted DiBiase vs. Cody Rhodes
The breaking up of Legacy was seen from miles away months ago and after months and months of waiting, a match between all three members of the Legacy stable has arrived and it has arrived at WrestleMania. Sadly, this match didn’t help both DiBiase and Rhodes too much as it seemed like they were just there to push the red hot Randy Orton, but then again, I guess that was the whole point in forming this stable. Anyway, both DiBiase and Rhodes looked like stars out there and held their own on the biggest stage of professional wrestling. There were actually times in the match where it seemed like either Rhodes or DiBiase would walk out as the winner but it was the roaring crowd that cheered on Randy Orton to victory. There was a lot of decent back and fourth action in the match and some a couple of great spots like Orton giving a double DDT to both Rhodes and DiBiase. The match ended in about 7 minutes after Orton punted Rhodes in the head and followed things up by delivering a nasty RKO to Ted DiBiase to get a big win.
Winner: Randy Orton
Match 3: Money in the Bank – Dolph Ziggler vs. Jack Swagger vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Kane vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Evan Bourne vs. Matt Hardy vs. MVP vs. Christian vs. Drew McIntyre
It seems like every year at WrestleMania, the Money in the Bank match gets dumber and dumber and this year is no exception. This was just a mess. When the first match debuted, it was seen as innovative and awesome because it was filled with incredible spots that made sense and wasn’t just a stupid spotfest. However, as years past, the match has just become that, a spotfest with more guys added to the mix doing stupid spots and not doing anything. I’m a fan of the competitors developing new moves with the ladders and giving guys who have no spots on the card a spot in this match, but when it becomes a ridiculous cluster, something just has to be done. This match was beyond idiotic, it was just a match with too many people doing the same spots like last year, messing up spots, and doing completely pointless things without selling a damn thing. This match is supposed to give up and coming stars a chance to shine on the grand stage and boost their status as a WWE wrestler, but instead, this match gave us absolutely nothing. There wasn’t a single competitor in this match who “moved up the WWE ladder” because in all honesty, no one really did anything. There wasn’t any memorable spots or moments that could make this match one to remember. However, I did like the fact that Jack Swagger won as it was very unpredictable and it was a nice way to boost him to the main event level. The WWE should either tweak this match or do away with it completely because this was just a mess and looks like garbage compared to the other Ladder matches that were on other WrestleManias.
Winner: Jack Swagger
Match 4: Triple H vs. Sheamus
Shockingly, Triple H is out this early to face the biggest newcomer of the WWE, Sheamus. As Triple H stated in the Raws before this match, those who defeat him at WrestleMania become huge stars while the ones who fall against him become forgotten stars. However, when you’re this young and this big, a win or loss just doesn’t seem to matter much for Sheamus. Triple H has a tendency of bringing out the best out of wrestlers and in some ways, he did just that against Sheamus here at WrestleMania XXVI. There were some nice submission holds and nice hard hitting moves in this match to make it watchable but considering that this is the biggest stage in professional wrestling, you can’t help but expect so much more. I like that Triple H is being booked in the main event but I don’t like it when he’s wrestling decent to good matches. Triple H eventually got the win after hitting the Pedigree on Sheamus to the delight of the thousands in the crowd. After, Triple H pumps up the pretty quiet crowd to get things rolling into the WrestleMania feel. I liked the match, I really did, but I was just hoping for so much more.
Winner: Triple H
Match 5: CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio
The stipulation to this match was that if CM Punk defeated Rey Mysterio, Mysterio must join the Straight Edge Society. I was definitely looking forward to this match because as we have seen in the past, these two have phenomenal chemistry and could most definitely wrestle for a long amount of time, even in the type of condition that Mysterio is in. To my surprise and frustration, this match lasted for a mere 7 minutes and in all honesty, it accomplished little to nothing. In the short 7 minutes that were given, they managed to pull off some amazing wrestling moves and counters. It just seems like every year, Mysterio gets booked in a great match to only get the smallest amounts of time. After Mysterio knocked down Luke Gallows off the ring apron by reversing a GTS and knocking CM Punk into him with a hurricanrana, Mysterio landed the 619 to pick up another WrestleMania victory. That was a great match but it’s just such a shame that a match between these two great wrestlers got so little time that they barely had time to do anything.
Winner: Rey Mysterio
Match 6: No Holds Barred – Vince McMahon vs. Bret Hart
In a match that has been over twelve years in the making, Bret Hart looks to eliminate his nightmares of the events that unfolded at Survivor Series 1997 by defeating Vince McMahon at WrestleMania XXVI. Before things got under way, McMahon brought out the entire Hart family and announced that he had bought them out and made them lumberjacks in order for them to support McMahon as he took on Hart. Unfortunately for McMahon, the Hart family told him that they were there to support Bret Hart. With this, Bret Hart took out all of his frustrations and emotions on McMahon by beating the living daylights out of him for a long time. Sadly, things quickly got repetitive and it totally killed the crowd out of the WrestleMania experience. All this match was was Bret Hart and the rest of the Hart family beating down Mr. McMahon for a long 11 minutes. Finally, Hart set up the Sharpshooter on McMahon to win the match via submission. While this was a boring match, it was good to put it on WrestleMania and it was good to finally end the years and years of controversy that the events of Survivor Series of 1997 had produced. Definitely not the greatest match ever but it is one to remember and passable as a WrestleMania match.
Winner: Bret Hart
Match 7: World Heavyweight Championship – Chris Jericho (c) vs. Edge
Trying to get back the WrestleMania feel that the last match had totally killed off, it was Chris Jericho defending his glorious title against Edge. The seeds for the match were first planted back at The Bash when the two won the Unified WWE Tag Team Championships from The Colons which also featured Legacy in the match. Just a few weeks later, Edge suffered a huge injury that prevented him from competing in the ring for months until he finally returned in January at the Royal Rumble in which he won the Royal Rumble match to challenge Chris Jericho for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXVI. So to say that expectations for this match were very high would be a complete understatement. Things started off pretty slow and only picked up later in the match when the two finally turned things on. The match featured some great methodical wrestling, great storytelling, and great psychology of Jericho attacking the broken down Achilles tendon which Edge injured in July of 2009. After going upside down and inside out, Jericho finished Edge off by nailing him with the title belt and then followed with the Codebreaker. While this was a good match that featured some great storytelling and psychology, it failed to reach or surpass my expectations that they had planted. Also, the ending came off as underwhelming and lame. I would rather see Jericho get the clean win over Edge instead of hitting him with the title belt.
Winner: Chris Jericho
Match 8: Michelle McCool, Layla, Maryse, Alicia Fox, & Vicky Guerrero vs. Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres, Gail Kim, & Beth Phoenix
I’m sorry but could someone please tell me how this match made it on the card? Better yet, can someone please tell me why these “wrestlers” are even on the damn card? What have they done to earn a spot no such a big show? The consumer did not cop out good money to see Vicky Guerrero mess up a Frog Splash or see Kelly Kelly try her best to perform “wrestling moves.” A waste of time and a waste of space on the card. Such a disgrace to this great art that I seriously have nothing left to say about this.
Winners: Michelle McCool, Layla, Maryse, Alicia Fox, & Vicky Guerrero
Match 9: WWE Championship – Batista (c) vs. John Cena
With their first match being the one at Summerslam 2008, these two men meet up once again in a match with a much bigger prize on a much bigger stage. Coming out to a special performance by the United States Marines, John Cena entered the match primed and ready to defeat Batista to earn his 9th WWE World Title. I expected a hard hitting match fueled by an intense crowd and that’s exactly what I got. Both men seemed motivated to put on a great match that would lead in to the main event by hitting their moves correctly, countering each others moves, locking in submissions, and tell a great story while doing so. We’re finally at the point where we should be surprised when John Cena doesn’t pull off a great match because he has definitely been on such a roll. Batista was in control for the better part of the match but once the time to end the match came, Cena kicked things up a notch and stepped up his game immensely, it’s amazing how Cena can really get a crowd absorbed in one of his matches. Whether he is drawing huge pops from the crowd or drawing in heat from the crowd, he can get the crowd completely engrossed in the match and after he hit the top rope Five Knuckle Shuffle, he did not look back from there. However, that couldn’t hold down Batista who looked to finish off Cena with another Batista Bomb to which Cena reversed into the STF to make Batista tap out. With this, Cena has now tied Edge & The Rock as a nine time WWE World Champion. After the match, Cena walks over to his haters and holds his title and smiles for the camera. What a great moment.
Winner: John Cena
Match 10: No Disqualification – Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker
“The eyes of the world are on Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. The eyes of the world are on WrestleMania.” I don’t think there has ever been a match in the history of professional wrestling where the competitors in the match had this much weight on their shoulders and where the fans have been so inspired and amazed into both a match and a feud. When wrestling gets things right, there’s simply nothing like it and everything that has been done in this feud has put every other feud on this show to shame. I can’t tell you how glad I am that this match is the one that is closing out the show because WrestleMania XXVI is Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker, the show is a one match event and every other match on the card takes a back seat to it. This match stems from all of their matches in the years past and most importantly, their match last year at the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania which has led to Shawn Michaels once challenging The Undertaker’s legendary streak by costing him his World Heavyweight Championship inside an Elimination Chamber match at the Elimination Chamber PPV. Now, at WrestleMania XXVI, Shawn Michaels is once again in search of finding Heaven by getting through Hell. Michaels quickly let The Undertaker know that he has no fear whatsoever as he copied The Undertaker’s signature taunt before the bell sounded. You can feel the excitement and electricity in the air. Once the bell sounded, the match took off as the mad Undertaker went head on to Shawn Michaels and put more emphasis in every move that he performed. Early on in the match, The Undertaker seemingly injured his leg which became a huge target for Michaels to set his sights on as he attacked it masterfully. However, The Undertaker countered his onslaught by attacking Michaels’ famous back which led to The Undertaker leaving Michaels outside for him to once again land a dive over the top rope. Scouting the move, Michaels quickly jumped into the ring and knocked down The Undertaker by taking out his leg. The storytelling and psychology is bar none, I can’t ever remember seeing a match where everything is perfect and in place. Soon after, Michaels got The Undertaker to get outside of the ring to which Michaels used the ring ropes to propel himself onto The Undertaker on the outside. Just like how Michaels was caught dead in his tracks last year with the Moonsault, the same happened here as The Undertaker caught Michaels and landed a Tombstone on the outside of the ring and onto the floor! Through this devastating Tombstone, a large Last Ride, and a big time Chokeslam, it wasn’t even to keep down the spirited Shawn Michaels as he did not want his career to come to an end just yet. This led to Shawn Michaels gaining control of the match and dictating the pace of things as he once again took The Undertaker to the limit by landing a Moonsault. Unlike last year’s foolish Moonsault, this one was different. But just like last year’s Moonsault, this one was both daring and out of desperation, Michaels landed a huge Moonsault from the top rope and outside of the ring by crashing through a table with The Undertaker’s body being laid prone on top of it! This ignited a short burst of fire and intensity from Michaels which became short lived as his body collapsed after the huge maneuver. Michaels then took The Undertaker back into the ring but even through the incredible Moonsault, he could not keep The Undertaker down for the victory. The Undertaker then got back into the thick of things and landed a Tombstone inside the ring. The Undertaker stuck out his tongue and put Shawn’s hands together to get the win but it wasn’t enough as Michaels got his arm up to stay in the battle! To quote Jim Ross from his call of last year’s match at the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania, “Can you believe what we are witnessing here together tonight?” In disbelief, The Undertaker saw Shawn Michaels climb up his leg and screamed for him to stay down. However, the rebellious Shawn Michaels looked straight at the face of adversity and spit right in it’s face by once again copying the signature taunt of The Undertaker by slitting his throat on his knees. However, this wasn’t even enough for Michaels who then proceeded to slap The Undertaker directly at his fact. Furiously, The Undertaker picked up Michaels and landed a jumping Tombstone to pick up the incredible victory. Oh, man, that was every bit of good that it promised and more. Shawn’s near 25 year odyssey concludes in the year of 2010 at WrestleMania XXVI and I can’t think of a better way to end it, with the same guy who nearly ended his career in 1998. I can’t even put into words what that match represented and how good it was, I got excited just writing about it. It’s matches like these that make you so proud to say that you are a fan of professional wrestling and dare I say it, sports entertainment. Just like last year’s match, this one was very symbolic in that the defiant Shawn Michaels once again taught us to forgo our fears and stand on the edge to grasp what you need and want. You might fail or succeed, but you’re better off failing than you are not knowing. And just like last year’s match, this one is also a perfect phenomenon but for different reasons. It’s amazing how two matches can be so similar yet so different at the same time. Professional wrestling can sure make amazing moments happen and we witnessed just that during the main event of WrestleMania XXVI. For one last time, let’s let the world know about it, it’s hell trying to get to heaven. And for one last time, Shawn ran up that hill and slid back down. At least he didn’t finish where he started. Professional wrestling can sure make a man think. Thank you, Shawn!
Winner: The Undertaker
Overall Show Thoughts and Rating:
I don’t know how to review this show. On one hand, it’s a one match show with lots of trash but on the other hand, it was an awe inspiring show which featured symbolic matches and finishes. From a pure wrestling standpoint, the show was decent but in all honesty, everything just took a back seat to the main event that was The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels. If there is any real reason to see this show, it’s because of the main event. If I haven’t said this enough, thank you, Shawn!