Date: April 3, 2005
Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, Tazz
America The Beautiful: Lillian Garcia
This show is probably considered to be the birth of the modern era of Wrestlemanias. We have Cena and Batista going after their first world titles, the debut of MITB and Randy Orton in a big match. There are some solid matches in here including some that boarder on classics, such as Shawn vs. Angle and Rey vs. Eddie.
This was the first show in a long time without Austin or Rock wrestling and it was up to the new guys to carry the company with the help of the veterans. You don’t hear much at all about this Mania, but that’s not what’s important. All that matters is how good the show is. How good is it? Let’s get to it.
Lillian is her usual stunning self singing America the Beautiful.
Before the first match there’s a montage of the Mania trailers. Since the show is in Hollywood this year that was the obvious theme: Wrestlemania Goes Hollywood. This resulted in an awesome set of fake trailers/movie scenes recreated by WWE guys. For instance there was Eugene as Forrest Gump, Undertaker as Dirty Harry, Cena and JBL as Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson from A Few God Men and a montage of people trying to do “You Talking to Me?” from Taxi Driver. This is set to Behind Those Eyes by 3 Doors Down, my favorite band, so this is great.
This leads to the debut of the final trailer which is debuting tonight: Steve Austin as Gladiator. These are really well done and definitely worth checking out. They’re like a minute or two long so they’re not too long to sit through or anything. Check them out.
The announcers welcome us to the show complete with Lawler in a tuxedo.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio
They’re the reigning Smackdown tag champions at this point, but they’ve been having some issues. This would be before the split and the ladder match for the custody of Rey’s son Dominic. Yeah it was stupid back then too. The idea here is that Eddie is doubting his skill and Rey keeps beating him in friendly matches. Eddie’s pop absolutely dwarfs Rey’s.
The set looks great here as it looks like they’re coming out from behind a curtain like an old TV show. They also cost each other victories on Smackdown so there are some recent issues also. Crowd is VERY hot. Eddie grabs an armbar and takes over early on. They hit the precision stuff until Eddie launches Rey over the top and out to the floor. Rey slides in and misses a 619 and we’re at a standoff.
Back in and they try a test of strength but Rey monkey flips Eddie over while holding the grip still. Both bridge out at the same time in a cool visual. Rey lands on his feet of something like a backdrop and another monkey flip lands Eddie in the ropes. Rey gets sent to the floor and Eddie adds a plancha to take over. Big Eddie chant starts up.
Suplex gets two for Eddie. Surfboard goes on and I still wonder how they do that. In something I’ve never seen other than in this match, Eddie almost gets pinned as his shoulders are on the mat while using the hold. STF by Eddie and Rey slaps the mat once. Shouldn’t that be a tap out? They get up and Rey gets an armdrag to counter what might have been a powerbomb.
Eddie hits the floor so Rey busts out a tope con giro to half kill both guys. Seated senton gets no cover but Rey runs into an elbow and it’s right back to Eddie’s control. One Amigo hits but the second is countered into a rollup for two. Another powerbomb attempt is countered into a headscissors but Rey can’t hit 619. Backbreaker by Eddie gets two.
There are the Three Amigos as Rey’s back is being destroyed. Frog Splash misses though and we’re back to even. Rey keeps adjusting his mask. Magistrol (and yes I know that’s likely the wrong spelling) gets two for Mysterio. They speed things up for a bit and there’s the 619. Rey tries West Coast Pop but Eddie FINALLY gets that powerbomb for two. And then Rey gets a rana and grabs the leg for the pin out of nowhere.
Rating: B-. Fine opener here but they never hit that gear that I think they were shooting for. Good match but out of these two you would expect more. Rey and the mask adjustments took a bit of steam out of this as he was doing it every 8 seconds. Eddie’s pops were very impressive so of course they turned him heel soon after this.
JBL and his Cabinet runs into HHH and Flair. Good thing that never went anywhere. Both say how great they are and HHH burns JBL by saying eventually someone will believe JBL if he keeps saying how great he is. Orlando Jordan gets a WOO for his troubles.
Adam Sandler and that waste of skin known as Rob Schnider are in the front row.
Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit vs. Christian vs. Edge vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Kane
This is the debut of Money in the Bank, meaning this is the one that sets the standard. Jericho looks like a lumberjack with that beard. Benoit is Benoit. Christian is Pre-TNA so he has no chance here. Shelton is more or less at the peak of his awesomeness here and IC Champion. Edge is on the brink of greatness and Kane is Kane. If nothing else now I have the Waterproof Blonde version of Just Close Your Eyes in my head now. Oh and Christian has Tomko with him.
Edge is more or less freshly heel here but hasn’t established himself as a main event guy. He’s kind of going back and forth. In Kane’s entrance the ladders on the stage are lit on fire in a sweet visual. Everyone goes after Kane in the aisle which completely fails. Jericho blasts Christian with a ladder and it’s Shelton vs. Jericho in the ring at the moment.
The other two Canadians not named Christian get dropkicked off the apron by Jericho who adds a plancha to Edge. Christian dives onto all three of them and then Shelton dives on all five of them. Kane is like boy please and takes out everyone including Tomko with a big dive. Kane, the only one alive, goes for a ladder. Edge is in the ring and goes down as does Christian.
Jericho is able to dropkick the ladder into Kane and everyone is down for the most part. He destroys various people with said ladder and stands tall at least for a few seconds. Benoit grabs him while Jericho has the ladder and fires him with a German, sending the ladder flying through the air. He goes up but Kane tries a chokeslam. He gets caught in a Crossface for his troubles as does Edge. Kane breaks that one up with a ladder shot for no apparent reason.
Using the ladder, Kane kind of Pillmanizes Benoit’s arm. Edge takes Kane down as this is far too much at once to keep track of. Edge and Christian work together to take Kane down as Shelton is back in. Ladder in the corner with Edge slamming into it as he misses a spear. Stinger Splash onto it and him in a rare Sting reference.
Everyone goes up onto three different ladders and everyone comes crashing down. The T-Bone Exploder from Shelton to Edge was AWESOME looking. Jericho somehow gets up and turns some ladders over. He has to fight off Christian though and another ladder is set up as a ramp to the main one in the ring. Shelton debuts his signature spot to run up the ladder and take Jericho down with a clothesline.
Christian stops Shelton and then Kane starts going on. They botch a chokeslam over the top as Shelton gets his foot caught in the ropes. Tomko comes in to try and help Christian, even getting him all the way to the top. Kane is like screw that and shoves him off onto Tomko on the floor. Jericho slips trying to stop Kane and they both fall onto the top rope to put everyone down again.
Benoit sets a ladder up in a corner to launch himself off in a swan dive to half kill Kane. Ok poor choice of words there. Great visual on the wide shot though. He might have hurt his arm on that. Kane gets back up and they fight on the top of the ladder with Kane going flying off again. He’s taken a ton of bumps in this. Edge pops up out of nowhere with a chair to drill Benoit in the bad arm and pulls down the briefcase to win it.
Rating: A. Some of the spots in this are just insane, such as Shelton running the ladder. A BIG plus of this match having 6 people is we don’t have to have a bunch of bad injury selling on the ladder while waiting on people to be stopped. That’s the flaw with most ladder matches: you see people climbing a ladder at the rate of a snail.
In this case, that’s not a threat as there’s a total of 7 people counting Tomko. This is a huge mess, but a fun one. It launched Edge into the main event as he cashed in the contact for the title in January in a stunning event. Great showing, not a great wrestling match, but still fun.
Eugene is in the ring and saying how excited he is to be here. He talks about his favorite Mania moment, which is the midget army fighting Bundy at Mania 3. Muhammad Hassan, the best heel in forever in the company’s music hits. He’s mad about being left off the card and he beats up Eugene. That’s Sheik Abdul Bashir if you’re a TNA fan.
And then, in one of the biggest MARK OUT moments I’ve ever had, Real American hits. The place, in a word, explodes. Hogan slides in and the fans beat him down but Hogan is like people please and it’s a very old school double noggin knocker. He beats the tar out of Hassan and tosses him out. Daivari the manager tries a chair shot and gets a finger in his face. There goes Daivari and the fans couldn’t eat this up any more if their lives depended on it. Let the posing begin! Hogan simply belongs at Wrestlemania. This led to Hogan/Shawn vs. those two.
We recap Taker vs. Orton. Not much to say here. Orton got thrown out of Evolution and HHH cut his legs out from under him so they threw him against Taker to give him something to do and play into the Legend Killer thing. Oh and Orton’s dad is in there somewhere too.
Undertaker vs. Randy Orton
This marks the modern incarnation of the Streak beginning as Orton challenges Taker for no reason other than to break the Streak. To me, that’s not good. It takes away some of the story as there’s nothing personal going on at first other than honor.
To some people it’s great and it leads to solid matches most of the time, but I just can’t get into them. Orton was a face but challenged Taker so he RKOed Stacy, who was I guess his girlfriend at the time to show how evil he was. His Dad showed up and started helping him and no one cared. As the Legend Killer, this fit Orton like a glove.
Taker gets his usual sweet entrance with druids and torches. Do you think they chant like that in the back at catering? HUGE pop for Taker. Taker floats to the ring with a ton of smoke in the aisle. I mean he’s coming down the aisle and his feet aren’t moving. Is there any reason he came out before Orton though? This is the pre-orange Orton that still had hair and not a ton of tattoos. Always liked this version a lot better. No papa with him for the entrance.
Orton tries to use speed to start and then slaps Taker. That seems like a bad idea to me. We hit a headlock by Taker but a dropkick takes him down for one. Feeling out period to start here. Taker drills him with a right hand and Orton’s nose might be messed up. Orton rolls him up out of the corner for two. RKO is blocked and Orton is shoved to the floor.
Apron legdrop to Orton has him in big trouble. Old School keeps him in said trouble. The running boot in the corner misses and Taker is sent to the floor. They slug it out and Orton takes him down with a clothesline for two. DDT by Taker gets two as we haven’t really had one guy dominating for a long time yet. Side slam for two. Taker hits the Snake Eyes but the running boot is blocked by a back elbow for two as well.
They slug it out again as the fans are all over Randy. Randy tries a clothesline but Taker rams into him so hard that Randy goes down for two. Dragon suplex goes on and Orton taps but since that’s not the finish so we keep going. Somehow he manages to roll through into a DDT for two. And we hit the chinlock which is called a rear naked choke by Cole in an attempt to try to sound smart.
Sleeper by Orton lasts about two seconds as Taker gets a suplex. Powerslam out of nowhere gets two for Randy. Then like A REALLY STUPID PERSON he goes to the corner for punches and stops for posing. The Last Ride doesn’t work but neither does the RKO. Taker tries another Last Ride but Taker drops him or something.
Bob Orton runs in with the cast and drills Taker but the referee is down due to the RKO counter. The very slow count gets two and a big reaction from the crowd. Taker sits up and isn’t happy. Big boots takes down Bob and here’s a chokeslam. In one of my favorite counters ever, Orton shifts in mid air and grabs a good looking RKO for two. Orton wants a tombstone and if you don’t know what’s coming at this point you just fail. The pin is academic.
Rating: B-. Good match for the most part but there were times where they looked a bit confused. Orton had that one great counter and other than that he didn’t get much out there. This is a match that needed about two minutes cut out of it to really make it a lot better. Still not that bad at all though.
We recap Trish vs. Christy Hemme. In short, Trish is champion and Christy is this year’s Playboy chick. She can’t wrestle to save her life but she has Lita training her. There’s nothing else to it beyond that.
Women’s Title: Trish Stratus vs. Christy Hemme
Well they’re all hot if nothing else. Lita is with Christy here as mentioned. Trish’s music sounds sped up a bit. The set is awesome here as it’s set up like an old school movie theater marquee with the name of the current match on the sign. Trish of course doesn’t take this seriously and it’s sloppy from the bell. The Playboy thing was really annoying as you had girls that couldn’t do a thing challenging for the title. Mickie next year would prove how stupid this was.
The fans chant for Matt who was out of the company at this point. Trish misses a kick and Christy gets one of her own for two in a sexy cover. Christy does the splits out of the corner and gets two on a sunset flip. To the floor and Trish is barely breaking a sweat. She shoves Lita who has a bad knee and Christy gets a rollup for two.
Christy kicks away badly and adds in a reverse Twist of Fate which is the whole selling point of the match. Naturally it only gets two. Christy rolls her up and we botch that too as Trish doesn’t kick out in time so the referee stops counting despite Trish’s shoulders being down. Chick Kick ends this like a second later. Trish would hold the title until the next Mania.
Rating: F+. They looked good and that’s all this had going for it. This is one of those matches that doesn’t need much more of an explanation at all.
We recap Shawn vs. Angle. Angle was obsessed with winning the Rumble but Shawn eliminated him. This led to Angle talking about winning the medal in 96 but people talking about Shawn coming down from the rafters at Mania and being the best wrestler in the world. Basically it turned into a game of I’m better than you and they had the match at Mania. That’s about it.
Some celebrities are here.
Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels
Something tells me this will be a big better than the previous match. They have about 28 minutes to work with here, so do you really think it’s not going to be great? They stare each other down before the match starts and here we go. This in interpromotional and the referee is from Smackdown for no apparent reason. Shawn slaps him in the face and here we go.
Angle takes him to the mat and rides him with ease. The fans apparently think Shawn violated Bret. Odd choice of words indeed. I say odd a lot in these reviews. Shawn takes Kurt to the mat with a headlock and the fans chant for Angle. Angle suplexes out of it but Shawn holds on somehow. Dueling chants start up as that headlock has been on for awhile now. They have the time though so it’s perfectly fine.
The hold is broken for a bit and we go right back to it again. Angle gets a back elbow to escape but Shawn locks on a short arm scissors. Angle rolls backwards a few times to get two. See how important that is? He keeps working the whole time and it keeps the fans into things rather than just sitting around. We get the Davey Boy Smith counter to it but Shawn rolls through for two. Backslide for two and it’s back to the headlock by Shawn.
They slug it out in the corner with neither guy being able to get the advantage. Angle pulls the hair and grabs an ankle lock out of nowhere. It doesn’t last long as Shawn rolls through and a clothesline puts us both on the floor. They set up the announce table and fight for the move into it. Angle gets the Slam but instead of the table he rams Shawn’s back into the post out of the Slam position. That looked good.
Angle hammers away on the floor for a bit and we’re back into the ring. Suplex gets two and Angle locks on a body scissors. Shawn flips upside down in the corner and a sweet pair of belly to bellies gets two. Kurt locks on a modified camel clutch with a knee in the back to work it over even more. Shawn fights back and they slug it out until Shawn slaps Kurt. A big clothesline takes Shawn down for two. That looked great.
Angle can’t get a belly to belly off the top but the elbow misses too and Kurt never really loses control. There go the straps but the Angle Slam is reversed. Kurt is sent to the floor as Shawn takes over for a bit. Big crossbody to the floor and both guys are down. Shawn wants an Asai Moonsault but Angle jumps up for the attempted German off the apron which never hits. A low blow gets Shawn out of it and he gets his Asai crossbody which winds up being a splash onto the table which doesn’t break. Cool looking move and apparently the tables are reinforced.
They slug it out a bit more and Shawn gets the forearm. I think you know what follows that. Angle is bleeding from the mouth. Slam sets up the elbow and it’s time to tune up the band. What band is it anyway? The Electric Light Orchestra? Shawn finds out why it’s stupid to throw a kick at a guy whose finisher is the ankle lock and can’t roll through it. The rope is finally grabbed and Shawn is in big trouble.
Angle is all pissed off now but the Slam is reversed into a sunset flip which is reversed into another ankle lock which is reversed into a victory roll for two. Another attempt at Chin Music is reversed into the Slam for two. Angle puts the straps back on only to take them right back down. Ok then. Moonsault misses but it looked like Angle’s head slammed into Shawn’s back. Angle is clutching his wrist after the move and it might be hurt.
Shawn pulls himself to the top but can barely move so Angle runs up the corner and hits an Angle Slam from the top rope. Angle immediately covers and somehow only gets two! I’d have bet on that being the ending when I was watching this live. Angle grabs Shawn by the head and screams at him to tap out. Shawn uses all he’s got left for a huge Sweet Chin Music and down goes Angle again. THAT gets two and the fans are way into this.
With Shawn trying to get up as slowly as he’s moving, Angle grabs the ankle again and holds on throughout every roll Shawn tries. He almost gets the rope but Angle pulls him back to the middle again. There’s the grapevine and after Shawn probably setting the record for the longest time ever in the move, Shawn taps to add another classic to his Mania record.
Rating: A+. Oh come on were you expecting anything else? It’s Angle vs. Michaels at Wrestlemania with half an hour to work with. Total show stealing match with two of the best ever out there working very hard out there to have the best match they could. There would be a pair of rematches with Shawn winning at Vengeance and them tying in an iron man match on Raw. Great match and absolutely worth seeing.
We see another of the movie trailers, this one with Benoit, Jericho and Christian interrogating Stacy Keibler ala Basic Instinct. There’s implied HLA with Trish and lingerie pillow fights are mentioned. Way funnier than it sounds. Oh and Mae Young flashes her vagina to end it.
It’s RODDY PIPER! We have a Piper’s Pit here at Mania with special guest Stone Cold Steve Austin. Well this works….kind of. It sounds like it’s great on paper but at the same time, what in the world would they talk about? Piper thanks the fans for the Hall of Fame and talks about Mania a bit. Here’s Austin and the problem is obvious: there’s no reason Austin is here other than he’s Austin and it’s Wrestlemania. Therefore, they have nothing to talk about.
Austin is a rebel apparently. Yeah not for about 5 years Roddy. Piper slaps him and the fans aren’t sure what to do here. Austin of course slaps him right back and Piper likes him. The WHAT chants start up and Piper isn’t sure how to take them. I hate those things anyway. Piper was here when Mania didn’t have a number apparently and that’s still the same argument he’s been using for years. Austin has nothing on Piper as far as being a rebel.
Steve replies and this is just dragging. Piper stopped meaning anything about 12 years before this and only Piper seemed to not get that through his head. Of all people, Carlito comes out and both guys say it wasn’t their idea. This was supposed to be the way to put Carlito over and give him a huge push but it completely failed due to Carlito absolutely sucking. Piper isn’t cool with this and spits the apple at Carlito. Naturally there are Stunners all around and Austin stands tall. This was awful to say the least. Total and complete waste of 15 minutes.
We see the Taxi Driver trailer which was voted the best overall. Basically it’s the majority of the roster trying to do the “Are you talking to me” line which is rather funny indeed. Batista doesn’t get what he’s supposed to say and Big Show keeps ripping his jacket. Michael Cole as Travis Bickle has completely scarred me for life but overall it’s funny.
Ready for the biggest waste of time in company history? Here is it right here.
Big Show vs. Akebono
Who in the world is Akebono? No one knew and no one cared. Show at the time was doing a weird thing where he was looking for a challenger so they found someone even bigger than Show to face him in a sumo match. They’re wearing the full sumo uniforms here and it’s really bad. No one could care less for this.
They stall forever as Cole and Tazz try desperately to make this work but it’s dead on arrival. The fans boo them crazily as they set to start and then pull up at least 3 times. It’s the two of them slapping each other’s chests. Show loses but of course his music plays as they leave. This lasted a minute or so bell to bell and almost ten minutes overall.
Rating: F. This was a total waste of time.
We recap the Smackdown World Title feud between Cena vs. JBL. JBL has held the title since the previous summer and people are sick of him. The idea of this is old school vs. new and the respect for tradition vs. change. Cena had made a spinner belt for the US Title which JBL wasn’t happy with. Cena is the rapper here still and here’s all street tough etc. He got the match by beating Angle at No Way Out. Cena couldn’t touch JBL but JBL managed to get some shots in to Cena on the last Smackdown.
Smackdown World Title: John Cena vs. John Bradshaw Layfield
JBL gets a police escort here to give him his big Mania entrance. JBL dollars rain from the ceiling in a cool bit. The Cabinet, JBL’s team, isn’t here. No special entrance for Cena here. A couple of guys with brooms have to clean the dollars out of the ring. Feeling out process to start with Cena taking JBL down with a shoulder. JBL does the same and takes over with power.
After more strikes from JBL a bad neckbreaker takes Cena down for no cover. The second one gets two as I don’t think they’ll end a match in two minutes. Well at least in theory they won’t. JBL hits a slingshot to put Cena’s throat in the bottom rope. They slug it out a bit with Cena getting some momentum together. Spinebuster takes care of that though and it’s back to JBL in control.
A third neckbeaker gets two. Short arm clothesline gets two. This is kind of dragging here. JBL hits a forearm to the back of Cena as it’s total dominance and has been the whole time. We got a moderate boring chant as we hit a sleeper. Cena gets a suplex to escape and it’s a double clothesline. Never mind though as JBL sends him to the floor and adds neckbreaker #4 to take Cena down again. This is on the verge of a squash.
Superplex back in the ring puts Cena down again and of course it’s for two. Cena gets a powerslam to fight back for the first time. Some clotheslines buy Cena time as does a shoulder block. Crowd is DEAD. Protoplex sets up the Five Knuckle Shuffle and the FU just like that gives Cena the title. In an approximately eleven and a half minute match, Cena was on offense for maybe 90 seconds.
Rating: D. Really? This was like a TV match that would main event Smackdown and it’s good for Cena’s first world title here? This needed to be rebooked and given about five more minutes plus about 8 more two counts. I have no idea what they were going for here but this was a major failure on almost all levels. No wonder Cena was panned for his first title reign.
We recap the Hall of Fame induction ceremony from last night which definitely centered around Hulk Hogan. Oh and Piper and some other people went in too. And then that ring would go to Abyss. I give up. Gene brings out the class to be presented to the crowd, eating up some more time that could have gone to Cena and JBL. If nothing else it’s fun to see the Divas all dressed up.
Michelle with her hair back and in a long black dress is something I could get used to. Taz calls Sheik the original Human Suplex Machine. Miss Jackie (Gayda that is) was so hot it’s scary. Maria as a blonde looked great. She’s more interesting than Bob Orton for sure. Jimmy Hart is still awesome. Stacy dancing to Hulk’s music and being on his arm is weird to see. That being said her trying to look beautiful in another long black dress works very well indeed. That’s about it. Most international class ever?
Mania 22 is going to be in Chicago.
We recap Batista vs. HHH. The idea here is a simple one. They were both in Evolution and then Batista got very hot and won the Rumble. This led to HHH saying he would get Batista to fight JBL to avoid having to face Big Dave because he had Batista around his finger. Batista heard this and turned face (which he more or less already was) leading to this.
Raw World Title: Batista vs. HHH
Ross and Lawler talk forever to let Motorhead get ready to play HHH to the ring. The singer more or less has no idea what the words are. HHH rises out of the floor like Angle does now. This is all happening before Batista’s entrance, making his look totally weak in comparison. Nice job Game. Batista still has his old school Evolution knockoff music here and no pyro so his machinegun thing looks idiotic.
Flair is with HHH here. We get the weapons check and the title being held up which is always cool. They fight over a tie up to start with neither guy being able to get much of an advantage. Almost two minutes in HHH grabs a headlock for the first offense of the match. He runs into a shoulder though and we chill for a bit. HHH runs him over but can’t get the Pedigree. Gorilla Press puts HHH down and Batista poses a bit.
Batista looks nervous here which makes sense. They’re going very slowly here but I guess they have the time. Backdrop to HHH but the Game gets a running knee to put him on the floor. Flair distracts Big Dave long enough to send Batista into the steps to take over again. HHH and Flair both choke away as we’re bordering on going through the motions here.
HHH works on the back and adds a suplex for two. More choking by Flair as this has been total dominance ala Cena vs. JBL. HHH hammers him down in the corner but Batista gets some punches to take back over a bit. And never mind as HHH uses a spinebuster. You know, that move that NO ONE ELSE IN THIS MATCH USES RIGHT??? Why in the world would HHH, the guy with like 9000 moves in his arsenal, use a freaking spinebuster that is going to make Batista’s look stupid by comparison? Freaking moron.
Pedigree is blocked and the facebuster gets two. For no apparent reason HHH goes up top and tries a punch from up there but gets caught by a clothesline. Who is his mentor again? Did he sleep through that day in heel school? Batista gets a spinebuster for two but HHH gets a boot up in the corner to take him right back down.
Batista fires him over the top rope with pure power and we might finally have a shift in momentum. He follows the Game to the floor and is sent into the steps to once again give HHH momentum. Pedigree onto the steps is blocked into a slingshot into the post. Maybe NOW Batista can get some serious offense in. HHH is busted now. Batista hammers at the cut and momentum has completely shifted here.
All Animal here with Batista managing to hit a clothesline in the corner that puts HHH on his back which isn’t something you often see. Powerslam gets two. Out to the floor again as HHH is just trying to cover up. Down goes Flair but HHH grabs a chair due to the distraction. Since it’s a main event though, down goes the referee as he tries to steal it from the Game.
Back in the ring it’s a spinebuster for Flair who brings the belt in. Title to the face which draws huge heat. If that had gotten the pin they may have needed police to get him out of there. Naturally it only gets two and more or less that’s it. Spinebuster doesn’t hit as HHH gets a low blow. Pedigree can’t hit and Batista gets something resembling an Emerald Flosion to set up the Thumbs Down and the Batista Bomb ends this finally.
Rating: C-. HHH ruined this for me. Number one, Batista should come out first, get his massive pop, and THEN you have the big entrance for HHH as something like that is going to get a big pop no matter what. Next, Batista was built up as a monster coming into this match for nearly 5 months, and HHH beats the tar out of him for over half the match.
That makes me think that Batista hasn’t beaten anyone at all and once he faces someone solid he can’t do anything against them. Let Batista come in and beat up HHH, have HHH, the smarter wrestler, learn from what happened the first time around and counter Batista and THEN he beats him up and leads to the finish.
By doing this, it shows two things: it makes Batista seem legit as even HHH can’t stop his offense and then it makes HHH look smart as he was able to adapt his style to stop Batista, and everyone wins. Third, WHY WOULD HHH USE A SPINEBUSTER HERE???
He has like 40 moves in his arsenal and he uses the one that Batista is most known for. The ending was solid but that’s about it. Not the way to start a title reign for a guy that wrestles as a power guy at all. If this were Benoit or someone of that size and style, this would have been perfect.
Overall Rating: C+. This Mania suffers from the same symptom that every show since the brand split has suffered from: WAY too much filler that should have been on Raw or Smackdown. It’s a good show but at the same time the main events were just weak overall with neither new champion looking great at all. The right guys went over which helps a lot, but getting there didn’t work that well. Still a good show though.
Oh and see those trailers as they’re totally awesome.