Wrestlemania Count-Up – #22: Cena vs. HHH

Wrestlemania 22
Date: April 2, 2006
Location: Allstate Arena, Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 17,159
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, Tazz
America The Beautiful: Michelle Williams

Now this is an interesting show. We’re now fully into what I guess you would call the modern era of both the company and Mania. Cena is the dominant world champion, Orton was his evil self, Taker’s Streak is at full power and Shawn is his Christian self. This show is much like 19: it’s solid, but easily forgettable for some reason. The wrestling is good but at the same time nothing jumps off the page at you.

This is also Kurt Angle’s more or less swan song in WWE as far as major angles go. He was drafted to ECW a few months later and after that did little to anything of note until his release and arrival in TNA. Jeff Hardy was about four months away from his comeback. The card looks somewhere between good and better than good so let’s get to it.

An added factor to this show is that I went to the follow up Raw exclusive PPV, Backlash, the next month. Since I remember it fairly well, I’ll be able to throw in some post show stuff leading up to Backlash.

After America the Beautiful it’s the standard history package to start with I Dare You by Shinedown playing which is a very good song here. The recap videos are something that WWE has always done very well. I don’t remember much of this buildup as it was three years ago but the packages help a lot. The theme song here is Big Time which is a bad pop song. Wrestlemania is supposed to have a freaking ROCK song with it, not a bad pop song.

A video runs us through the main matches and I have to think of the stupid Rey main event tour. Also tonight it’s Cena vs. HHH and Shawn vs. Vince. This is one of the weaker Manias as far as cards go if you didn’t get that.
Raw Tag Titles: Big Show/Kane vs. Carlito/Chris Masters

This was around the time that the two giants were just crushing everyone in their paths with reckless abandon. Carlito and Masters were two young guys that weren’t quite thrown together to face them here. As usual the Chicago crowd is white hot. Kane and Show come out together and weigh over 800lbs. How in the world is Kane the lightweight on a team?

Masters vs. Kane to start us off here. This is the first time in seven years that the titles have been defended at Mania in a traditional tag match. That’s kind of pathetic when you think about it. Show comes in and drills Masters a bit. Big chop in the corner makes people say WOO even though it’s a different kind of chop than Flair threw.

Show slams him and steps on the chest of Masters who tags out to Carlito. The Puerto Rican tries a wristlock and is promptly lifted up into the air and crotched with ease. Show launches Carlito onto Masters on the floor. Kane throws out a clothesline to both but lands between them resulting in a massive THUD on the floor but is up first. Total and complete dominance so far.

Somehow the challengers got the buckle off and Carlito dropkicks Show’s knee to send Show’s head into the buckle. Off to Masters now but like idiots they try a double suplex and get launched for their troubles. Kane comes in and a huge backdrop takes down Carlito.

Carlito gets a boot up and that more or less ends his offense. Masters manages to get the Masterlock on Kane but Show kicks him in the face to break it. Backstabber to Kane but Carlito walks into a chokeslam. Masters saves but Kane gets up. There’s no end to these guys. Chokeslam to Carlito ends this.

Rating: D+. It wasn’t a classic but it wasn’t supposed to be. This was little more than a glorified squash and that’s just fine for an opener. Both teams would be split up within a month though as the heels argued over who cost them the match here, leading to the Backlash opener which the newly face Carlito would win with a Backstabber. Kane and Show would lose the tag titles to the fraking Spirit Squad of all people and Kane would begin to go insane.

They began a weird tweener vs. face feud where Kane’s voice would play throughout the arena as somehow not only could we hear his thoughts but they were wired around the arena. It tied in somehow to Kane’s See No Evil movie, but it was still pretty bad. It culminated with a fake Kane, apparently from Kane’s past, beating Kane at Vengeance. It made no sense and was a total waste of about three months.

Masters and Carlito argue post match with the fans supporting Carlito.

Shawn says he doesn’t regret telling Vince that Vince needed to grow up because it was the truth. He talks about how he’s always stealing the show at Mania but not to expect a five star classic out of HBK. Tonight is about violence because tonight it’s Vince that needs to pray as tonight Vince is enduring his own personal nightmare. Wow Shawn cursed. That’s a rare one.
Money in the Bank

Matt Hardy, Shelton Benjamin, Finlay, Ric Flair, Lashley, Rob Van Dam
Lillian in that dress with the cut down to her stomach made me lose consciousness for a bit there. Shelton is IC Champion here so no defense of it again. All four commentators are talking here. Van Dam is pretty clearly the most popular guy here. Lashley is a freaking beast. Flair comes out last because I guess he’s the most exciting one with a ladder? That pink robe kind of makes me think he’s not very extreme.

This is only the second of the matches so there isn’t really a track record. RVD chant to start as Lashley destroys everyone with power. Matt brings in the first ladder but Van Dam hits a baseball slide to stop it from coming in and dives on the ladder onto Hardy. No one is in the ring at the moment until Finlay vs. Shelton goes on there. Shelton hammers him with a ladder which is set up in front of the ropes like a ramp. Shelton gets a running start and hits a big flip off of it onto everyone not named Flair.

Finlay and Flair go up but the ladder isn’t in the right place for Flair. Matt goes up and suplexes the young 57 year old down. Flair is in agony and the referee throws up the X for him. Hey, did you know he broke his back in a plane crash in the 70s? Didn’t know if the first million or so times we told you that got it through or not. RVD drops Shelton onto the ladder but misses Rolling Thunder on it. There are only five people in there still at the moment.

Lashley goes up very slowly of course but Shelton runs up only to get popped in the head. Shelton fights him off but can’t get a sunset bomb to take him down. Matt and Finlay help him out and down goes Lashley finally. Another big RVD chant starts up. Matt takes over on offense but when he puts a ladder in front of Finlay to charge at him Finlay throws the ladder at him for a FREAKING OW MAN moment.

Here comes Flair because he hasn’t been on camera for almost five minutes. Did he need to be oiled or something? Since the ring is empty he sets up a ladder but is stopped by Matt. Flair chops some people away and touches the case. Finlay pops up with the club that no one can spell and takes Flair down. The case is swinging though so Shelton is able to stop him or at least slow him down.

Shelton knocks him down and tries to go up but Lashley shoves it down. Van Dam hasn’t been seen in a good while. Oh there he is with a chair on the top. He jumps off and dropkicks the chair into the ladder and everyone is down. Hardy, the idiot that he is, sets up a ladder in the corner. Oh instead he’s doing a signature move instead of trying to win. What a shock.

He goes up and gets a hand on it, drawing a ton of boos. Finlay makes the save and we’re told he’s not a ladder specialist. Dude you go up. How hard can it be? Side Effect to Finlay off the ladder takes down Finlay, Hardy and the ladder. Van Dam climbs the ladder in the corner and drops a regular splash on Finlay. It’s good that he didn’t do the Five Star version as he would have killed himself.

In one of my all time favorite spots, Van Dam goes up top but Shelton springboards from the apron to the top rope to the ladder to catch Van Dam. That’s simply incredible and beats everything I’ve ever seen. Matt puts up another ladder but he and Shelton go down. Van Dam is alone and is like dude that’s awesome and wins the match by pulling down the case. He would win the title in June but lose it in three weeks due to getting high with Sabu.

Rating: B. Solid stuff here of course but WAY too short to be a great match. This was less than twelve and a half minutes long to give you an idea of how short it was. This was good but at the same time they needed more to it. Also with only Lashley and Van Dam being legit contenders out there it was a bit weaker than last year. Good match though.

Josh Matthews, with a lot of hair, is with Gene Okerlund who has no hair. Orton interrupts and says he’ll win the title tonight. Batista pops up and says he’s returning soon, which is true. Just three short months later he did return.

It’s time for the Hall of Fame class to come out. Bret Hart isn’t here which is understandable I guess. The rest is Mean Gene, Sensational Sherri, Tony Atlas (they’re all accompanied by Divas here if that means anything), Verne Gagne, William “Refrigerator” Perry (he couldn’t get a suit for this?) the Blackjacks, Eddie Guerrero (represented by Vickie who wasn’t a TV character yet) and of course Bret who isn’t here.

United States Title: John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Chris Benoit
No real storyline here as it’s really just JBL challenging him for the belt. In a really cool looking visual, the entrance ramp rises up like a garage and JBL’s limo drives out of it. Good lord Jillian Hall looks amazingly hot as a cowgirl. JBL has a hand injury here. JBL grabs a headlock to start and takes Benoit down with a shoulder. Benoit tries the Crossface out of nowhere but can’t lock it in.

Instead Chris settles for some hard chops in the corner. Out to the floor and JBL hides behind Jillian to take over. Benoit tries to chop back so JBL KICKS HIM IN THE FACE. Why mess with what works? Rolling Germans by Benoit must have JBL wanting to throw out some Nazi salutes. Benoit goes but get crotched. Eh with all those steroids in him the balls didn’t feel anything. JBL does Eddie’s dance to draw big heat and hits a superplex for two.

In a stat that I find almost impossible to believe, Cole says that only 5 matches in Mania history have ended in submission. I had to stop the match and go back to check on that. I found 7: Angle vs. HBK (21), Benoit vs. HBK vs. HHH (20), Rick Martel vs. Koko B. Ware (6), Steve Austin vs. Savio Vega (12-sleeper) Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin (13-Austin never tapped so I’m not sure if that counts), Roddy Piper vs. Adrian Adonis (3-sleeper) and Bret Hart vs. Bob Backlund (11).

Even with Cole being wrong, that’s still amazing. 7 in the first 21 shows meaning just one every three years. That’s either really impressive or really bad. Anyway JBL dances a bit more and hits Three Amigos. Benoit counters the third one but gets kicked in the face for two for his troubles. Off to a chinlock by JBL as things slow down a bit.

Benoit fights back and does Three Amigos of his own with Cole saying “this is how it’s done”, despite Benoit getting up differently than Eddie did. JBL did the same thing Eddie did. Flying headbutt by Benoit gets a long two. Clothesline from JBL misses but JBL grabs the referee to avoid the suplex. Clothesline attempt #2 is caught into the Crossface but JBL casually rolls him over and grabs the rope for the title. That’s the ending? Really?

Rating: D+. Seriously, that’s all there is here? The ending was flat out terrible. It made no sense at all and came from nowhere. JBL literally wasn’t in the Crossface for two seconds, and I timed it, before he rolled out. This match felt like it didn’t have a beginning and started at about 5 minutes in if that makes sense. Really not that good at all.

We recap the hardcore match between Edge vs. Mick Foley. Now this is the match this show is remembered for and with good reason. The story is that Edge stole the WWE Title from Cena using his MITB contract. Foley was the referee for some reason during the rematch, won by Cena. Edge of course says it was biased officiating. That leads to Edge challenging Foley, but Foley saying it’s hardcore. We get this.
Edge vs. Mick Foley
Joey Styles is on commentary here as he dang well should be. Lita looks INSANELY hot here with the Edge vest, bra and jeans. Good freaking lord. Edge has a ball bat with him. Edge’s facial expressions as Foley comes to the ring makes this match already. That’s his best asset and always has been. When he gets in a big match, Edge’s face is just amazing. Foley has his (blue) flannel shirt on so you know he’s serious here.

Styles actually analyzes Foley’s choice of flannel which is a bit odd. Styles really is a great choice for commentary here as his voice just fits this. Edge swings away with the bat almost immediately which gets him nowhere. Tree of Woe by Edge early as Foley drops an elbow on him. Edge gets a shot in and has Lita hand him a cookie sheet.

These shots are LOUD. Foley takes a street sign to the head and rubs hit stomach. Do the sheets smell like cookies? Edge hits the spear after maybe two minutes and is writhing in pain from it. Foley gets up and rips off the blue flannel to reveal a belt made of barbed wire and the RED FLANNEL SHIRT!!! Foley whips him with the barbed wire and Edge is bleeding from the arm.

Edge is now tied up in the rope and the crowd pops for it. Foley hits the floor and finds Barbie, the barbed wire baseball bat. Lita comes in for the save by jumping on Foley’s back (seriously is there anyone she won’t hit on?) so Foley is like screw it and we get a Cactus Clothesline to the floor. That and a neckbreaker outside both get two.

It appears Foley has become Cactus Jack but when he tries a running knee into Edge into the steps he gets hip blocked into the steps which looked awful. Again the knees go into the steps. Does anyone wonder why Foley can barely walk anymore? Chair time by Edge. Sorry that there aren’t many jokes in this but there’s not much to make fun of. Edge hits the floor again and busts out a table.

Foley rolls off before Edge can put him through it so instead he just rams him into the steel of the ramp. That sound made me cringe. Back in the ring now and Edge has…oh dang it he has lighter fluid. He pours it on Foley but Mick is able to get a Piledriver to save his own life. Using a cookie sheet instead of a second chair Edge almost takes a Conchairto. He manages to get up and give Foley a DDT (not) on the cookie sheet.

Edge with Barbie now (is Lita Ken?) and he hammers Foley with it to draw blood. A bulldog onto Barbie gets two. Out to the floor goes Edge and he finds a bag of tacks. Oh dear. Apparently he had a bunch of weapons hidden underneath the stairs. Foley manages to reverse though and suplexes Edge onto the tacks. Considering Edge wasn’t wearing a shirt that was awesome.

Here’s Socko but Foley wraps it in barbed wire. Claw to Lita as well and now Foley has Barbie (make sure to use protection since Edge already had her). Edge takes a shot to the head and is busted open as well. Oh man he’s cut BAD. Foley, the nice guy that he is, rips the barbed wire deeper into the skin of our Canadian villain.

Foley finds the lighter fluid and holds it up like a treasure in a Zelda game. The table gets soaked in it and yep they light it on fire. In the famous spot from this show, Edge dives through the ropes and spears Foley into the flaming table, burning both men in the process. The pin is academic.

Rating: A. They wanted to make Edge look awesome and they certainly did it here. Foley looked great too as once in awhile he can break out a great match and that’s what he did here. This was exactly what they needed and was enough to let Edge get back into the main event. Great match and the Mania moment that both guys were looking for. In true WWE style, they would be partners weeks later.

Foley gets a standing ovation to leave.
Booker and Sharmell are in the back and Sharmell is freaking over Boogeyman. Booker says he’s not a freak magnet. He then runs into Pirate Paul Burchill and then Ted DiBiase and Eugene doing the basketball thing as I mark out. The basketball thing was where DiBiase would say that if a guy could bounce a basketball 100 times in a row he would give them 1000 dollars.

On about 97 he would kick it away. He laughs and offers Booker a chance at it, saying everybody’s got a price for the Million Dollar Man. Seriously people, go look up his old stuff. In my opinion, he is still the greatest heel that ever lived. One more note about the basketball trick, back in the 80s, a young man from Battle Creek, Michigan named Rob was swindled by DiBiase. He eventually changed his name to Rob Van Dam.

He also finds Snitsky licking Mae Young’s toes and Goldust dressed as Oprah. I love these kinds of segments. Goldie says Booker has to accept the freak in him to beat the Boogeyman. There’s talk of worms in mouths and in a place that Booker is angry over having Goldust whisper to him. DiBiase’s laugh takes us off.

Ad for Backlash. Hey I was there!

We see some sweepstakes winners that no one cares about.

Joe Theisman and Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child are here.

Booker T/Sharmell vs. Boogeyman

The idea here is Booker keeps faking injuries to get out of matches and is threatened with being fired if he doesn’t wrestle. He was found out anyway and here’s your result. Oh and they’re both terrified of Boogey. Yes Booker, a five time world champion, is terrified of the Boogeyman. Booker wants Sharmell to start us off. It’s weird to hear Cole as a normal announcer at this point.

Booker comes in and hammers away. This is about what you would expect: Booker pounds away, it doesn’t work, Boogey dances a lot and Booker still can’t hurt him. Book End hits and Boogeyman gets up at two. Booker is sent into the post and Boogeyman pulls out a pocket full of worms. He has a snack and Sharmell tries to hit Boogey with his staff. She gets kissed by a mouth full of worms and runs. Chokebomb ends this with Boogeyman winning.

Rating: F. If I need to explain this, you’re an idiot. Did Booker get caught screwing Stephanie while giving TNA inside information and choking out Vince at the same time or something?

We recap Trish vs. Mickie. In short, Mickie was psycho and wanted Trish. This involved seeing Trish naked and kissing her. Lucky chick. I think they dressed up as each other a few times also. Trish finally has enough and Mickie loses it. Trish has been champion for like a year at this point so the title change was long overdue. Watching this video, the build to this was pretty awesome.
Women’s Title: Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James

The main perk here would be their looks. Mickie would wear these really loose skirts which would often fly into the air. To the shock of no one, Trish looks incredible. It’s so ridiculous to see how far the Divas have fallen today. These girls have personality and are interesting and I want to see them fight after what felt like a somewhat epic storyline built around them.

Trish goes right after her and gets a Thesz Press to take her down. Big chop puts Mickie down. Trish knocks Mickie down into the splits and then kicks her in the head. Out to the floor and the Chick Kick hits the post to set the story for this match. Mickie works the knee because she’s intelligent despite being psycho.

She DDTs the leg for two as the fans are almost ALL behind Mickie here. Lots of knee work here which is the main thing involved in Trish’s finishers. She pulls Trish’s hair and slams Trish’s face into the mat in a painful looking move. Mickie jumps onto the leg and spins around, looking for praise.

Mickie is mixing up her offense on the leg between holds and strikes to it. See, THAT is important. It makes things far more interesting as instead of just sitting around with one thing we get a variety. She puts a leg bar on but Trish wraps her legs around Mickie’s head and gets a headscissors out of it. That was rather good actually.

They slug it out a bit more with neither girl having a real advantage. Mickie goes up but Trish catches her in the Stratusphere. Mickie counters that though and drapes the leg over the top rope again which gets two. Half crab is rolled up into a small package which gives us two and a great body shot. Mickie goes up again but is caught by a sitout powerbomb for two.

Trish hammers away and the Matrish avoids a kick of some sort. She sets for Startusfaction but Mickie rubs Trish’s crotch to break it up and then licks the hand that was down there. See, little things like that get the gimmick over. They set for the ending which is Mickie using the Stratusfaction but Mickie TOTALLY misses the rope and botches the heck out of it. A weak kick to the head ends it instead. JR’s line of THE NUTJOB HAS WON THE TITLE sums this up perfectly.

Rating: B. This would have been an A if not for the finish. I’m not sure which is better: the tiny outfits and how sexy both were in them or the fact that this was really a great match. The botch at the end almost kills this though, but aside from that it’s great and one of the best women’s matches I’ve ever seen. More importantly than anything though: I cared about it because there was an interesting storyline with developed characters. DO THAT MORE OFTEN!
All four McMahons are in the back and they pray. What do you really expect here?

Undertaker vs. Mark Henry

This match came about after Henry was for some reason pushed as top heel on Smackdown, feuding with Angle for the title. Angle beat him clean at the Rumble and then Taker had Angle beat for the title on Smackdown but Henry attacked the dead man. Taker than challenged Henry to a Casket Match for some reason and we get this. No buildup video for this either as they’re not even trying to convince us the Streak is in jeopardy. Henry is of course not afraid of the dark.

Taker gets the big entrance with the druids. Oh wait that’s just for the casket. Hey we do get a brief recap. I see why it didn’t get a full one. Daivari is Henry’s manager at this point but isn’t here. This would lead to the debut of Great Khali. Henry jumps Taker during his entrance, more or less sealing his fate. Taker gets a big boot and clothesline but can’t take Henry down.

Clothesline by Henry shifts momentum a bit. Can you believe that this is the same guy that was able to have classics with Shawn and then on the other hand you have Henry who had been there ten years at this point and has gotten worse after starting bad? If you can’t tell I’m trying to not have to talk about the match. Henry goes into the steps, Taker goes into the steps, Old School is blocked and the casket is open.

No one in the world thought Henry had a chance here and the fans are more or less accepting that. When Henry is on offense there’s no heat at all. Taker gets a boot to the shoulder and hammers away on it. Old School hits this time and Henry still won’t go down. Taker tries a Downward Spiral but is blocked, drawing a Henry Sucks chant.

Henry goes after Taker but misses, landing in the casket. Taker winds up in there also and they fight in there for a bit. Taker reaches up and chokes away as this is already needing to end. Back in the ring with Taker striking but he jumps into the World’s Strongest Slam for no cover as Henry isn’t that intelligent. Taker stands up in the casket and gets out rather easily.

Taker gets beaten down in the corner and then like the moron that he is, Henry climbs up to pound down punches. When do you see Taker try cross bodies or Henry do that? Not a fan of moves like those. Taker doesn’t get a Last Ride but more or less falls forward to put Henry down. Henry goes onto the casket so Taker dives over it to take him down. Tombstone in the ring and the ending is academic.

Rating: D. This was bad for one simple reason: there was no drama to it at all. Taker matches at Mania can work very well but at the same time there are matches where there’s no point to him being there, such as this one. I mean dude, Mark Henry? This was a joke and everyone knew it. Boring match and nothing happened at all.

There’s a Divas Lingerie show coming up or something.

We recap Shawn vs. Vince. There was a Raw in Montreal and Shawn apologized to the fans, who kind of accepted it. Vince comes out and laughs about it. Shawn says he needs to grow up, then throws a super kick at him, intentionally missing by as little a margin as he can. This launched a feud which mainly consisted of Vince trying to get Shawn hurt.

Marty Jannetty returned to try to help Shawn but was fired after something like two weeks. Shane faced Shawn on SNME in a street fight and they redid the Montreal finish. Somewhere in there Shawn was forced to kiss up to VInce. It was an ok feud but nothing great. The blowoff was supposed to be here, so let’s take a look. This was supposed to be Bret but he didn’t do it for four years.

Shawn Michaels vs. Vince McMahon

Shawn comes out first which is kind surprising. Vince is demonic according to JR as he comes out. McMahon is very proud of his physique and can you blame him? He has a framed cover of his Muscle and Fitness magazine at ringside which might as well have an X on the middle for the part that goes on his head. Shawn goes straight to the floor and we head to the tables quickly.

JR loses his headset which makes this match more enjoyable. Shawn grabs the framed cover and cracks it over Vince’s head. JR is completely one sided here because of Vince treating him badly over the years or something. The Spirit Squad hits the ring to make it 6-1. Who would have thought that Dolph Ziggler (Nicky!) would be a world champion before Shawn?

They hit their finisher which is where they all grab the other guy and throw him into the air as high as they can. Kenny misses a guillotine legdrop and Mikey grabs the bullhorn which is applied to the sides of their heads. Vince is able to recuperate during that time and hammers away a bit. Off comes the belt and the whipping begins.

Vince sets for Sweet Chin Music which is caught. Maybe he should have tuned up with a little Stand Back before he did that. Shawn fires away with the forearm and nip up so he can whip Vince a bit. Top rope elbow hits and it’s time to Tune Up the Band. Cue Shane with a kendo stick to crack Shawn in the head.

With Shane standing guard, Vince takes down his own pants. Yep it’s time for the kissing spot but Shawn gets his momentum back and sends Shane’s face into his dad. Shawn pulls handcuffs out of somewhere (Vince maybe?) and ties Shane to the rope. After doing Shane’s dance, Shawn beats the tar out of him with the stick.

Chair time and a HUGE shot puts Vince down. Shawn sets for chin music but stops as Vince collapses. Instead he hits the floor and pulls out a ladder. A shot to the head puts down Vince as I think you know what’s coming here. Vince is dripping blood here. Chin Music is stopped again as Vince is almost lifeless.

Shawn pulls out some garbage cans and a table. Shane is still cuffed mind you. The table is set up after a can shot. Shawn goes up the ladder with Vince on the table and then climbs down. He had a scary look on his face before he came down. Out to the floor again and it’s the BIG ladder. Lawler says it’s 30ft high, meaning Shawn is about 15 feet tall. Shawn fires a crotch chop from the ladder and drops the biggest elbow ever to kill Vince. Sweet Chin Music finally ends this with Vince just collapsing from it. The pin is academic of course.

Rating: C+. Well this was supposed to be a beating and that’s exactly what it was. Vince can take one heck of a beating when he has to and this was no exception. Shawn looked great here with the whole letting the old Shawn sneak in as his mind was being affected by Vince. Good beating but Vince had literally nothing for about 8 minutes at the end. Granted he wasn’t supposed to so that’s easily forgivable. Fun stuff but not great.

Vince flips off Shawn from the stretcher which is just classic.

WM 23 is coming to Detroit.

We recap the Smackdown World Title match. Angle is the champion. Rey won the Rumble in honor of Eddie Guerrero and last eliminated Randy Orton to win. Orton went insane heel by saying Eddie was burning and managed to get Rey vs. Orton at No Way Out for the Mania title shot. Orton won and Teddy just made it a triple threat because he could. You knew there would be a triple threat in there somehow. This gets the music video treatment tonight, set to I Dare You by Shinedown. Love that song.

Smackdown Title: Rey Mysterio vs. Kurt Angle vs. Randy Orton

POD plays Rey to the ring which is always awesome to see. This would be cool but Rey has a massive headdress on which I think is taller than he is. Dang it Rey does no one look at you before you go out there? Orton is cocky here and therefore awesome.

Kurt got the title when Batista was injured and Kurt won a battle royal. See, that’s the perk of having guys like him or Shawn. Got an injury? Need a totally credible main eventer to throw in there? How about Kurt Angle or Shawn Michaels as world champion? I think most people would be cool with that. I would be.

Orton jumps Kurt and the fight is on. Kurt is on the floor and Orton gets a dropkick on Rey for two. Angle gets back in and grabs a German on Orton. Then he suplexes both at once and Rey goes FLYING. That was awesome looking. Angle is all fired up here. Belly to belly to Orton as Kurt is killing it. Rey hammers away at baldie and the fans audibly boo. But it’s about EDDIE!!!

In a great spot, Orton is sitting on the ropes and Rey charges at Angle. Angle grabs him and launches him over Kurt’s head and Rey lands in a perfect rana on Orton for two. Angle suplexes Orton back into the ring and the fans are behind him. Rey gets a kick to Kurt’s head to take him down for two. The fans chant 619 and Rey gets a headscissors to Kurt who crawls into the 619 position like an idiot.

Ok maybe not so much of an idiot as Kurt grabs the ankle lock out of nowhere. Orton distracts the referee so the tapping by Rey isn’t seen. Kurt and Orton slug it out but I guess Kurt gets bored so he suplexes everyone in sight and hits the Angle Slam to Rey to the floor. Ankle lock to Orton and Kurt gets the grapevine. Rey pulls the referee out as Orton taps so Kurt has won twice in theory.

Kurt throws it on again but this time Rey drops the dime to break it up for two. Fans aren’t thrilled by that at all. Rey is sent into the post but Orton counters the Angle Slam and hits the RKO for two. Randy goes up so Kurt pops up the corner and gets the belly to belly. Rey botches the 619 then does it right.

Seated Senton gets two on Kurt. Orton kicks Kurt to the floor and gets a slick backbreaker into a neckbreaker for two on Rey. He sets for the RKO but Angle hits the Slam on him for two. Rey avoids the Slam and sends Kurt to the floor via an armdrag. 619 sets up the West Coast Pop to Orton to give Rey his first world title in less than ten minutes. Seriously, that’s it?

Rating: D+. Seriously, that’s it? The match was ok but for a world title match at Wrestlemania, that’s it? How many world title matches have you seen at Wrestlemania that don’t crack nine and a half minutes? The title reign was awful, namely due to him being booked like a joke but that’s another story. The match was ok but I thought it was clipped as it was so ridiculously short.

HHH and Cena are getting ready. The fans are clearly behind HHH here, openly booing Cena. Ross says most of the fans are traditional as he’s clearly out of stuff to talk about. Maybe a match ran short? LOUD Cena Sucks chant.

Torrie Wilson vs. Candice Michelle

This is a Playboy Pillow Fight and the reason they were stalling I guess. Candice is introduced from the wrong city. JR says the gate tonight is over $2 million dollars. That’s insane to say the least, especially considering this isn’t a stadium and has less than 20,000 people. Torrie’s music was recycled and is now used by Laycool. She has a freaking dog with her. Ross makes my head feel better by saying the next show is in Lexington. That made me smile.

These two had both been in Playboy. There’s a bed in the ring and pillows and all that jazz. You win by pin or submission. Do I need to explain what’s going on here? They’ve in evening gowns, they don’t stay on long, Torrie wins and they’re in very little clothing. We’re done. This got nearly 4 minutes. Yes, this got almost half as long as the world title match. This couldn’t have been added to that match perhaps? I guess not.

Rating: F. Long, dull, and a waste of my time.

We see some clips from the Wrestlemania press conference. Cena and HHH cut basic promos about being champion post show.

No real backstory here. Cena was champion and HHH won some worthless tournament.
Raw World Title: John Cena vs. HHH

HHH comes out looking like Conan’s mostly metrosexual brother. He’s wearing a fur pelt and a crown and a breastplate. He rises from a throne to play up the King of Kings bit. He looks absurd but at least after a few seconds we switch over to All About The Game which is a better song I think.

We then see…a newsreel about the Great Depression? Yes indeed, as we hear about the rise of Capone and organized crime in Chicago. The stage rises again as a 1930s era car comes out and fake gangsters armed with Tommy guns ride out. As a geek note, the one on camera side is clearly none other than CM Punk! Total mark out moment for me there as the gangsters surround the ring.

Even the fans are confused here. Cena’s music finally hits and he is booed out of the freaking building. He comes out in a black suit and fedora which would have been awesome had it not been for him wearing shorts and making the trench coat look like a bathrobe. He fires some blanks (honey it happens to a lot of guys I swear) and throws off the coat to reveal his t-shirt and the main event black shorts. We get the big match introductions which will never get old.

HHH is introduced as the Cerebral Assassin, the King of Kings, the Game, the 10 Time Champion. Cena is introduced as the Dr. of Thuganomics. They even get checked for weapons. That’s not something you see anymore. After a long staredown process they lock up and HHH grabs a headlock into a hammerlock. Technical stuff to start here.

Back to the arm stuff as we’re in a feeling out process here. The fans are all over Cena with a huge F YOU CENA chant. Cena tries an FU early but HHH reverses and DRILLS Cena with a right hand to take him down. Cena has to reset a bit as a HHH chant starts. The Game throws him to the floor as they definitely haven’t gotten going full speed yet.

HHH plays to the crowd but Cena sneaks up on him and hammers away. Back drop gets two. Fisherman’s Suplex with a floatover gets two also and we hit the chinlock. YOU CAN’T WRESTLE chant starts up which is just hilarious at this point. Cena throws him into the corner and HHH goes over the top and out to the floor. Out onto the aisle and HHH wants a Piledriver but is backdropped onto the steel instead.

Cena’s main offense has been the right hand and I can’t blame him at all for that. HHH fights back and chokes away. Out to the floor for a bit and Cena’s shoulder goes into the steps. Now why would HHH let the referee count? It’s giving Cena a chance to breathe and he won’t win the title that way. I guess you could argue it lets HHH rest.

Back in and HHH hits a suplex and Flair knee drop. Facebuster gets a big pop and a clothesline puts Cena down for two. HHH is covering after almost every move or two that he does which is a very nice thing for him to do. It makes him seem like he wants to win every time which is the idea. They slug it out but another neckbreaker takes Cena down for two.

Modified chinlock/neck vice goes on and Cena is in trouble. Cena fights up but walks into a sleeper. He hasn’t had a steady string of offense all match other than a brief one about 8 minutes ago. John fights out and takes HHH’s head off with a clothesline and both guys are down for a bit. Powerslam puts HHH down and Cena is in control.

Protoplex sets up the 5 Knuckle Shuffle. The shot of Cena looking at the crowd before he goes for it is great. HHH gets up and catches him in a spinebuster for a long two. Nice move there. Right back to the sleeper but Cena reverses quickly into the Shuffle which hits this time. He pumps the shoes and grabs the STFU out of nowhere.

In a nice show of strength though HHH crawls to the ropes and we’re not done yet. FU is reversed and the referee is crushed in the corner. HHH throws a low blow and hits both guys. Crotch chop to Cena as we have more DX foreshadowing. There’s the sledgehammer but Cena blocks it and hammers away (no pun intended) until a shot to the head takes him down. THAT somehow gets two.

Pedigree is reversed and here comes Cena. FU hits and gets two which results in an eruption from the crowd. Very good match here so far. Cena has no idea what else to do as both of his finishers have more or less failed. A splash of all things misses but the Pedigree is countered into another STFU and the referee checks the arm. HHH keeps it up (Stephanie says yay!) but then after almost a minute in the hold HHH taps and Cena keeps the title.

Rating: A-. Great match here and definitely Mania main event worthy, but the problem comes down to this doesn’t feel epic. It’s a great match but at the same time it looks like just another title defense for Cena. This would have been a lot better if HHH had come in with the title and Cena had taken it here, but at the same time this worked fine.

Overall Rating: B. If there was a rating between B- and B this would get it. The whole thing is good overall but there are some spots that make you shake your head. For instance the Booker match, the pillow fight thing, the World Heavyweight Championship match, the MITB being so short etc. It’s a good shot, but it’s nothing I’d want to see over and over. It’s good for a rainy day but that’s about it. Recommended but not incredibly highly.

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