Wrestlemania Count-Up – #25: Shawn And Undertaker Have A Masterpiece

Wrestlemania 25
Date: April, 5 2009
Location: Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas
Attendance: 72,744
Commentators: Jim Ross, Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler
America The Beautiful: Some Pussycat Doll

Please keep in mind that this show was partially written live so excuse some of the in the moment emotional reactions.

Since this show literally is happening tonight, I won’t bother with any kind of a recap. We start with your standard history package that somehow never gets old to me at all.

Money In The Bank: CM Punk vs. MVP vs. Kane vs. Christian vs. Finlay vs. Mark Henry vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Shelton Benjamin

Finlay is breaking out the old school Fit Finlay shoulder pads. I’m digging it. After ten minutes of entrances, we’re underway. As usual I’m not even going to bother trying to keep track of everything that’s going on in this as it’s going to be all over the place like it always is.

Henry and Kane clear the ring almost immediately and the fans chant for Christian. Christian and Shelton take care of them as it’s back and forth already. Kofi may have hurt his knee on a big jump over the ladder and a dropkick. Henry and Kane go up but can’t get anywhere as we’re three minutes in. An army of midcarers takes care of Henry.

Four guys go up the ladder and the big guys take them down again. Finlay clears the ring and dives out on Kane. Christian takes out Kane and Finlay as this is kind of all of the place. What a shock indeed. Henry takes out all three of them to continue the tradition. Punk and Kofi hit stereo suicide dives. Shelton dives off the ladder and more or less lands on his head.

Shelton may have killed himself with that stupid flip. That scared the heck out of me. Also for those interested, I just found out that the tag titles was the preshow match with the Colons winning. It’s your general spotfest so far and that’s what it’s supposed to be. Crowd is fairly hot too.

Horny busts out a stepladder which gets him nowhere at all. Naturally a jumping midget can take out six guys. Finlay brings out the big ladder which is required viewing anymore. Kofi takes a good shot and is down already. He’s taking a big beating and it’s working pretty well.
Kofi is bumping like crazy in this match. I’m loving him so far as he’s the highlight of the show. Kane and Henry were dominant early on but here come the smaller people. Henry is back and is setting up a ladder. While he holds it up, Kofi runs up the side of it but falls and is caught in the World’s Strongest Slam in a sweet spot.

MVP comes in to pound of Henry which gets him nowhere again. MVP stops Shelton, Punk stops MVP, Christian stops Punk. Punk and Christian do a cool spot on a ladder that’s balanced from one ladder to the top rope and even though the Unprettier was botched, that’s hard to blame them for.

MVP almost makes it again but Shelton makes an incredible save. He runs up a ladder leaning against the ring then across a ladder between the rope and a ladder in the ring and then up the other ladder that MVP is on to make the last second save. That was incredible and as usual Shelton gets the spot of the match.

The botches in this match are killing it. These matches are really hard to call. Kane, Christian and Punk are fighting on the ladders and all but Punk fall, making him the first two time MITB winner!

Rating: C+. The problem here is the botches. There were a ton this year and the winner was kind of a letdown, and remember Punk is my favorite wrestler. It was a great opener, but not a great match if that makes sense. Too many people and really just a lot of one on ones for about twenty minutes. Not bad.

Axxess recap. Would be funner to be there to watch it.

Kid Rock performs. We don’t care as this is a food break for me. He’s on his third song and the reaction is priceless. There is absolute silence here as the fans simply could not care less. He does two old songs and his new one. My lord this is a waste of time. We don’t get the tag title match but we get this? Waste of time.

He is on his fourth song now. At least All Summer Long is a decent song, but do we need to hear this now? My goodness, he’s doing another one. The divas come out to dance with him. My headache is now at the grab a hatchet level, as this is at ten minutes now. After a big pyro display, it’s time for the battle royal. Holy goodness I’m bored.

25 Diva Battle Royal

Not even going to try to call this as we don’t even get the intros here. This is a freaking joke, thank you Kid Rock. No Trish or Lita means this isn’t a legit battle royal. We don’t even have a list or a face shot of all the divas. It’s a standard battle royal and I literally couldn’t be more bored. The commentators are sucking up to Kid Rock and I’m about to mute this. Literally people are being eliminated and it’s the first we hear of them. This is pathetic.

Santino is in drag as this is somehow even dumber every second. Never in my life have I seen a worse Mania match, period. Final there are Melina, Beth and Santino. I knew it. Freaking Santino wins. The commentators apparently don’t realize the massive tattoo on his chest. Has wrestling really fallen this far? The SFAC is going to be proud of this, and that is completely sickening to me.

Rating: N/A. This is the worst Mania match of all time. It was designed to get a stupid comedy guy on the show, we don’t know who was in it, they got no face time, and Kid Rock is the cause of it. I am officially angry about this freaking show. Such a waste of time. I’m not rating it because there isn’t a rating low enough for it.

Chris Jericho vs. Roddy Piper/Jimmy Snuka/Ricky Steamboat

Jericho has to beat all three to win. Massive recap as we’re somehow led to believe that Rourke won’t be at the show. Yeah right. Rourke actually is here. I’m surprised. They kind of get their own intros as their musics play but they stand on the ramp instead of going to the ring. Piper gets a decent pop. He looks decent too. Considering he had cancer less than two years ago, this is amazing. Flair accompanies them.

Piper is wearing a shirt which is likely a good thing. PIPER THROWS A DROPKICK!!! Off to Snuka who does his usual offense that gets him nowhere at all. And there’s the Liontamer to end him. He looked awful out there. Piper is mind blowing here. He looks as good as he did in WCW. Now is that a compliment or not?

As I type that, he’s eliminated via Codebreaker. This is literally 5 minutes in and it’s 1 on 1. I know this didn’t seem like it was five minutes but that’s how slowly these guys are moving. The old guys are getting to throw out some basic offense but it’s just leading to them being eliminated. Steamboat skins the cat in his 50s and of course we don’t see it. HE JUMPS OVER THE TOP ROPE! This is making up for everything.

Ross talks about how Jericho is staying with the Legends like it’s surprising. Steamboat is tearing this up and I’m wanting to stop the review to look at him go. This is incredible stuff considering no one expected a single thing out of him. He gets the cross body for two as Jericho is reeling. And then he walks into the Codebreaker to end it. That was amazing while it lasted.

Steamboat had me freaking out. Flair runs in and gets beaten up too. Of course Rourke gets in the ring and they have an impromptu boxing match. Rourke knocks him down as this is somehow dumber than it was before.

Rating: C+. Considering their ages and level of rust, this was mind blowing. Jericho had to win though. Steamboat had me on the edge of my chair. How he’s not called one of the best ever is beyond me. We’re three matches in and Steamboat has carried this. That’s a very bad sign. Let me make sure I have this straight: four hall of famers can’t beat up Jericho, but a 56 year old guy that boxed almost 15 years ago can beat him up?

In something funny, when they said go into the storm, it thundered at my house.

We get the recap talking about how Matt more or less tried to kill Jeff about three times. Of course he doesn’t prosecute him. He wrestles him. You have to love WWE.

Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy

I miss Matt’s old heel attire. He looked like a legit monster. Naturally they got rid of them and made him an overrated face again. This has happened before but they made it big this time. I don’t think people are interested in this but whatever. Matt takes a shot with a WWE poster. How EXTREME! Matt takes Jeff down but Jeff gets up first. Well of course he does.

Crowd is waking up a tad here which might be exactly what this show needs. Matt has a bit of a gut which surprises me. Poetry in Motion with the assistance of a chair misses and here comes Matt. He takes out Jeff’s knee and just cracks him with the chair for two. Matt grabs a dry-vac from under the ring. Why a dry vac is under there is beyond me but it’s WWE so I’ll just kind of go with it.

Side effect on a chair gets two. Matt is dominating here as he bends Jeff’s back around the post. It’s table time but there’s no D-Von around to get it. What are we going to do??? They slug it out and neither guy goes through it. This is intense but kind of dull at the same time if that makes sense.

Jeff gets a kendo stick to crack away at him and here come the required trashcans. Slingshot dropkick into the can into Matt has him in big trouble. Swanton misses and Jeff is in trouble. Twist of Fate connect and only gets two. Almost zero heat on the kickout either. Matt goes for a Swanton which is blocked. The people of Houston just avoided a huge earthquake.

Matt gets CRACKED over the head with a chair in a sick looking and sounding shot. Jeff sets Matt on a table and then another table on top of that and splashes it and dang if he didn’t almost hit him! Back in the ring it only gets two. This needs to end like now.

The more successful one goes to the floor and pulls out some ladders. Well of course he does. Jeff misses a huge bump by setting up a huge ladder and then climbing up a regular one and jumping over the big one. He crashes down in pain and I’m slightly entertained. Matt does a sick looking Twist of Fate on a chair to close this out.

Rating: C. This wasn’t terrible and the ending was perfect. Matt’s finisher, not Jeff’s mistake ended it. There was no way Jeff could win this and he didn’t. It wasn’t great, but it could have been far worse. Not terrible. I just don’t think they had the intensity they wanted with this and it kind of showed through.

Legends of Mania commercial.

Orton is getting ready.

IC Title: JBL vs. Rey Mysterio

I miss the intros as I heat up my tacos. Mysterio looks like Doink the Clown. How does he manage to come up with a dumber outfit every Mania? Rey looks so ridiculous as apparently he’s the Joker. He’s also wearing bright green suspenders. Holy goodness it’s a 10 second match! WHAT ARE THEY DOING??? Rey hits the 619 and a splash and wins it?

Rating: N/A. This is officially the dumbest Mania of all time. There has to be like 40 minutes each for the last three matches.

JBL’s big announcement is that he quits, getting the pop of the night.

Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels

If this match isn’t a 5 star classic, this is officially the worst Mania of all time, end of argument. Massive recap to start of course. The entrances are of course mind blowingly sweet with Taker coming up out of darkness and Shawn coming down from the ceiling in a white chariot like an angel. Ok that was awesome.

This just feels epic on all levels which is how it’s supposed to feel. And here we go. The fans pop for the bell. Think they’re excited? Sign a few rows back: It’s still real to me blast it! OH YES! Shawn scores a few points with some chops and then runs. Taker blocks a punch and throws Shawn over the top but Shawn catches himself.

HBK fakes a knee injury. Now that’s just brilliant. You know he’s never done that for Wrestlemania before! Basically an extended feeling out process here as neither guy can get an advantage going here. Big back drop by Taker and Shawn is in some trouble. Elbow gets one only. Old School gets a big ovation and Shawn is in trouble.

And so much for that as Taker misses a kick in the corner and Shawn goes for the knee. There go the dueling chants. Sharpshooter is blocked so Shawn uses a reverse figure four and Taker is in little trouble because he’s not going to tap. Taker’s solution to get out of this? Punch Shawn in the face. You can’t beat simplicity at times.

Taker unloads on him in the corner and gets the Snake Eyes and big boot combination. Shawn gets a bad crossface out of nowhere which sees Taker laying on his side. Taker stands up and gets a side slam to break up the hold. Nicely done. Shawn kicks him in the face and Taker glares at him. Forearm puts Taker down and we get a nip up at the same time Taker sits up.

Shawn sets for the elbow from the top but Taker sits up and Shawn is in trouble again. He counters that but walks into Hell’s Gate as he goes for the Figure Four again. A rope is grabbed and we head the to floor. Apron legdrop misses and Shawn avoids trouble. Baseball slide puts Taker down again. Moonsault to the floor misses though and Shawn is in big trouble again.

The momentum is changing every few seconds here and it’s great stuff. Taker hits the ropes and OH MY FREAKING GOODNESS! Taker dove over the ropes but overrotated and slammed his freaking head into the floor! He more or less killed a cameraman and there was a loud cracking sound. Luckily the replay shows that it was just the camera hitting the ground which is a nice break I guess.

Wow that was insane looking though. I was legitimately thinking they were going to have to stop it there. That was as scary as any bump I’ve ever seen. SOMEHOW, and I mean that literally, Taker isn’t dead. Shawn does a semi-heel turn and tries to get the count out win. To be fair though that might be better for Taker’s health at this point.

Taker BARELY makes it back in at nine and a half. I was actually thinking it was over there. There are those dueling chants again. Superkick is caught by a BIG old chokeslam for two as the crowd explodes. Tombstone, superkick, chokeslam. All of those were countered in a row but Shawn gets a BIG superkick for two. Sweet goodness I’d have bet on that one.

Shawn’s ticked off face is great. Taker grabs him by the throat and goes for the Last Ride but Shawn gets a sunset flip. Taker grabs him again and is like boy you’re getting drilled and hits a HUGE Last Ride for TWO. Wow these kickouts are incredible. Taker goes up and misses an elbow as both guys are down again.

Shawn is sent over the top but Skins the Cat. Taker catches him AGAIN in the Tombstone and Shawn is DEAD. Apparently DEAD doesn’t mean three though as Shawn kicks out AGAIN. This is incredible. Taker’s face is like NO FREAKING WAY. Shawn counters another Tombstone attempt with a spinning DDT of all things.

Michaels somehow gets up to the top rope and hits the big elbow but both guys are down again. Sweet Chin Music out of NOWHERE gets two. Well of course it did. With nothing else left from either guy they slug it out from their knees. Shawn chops away but Taker kicks him in the face to put him down.

Tombstone is countered AGAIN and Shawn gets a boot into the jaw of Taker in the corner to buy himself some time. Shawn goes up for a moonsault press but Taker somehow catches him and Tombstones him to death to FINALLY end this. In-freaking-credible. Absolutely amazing stuff and it WINS.
Rating: A+. Wrestlemania has been saved. Future edit: no it hasn’t. Go watch this match right now as it’s the best match I have ever seen.

Draft is coming in 8 days. I’m shaking after watching that. Never before have I been on the edge of my seat for a match.

World Heavyweight Championship: Edge vs. John Cena vs. Big Show

Standard recap leading to Edge and Show coming out first. Cena’s old rap song comes on and an army of John Cenas come out. There must be 80 or so of them. They all do You Can’t See Me and then Cena’s music hits. Pretty cool visual. We get the big match indroduction which I always love. Cena gets a decent pop with boos mixed in.

Edge is champion coming in here. We head into the triple threat formula almost immediately with various people being knocked out for awhile each. That’s fine but it gets rather repetitive. About five minutes pass with nothing but various one on one combinations. That’s not terribly interesting but it’s what we’ve come to expect in these things.

Cena hits his top rope Fameasser off the top rope and down goes Show. Off to Edge vs. Cena as I doubt Show will be in there for awhile. Edgecution gets two. More weak stuff here as Show is in faster than I expected him to be here. Chavo of all people runs out to save Show and takes an FU for his troubles.

Show gets tied up in the ropes and loudly shouts GET ME OUT OF HERE! Cena goes off on Edge as the fans aren’t really liking him. Five Knuckle Shuffle to Edge. Vickie gets up to save Edge but winds up getting speared onto Chavo. Both guys go down and Show is still stuck. Ah there he’s out.

Show goes off on them and manages to chokeslam Edge. FU attempt on Show but he gets out and drills Cena with the punch. Loud THANK YOU BIG SHOW chant from that. Edge gets a running spear through Show through the barricade. Back in the ring Cena counters the spear into the STFU.

Finally Show comes in for the save as this is actually pretty good. Back to Show vs. Edge for awhile as JR runs through Show’s measurements again. Show misses a Vader Bomb and here comes Cena again. The two non-monsters suplex Show in an always cool looking spot.

Everyone trades some more finishers and Edge gets a spear for two on Cena. Here’s your HOLY FREAKING CRAP spot of the match as Edge jumps on Show’s back with a sleeper so Cena is like screw it and picks up BOTH OF THEM AT ONCE IN THE FU! Edge falls off and Show takes the FU. Cena hits one on Edge onto Show for the pin and the title. Freaking sweetness.

Rating: B-. This was better than people gave it credit for. This wasn’t supposed to be the great and mighty be all end all title match and it wasn’t. It was a way to get the title onto Cena and make him look strong. It wasn’t bad and it accomplished its purpose. I liked it, but dang this would have been better if it was three matches earlier.

WM 26 is in Phoenix.

HOF Ceremony. Austin drives his ATV around and has a mini beer bash to kill time. I have no problem with this at all. It was needed to give the fans a breather and it’s not like Austin doesn’t deserve it.

Attendance is announced, but not called a record as we kill off even more time.

Massive recap video beforehand which kills the time so dead it’s scary. They’ve hated each other since Evolution, Orton is nuts and kissed Stephanie, HHH snapped, Orton faked being insane, HHH can’t disqualified or he loses the title.
WWE Title: Randy Orton vs. HHH

In the back, HHH passes both McMahons. Orton’s entrance literally goes on nearly two and a half minutes. There’s no special ordeal or anything. He’s just walking really, really slowly. HHH’s intro is long but not as long. We get BMI. Orton gets an RKO inside of two minutes but goes for the Punt and misses. HHH is up in about a minute and hits the Pedigree. What in the world is going on here?

And remember, HHH can’t get disqualified in a match based on hate. This is going so slow that it’s painful. They’re moving like molasses out there for crying out loud (as I quote my inner Hayden Panitierre from Remember the Titans). HHH has a bad shoulder now. Orton takes over for a good while as he works on the arm.

I like the pace of this match as it’s very slow but more violent. That’s what this is supposed to be. You’re supposed to have a guy that’s completely insane and a guy that’s desperate to defend his wife’s honor. Would you expect guys to be using Greco-Roman style here?

I like the brawling stuff. Wait for it…wait for it…YES! We get an Orton chinlock! All is right with the world! This is a more physical style and while it’s not great, it’s also not awful. This match isn’t really building to anything though. Ok I’m thinking I’m changing my mind on the pacing thing. This needs to be FAR more brutal given the story backing it up. It’s similar to Kane/Undertaker at Mania 14 where they were supposed to be in a war and just weren’t at all.

Orton takes him down with the backbreaker for two. I love that dropkick that Orton has. HHH FINALLY sends Orton to the floor to break the very long stretch of momentum he’s had. On the floor HHH keeps teasing various weapons shots but won’t do them because of the title thing. He sets for the Pedigree but Orton backdrops him through the announce table.

Elevated DDT hits on the floor and HHH is more or less done. He beats the count of course and Orton mixes up his offense with various types of stomps. Orton catches HHH coming of the top rope (WTF???) with a sick dropkick. Ref goes down and Orton hits an RKO. He gets the sledge but gets kicked leading to him getting punched beyond all reasonable measure. Pedigree and Orton is dead. Fireworks and we’re out. Well, that sums up the whole show.

Rating: F+. The ending was just a total letdown. Screw a good pace. This was a complete waste of time and had nothing good to offer at all. The ending is HHH’s revenge for his recent losses. Terrible way to close it out, absolutely terrible. Never in my life have I seen someone with a bigger ego. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever here for HHH to go over. Not a single one.

Orton was pushed to the freaking moon recently and he gets nothing for it? Likely he’ll get the belt at Backlash or something, but this was a waste. Any credibility he has is killed. That was awful and I don’t want to see even the letter that comes after G for a long, long time. Horrible.

It’s the same issue that many recent Mania main events have had: it’s not a bad match, but there’s nothing mind blowing. It’s like they’re in safe mode or something. Orton catches HHH coming of the top rope (WTF???) with a sick dropkick. Ref goes down and Orton hits an RKO. He gets the sledge but gets kicked leading to him getting punched beyond all reasonable measure. Pedigree and Orton is dead. Fireworks and we’re out. Well, that sums up the whole show.
Overall Rating: D. This show had one good match in it. That’s all. You have a decent opener so that was ok. Then the Women’s match was absolutely a disgrace. Never in my life have I seen a dumber thing. Seriously, we get a ten minute concert of all things and then you don’t even see the older divas, in a match for NOSTALGIA get introduced? My goodness that’s a joke. Plain and simple, that was pathetic.

That was to get a weak comedy act in when it could have been something very cool. Austin could come out at the end but not come out to beat up Jericho? That would have saved that whole thing. Hardys match was just ok. Not great but could have been worse by far. IC Title was to get to JBL quitting so I don’t even call that a match. Then we have the one match: Taker and HBK was an absolute classic, hands down.

Maybe not the best ever as Steamboat and Savage was almost too incredible to ever be passed, but this was by far the best match in many years. After that, the three way was ok and the main event was just a waste.

Overall, watch Taker and HBK and if you’re out of other good matches to watch, check out MITB and the Triple Threat. Other than that, avoid this show. Is it the worst Mania of all time? It’s not due to HBK/Taker, but that’s literally the only thing keeping it ahead of 2 and 9. Terrible show.

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