Written By: Alexander Settee
Wrestlemania XXVI, March 28, 2010, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ
Announcers: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, & Matt Striker
Opening Match, Unified Tag Team Championship: The Miz & The Big Show vs. R-Truth & John Morrison
The Tag Team Titles make Wrestlemania for the first time since 2004, so the push the belts have gotten in the past year or so has helped somewhat. Miz and Morrison start out with Miz working him over until he runs into a dropkick for 2. Morrison slams him and tags Truth who comes in with a legdrop off the top for 2. Truth kicks him, but he falls to his corner and makes the tag to Show. Truth avoids Show at first, but soon gets caught on a bodypress and dropped with a fallaway slam. He takes a shot at Morrison before going to the 2nd rope, but Morrison comes back and knocks him with Truth covering for 2. Both guys tag with Morrison running wild with clotheslines, a dropkick and a flapjack. He misses Starship Pain though as Show pulls his partner out of the way. Truth tries a dive on Show, but gets caught and run to the post while Miz covers Morrison for 2. Skull Crushing Finale is countered to a rollup for 2. Morrison then charges into a kick while Show takes the blind tag. He ducks a shot from Miz and goes for a springboard, but Show nails him with The Big Right Hand and covers for the pin to retain at 3:24. Well, they did what they could with the time they were given and it was fine considering they weren’t given much. *
They have a neat video package on all of the events that were a part of Wrestlemania week. Looks like fun stuff.
Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Ted Dibiase
Legacy explodes with a whimper instead of the bang it could have been as they just dragged it out too long and had too many false starts and changes of plans on what they were going to do. They end result is that we have Randy Orton becoming the babyface with Dibiase and Rhodes remaining heels who act aligned but are really out for themselves. Indeed they surround Orton to start and work him over with a double team. Orton fights back, but gets taken back down with a high and low. Rhodes drops a knee and goes up, but Dibiase covers for 2. Now the dissention comes out as Rhodes tosses Dibiase to the floor. He hits an Alabama Slam on Orton for 2 with Dibiase returning to save. Now they just slug it out, which allows Orton to recover and he clotheslines both guys. He follows with powerslams on both and then a backbreaker on Rhodes. Dibiase drags him to the floor, so Rhodes tries a dive, but Orton moves and Dibiase takes all of it. They both make it to the apron, where Orton is waiting and he nails them with a double hanging DDT. He looks for the RKO on Rhodes, but changes his mind and punts him instead. Dibiase tries Dream Street, but Orton counters that to an RKO and gets the pin at 9:02. Orton sure put those two in their place. I’m sure he’ll do fine as a top babyface for awhile, but Rhodes and Dibiase are going to need some serious rehab if they want anyone to take them seriously now. *1/2
Josh Matthews is backstage to interview the heel Diva team led by Vickie Guerrero. She shoos Josh away and cuts her usual promo before bringing in Jillian Hall to sing a song in tribute to her. Santino Marella walks in for our product placement segment, Slim Jim in this case, and snaps into one which causes Jillian to morph into Mae Young. She tries to make out with him, so he snaps it again and this time gets Gene Okerlund, who’s wearing the same dress the other two were. One more bite gets him Melina, and he’s fine with that so they head off together. This was fine and certainly far from the worst comedy segment they’ve ever done.
Money In The Bank Ladder Match: Kofi Kingston vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Matt Hardy vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kane vs. Jack Swagger vs. Christian vs. Evan Bourne vs. MVP
Right off the bat I need to note that ten guys is far too many for a match like this. We’ll see if they can make it work, but it definitely has trainwreck potential. Drew McIntyre was pretty much the favourite going in here because he seemed to be the only one who was actually going somewhere leading up to the show while everyone else was pretty stagnant, but in the end they had someone else in mind to make it to the top of the mountain first much to my surprise. It starts out with a big battle royal until everyone disperses. Drew makes the first try for the case only to get tipped over by Hardy. Everyone tries climbing with Evan getting closest by he gets chokeslammed out by Kane. Christian clears the ring and climbs and now they trade off with Ziggler saving and climbing followed by Kane. Shelton and MVP nail Kane with a ladder in the corner, and then Kofi runs up it for some punches, but Kane powerbombs him back down on the ladder. Swagger clears the ring with a ladder, but Evan takes him out before he can make it up. Swagger then gets caught under the ladder with Christian and Hardy nailing him with two other ladders between the rungs. They then make a bridge on both sides of the standing ladder and climb along with Evan, but Swagger knocks out the ladder Hardy is standing on. Christian sets Evan up for the Killswitch on the ladder, but Evan knocks him down and hits Air Bourne. He then climbs, but Hardy makes the save. Swagger then throws Hardy off onto the other ladder bridge which was pretty cool. MVP and Shelton try next but end up taking each other out to the floor where Kane wipes them out with a ladder. Kane climbs with Ziggler leapfrogging him, but Kane tips him over. The ladder breaks, so Kofi balances one leg on each half and leaps up several levels before Drew knocks him to the floor. It was a cool visual, but how the hell would he have expected to keep his balance when he had to let go to grab the case? We get a new ladder going now with Drew climbing but Hardy saving. Drew knocks him back, but then Hardy tips him over and crotches him. Hardy goes now, successfully kicking Kane away and reaching for it until Christian finally shows up to stop him, making Hardy look like a fool for being unable to get it from where he was with as much time as he had. Kane goes up and grabs both guys by the throat, but they fight him off. Christian then drops Hardy with an inverted DDT off the ladder. Christian goes for it, but Swagger meets him there. They struggle for a bit until Swagger takes him out. Swagger then climbs and reaches for it. He takes long enough that it seems like he’s just pretending to get it while waiting for someone to stop him, but in a definite surprise considering how he’d been used the past few months, Jack Swagger pulls down the briefcase to win it at 13:45. Not a bad match but it doesn’t really hold up to the previous ones. That’s a bad thing if the idea is to build a whole PPV around this concept. *** And as we all know by now, Swagger went on to cash in two days later at the Smackdown tapings and win the World Heavyweight Title from Chris Jericho.
Hall Of Fame Roll Call: Howard Finkel introduces Stu Hart (represented by most of his children), Wendi Richter, Mad Dog Vachon, Antonio Inoki, Bob Uecker, Gorgeous George (represented by his former wife Betty Wagner), and The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase.
Triple H vs. Sheamus
Here’s the big moment for Sheamus as we will see exactly how serious they are about keeping him as a top guy. The fact that this was said to have been originally planned as a Title match, but then they took the belt off of him is bad sign number one unfortunately for him. He shoves HHH off the break and taunts him, so HHH follows by smacking him on the next break. Sheamus puts his head down on a whip and is almost caught in the Pedigree, but escapes and nails HHH with a knee. He works him over a bit, before HHH comes out of a corner whip with a clothesline. HHH follows with a suplex and kneedrop for 1. Sheamus bails, but HHH goes after him and sends him to the barrier. Back in he clips the leg and applies a figure four with TNA star Ric Flair’s name actually being mentioned in reference to it. Sheamus makes the ropes and bails with HHH following again, but this time Sheamus reverses a whip to the steps and HHH hits them. He gets HHH in and starts working him over again with a couple of backbreakers. HHH’s comeback is cut off with a double ax for 2. A series of elbows gets another 2 as does a powerslam. Sheamus goes to a rear chinlock, but HHH suplexes out. He follows with a DDT, but can’t capitalize. It turns into a slugfest, won by HHH, but he then puts his head down on an Irish whip and gets kicked. Sheamus runs into a high knee though. Now Sheamus puts his head down after reversing a whip and takes a facebuster for 2. Pedigree is countered, but HHH does get a neckbreaker for 2. He sets Sheamus on top, but Sheamus slips away and goes for the Razor’s Edge, but HHH escapes that. He also avoids the bicycle kick and sets up the Pedigree, but Sheamus backdrops out. Bicycle kick hits this time, but only gets 2. He sets up the Edge again, but HHH once more avoids it and hits a spinebuster for 2. Sheamus gets to the apron and lures HHH over where he connects with another bicycle kick. His follow up is too slow though and HHH recovers, kicks him, and nails the Pedigree for the 3 count at 12:08. These guys weren’t going to get shortchanged on time for obvious reasons, but to be fair they did put on a reasonably good match. Michael Cole claims that we now know that Sheamus belongs at the top because of this, but I beg to differ considering that I don’t think losing clean to a top guy makes you a top guy too. Not to mention that he hasn’t pinned anyone of note in his whole run and even though he was champion, he basically won that on a fluke. It appears they genuinely want him to be up there, but for whatever reason just don’t have the guts to go all the way with him. **1/2
CM Punk (w/Luke Gallows & Serena) vs. Rey Mysterio
There was a good buildup for this one which led to the stipulation that Mysterio will join the Straight Edge Society if he loses. Gallows provides the distraction so that Punk can attack. He whips Mysterio to the corner, but charges into a drop toehold to the buckle. Punk still gets him set in the Tree of Woe and stomps away with Serena choking Mysterio from the outside. Mysterio avoids a baseball slide and they go to the floor, but he ends up dropped on the steps. Punk looks for a countout, but Mysterio makes it in. Punk pounds him down for 1 and hooks a rear chinlock. Mysterio elbows out, but his corner whip is reversed and he ends up on the apron. He tries a springboard, but gets caught and slammed for 2. They trade shots with Punk then trying a sunset flip which Mysterio rolls through, but breaks. He misses a kick and now Punk rolls him up for 2. Solid kick to the head gets another 2, and this frustrates Punk who keeps going for more covers, but Mysterio kicks out each time. Mysterio finally escapes and flips to the top rope where he does a flipping DDT for 2. This sets up the 619, but Punk catches him. Mysterio fights out and goes for a springboard moonsault with Punk catching him and setting him up for a GTS, but hangs on and escapes. He goes up, but misses an Eddie Guerrero Tribute frog splash, from which Punk gets 2. Punk follows with knees in the corner and sets up a powerbomb, but Mysterio escapes and sets the 619 again. As he comes off the ropes, Serena covers Punk up, and then while the ref gets her away, Gallows gets involved again. Punk sets up the GTS, but Mysterio gets off the shoulders and shoves Punk into Gallows on the apron. 619 hits, followed by the springboard splash and Punk gets the 3 count at 6:30. This was a really good match given the limited time they had to work with. Hopefully the feud continues and we can get a longer match next month. ***
Street Fight: Mr. McMahon vs. Bret “Hitman” Hart
It’s many years too late for this to be as good as it could have been. I liked seeing Bret return to Raw, and I didn’t think it was a terrible buildup, but really it didn’t get me as excited as I would have figured I’d be if you’d asked me about it, say, six months ago. So last Monday, Mr. McMahon promised that Bret would be screwed, and he reveals that his plan was to recruit the Hart Family as lumberjacks with Bruce as the referee. But sadly for Vince Bret reveals that it was a swerve all along and after collecting their payoffs from Vince in advance, the Harts are in fact behind Bret here tonight. The match starts with Bret blocking a shot and going to work. And work on him he does. Vince tries rolling to the floor, but the family is on him. The Hart Dynasty even hits Vince with a super Hart Attack from the top rope to the floor. Back in, Bret starts working the leg which is really out of place here. Vince tries to escape under the ring, but the family pulls him out. He does manage to back them off with a crowbar, but when he goes after Bret with it, Bret knocks it away. Bret then gets it himself and lays a beating on Vince. He sets up the Sharpshooter, but holds off so he can beat Vince with the crowbar again. Once again he sets it up, but this time opts for a couple of low blows. Vince is pleading with him to end it, but not yet. DH Smith hands him a chair, in which Bret sits down and waits for Vince to get to his feet. When he finally does, Bret lays in eighteen chairshots which is excessive to the point where you actually start to feel sorry for Vince, which is completely wrong. Finally, Bret locks him in the Sharpshooter and Vince taps out to end it at 11:09. I don’t even know what to think of this. They got the finish right, but that’s about it. I can understand Bret not being able to do anything in the ring at this point, but he didn’t really come out of this looking good. Vince is dead too as no one can really take him seriously in a match after this., not that he’s got too many more in him anyways. For a rating, I’m going to call it 1/4*, because I don’t think it’s insulting to the point of being negative stars, nor do I think it’s worthless so it’s not a DUD, and that’s the lowest possible rating otherwise.
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Chris Jericho vs. Edge
Edge returned from injury and won the Royal Rumble, and then selected former partner Jericho as the Champion he would challenge here tonight. Cole tries to buildup more backstory between them, but really they were partners for a few weeks and that was it, so it’s not quite as compelling as they would have us believe. They start out trading holds and shoulderblocks. Edge gets him with a flapjack and sets the spear up already, but Jericho sees it and escape to the floor. Edge follows, but Jericho lures him in and nails him. He then uses a baseball slide to send Edge back to the floor. Edge makes it back where Jericho nails a back suplex for 2. Jericho controls for a bit now until he misses a charge to the corner and hits the post. Edge gets a spinkick, but Jericho ends up dropping him on the ropes. He goes for the springboard dropkick, but edge avoids it and knocks Jericho into the table outside. He gets a clothesline off the apron and gets him back in, but gets nailed going up to the top rope. They fight up there with Edge dropping him face first and covering for 2. Edge goes up again and this time gets a crossbody which Jericho rolls through for 2. Edge blocks the Walls and then gets a sunset flip for 2, which Jericho then reverses and gets a 2 of his own. Jericho tries the Codebreaker, which is blocked and then Jericho in turn avoids a spear. He tries the Walls, but Edge slips out and cradles him for 2. Jericho elbows him and goes for the Lionsault, but misses and Edge gets him with the Edge-O-Matic for 2. Jericho comes back with an ensiguiri for 2. He goes for the bulldog, but Edge avoids that and hits a DDT for 2. Edge then runs into a boot and Jericho takes him down with a forearm to the back of the head. Jericho wants a spear now, but Edge boots him as he charges. Now Edge sets up the spear again, but runs into a Codebreaker. Jericho gets 2 from that cover, then tries again and gets another 2. Jericho starts targeting the Achilles tendon and then finally gets him in the Walls. Edge almost has the ropes, but Jericho drags him back and turns it into a single leg crab. Edge struggles again, and this time does make the ropes. Off the break he gets a cradle for 2 and then clotheslines Jericho to the floor. Jericho grabs his belt, but Edge attack before he can use it. Back in the ring, Edge accidentally elbows the referee, so now Jericho gets in a belt shot, but it only gets 2. Jericho then nails the Codebreaker and that gets the 3 count to retain at 15:46. Kind of a letdown finish as most people had pegged Edge as winning the belt here, not to mention that he jobs essentially clean. The beltshot would have been a better finish if this was the way they were going, but overall this was still a really good match. ***3/4 Edge then attacks Jericho after the match, sets him on the announce table and spears him off through the timekeeper’s pit.
Next we get some highlights from the C-Team Battle Royal that took place prior to the PPV. Yoshi Tatsu backdrops Zack Ryder to the apron and then kicks him to the floor to win it.
Maryse, Vickie Guerrero, Layla, Alicia Fox, & Michelle McCool vs. Beth Phoenix, Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, Gail Kim, & Eve
The faces clear the ring of all the heels except Vickie, who starts with Gail, although all she does is shove her and Gail tags out to Beth. Beth runs Vickie to the corner and the face trade her off, getting in their shots. Then it just breaks down into the finisher sequence as Michelle hits the Faithbreaker on Kelly, but takes a DDT from Mickie. Layla, Gail, Maryse, Eve, Alicia, and Beth all in turn take someone out until it’s just Beth and Vickie, but Michelle lays Beth out before that can go anywhere. Kelly has helpfully remained dead on the mat all this time, so the heels help Vickie to the top and she hits what Cole excitedly calls the Hog Splash. That appears to be it, but in a great moment, Kelly’s shoulder comes off the mat inadvertently and the ref stops the count. Vickie covers her again and this time everyone gets it and the 3 count hits at 3:24. There are times to be realistic, and then there’s this match. DUD
WWE Championship Match: Dave Batista vs. John Cena
So this was setup when Batista took advantage of getting an impromptu Title shot last month at Elimination Chamber, and turned out to be one of the better buildups of the show, I think. They start with the feeling out process until Batista gains control and starts targeting the neck, playing off the Summerslam 08 injury that Batista was credited with. Cena reverses a suplex though and then hits a bulldog for 2. Attitude Adjustment is countered to a DDT for 2, and then Batista boots him in the face for another 2. He then goes to a sleeper on the mat with a bodyscissors, so Cena demonstrates his strength by picking him up on his back to get up and then powering out of the hold. The go to a slugfest with Batista getting the majority of the Yays. Batista then hits a neckbreaker for 2. He goes to a front facelock, but Cena backdrops out, and Batista then runs into a boot. Two shoulderblocks and the Protobomb setup the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but as he comes off the ropes Batista leaps up and drops him with a spinebuster. He sets up the Batista Bomb, but Cena counters to the STF. Batista does make the ropes, and then immediately recovers and spears Cena for 2. He delivers some shoulders in the corner and sets Cena up for a superplex, but Cena blocks it. They do a test of strength on top with Cena winning and knocking Batista back down. He then finishes the Five Knuckle Shuffle by coming off the top. He goes for the AA, but Batista holds the ropes to save himself. He gets off and hits the Batista Bomb, but Cena kicks out at 2. He goes for it again, and they go through a sequence of reversals that ends with Cena nailing the AA, but now Batista kicks out at 2. Cena goes up, but Batista catches him in the powerbomb spot from Summerslam that they’d been building to. No cover though as he wants the Batista Bomb again, but Cena escapes, hooks the STF, and Batista taps out at 13:31. Another really good match here although Cena as champion again is starting to get old. One thing I do love about Cena though is that he just doesn’t care what people think of him and just relishes that he gets the huge reaction he gets. Case in point: He makes a point of posing against the barrier right in front of a group of people wearing “We Hate Cena” shirts, which I just loved. ***1/2
Main Event: Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker
So this year they get the main event slot, and that’s fine since it is the most anticipated match on the card because of the great buildup and the anticipation created by last year’s great match. They start with a staredown with Shawn then doing Taker’s throat slash deal. He then lays in the chops, but his corner whip is reversed and he takes Snake Eyes and a clothesline. Taker goes for Old School, but Shawn holds him down, although Taker does get it on the second try. But, he does start selling that he hurt his knee on the landing. He goes for a chokeslam, but Shawn gets out of it and immediately starts targeting the injured knee. Taker rams Shawn to the buckle to regain control and sets up the Tombstone, but Shawn escapes and goes back to work. He goes for Sweet Chin Music, but Taker avoids it. Shawn goes back after the knee, but ends up getting clotheslined to the floor. Taker sets up the dive, but Shawn is quickly back in and he clips the knee. He tries a figure four, but Taker kicks him off to the floor. He follows and sends Shawn to the post, then does the legdrop on the apron. Back in, Shawn takes him down and this time he hooks the figure four. Taker comes close to getting pinned a couple of times, but does eventually turn it over, forcing Shawn to break it. Shawn’s Irish whip is reversed, but he comes off with the flying forearm. He kips up, but it’s right into a chokeslam for 2. Taker wants the Tombstone, but Shawn slips out and hooks an ankle lock. Taker rolls over on his back, but puts his shoulders down for 2 before kicking Shawn to break it. Shawn clotheslines him to the floor, and tries an Asai moonsault, but Taker catches him and Tombstones him on the floor. He takes awhile to get Shawn in the ring though, and when he finally covers, Shawn kicks out at 2. Now he goes for the Last Ride, but Shawn counters and ends up on top for 2 in a spot that looked kinda screwed up. Shawn goes up top for the elbow, but Taker gets the knees up, and then catches Shawn in Hell’s Gate’s. Shawn rolls on top though and gets 2 before Taker is forced to break to avoid being pinned. They note that Shawn is the first person to successfully counter that hold, which is probably true. Shawn then hits SCM, but Taker kicks out at 2. He sets it up again, but this time it’s blocked and countered to a Last Ride, but that only gets 2 as well. Taker tosses Shawn to the floor and preps the announce table, but Shawn escapes another Last Ride and hits SCM to put Taker on the table. He then goes up top and connects with a moonsault through the table. He eventually drags Taker in the ring for another SCM and hits it, but still Taker kicks out at 2. He wants it one more time, but Taker instead gets him with a chokeslam. He’s still hurt, but manages to hit a Tombstone. Taker covers, but Shawn kicks out again. Taker seems to be showing mercy, telling Shawn to just stay down, but instead he struggles to his feet and does the throat slash again. He then smacks him, which sets Taker off, so he nails another Tombstone and this time there’s no more kickouts as Taker gets the 3 count at 23:59. Shawn has to retire now, and they have played it up like it’s legit, but I have a feeling that he’ll be back. It’s a great match regardless, although I have to make the comparison to last year and I don’t think it was as good. That’s hardly a knock on it though as I’ll rate it at ****1/2, and I did go back and watch last year’s match, so I’ll bump that one up from ****1/2 to ****3/4 to reflect that I thought it was better.
Overall, that was a pretty good show. The Shawn/Undertaker delivers pretty much to the level I expected it would, and I think it also has a better lineup of supporting matches then last year, so that’s a plus. Jericho/Edge and Cena/Batista are both really good Championship matches while Punk/Rey and MITB also deliver fairly well. The big disappointment is Bret/Vince, not because I was expecting a high level classic or anything, but because I was expecting them to at least be able to do something reasonably decent. The rest was either acceptable, or just too short to count for much, so I think I’m going to give this show a very mild Thumbs Up. I’m sure most people have seen it by now, but it still gets a recommendation for rewatching the Main, and the Title matches