Off The Record – Wrestlemania Review Time

Euan Conway


Well the biggest event of the year, the grand stage of them all has come and gone for another year. The question is was it worth the money and are WWE going to be better off after the event.

If you all remember I wrote to everyone a couple of weeks ago detailing my favourite ten Wrestlemania matches of all time. Now I never expected any of this years matches to seriously challenge that list but one or two certainly came close. As I said in my previous column I was kind of 50-50 as to whether I should bother ordering it or not but tending to go with not ordering it. However I ended up sitting in front of the TV and paying my £15 to give it a look and I have to sat it was well worth the money. Sure the WWE still make a hell of a lot of stupid decisions but last night the good far outweighed the bad. Anyway here is a run down of all the matches and a rating for each one out of 5 stars.

Big Show and Kane v Carlito and Chris Masters

The WWE still misses its true tag teams desperately. There was nothing wrong with this match as a show opener but I found myself just being unable to relate all that well to it. Carlito and Masters are not a serious tag team and never really will be so I question the WWE’s decision to put them in such a high profile tag team match when they have blossoming singles careers ahead of them. Big Show and Kane seemed to squash them for most of the match and even the attempt to isolate Big Show only lasted about a minute. Would have liked a near fall or two and some better double team moves from Masters and Carlito but as I said they are not really tag team wrestlers. Finish of the match served its purpose to further the Carlito/Masters feud but Kane pinned the illegal man, something that happens all to often these days. All in all could have been better.

Match Rating – 2 stars

Money in the Bank Ladder Match

Now this is what I watch WWE television for. An absolutely awesome match in which all 6 men gave there all. I am interested to know whether Flair is actually injured or if that was just a tremendous sell. Three of the guys in this match (Lashley, Finlay and Flair) are not ladder match wrestlers but they all pulled their weight and came out with some insane moves. Benjamin’s suicide dive type move to the outside was awesome. My only gripe is that it was a little short but never mind. Personally I was rooting for Finlay in this match but RVD winning doesn’t bother me, as he deserves his Title shot. Will he use it at One Night Stand, it remains to be seen, but it would be awesome to see him win it in his style of match. Some excellent commentary in this as well from all four guys and I am pleased to see no favouritism shown to either brand.

Match Rating – 4 stars

Chris Benoit v JBL

Not as physical a match I expected but still something different to the usual rehashed match we get at a regular PPV. The WWE have pulled out some different feuds recently and this is certainly one of them. Loved JBL’s entrance at the start of this coming in under the ramp way. I guess he couldn’t afford the police escort this year because he is not challenging for the top prize. The actual match itself was what I would have expected from these two. Would have been nice to see more chopping exchanges but that’s just me expecting that from a Benoit match. Was rather surprised they took the strap off Benoit as he had only just won it not so long ago, however the way the match finished makes me believe that this feud is far from over. A rematch at Judgement Day preferably in a steel cage should be on the cards.

Match Rating – 3 ½ stars

Edge v Mick Foley

Match of the night by far. Totally brilliant. I cannot think of any other way to describe this match. If any wrestling fan didn’t like this match then there is something wrong with you. I was pleased as well that Joey Styles got to call this match as he knows what he is doing with a hardcore match when JR doesn’t. JR would have complained about Foley taking a bump on thumbtacks saying it was sick and perverted where as if it was Edge he would think that was OK but Styles just calls it as a hardcore match should be called. I like an impartial announcer. Anyway these two guys put their bodies on the line and defied some pretty dodgy build up to produce a classic. I would put this on a par with Randy Orton v Cactus Jack from Backlash a few years ago. Foley really put Edge over and that is what the older talent ought to do (HHH, Taker and Hogan take note). I wish there were more people like Foley in the wrestling business these days. I was surprised Edge took the bump onto thumbtacks but all credit to him. I was amazed at the finish which seemed ECW like and probably brought out the biggest Holy S**t chant I have heard from a WWE crowd. WWE did everything right here and this had me on the edge of my seat.

Match Rating – 5 stars

The Boogeyman v Booker T and Sharmell (oh dear)

From the great to the downright ugly. Poor, poor Booker T. I have never seen a superstar treated more horribly in my life than Booker T has been with WWE. In WCW he was Heavyweight Champion and he could easily have held his own with the top guys in WWE. Instead he has been considered a has been, somebody not good enough to carry the mantle as champ and left to job with his wife as a tag team partner to this freak in less than 5 minutes. Not even the hilarious backstage skit before this could save Booker. Boogeyman was funny at first, which helped hide his crap in ring ability, but now everyone is just sick and tired of the same thing every week. This match is a reason why people do not watch WWE these days. Utterly pathetic.

Match Rating – ½ star (that is being generous).

Mark Henry v The Undertaker

I really hope Undertaker got a big fat bonus from Vince for doing this match. I am pleased to be honest this was kept short as it was to save Taker more embarrassment. I admit going to the toilet during this match so haven’t really seen a lot of it. Taker really should have had enough influence backstage to get a decent opponent for himself. Mark Henry is very sloppy in the ring and it was evident again last night. He nearly totally botched the spot when Undertaker flew out of the ring over the casket and onto him. Taker was trying his best in this match but it really wasn’t his fault, Mark Henry should be nowhere near a Wrestlemania ring. Rest in Peace Mark and please just get lost when your contract expires later in this year. As for Taker hopefully better things for him to come and anything can be better than this.

Match Rating – 2 stars

Trish Stratus v Mickie James

One of the best and longest women’s feuds in recent times and it was totally spoiled by the Chicago crowd. Don’t get me wrong I agree with the treatment given to Cena later on but Trish did not deserve this. Unlike Cena and to a certain extent Mysterio, Trish’s character isn’t stale or bland. In fact she has not so long ago returned as a face after having a run as a heel. Mickie James is the psychotic heel, not somebody you would cheer for in real life. She is supposed to be booed so bloody well boo her. She has no redeeming features, no reason to cheer her at all. The actual match was fantastic with Mickie basically taking the Women’s Title away from Trish with all her fun and games. Pity she managed to botch the ending.

Match Rating – 3 ½ stars

Shawn Michaels v Vince McMahon

The match that received probably the most attention in the build up to the show, proving that Vince has not lost his ego when it comes to booking himself in main events. Quite frankly this didn’t really serve much purpose for good old HBK. It didn’t make any difference to his career but it did bring out one of his best performances since the hell in a cell match against HHH a few years back. Vince also looked in much better shape than he has done for previous matches. I was amazed at some of the shots he took given his age but all credit to him. All the expected run ins happened including The Spirit Squad (I really hate that ring attire). I liked the idea that after all the beatings HBK has taken in recent weeks he made Shane watch handcuffed to the ring as he beat up his father. The table spot at the end was insane and all credit to Vince for being man enough to do it. Loved the return of the old HBK as well with the DX sign something copied by HHH later on in his match with Cena. Perhaps this is a sign of things to come. Second only to Edge v Foley

Match Rating – 4 stars

Torrie Wilson v Candice Michelle

Well not much to say about this match apart from WHO GIVES A S**T. It was as awful as everyone thought and your typical diva match. Was supposed to be a pillow fight and not one pillow was used. Another reason WWE loses so many fans. Not even worth half a star.

Randy Orton v Kurt Angle v Rey Mysterio

Well the main event match for the World Heavyweight Championship and it didn’t disappoint. Should have been last on the card given Mysterio is the Royal Rumble winner but never mind. Some people would still have liked to see Angle v Orton or Angle v Mysterio but the triple threat was the correct call in the end. Didn’t like the idea of the crowd booing Mysterio but in all honesty he has been doing exactly the same thing for 10 years so I am not surprised that fans are getting fed up with him. Having said that these three guys were giving one of the best main events for a while when the action came to an abrupt halt. Would have liked this to have gone maybe 10 minutes longer. I don’t think enough emphasis was placed on the feat of Mysterio winning the title because of the short length of the match. The crowd although booing Mysterio did cheer for the victory although I think the pop would have been louder had the match went longer. None the less fantastic fast paced action and a great touch with the Guerrero’s coming out at the end. Don’t think this feud is finished yet.

Match Rating – 4 stars

John Cena v Triple H

At last here Cena gets what he deserved. Note to WWE. Cena’s character is poor, bland and stale, he has poor in ring ability, which needs working on, and he needs a heel turn desperately. Problem is there is no one really to take his place as top face on Raw. Anyway back to the match and JR did a good job here of putting over the fact that HHH would be the favourite here and so it proved as he controlled the majority of the match often making it known that he was the superior wrestler. In the end it should have been Cena getting the victory over the cocky heel but ended up more being a victory over a cocky face. A bit of a strange ending to a main event for mania but again I feel as though there is more to come from these two. Really surprised Cena retained here but then it gives HHH a chance to chase the title for a change. Not the best match by either guy but not the worst either.

Match Rating – 3 stars

So overall a pretty successful Wrestlemania and certainly a lot to be carried forward into the months of April and May, which are usually the weakest for the WWE on the back of Wrestlemania. There are still certain matches like the Playboy Pillow Fight and Booker T v The Boogeyman that have no place at Wrestlemania but I think over the peace with guys like Rany Orton, Edge , Mysterio, Lashley, RVD and eventually Cena finally taking over from the old guard like Austin, The Rock and Hogan Vince done enough to silence the critics.

Well that is all for my look back at Wrestlemania, feel free to send me your own thoughts on the PPV at euanconway@hotmail.com

Until next time that is all from this edition of Off The Record.

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