On Second Thought... #3
April 19, 2009
By: Phil Chroniger of WrestleView.com
?One of the worst Wrestlemania's ever.?
?Nobody got their money's worth.?
?God-awful?Vince screwed the fans.?
These are only a few of the fan reactions that immediately followed Wrestlemania 25. People have taken the proverbial dump on this event, claiming that they were ripped off and disappointed all night. Some have referred to this as one of the three worst Mania's of all time.
In retrospect, though, was it really all that bad?
Part of the disappointment comes from the fact that the build-up to the event went from lukewarm to white hot in the last 2 ? weeks leading up to the event. You had a top-notch match between Cena and Big Show, a brutal steel cage beat down by Triple H on Cody Rhodes, and BRILLIANT (I emphasize that heavily) interactions between Triple H, Legacy, and the McMahon family. Throw in the incredible saga that was the Undertaker/Shawn Michaels build, and there were plenty of reasons to buy this event.
However, having watched the event a second time, I?ve come to find that most of the matches were (at minimum) very solid overall. Realistically speaking, there are only two reasons why this event did not come across as well as it should have.
One, the matches were not ordered correctly. Anyone who is anyone knows that HBK/Taker was going to be a show-stealer?the two men are at the end of their careers, and still had the ability to pull a match like they did. Therefore, that match should have closed the show. Two, and most importantly, was the fact that the Triple H/Randy Orton match was not worked well for the type of feud that had been portrayed between the two. There should have been blood and violence?it was the final match of a pay-per-view, I think the WWE could have held on to their PG rating on USA Network if they allowed blood for that match.
However, that is not to say that the match itself is a bad match. In fact, if you take that match completely out the context of the feud, and just watch as a professional wrestling match, it isn?t bad. However, as fans, we do watch matches in the context of the feuds, which is part of the reason as to why this match fell flat as a main event. The other reason is because of a classic Taker/HBK match and a very solid Triple Threat World Heavyweight Championship match that saw John Cena put Big Show and Edge both on his back.
Another part of the disappointment fans are feeling comes from the fact that, while the build in the final weeks was great, the match booking was very 'safe?. We had all seen Cena and Edge before. Same with Triple H and Randy Orton. Older fans remembered the original series of matches between HBK and Undertaker, and even the Intercontinental title match had a sense of familiarity to it, as we had seen Rey Mysterio and JBL before.
While this is true, the WWE was going with a sure bet in an uncertain economy. While they could have had better draws (Cena/Orton, anyone?), I believe they played it safe and had good reason to do so. Some people complain that the fact that Mysterio's entrance lasted longer than his actual match was disrespecting the retiring JBL, but it made sense?what would frustrate the arrogant millionaire into retirement more than being beaten by a little guy like Mysterio in 21 seconds?
A third reason for the disappointment was regarding the uncertainty around where the whole angle surrounding Chris Jericho and the legends ended up heading. Jericho's angle was very over and many fans believed that it would lead to an incredible payoff. However, when Jericho ended up facing the legends in an elimination handicap tag match, fans felt like they were let down in the end.
Chalk the disappointment due to a series of unfortunate events that would make Lemony Snicket cringe in amazement. First, Mickey Rourke prematurely kicked off a rivalry with Jericho, and his PR people nixed that idea. Then, Stone Cold Steve Austin was approached, but he turned the idea down. Hulk Hogan was rumored, but he had back surgery. Ric Flair was a possibility, but Flair had just retired in the greatest send-off ever, and he wasn?t about to sully that. So, we ended up with three legends taking on Jericho.
What we didn?t know was that Ricky Steamboat, despite a 14-year layoff, was still able to work a match better than 90% of the roster. He still executes a better armdrag than anyone in wrestling, and sells very well. Steamboat should be utilized as THE backstage mentor for the rookies coming up and the younger guys who need that boost to their in-ring performance.
Also, besides the disappointing Diva Battle Royal (which I would give 1 star simply due to ?Santina? being pretty amusing), there weren?t any horrible matches at all. Some have bashed the Matt vs. Jeff encounter for being 'spotty?, but isn?t that what we expect from these two together? Simple math equation?
2 Hardys + Extreme Rules x Wrestlemania = Spotfest
If you didn?t know that, you really shouldn?t consider yourself a true wrestling fan. That match pretty much delivered what it was designed to give us. The best part was that it worked, and we got a great finishing stretch out of it.
Really, I would rate the individual matches as so?
- Money In The Bank - ***?
- Diva Battle Royal - *
- Jericho vs. Piper/Snuka/Steamboat - ***?
- Hardy vs. Hardy - ***?
- Mysterio vs. JBL - *? (mainly for Rey's ?Joker? mask, which I marked for)
- Undertaker vs. HBK - *****
- Cena vs. Edge vs. Big Show - ***?
- Triple H vs. Randy Orton - **?
To relegate this year's Mania to the bottom of the pile in terms of quality would be a serious misjudgment of how good the event truly was. There is no way in justifying that this Wrestlemania was bad enough to be mentioned with Mania's 11 through 13 (minus the two Bret Hart classics), or even Wrestlemania 2000. Those were true examples of how bad a Wrestlemania can be.
This year's rendition was a ?middling? Wrestlemania. Not the best, not the worst, but serviceable enough. Time will allow us to look back on this a bit more favorably.
Agree? Disagree? Send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
. Until next time, this is ?Dr. Phil? Chroniger giving you a second opinion.
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