It felt like Christmas morning. I awoke on Sunday for the big day with my dog Sunny desperately needing to go outside for her morning business. As I put my shoes on and attached her Flexi I began my anticipation of opening my present: Heading over to my buddy’s house to watch Mania. I had eleven hours to go. My wife wanted to go to church for Palm Sunday so we hopped in the car and went to this place we had never been before. During the opening announcements the pastor said the church was offering self-defense classes. I thought that was pretty badass. Right away I imagined the pastor giving an attacker a snapmare and then finishing them off with a punt to the head, all while wearing her robe. I guess I was ready for Mania. 5:30pm came. I grabbed a half case of warm beer, hopped in the car and turned up Two Cow Garage’s Please Turn the Gas Back On. I made it to my buddy Caleb’s house just in time for the start of the show.
This week is a panel reaction to Mania. There will be myself from Minneapolis, my brother Dave and good friend Tiffany from Alexandria, MN, and our good friends Shane and Marv from Colorado who were actually live at the show in the fourth row. Shane and I were there live in Seattle at WM XIX. I asked him what it was like to be back live again.
Shane: Axxess was a little disappointing this year from the aspect that no big names signed autographs; they only did Q & A sessions. But Mania was pretty surreal again, especially because we were row 4 this year! There’s something awe-inspiring about walking into a stadium with 72,000 people who share your passion.
Meanwhile, this was the first live Mania for his travel companion, Marv.
Marv: Well, besides the frustration of trying to get into the building (floor seats had one entrance they could enter through, but there were no signs saying this: you just found out when you got to the front of the line if you were in the right line or not. We ended up standing in three lines before we got into the right one), it was pretty cool. I had no clue how many seats there were, but the stadium was huge and the setup was pretty impressive. We were right next to the ring and we ended up sitting behind the Mean Street Posse.
The show opened with a great video package and up first was MITB.
Big Props to all of the participants. Man, did they put their bodies into this. Kofi’s performance really impressed me. It was a mistake to take him out of the main event at Now Way Out back in February.
Marv: Kofi really impressed me in this match, possibly outshining Shelton.
Hornswoggle’s mini ladder was awesome. This match was really enjoyable especially Shelton’s always great performances in these matches. I do wish they would either have him win it or take him out for good. I was really taken aback by the crowd’s reaction to CM Punk getting the briefcase. WM usually has such a strange crowd dynamic to it, but Punk?
Shane: I think most people were booing Punk because he’s already won, plus they were very much a pro Christian/MVP crowd. Personally, I wanted Kane to win, but hey.
Marv: I think most of the crowd was just disappointed that Punk won it again (I was pulling for MVP or Christian).
Dave: Boo Henry and Kane.
I really thought that Orton would beat HHH and then Punk would be forced by Vince to cash in his title shot, but no such luck. Even the guys I was watching the pay per view with were upset Punk won. It just goes to show that Christian just can?t have his flame extinguished, even though it seems the writers have a bet going to see how far they can bury the guy. Anyway, back to Punk. We are in the Golden Age of Heels and I really think Punk will be a vital part of this new age. He may turn heel and enjoy the greatness that Jericho and Orton are right now, but WWE may be reluctant to do so due to his size. However, as a face he can be the clean good guy without the cheesiness. Here’s to Punk having another title run this year!
Next up is the Divas Battle Royal.
I do wish they would have given this some more attention, but I am just glad they didn?t sandwich it between two of the bigger matches as that would have killed the crowd reaction. As far as the match itself, Tiff says it best.
Tiff: I enjoyed the humor of the Divas match but I personally think since it’s a MISS Wrestlemanina there should have been an actual female that won not a male wrestler dressed up as a chick.
Next up is the Legends match. Jericho just happens to be Marv’s favorite.
Marv: It was actually a decent match. I was initially disappointed to see my favorite wrestler Jericho in this match, but in maybe the biggest surprise of the night, Steamboat could still wrestle. I never thought I’d see a legend jumping off the top rope or doing half the moves that he did. I’m glad they got rid of the other two so quick because it was obvious they were not in the same shape that Steamboat was in. And the Rourke thing was kind of predictable (I wish Jericho hadn’t gone down in one punch).
Dave: Steamboat was crisp. Rourke was way too drawn out and one punch and its done? How many punches were thrown in other matches?
Tiff: Some of the moves they were doing honestly made me cringe at some points for there age.
Shane: We began a few “you still got it” chants.
Personally I didn?t care for the whole Rourke thing but I think it speaks to Jericho’s professionalism. I was a bit?distracted by Snuka? attire. Other than that I thought all participants did a wonderful job, especially Steamboat. It was great to see him and Jericho go at it. Piper’s eye poke reminded me of when I was a kid and how much I loved the technical and high-flying guys, but Piper would get a tremendous reaction by just doing an eye poke. It just goes to show it is not always what you do, but how you do it.
Hardy vs. Hardy. And the winner is…Hardy!
Tiff: I loved the Hardy match!!!!! The fact that they are brothers and used to be tag partners made it that much more cause they anticipated each others moves and counter with just outstanding moves……EXCELLENT
Shane: I thought Hardy vs. Hardy came off very well. And the fact that Matt won was important, Jeff had nothing to gain with the victory. I thought it’d be funny if they began their feud with the extreme rules match then worked their way backwards until they had a just a regular one on one bout.
Marv: It was a good, violent match. I was probably just expecting a little more of the ladders being involved, but it was still one of the top hardcore matches ever at a Wrestlemania (Edge/Foley is still number one in my mind).
Dave: Too much setup, but I like Matt getting the win
I can?t imagine how special of a night it was for these two. Years ago they were just two kids on their trampoline and now that night they were tearing it up at Wrestlemania.
I-C Title Match
Shane: I wasn’t sure if Mysterio was trying to be cool or scary or a Doink wannabe, but his costumes seem to get more ridiculous each Wrestlemania. He seems to have a superhero complex of some sort…I’m still waiting for him to come out dressed as Wonder woman. I’m surprised Marvel hasn’t sued him for copyright infringement.
The match itself was worthless. Look, even if JBL vs. Mysterio wouldn’t have been the highlight of the evening, there were thousands of fans who came to see Mysterio. I’m not huge the propagating to children idea, but they are the next generation of wrestling fans, and most of them love Mysterio. He should have had at least a 10 min. match
Tiff: With Mysterio you are expected to see some out there costumes and that I think the kids love…… (most wrestlers wears black and/or white) and I think the colors go with his personality. And JBL quitting?????? Seriously???? As far as the match I agree with Shane 100%…Mysterio is my personal favorite and for him to get jipped like that sucks.
Dave: considering the brevity, I was truly entertained- gets your attention- JBL’s boot at the beginning was awesome.
So many loved the Taker-HBK match, I have read a few blogs saying it was the best match ever. Could that be?
Shane: Yes, yes it was.
Dave: Mot sure, buts its up there.
Tiff: Perfect Match
Marv: Pretty much, yeah. For the first half of the match, you still had the feeling that Undertaker was going to win. But after the Undertaker jumped over the top rope, all bets were off. I think every fan was on the edge of their seat, and it seemed like the Streak might come to an end this year (I did not expect a kick out after the Undertaker hit the first Tombstone). But the whole match was an epic match, and the finish was perfectly executed. By far the best match of the night
My view on this match is that these guys had so much hype going into this that I didn?t think there was anyway they could live up to it, but they blew me away. It wasn?t just the wrestling; it was the fact that suspended my disbelief and honestly felt HBK was going to end the streak. It just goes to show it’s not always what you do, but how you do it.
Triple Threat match
Here comes Charlie Haas dressed up as Cena?and a whole bunch of other people dressed up as Haas.
Marv: The Cena entrance was interesting. At least it was something different. The match itself was good, but it also felt short.
Tiff: Loved Cena’s entrance. The match was good for a title match.
Shane: It’s hard when you have 3 guys to put on a great match. They basically take turns doing one on ones and hitting their big moves and then it’s over. The only triple threat I have real respect for was the Wrestlemania 20 main event.
Dave: Solid match, great ending
Leading up to the show I thought Taker and HBK should have gone on last, but no way, the triple threat match should have. There’s a reason they put this match after Taker-HBK and that is because this was the only match that could follow it and still get a good crowd reaction after they had just been on that Mania rollercoaster. It speaks volumes about Cena in particular and how important he is to the company.
This match has gotten a lot of criticism.
Dave: Really weak- clearly should not have been last.
Tiff: I think they had a good idea going with having HHH and Orton wrestle for the title but to have so many things that makes a main event the main event result in disqualification it toned the ending to feeling let down almost.
Marv: Boring. Just boring. I can see storyline-wise how this was the main event, but it was just slow and boring. Fans were probably waiting for Legacy or the McMahons to show up, but they never did. Just a hugely disappointed main event. I wish they had put HBK/Undertaker as the main event.
Shane: The worst main event ever. Terrible. Slow. Boring. Clich?. All that great intensity and momentum they had built into the match was instantly deflated once the bell rang. It was just plain awful. They moved the jib camera to a corner of the arena and literally panned the crowd to wake them up, and prevent further “boring” chants from surfacing. And the biggest spot in the match was miffed. I don’t know how it looked on TV, but live, HHH missed the kick to the head by about a foot, literally. So yeah, 1/10 is my ranking. Where were the McMahons? Legacy? Where was the intensity in this match? What happened to Hogan/Andre, Rock/Austin main events? This match ended the night on a real downer.
I agree with our fine panelists. That being said, I can?t believe I am disappointed that we got a straight one-on-one match for the main event. This is what we want to happen every year. Would we have been complaining if there had been interference or a McMahon heel turn? Well, we?ll never know.
A big thanks Shane, Marv, Tiff and Dave for participating. This was a different way to do things but I wanted to throw some more views out there for everyone. We all have a Mania story that should be told. I just hope I did my friends justice.
Let’s finish this off with the Wrestlemania Nosebleed Awards as voted by the panel.
And the Bloody Kleenexes go to:
Best Entrance: John Cena
Move of the Night: No decisive answer! None of us agreed!
MVP of Mania: Tie for Taker and HBK
Best Match: Taker-HBK
And…Greatest Moment: HBK kicking out of the Tombstone.
Thanks for reading!