It's that time again. Time for the latest entry to my WWE PPV review blog. Last Sunday was WrestleMania 23. While WrestleMania 22 did leave a sour taste in my mouth, I ventured into familiar territory and watched this PPV not just for the good matches it would have, but mostly because this was WrestleMania. I criticize WWE from time to time, but the weeks leading up to WrestleMania have produced some good television. Now, onto my review.
Money in the Bank:
I enjoy the concept of Money in the Bank. It's a good idea, but I would have liked it if it was a different match every time and not just a ladder match. After a while, you see possibly everything you can see in a ladder match, but there will always be a fresh idea that pops out there and a higher risk taking.
The entrants were Finlay, C.M. Punk, Randy Orton, The Hardy's, Edge, King Booker and Mr. Kennedy. My top two choices were Edge and Kennedy, but I went more so with Edge. I had some qualms about this match. First of all, there were a lot of repetitions in it. Booker hitting a lot of spinebusters, Orton with the RKO's, Punk with the ladder shots and Edge with all of those spears. Another was all the missed opportunities to grab the briefcase. It seems at times winning the match was important, and others it was secondary. Another was that Kennedy was missing form the entire middle portion of the match. I forgot all about him until I saw him near the end.
Along with the bad, there were some good things too. The Money in the Bank created 3 future feuds if handled properly. Edge vs. Jeff Hardy is the top of the list. Although I wish Edge to be higher on the card, he could have a TV feud, blaming Jeff on not only injuring him and costing him the match, but losing his WrestleMania streak. The second feud can be with Matt Hardy and King Booker. With Booker climbing the ladder and almost winning the match, Matt had Queen Sharmell and was going to deliver the Twist of Fate. Booker had to decide on whether to pull down the briefcase or save his wife. He chose his wife and got a Twist of Fate for his troubles. A problem I can see with this feud is that technically Booker did the right thing here and Matt was the heel who resorted to attacking a woman, but it's nothing that can't be tweaked. The third match can be with Kennedy and Finlay, mostly due to the ending of the match where Hornswoggle took a rolling firemans carry from the ladder in a nasty looking bump, then climbing the ladder to win the match. Finlay, in all his experience, can be a huge strength to Kennedy, whom is obviously being groomed to be a huge star in the future.
All in all, the ladder match was quite entertaining. A fun 8/10.
Kane vs. The Great Khali:
I consider this match to be a ?cool off? match, placed after the MITB to let the fans catch their breaths, so to speak. It?s no secret that Khali isn?t the most mobile person in the ring, but he is a spectacle due to his sheer size, not to mention his muscle mass. This guy is put together nicely; unlike the Big Show who was huge, but looked way out of shape, but at least Big Show could work.
Kane is a guy who, while being a big man, can go with the best of them. It?s such a shame he wasn?t given a bigger role at WrestleMania. It?s also a shame the he jobbed to Khali. I had heard rumors that he was taking time off after this PPV, so if that is the case, maybe the right man won.
The match was what you would expect it to be; Khali?s opponent does most of the work, selling nothing, while the opponent bumps everywhere for him. The best part of the match was where Kane body slams Khali to a nice pop and brings back memories of WrestleMania 3. In the end, Khali gives Kane a two handed chokeslam and pins him with a boot to the chest.
This match was good for what it was, a resting spot from MITB. 6/10, mostly for Kane?s body slam on Khali.
Chris Benoit vs. M.V.P:
I am a fan of M.V.P, so I was looking forward to this match to see how he can measure up against a man of the wrestling caliber of Chris Benoit and how he looks performing in front of a large audience, and from what I have seen, he does surprisingly well on both counts.
I loved the way M.V.P countered many technical moves from Chris Benoit and how the announcers, especially, J.B.L, put it over greatly. I was really shocked at that, but was thinking about it after the match that I should give some credit to Benoit himself for putting him over, despite winning the match himself.
A great story was told in how Benoit couldn?t utilize the Crossface for the above reason, but also that M.V.P attacked the arm of Benoit, limiting the time he would need to slap it on. By the end of the match, using the Crossface wasn?t a factor as Benoit used the flying headbutt to win the match and retain the United States championship.
A great match that didn?t need weapons to tell a story or excite the crowd. Also shows that Benoit can put anybody over, and still look good. 8.5/10.
Undertaker vs. Batista:
This match was billed at title vs. streak as Batista defended his World Heavyweight Championship against the Undertaker, who was defending his perfect WrestleMania streak of 14 wins and 0 losses. This is the match that should have closed WrestleMania, since it was Undertaker who did win the Royal Rumble, but for the second time in a row, a Royal Rumble winner did not main event WrestleMania, which tells me it could be that the WWE is proving that Raw is the dominating brand or that they want John Cena to be the franchise player of the WWE.
Leading up to this match, I had heard rumors that Batista was chosen to end the streak, which would have been the most horrible decision the WWE has ever made. Batista is probably the laziest champion I have seen in years. He is always going through the motions in his matches. He doesn?t even try anymore. Almost all of his matches, his opponent have to do most of the work, and yet this guy is the World Champion. The Undertaker, on the other hand, gives a lot to his matches. If anyone can get a good match out of Batista, one of those guys would be Taker.
With this being WrestleMania, I expected Batista to give a little more than what he usually does, and he did. Batista used his power moves at mostly the right times, instead of just throwing them left and right. Taker used his grappling and striking moves to counter Batista and used his speed to surprise him at times.
There were a few nice spots in the match, such as the patented Taker dive over the ropes, Batista powerslamming Taker through the announcers table and Taker kicking out of the Batista bomb. The end of the match saw Taker hitting Batista with the snake eyes and hit the Tombstone for the pin and his first World Title.7/10
ECW Originals vs. New Breed
I don?t follow ECW, but I have a fair idea about what this feud was about. Seeing how hard the New Breed was pushed on TV, it seemed like a lock that they would end up winning, but a nice surprise was when RVD gave Striker the 5 Star Frog Splash for the clean win.
I had heard that they had an even better match two nights later, although I have no idea what purpose that served. 4/10
Bobby Lashley vs. Umaga:
This was the match that was being pushed as the frontrunner for WrestleMania; Vince McMahon vs. Donald Trump ? Hair vs. Hair with Stone Cold Steve Austin as referee. Oh yeah, some guys named Lashley and Umaga will be fighting though. That isn?t necessarily a bad this though. It garnered a lot of publicity, which was the whole idea of it, so it was good for that part.
The match was good given the guys who were wrestling. Some nice bumps here and there, the interference from the McMahons, with Shane hitting the Coast-To-Coast, the altercations from Austin we knew would happen and the public head shaving to Vince McMahon made this match very memorable. 7.25/10 for the entertainment value.
Ashley vs. Melina:
A pathetic match meant to capitalize on Ashley?s Playboy spread. Making this a lumberjill match was just a way to get all the divas to appear and get a pop for the catfight after the match. Melina wins the match cleanly in I think about 3 minutes.
And to think, this was on the PPV, but guys like London, Kendrick, Nitro, Flair, Carlito, Chavo and others were bumped off. That alone makes me upset about this match.
Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena:
Coming into this match, I was hoping that they didn?t turn one wrestler heel just for shock value, and I?m glad they didn?t. This match was built well just for the idea that one wrestler wanted the championship, and had no other reason for wrestling.
HBK started the match to his advantage by messing with Cena and using his speed over Cena, but Cena made his comebacks as usual. Two things of note, I?ve rarely seen HBK actually work a body part like he did with Cena?s leg. I thought it was strange, but not in a bad way. Secondly, we can see Cena sell that bad leg, but one he regained control, he stopped selling it. That distracted me a lot from the match.
After a few attempts of the STFU, Michaels was trapped in it in the middle of the ring and tapped out for Cena?s victory. I was ok with that, although many Cena detractors might not be, but the way I see it is that Cena is the future of the business and just like last years WrestleMania, he needed the big win. Having him lose would have been very damaging to his image.
So all in all, this was a very good match, and yes I do believe that Cena have as much in the ring as HBK did, no matter who says otherwise. 8.25/10.
There you go, my brief outlook and review of WrestleMania 23.