Monday, April 04, 2005

Wrestlemania 21

Well, the biggest day in the professional wrestling year has come and gone and I was there to see the glory that is Wrestlemania.

Wrestlemania 21 was a solid 'Mania that stands up with the better 'Mania editions from the last decade. There were a few clunkers on the card but the better matches made up for it, and the moments involving the Hall of Fame class of 2005 also added to the atmosphere.

It began with a very good match between Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio. This contest started with a deliberate slow pace which I questioned at the time and still question now. The WWE was dealing with an LA crowd, which for the most part cannot be considered a 'Hot' crowd like in NY or Chicago. So to start the show off with Eddie and Rey slowly moving through some lucha mat work wasn't exactly the best way to get the crowd going. Also surprising about this match was that the crowd wasn't behind either man nearly as much as I expected. Usually in Southern California the large hispanic audience goes nutso for guys like Eddie and Rey, but Sunday was pretty low key in that respect. Rey Myterio won the match which was a big surprise for me. Rey Mysterio never seems to win a big match and for him to beat Eddie Guerrero, a former WWE Champion, at Wrestlemania hopefully means Rey will be getting a decent push on Smackdown. Probably not, but who knows?

The next match was a Wrestlemania Classic in my book. It was a 6-Man ladder match with the winner earning a title shot that they can use any time within the next calendar year. That's a cool new stipulation that could lead to some intriguing storylines heading in to next year's Wrestlemania. Jericho, Benoit, Shelton Benjamin, Kane, Christian and Edge were the participants. Benjamin showed that he'll probably be a main event player rather soon with his ability to put on a good match. Benoit, Jericho, Christian and Kane all put in some impressive high spots with the ladders, but it didn't matter how great the other 5 wrestlers performed, Edge won the match which sucks. He stinks. Even with the lame ending, the match was awesome. So this year's Mania started with two solid matches.

Next came a nice surprise when Hulk Hogan showed up and cleared the ring of some lame-ass heels, the crowd went nuts for this which was cool to be a part of.

The next match was the women's championship match which was a waste of time. Fortunately it didn't last long.

'HBK' Sean Michaels Vs. Kurt Angle was next and it was one of the best Mania matches of all time. Yep, I said it. Since I saw it live, maybe I have a bias, but from all accounts on-line and from other people who were there, most agree it was a Four-Star match AT LEAST, and some saying it was closer to a 5 Star. This match was incredible as both guys went all out. It had a good mix of mat wrestling, power moves, high flying action, and it finished with a never ending ankle lock with Michaels tapping out! It is a rare thing to see Michaels lose a match clean, and to have Angle beat him at Wrestlmania added to the excitement of the win. It's an awesome match and if you like wrestling at all, you should see it.

The Sumo Match was another waste of time. They should've had a Tag Title match instead.

Piper's Pit with Stone Cold Steve Austin and Carlito Cool was fun. Seeing Austin and Piper, two HOF'ers, was cool to witness live and having Austin throw some stunners around was just fine.

The John Cena Vs. JBL championship match was terrible. The crow didn't care, the match lasted barely 11 minutes, and when Cena won he got a tepid, respectful "ovation." Smackdown is in terrible shape, this was supposed to be the huge blow-off match to a fued that's been building for months and it was a rushed, sloppy, snoozefest that ended out of no-where.

HHH/Batista was a solid big man championship match. Batista took the brunt of the punishment to start things off and dodged a few Pedigree attempts. Eventually, Batista took over on offense and got his power moves in, HHH bled pretty good and sold the crap out of everything Batista did. And when Batista won, the crowd gave him a good reaction, not as big as you'd like for when a babyface wins the title at Wrestlemania, but it was a clear statement that people want to see Batista do well. Hopefully he can, but most likely HHH will be champion again before you know it.

And that's that, who wants to go to Chicago next year and see WM22?


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