Guest Author - Patty Therre
Here are the results of WrestleMania 22. I will have much more on the show as well as news and winners of the WrestleMania Contest in a day.
Before I begin, they did bring out the Hall of Fame inductees (including Vicki Guerrero) but announced that Bret Hart was not comfortable being there so Bret was NOT at WrestleMania as I reported a couple columns back. I hope no one ordered the show hoping he would do a run in because he made it clear he wouldn't. Nevertheless, expect to see Austin vs. Hulk Hogan at a major pay per view - even possibly WrestleMania 23.
Also Jim Ross called the Raw matches with Jerry Lawler (a move that angered Joey Styles). Styles sat in on the Hardcore Match as that is his "specialty" supposedly. Ross did an outstanding job as always.
BIG SHOW & KANE vs. CARLITO & MASTERS (Tag Title Match)
Big Show and Kane retained the tag titles over Carlito and Masters after Kane chokeslammed Carlito for the pin. This was a relatively slow match but was passable as an opener. After the match, they teased dissention between Masters and Carlito, which you know is coming sooner or later.
WINNER: KANE & BIG SHOW (Retain the Tag Titles)
MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH - Lashley, Hardy, RVD, Finlay, Flair, & Shelton Benjamin)
The Money on the Bank Ladder match was insane. All six participants were impressive. Shelton Benjamin got in a few very impressive moves. Flair feigned an injured knee and was escorted to the back but returned later to continue to fight. RVD proved he is still insane doing a frogsplash off the ladder. The man who has the briefcase and will get a title shot within a year at his discretion is…..Rob Van Dam. Awesome match on every level. I expect that RVD will cash in his title shot at ECW's next One Night Stand pay per view in June.
WINNER: ROB VAN DAM (Guaranteed title shot)
JBL w/ Jillian vs. CHRIS BENOIT (US Title Championship Match)
JBL vs. Benoit wasn't as good as I expected. It was fairly typical with the usual Benoit intensity. JBL won after he reversed a crossface and held onto the ropes for the pin. He won the United States Title from Benoit but this feud is far from over. I was disappointed in this match because both men can do much better, especially Benoit, but it was still a decent match overall.
WINNER: JBL (Wins the US Belt)
EDGE vs. MICK FOLEY (Hardcore Match)
The Hardcore match between Edge and Foley was fantastic! Edge proved he can work any kind of match and Foley proved he can still go. Both men got in a lot of good spots in and both were bloodied and beaten. Lita interfered several times on behalf of Edge. There was a great thumbtack spot which Edge ended up landing in. The visual of so many tacks embedded into Edge's back was amazing. After a lot of blood, brutality, and barbed wire, Lita set a table on fire near the ring and Edge speared Foley through the ropes onto the burning table. Both men landed in the fire, which was quickly extinguished. Edge managed to drape an arm over Foley for the win. The crowd was behind both guys for the sheer physicality of the match.
Foley got a standing ovation after Edge stumbled up the ramp.
Although Foley lost, he didn't lose the respect of the fans as this was as hardcore as any match he has been in and he didn't miss a step.
BOOGEYMAN vs. BOOKER T & SHARMELL
Boogeyman pinned Booker T after he kissed Sharmell with a mouthful of worms. Gross. The match was average. Boogeyman is a good character but not a good wrestler so there wasn't much actual wrestling. Booker did make Sharmell tag in first, setting up a possible heel turn for Booker or Sharmell later on. (I'd turn on my husband if he let me get kissed by a guy with worms in his mouth!)
MICKIE JAMES vs. TRISH STRATUS (Women's Championship Match)
Mickie James pinned Trish Straus after a Chick Kick to win the Women's Title. This was an excellent match. The crowd turned on Trish and was hot for everything Mickie did. Mickie botched a Stratusfaction off the ropes and the crowd let her know it. A Chick Kick later, she was the new woman's champion. The match lasted around nine minutes and was excellent until the end with the botched move. Mickie was the clear favorite with the live crowd but lost some momentum after the botched move.
WINNER: MICKIE JAMES (New Women's Champion)
UNDERTAKER vs. MARK HENRY (Casket Match)
Undertaker held onto his winning streak (as just about everyone expected) by tombstoning and tossing Henry into a casket. Taker did an awesome suicide dive over the top rope at one point. The match was passable only because Undertaker put a lot of effort into it. Henry did nothing for the match.
SHAWN MICHAELS vs. VINCE MCMAHON (Street fight)
Shawn Michaels was attacked by the Spirit Squad and Shane McMahon during his match with Vince McMahon but he quickly disposed of both. Shane ended up handcuffed to the ring ropes as Shawn beat Vince with a ladder, then teased a top of the ladder splash onto a fallen McMahon on a table. Shawn changed his mind to boos but got a much taller ladder and set that up. We're talking a very, very tall ladder here! Shawn tossed a trashcan over Vince's head then laid him on the table again and climbed the huge ladder. A huge elbow to Vince (who was encased in a trashcan) by Shawn was one of the highlights of the night. Vince survived but a stretcher was called out for him. One of biggest pops of the match was Michaels doing the old DX crotch chop several times. Sweet Chin Music and a pin ended this one. Shawn finally got revenge on Vince and Shane and we saw a little bit of the HBK of old with the crotch chops. Somehow, HBK managed to steal the show even against Vince McMahon. Vince was stretchered away (flipping the bird as he was).
WINNER: SHAWN MICHAELS
Another highlight, I should mention, is that Shane tried to force HBK to kiss Vince's derriere once again but HBK countered and forced Shane's face into his father exposed butt. I don't know if that is exactly a "highlight" but the crowd sure popped for it.
SMACKDOWN MAIN EVENT: REY MYSTERIO vs. RANDY ORTON vs. REY MYSTERIO (World Heavyweight Championship Match)
We have a new champion and his name is REY MYSTERIO! Rey pinned Orton to win the World Heavyweight Belt. The match was excellent with many nearfalls and lots of great wrestling. Angle was crisp and looked as good as he ever did. Orton worked hard and Rey shined. The crowd popped big for this win as expected. I have thought for a while now that Rey was going to win once he was placed back into the title picture and Eddie Guerrero was announced as being inducted into the Hall of Fame. I am not saying Rey won because of Eddie's death but it certainly played a part into the booking. At any rate, Rey is the new champion. For now…
WINNER: REY MYSTERIO
Chavo Guerrero and Vicki Guerrero (Eddie's widow) congratulated Rey on the ramp later and they zoomed in on a poster of Eddie at the end. An emotional moment for sure.
CANDICE MICHELLE vs. TORRIE WILSON (Playboy Pillow Fight)
"Catfight!" as Joey Styles would have screamed if Jim Ross hadn't taken his place. Both ended up in bra and panties. Not many pillows used as the two actually tried to wrestle. Torrie won with a pin to Candice. The match was as you would expect but a bit less "fluffy" than usual and more physical.
WINNER: TORRIE WILSON
RAW MAIN EVENT: JOHN CENA vs. TRIPLE H (WWE Heavyweight Championship Match)
This was an amazingly physical match which was much more a brawl than a wrestling match. Both men were super intense. I have to mention that Triple H came out in a king's throne like Conan the Barbarian and Cena came out preceded by an old time thug car with old time thugs with guns. He then walked out with a top hat, trench coat, and a gun ala Al Capone. Very cool entrances for both.
There was a ref bump, a sledgehammer shot, and several false finishes that really got the crowd going. The boos for Cena were very loud but also mixed. He was cheered then jeered as was Triple H. Still I would say the jeers for Cena were louder and more frequent than the cheers.
The intensity of this match was just unreal but the end finally came when Cena locked in a STFU (similar to a Crippler Crossface) a second time and, believe it or not, Triple H tapped out!
WINNER: JOHN CENA (Retains the WWE Championship)
The crowd seemed to be very split at the end about Cena's win as expected.
This match far exceeded my expectations and I think that, whatever side you are on, you have to agree that these two gave it everything they had for the fans.
I really hope Cena turns heel on Raw, however, as it seems to be the only way to play into the crowd jeers.
OVERALL IMPRESSION OF THE SHOW
Really good show with a few exceptions. There was a funny spot in the back with Snitsky, Mae Young, Goldust, Paul Burchill, Ted Dibiase, and Eugene who interacted with Booker T and Sharmell before their match. What a group of misfits! Goldust was wearing a dress over his ring gear. You had to see it to understand it I think. lol.
All in all, this show exceeded my expectations and I recommend you get the replay if you can or you try to get the show on DVD. Except for a few slightly weaker matches, everything was crisp and told a story and, even the Pillow Fight match was more than just a couple women tossing pillows with feathers everywhere (no feathers!).
Although there were no major "special" stars or celebrities on the show, it managed to come off as big time despite that. I only wish there was a cruiserweight match on the show. They very much needed a good CW match but the MITB match was similar in style.
I give this show an overall B.
Now, to see who won the prizes on the forum. The WrestleMania Contest winners will be announced soon. I will announce them on the forum and, once I get the names and addresses of the winners and verify eligibility, will announce them here.
I will be back with lots of news as well so hold tight and watch your mailboxes for my next newsletter - or stop by the site to see what's new!