WrestleMania XXVII Review
Obviously it’s not a good idea to continue reading if you haven’t finished watching the show, but for those who have please feel free to post your thoughts in the comment section.
Edge vs Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship
In what I initially thought was a very brave move on the part of whoever decided the order of the matches, Edge, accompanied by his ‘good friend’ Christian (for some reason the fact they were billed as brothers before Christian left to go to TNA has been totally ignored) defended his World Heavyweight Title against Alberto Del Rio to open the show. Del Rio has been fast-tracked into a main event role by desperate writers still heavily dependent on ageing talent, and while I understand the necessity to do this I don’t see him as a main event competitor quite yet. Yes, he won the Royal Rumble but other than that he has nothing in the way of accolades; I think a run with one of the secondary titles is in most cases essential when it comes to pushing a wrestler up the pecking order – and it needs plenty of time to develop. Kurt Angle, The Rock, Steve Austin, John Cena, Bret Hart and many, many others all had good runs with either the Intercontinental or United States Championships before going on to win the big one, in my opinion Alberto Del Rio needs to take the same route to be considered a serious threat to either main event belt.
With that said, the title match itself was solid if unspectacular. Edge had an injured arm as a result of Del Rio repeatedly slapping on his cross arm breaker finisher in the weeks leading up to their big match, so that was the obvious target for the challenger to work on. The final minute or so leading up to the pinfall was frantic, fast paced action that it so desperately needed, but otherwise it was a forgettable bout with Edge deservedly winning to keep his title. Del Rio needs at least another year to convince guys like me that he’s a main event player, he’s been thrown into a big match environment way too soon.
Cody Rhodes vs Rey Mysterio
This was a match I was quite excited about after reading the storyline leading up to it, with Mysterio accidentally breaking Rhodes’ nose, ruining two potential World Title opportunities and even the “dashing” gimmick he was using at the time due to his apparent grotesqueness. That’s quite a unique way to build up a grudge match, but after watching the video package it all went sour for me pretty quickly – the ‘breaking’ of the nose looked comical, and it didn’t help that at one point during the match itself the protective mask Rhodes was wearing came off revealing that he was… perfectly fine. A little make-up could have been use to blacken his eyes or something, but no, the entire build-up had been ruined beyond repair.
It didn’t help that the match was very average as well, with Rhodes’ innovative way of winning it and a nasty looking enziguri being the only real standout points. He finished it by hitting Mysterio with his own knee brace that he’d taken off earlier in the match, but otherwise this was a very dull bout.
The Corre vs Big Show, Kane, Santino Marella & Kofi Kingston
This 4 vs 4 match came about when Corre members Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater and Ezekiel Jackson repeatedly targeted The Big Show after forming on Smackdown some weeks before WrestleMania, so this match was put together presumably to sort that little issue out.
The Corre consist of three of the brightest young talents on the entire WWE roster and a man-mountain capable of flying around the ring with relative ease, and what should have been a contest that showed how they could at the very least match two former world champions and two former intercontinental champions ended up being a squash match – of the eight men involved only Big Show and Heath Slater were legally involved, and it was over before it got going.
I can’t help but feel an opportunity was missed with this one, The Corre would have looked good if they had taken their opponents to the limit or even beaten them, but they were made to look like a joke. The highlight was Slater selling Big Show’s knockout punch to finish the match, he looked like he’d been hit by a cinder block as he went down for the count.
Randy Orton vs CM Punk
This match had a fantastic story behind it, starting two years beforehand when Orton and his Legacy faction took out CM Punk before he could defend his then-World Title. Punk took his time retaliating and the feud was made, with Orton having to take on Punk’s ‘New Nexus’ faction in the weeks leading up the WrestleMania with the stipulation being that if his faction members won they could be in his corner, whereas if Orton won they’d be banned from ringside.
As it turned out Randy Orton won all the matches, meaning Punk had to wrestle him one-on-one with no potential interference. As with Edge’s arm injury Orton was also sporting an injured leg, which was as a result of Punk targeting it so he couldn’t deliver a punt to the head. Unfortunately this match took on the same formula as the Edge/Del Rio title match from earlier in the evening, with CM Punk constantly targeting his opponents injury. With that said this one was much better, with Orton at one point going for the punt, collapsing in pain and then very nearly catching Punk off guard with a surprise RKO, who then fell victim to the finisher after diving off the top rope to give Orton the win. Really solid stuff from two great performers, I enjoyed this one.
Michael Cole vs Jerry “The King” Lawler
I’d been discussing this match in some detail on various forums, basically expressing my fears that this match could be on par with the Bret Hart vs Vince McMahon atrocity from last years’ WrestleMania. My fears were somewhat subsided when I was told Michael Cole had received some training, but then I remembered a certain Jay Leno match in WCW where his repertoire consisted of little more than a wristlock and a headlock.
With Booker T and Jim Ross joining Josh Matthews on commentary, I was right with my Vince/Bret comparisons as the match was horrible. It took an eternity to even get Cole in the ring, and straight away it was evident that his training had either been a half hour session or it simply hadn’t worked, as Cole lightly stepped on Lawlers’ ankle after his supposed trainer Jack Swagger attacked him while referee Steve Austin was distracted.
I mentioned in my previous WrestleMania post how I thought Austin was only involved to give the match some much needed help, but even he couldn’t stop a restless crowd from telling the participants exactly how they felt about the dire performance. Jerry Lawler looked to be in fantastic shape considering he’s 61, but in all honesty he’s 20 years past his prime… and he was never a fantastic wrestler to begin with. He does possess a wealth of experience though and knows how to tell a story in the ring, but that wasn’t going to happen with Michael Cole.
The match itself lasted nearly 14 minutes, which was 10 minutes too long. Cole got a cheap disqualification victory after Lawler had pinned him as a result of the anonymous Raw General Manager deciding that Stone Cold had gotten too involved in the King’s favour, but before that there was a typical Austin celebration involving beer and a Stone Cold Stunner on Booker T, followed by the decision being reversed and Josh Matthews getting a Stunner simply for reading out the message.
The problem with Stone Cold is that he hasn’t wrestled a match for almost exactly eight years, and making only the occasional appearance since then to perform pretty much the exact same thing over and over – referee a match, drink beer, Stunner people. The Rock has been in a similar situation but has remained in the general public’s eye with the releases of several (despite crappy) big movies, whereas Austin has mainly done direct-to-video action movies. This essentially means that anyone under the age of 12 (the current target audience of the WWE) likely has no idea who he is other than a bald guy from the past who likes to drink beer and Stunner people three or four times a year. I noticed this when listening to the reactions he’s been getting from live audiences recently, they’re gradually dwindling as people grow tired of the same shtick. But yeah, he couldn’t save what was easily the worst match of the night.
The Undertaker vs Triple H
This was the big one in the eyes of a lot of WWE fans, The Undertaker defending ‘the streak’ against Triple H. For those who don’t know, prior to the event The Undertaker had an 18-0 win/loss record at WrestleMania, and in recent years his feuds have been based entirely on someone challenging him to end said streak. This year it was Triple H’s turn, who had already been unsuccessful ten year ago at WrestleMania 17 but WWE chose to ignore that for whatever reason.
I more or less knew what to expect, essentially a match that was good but not as good as the epic Shawn Michaels matches from the previous two years. That pretty much summed it up, and despite being willing to stake my house on an Undertaker victory should the need arise I was at one point convinced Triple H was going to get the win, after nailing ‘Taker with three Pedigree finishers and a gnarly Tombstone Piledriver. The Deadman kicked out though, and ultimately won the match after locking The Game in his Hell’s Gate submission finisher, forcing Triple H to tap out. In what was in interesting moment The Undertaker had to be stretchered out of the ring as he could no longer physically move, which I think could be a sign for things to come – every year his opponent gets closer to beating him.
With that said I don’t think the streak will end, because assuming The Undertaker isn’t injured for next years’ WrestleMania it will be his opportunity to go 20-0, which is what I think he’ll retire with. If the streak were to end it would make no sense having Triple H be the man to do it, seeing as he’s gradually approaching retirement himself. A younger guy needs to be the one to do it, possibly John Cena depending on his fan popularity as he looks to be sticking around for the foreseeable future.
Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi, Trish Stratus and John Morrison vs LayCool and Dolph Ziggler
When writing my review for WrestleMania 26 last year I couldn’t work out why they put a divas match right between the two World Title matches, but while watching this one I realised why – it’s to give the crowd a breather before the next big match as too much sustained excitement might have burned them out before the final match of the evening and after the Undertaker/Triple H match I could see exactly why this was necessary.
I have to reiterate the fact that I have no idea who this ‘Snooki’ woman is, but for whatever reason this match seemed to be about her. It turned out to be very similar to the earlier multi-person tag team match in that only three of the six competitors were legally involved – Stratus and Michelle McCool for the most part, with Snooki coming in for a cameo backflip and handstand splash to pick up the win for her team. Nothing else much to say really, apart from that I’m disappointed that two of the hottest midcarders on the roster got absolutely no ring time.
The Miz vs John Cena for the WWE Championship
I’ll say one thing for The Miz, he’s gradually becoming a believable WWE Champion. I said last year that his skills were rapidly improving and the higher-ups in the WWE obviously agreed with that opinion by giving him a run with the belt.
Miz and Cena feuded a while back, the idea being that Miz called Cena out on Raw who didn’t show, with Miz thus proclaiming a forfeit victory. This went on for several weeks until he was apparently something like ‘five and O’ against Cena, who promptly annihilated him when they did finally meet in the ring.
With that in mind I was surprised to see Miz practically dominate John Cena from start to finish this time around, although there wasn’t much else of note that took place. As good as The Miz has become he still wasn’t capable of carrying Cena to what could be considered a great match, and it ended after a double countout with guest host The Rock restarting it, giving Cena a Rock Bottom for his troubles. This allowed Miz to retain his belt, and despite him gradually growing on me as champion this has been a recurring theme with his title matches – I’d like to see him win a few on his own.
An average score taking into account all the matches would be 4.5/10, but I’m going to round that down due to a promising United States Championship match between Sheamus and Daniel Bryan being relegated to dark match status to make room for a silly skit involving Snoop Dogg and a rapping Hornswoggle. Overall WrestleMania 27 was the most disappointing WrestleMania I can remember for some time, in fact it’s quite possibly the worst I’ve seen since my first WrestleMania which was the 12th. There were only a couple of matches that stood out as being even above average, and the Pay-Per-View on the whole exemplified exactly why I’ve lost interest in professional wrestling and probably won’t watch it at all until I most likely have to endure rather than enjoy WrestleMania 28.