WrestleMania XXVI Thoughts

This show needs no introduction. Naturally, I ordered and watched it live last night, but even if it was almost an obligation, it was worth every cent.

John Morrison and R-Truth vs Big Show and The Miz
I didn’t have any particular predictions for this match, but I expected a decent show (pun not intended), and that’s what I got. There’s not really much to say other than that, because wow, this was awfully short for a match on a four hour show.

Randy Orton vs Ted Dibiase vs Cody Rhodes
This match was solid, but it did seem to drag on a bit at some points. I would have been shocked if Ted Dibiase won, but I would have fallen off the couch and accidentally done cartwheels if Cody Rhodes won. (I’ve never been able to do cartwheels, so that would be something.) But Randy Orton won, as expected, since it’s too late for anyone to care about the other two. Hopefully they’ll be salvaged in future storylines, and hopefully Orton will move on to less green pastures (get it!?).

Oh, and I really liked the reversal finish. It really played up the “Orton is smarter and more experienced” theme that they were clearly going for. I also liked Cody Rhodes doing the Alabama Slam, as a throwback to his days with Bob Holly. But maybe he does that all the time and I hadn’t noticed. Same with his new song that might actually be an old song I don’t recognize.

Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Oh man, this was awesome. So many good spots from start to finish. I could never name them all if I tried. Kingston should have won for his ladder stilts, though, because that was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Towards the end, Kane was doing something with a ladder that I just couldn’t figure out. Like he was trying to push one ladder into the other…? Anyway, Jack Swagger was probably the last non-Evan-Bourne person that I expected to win, especially since most of the others stole the show and seemed to “deserve” it more. He also doesn’t strike me as main event material yet, but perhaps that will change in the near future.

Triple H vs Sheamus
This was a really solid brawling style match. Despite the obvious, I haven’t particularly been a big fan of Triple H in nearly a decade. But even if he’s not the most athletic or technically sound, I do recognize that he’s definitely a pro. Even though he won, he still made Sheamus look great, which is much unlike Triple H’s own “challenge the big dog” match with the Ultimate Warrior forever ago. I’d like to see a rematch where Sheamus goes over, though, cleanly or otherwise.

Rey Mysterio vs CM Punk
Punk started out with an amazing promo, while Rey Mysterio started out with fake hair. I was hoping it existed so there would be something to shave off, but that was not the case. Really, though, I knew Mysterio was going to win, because there was no way he couldn’t after the birthday party. But I loved the match, because both are amazing performers who apparently work well together. I really hate the 619, though. The setup for it is so predictable and unbelievable that it’s just impossible to take seriously.

Bret Hart vs Vince McMahon
I expected to see some kind of gimmick to this, because it obviously wasn’t going to be a normal match. I didn’t particularly expect the entire Hart family to get involved, but when it was introduced, the swerve was really predictable. It was still a lot of fun, though. Bret looked great for what he did, and it was good to see the Hart Dynasty helping out their uncle (or actually getting to do something at all, for that matter). I really wanted to see Natalya body slam Vince, the way she did Jimmy Yang and a few other guys. But yeah, even if it wasn’t a classic technical match like Bret Hart has had in the past, it was definitely entertaining.

Chris Jericho vs Edge
So good. Chris Jericho has been my favorite wrestler since 1998, and this is one of the many examples as to why that is. I really did not expect him to win, though. I mean, he spent months trashing Edge, then Edge makes a surprising comeback to win the Royal Rumble, and Jericho is played up as a coward who can’t win cleanly. Not to mention the fact that faces tend to win at WrestleMania, especially in big championship matches. But I am glad that he won and won’t just be a one month champion. He definitely deserves a long reign. And this leaves a lot of room to continue the feud even longer, which would be fun. They work really well together.

10 Diva Tag Team Match
Although the WWE women’s division(s) generally makes me sad, this was actually better than I expected. It was a fun little spot fest to get sandwiched between the big title matches. In a bittersweet twist, though, the real highlight of this match was Vickie Guerrero. I love her as an asshole authority figure type; she definitely makes up for the loss of Eric Bischoff. But I was glad to see her Frog Splash that she didn’t get to use on Smackdown. The Eddie Dance was a nice touch, too.

And it’s not like WWE gives me much reason to be upset that Vickie went over actual wrestlers.

John Cena vs Batista
This match was exactly what I expected. (Other than part of the crowd starting to cheer for Batista, anyway.) They’re just very limited, predictable performers. But I didn’t completely hate it. In fact, I thought it was okay overall, and probably would have benefited from cutting down the number of rest holds. Cena winning was no surprise. He almost never loses at WrestleMania. But I was kind of expecting/hoping Jack Swagger to cash in at the end of this, because it would have been interesting, to say the least.

On a completely unrelated note, I loved the “Batista Likes Fishsticks” sign.

The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels
First, I should say that, while I remember really enjoying their match last year, I can’t remember something from a year ago vividly enough to compare, so I’m not even going to try. On its own merit, though, this was incredible. This is the kind of match that makes me proud to be a fan of pro wrestling. These two guys are obviously getting up there in age, and they’re certainly not the strongest or most athletic anymore. But they still put on a damn good show, such that it made me forget that it was a show. The kind of passion, flow, and psychology they had was unlike anything I’ve seen in recent memory. They drew me into this match and sold their story far more than any other last night, and the ending was very touching. My only complaints are that it resembled Ric Flair’s “final” match a little more than I cared for, and that this really could be the last time Shawn Michaels wrestles. It’s too soon!

I don’t know what anyone else thought of the match, because as of this writing, I’ve avoided all other opinions so far. All I know is that “Thank You Shawn,” “Shawn Michaels,” and “HBK” were in the top ten Twitter trends after the show ended. I don’t know if anyone thought it was a disappointment compared to last year, or if they’d think I was understating how great it was. All I know is that it was a phenomenal match that lived up to its hype, and absolutely deserved to be the main event over either world title match. Not even Chris Jericho could have followed that.

Final Thoughts
This was a great show, and the only thing I regret about my purchase is the problems with the feed I had. At times it was like watching a slide show. But I do at least get free replays at my whim throughout the week, which I’m already taking advantage of. I highly recommend the replay, or at least the DVD/Blu-ray release, to anyone who is able to purchase it. I might even rewatch it every day this week if I have the time.

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Categories: Pro Wrestling, Review

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