Sunday, April 3, 2011

WWE Wrestlemania XXVII

WWE Wrestlemania XXVII
April 3rd, 2011
Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
Attendance: 71,617

Let's just call this my "rough draft" review for now. I'll watch the show again tomorrow and clean this bad boy up then, but until then, without further ado, let's get to the review. We open the show with The Rock entering the Georgia Dome. My oh my what a crowd tonight ladies and gentlemen, we're looking at a legit sellout and somewhere in the 75-80,000 persona range according to preliminary reports. The Rock gets a nice pop and hits the ring, waiting a suitable amount of time before beginning his welcoming promo to everyone for tonight's show. Rock cracks his first Cena joke of the night and surprisingly it doesn't go over as well as they have at the last few shows. It looks like we actually do have our fair share of Cena fans here tonight. A small "Fruity Pebbles!" chant starts up while I gaze at the incredible entrance ramp get-up that they've constructed this year. The Rock takes a sip of "the People's water" and leads the crowd in a "Yabba-Dabba" chant before doing some of his other signature lines (the millions, If You Smell, etc) to pop the crowd. That wraps up our opening promo from The Rock and we get our traditional Wrestlemania video package, which is very well done as always.

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Josh Matthews, and Jerry Lawler

World Heavyweight Championship Match
Edge © vs, Alberto Del Rio

Strange to see this match going on first, but I guess Vince wanted to shake things up. Christian is at ringside for Edge here tonight, while Brodus Clay is at ringside for Del Rio and most expect him to win this match. Basic feeling out stuff to start until Edge back-drops Del Rio out of the ring. He follows him out only for Del Rio to toss him into the barricade and slam his arm into the steel steps. Back inside Del Rio gets a quick two count. Del Rio sets up for the cross armbar, but Edge counters into the Edge-ecution. Edge tries for a rollup but Del Rio counters into his flying armbar finisher! Edge quickly gets the rope break however. Edge goes to the top rope but Del Rio hits that running enziguri of his and sends Edge flying while Brodus Clay tosses Christian around on the outside like a ragdoll. DDT from Edge and the chants for the spear start up. Del Rio side steps the spear though and Del Rio puts Edge into his flying armbar finisher once again, but Edge counters into a near fall. He applies his sharpshooter variation that he's been using in recent weeks while Christian takes out Clay on the outside with a big DDT off the apron! Edge hits the spear on Del Rio...and that's it? Spear finishes it for Edge at 11:05. Shocking match to be honest, everyone expected Del Rio to go over here but Edge disposed of him in little over ten minutes. I'm not sure if that's supposed to be a credit to Edge or a knock on Del Rio, but either way this certainly should have been given more time than it was. It was quite good while it lasted though. ***

After the match Edge destroys Del Rio's car. Christian comes out with a pair of tire irons and they really put a work to the vintage Rolls Royce.

Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes

Mysterio's outfit this year is a Captain America costume and mask, and it doesn't look bad, but the crowd doesn't seem to care about it. Then again, hard to tell what is and isn't getting over in a stadium this big with this many people in it. This match had great build due to some surprisingly good promos by Rhodes in the preceding weeks. Mysterio hits a big hurricanrana to start off, but Rhodes comes back with a forearm smash. Rhodes takes the upper hand from here, grinding Mysterio down on the mat with a nerve hold of all things, very old school. Mysterio goes to the top rope but Rhodes meets him there and holds him up in the air in a delayed superplex for a good 15-20 seconds which is an awesome visual and gets Cody a nice pop and a couple of chants.This is truly villain vs. hero here with the corresponding face gear to accompany the theme. Cody goes to the floor and Rey follows him out, giving him a hurricanrana into the ring apron as the ref applies his count. Back inside the ring Rey hits a seated senton and then rolls Cody up for a close two count. Rhodes counters an armdrag into a big wheelbarrow suplex, but Rey fights back with a springboard hurricanrana and sets Rhodes up for the 619. He goes for it but Rhodes catches his legs and kind of just drops him there and gets another near fall. Rhodes goes to take the knee brace off of Rey Mysterio, the thing that started this whole feud in the first place when Mysterio broke Cody's nose with it. Cody strips it off Rey moonsaults back into the ring on him earning Rey a near fall of his own. Rey takes Rhodes mask off and Rey sets up for, and hits the 619 this time! Splash off the top and sick boot to Rhodes face, 1-2--NOO! Rhodes kicks out. Mysterio puts on Rhodes' creepy plastic mask now and gives him a flying headbutt while Cole freaks out on commentary. Mysterio hits a springboard diving headbutt with the mask but Rhodes kicks out at two somehow. Rey goes for the tope but Rhodes slams the knee brace he stripped off Rey earlier into Rey's face and hits the Cross Rhodes back inside for the win at 12:00! Good match here as they worked the masks and knee brace into the contest while Mysterio bumped his tail off for a little over ten minutes for Cody Rhodes. Good stuff, and Mysterio puts Rhodes over very nicely. ***¼

Backstage Snoop Dogg is in the house, so of course he meets up with Teddy Long. RACISM! Or not. Long says he's lined up some talent for Snoop and out comes William Regal...who then busts a freestyle rap on Snoop that's actually pretty decent. Khali and Beth Phoenix try singing a song from Grease but Snoop doesn't like that either. Zach Ryder stars singing that Samantha Black YouTube song or whatever and Roddy Piper pops up behind him to take him out! Chris Masters tries doing a pec dance but that doesn't work either. Hornswoggle comes up next trying to act gangsta, but Long fills Snoop in that Hornswoggle can't really talk. He just sort of...mumbles. Suddenly...Hornswoggle starts speaking English, and cuts a lame little freestyle but the crowd loves it. I've seen worse WWE comedy segments.

Big Show/Kane/Santino Marella/Kofi Kingston vs. Wade Barrett/Justin Gabriel/Heath Slater/Ezekiel Jackson

Kozlov was originally booked here but they kayfabe (or not?) "injured" Kozlov and inserted Kofi into this match. Slater starts us off with the Big Show who quickly comes in and takes charge. This is just your glorified comedy match segment for the night as all four of the faces hit some of their signature moves and quickly dispatch of The Corre in 1:40 after the Knockout punch from Show. Just total filler here, and frankly I'm pissed this made the show while Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan got bumped down to a dark match, that's just bullshit. I'm angry and this offended me, so we're going with the good old DUD rating here.

The Rock and Eve are talking backstage, where they talk about "magical Wrestlemania moments". The Rock says he's going to create an incredible moment with whoever comes around him next. It's Mae Young of course. Mae wants the People's strudel, of course. Rock cracks a few old jokes on Mae and I can't tell if he's being heelish or not. Mae grabs Dwayne's ass of course. Rock says "it couldn't have been anyone else", and he turns around there's STONE COLD. They have an intense little standoff and shake hands and everyone marks the fuck out, myself included.

CM Punk vs. Randy Orton

Punk shoots for the leg to start but Orton counters and clotheslines him out of the ring. He follows him out and tries to toss Punk into the steps, but Punk just steps over them and hits a cross-body back in the ring for a two count. Punk dominates here, hitting a running knee into Orton in the corner. Punk hangs Orton up in the tree of woe and then hits a doublestomp for another near fall. Punk tries for the GTS but can't hit it so he settles on a kick instead. He goes to the top rope but Orton crotches him and hits a superplex for a two count. Punk locks a figure four on Orton but he punches his way out of it eventually. Orton hits the quick powerslam and then continues the assault on Punk with an Olympic slam for another two count. Punk hits a series of kicks and locks in the Anaconda Vice! Orton rolls into the ropes though and the submission hold is broken. Orton slams Punk's head into the ringpost and then hits his trademark elevated DDT from the second rope before going into full-on Viper mode, canvas-pounding and all. Orton goes for the punt, but the legwork from earlier pays off and Orton collapses to the mat. Orton tries for the RKO but Punk just barely avoids it. Punk springboards back into the ring and Orton catches him with the RKO and that's enough for the pin at 14:37. Pretty awesome match while it lasted, they did some simple limb psychology and both men worked hard while they were out there. Great finish too. ***¼

We go to the Hall of Fame segment now with everyone from Sunny to Road Warrior Animal and Paul Ellering getting a pop until they announce Shawn and the place goes wild with HBK chants.

Jerry "The King" Lawler vs. Michael Cole

Stone Cold is your special guest referee, and here to announce the show is Booker T. But they bring in the real treat with good ol' Jim Ross joining Josh Matthews and Booker T now at the commentary table. Great to hear JR at the booth again. Cole comes out in wrestling gear complete with the helmet and all. Cole cracks on Ross a bunch here and gets some nice heat, saying he's going to become the new Mr. Wrestlemania. Swagger joins him out now as well but as he's doing his push-ups, the glass shatters and Austin drives out on an awesome 4x4RTV, which scares Cole back into the "Cole Mine" (a large glass enclasing that Cole has been using in recent weeks to avoid attacks from the King. King comes out and Austin starts the match. King disposes of Swagger quickly and Cole backs down in his glass box as Lawler wants him to get in the ring. Nuclear heat as Cole tries to reason with Jerry with a handshake out of a little opening in the box turns nasty as the King pulls on his arm and his face squishes against the glass in comedic fashion. Jerry jumps into the Cole Mine and beats the tar out of Cole for a bit before opening the door and tossing him into the RAW GM microphone stand.Swagger is back now though and attacks King while Cole distracts Austin. Cole hits a baseball slide and Swagger tries an ankle lock on Lawler, but he fights him off. Cole hits the old Vader/Swagger bomb spot, but it looks terrible which I guess is kind of the point. Cole looks like a total geek. Cole tries working Jerry's ankle and a small "boring" chant starts up. Cole slaps on the ankle lock bur King breaks the hold and hammers Cole, causing Swagger to throw in the towel to try and end the match for Cole, but Austin will have none of that of course and gives a stunner to Swagger while Booker T calls Austin "his dog" in a moment that I can only hope is already a wrestling meme by the time I finish watching this match. King hits a flying dropkick of all things on Cole and then goes to the second rope for his classic fistdrop, but he lifts Cole's shoulder up at the count of two and then Lawler locks him into the ankle lock while Cole taps and screams like a girl to lose at 13:55.After the match Booker can't stand seeing everyone drinking beers and celebrating without him so he hits the ring and does the Wrestlemania Spin-a-rooni until Austin gives Booker the stunner! Sweet. Suddenly the anonymous GM gives us an e-mail and says Austin wasn't unbiased, and so Cole wins by DQ. You're not supposed to kill the messenger, but Lawler doesn't care and throws Josh Matthews into the ring for a stunner from Austin. This was just a strange segment and match all around. It was all over the place really. *

The King rejoins the commentary team. JR and the King, calling Wrestlemania. That is what I want god damnit, THANK YOU for giving it to me.

No Holds Barred Match
Undertaker vs. Triple H

This had almost no hype until this last week's RAW, when Hunter, Taker, and HBK all cut great promos. First things first, in what has become a new kind of tradition, the entrances here are very unique. Metallica is being played for Triple H's entrance, For Whom the Bell Tolls in particular which is pretty sick. They have a ton of medieval looking dudes with shields out on the stage for Hunter's entrance here. This leads up to Triple H's traditional Motorhead music playing and him hitting the ring to a nice pop.Undertaker's gong hits and the lights go out.Johnny Cash's "Ain't No Grave" plays again for Undertaker here and as I've said before, it's utterly brilliant and chilling to the bone, perfectly fitting for Undertaker's character, especially given that he's now apparently "the last outlaw" a lot like Johnny Cash was. As soon as the bell rings The Game attacks Undertaker immediately with big punches only for the Undertaker to just toss him up and over the top rope. Big match atmosphere for this one. Undertaker tosses Hunter into the steel steps and then sets his eyes on the Spanish announcer's table, but Triple H kind of just spears him into the Cole Mine and it kind of just falls apart. That didn't really hurt 'Taker, just pissed him off and it shows. Back inside Undertaker hits a big clothesline.'Taker goes to walk the ropes but Hunter just throws him off and sends him to the floor outside. Triple H tosses Undertaker into the little ring announcer's corner and big chants start up for him. He bounces Taker's head off the announce table and Triple H goes for the pedigree, but Undertaker counters with a huge backdrop sending him to the floor! Triple H tries to regain his composure while the Undertaker hits the ring, but he gets impatient and does his trademark suicide dive over the top ropes to Triple H like a heat-seeking missile. They both take a bit to recover and Undertaker runs into Triple H again in front of the Spanish announcer's table, but Triple H grabs him and hits a huge spinebuster on the Undertaker through the table! Back inside the ring Undertaker hits the chokeslam though and gets a close two count. They go into a nifty little reversal sequence with each of them teasing one of their finishers until Triple H hits another big spinebuster. He grabs a steel chair from ringside and brings it into the ring only to eat a boot to the face. Undertaker nails Hunter a few times with the steel chair, but The Game comes back with the Pedigree, 1-2--NOO! Undertaker gets the shoulder up! The crowd is liking this, but this is a far cry from HBK/Taker. Triple H tries for a superplex but Undetaker counters with the Last Ride only for Hunter to get his shoulder up at two this time.Undertaker nails him with the Tombstone, but Triple H kicks out again! Crowd definitely bought that near fall. Undertaker tries for another tombstone but Triple H counters with a DDT onto the steel chair. He hits ANOTHER pedigree but AGAIN Undertaker kicks out. In WWE kayfabe terms, this is akin to getting shot in the face. A third pedigree, but again Taker won't stay down so Triple H decides he's going to make him stay down and beats him down with several vicious steel chair shots. Undertaker somehow gets back to his feet and Hunter just NAILS him again with the chair. It's not often you'll see guys take a steel chair shot straight to the head that way anymore in the WWE, but these two guys obviously know and trust each other enough to take some pretty vicious punishment in this one. These were Chris Benoit-like steel chair shots, spine-tingling ones. Hunter even gives the Undertaker a TOMBSTONE, but AGAIN Undertaker kicks out. "This is awesome!" chants ring out and for once I may have to agree, despite how over-the-top they're going with Taker kicking out of so many finishers. Hunter goes for the sledge hammer but when he comes back in the ring the Undertaker locks him into the Gogoplata submission! Triple H somehow survives it though and grabs the sledge hammer, trying to take Undertaker out, but he can't even hold the sledge hammer anymore as he grows weaker and weaker as Taker really works the submission until Triple H finally taps at 29:25. This did in fact live up to the hype they had going for it. It wasn't quite on the same level as those HBK/Taker matches, no, but it was a totally different kind of match and it was worked brilliantly for what it was. Triple H puts 'Taker over seven ways to Sunday here, and both men brought the goods for a match that definitely delivered the "big match" feeling they were going for. Brutal match really. ****

After the match Undertaker can't even walk he's so battered and beaten. Triple H looks as if he might want to help Undertaker to his feet, but the refs just tell him to take off and he does it. With "Ain't No Grave" playing over this, it's incredibly atmospheric stuff. Undertaker looks seriously dead, and by god, he actually acts like he's dead, complete with no eye movement or pulse and everything. Finally Undertaker gets up and they take him away on a stretcher cart.

Wrestlemania next year is announced for April 1st in Miami.

John Morrison/Trish Stratus/Snooki vs. Dolph Ziggler/Michelle McCool/Layla

Vickie doesn't seem to get her usual nuclear heat, but oh blame it on being drained from the Undertaker-Triple H bout. Snooki doesn't get the massive heat people might've expected as this crowd just seems more indifferent to her than anything.Snooki slaps Dolph before the match even officially starts. McCool and Trish are in the ring and this is actually a women's match I'd like to see. Trish was always good and McCool isn't bad. Trish counters McCool's Styles Clash attempt and tries for the Stratusfaction hurricanrana, but both women end up fighting each other to the floor. Layla eats a shot from Trish and then Stratus comes off the apron with a double clothesline. Well look at Trish, 5 years out of the ring and minimal ring rust. Trish hits the Chick Kick but Ziggler breaks the count up and gets sent to the floor, where Morrison hits Starship Pain to Ziggler on the floor! Snooki tags in now and you can hear some boos. Snooki does a freaking handspring back elbow! She hits a splash and that's enough to pin McCool at 3:21. Wow, this was incredibly short but I guess that's really all it needed to be. Morrison tried to get some good stuff in and Trish looked great while Snooki provides the biggest WTF moment of the year with her crazy handspring back elbow that was incredibly athletic. Fun popcorn filler. **

71,617 is the announced attendance here in the Georgia Dome, which is a record for ANY event at the Georgia Dome apparently, which is just incredible. Huge crowd to say the least.

WWE Title Match
The Miz © vs. John Cena

More epic entrances here. Before the match we get a flashback to The Miz back in his Real World days, while he was watching all of the Attitude Era Wrestlemanias. He's come an incredibly long way to say the least, and this video package sums it up PERFECTLY with Puff Daddy's "Hate Me Now" playing along with it. Seriously one of the best video packages I have EVER seen and they basically are confirming that this crowd will be cheering for The Miz over Cena. He comes out with Alex Riley by his side and a huge foam "Awesome" behind him. For Cena's entrance we get a huge choir singing some harmonics for the intro. We hear a DMX speech right now while a great video package plays for Cena, which sounds incredibly weird but comes off awesome. Cena still gets some boos and he comes out with a brand new t-shirt on and hits the ring. Ref calls for the bell a bit early in a funny goof. Cena quickly powers out of a headlock attempt from Miz and they lock-up. Miz hits a big clothesline and gets an early two count. Cena hits a gut-wrench suplex for a quick two count and Miz comes back with a nice side-slam for a near fall of his own. Miz starts to gain the upper hand here, laying in shots on Cena. Cena starts up the comeback, hitting the pumphandle slam and the Five Knuckle shuffle to a chorus of boos. He tries for the Attitude Adjustment but Miz counters with a stiff DDT.Cena tries for the STFU, but Miz gets to the ropes.Riley exposes a steel turnbuckle and Miz slams him into it and hits the Skull Crushing Finale, but Cena kicks out at two! Miz tries for it again but he bumps the ref and Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment, but the ref is out. Riley comes into the ring and smashes Cena over the head with the briefcase as the referee comes back to, but Cena kicks out at two again! Cena hits an elevated Attitude Adjustment on Miz, but Miz kicks out as well to the disbelief of the crowd. Cena does the old 3 point stance run and dash outside on Riley, taking him out. Miz tries hopping the barrier but ends up getting speared over it by Cena on the floor. The referee...counts to 10? They call it a draw at 15:00. After the "match" The Rock's music hits and he makes his way down to the ring of course, as this is what everyone has really been waiting for, to see what happens. We get the anonymous GM email noise again and this time The Rock goes to read it while a big "Rocky!" chant starts up. Rock says "It doesn't matter what YOU think". Rock says there's no way that Wrestlemania is over and demands this match be restarted, with No DQ and no countout. Cena hits the ring but as soon as he does, The Rock gives him the Rock Bottom! Miz crawls over and gets the cover for the 3 count and the official win at 19:47. This was a strange match, it was heated and fast-paced and both men worked hard through out, but the first finish was bad and this was really all about the Cena-Rock confrontation more than the match. Still, points to Miz and John Cena for working hard. **¾

After the match The Rock hits the ring and lays the smackdown on The Miz. He gives him a spinebuster and gives him the People's Elbow. The Rock celebrates over The Miz's fallen body to close out the show.

Bottom Line: This was a strange show. There were alot of expectations going in for more than one person to deliver here tonight, and while some did deliver under the pressure, others definitely did not. The undercard seemed to have it's legs cut out from under it as we opened with a World title match that saw the champion retain in quick fashion before going into the actual undercard matches like Rhodes vs. Mysterio, which itself was actually pretty damn good. The Cole vs. Lawler segment was fun for what it was, if long, but the pressure was big time on Triple H and Undertaker here tonight and they definitely delivered with a match that while not on the same par as the HBK/Taker classics from the two previous years, was still a brutal and grueling match. The main event is the only questionable thing here as The Rock clearly screwing Cena out of the title can only lead to a match down the line we have to assume. Because otherwise, they just put The Rock over both of their two top guys for a 5 minute post-match beatdown, and if all this build and that match's booking was for just that, then you'd have to consider it a failure. If this does lead to a Rock-Cena match down the line though, which it absolutely HAS TO at this point or Vince will be facing some serious backlash from his fans, it was all worth it I guess. The show itself was pretty underwhelming to be 100% honest given the huge expectations everyone had for it, but as a show it still delivered the grandeur stage that we expect for Wrestlemania and we did in fact get some very good matches thrown in here. We're going with a Thumbs Up for the show, but not a glowing recommendation or anything.

Score: 7.5/10


JGlass said...

You're more generous than I, X. I'm still confused about this show. I was happy with the wrestling; Edge/Del Rio was really good, Cody/Rey was fantastic, Triple H/Undertaker was awesome, and I even got a kick out of Snooki hitting her moves. I was most surprised by how much I enjoyed Punk/Orton, which I would say was probably the third best match on the card. I think Punk did most of the heavy lifting, but Orton was by no means dead weight as he did his fair share of good stuff in this match.

The real problem I have is that I'm unsure how the WWE moves forward from this. What's next for Punk and Orton? Edge and Del Rio? Where do these four go from here? Most importantly, how does John Cena recover from AAing The Rock and then getting Rock Bottomed by him? Can be maintain his super face status? And what's the payoff for having Rock screw Cena and then beating up Miz? Besides a few cheap pops and a happy ending to Mania, I don't see anything coming of it for months.

It was a good show for tonight, but the smark in me worries about the future.

xfearbefore said...

I feel ya JGlass and I completely agree that the general consensus on this show isn't really going to come in until we see how this affects the company's booking for the rest of the year. If we do infact get Cena vs. Rock, then I'd say the gamble was worth it for that money match, but if we don't, we have major problems because you just made your two top stars look like CHUMPS compared to a guy who won't even wrestle a match for you.

I get the feeling I'm going to get alot of negative backlash for my positive review of the show, but you look at the star ratings at the end of the day and you can't argue a card with a few good ***+ matches and one great **** match. Plus it was an incredible event based on hype.

Thanks for reading and commenting JGlass as always.

jmt225 said...

I probably enjoyed reading your review more than I would have the show if I had watched it. ;)

Seriously though, great review as always, man. Seems like a solid show, about what I was personally expecting it to turn out as (outside of the Bryan match getting shafted, which I thought was absolute horseshit).

It's just seemed like to me the past few weeks that this was a Wrestlemania that was going to build to next year's Wrestlemania, which could possibly be one of the greatest Wrestlemania's of all time when you look at WWE's current roster and the potential of The Rock having a regular spot. If they build everyone up properly throughout the next year, then we'll be in for something phenomenal for next year's show. So much so I might even order the damn show myself, lol.

Stormtrooper said...

Excellent review again X. I'm pretty much in agreement with the match ratings/overall ratings for the most part.

The one thing I would say is that I don't know if I'm giving Vinnie Mac too much credit, but I don't think he's stupid enough to have Rock go over tonight and NOT have Rock signed on for a match (to put over Cena) eventually. Plus, based on tonight, I also think he will end up wrestling Miz (and winning) at some point as well (Maybe Miz at Summerslam in LA, with Cena at Mania XXVIII in Miami).

Finally, as much as I'd have loved to see the Daniel Bryan/Sheamus match, if there was one match to be cut, this had to be it. It was the least promoted match on the card, with the least amount of Airtime leading up to it. Plus it would be terrible for whoever lost for them to go out there and get only 3 or 4 minutes, which would have been the likely scenario.

markoff5 said...

Really liked your review, X. So far it is the only one I've really agreed seems that so many reviews think that the only way to be "smart" is to crap all over everything.

Overall, the matches were good for what they had to work with. Too much nonsense eating up time made the show seem VERY long. If this was a 3 hour show and Cole/Lawler would have been replaced by Bryan/Sheamus I think everyone would be singing a different tune. Thanks for the entertaining review!

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