Let me just start this post by saying that I’m not a wrestling fan per se. In fact, I haven’t watched that stuff regularly in nearly a decade. But as I sat around bored on Sunday afternoon, I came across a promo for the 25th installment of Wrestlemania. With nothing else to do I thought, hell, why not? So I ordered it.
Like most guys my age, I was a huge fan during the “Attitude Era” in the WWE, specifically during the “Monday Night Wars” of the late 90s. I never took it so far as to wear t-shirts around or backyard wrestle (that clip is amazing, just for part where “the Cosmic Smasher” talks about why he wants to be famous at around 6:10) or anything like that but I was a weekly watcher and I actually went to a taping of Raw with a bunch of friends in 1998.
But again, I hadn’t watched regularly since, maybe around 2002 or 2003. Still, Wrestlemania is almost always a good show because the matches are meticulously rehearsed and wrestlers seem to go all out and attempt crazy stunts to try and make names for themselves. After buying the pay-per-view I have to admit, I was actually entertained for a solid three hours by the WWE and I’m as surprised as anyone by that fact.
After seeing The Wrestler this year I gained a much better understanding of what this stuff does to the bodies of the competitors. You have to respect what these guys go through even if the outcome is predetermined.
The main reason I decided to tune in was to see two of my boyhood favorites, Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker, fake fight. The two guys truly put on a great show, even if it is fake, they really went all out with very little regard for their bodies. It was fun to watch two legendary guys like that do what they do on their biggest stage, even if it was something I’m not that interested in. In the end, The Undertaker won after a fantastic match and preserved his undefeated streak at Wrestlemania. He’s now 17-0.
As for the rest of the night, it started with an insane eight-man ladder match for the right to become a title challenger at some point during the next year. I don’t know how these guys get the balls to do this stuff, but at least three times a guy jumped from over 15 feet in the air onto a group of fellow competitors. I caught at least four “Holy Shit!” chants from the crowd during this match, which is like the ultimate thing a wrestler can achieve. In the end, some guy named C.M. Punk won.
Right after that, Kid Rock performed a medley of his songs. I know what you’re thinking – Kid Rock and wrestling, two things that were cool 10 years ago! Yes, I thought it too. The best part of his little performance was when the “Divas” walked past him to the ring. Why? Because if the WWE does one thing right, it’s that they’ve always got two or three insanely hot chicks on the roster at all time. I had no idea what any of their names were, so I had to actually go to the WWE site to find out. Anyway, the following girl named “Tiffany” caught my eye because, well, just look at her.
Another hot one – named “Kelly Kelly” because apparently they’ve run out of fake, stripper-ish names for these chicks – was worth the price of admission as well. Evidenced below.
Naturally both of the hot chicks were eliminated quickly from the 25 Diva battle royal that I barely watched. After that, Chris Jericho beat three WWE Hall of Famers in a 3-on-1 match. Then taunted Mickey Rourke to come into the ring and challenged him. Rourke hit Jericho with a left hook in a set up that was about as lame as it sounds.
Then brothers Matt and Jeff Hardy beat the hell out of each other, doing various incredibly dangerous, likely to paralyze someone, stunts that left the crowd pleased. Matt Hardy won by essentially crushing his brother’s head in a chair. Ouch.
Next Rey Mysterio (woohoo, San Diego!) beat John “Bradshaw” Layfield for the Intercontinental title in just 21 seconds. That was followed by the Undertaker-Michaels match. Then John Cena beat Big Show and Edge for the World Heavyweight Title. Cena actually managed to pick up Big Show (he’s about 500 pounds) onto his back and slam him, pretty impressive there.
After that match the WWE honored this year’s inductees into the WWE Hall of Fame. Foremost among them was “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Naturally Austin thrilled by driving a four-wheeler to the ring, climbing on the ropes and doing his signature beer shower and drinking all around the ring. Apparently that will be the final time he’ll ever be in a WWE ring, which is sad considering Austin was the star of the Attitude Era and other than Hulk Hogan, is probably the biggest star in the history of wrestling.
In the evening’s final match, Triple H beat Randy Orton to retain the WWE Championship in a disappointingly slow match.
Good night overall, I have to say the WWE knows how to put on a good show. Reliant Stadium was packed to the rafters and the crowd really seemed to enjoy the action. While I’d never buy a pay-per-view other than Wrestlemania and I won’t become a regular viewer after tonight, I was fully entertained and have no real complaints.