OK, Wrestlemania XXVI is all over with. The smoke has cleared, the hype is done and Shawn Michaels’ career fell to the streak. A friend pointed out to me, the same show where Bret gets his closure, HBK retires. How ironic. Let’s do a match-by-match review of the “Grand Daddy” of them all.
The opening of the show was very low-key with a decent montage. I thought the WWE would do it up a little more, but this would become the tone for a lot of stuff this year. Both John Cena and the Undertaker also had low-key entrances which is weird for those two.
Tag Team Title match:
Nice way to open the show as the tag team titles have not been defended at a Wrestlemania for a long time. However, the match was way too short for the great talent that was in this match. I really thought this was going to be a breakout moment for someone like John Morrison but that was clearly not going to happen in a match that was over in less than 10 minutes. I picked Morrison and R-Truth, but I don’t mind Miz and Show walking out with the titles. They’re a legit tag team by WWE tag team standards these days.
Triple Threat: Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Ted DiBiase
I was so shocked to see a pro-Orton crowd after years of him being a heel. But it’s always cool to see a guy who is playing a heel get the crowd behind him and still be somewhat of a heel. This was the first time the crowd really got into a match. It was only a matter of time before Rhodes and DiBiase turned on each other and it happened halfway through the match. Orton getting the punt-kick on Rhodes got a good reaction from the crowd. Nothing stellar about this match. It will be interesting to see what happens between these three now. Wrestlemania is usually used as a PPV where feuds end, but this one still has a ways to go.
Money In The Back
This was a huge let down and probably the match I was most disappointed in as I had such high hopes. There was not one big spot in this match that made me say “Wow! I need to see that again on replay.” The only thing I got enjoyment out of was Kane beating Zolph Diggler like a little boy who just stole candy from the corner store. Kane split the ladder in half while beating him. Then Kofi Kingston used the broken ladder as stilts and almost won the match. The end of the match was very anti-climactic. Jack Swagger was on top of the ladder with everyone down and it literally took 20 seconds for him to unhook the briefcase. I mean really, 20 seconds? I didn’t want to see one huge spot after another, but there was nothing overly exciting and I thought with guys like Evan Bourne, Christian and Kofi Kingston would be able to carry the rest. Plus, Swagger winning was just the wrong choice. This guy is not and should not be in a main event title match within the next 12 months.
The Hall of Fame class of 2010 were introduced. The Million Dollar Man received the biggest pop.
Triple H vs. Sheamus
The opening of the match was very slow and it didn’t get good until 10 minutes in. When I mean good, I mean decent. Jerry Lawler called this match a classic. I don’t think King really believes that, just a case of trying a little to hard to sell the match. There were some good counters and reversals at one point that made it a little exciting. Totally shocked that HHH won, especially with the way this match was built up. HHH said those that defeated him at Wrestlemania go on to great things. Those that lose to him perish. Both are true when you look at the record books. I really thought Sheamus, a former World Champion, would take the win.
By the way, Sheamus looked abnormally white tonight. Maybe HHH was darker than usual. I don’t know, but Sheamus looked like the main character from the movie “Powder.”
Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk
I think what really hurt this match was how brief it really was. Now, the length of this match could have been determined by the WWE because Rey’s knee is just not in the best shape. There was a lot of good quick, back and forth action. I don’t have a problem with Rey winning, it was kind of obvious with the whole family angle going into the match. One quick note, Rey’s mask was weird, to say the least. It had dreads coming out from the top of it. That or they looked like those long ropes you use to pull the drapes down on windows.
Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon
I wish I can report to you fine folks how awesome it was to see Bret back in pink and black tights with the Canadian flag hanging over his shoulder and how happy the kid in the front row was to receive the Hitman’s glasses. Well, I can’t report that to you because none of that happened. Bret’s ring attire was basically the same thing you see every week on Raw except he had knee pads and elbow pads. Vince’s swerve started out well with the Hart family siding with him, but it fell flat when Bret immediately countered the swerve with the same swerve. Why couldn’t the Hart family start the match out on Vince’s side and then turn on him? Still great to see the Sharpshooter again. Bret didn’t do much in the ring, but he did better than I expected.
I must say, I was really hoping for a Shane McMahon or Earl Hebner appearance. I know the odds of either happening were slim, but I held out hope.
Edge vs. Chris Jericho
Probably the third best match of the night. Good action here as both men played beautifully off the other. The first quarter of the match was slow, but then they just picked it up with a ton of reversals and counters. There was a tremendous counter of a spear from Edge into a Walls of Jericho. It’s hard to picture, but it was done so nicely. I honestly thought that Y2J was a transitional champ, but I was dead wrong. I was glad to see Y2J win at Wrestlemania and retain the title. I think it was a shock to most as Edge had all the momentum on his side. The post-match stuff was great as Edge delivered a spear on the announce tables that sent Y2J into the barricade where the ring announcers sit. That move right there was 10 times better than any spot in the Money In The Bank match. This feud should continue. I say it should end at Extreme Rules with a ladder match.
I’ll admit. This was my bathroom break.
Batista vs. John Cena
Cena’s entrance was cool, but far subdued from past years. However, I think those past entrances were over the top and not in a good way. This match reminded me of Undertaker/Batista from Wrestlemania 23, but better. Lots of power moves with each man finding a clever way to counter the others finishing move. The crowd was totally into it and not a shocker as Cena wins and is starting a Wrestlemania win streak of his own.
Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels
This is what it was all about and how could it not be? Two of the longest running superstars in this industry, in the twilight of their careers, still putting on a five-star match. Now, you are going to hear a lot of people saying this match was either much better than last year or vice versa. I will say this, from a wrestling standpoint, last year was better. From a total package standpoint, this year was better. Tonight’s match told a better story that last year. The interaction between Taker and HBK was classic, especially the end of the match where HBK gave Taker the Tombstone sign and then slapped the spit out of Taker’s mouth. Also, the Tombstone on the arena floor was crazy and who can forget the moonsault off the top rope onto the announcer’s table by HBK. Undertaker also delivered the best Tombstone of his career. He basically did a jumping Tombstone to put HBK away for the win. You have to see it to really appreciate it.
They shook hands after the match and it was a great display of respect. HBK showed some emotion after the match, but it didn’t look anything like a man who was about to close the book on his career.
**The announce team of Lawler, Cole, and Matt Striker was awful. I only say that because the WWE needs Jim Ross back in the worst way. It doesn’t have the same feel without the voice of the WWE calling the biggest event of the year. I really thought he would call at least one match.
**The pyro after the Undertaker win was great. Lately, pyro has not been kind when Taker’s music is playing (Pyro accident a few years ago at the conclusion of his Wrestlemania match and during last PPV where Taker was on fire).
**Did I mention we need JR back?
**Top three matches in order: Taker/HBK, Cena/Batista, Edge/Y2J.
**The attendance was announced at 72,219.
I'll be back soon to start my campaign for the Undertaker vs. John Cena at Wrestlemania 27 in Atlanta.