March to Mania · Pro Wrestling

MARCH TO ‘MANIA: Developing the stars

Wrestlemania 21 marked the turning of the page for the WWE. This was the first Wrestlemania that didn’t feature a match with either The Rock or “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. The promotion was in the process of building new stars, and there usually isn’t a better stage than to set off the next generation of superstars than a dominant performance of Wrestlemania.

So did Wrestlemania accomplish its goal of making new superstars?

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Wrestlemania 21 (Results)

Date: April 3, 2005

Arena: Staples Center (Los Angeles, Calif.)

Attendance: 20,193

SUMMARY: Batista and Triple H were good friends, having been in Evolution together. But the World Heavyweight Title was drawing a rift between the two Evolution members. Batista won the Royal Rumble, and the stable wanted him to go to Smackdown and take the WWE title back to them. Batista looked at the two contracts in front of him, and teased he was going to go with what the group wanted. Then Batista turned on the group, signing the contract to take on Triple H in the main event of Wrestlemania. Meanwhile, on Smackdown, John Cena continued his ascent up the ladder, earning a WWE title match against John Bradshaw Layfield, who held the strap for 280 days.

MY ENJOYMENT RATING: C-plus

FAVORITE MATCH: Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels. There were no frills about this match, and the men delivered a performance that is truly one of the greats. Angle and Michaels weren’t working at 100 miles per hour, but they were working a smart, methodical match that fit Angle’s character a lot more. I also love the use of Wrestlemania 12 as a reference point on how Kurt Angle. Angle won an Olympic Gold Medal in 1996, but he was feeling disrespected by fans who didn’t know who he was. Those fans were more focused on Shawn Michaels instead of a man who had defended the U.S.A’s honor in the Olympic games. The sequence that finished the match was amazing. Michaels, who did everything in his power to avoid tapping out, teased that he escape a few times, but when Angle dropped to the grapevine, Michaels who had fought with all his might not to tap out hit the mat a few times to signal defeat.

THINGS THAT MADE ME NOD IN APPROVAL: While I would normally be disappointed that Eddie Guerrero had suffered a fall from being a main eventer to opening the show, I wasn’t upset here. I really enjoyed his bout with Rey Mysterio. The two men have such great chemistry and they communicate so well in the ring. Then there was the Money in the Bank ladder match. Like I’ve mentioned numerous times before, multi-man matches can get hectic in a bad way, but the guys made it easy to focus on where the key action is happening. I’m always amazed at Shelton Benjamin, who stole the show in the match with his “use the ladder like they’re stairs” spot. The ending wasn’t a crazy bump to take out the last guys, but rather a smart finish that saw Edge attack Chris Benoit’s arm. It was the same arm that Kane had worked earlier in the match to cause Benoit to fall over in pain was great. Wrestlemania 21 also featured some of the WWE’s high-quality production values. The movie spoofs featuring the superstars were great. The Undertaker’s entrance was exciting as the smoke hid the platform. Kane’s pyro torching the ladders on the stag,e and the subtle changing of the movie marquee to the current match was a nice touch.

THINGS THAT MADE ME LOWER HEAD IN SHAME: My major gripe with the HBK vs. Angle match was the post-match. Michaels walked out of the ring on his own power, showing little to no effects of the match. I understand it’s pre-scripted, but the illusion is what we’re looking for. Also, I was annoyed with Jim Ross’ commentary during Trish Stratus match vs. Christy Hemme. He went on a long tangent on how Trish was jealous of Christy, which made little sense to me. I think he focused on the wrong story to tell here. He focused on the idea of Trish being jealous, but of what exactly? He should have focused on Trish felt disrespected and wasn’t reacting a way someone who has nothing to worry about should. The jealousy thing didn’t click with me, and it annoyed me throughout the match. There is nothing wrong with Randy Orton, by the way. I just can’t get into his matches. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I just enjoy his matches on most nights. It happened again here against the Undertaker. It wasn’t bad match. I just couldn’t get into it. The main events weren’t good at all. They were lacked passion. They lacked heat. They lacked drama. They lacked everything that makes up a good match. That’s a shame, too. This was a chance to really sell and put over John Cena and Batista, but it fell flat. Thankfully, in the long run, it didn’t hurt the too much. There was also a Piper’s Pit that I used to go to the bathroom.

RANDOM THOUGHT: “‘So Cowboy Bob Orton puts on a cast for the sole purpose of hitting the Undertaker with it? I get the reference, but that’s just silly.”

MY ULTIMATE WRESTLEMANIA CARD RANKING: This was supposed to usher in the new era for the WWE. The post-Rock, post-Austin world didn’t start off that great. The two title matches where Batista and John Cena were put over as the future of the company lacked fire and were bland matches that didn’t make you think that either man would be memorable. There were a few gems on this card, but overall the entertainment value was simply a show that featured top-notch production with the movie spoofs. Sure, we got the first-ever Money in the Bank match at this Wrestlemania, but even that the Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle match deserve too much mention. It’s not the worse, but it certainly wasn’t near the best.

  1. Wrestlemania XIX (Review)
  2. Wrestlemania X-7 (Review)
  3. Wrestlemania 10 (Review)
  4. Wrestlemania X-8 (Review)
  5. Wrestlemania 7 (Review)
  6. Wrestlemania 5 (Review)
  7. Wrestlemania 15 (Review)
  8. Wrestlemania 6 (Review)
  9. Wrestlemania 14 (Review)
  10. Wrestlemania 20 (Review)
  11. Wrestlemania 3 (Review)
  12. Wrestlemania 21
  13. Wrestlemania 2000 (Review)
  14. Wrestlemania 13 (Review)
  15. Wrestlemania 2 (Review)
  16. Wrestlemania 4 (Review)
  17. Wrestlemania 12 (Review)
  18. Wrestlemania 8 (Review)
  19. Wrestlemania 11 (Review)
  20. Wrestlemania 1 (Review)
  21. Wrestlemania 9 (Holding strong as the worst)
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