March to Mania · Pro Wrestling

MARCH TO ‘MANIA: Return to Detroit

While there are very few Wrestlemanias that can match Wrestlemania 3’s cultural impact, it’s not overly difficult to surpass that card in quality. So how far ahead does Wrestlemania 23 finish ahead of Wrestlemania 3?

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Wrestlemania 23 (Results)

Date: April 1, 2007

Arena: Ford Field (Detroit, Mich.)

Attendance: 80,103

SUMMARY: The Undertaker had never won the Royal Rumble during his career. He broke through in 2007, winning the battle royal and earning a title shot at Wrestlemania, the event he had dominated throughout his career. With the option of challenging for any major title, he opted for the World Heavyweight title, albeit without a real explanation why, setting up a match with Batista. On Raw, Shawn Michaels and John Cena teamed up to fight the forces of Rated RKO, Edge and Randy Orton. Michaels and Cena took the World Tag Team titles from the duo, and then Michaels went on to win a Triple Threat match, meaning he was going to face Cena for the WWE title. Also, Donald Trump, the man who brought Wrestlemanias 4 and 5 to Atlantic City, N.J., challenged Vince McMahon to a hair vs. hair match where each man would use a proxy to fight for them. McMahon chose the Samoan monster, Umaga, while Trump went with Bobby Lashley in the “Battle of the Billionaires.”

MY ENJOYMENT RATING: B-plus

FAVORITE MATCH: Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena. Shawn Michaels is probably going to appear in this spot a lot in the coming events, but this is where he earned his moniker Mr. Wrestlemania rather than the early stuff. You sensed a serious tension between the two, and the two worked an incredible match that saw John Cena failing to hit his finisher. Michaels delivered some great work, targeting Cena’s knee with vicious attacks. The ending sequence where both men counter the other’s move is a nice sequence, leading to the ultimate scene of Michaels, who for the second Wrestlemania in three years, has to slap the mat three times in defeat. The post-match angle where Cena wanted to shake Michaels’ hand, but Michaels blows him off was great leading into the next month worth of programming. This match was Wrestlemania worthy from the entrances to the big spot where Michaels hit a piledriver onto the steel steps, you had a match that delivered everything you want.

THINGS THAT MADE ME NOD IN APPROVAL: The Batista vs. Undertaker match deserved a better slot than the fourth match on the card, but given the rest of the card, it’s spot, unfortunately, made sense. That said, the two men delivered a memorable match that gave the other matches a difficult task of coming after it, setting the tone for a card. The Battle of the Billionaires featured the usual wacky, overbooked madness that comes with the McMahon association, but this match was a strong showing from Umaga and Bobby Lashley. Both men delivered a great power-based match. While the ending was predictable, anytime the fans can see Vince McMahon suffer is a reason for them to cheer. I’ll also give props to Donald Trump for delivering a clothesline to Vince and taking a stunner at the end. There was also a solid undercard match between MVP and Chris Benoit that I found wildly entertaining. I didn’t even talk about the Money in the Bank ladder match, mainly because you know how this spotfest goes. It’s full of awesome high spots, and featured a simple finish where Ken Kennedy just knocked CM Punk off of the ladder and climbed to claim the briefcase. Lastly, the promo videos with various superstars discussing their hopes, dreams and aspirations as children and then using the event’s tagline, “All Grown Up,” was a nice way to break up the card.

THINGS THAT MADE ME LOWER HEAD IN SHAME: I never understood the Kane with the “See No Evil” obsession with the hook. Really thought, I’m just looking for ways to get that Great Khali and Kane match into this section, because quite frankly it was bad. I didn’t know how valuable they viewed Great Khali as he pinned him with one foot. A year removed from Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James, we get Melina vs. Ashley. Yup. High-level stuff there. This last thing isn’t so much me lowering my head in shame, but rather scratching my head in confusion. So when is shaving your head a bad thing? I understand in Mexico it’s a big deal in the Luchas de Apuestas culture, but in the United States, losing your hair doesn’t seem to carry the same weight as it does in Mexico, let alone between two Billionaires. I didn’t know there was so much shame in losing hair. I’ll chalk that one up to me having a full head of hair.

RANDOM THOUGHT: “At least, JTG was seen on Wrestlemania.”

MY ULTIMATE WRESTLEMANIA CARD RANKING: I have prediction that many of these Wrestlemanias in the 20s will likely be grouped together relatively tightly. There was very little differentiating between Wrestlemania 22 and Wrestlemania 23. I give the slight edge to Wrestlemania 23 because Vince McMahon didn’t work a true match on this card. I also enjoyed the Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena match more than Triple H vs. John Cena bout, which, albeit unfortunate, made it a blessing in disguise that the Triple H vs. John Cena match for Wrestlemania 23 didn’t go through as planned. Michaels and Cena worked at a different level and pace than Cena and Triple H did, and it paid dividends with a match of the night showing. The Undertaker vs. Batista bout was also great, along with a better Money in the Bank ladder match than 22 make it a better overall event. That being said, because it’s still awfully similar to Wrestlemania 22, and ranks below Wrestlemania 5 and what seems holding the gate to be the top tier of Wrestlemanias.

  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 23
  8. Wrestlemania 22 (Review)
  9. Wrestlemania 15 (Review)
  10. Wrestlemania 6 (Review)
  11. Wrestlemania 14 (Review)
  12. Wrestlemania 20 (Review)
  13. Wrestlemania 3 (Review)
  14. Wrestlemania 21 (Review)
  15. Wrestlemania 2000 (Review)
  16. Wrestlemania 13 (Review)
  17. Wrestlemania 2 (Review)
  18. Wrestlemania 4 (Review)
  19. Wrestlemania 12 (Review)
  20. Wrestlemania 8 (Review)
  21. Wrestlemania 11 (Review)
  22. Wrestlemania 1 (Review)
  23. Wrestlemania 9 (It’s hard to pass this as the worst)
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