March to Mania · Pro Wrestling

MARCH TO ‘MANIA: Thanks for the memories, Shawn

After Wrestlemania 14, nobody thought Shawn Michaels would return to the ring given his back injury. Thankfully for wrestling fans, Michaels turned five Wrestlemanias later to give us arguably the greatest string of high-level Wrestlemana performances ever.

Wrestlemania 26 was the finale for the person who can make a legitimate claim to the title of Mr. Wrestlemania. But where does it fit in Wrestlemania history?

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Wrestlemania 26 (Results)

Date: March 28, 2010

Arena: University of Phoenix Stadium (Glendale, AZ)

Attendance: 72,219

SUMMARY: For the first time since Wrestlemania 11, a title match wasn’t ending the show. It makes sense, however. This Wrestlemania was all about Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker. Michaels obsessed about losing to the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 25, asking for another shot to snap the streak. Undertaker countered, asking for Michaels to put his career on the line for the chance. Michaels said that he didn’t have a career if he couldn’t beat ‘Taker, setting up the highly anticipated rematch at Wrestlemania 26. That was one of the three main events. The second was John Cena taking on Batista for the WWE title. The two men had similar careers, breaking through and claiming the WWE title and the World Heavyweight title, respectively at Wrestlemania 21. Batista was jealous that Cena had become the poster child of the WWE, setting up a match between the two. As for the World Heavyweight title, Edge won the Royal Rumble and chose to chase Chris Jericho.

MY ENJOYMENT RATING: C

FAVORITE MATCH: Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker. There is always a genuine fear that the second match will never live up to the hype of the first meeting. That’s why I have the second meeting between Undertaker and Shawn Michaels rated higher than the first. It’s always harder to come up with a better match the second time around. The second match is full of emotion because of the stakes involved, and that is what carries the second match past the first. In wrestling, emotion can go a long way. Since nobody wants to see Shawn MIchaels retire, the crowd believes that the streak could end here because HBK has so much on the line. The match was well worked, and Undertaker’s reaction when Michaels kick out the second Tombstone was priceless. The image of Michaels climbing up Undertaker with ‘Taker yelling for him to stay down is burned into many people’s mind, and ater Michaels provokes Undertaker with his own taunt and slapping across the face, Undertaker hit a jumping Tombstone piledriver to end the career of Shawn Michaels.

THINGS THAT MADE ME NOD IN APPROVAL:  CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio gave plenty of action in a tight seven-minute package. In fact, it might have worked a lot better in the sprint atmosphere. There wasn’t any opportunity to slow down the match, and the two give the second strongest showing on the card. There is something special about John Cena vs. Batista. The idea that their careers have more or less paralleled each other to a degree is a tremendous story to build around, and two gave us a good match that isn’t each other’s best, but still notable in relation to their career. The same could be said for Chris Jericho and Edge. Overall, the match was fine and I enjoyed it. I just needed more to be more excited about it.

THINGS THAT MADE ME LOWER HEAD IN SHAME: The poor divas. They just can’t have a great Wrestlemania match. Since Trish Stratus and Mickie James tore the house down at their Wrestlemania, there hasn’t been a divas match that I’ve bothered to care about in great detail. This 10-diva tag match had no direction, and essentially built to an unintentional comedy moment with Vickie Guerrero. Guerrero got so excited about pinning Kelly Kelly that Guerrero pulls Kelly’s shoulders off the mat, causing her to do this small splashes to get the three count. Also, I’ve liked every Money in the Bank match that Wrestlemania has hosted until the one on 26 took place. Seriously, 10 guys in one match? That’s like a battle royal with a ladder, meaning it was going to be terrible from the beginning. Surely enough, it wasn’t great and it was further cemented as shameful was when the biggest goofball in the match, Jack Swagger, who had his redundant moniker “The All-American American,” won the match. Then there was the Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon match, which essentially was awful. It’s sad to see Bret unable to work like he used to, and nobody should ever mention that match again past reading this blog.

RANDOM THOUGHT: “…” following the divas match.

MY ULTIMATE WRESTLEMANIA CARD RANKING: If you just looked at the card on paper itself, you would have thought that this would be a decent Wrestlemania. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all that great. After years of insisting that a title match has to go on last, they decided to put the Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels match on last, and that was an excellent decision. That said, the card itself features a slew of matches that underperformed and felt like a normal pay-per-view rather than a the biggest event of the year. Don’t get me wrong, the two title matches on the show were solid showings, but they weren’t anything to write home to or hype as memorable moments. The show felt like an earlier version of Wrestlemania, except with better production values and quicker paced matches. So it deserves to be rated as such: an average card carried by one super match with the Wrestlemania title.

  1. Wrestlemania XIX (Review)
  2. Wrestlemania X-7 (Review)
  3. Wrestlemania 10 (Review)
  4. Wrestlemania X-8 (Review)
  5. Wrestlemania 24 (Review)
  6. Wrestlemania 7 (Review)
  7. Wrestlemania 5 (Review)
  8. Wrestlemania 23 (Review)
  9. Wrestlemania 22 (Review)
  10. Wrestlemania 15 (Review)
  11. Wrestlemania 6 (Review)
  12. Wrestlemania 14 (Review)
  13. Wrestlemania 25 (Review)
  14. Wrestlemania 20 (Review)
  15. Wrestlemania 3 (Review)
  16. Wrestlemania 21 (Review)
  17. Wrestlemania 26
  18. Wrestlemania 2000 (Review)
  19. Wrestlemania 13 (Review)
  20. Wrestlemania 2 (Review)
  21. Wrestlemania 4 (Review)
  22. Wrestlemania 12 (Review)
  23. Wrestlemania 8 (Review)
  24. Wrestlemania 11 (Review)
  25. Wrestlemania 1 (Review)
  26. Wrestlemania 9 (It’s hard to pass this as the worst)

 

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