Hey everyone, I’m back home and i’ve come down from my Phoenix high.
Just wanted to share with you some of my weekend.
We got into Phoenix, AZ on Friday night, missed a lot of stuff that night – Fozzy & Mickie James performances and DGUSA.
Saturday morning is when things really started to pick up for our (mine and my nephew, Ethan’s) Wrestlemania weekend. We went to the 8am-12pm AXXESS session. Ethan loved it. … and so did I.
Some sacrifices had to be made in order to enjoy as much as we could, but we did meet, get autographs and photos with Layla, skipped Abraham Washington and Tony Atlas, Natalya, Zack Ryder, Vickie Guerrero, Dolph Ziggler and Cody Rhodes. In addition to that we also saw some really neat Hart Family and other Wrestlemania memorabilia. We also saw the infamous Vince McMahon limo that he ‘died’ in and Stone Cold’s 4-wheeler from Wrestlemania 25. There was also a really cool set up of Shawn Michaels’ Wrestlemania outfits. I personally got a great kick out of the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania Graveyard. Got a picture of myself pouring dirt into Shawn Michaels’ Wrestlemania plot. A bit morbid, but very awesome. Also on display was the hearse from the Undertaker-Kennedy Last Ride match and the Undertaker “T” symbol throne. My nephew had fun with the Magazine cover, in-ring and other little photo spots they had, including the foam pit ring where people could jump into the ring.
Straight from Axxess, I headed to Ring of Honor. The hour before the show started, there was a meet-and-greet with Jim Cornette. Got a picture and autograph with him, that was pretty neat. The matches I saw were good; saw matches with Johnny Yuma, Kevin Steen, Kenny Omega, Briscoes, Necro Butcher, Joey Ryan and some others I know i’m forgetting. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to stay for the whole show. During Intermission, however, I noticed this guy wearing a hat with a CABANARAMA band around it, it was none other than Tweeter friend @WellYoureWrong. He and his cousin, I believe she was his cousin, got into the ROH ring and starting busting a move for a chance to get tickets to Mick Foley and Colt Cabana’s Xtreme Comedy show. Good stuff. I left shortly after that to go to the Dodge Theater to meet another Tweeter friend of mine, @WWEgirl88 and get my Hall of Fame ticket. Before I left ROH though, I did (sort of) get to talk to the Young Bucks (Generation Me), Malachi Buck and Brandon and Dustin Cutler who were all performing at the DGUSA shows that weekend.
After I picked up my ticket, went back to the hotel to get ready and then back to the site of the Hall Of Fame, I went.
The Hall of Fame was really good, had really great seats too. I could see everything, including a great view of Chris Jericho and Batista. In a rather awkward moment, Pat Patterson made a comment about forgetting what he was going to talk about next as he was inducting Mad Dog Vachon; he made a comment about his doctor telling him that he had Alzheimer’s. I’m not sure if that was meant to be joke that no one really ‘got’ or if he was serious. I hope it was just a joke gone bad. I thought Wendi Richter looked great and her presenter, Roddy Piper was looking so pimp. Same ol’ Hot Rod. What I thought was in good taste, was that instead of sending out these two particular inductees and letting them accept the induction, Mad Dog Vachon and the former wife of Gorgeous George both had someone asking them a couple of questions. I think it would have been extremely awkward and maybe embarrassing for them to just let them go out there on their own. I liked the format they had for Stu Hart’s induction too. Instead of having someone induct them and then someone accept on his behalf, they just had Bret and the rest of the Hart family come out together. Bret told a couple of stories about their father and at the mere mention of Owen Hart, he got a great pop from the crowd. Really good stuff. Antonio Inoki was good as well, glad he was able to give his speech in Japanese too. Bob Uecker was too funny! The last inductee presented was the Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase, accompanied by two Divas and the Million Dollar belt. He had a great speech, what he said about his wife was great too. One of the, if not the, best parts of the Hall of Fame ceremony was the very end when DiBiase did his usual thing, “Everbody’s gotta price” and then made it rain in the Dodge Theater. I, unfortunately, didn’t get anything. I have a video (shh! don’t tell anyone!) of this part, I’ll post it ASAP!
On Sunday, we got an early start and headed to the University of Phoenix stadium, bought some merchandise and then went of a scavenger hunt for another Tweeter friend of mine, StevieBreech. We waited in line and hung out for a while and then… the doors opened. We got into the stadium and wow, to say that the stage/tron thing was huge would be an understatement, the thing was MASSIVE! Anyway, we got in and found our seats, ran into my good friend Jim and his pal Nick. (Little known fact: I talk to Jim on a nearly daily basis, yet in the last 7 or 8 years, have only seen him 4 times!)One note, I just want to say that I don’t think there was really a ‘bad’ seat in the house. Everywhere looked like they had a great view, I don’t know for sure, but that’s what it looked like. Well, after that, I found yet another Tweeter friend, and 1/4th of the Core 4, Crystal… from Alaska! We chatted for a bit and took a picture together. Still had over an hour until the show started so I got Ethan his popcorn and one of those Wrestlemania XXVI souvenir cups. Got to our seats again, spotted Steve in his seat, tried to figure out where JerryVintage and theCanadianHero were, but with no luck.
Finally, the show started, the dark match for Wrestlemania was a Wrestlemania 26, 26-Man Battle Royal. I won’t name them all, but even though Zack Ryder was looking good, Yoshi Tatsu picked up the victory. Finlay got booed pretty good for throwing out Santino. Don’t think too many people cared about Tatsu winning. I didn’t. Great thing was that I think because of this Battle Royal, everyone on the roster got to have a match at Wrestlemania. The NXT rookies, although not in the match, were all dressed up and standing at the top of the entrance ramp as well.
Time for the real deal, Wrestlemania XXVI!
Wrestlemania XXVI opener was the Unified Tag Team title match- ShowMiz def. Black Magic & the White Shadow
A huge WTH? The match, after all they hype they tried to put into this match, it really didn’t pay off. I think maybe it could have, had they had more than 3 minutes and wasn’t a complete squash.
Second match of the night was the Triple Threat – Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Ted DiBiase.
This was a match that was put together lazily, in my opinion, but turned out well. The outcome was tricky though, they could have had a good build for anyone of these guys. Had Teddy won, he’d be a seen as a top competitor, had Cody won, he’d be seen as the underdog everyone forgot about but managed to prove himself, had Randy won he’d complete his face turn.
Well, Randy Orton won. We all saw this face turn building, but I gotta tell you, seeing him climb the ropes stand there for a few moments and then hit that VINTAGE Orton pose… that was great. In the arena, you could literally feel the turn as it happened.
Third match of the night was the Money In The Bank with Christian vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kane vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Jack Swagger vs. MVP vs. Evan Bourne vs. Matt Hardy vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston.
Alright, about this match, it was definitely different than other MitB matches, but that isn’t a bad thing; I did however, miss some old elements. The new things they tried instead of the high spots they usually go for, were really cool. The Kofi Kingston stilt thing was great. I didn’t think he’d pull it off, but he must have been practicing that for a while. And that bridge thing they made across the ring was cool. Seeing Bourne hit the SSP from there was great. One of the disappointments I had was that Shelton Benjamin didn’t have a Wrestlemania moment, I honestly didn’t know where he was half the time. I feel like there were some guys who got lost in the whole match. It probably came off a lot better on television though, it’s hard to judge a match when you see it live. I was surprised that Jack Swagger, not disappointed, just surprised. Swagger’s got a ton of potential, I’m glad that it seems the jobbing to Santino days are behind him and he’s back on track.
After the match, Howard Finkel introduced the Hall Of Fame inductees. Ted DiBiase got another great reaction.
Next match was Triple H def. Sheamus.
I’m not sure how into this match people were in the beginning, but eventually Sheamus had some heat and Triple H got a some chants. Not sure if they made it onto the broadcast though. Wasn’t a bad match, but I think it would have been good to see Sheamus go over Triple H. I mean, there wasn’t really any reason for Triple H to win this particular match. I mean, really, how great would it have been for Sheamus to go over him in his first Wrestlemania match. Like I said, it wasn’t a bad match really, I just think Sheamus would have benefitted more from coming out the winner than Triple H did.
Rey Mysterio def. CM Punk was up next.
This was another match that I loved, but was a little disappointed with. What a momentum killer. CM Punk has been gold and although I wasn’t one of them, he had some good heat, but I think letting ReyRey get the victory was a little weak. Really glad Punk got on the mic and I loved that Serena got involved how she did. Really great match, really short though. Considering the time the Divas match and Hart-McMahon got, it was a let down. (Oh, and I just want to point out that I had no idea who ReyRey was dressed as until like half-way through the match. I’m one of the 9 people on earth who haven’t seen the movie.)
Following that match, Bret Hart def. Vince McMahon in a No Holds Barred match.
This match had gotten a lot of heat from people, I’ve seen. Neither one of these men is a wrestler. Sure Bret Hart used to be one of the best, but he’s plagued with injuries so no one was expecting a whole lot out of the match. What I didn’t like, and what I’m sure a lot of you didn’t like, was that amount of time that this match took. It was really nuts hearing Bret Hart music playing at Wrestlemania and seeing him walk out to the ring and then later seeing him with Vince in the Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring. Having Vince come out and say that the Hart family screwed Bret was great. We all questioned how exactly this match would play out and I think it was a great decision to use the whole Hart family, including the Hart Dynasty to get it done. It really was a Hart family victory, this whole thing. Stu Hart will be forever remembered and enshrined in the Hall of Fame and now his family has made it’s peace with the WWE and Vince McMahon and now the new generation of Harts can start taking their place in this business. …just could have been done a little quicker.
My pick potential show stealer match, Chris Jericho vs. Edge.
Jericho and Edge are two of the best the WWE has right now, there was no way this wasn’t going to be a great match. Once again, Chris Jericho proved why he is the best in the world at what he does. Jericho had some really good heat as well, and again, I wasn’t apart of it, although I did cheer for both guys. I loved that not once did Edge hit the Spear. I thought that was a nice move after all the hype with “SPEAR. SPEAR. SPEAR.” It was a really great match, I don’t know how it came off on the broadcast, but live, it was great. I thought Jericho was on top of his game that night. He was hitting Codebreakers out of no where, going from Walls of Jericho into the Canadian Maple Leaf – he really is the best in the world at what he does. Glad Chris Jericho didn’t get the clean victory, he is a heel after all. I was also glad that Edge came out strong at the end of the match. Finally getting that Spear from on top of the announce tables and Spearing Jericho into the guard rail was a great end to the match and opening for a much longer feud. The crowd, which a lot of times seemed a little dead to me, was into this match. Maybe not more than the other main events, but still got into it.
Next match Alicia Fox, Vickie Guerrero, Maryse, Layla & Michelle McCool def. Eve Torres, Beth Phoenix, Kelly Kelly, Gail Kim & Mickie James.
Bad match. If you follow me on Twitter and read my live tweets, you saw my “Botchamania is running wild in Glendale”. It was bad. A lot of people were getting up from their seats and just weren’t into the match. I think they would have been better off keeping this match off the card and using the Divas to escort the Hall Of Fame inductees, at least then we would have had more time for Punk-Mysterio. The one upside to this match was the end, after Vickie got the win, she did that little Eddie Guerrero shoulder shake. That was good to see. I was really glad to see Vickie do that. I think ReyRey might have done it too, wasn’t sure though.
Second Main Event of the night John Cena def. Batista.
I was actually excited to see what John Cena’s entrance was going to be. Although it wasn’t as flashy and as grand as others in the past, I thought it was pretty darn cool. This match got the second best crowd reaction of the night. There were a lot of Cena chants that were going, as well as Batista chants, not sure if any made the broadcast though. You know, whether you like John Cena or not, he does not fail to up his game for the big matches. Live events are hard to judge, but I think both Batista and Cena really brought their A-game and it showed. Hot crowd for the match, and again if you saw my tweets, you saw when I posted “Kids are marking out like crazy for John Cena!” They were. So were adults. Good crowd reaction for a good match.
The right decision was made and the main event, the last match went to the only two guys who could pull it off…
The Streak vs. Career, The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels
Very high expectations for this match, I have to admit that last year, I said I never wanted to see these two lock up again because their match was just so epic. I was wrong and I’ve never been happier to be so. As I tweeted, I don’t know that this was a ‘better’ match than last years, but it honestly does not matter. The sign I had at Wrestlemania read “ONCE IN A LIFETIME SUPERSTAR, UNDERTAKER” but really, both The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels are once in a lifetime Superstars.
There’s no denying how incredible these two are on their own, put them together and it’s pure magic. So much chemistry between them. I’ve said it before and I still really believe that this match wasn’t just a rematch from last year, this was a continuation of a feud that started years ago; the same feud where Taker and Shawn battled it out in a Casket Match, in the first Hell in a Cell match and the same feud that led to the infamous match between Shawn and Bret in Montreal. In my opinion, this has been the ultimate feud of two guys who worlds apart, yet on their own level above everybody else.
This wasn’t just a rematch, but a conclusion to something that started years ago. This was the end to what really could be the greatest storytelling, the greatest battle of wills and the greatest end to a great career. Please, I hope that you don’t think I’m exaggerating, of course this is all my opinion, but there is nothing better than two legends pulling off an amazing match and using amazing storytelling to get you to truly feel everything they were doing.
From the very get-go, Shawn Michaels was that same old, defiant little dog in a big fight. Compared to last year’s epic battle, this epic battle was so much more subtle and I was glad for it. I appreciate that they didn’t go for the usual Undertaker spot, suicide dive over the top rope, I love the guy, you all know this, but if he never did it again, I’d be quite content. He doesn’t need to do it. As much as I was worried that the No DQ stipulation was going to possibly hurt it, I had faith that they’d know how to make it work, and I was right. They worked around the stipulation perfectly. They were able to battle outside the ring and that moonsault from Shawn was great.
I kid you not, EVERYBODY in the University of Phoenix stadium was on their feet for this whole match. There were “HBK” chants, “UNDERTAKER” and “LET’S GO TAKER” chants. It was nuts. I’ve never been apart of a crowd that was THAT hot for a match from beginning to end. It was ridiculous in the most absolutely fabulous way. I don’t know how many Tombstones were delivered or how many Superkicks The Undertaker took, but everyone was holding their breathe whenever a pin was attempted.
At the end of the match when Taker was calling for the end of the match everyone was all riled up and then when he paused and stopped as Shawn was struggling to get to his feet everyone around me was settling down a little to see what was going to happen. I was watching them in the ring, not on the video screens so it wasn’t until last night when I realized Taker told Shawn Michaels to ‘stay down’. As I said earlier, Shawn was that old defiant dog in the fight who wasn’t ready to go out limping, it was all or nothing. As he stood up and did the cut-throat gesture everyone was getting into a frenzy again and then that slap. Wow. Incredible. The “Ohhh!’s” could be heard all around and then the Undertaker came back and hit him with not just a regular Tombstone, but a jumping Tombstone piledriver. Then the 1, 2, 3. The Undertaker is 18-0 and unfortunately, it came at the price of Shawn Michaels’ amazing career.
Both of those guys put on one hell of a match. Nothing can top The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania. It’s amazing that’s it’s taken this long to get the two greatest Wrestlemania Superstars to match up at the Show of Shows.
After the win, The Undertaker did his pose and the pyro went off; we got the 18-0 graphic on the video stage. In what I thought was the only way for this match to end, The Undertaker grabbed Shawn’s hand and helped him up and then they hugged it out. Perfect. The Undertaker then left the ring, leaving Shawn in the ring by himself, and rightfully so. This wasn’t about the Undertaker staying undefeated and being 18-0, this was about Shawn’s last match.
After The Undertaker left, Shawn stayed in the ring and took in the great reaction that we were giving him. After a couple of minutes, Shawn Michaels walked out of the ring and walked up the entrance ramp. There were “HBK” chants filling the arena and everyone was up and clapping for the Heartbreak Kid. Once at the top of the ramp, he stopped and gave us on last bow.
Once Shawn left into the back all of the screens went down and Justin Roberts thanked us all for the show. We didn’t get a highlight video.
On a personal note about this match, I know some people question how authentic this retirement is, including me, but I really want to believe Shawn when he says he’s going to honor his word to The Undertaker.
If this was his last match, as an Undertaker fan, I cannot thank Shawn Michaels enough for giving him that tremendous honor. He could have easily made his last match against someone like Hunter, or even Cena. And to give it to the Undertaker, put an end to an amazing story, it was fantastic. As a Shawn Michaels fan, I believe that he’s going out on the absolute highest note possible. The match was not about Shawn passing the torch or going out the winner, it was about being Mr. Wrestlemania and proving why he is the Showstopper.
A couple of other notes:
Because Paul McCartney had a show, literally, just across the parking lot from Wrestlemania, traffic getting out of the area was BAD! Took us just over an hour to get out. Would have been longer had we not found a different route.
Was a bit disappointed I didn’t get to see any of my other Tweeter friends @theCanadianHero and @JerryVintage.
After Wrestlemania, I got to hang out with my friends Jim and Nick (Please check out @noVaWPodcast!) and a couple of their friends, Darrell and Nate, and talked about the show. It was good times.
Monday morning, getting ready to leave from our hotel, the morning news said that Wrestlemania broke the previous U of P stadium attendance, held by a U2 concert.
Finally, I just want to thank EVERYONE who was apart of my Wrestlemania weekend and to all my Tweeter friends who wished me fun times. I certainly had fun times. Good stuff.