Wrestlemania 23 and 24

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Wrestlemania 23 was a good show, but not quite as memorable as the year before.

We got another entertaining MITB match with Mr. Kennedy defeating CM Punk, Randy Orton, Finlay, Matt Hardy, King Booker, Jeff Hardy, and Edge. All performers did a great job and filled the match with a lot of high spots.

The worst match was The Great Khali going over Kane. Khali is not a good performer and it always unfortunate when a top notch wrestler like Kane is stuck putting over someone with no talent.

The Undertaker beat Batista for the World Heavyweight Title in a great, well worked match. Both guys did a terrific job and the match was paced very well which is very important when putting together a good match.

The main event was John Cena beating Shawn Michaels via submission in a solid main event that really helped elevate Cena.

There were some good matches but overall, this was a fairly lackluster event.

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Wrestlemania 24 was a major improvement from the year’s previous show and was highlighted by another excellent MITB match, Edge vs. The Undertaker for the World Heavyweight Championship, and Ric Flair’s retirement match.

 

The MITB ladder match between Chris Jericho, Mr. Kennedy, Carlito, M.V.P., CM Punk, Shelton Benjamin and John Morrison was incredible. Every performer put their all into the match with CM Punk winning the title shot. Morrison is an incredible athlete and did some crazy maneuvers and Shelton took some bumps that were the craziest ever seen.

The final match on the card featured The Undertaker defeating Edge for the title in a great match that showed Edge was truly a main event wrestler and could help carry the biggest show of the year.

The best bout on the card though was the career ending match between Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels. Shawn Michaels was amazing as always and Ric Flair proved he is the greatest professional wrestler of all time. What he did during this match at 60 years old is amazing and proved he is a legend. It was a very emotional match with an amazing amount of back and forth action with no dead spots and Michaels winning with a superkick to Ric Flair. Flair was very emotional at the end of the match and this bout was a great way to end his active wrestling career.

Well, this will be the last Wrestlemania review for the week since the 31st installment is only a few days away and I have run out of time! I will be watching Wrestlemania 31 specials Thursday and Friday night, followed by the Hall of Fame on Saturday and of course Wrestlemania 31 on Sunday!

I will let you know how it all turns out next week!

 

WWE Live Events

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This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending two WWE Live Events in Arizona. Live Events are non-televised shows that focus more on wrestling and eliminate all the long speeches we see during televised shows. They used to be referred to as ‘house shows’.

I had not been to a WWE show in 15 years and was thrilled to get to go to not just one but 2 back-to-back. Both shows were a ton of fun and it was great to see my daughter’s excitement watching her first WWE events in person.

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Last Friday night the show was held in Tucson at the Tucson Convention Center. I had never attended an event there before and it was a small arena where there is not a bad seat in the house and it really gave the show an old school feel which I loved.

The card was as follows:

Jack Swagger defeated Adam Rose and it was really surprising to see that both wrestlers were over with the crowd.

Bo Dallas was defeated by Erick Rowan in a short, squash match which was followed up by Dallas insisting on another match to redeem himself and was subsequently squashed by Zack Ryder. Once again, all three guys got a great reception.

Fandango & Stardust vs. R-Truth & Goldust was a fast moving match with the crowd constantly cheering and chanting ‘Cody’ to mock Stardust. R-Truth & Goldust won and ended the match with an entertaining dance-off between both guys.

Roman Reigns beat Rusev by DQ. Reigns was over with the Tucson crowd big time. Biggest pop of the night with the crowd never losing interest in this match.

Cesaro and Tyson Kidd vs. New Day vs. The Ascension vs. Prime Time Players in a Four Way Elimination match was another well worked match with Cesaro and Kidd winning in a bout that was fun throughout.

Nikki Bella vs. Paige was another solid match and even though the crowd loved Paige, Nikki was more over since Arizona is her home state. Nikki won in a solid match.

The main event was a street fight between John Cena and Seth Rollins. On television the crowds are always clearly divided between love and hate for Cena. Not in Tucson. Cena was very over with the crowd and only a very small smattering of people booed him. This was a great main event with Cena putting Rollins through a table and securing the win.

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The next night the show was held in Phoenix at the US Airways Center and it was a pretty big crowd and our seats were amazing. It was the perfect contrast to the night before with the old school feel. Saturday’s show had a great modern, big arena feel.

The show started again with Jack Swagger beating Adam Rose and the two of them had an even better match than the night before.

R-Truth beat Fandango (w/Rosa Mendes) and just like the previous night R-Truth was very over with the crowd and after the match was done they brought some kids in attendance into the ring to chant ‘What’s Up!” with R-Truth and create a very memorable moment for them and their families.

We got the same Bo Dallas vs. Rowan bout with a second match against Ryder and it was just as fun as the night before. Well worked by all three guys.

We also got the same Four Way Elimination match with the main difference being Kofi Kingston teamed up with Xavier Woods for New Day this night with Xavier teaming up with Big E the night before. Yet another great match between four teams that worked hard to entertain the crowd and succeeded.

Ryback beat Rusev via DQ and it was a very well worked and well paced match. Rusev got great heat and Ryback got several ‘feed me more” chants throughout the match.

Goldust defeated Stardust in a great match that was a real joy to see since these two real-life brothers work incredibly well together. Goldust was very over with the crowd and Stardust got a lot of ‘Cody’ chants just like the night before.

The other repeat match was Nikki Bella beating Paige again with both ladies being very over with the crowd. This match was even better than the night before and it is nice to see the Divas being given more time to have actual wrestling matches.

The main event was John Cena and Randy Orton taking out Seth Rollins and Big Show. Rollins and Big Show got great heat and Cena and Orton were very over with the crowd. Orton got the biggest pop of the night by far and really seemed to be surprised by it and enjoyed it. Cena pinned Show after an Attitude Adjustment which seemed to shift the ring. The referee had to grab the ring ropes with Rollins and Orton getting low to the mat so as not to fall over. It was incredible to see that live.

Of course, I bought plenty of souvenirs both nights with my favorites being the John Cena autographed photo for myself and the Randy Orton autographed photo for my daughter. They have a couple of the wrestlers autograph a limited number of photos before the show and sell them at the merchandise booth for a mere $20 a pop. Awesome deal and I am quite thrilled to finally get Cena’s autograph and my daughter was quite excited to get her favorite wrestler’s signature as well.

The WWE really knows how to put on a great show for the fans and I cannot wait until they return to AZ!

Wrestlemania’s 21 and 22

 

 

 

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Wrestlemania 21 was a terrific show from start to finish. When a show begins with a match featuring Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero (in what would be his last Wrestlemania before his untimely passing), which was simply amazing, you know it will be a good night for wrestling.

We also had the first Money in the Bank ladder match, which Edge won, which was an incredible match for something we were seeing for the first time. The other participants were Chris Jericho, Christian, Chris Benoit, Edge, Shelton Benjamin, and Kane who all did a great job with Shelton really standing out. He is an amazing athlete that I wish was still part of the WWE today.

Other notable matches were John Cena winning the WWE Title over JBL and Batista winning the World Heavyweight Championship from Triple H. A nice passing of the torch from these two legends to the young guys who would become legends in their own rights.

The best match of the night was Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels. Holy s@$t was this a great match! Two of the best performers in the history of professional wrestling who had an amazing chenistry in the ring and turned in a classic. If you are a wrestling fan or wonder how could someone be a wrestling fan, then watch this match and you will understand.

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Wrestlemania 22 the following year was another great show.

Edge beat Mick Foley in a hardcore match which ended with a spectacular finish of Edge spearing Foley through a burning table. This is a match that is not for the faint of heart with a lot of extreme violence and blood which is a stark contrast from the WWE today.

A surprisingly good match was Mickie James defeating Trish Stratus fro the Women’s Championship. Both women worked hard and put on a very solid match.

The second MITB ladder match was won by Rob Van Dam and was amazing just like the year before.

The highlight though was Vince McMahon vs. Shawn Michaels in a no-holds-barred match. There is a reason Michaels was known as ‘Mr. Wrestlemania’ since he had a tendency to steal the show with his incredible athleticism. McMahon always amazes me due to the fact that he will put his body on the line and make himself look as bad as needed to entertain the fans. The abuse he took during this match was crazy and the final spot with Michaels jumping down on McMahon, who was lying prone on a table with a garbage can over his head and upper body, from a large ladder was mind blowing.

Overall, another great show that makes me anticipate the 31st installment this Sunday even more!

Wrestlemania’s 19 and 20

I was a little off my schedule the past week so I have just 2 Wrestlemania’s to discuss, 19 and 20. As always, there will be some spoilers.

Rarely is there a ‘bad’ Wrestlemania. There are some that were definitely less memorable than others, but usually the WWE puts everything they have into making it the best show of the year.

Wrestlemania 19 was a solid show, but despite the fact I have watched it more than once I never seem to remember the card much before I start watching the 19th installment of the longest running PPV. Overall, it is a good show, but the only match that really stands out in my memory is Stone Cold vs. The Rock. This was a top notch match where The Rock finally got a Wrestlemania victory after losing to Stone Cold in Wrestlemania main events the past two times they met. This was Stone Cold’s last Wrestlemania main event since his injuries forced him to retire from full time wrestling. It was a great way to go out and if you watch this match you can see that The Rock is truly appreciative of Austin doing the job for him and subtly thanks him after the final pinfall.

Another match of note is Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon in a street fight. Way better than it had any right to be and both men busted their asses to put on the best show possible. Several high spots, a lot of blood shed by both men, and classic Hogan moments make this an entertaining match with Hogan winning.

Chris Jericho going against Shawn Michaels was another major highlight. Seeing these two legendary and very athletically gifted performers going head to head was a match made in heaven. They have similar styles yet are very unique in their move sets. Both guys were clearly trying to be the match of the night and they did a great job doing so.

The final match of the night was Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesner. An incredible match that had a ton of buildup with a nice payoff of Lesnar winning the WWE title. With both men having legendary amateur wrestling careers seeing them go to head to head in the WWE was a dream match and it did not disappoint.

Wrestlemania 20 was an okay show. Not bad, but not great. The low light of the night was Goldberg’s final match in the WWE against Brock Lesnar. The fans in attendance had no interest in the match and both wrestlers did not gel at all. It was awkward and unfortunate for both men.

Highlights were Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle (both all time great performers), the Cuiserweight Open for the WWE Cruiserweight Title (featuring Rey Misterio, Billy Kidman, Tajiri, and others), and the tag match between The Rock and Mick Foley vs. Ric Flair/Batista/Randy Orton in a 3 on 2 handicapped match.

Overall, a good show, but definitely flawed in the fact that there was just too much going on. At this time the WWE had an over abundance of talent and did not always seem to know what to do with them.

Still, this was a historic Wrestlemania being the 20th installment and still worth a few hours of your time.

10 more to go before this year’s Wrestlemania!

Wrestlemania’s 2000 – X8

Per last week’s post I am beginning my snap shot reviews of what I consider the modern Wrestlemania’s (from 2000 on) in preparation for this year’s Wrestlemania 31:

Wrestlemania 2000 – This was an overall solid show that kicked off the 2000’s quite well. One of the things I notice when watching shows from this period of time is how over every single wrestler was. From the lowest spot on the card to the main event, the crowds are in to everything and it seemed as though every match had a storyline of some sort which the WWE really needs to get back to.

One of the key matches was the first every triangle ladder match for the tag titles featuring Edge/Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz. Simply WOW. This was very early in the long running rivalry between these three teams and this match was simply amazing. High spot after high spot and not a move seemed wasted. Edge and Christian left with the titles and us fans saw the beginning of an industry changing rivalry.

The main event was a four way for the WWF title with a McMahon in every corner. Triple H with Stephanie, Mick Foley with Linda, Big Show with Shane, and The Rock with Vince. The McMahon gimmick was definitely a bit overboard and unnecessary and four way matches can be disasters, but with four good workers this match came off very well. Triple H retained the title and the match was well paced and the wrestlers themselves did a great job making this a worthwhile main event.

Wrestlemania X-Seven – Possibly the best, or at least close to the top, of all the Wrestlemania’s. Edge/Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz in a TLC match somehow managed to surpass their match from a year back and ended with Edge/Christian winning the tag titles again. With interference from Lita, Rhyno, and Spike Dudley this match never slowed down and was simply amazing.

The main event with Stone Cold Steve Austin beating The Rock for the WWF title was well worked even though most people did not like him turning heel at the end of the match and working with Vince McMahon. Even the Vince vs. Shane McMahon street fight was solid with a lot of great moments. Overall, an amazing show with the WWE being at a high point creatively and talent wise.

Wrestlemania X8 – Notable since this is the last ‘WWF’ labeled Wrestlemania and the first one after the WCW buyout by Vince McMahon the year prior. The Undertaker and Ric Flair had a brutal and bloody match that was a hell of a lot of fun to watch. Stone Cold and Scott Hall had a match that has been lambasted for many years but watching it again it was much more solid than people give it credit for. Triple H won the Undisputed Championship in the main event which was a very well worked match.

The highlight though is Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock. This match was well paced and worked to perfection. Clearly, this match was heavily planned out beforehand since Hogan was past his prime, but still came off as a viable threat to The Rock with both men having an incredibly historic match. This match alone makes this one of the most memorable Wrestlemania’s of all time.

So far a nice start to the modern Wrestlemania’s. Since this is the WWE’s biggest event every year it is usually a good, solid show with not too many disappointments.

I’ll be back next Wednesday with the next batch of Wrestlemania’s which will lead to what could be one of the best Wrestlemania’s yet in this year’s 31st edition.

Wrestlemania

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Wrestlemania is almost here and as a huge wrestling fan I cannot wait!

The card is shaping up quite well with Sting vs. Triple H, an Intercontinental Title ladder match with multiple superstars, Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker, and Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar being confirmed. Plus others that will more than likely happen, but are not official, including Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton, are making this year’s big event look like it may be better than last years.

Over the next few weeks I will be watching various Wrestlemania’s leading up to number 31. I am going to watch from 2000 on due to time constraints. I will give short opinions and discuss highlights on about 5 shows a week.

I still highly recommend subscribing to the WWE Network and watching the shows themselves to get the full experience. Especially with no long term commitment you could sign up to get a sampling of what the Network has to offer, cap it off with this year’s Wrestlemania live, and then cancel the subscription if is not for you.

Either way, I cannot wait to watch these modern shows and to cap it all off with what could be the best Wrestlemania in years!

WWE Fastlane

maxresdefaultLast Sunday was the final PPV before Wrestlemania, Fastlane. It was an overall good show and set the stage for the biggest wrestling event of the year quite well.

Some of the matches seemed a little thrown together at the last minute, but overall this show did its job and set the stage for what has the potential to be a great Wrestlemania.

You can still get the WWE Network for the rest of the month free so you can watch the replay so I will not go into great detail, but I will spoil a few key moments.

The confrontation between Sting and Triple H was fantastic. Both performers came off great and to see the two of them fight was awesome. The match between the two of them for Wrestlemania is official and I am beyond excited to see Sting at his first ever Wrestlemania.

There was a big swerve when The Undertaker’s (who has been gone since last year’s Wrestlemania) music hit and a coffin was wheeled out only to reveal Bray Wyatt in the casket. He gave a great promo and extended a challenge to The Undertaker for Wrestlemania. Great build up for what could be a very memorable match.

The biggest resolution of the night was Roman Reigns beating Daniel Bryan to face Brock Lesnar for the World Title at Wrestlemania. It was an excellent match with both performers coming off well. The WWE maintained the legacy of the Royal Rumble victor getting the title shot at the biggest show of the year and did so in a great way.

Overall, there were moments during the show that seemed a bit off, but it did a great job of positioning Wrestlemania to be a great show and give the fans a memorable night.

NXT Takeover: Rival

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NXT Takeover: Rival was simply amazing. Yet again WWE’s version of a ‘d-league’ has outshone the main roster. I will not go into great detail nor give match results since I really feel you have to watch this show. If you are not a subscriber to the WWE Network you can get it for free this month only and at least watch this show to understand what I keep going on and on about.

A few highlights:

The show started with Hideo Itami vs. Tyler Breeze. Two great workers that fed off of each perfectly, put on a great match, and got the crown going.

Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley vs. Becky Lynch in a four way for the NXT Women’s Championship…WOW! Amazingly good with some incredible spots.

Finn Balor vs. Adrian Neville was one of the best worked matches I have seen in a while. They paced the match perfectly and both came off great. Both men deserve to be on the main roster headlining PPV’s. This may be the match of the year in the WWE.

The main event was Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens for the NXT title. After Balor vs. Neville this main event had the potential to be forgotten, but both men put on an exciting and brutal match that will be remembered.

If you are a long time wrestling fan or just want to check it out, sign up for the WWE Network for the remainder of this month at no charge and give NXT a shot.

If this is the future of the WWE, then the future has never been brighter.

NXT Takeover: Rival

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This Wednesday is the new NXT special Takeover: Rival. The buildup to this event over the past few weeks has been phenomenal.  NXT has really shown how to properly build up to special events week in and week out and alone makes the $9.99 a month for the WWE Network worthwhile.

All the matches on the show have great potential, but there are 2 that really stand out:

1) Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens for the NXT Championship – The build up to this match has been excellent. It started a couple of months back when Zayn won the belt and Owens came to congratulate him and then suddenly turned on Sami and attacked him.  The weeks following have featured great confrontations, excellent promos, and a fun contract signing that makes this match must see. This has been an excellent example of how to properly build up a feud that the fans will care about.

2) Finn Balor vs. Adrian Neville for an NXT Championship shot – Oh boy…beyond a doubt two of the best wrestlers and greatest athletes not only on NXT, but also all of the WWE. The potential for this match to become the best match of the year is high. This has ‘must-see’ written all over it.

Overall, this show has a good shot of being one of the best of the year and next week I will give my review of it.

In the past year NXT has not disappointed and I really hope they don’t start anytime soon.

Royal Rumble 2015

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Normally when I review a wrestling PPV I like to rate the show match by match. For this year’s Royal Rumble, which was held in Philadelphia, I am only going to discuss the Royal Rumble match itself. Overall, this was a solid PPV, but the main event has been the hot topic this past week.

The winner of this year’s Royal Rumble who gets a shot at the WWE World Title was Roman Reigns and damn, the Philly crowd was angry as was the Internet Wrestling Community (which will be referred to as the IWC from here on out). About midway through the match the crowd/fan favorite Daniel Bryan was thrown out of the ring. For the rest of the match, the next 30 minutes or so, the live crowd booed just about everything that occurred in the ring. The wrestlers, the high spots in the match, etc… Even at the end when The Rock showed up the crowd cheered at first and then quickly went back to booing.

Here’s the thing, I get not being happy that your favorite wrestler was not scripted to win that night, but it is extremely disrespectful to punish every other wrestler for what management decided. The booing was relentless and almost ruined a solid show for the people watching at home. You could tell the wrestlers were a bit thrown off and it was noticeable that The Rock was not happy. The IWC keeps trying to convince people it is because Roman Reigns won (which is ridiculous since they are real life cousins). These are probably the same people who still think wrestling is not scripted and Kim Kardashian has talent.

The Rumble really had some great moments with Bubba Ray Dudley making a surprising return and having a great moment with Bray Wyatt, plus DDP making an impressive one night return as well. Speaking of Wyatt, he made a strong showing and showed he was a legitimate presence in the match.

Reigns winning was great since the WWE is really pushing their younger talent right now and we are finally seeing some new faces in the main events. They are doing what the fans have been asking for.

Plain and simple, it was a good show with the only dampener being the live crowd and the IWC.

For the fans in Philly that night and the IWC, get over your selves.