Top critical review
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Absolutely essential...for Taker and HBK. Take or leave everything else
on 12 September 2010
I love WrestleMania. Always have. So many timeless, classic memories, so many legends born and defined, so many unforgettable matches and feuds created and ended at the Granddaddy of Them All. For wrestling fans, it is THE show. So naturally, whenever you sit down to watch WrestleMania, you know you're most likely set for the greatest pay-per-view of the year.
What a disappointment it is then, that the 25th Anniversary (no less!) of this spectacular show mostly fails to deliver, after such promise on paper. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of fond memories to behold, events that would lead to much greatness down the road and - obviously - a certain match that saves the show from being a complete flop but we wrestling fans have come to expect a lot from WrestleMania after everything its given us so for the overall consistency here to be mediocre is a huge letdown.
Money in the Bank Ladder Match
CM Punk vs. Kofi Kingston vs. MVP vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Kane vs. Mark Henry vs. Finlay vs. Christian
That time of year to enjoy what has become a great WrestleMania tradition. WrestleManias 21 and 24 were the best MITB efforts and this one doesn't come close. Still, it's a fun-filled opener with plenty of `Holy S**t!" moments. Kofi and Shelton (again!) are the pioneers and stars of this bout, breathing such innovation and originality into this environment. In the long-term, the outcome made perfect sense, as it would give rise to one of the greatest feuds we've ever seen. (8/10)
25-Diva Battle Royal to determine First-Ever Miss WrestleMania
Oh, my sweet saviour. Originally, I was looking forward to this, because I actually believed that it could've rebuilt WWE's damaged women's division. But it all just goes horribly wrong. There's no Lita, Trish, Jazz, Ivory, Jacqueline, Wendi Richter etc...Sunny, Molly Holly, Torrie Wilson and Victoria are all reduced to 'blink and you miss them' roles, Candice Michelle was injured, there's no proper Diva entrances (thankfully that whole Kid Rock mess has been cut from this release)...and the outcome was just outrageous. Skip it and never talk about it ever again. (1/10)
3-on-1 Handicap Elimination Match
Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka & Ricky Steamboat (w/Ric Flair) vs. Chris Jericho
I originally had fingers crossed for Jericho taking on Mickey Rourke. That would've been great to see, yet we had to settle for this instead. Overall...it's very good compensation. Jericho is Jericho, Piper is entertaining and Snuka (bless him) SHOULDN'T be in the ring anymore. But the real star here is unquestionably the Dragon, who wrestles like its 1989 all over again. He moves with such grace that you'd think he'd never left the ring at all. A true WrestleMania moment. Roll on Backlash! (7/10)
Extreme Rules Match
Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Hardy.
Terrific build-up, the background and it being Jeff vs. Matt naturally makes this one to watch. Alas, compared to Bret vs. Owen or Undertaker vs. Kane, this bout falls short. It's still a quality battle that makes good use of the stipulation, but better days were meant to follow (i.e. the "I Quit" battle the next month). Still good, though. And a smart outcome. (8/10)
Intercontinental Championship Match
JBL (Champion) vs. Rey Mysterio
Another bout I had such high hopes for. The IC belt being contested at WrestleMania for the first time in seven years, JBL promising a big announcement, a surefire David and Goliath affair...all swept aside in just thirty seconds. Thankfully, Rey would restore the Intercontinental title back to greatness with his reigns (and his Heath Ledger Joker outfit is just SO wicked!) but this is memorable for all the wrong reasons. Thanks for the great memories, JBL. (3/10)
Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels.
Where do I start? THIS more than makes up for all the disappointment the show has given us. You want to know why Taker and HBK are the two greatest stars Vince has ever had? THIS is why. The age that both these guys are, they give arguably the greatest match in their careers, which is testament to what amazing athletes they both are. For thirty minutes they tear the house down in one of the most unbelievable stories of all time. THIS - IS - AWESOME. Undisputed match of the night, undisputed match of 2009...match of the DECADE. (10/10)
Triple Threat World Heavyweight Championship Match
Edge (Champion) vs. John Cena vs. Big Show
Well, the storyline heading into this thing was kind of stupid and it seemed just about the most unlikely title bout to put on WrestleMania. Still, it's surprisingly very good, with all three chaps putting on a rather decent, action-filled melee. Taker/Michaels was truly the hardest act to follow, and to these guys' credit, they all did a good job. The outcome is okay, and again it would lead to a classic rematch at Backlash (8/10)
WWE Championship Match
Triple H (Champion) vs. Randy Orton
Sigh...to me this is the biggest personal disappointment of the show. The intense build-up, history and components were all there, we were set for the best WrestleMania main event since Rock and Austin at WM17. And instead, we just got a straight-up wrestling bout, boxing-style intros and booking that sucked all the white-hot intensity right out of the showdown. This should have been no-DQ. And although Hunter and Orton make the bout passable, this is NOT what a WrestleMania main event should be. A great, great shame. (6/10)
Extras-wise, there's the entire Hall of Fame 2009 ceremony, various WrestleMania highlights, a fantastic Unified Tag Title bout (why wasn't THIS on the actual show?!) and a wonderful little WWE Encyclopedia complimentary copy focusing on WrestleMania.
But really, this package is not essential...when WrestleMania should ALWAYS be essential. Of course, you can expect just about the greatest match of all time in Taker vs. HBK and its truly a match for the ages. Just don't expect the same of every other bout if you choose to buy this DVD set.