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WrestleMania 2 was just as experimental as its predecessor, being simulcast in three cities: Los Angeles, CA; Uniondale, NY; and Rosemont, IL. Weak matches with sub-par workers (a few which lasted less than fifteen moves) and cheap finishes, combined with an overreliance on celebrity power and many viewers who didn't fully understand the product, led to an overall bland show. This overreliance on celebrity power even went into the main events, in which the main event of the New York portion was a boxing match between Roddy Piper and Mr T, and the main event of the Chicago portion was a 20-man Battle Royale composed of 14 WWF superstars and six NFL players in which André the Giant last eliminated Bret Hart. And Susan St. James saying "Uh-oh..." to the point where it became a Verbal Tic for her. It's not overtly "bad" as much as it is a prominent case of Early Installment Weirdness for the event.
On the bright side however, the three best matches on that card were the British Bulldogs vs. the Dream Team for the Tag-Team Titles, Ricky Steamboat facing Hercules Hernandez, and the Funk Brothers taking on Tito Santana and the Junkyard Dog.
In another idiotic move, the show aired on a Monday night and the Pay-Per-View buyrate suffered for it.
WrestleMania 9 is widely considered one of the most disappointing WrestleManias in the event's history; in addition to an underwhelming undercard (which included a stinker of a match in which The Undertaker defeated Giant Gonzales), the main event saw Bret Hart lose the WWF Championship to Yokozuna...who then lost the title just mere minutes later to a returning Hulk Hogan.
That Undertaker vs. Gonzales match? Undertaker won by disqualification, because Gonzales (billed at 7-foot-9) used a chloroform soaked rag on the Undertaker (who was noticeably shorter than Gonzales). Granted, Gonzales had no ring ability whatsoever, but chloroform? Really?
Originally, Yokozuna was booked to win, the first heel to win the title at Wrestlemania, but Hogan contested that it would anger the fans, that a face HAD to win. However, instead of Bret just winning, Hogan convinced the brass that he should run in and squash Yokozuna at the end for the belt. Supposedly, he agreed to drop the belt back later to Bret in a "pass the torch" moment but Hogan reneged on the deal once he got what he wanted, infuriating everybody. Thus, Yokozuna squashed him at King of the Ring for the belt. Bret was particularly angry about the whole thing given he felt he, being the best wrestler in the company, deserved the belt more than Hogan who he felt was an overblown politician and didn't deserve the belt.
And don't get us started on that WWF played the whole Roman theme Up to Eleven, being that Wrestlemania 9 was at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas (this was also the first Wrestlemania to be held outdoors), and WWF made all the commentators and announcers wear Roman togas. This was the first event Jim Ross called. You could tell he wasn't feeling the whole Roman thing.
Granted, a lot of folks at the 'F seemed to enjoy doing something this out-there, but it still was incredibly silly.
Seriously, does anybody remember anything that happened at Wrestlemania 11?
Lawrence Taylor beat Bam Bam... There was that Bret Hart vs Bob Backlund "I Quit" match that Bret referred to in his autobiography as his worst match ever.
Taker beat King Kong Bundy in a rather forgettable match, and Vince McMahon became the first one to mention Undertaker's winning streak (this is rarely acknowledged by the company or by fans, who usually point to WM 17 being the first time it was brought up).
Owen Hart won his first WWF title (the Tag Team Championship), which is a huge plus.
WrestleMania 15 featured what is considered the worst Hell in a Cell Match in WWE history, as The Undertaker defeated The Big Boss Man in a plodding, boring, forgettable match; after the deed was done, Undertaker had The Brood slip a noose down through the roof of the Cell so he could "hang" Boss Man after the match. The match was so bad that a DVD set dedicated to the Hell in a Cell Match didn't even mention it. (Clips from the match are still used in video packages detailing Undertaker's undefeated streak.) And to top it all off, Big Boss Man suddenly showed up on Raw the next night as if nothing happened, and the whole thing was never mentioned again. Undertaker's Ministry Of Darknessattire and entrance was probably the best part of the whole thing.
Considering it was the third Hell in a Cell Match ever, the first two having become rather infamous, it had a lot of hype to live up to. It may not be the worst Hell in a Cell match ever anymore, now that WWE has dedicated an entire PPV to them and none of them were very memorable.
Don't forget Michael Cole's line: "You could get a finger stuck in between there." And Jerry Lawler's response? "A finger?!" Although it wasn't shown you could tell by Lawler's tone he wanted to smack Cole upside the head for that stupid comment.
The boxing match (yes, at WrestleMania) between Butterbean and Bart Gunn was easily the least entertaining and the most pointless match of the night, however. There was little build-up and it ended pretty quickly with Bart Gunn being knocked out. At least Roddy Piper and Mr T were able to pull off a much better boxing match at Wrestlemania 2.
The difference was that the Piper/T match was worked, while Butterbean/Gunn wasn't. This is why real competition has no business on a wrestling show, unless Antonio Inoki produces it.
Wrestlemania X8 had one of the biggest matches of all time between The Rock and Hulk Hogan, which turned into a true Wrestlemania classic. Only one problem, it didn't go on last. Yeah, one of the biggest matches of all time and the headlining matchup of Wrestlemania didn't close the card. Instead it ended with Triple H vs Chris Jericho. Don't remember it? Hardly anyone does. The whole build-up was terrible, centering around a lame divorce storyline between HHH and Stephanie while Jericho, who was already booked as a fluke joke champion(despite being the first Undisputed champion), took a backseat along with the title. The "highlight" of the feud was Jericho running over HHH's dog.....accidentally. The match itself was terrible, with Jericho just working on HHH's quad and Stephanie interfering, with HHH overcoming the odds, pedigreeing Stephanie(which they played up as being HHH's primary goal along with winning the title) and beats Jericho to win the title, as everybody and their grandmother expected. The "excuse" for putting this crap on last over Rock vs Hogan? "The title match should always go on last". Even though non-title matches have closed over title matches numerous times, hell it even happened a few times at Wrestlemania itself. Not to mention the title was barely a factor in HHH vs Jericho, as it was more about HHH getting revenge on Stephanie and pedigreeing her, with the title being more of a "bonus". It was just an undercard "grudge match" that they threw the title in as an excuse to put it on last, which wasn't a good enough on anyway. The truth is because HHH was dating the boss's daughter in real life and used his pull to try and become the top Face of the company(despite Austin and Rock still being around) and have his WM moment at X8 no matter what. Thing is even IF they booked HHH vs Jericho the best way possible, it STILL is nowhere nearly as big as Rock vs Hogan and should just take it's deserved place in the undercard. HHH's attempts to steal the spotlight from Rock vs Hogan wound up backfiring big time, as Rock vs Hogan became a WM classic and everyone considers it the main event of Wrestlemania X8, while everyone has forgotten about HHH's "moment". Almost a decade later and it seems HHH still hasn't learned though, as he reportedly tried to get his father-in-law Vince McMahon to cancel Rock vs John Cena and has taken Spotlight-Stealing SquadUp to Eleven with the COO angle. We can only hope that Vince himself learned his lesson from this Epic Fail.
To add insult to injury, HHH immediately dropped the title to Hogan at just 35 days later at Backlash.
Kurt Angle's well-known neck problems were flaring up, and it was believed that his insistence on performing at the event anyway could lead to the end of his career. Ironically it was Angle's opponent that night - Brock Lesnar - who nearly broke his neck at the event. Attempting to give the fans a WrestleMania Moment, Brock attempted a Shooting Star Press (a diving backflip splash off the top rope), a dangerous maneuver that he hadn't performed since his time in WWE's feeder league OVW. Brock did not complete the rotation and landed squarely on his head, but luckily ended up with only a mild concussion (and later became known as the Shooting Star Neck Breaker, Shooting Star Self-Piledriver, or Shooting Brock Press). Angle quickly led the dazed Lesnar into an improvised finish to the match.
Actually, Brock had placed Angle too far from the corner, and though he did in fact rotate perfectly for the press, Angle's distance resulted in Brock almost breaking his own neck ON ANGLE.
It's a shame, because if it weren't for that, Angle vs. Lesnar would have been a five star match. Their Iron Man Match on Smackdown almost made up for it, but people will never forget that Brock Lesnar almost broke his neck that day.
There is also the fact that WWE repeated the mistake of the previous year's Wrestlemania(mentioned above). The biggest main event matches of the night were Hulk Hogan vs Vince McMahon and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs The Rock 3. Those two matches, especially the former, recieved all the hype and build-up heading into the event, since they involved the biggest names in wrestling at the biggest show of the year. Hogan, Austin, and Rock had also just returned to WWE after a lengthy absence, making fans much more anticipated for their matches than the two world title matches, which were completely overshadowed by them. The matches also delivered as well, as Hogan vs Vince exceeded all expectations giving their ages and the fact that Hogan was never a technical wrestler and Vince was the owner of the company who only began wrestling part time in his fifties when angles called for it, and Austin vs Rock, well, was Austin vs Rock, but it was also the third and final match the two would have at Wrestlemania and their last match in general, and more importantly turned out to be Austin's retirement match. Yet once again WWE stupidly had then go on earlier in the card so a poorly hyped title match between Lesnar and Angle(which had a sloppily storyline filled with Shocking Swerves for the sake of Shocking Swerves), which, of course, had to follow two huge acts. This, above anything else, probably increased too much pretty on both guys to really handle, which was made even worse due to Angle's severe neck injury meaning that he shouldn't have been taking such risks in the first place. And what was the reason? Because they wanted to "complete" Lesnar's push by ending WM with him getting his "moment" with the SSP!!! Which backfired BIG time when Lesnar botched it and could have been killed by it. While the match was certainly not bad unlike HHH vs Jericho above, it still would have benefitted a lot going before the big matches, as it would have avoided the massive pressure of following them and they would have probably been able to go at their own pace, meaning it would have been a much better match.
Another wallbanger to add to the pile is the World Tag-Team Championship match pitting Chief Morley (formely Val Venis) and Lance Storm (with the reluctant Dudley Boyz in their corner) against Rob Van Dam and Kane, which was heavily advertised as being part of the main card, only to get bumped to Sunday Night Heat just to make room for a stupid segment involving Torrie Wilson, Stacy Keibler, and the Miller Lite Catfight Girls.
Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg; what should have been a dream matchup between WCW's legendary powerhouse and WWE's "Next Big Thing" was ruined by Lesnar's surprise decision to quit WWE to try out for the NFL. The smark-filled audience at Madison Square Garden jeered and heckled Lesnar, yelling "You sold out!" at him, while he and Goldberg (who was leaving WWE due to his contract being up) put on one of the worst WrestleMania matches ever (Goldberg seemed to think the whole thing was a joke). The only cheering was for "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, the guest referee of the match, who delivered a Stunner to both Lesnar and Goldberg after the match.
It was also the first Smackdown! vs. Raw! crossover match since the two brands split - it had been built for about 3 months and featured two of the biggest stars in the business with an even bigger one refereeing. It had everything going for it....and it sucked monkey balls.
WrestleMania 25 should have had the defining moment of the Colon Brothers, Carlito and Primo, who defeated John Morrison and The Miz to become the first Unified Tag Team Champions. However, their victory was relegated to taking place before the actual card, to make room for a musical performance by Kid Rock (worse, the concert was taken out of the DVD release of the event).
And the following Divas' battle royal had several older past divas returning such as Sunny, Molly Holly, Torrie Wilson and Victoria, but instead the divas had no entrances for that match and came out dancing to Kid Rock. So no introductions for the past divas and on the DVD with the concert edited out, they're just already in the ring. And the division was completely undermined by giving the win to Santino Marella in drag.
And of course, there was the IMMENSELY underwhelming performance in the main event between Randy Orton and Triple H.
It wasn't all their fault. The fans wanted to see them murder each other with nothing holding them back, but the count-out and disqualification stipulations ruined it.
And the crowd was absolutely drained after Undertaker/Michaels.
Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon in a "No Holds Barred" Match. A decade ago, this might have actually been an interesting confrontation; in 2010, with Vince in his 60s and Bret in no shape to actually wrestle (thanks to the combined effects of his career-ending concussion and a stroke he suffered a few years later), this was destined to be little more than Bret vs. Vince with a ton of outside interference thrown in for good measure. What we got in the end was Bret and the Hart family giving Vince an over-ten-minute beatdown; Bret teased the Sharpshooter several times, let the Hart family give him a beatdown outside of the ring, and delivered 12 chairshots to a downed Vince (one for every year he was out of WWE following the Montreal Screwjob) before finally putting Vince in the Sharpshooter like everyone wanted. The match was widely panned by wrestling critics, especially for its length - it was believed that, had the "match" not been as long as it was, several other matches (like CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio Jr) could have gone on longer and had the chance to become true WrestleMania classics.
Another handicap in the match was the new PG rating. Just about all of Vince's entertaining matches are just because he's willing to let the other guy do anything to him. Without the option to all but murder Vince, it's infinitely harder for him to pull off an entertaining fight.
The divas match was only slightly less of a trainwreck than the Bret/Vince match. It was a 10 diva tag with Vickie Guerrero (a non wrestler) on the heel team. The match amounted to the faces slapping Vickie around, a big rush of finishers and Vickie trying to do a Frog Splash on Kelly Kelly. Even worse was when Vickie went to pin her, she lifted her shoulders right off the match so she had to splash her and pin her again. There were several divas that could have wrestled a somewhat decent match if Bret/Vince had been shorter and Vickie hadn't been involved at all.
WrestleMania 27 was extremely lackluster, with many last minute changes, including scrapping the Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus match so they could give The Rock a 20 minute promo (it also reduced the length of the other matches). A large amount of time was spent making skits; people joked that someone accidentally switched Wrestlemania's script for the next Raw script.
The Big Show, Kane, Santino Marella, and Kofi Kingston vs The Corre was a squash match won by the faces even though the Corre had the Intercontinental Champion and the Tag Team champions. Like turning the U.S Champion match into a dark match that ended in a no contest, this kept the night's theme that actually owning a title was completely meaningless.
This feud with The Big Show The Corre was having was the second largest feud of Smackdown going into the event. Which just makes this even more moronic.
Jerry Lawler vs Michael Cole. It's a match that really writes itself: Jerry Lawler beats the shit out of Michael Cole, Jack Swagger intervenes, Cole gives the Ankle Lock, Lawler powers out, Swagger gets beat, and Lawler continues for the win. Which is more or less what they did. However, WWE decided for some reason to make Cole look like he actually had a shot at the beginning, with Swagger getting a cheap shot in and Cole beating on Lawler for close to ten minutes. To say that the crowd did not enjoy this would be an understatement. The end of the match then had the RAW GM retroactively disqualify Lawler because Guest Referee "Stone Cold" Steve Austin got involved in the match.
What made this really stupid is that Austin's "involvement" consisted of pushing Cole after Cole pushed him first. Furthermore, Jack Swagger managed to actually intervene in the match, slapping an ankle lock on Lawler early in the match. So, if anyone deserved to be disqualified, it was Cole. So, the GM chimed in basically just to crap in the audience's punchbowl whether it made sense or not.
The saving grace was that Snooki actually managed to hit a somewhat tricky move, making her celebrity match participation far less terrible than ones of the past. Still doesn't excuse Ziggler and Morrison being underused though.
That's all Morrison to blame. He repeatedly snubbed Trish's ideas in the weeks leading to the event.
The Main Event between The Miz and John Cena was a slow, boring match that lead to a double countout. Cena was off his game and The Miz was much worse than usual, even by his standards. The Rock came out and ordered the match to continue, but it ended again about 5 seconds later with The Rock hitting the Rock Bottom on Cena and Miz retaining. The Rock then gave Miz the people's Elbow so the night ended with a semi-retired wrestler standing over Cena, WWE's currently most popular wrestler, and The Miz, the WWE Champion. Truly awful.
The main event for WrestleMania 27 served as nothing more than a Sequel Hook for the main event for WrestleMania 28: Rock vs. Cena.
It also spit on the face of the youth movement that WWE's going through, because the only new guy that actually looked strong was Cody Rhodes over Rey Mysterio Jr. Everyone else, CM Punk, Alberto Del Rio, The Corre, and The Miz, even though he won his match, were made to look like complete and utter tools. This was the first WrestleMania whose Main Event didn't feature any wrestler from the Attitude era or before, so it doesn't give much hope for the future (specially because, like it was stated above, an Attitude Era wrestler was the last man standing in the end).
Even when not taking the match quality into account, the booking itself was just plain weird and WTF inducing, the prime example being the WHC Title Match as the match to start the show. Even if the matches delivered, if it was put in the same order it would have still been fairly awkward.
He had been counting the streak like that for a couple of years ('Taker even says "18 men have come...." on the promo for his match on the last one).
The worst part of this Wrestlemania was that the WWE Heavyweight Championship match between Alberto Del Rio and Edge, was inexplicably the first on the card. Edge retired soon after, with his Wrestlemania main event bout wasted on a card opener.
Rumor has it that if the WWE had known about his injury, they would've made a bigger deal out of the match.
WrestleMania 28 starts out with the WHC match between Daniel Bryan and Sheamus. A highly anticipated bout that lasted only 18 seconds. The disappointment in the fans were felt throughout the remainder of the event, with "YES!" and "Daniel Bryan" chants breaking out periodically during matches, and needless to say, the IWC made their wrath felt. This... wasn't a great way to start off what otherwise was a solid Wrestlemania.
But on the other hand, this one's put Bryan over and given rise to the "YES!" chants as a mainstream audience-participation phenomenon, as a combination of "What?!" (reacting to promos) and "Woo!" (reacting to moves, specifically knife edge chops).
WrestleMania 29 had a series of WallBangers. For starters, the Intercontinental Championship match was bumped to the pre-show to make room for a Diddy concert, with the title changing hands no less! But you wouldn't know that if they hadn't brought it up later on. But it at least fared better than the 8 person tag team matchnote Brodus Clay, Tensai, Cameron and Naomi against Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow and the Bella Twins which got scrapped all together and relegated to the following night's Raw. The PPV was booked to run four hours, and still ended with about 20 minutes of time left over! How bad could management be if you can't even showcase the card you advertised even if you have four hours?
Chris Jericho vs Fandango had 90% of the match dominated by Jericho, only for him to lose by way of Small Package roll-up. A botched Small Package roll-up.
Ryback vs Mark Henry was already a slow match as it was, but the ending was completely moronic. Ryback had Henry up on his shoulders for the Shell Shocked, but Henry grabbed the ropes, causing Ryback to lose his composure. Henry fell on top of him and won by way of anticlimactic pin. Then Ryback lost it and Shell Shocked Henry anyway! A finishing move gets countered into a pin and after the match, the finisher connects anyway! What was the point of that?!
In the World Heavyweight Championship match, Jack Swagger, the challenger, gets an entrance of Jobber fare, with him coming out during promos, being already in the ring by the time the cameras are back on. I'm sorry WWE, but could you have made it any more blatant that Swagger wasn't going to win?
Even worse, Swagger made a special entrance to that match (he drove down in a jeep), but we didn't get to see that. WWE just wasted the time, effort, and money getting that jeep for Swagger, and all we get to see is him getting out of it.
And of course what lead to said match. Swagger gets in trouble with the cops for a DWI AND Marijuana possession, just DAYS AFTER becoming the number 1 contender.
And the fact that they were so many Video Packages and in total (according to my calculations 1:55:48) just under 2 hours of this 4 hour PPV was actually matches.
The main event was also viewed by many as a complete slap in the face. Guess what it was? The Rock vs John Cena round 2. Once In A Lifetime? What's that supposed to mean again? On top of that, this year featured an utterly mediocre performance, which could be seen as the two trading finishersnote To put it more precisely, they hit nine finishers altogether in the entire match. for most of the match. The match also suffered from the problem presented by the Goldberg vs Brock Lesnar match from nine years ago. The audience pretty much crapped all over it, with regards to the ending, which in itself was also pretty underwhelming with Rock and Cena hugging it out. A dream match kind of loses its appeal when it's done again the next year in haphazard fashion, wouldn't you say?
The Miz ended up losing the Intercontinental Championship back to Wade the following night. The going theory is WWE is trying to preserve some kind of WrestleMania win streak for The Miz but that is a very poor way of going about it if the only purpose to have a match is so Miz can win (not because it might be something that the audience could consider worth watching). The fact he won a championship is meaningless, he just has another win on his WrestleMania record and Wade Barrett was the "real champion" even though he got pinned.
Many mid-carders such as Kofi Kingston, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, and Antonio Cesaro as well as the Divas were left off the card simply because they don't draw as well as the big names. Ouch! The only divas that did make an appearance on the show? AJ Lee and Snooki, both in non-wrestling roles.
Bray Wyatt lost even though he was the closest thing to a monster the WWE had left and really needed to establish his dominance not to make everyone he had already gone over leading up to the show look bad.
Not to mention he got a "custom" entrance, wherein he was prefaced by a voodoo dance/performance, and a live band singing his entrance theme. And seeing the crowd swaying back and forth and singing "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands" only highlighted how much of an impact he was making on the fans. And it was all for naught.
By the way, those people Bray went over leading up to Wrestlemania? The Shield, one of the most dominant forces in WWE history, and also Daniel Bryan at the Royal Rumble, the guy who went on to win the WWE title that same night, beating 3/4 of Evolution to do so. What did all of these wins accomplish? Put Cena over. Again.
The entire feud was a pretty strange one, as the narrative going into Wrestlemania was that Cena's "legacy was on the line", but WWE steadfastly refused to elaborate on exactly what that was supposed to mean. The closest explanation we got until after Wrestlemania (after which they began trying to say that WWE's fans were abandoning Cena for Wyatt) was that Cena was a false prophet of sorts and Wyatt tested him by giving him a chair during the match and demanding that Cena give in and hit him with it. Cena solves this by hitting Erick Rowan with the chair instead...thus kind of proving Bray's point that Cena is willing to do needlessly violent things, and despite this, Cena won anyway, bringing up the other major problem: The narrative was that Cena's legacy would be tarnished if he lost (or gave in to Bray's mind games), but he won and the feud continued as if his legacy was still at stake somehow, and although he did do the latter and give in to violence to some extent, the narrative never brought it up. You could easily say that Cena won the match and the narrative went on as if he'd lost for no apparent reason.
The Undertaker has finally lost at Wrestlemania. To who? The hot young up and comer who benefit from this rub was....Brock Lesnar?
A guy who ditched them and purposely bombed his final match Ten years ago for The NFL flipping off the fans as he left and then left that and spent his MMA career getting his ass kicked before returning. Some guy alright, he ditches everything he's been in. Worse, the decision to end the streak came that very day, so Vince didn't even have a long term plan. Can't wait for Brock to not be there at WM 31.
The match that finally breaks Undertaker's undefeated streak, itself was a pretty poor one. Undertaker was incredibly sluggish throughout the match and at one point spent nearly five minutes laying on the ground, putting Lesnar in the Hell's Gate submission twice. In all fairness this was because Taker suffered a concussion early in the match, and thus his performance suffered, but it was still a shame to see the streak end in such a fashion.