WrestleMania 21 - 04/03/05
by Butch Rosser
Makes a man take things over
Lets him loose, hard to swallow
Puts you there where things are hollow
--David Bowie, "Fame"
--Cold open as Fink throws to Lillian for "America The Beautiful". They mix in a video package with some Christmas in Iraq footage. USA chant, which is really unfair to all the foreigners whose one live show a year this is, but hey. Montage of some of the movie parodies to set up the new one--Steve Austin in Gladiator? WHAT?!
--WrestleMania 21 is brought to you BAH: Snickers Cruncher. We set off the pyro from Staples Center in the City of Angels! Your hosts for the evening are J.R., King, Hugo, Carlos, Tazz & Michael Cole. All the tables are in a row at ringside for a change/throwback. Hey, since those last two guys host SmackDown...
EDDIE GUERRERO (224, El Paso) v. REY MYSTERIO (170, San Diego) :
Big pop for Eddie, and we get an immediate contender for Sign of the Night: He lies, he cheats, he stole my heart. Girls like scum, if WrestleMania 20 has taught us nothing else. Rey (who doesn't pop up from the stage) comes out with the stars and stripes on his back, the tricolor of Mexico on his front, and one of his masks that locks in the back rather than the standard. Eddie chant as they have a quick civil discussion (no, really) and they circle each other. Collar and elbow tieup. Eddie fires off a quick headlock takeover for 1. Arm wringer into a fireman's carry but Mysterio lands on his feet and hits the ropes, jumping shoulderblock. One for Rey. Mysterio whip reversed, Eddie armdrags him right back into the ARMbar. For a one count. And a one count. And another one count. We get it already. Takedown but Rey fights up Eddie's body and slides down in a sunset flip. Guerrero counters by rolling through it, hoisting Rey by the legs and catapulting him out of the ring. Eddie moves and goes for a baseball slide, but Rey slides in as he comes out, 619 tease leads to the Mexican-American standoff! Replay of the catapult as the crowd chants "Eddie!" once again. They lock hands, monkey flip, both are pinned and both bridge out at one (!) before Eddie takes Rey down with a keylock. Backdrop but again the former Colibri lands on his feet and takes Eddie down with a shoulder. Baseball slide by Rey, Eddie runs the ropes and Rey leapfrogs to setup the monkey flip. Nobody takes 'em like Eddie. Rey charges and Eddie backdrops him up and over. Rey lands safe on the apron until Eddie turns and drops him. Guerrero setting up, ˇPLANCHA! Monkey flip replay and another "Eddie" chant; back in the ring, the cover gets 2.
ArmBAR. Eddie with a suhweet falling back suplex para dos. Mexican Surfboard! Obviously, Rey gets 2. STF! Crowd clapping to rally Rey and Eddie works it out into a hammerlock. Rey breaks loose, blown spot. Cole & Tazz cover on commentary. Oh, here it is: Rey armdrags out of a powerbomb attempt. Rey baseball slides to keep Eddie down out of the ring. Eddie trying to recover but there's no surcease from the 619--ˇTORNILLO! Replay of the well-done corkscrew plancha. Springboard crotch attack (YOU name it) but Guerrero catches him coming off the ropes with a back elbow. Uno. Do--Rey does the Owen-style reverse rollup for 2. Eddie with a *nasty* back suplex backbreaker for 2. Uno. Dos. Tre---Rey headscissors sends Eddie into the middle rope. 619 gets dial tone, Eddie with a quebradora (the tilt-a-whirl backbeaker for you gringos) for 2˝. Replay as Eddie paces around the ring. Well, he's on it now. Uno. Dos. ˇTRES VERTICALES! FROG SPL--WHIFF! Both men down to the count of 5, Rey with a Magistral that Eddie reverses for a long 2. Rey kicking Eddie away from a corner, Samurai..Eddie throws him off. Rey with the DTH to neck Eddie, 619! West Coast countered with the powerBOMB! Rey kicks out! Rey with an elbow, Eddie going for another tilt-a-whirl, Rey standing West Coast Pop. Hey, that's 3! (12'40") ˝ The heel turn doesn't happen. And SHOULDN'T.
--JBL and HHH get in a dick-waving contest about who the champion is, which is really hilarious watching the show the week after the fact. Flair WHOOs OJ. Hey, Adam Sandler & Rob Schneider! They said they couldn't use the tickets! Bunch of lying fuc
LADDER MATCH FOR A RAW TITLE SHOT IN THE NEXT YEAR -- CHRIS JERICHO (227, "Manahasset, NY") v. CHRIS BENOIT (229, "Atlanta") v. CHRISTIAN (225, Toronto) v. SHELTON BENJAMIN (Intercontinental Champion, 248, Orangeburg, SC) v. EDGE (242, Toronto) v. KANE (305, PARTS UNKNOWN~!):
Three Nutes come into play for the introductions: they a) had Kane come in last b) so they could set all the ladders cluttering the sides of the entrance on fire and c) make Kane LAUGH about it. Kane's getting dangerously close to becoming the best babyface ever. Good Idea: Everyone else in the match jumping Kane. Bad Idea: Black Ninja style. Kane sends them scattering like buffet owners away from Star Jones and hits ringside. It is at this point that the numbers catch up to him; Benoit & Benjamin double-suplex Kane on the concrete. Tomko helps Christian get a ladder into the ring but Jericho runs around the corner and jumps off the stairs to slam into the other end and drive the butt of the ladder into Christian's face a la the Edge/Benjamin match a couple weeks prior. NOW the bell rings? Benjamin on Jericho like crazy on Tyson, but the Ayatollah reverses a whip and bulldogs Shelton down. Edge & Benoit brawling on the apron, ™ Jericho springboard dropkick stops that noise. Jericho sets up, plancha on Edge. Christian gets a running start, springboard plancha for all his fellow Canucks. People all over the world, join hands! Start a dive train, dive train--SHELTON TOPE CON HILO~! That shit was FLAWLESS. I had a Momentos Estrellos moment there. Kane's going up but he's facing everybody on the floor and Of Course The Air Kane Flying Lariat Connects! Everybody down, "Holy shit!" (that I think is at least ˝ Shelton's residually). Kane brings the ladder in as he intended to do earlier and clocks Edge. Christian jumps off. At a 7', 300-pound man. With a ladder. Not Smart. Jericho missile dropkick to the ladder stops Kane's hot streak. Jericho grabs the ladder and stabs the man who beat him for the IC title with it, then lawndarts it upside his head! SMACK for Edge and he drops it on him to boot. Toothy grin from Chris J. but here comes Chris B. with a GERMAN! The ladder goes fuh-lying out between the ropes. Replay as Benoit brings itin and sets it up. Kane cuts him off with a goozle--CROSSFACE! Edge breaks it up. Hey, Edge, how about you break up this CROSSFACE! He is unable to. Filling in will be Kane and a ladder upside Benoit's head! Yeesh. He puts Benoit's left arm in the ladder and slams it shut! Again! A third time! With four you get egg roll!
SPEAR! Edge takes Kane down with that bullet shot. "You screwed Matt!" Some say that's the wrong chant, but let's be honest, the "You screwed Lita!" chant would only make him smile and put us to shame with his teeth. Edge looking at Christian and the brothers each have a ladder. Kane staggers up, CON...LADDER...TO(?)! Benjamin launches back into the match with a double springboard lariat! Dragon Whip is ducked by Edge. Christian and the ladder he was holding are not so fortunate. JR: Christian has eaten more ladder than the law should allow. Edge props up the ladder in the corner and whips Benjamin into it. Edge setting up in the corner, Shelton flapjacks him into the ladder! Hey, a Shelton chant! Good on ya, kid. Shelton slams the back of Edge's head into the ladder a few times...Shelton Splash drives Edge into the ladder again! Shelton goes up, and Jericho follows him on the other side. Christian brings in a second ladder and goes up, Benoit goes after him. Edge is bringing in a third ladder. Everybody up top jostling for position. CHRISTIAN SINGLE-ARM DDTS BENOIT OFF THE LADDER! HOLY SHIT! Replay 2x. Edge shoves Jericho off to the mat (unseen)! T-BONE TO EDGE OFF THE LADDER! HOLY SHIT! Replay 2x for that, too as Jericho incongrouously is the first man to try going up again. He spots Christian and comes down, slamming him face-first into a diagonal ladder before a running kick to the back of the head practically curbstomps Captain Charisma. Yeesh. Jericho, now unfettered, climbs back up. He's got a hand on the briefcase but someone suddenly comes into frame SHELTON RUNS UP THE DIAGONAL LADDER AND CLOTHESLINES JERICHO OFF! HOLY! FUCKING! SHIT! The momentum sent Y2J to the floor and the Shelton chant is in the fullest of effects now. Replay from the Skycam. That's just crazy.
Now it's Benjamin's turn to go for it, Christian gut shots him with the diagonal ladder. No one cares but me, but there's a great reason for Christian to legit hang onto the ladder for Shelton's moment and in the match, because he still wanted to use it. That's how he rolls, and that's why I heterosexually love him for it. ANYWAY, Kane boots Christian down. Turns his attention, chokeSLAM on Shelton! I think Shelton was supposed to hit the floor there but his foot got caught in the ropes. Tomko boots Kane, which is perfectly legal. He sets the ladder up and encourages Christian to get after it but he's still too weak. So Tomko puts him on his shoulders and climbs up as Rhyno wonders how this loaded gun will feel in his mouth. Kane lines Tomko out and SHOVES CHRISTIAN OFF THE LADDER to Tomko on the floor! So, Shelton's out, Christian's out, Jericho's out--we get a couple more replays. Kane going up and Jericho chasing but the ladder gives. Jericho hits the top rope and falls out, Kane gets guillotined. Benoit sets up a ladder in the corner. I know where this is going. I don't care, it's totally worth it. Even though the announcers haven't caught on yet some guys in the second row are doing the throat slash & the fans start standing up. Benoit gets to the top and does it for a big pop, SWANDIVE HEADBUTT OFF THE LADDER! YEESH! AND it rips apart his stitches! Replay, Skycam replay. The crowd has a new hero, and his name is Chris Benoit. Benoit recovers first, bleeding like Britney Spears on prom night. He's about halfway up ZOMBIE SITUP! Kane goes back up the ladder, and GOOZLE! Benoit headbutts Kane, and when that doesn't work he headbutts Kane, and when that don't do nothing he headbutts him about 15 more times! Kane hits the deck! Benoit rebalances and makes a grab and Edge CHAIRS the SHIT out of the left arm Kane injured! Benoit flies off the ladder and screams on impact when he lands on it! The capacity crowd erupts in jeers and JR begs for someone to cut him off--is it going to happen? Edge taking a while, but no! Edge has the briefcase! (16'18") Edge with a deep manly hug and quick kiss for the briefcase at the top of the ramp. How apropo: the E's Gollum now has his own Precious. ˝
--Eugene wanders out. He loves WrestleMania. But not as much as he loves midgets. Fortunately for me, just as I begin to get sick of his saccaharine goodness the Justice League of Arabia comes out dressed all in white. I shed a tear at not being able to have my He's From DETROIT, You IDIOTS sign see the light of day. The crowd dares boo Hassan when he mentions LA's long history of racism and bigotry. I'm sorry, did he make Rodney King up or something? He's not on the show, but Retards 'R Me gets a freebie? Daivari translates for our Arab brothers. Quite frankly, Muhammed is mad as hell. And he's not going to take this anymore. Beatdown ensues, and Hassan does the throat cut across Eugene's neck before locking in the camel clutch. Crowd chanting for some Logan guy as Daivari gets the stick and delivers a searing dissertation on the similarities between Vietnam and the current Iraq war when suddenly some familiar guitar kicks in.
Oh, my bad: they were chanting for HOGAN, brother! To say the crowd loses their shit would be akin to saying that Justin Shapiro enjoys his occasional episode of "Arrested Development". Even Sandler's smiling. The JLA actually win for a couple of seconds. Noggin knocker. Hassan gets it first: rights, clothesline in the corner, big boot & Hogan throws him up and over the top. Daivari chairs Hogan in the back--oh, that's only going to make him ANGRY, Shawn! Er..Khosrow. YOU! Big boot for Daivari. His hips must be shot if he can't even deliver the legdropation. Cue "Real American" and the posedown is on. Hey, David Arqu--holy shit, THAT'S Brooke Hogan? I've said it before, and I think I'm going to be saying this well into my forties: they just did not grow 16-year-olds like that back when *I* grew up. Sign: What Would Hogan Do? Holy God. They trot out a flag for the end poses at the top of the ramp and look at the big-ass stupid grin on Tazz's face.
--It's the night's first video package! Get ready for...
UNDERTAKER (305, "Death Valley") v. RANDY ORTON (240, St. Louis):
They put Taker on a people mover or something so it looked like he was floating out to the ring. Great, now I'm going to have Mercy Drive in my head the rest of the night. Randy bouncing around the ring as Taker crouches into a ready stance. Dodge from the corner by Orton...dodge from the opposite corner by Orton. Bitchslap! Stupid! You SO stupid! Collar-and-elbow that Taker forces to the corner. Swingandamiss, another collar-and-elbow. Randy quick with the go-behind, Taker to the side headlock. Randy pushes off then ducks, now a leapfrog, nice dropkick sends UT spinning on the mat and gets 1˝. Whip by Orton, baaaack body drop. Gut shot, another whip, another duck and another leapfrog. Sadly, this time Taker stops after the leapfrog. I wonder when he'll realize it. *SOUPBONE* Right about there, I'm guessing. Taker with some Nash offense in the corner. CCW, Orton with the trademark corkscrew schoolboy for 2. Calling for the RKO but that's way too early and he gets pushed off to the floor. I get the feeling I've typed that sentence before. UT follows and sets Randy up on the apron. "Let's go Taker!" Running legdrop down the apron! Back in comes Taker, and he takes it back to the Old School 'cause he's an old fool who's so cool. Orton propped up in the corner, running boot to the face misses the Missourian. Randy up, dropkick sends Taker flying into the barrier from the apron with authority. We go back inside the ring. European uppercut. Slugfest goes to Taker until Randy uses the momentum of being knocked back to come off the ropes with a nice clothesline. 2.
Whip but he ducks too soon, running DDT from the undefeated. Lateral press, two and a half. Cross-corner whip --> sidewalk slam. Two again. Into the corner, Taker Splash. And a second actually hits! Huh. Another cross-corner, Snake Eyes but Orton fires off a back elbow out of nowhere before the followup for a 2.5 of his own. Orton with the clubbing forearms to the chest. "Let's go Taker!" Randy? Strike a pose. ZOMBIE SITUP. Orton just keeps on with some ambidexterous punches. "Randy sucks!" Taker reverses the situation from earlier and comes off the ropes after being attacked with a punch. Whip reversal and a malfunction at the junction gives Taker a long 2. Might've knocked Randy loopy. Taker Care of Business! The dragon sleeper is locked on, center of the ring. Tazz informs the home viewer this will in fact choke your ass out, brother. Arm go up, arm go down. Arm go up, arm go down. Arm go up, arm stay up, and the old future of Evolution counters into a DDT. Cover from Orton, Taker shoulders out. Rear chinlock but UT punches out of it, more or less. Orton goes to the sleeper, Taker back suplexes out. No count from Hebner? Strange. Orton charges the corner but UT gets a leg up. Off the ropes and right into the waiting and mean-spirited arms of an Orton powerslam, another solid nearfall for the CEO of RKO, Inc. He sends Taker into the buckle, keeps him there with another Eurocut--CITIZENS! Count to ten while I punch this man about the face and head! Randy gets to 9. Strike a pose. Shades of X7 as Taker Last Rides Orton out of the corner. No, Randy lands on his feet, RKpushed off into Hebner. Last Ride falls apart, COWBOY BOB RUNS IN AND DELIVERS A CAST SHOT! Randy put on top, Hebner revived, one, two, shoulder! Randy is wondering what the hell is going on ZOMBIE SITUP II: the WRATH of TAKER! Taker punching away on Orton, Bob on the apron, Randy reverses the whip but UT boots Bob back into the retirement home. Swingandamiss, chokeSL--RKO! Sweet counter, but Orton can only get a shoulder over--one, two, kickout! Randy calls for the Tombstone, and while I'd like to be excited about that, this NEVER WORKS FOR HEELS. EVER. Hey, Taker reversed it. I Am In Shock. (14'15")
--Since that last video package went so well, let's keep the good times rolling...
WOMEN'S TITLE -- CHRISTY HEMME (185, the Ninth Circle of Hell) v. TRISH STRATUS (100, Heaven By Way Of Toronto):
I'm biased. Deal. Had I gone, when the Redheaded Slut Brigade came out I was going to have a sign that said GAIL KIM DIED FOR YOUR SINS. C'est la vie, and so forth. Trish mockingly lays down for Christy, then gets up and shoves her down. Christy goes for a collar-and-elbow but Trish sidesteps her and Christy fall down go boom. HA ha! Trish kicks Hemme down to the floor. From there, she shoves her into the stairs. This is a slight exaggeration of terms as Christy more stumbled into them as if she was drunk. Back in, cross-corner whip leads to two chops and a shot to the breadbasket. Oh, joy, Trish throws in a mocking Hemme walk. Like I didn't love her to the nth already. Chick Kick is blocked and because Lita has the ref distracted Christy kicks Trish in the uterus?! She should be prosecuted To The Fullest Extent Of The Law!!! She pulls Trish away from the ropes when she tries to bail and gives her the Bret stomp to the gut. Lita-style suggestive lateral press for 2. I now pause the recap to let you make a joke or four about Edge.
Back to the match, as Trish continues chopping the Playgirl down with four good shots. Taunting for Gimpy, and she charges the corner. Christy does the splits up top to dodge her and flips into a sunset flip for 2. OK, that was something. Trish gets a spear! Oh, and poor you, having already told your Edge joke. Horowitz pat on the back as she nudges Christy out. Kick to the gut and Trish rolls back in. Lita checks on Christy and Trish shoves her off before putting Christy in. More taunting to Lita is a window Christy uses for a rollup and nearfall on the Diva of the Decade. Single-kick legsweep, and a second, and a third. Trish begs off but Christy kicks her in the gut. Grabbing Trish by the hair and sending her to the buckle--and gets all 10 in! Huh. Whip from Hemme and Trish takes the Bret bump right into the Old School Expulsion (UGH). One, two, shoulder. *whew!* Christy now with the mount position punchoff. Trish gets her off and pushes her into the ropes for a rollup. That gets 2, as Christy reverses it into a two-count of her own that looked like four for some reason. I, of course, will be blaming the referee. Chick Kick, siddown, bitch. (4'41") ˝
--It's going to take something monumental to keep my mind off of Trish. Yeeeah, this'll do it. Setup for...hey, some guy from ZZ Top and some chick from CSI GET ON WITH IT YOU BASTARDS
SHAWN MICHAELS (227, San Antonio) v. KURT ANGLE (229, Pittsburgh):
Neeeeeeeeha! The YOU SUCK chant hangs around for the staredown and a little smacktalk, which is an appropriate theme for the evening. Dueling "Let's go" chants. And Michaels slaps Angle. This reminds me of the time I taunted Suge Knight. Angle shoots in like Lee Harvey Oswald, double-leg takedown. Big waistlock takedown and he rolls him around the ring for a minute. Shawn pussies out and grabs the ropes. Seperation and Shawn has a little "Well, shouldn't've done that" smirk on his face. Michaels with a hammerlock now to the headlock and a side headlock takeover. While Angle is able to roll HBK over into a pin a couple of times Michaels keeps the hold on. Angle chant and he pushes Shawn off the ropes but Shawn keeps it on. Back suplex from Angle but Shawn is still working the headlock through it. Rope-running and HBK gets a shoulder knockdown, then a second headlock takeover. Another pin for Angle and he gets up but Shawn keeps it on. More dueling chants as Angle gets vertical and pushes it into a corner. "Clean break, surprisingly" says J.R. as Angle checks for cauliflower ear. Go-behind, Shawn reverses and there's another headlock takeover. Angle on the hair again trying to break it but it's not working. Angle counters out, HBK with another go-behind and this time Angle says the hell with it and elbows him. Off the ropes, shoulder knockdown. Coming again, Michaels hiptosses him over and quickly locks in a short-arm scissors. HBK chant as Angle rolls into a pin but gets caught with his shoulders down shortly thereafter. JR & King are doing good work with Shawn using this element of surprise to fly in the face of all the homework done by Angle with Shawn flying around and brawling. Angle finally powers up out of the hold but the Texan reverses into a sunset flip for a nearfall. Angle swingandamiss, backslide from Michaels for another pair. Side headlock takeover by Michaels. This is some quietly brilliant stuff here because we all know from past experience Angle's gonna get pissed and try to brawl his way out of this (see vs. Benoit, Chris, X7).
Angle takes this to the corner and when Hebner Junior tries to break he cheap shots Shawn. Shawn, having been a heel in his past life, gives the goose what's good for the gander. Angle, being a heel in his current life, dishes some right back. See what I mean? Michaels gets in trouble and tries to wrap him up boxing-style but there's no break. Shawn gets the advantage, and Angle wraps up now. Angle shoves Michaels away and cheap shots him in the back of the head, anklelock! Shawn rolls it through, and a Cactus clothesline! Michaels sets up the SmackDown table before rolling in and out to break the count. Angle catches him with a right hand; a pair of right hands. Angle tries to suplex Michaels through the table but the ex-DXer lands out and chops Kurt. Second chop. Third but he's caught, ANGLE SLAM *INTO THE POST*! Angle rolls in the ring as we get a replay. It more made contact with Shawn's ass in reality but the visual doesn't suffer any for the extreme close-up. Angle rolls out at the count of 7 and goes after Shawn with forearms to the back and even a high kick. Both men back in, Angle suplex into a cover, 2. Another cover, this time with the forearm in the face but no. Body vice and Kurt pulls the hair, nice. Breaks the hair pull and then rubs the forearm in the face! HA! HBK literally fighting out. Chop in the corner by Shawn, repeated. Michaels cross-corners Kurt, who reverses, and there's the Flair Flip. HBK staggers into an overhead belly-to-belly that gets a "Whoa!" from the capacity crowd. Angle sets up a second overhead belly-to-belly and gets it, 2.5 on the cover.
Modified camel clutch from Angle with the knee jammed in the back. He throws in a eye rake or a fishhook in there to change the pace up. Replay of the Angle Slam that turned the match around as Michaels surges to with some gut shots, now some chops. Slugfest is a split until Michaels hauls off and slaps Kurt again. Angle gets that "MotherFUCKER!" look on his face and runs Shawn the fuck over with a clothesline, lateral press with a forearm in the mouth again gets 2. Michaels bullied into the corner and Kurt pops a couple Eurocuts as we get a replay of the second ill-advised slap. Angle setting up for the super overhead belly-to-belly but Michaels knocks him off. Savage elbow WHIFFS! And Down Come The Straps! ANGLE SLArmdrag counter. Angle charges and Michaels backdrops him out to the floor! Both down, Michaels up first and into the corner--PLANCHA! Angle's holding his mouth as J.R. says right away a knee might've caught the gold medalist in the mouth. Sure enough, replay shows exactly that. Shawn on the apron and it's time for Kurt to tease the UBERGERMAN OF DEATH that will never, ever, ever fly under Vince's watch. HBK back elbows Kurt a few times and draws Hebner, then mule kicks Kurt. That draws a solid chorus of boos. Follow-up kick puts Kurt on the table, ASAI! And more surprisingly, the table LIVES! Lawler says they reinforced the tables with steel and we get a couple replays. The crowd trying to clap both men into it and here's the count from Hebner.
Both men in at nine, on their knees. They crawl to each other and the center of the ring and stagger up. This shit is so end of "The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly". Angle. Michaels. Michaels chop. Michaels, another chop, Michaels bringing the HBKlassic Komeback it appears. Whip reversal and there's the Flying Santana followed by the nip-up. Clutching his back and the crowd is about 70/30 when the spot is done. One-punch, one-punch, inverted atomic drop, line. HBK scoop slam. You think the Savage elbow is missing this time? Yeah, bet your black smoke it ain't. AND THE LAWD SAID YOU GOT TO WARM THE BAND UPAH! SWEET CHIN--fuck that, ANKLELOCK! Shades of how we got into this mess in the first place. Roll through by Michaels but NO! Now the Heartbreak Kid is crawling and crawling for the ropes. The crowd is about split on whether they want him to survive it...Michaels gets the ropes! That was about a minute, and now the crowd is booing loudly. "GET UP! C'MON!" ANGLE SL--fuck that, sunset fli--fuck THAT, ANKLELOCK! FUCK THAT, victory roll! 2! Whoa. Angle misses a clothesline, SWEET CHIN Angle catches and spins him right into the ANGLE SLAM! ONE, TWO, KICKOUT! Angle can only express puzzlement, which borders on alarm. He pulls the straps up and Down They Come Again. HBK chant as Kurt decides he's going deep into the vault--ANGLESAULT! Shawn MOVES! POP-UP ANGLE SLAM! ONE! TWO! THREWHAAAAAAT?! WHAT!? Are you fucking KIDDING me, Potzer? Angle is jumping in disbelief now. Kurt grabs Shawn by the hair and shit talks. "YOUR DAYS ARE DONE! YOUR DAYS ARE DONE! YOU! TAPPED! OUT!" SWEET CHIN MUSIC! Two replays as Shawn crawls out of the wreckage, drapes a shoulder, got one, and two, thre--err--very long 2. Michaels is still covering Angle and finally stumbles up ANKLELOCK! YOU GO TAP NOW! HBK is trapped in the center of the ring screaming and howling! He moves for the ropes and Kurt pulls him back! Shawn rolls and kicks Angle away--the hell he does! Michaels does it again! Kurt STILL hangs on! Michaels almost gets to the ropes, Kurt pulls him back YET AGAIN! Dammit, Shawn, give it up! The Grand Slammer is diving for anything he can grab hold of but he's caught dead to rights HEEL HOOK! That is fucking midnight for Cinderella! A minute's passed, and HBK is still in the center of the ring! Michaels is *still crawling for the ropes*! The arm's up! He--doesn't tap!?! Fuck it all! No, there it is! There it is! 114 seconds of hell. Put your faith in the Lord, Shawn; your ass belongs to Kurt. (27'27") Kurt gets an ovation. Shawn gets a standing ovation. (And a small pocket of YOU TAPPED OUT, heh heh heh) Fuck, I need a smoke. I don't smoke, but I need one now.
--The familiar dulcet tones of bagpipes can only mean we're set to deliver another edition of Piper's Pit. The Hot Rod comes out and soaks up a big pop and quick "Rowdy" chant. This Austin cat may be a bad man, but the biggest rebel in WWE's history? "Bullshit." But let's get him out here anyway, otherwise we don't really have a point. *KEERASH* And some poor busboy gets waylaid as glass shatters but not "Glass Shatters". Stone Cold. Austin gets rid of a stool to hit the four corners, and Roddy throws the other one out. Dueling chants. Roddy welcomes him. Slap. Austin accepts. Slap. Roddy plays off the "What?" chant for a bit. "Try to keep up with me." The crowd liked that. "I was here when WrestleMania didn't have a number--I was pissing Vince McMahon off when the red on the back of your neck was diaper rash, buddy." Oh ho ho SNAP. Austin runs Piper down, but here comes Mr. Cool.
No, literally: Carlito is in the building. Both Austin & Piper blame the other. Carlito says neither of them is cool. Their time has passed. Carlito's name pays the bills around here nowadays. Piper calls him "Alfalfa". We will now have a brief intermission to remove the uncool from the ring. Surprisingly, they refuse to go willingly. Carlito goes for the apple, Roddy takes it and chews it up. Is he going to spit at Austin? No. Will he spit at Carlito? Why, yes! Is he finished? Well, allow Carlito to retort: Piper beatdown ensues. Austin waits but pulls him off and stomps a mudhole in him. Piper thumbs him in the eye, KICK WHAM STUNNER. Piper & Austin split a case, KICK WHAM STUNNER. I still say Shane did the best sell of those when he spit the beer out on the rebound. Steve takes two more at the top of the ramp. Audrey Meadows, Art Carney, Sheila McRae, g'night, everybody!
SUMO -- AKEBONO (A lot, Hawaii) v. BIG SHOW (470, Tampa):
Fuck that. Akebono wins after three minutes of high-impact shoving. NEXT! (3'00") DUD
--They fire off a highlight reel for the setup to...
SMACKDOWN TITLE -- JOHN BRADSHAW LAYFIELD (290, New York) v. JOHN CENA (240, West Newbury, MA):
JBL comes out with police escort (A rich white Republican supporting the LAPD? Get the fuck outta here) and $100 Bradshaws drop from the sky. He leaves the Cabinet and kisses the belt, as is his wont. AVENUE! Cena could've really gotten back on my good side just by straight-out switching to M.O.P.'s "Ante Up". Cena chant and we start off with a little smacktalk. Collar-and-elbow, advantage JBL as they take it around the ring. Cena with forearm shots to the kidney to break free and shove him off, JBL with the shoulder knockdown. Rope-running sequence, and Cena retaliates in kind. Blind charge to the corner but JBL boots him in the face to set up another shoulder knockdown. The champion driving Cena into the buckle, lays in the heavy rights, Hammer blow to the back. Cena reverses but ducks too soon and gets another Hammer for his troubles. Chop by JBL, now another right. Knee to the gut and he kicks Cena right in the grill. Ow. Swinging neckbreaker--make it 2. Barely 2 on the first cover of the match. JBL takes Cena by the head and pulls him through the ropes so his back faces the crowd and hangs him against the top rope. A couple of chokes against the middle rope by Layfield as Nick Patrick has to use the full extent of the count on both occassions. JBL has Cena by the legs, slingshot into the middle rope! Someone's been playing Day of Reckoning in the limo! Another right hand and Cena gets one back and begins to come back. JBL reverses a cross-corner whip. Now Cena boots him in the face and hits the ropes, Faarooq spinebuster! Damn! Hook 'em Horns, cover gets another 2. Neckbreaker finishes. No, not really. JBL with some nasty kicks to the face as the Cena chant grows. Cena tries to fight back again but JBL cuts him off, cross-corner and a stampeding line that hit with some impact.
Small JBL chant, huh. SHORT LARIAT~! Cena gets a foot on the ropes. Kick into the back. JBL snapmares Cena over then steps back to measure his shot; diving shoulderblock into the spine. Sleeper. Cena reaches for the ropes but it's not happening. Cena's arms never go down, and he counters out with a falling back suplex. Count on both men hits seven, they both take each other out with clotheslines. Another count? Bah. This one only hits 5, and Cena starts slugging away. JBL grabs him by the shorts and pulls him out to the floor. JBL follows him out and hits a swinging neckbreaker on the concrete. Back in at 7, but the cover is only a nearfall. Hammer shot, JBL putting Cena up top. Chop to the chest, right hand almost knocks him out of the ring and now the New Yorker is up top--SUPERPLEX! 2˝. JBL going up top?! No good can come from this and sure enough the #1 contender catches him and powerslams him. Third count and this hits seven as well. I Block Your Punch You Don't Block Mine, etc, now the right hands, headbutt, and it's a Classic Comeback! Clothesline, clothesline, baaaaack body drop. Cena gets into position, running shoulderblock. Picks JBL up and whips him into the ropes, jumping hiptoss. Cena getting behind John, KILLSWITCH! Undercurrent of boos because You Can't See Me segues right into the Five Knuckle. Cena calling for it--so pump pump pump pump pump it up, a mad rhyme for mad times that's what's up--charge in the corner is met by another boot and Bradshaw's on the move. Clothesline From Black Friday ducked, Cena hoists him, FU? Already? 1, 2, and that's 3. (11'28") Cena flips out and parties with the Japanese contigent with the sweet seats. Talk about your truncated comebacks... ˝
--The Hall of Famers take another curtain call here to cleanse the palate, notable only for shoehorning in the remaining divas and Cowboy Bob continuing to sell from the Taker match.
--Chicago is the home for next year's Mania.
--Video package for the main event, then King & JR do a good little pregame talking about how ruthless both men are going to have to be and the Flair Factor. Time to take this bitch home.
RAW TITLE -- BATISTA (317, Washington, D.C.) v. TRIPLE H (265, Greenwich):
Motorhead plays the Game out, who does the Gangrel rise from the stage bit in mid-tune. Wrestlemania Fact: Triple H has never won when he's come out to Motorhead. Batista Churns the Butter on the way in, which makes me desperately want to bowl a strike and celebrate in the same manner. [Author's follow-up note: I did. Three times.] Mike Chioda is refereeing, which is different. Both men checked, the belt held up. Staredown and a "Batista!" from the fans. Their man is smiling a bit at the 10-time champion's smacktalk. Ring the bell and let's get it. Collar and elbow full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Again, and they grapple for position in the corner. Batista shoves Helmsley away. Third time and we get the rope-running sequence, the big man with a shoulder knockdown and celebratory chest thump. Another collar-and-elbow, so let's hit the ropes. Batista misses a clothesline, Triple H using momentum shoulders him down. Pedigree yeah right Batista shoves him off to the ropes and almost botches but rights a press slam. He flexes, as well he should. Triple H complains to Chioda but it's all a cunning ruse to hit Batista with a right hand. Batista respondes to that by punching the Game three times so I don't think it really worked. Cross-corner whip but H throws an elbow on the charge. Sadly, Batista just throws him into the corner straight-out and lays in the Nash offense. Whip to the ropes and the baaaack body drop. "C'mon Hunter!" Another whip but Batista misses a clothesline HHHarley Race sends him out to the floor. Flair stalks him but Chioda catches him before he can do any damage. HHH is crafty and sneaks up behind his former cohort, sending him into the stairs face-first. Batista tries to stagger back into the ring but Triple H jumps off the second rope with an elbow to the back of the head as "assistance".
He stomps away and chokes him a couple of times. Drawing Chioda and somehow Flair's jacket flies off of his body and wraps itself around Batista's neck. A true classic never goes out of style. Batista sluices to the floor and Triple rams his back into the barrier before pivoting and ramming it into the apron. We bring things back inside the ring where Triple H surveys his options before dropping a pair of elbows onto the spine. Now some standing kneedrops. It's as exciting as it reads. Forearm to the back and more knees. Suplay! High-octane offense gets the champ 2. More knees to the back sets up the Bret backbreaker. Helmsley draws Chioda again as Flair opts to smooth out the marks his jacket made with his bare hands. Batista tries to fight back from the apron but a sort of reverse guillotine sends him back to the concrete. Back in the ring, Triple H swings away. This swings the pendulum back in the Animal's favor and he brings the ruckus. Whip to the ropes reversed by Mr. Evolution, Anderson spinebuster. Two and a half, twice. Also, this just in: two and a half. Triple H s l o w l y delivers a neckbreaker for a fourth nearfall. Gut shots from the big man, and now an uppercut. Pedigree you must be joking Dave backdrops out. Whip but he ducks too soon, Shitty Momentum-Reversing Facebuster of Doom (tm Matt Spaulding) knocks him on his ass. A kickout of the highly violent type practically sends the Assassin to the apron so he decides to go up? Evolution lost the only guy who actually hits a move off the top last year; sure enough, Batista clotheslines him down.
Sidewalk slam, but Triple H kicks outpretty easily. Batista charges him in the corner, but Triple H gets the boots up. Cross-corner...no. And no again, Batista reverses the World Champion into a Flair Bump v2 to the floor! Replay as Triple H regains momentum with a whip reversal into the steps. He knocks the top shelf off and sets a Pedigree on the bottom floor. No, says Dave. In fact, hell no: he sweeps the legs and catapults him into the post! Triple H blade trinities. Replay of the catapult as Helmsley falls to his knees in the ring. Batista decides to punch him until more red comes out. Boom boom boom boom boom boom boom. Batista with a running boot to the back of the head! That looked like a Mafia hit. NOW Triple H has got the color flowing, maybe a .6. Replay of the kick. Cross-corner whip from Batista, stampeding clothesline. Back the way we came, and Batista does it again. Third time's the knock-Big-Nose-flat-on-his-ass charm as we replay that one. Bulldog slam from the Washingtonian gets a long 2. Triple H staggers out of the ring but Batista's picked up the scent. Flair gets involved, and Batista drops him like a punk card. Chioda comes FLYING off the apron to intercept a Game chairshot. Whoa. Batista brings it back in the ring, but Flair keeps coming at him. He still might be okay--LEVIATHAN SPINEBUSTER! Okay, maybe not now. The belt goes flying as Chioda rolls Flair out of the ring, he might've hurt his leg with his aerial counterattack. Batista with some parting words for Flair, BELT SHOT! One, two, three-quarters! Triple H doesn't know what's what and charges, LEVIATHAN SPINEBUSTER! Time for the Demon B--Flair uppercut! Ow, ow, OW! Triple H sets up the End Game, PEDIGR--wait, he didn't get him up! And again! Ruh-roh. Batista breaks the underhook and picks Triple H up, the crowd gasping as he lifts into a modified Kryptonite Krunch! Wow. The Animal goes nuts, shaking the top rope like the Warrior did back before he was going for GLAAD's Man of the Year. LA roars at this, and here we go: TripleHthumbsup? Oh, NO. Triple H. Thumbs. Down. Batista sets him in place--Demon BOMB! One! Two! THREE! (21'33") Triple H staggers up, but leaves/gets carried out by Flair as the New Big Thing gets his music back. Six figures of pyro go off around Staples as Batista makes it two new main event champions in a row at WrestleMania who break into tears.
YOU tell somebody that big they can't have a cry. I'll be over here deciding what things of yours I want. ˝
--Closeout with the review video package.
It's quite the shame. Nobody's going to remember the last hour of the biggest show of the year. And they shouldn't. Tonight was about 8 guys if you don't count all the throwbacks: all the participants in the Money in the Bank match who busted their asses to deliver one of the best spotfests of all time, Kurt Angle, and Shawn Michaels. Everytime the match is big and important, we seem to get the best of Kurt. Maybe he understands he can't keep doing it forever, and maybe it's just playing off of us knowing it, but when you put him in there with the Eddies, when you give him World Title shots, or a prestige match like this, he just seems to shine even brighter than usual. Shawn, per his role these days, did a great plucky underdog and surely deserves a small doff of the cap as well.
So those two matches are must-haves. After that there's a myriad of things left up to personal tastes, bottoming out with the obvious two "matches". But a thumbs up just for the Elite 8's sheer force of will.