Well, I finally did it. I managed to get my hands on a copy of Wrestlemania 23. It's amazing how hard it is to find any rentable copies of Wrestlemanias. I guess, since it's such a big deal, rental places are scared that their copies will be stolen. Anyhow, seeing as how this is one of the few WWE Pay-Per-Views that the Rollercoaster doesn't have a review of yet, it seems only natural for me to type one up. Let's get to it.
WWE Wrestlemania 23 |
Posted by the Accelerator, July 31st, 2007
- First off, a quick clarification. This review isn't going to be as detailed as some of my previous ones. Basically, those take me a lot longer, as I try to do the complete play-by-play of every match. I've got one started now that I began last month, and I still haven't gotten around to completing it. So now I'm trying a new tactic of simply reviewing the matches and moving on from there. My new day job, while wonderful, is also sucking up most of my free time recently, so if I want to keep posting these reviews, I've got to cut back. The only question is, will I be able to? Or am I going to continue to be an addict to long reviews? We'll soon find out.
- The box for the Wrestlemania DVD displays three different matches. At the top, we have Donald Trump and Vince McMahon displayed prominently, with the wrestlers who are actually competing (Bobby Lashley and Umaga) behind them. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, the special referee, is between the wrestlers. Beneath the Wrestlemania logo, we've got Shawn Michaels and John Cena, and Batista and the Undertaker. At the very least, that displays all three World Champions, so I can't complain, although, as I said, Vince & the Don are the biggest shown. Oh well.
- As always, I recommend the Blockbuster version of the event, as they include special 'bonuses'. While I could care less abou the Battle of the Billionaires Contract Signing, the "Extreme Rules" Match between the ECW Originals and the New Breed wasn't bad.
- We've got the usual pack of announcers. There's Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler from Raw, Michael Cole & JBL from Smackdown, and Joey Styles & Tazz from ECW. I guess the Spanish announcers only work in the back now, if they're even used at all anymore.
- Aretha Franklin sang "America The Beautiful". Fun fact: Aretha sung for Wrestlemania III, and she's still a strong singer today.
King Booker w/ Queen Sharmell vs. Edge vs. Fit Finlay w/ Hornswoggle vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Hardy vs. Mr. Kennedy vs. Randy Orton vs. CM Punk, Money In The Bank Ladder Match:
This was a very chaotic match, due to their being so many people involved. I remember when I heard that it was going to be 8 people this year and I was worried about a lot of moves being lost in the shuffle. Actually, though, I think these wrestlers really pulled it off pretty well. We had a lot of early attempts to grab the title, but there was always someone there to make the save. There were a bunch of dangerous moves, from Kennedy doing a Kenton Bomb on the ladder, to Jeff trying to kill edge by delivering a Legdrop from a very tall ladder outside the ring through Edge, who was on another ladder. That was just insane, as Edge gets carted off to the back. I could name a lot more moves here, but I promised that I wouldn't go on so long... oh, heck, let's throw a few out there. We had a Book End off the ladder, an RKO off a ladder, a Celtic Cross off the ladder, well, you see the trend. At one point, King Booker could have gotten the win, but had to save the Queen instead, when Matt was threatening her with the Twist of Fate. King Booker remarkably went the honorable route, and got a Twist of Fate himself for his troubles. Near the end, Hornswoggle came out and tried to get the briefcase for Finlay, but Kennedy caught him on the ladder, then delivered a massive Kenton Bomb off the ladder to the small wrestler! In the end, Kennedy managed to take out a bloody CM Punk, then made the climb, grabbing the case and getting the victory.
Ace Thoughts: Pretty good opening match. In fact, I was surprised that it opened the show, since it's the bout that a lot of people were anticipating. Wouldn't that wear out the crowd too early? Then again, who am I to judge? Anyhow, it's a match worth seeing, if you haven't already, if only for Jeff Hardy's usual suicidal tendancies. BTW, anyone else catch the irony of Kennedy taking out a midget on the 10-year anniversary of Wrestlemania III? I love it. It's not quite continuity, but it's close enough for me.
- We see a rundown for the "Condemned" movie, otherwise known as the movie that killed WWE's ability to showcase movies in theatres. I still want to see it, though.
- Mr. Kennedy gets interviewed by Todd Grisham on his victory in the Money In The Bank. Honestly, this interview isn't as impressive when you remember that Edge stole away the briefcase and used it for himself, when Kennedy was apparently going to be out for months due to injury (and actually was only gone a couple of weeks).
- Batista's All Grown Up. Insert "Random Steroid" joke here.
Kane vs. the Great Khali:
Ironically, these two, along with Batista, just wrestled at the Great American Bash. And here they are, all featured together within minutes of each other. Coincidence?? Well, yeah, probably. Anyhow, not surprisingly, the crowd isn't into this one as much as the first match. Kane tried to keep control, using his "See No Evil" prop (a chain with a hook) to his advantage. He also body-slammed the Great Khali (another nod back to WM III). But the giant was too strong, eventually Choke-Bombing Kane to get the victory. He also used his one-foot pin, which gives Khali the full set of pinned Brothers of Destruction. Khali also choked out Kane with his own chain after the match, furthering the damage.
Ace Thoughts: Pretty much what you would expect. About the only thing that surprised me here is that you can really tell how much the Great Khali has improved over the past few months. He's still pretty raw here. Feel free to fast-forward, unless you really want to see that bodyslam.
- The Divas are All Grown Up. Insert "Pedophile" joke here.
- Eugene's in the back with Cryme Tyme and the Extreme Expose, but he'd rather dance with WWE legends Mae Young & the Fabulous Moolah. We also have dancing from "The Doctor of Style" Slick, "The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart, "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, Sgt. Slaughter, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, and other legends. we also had the obligatory "Damn!" from Ron Simmons. It was good to see Slick, at least.
Chris Benoit(c) vs. MVP, WWE United States Heavyweight Title Match:
I put aside any Benoit feelings for this one, although it wasn't easy. MVP actually uses some good psychology in this one, working over Benoit's arm to keep him from being able to use the Crippler Crossface effectively. It almost allows him to get away with the victory, using his Count It! Elbow. But Benoit came back with a series of Rolling German Suplexes (nevermind that his arm is hurt), then went with the Flying Headbutt to surprisingly get the win, retaining the title. I can't remember the last time before this that Benoit won with the Headbutt, but it's still a pretty nice move.
Ace Thoughts: Ok, it's hard to rate any Chris Benoit matches right now, I admit. You look at him here, and still think "What the fk happened??" But if you can look past that, you'll see a pretty good technical match here, that probably could have used a little more time. MVP was definitely showing signs that he has what it takes to be a major player in WWE. I can't wait to see where he is next year at Wrestlemania. Could we see MVP in the main event? Anything's possible.
- Donald Trump and the Boogeyman share a tender moment. Ok, Trump just asks the Boogeyman for a sandwich, but hey, as screwed up as the Boogeyman is, that COULD be a tender moment! Of course, former Miss USA Tara Conner didn't seem that enamored with the Boogeyman, but hey, he's an acquired taste.
- Watch Backlash. Only a few weeks away! See the same matches you're seeing tonight, only with more drama!
- Lillian Garcia announces the Hall of Fame inductees, who are Nick Bockwinkel, Mr. Fuji, Curt Hennig (his wife represented him), the Iron Sheik (his wife surprisingly represented him as well), Jerry "The King" Lawler, Dusty Rhodes, Jim Ross, and the Wild Samoans.
Batista(c) vs. the Undertaker, World Heavyweight Title Match:
All of the time that could have been used for the Benoit/MVP match gets used up by the Undertaker's entrance. But, heck, isn't that always the case? The crowd was completely behind the Dead Man here, even booing many of Batista's maneuvers. The Undertaker gave them what they wanted to see, delivering a Suicide Dive onto Batista. The outside didn't stay nice for the Dead Man, though, as Batista later Powerslammed him through the announce table! You don't see the Undertaker taking bumps like that every day; only at Wrestlemania. We had several near finishes in this one, from the Undertaker's Last Ride to the Batista Bomb. In the end, though, the Undertaker was able to block a Batista Tombstone try into one of his own, taking out Batista, winning the World Title, and extending his Wrestlemania streak to 15-0.
Ace Thoughts: All the excitement here was whether or not Batista would end the Undertaker's streak. Most thought it wouldn't happen, but when he hit the Batista Bomb, I'm sure a lot of people got scared it was going down. It's always great to style a match where you jump at every pinfall near the end. Of course, you get rid of the storyline of the streak, and this is just a so-so match, but the end is pretty much worth seeing if you're a wrestling fan.
- Bobby Lashley's All Grown Up. Insert, oh wait, I already used the Steroids joke. Bummer.
- Vince McMahon makes his grand-daughter crap in her diapers. Yep.
The ECW Originals (Tommy Dreamer, Rob Van Dam, the Sandman, & Sabu) vs. the New Breed (Elijah Burke, Marcus Cor Von, Matt Striker, & Kevin Thorn w/ Ariel)
This was the beginning of the end for both groups, for the most part, as the New Breed would start breaking up (thanks to CM Punk), while half the Originals (RVD and Sabu) left WWE and the Sandman headed to Raw. It even affected the valet, as Ariel was surprisingly released from WWE as well. But let's get to the match. For an eight-person tag-team bout, this was awfully quick. While I'm not timing these, I can clearly see from my DVD screen that we barely went 6 minutes (after intros) before Van Dam landed the Five Star Frog Splash on Striker for the victory. Not really that much to speak of here, as the crowd wasn't fully into this one, and neither was I.
Ace Thoughts: The Extreme Rules match-up between these two teams is loads better, so be sure to get that extra DVD from Blockbuster. The reason that Van Dam got the pin was that WWE was still actively trying to sign him to a new contract. RVD, though, decided he'd rather relax for a while. It's too bad that the New Breed couldn't be given more, as they were the best thing going for ECW. Now, all four men have basically stopped in their tracks (although Striker's making an impression now as a manager). In the eyes of history, this will become known as just a filler match, and is worth skipping.
- "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's All Grown Up. Insert "Hair Club For Men" joke here. Ok, so I'm stretching for a joke. So sue me.
- Wrestlemania 24's going to be in Orlando, which should be interesting, since it's TNA's backyard.
Bobby Lashley (representing Donald Trump) vs. Umaga (representing Vince McMahon) w/ Armando Alejandro Estrada, "Hair vs. Hair Battle of the Billionaires" Match:
As mentioned above, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin is the special referee, all but screwing Vince out of his hairline. Austin did call it down the middle early on, though, keeping Lashley from stepping out of line. Estrada interfered early, earning him a Running Powerslam from Lashley. Later on, Austin worked to keep Umaga from breaking the rules, even hooking him in his eye! But Umaga responded with the Samoan Spike, taking out Austin. Shane McMahon then entered the picture, attacking Lashley and later getting his version of the Van Terminator. Shane made himself the referee, but Austin came back to stop that, taking out Shane. Vince and Umaga then went after Austin, with the Don actually getting physical with Vince! Meanwhile, Austin gave the Stunner to Umaga, which allowed a recovered Lashley to hit his Spear for the pin, taking out Umaga and costing Vince his hair. I just so happen to have a picture of that event.
Ace Thoughts: Once again, not much of a surprise here, as Austin was the deciding factor. Oh, maybe Lashley could have won without him, but it sure didn't look good for him (or the Don's hair). At least this match had a good pay-off, as we got to see Vincent Kennedy McMahon in a compromising situation for once. Everyone loves it when the boss gets it. Er, at least, as long as he's not getting it by stepping into an exploding limosuine. Just to fully document everything, after Trump finished enjoying his celebration, Austin gave him a Stunner (one of the worst flops I've ever seen), then left to the cheers of the crowd. There's something for everyone!
- John Cena's All Grown Up. Insert "Vanilla Ice" joke here.
- They actually talked about the Pre-Show Match here, with Ric Flair & Carlito beating Chavo Guerrero & Shane Helms in a "Lumberjack" Match. Carlito won it for his team, giving Chavo the Backcracker.
Melina(c) vs. Ashley, WWE Women's World Title Lumberjill Match:
Lots of WWE divas surround the ring for this 'epic' contest. You can see why this is shown after the Vince McMahon scalping. Honestly, this match is barely even long enough to review. It seems like I barely finished typing the title to this one, when Melina reversed a roll-up on Ashley and got the pin after 3 minutes of 'amazing' action. The only pay-off comes afterwards, when all the divas go at it. Melina retains her title, in surprisingly quick fashion.
Ace Thoughts: You would think, after all of Ashley's promotion about being in Playboy and what not, that she would look better here. But this was a really, really quick finish. Sure, Melina didn't win completely decisively, but it was a definite shock to see it happen so fast. The fans were also completely dead here, which really just made things that much worse. Skip it, unless you want to see the giant cat fight afterwards.
- Shawn Michaels is All Grown Up. Afraid I'm out of "All Grown Up" jokes, so feel free to make up your own and laugh at it.
John Cena(c) vs. Shawn Michaels, WWE Championship Match:
Despite WWE trying once again to pump up Cena (this time with a high-speed car entry into the arena), the crowd was still behind HBK, booing the champion. We got to see a painful bump from a referee, as Michaels accidentally gave some Sweet Chin Music to him. Luckily, another ref was just hanging out backstage, although he didn't get out there until Michaels busted Cena's head open with a piledriver on the steel steps. Say it with me: ouch. We again had several near-falls, both from Super Kicks and FU's. Michaels was even able to escape the STFU at one point. However, he was worn down, which allowed Cena to eventually reapply the move, forcing Michaels to tap out and allowing Cena to remain the champion. Afterwards, Cena tried to shake Michaels' hand, but Michaels refused. Intrigue!
Ace Thoughts: A nice, solid match to finish the night, although you could tell the fans in attendance were hoping for another title change. Michaels dominated a lot of the match, as per usual in Cena battles, but Cena showed that he could come back against anybody. As is the case with most Shawn Michaels matches, this one's worth seeing.
As for the entire PPV? Well, I've seen better Wrestlemanias, but I've certainly seen worse ones as well. The WWE, World, and US Title matches are all worth checking out, and even the clusterfk Battle of the Billionaires is alright, if only for historical value. I'd recommend picking this one up, if you have a chance. After all, it's a Wrestlemania, and it's hard to go wrong with those.