WWE: WrestleMania 24 Review
Sunday, April 20th, 2008
WrestleMania 24. . .the granddaddy of 'em all, a true holiday for those that love wrestling, whether it be fans or those in the business itself. . .they're in Orlando, FL, my home away from home, and I was uanble to attend. . .such is life. . .
WWE did a tremendous job building this card up. . .I might be in the minority, but I absolutely loved the outdoor look of the Citrus Bowl (which did a good job cleaning itself up for the big event, as it really is a shithole). . .
John Legend opens up singing the national anthem, the fighter planes fly over the stadium ala Opening Day at Fenway Park. . .a nice tough. . .
Lillian Garcia is the ring announcer for the Raw side. . .after almost ten years, I resent the fact that Howard Finkel is not the regular announcer on Raw, nevermind PPV's. . .don't even get me started on WrestleMania. . .
WM opens with Finlay vs JBL in a Belfast Brawl. Nice highlight package during the introductions. It's amazing how fast Vince vanished in an angle involving his son, then later the son he got conned on. Oh well, the angle sucked to begin with. Good to see JBL back in the ring, but at the same time, the Smackdown matches will be brutal with Cole and Coachman calling the action "sports entertainment" action. Aren't Finlay and JBL both on Smackdown?? Finlay comes out to Hornswoggle's music, I'm worried that they're going to turn into the new millennium's version of Doink and Dink now. Nice little brawl to open. JBL can pass the wellness test. How about Finlay at age 51 going for a tope?? Loved it! That's an vet with balls. With JBL working a post WM program on top, it was the right finish with him pinning Finlay.
Our host is Kim Kardashian. Who??? I'm not quite sure what she's famous for. Mr. Kennedy said he was going to win his second straight Money In The Bank match. Don't quite think so. Think back to last September, when he was booked to be Vince McMahon's son, building to a main event level match against Triple H with the McMahon family fortune on the line. Instead, he's in the MITB match again. . .big difference in the WM payoff, believe you me. . .
Onto the Money In The Bank match itself. John Morrison's intro looks cool even outside. I believe this is Morrison's first WrestleMania match. . .that shows how much the tag team titles were valued over the past few years. Carlito. . .one of the most underutilized talents in the business in his first match of meaning at a WM (him & Chris Masters vs Big Show & Kane at WM22 wasn't much, last year was a dark match). Shelton Benjamin. . .top level athlete, am waiting for the company to really get behind them, because they had him made in one night in April 2004, only to have Triple H ruin the push the following week. CM Punk is in his second straight MITB match. Mr. Kennedy with his terrible new entrance music. The song continues forever as they blow up MVP's kid-like entrance way. No mention that he worked with Chris Benoit last year at WM, or that he defeated Benoit for the US Title when talking about how long he's held the title for. New IC Champion Chris Jericho for a little star power, in the gimmick match he created for WM21. Jeff Hardy is MIA, failing his second drug test and then having his home burn down. Rough month for Jeff. I believe WWE missed the ball here, as they could have elevated someone to fill Hardy's spot to make it an even eight like last year (I prefer six, like they had in the first two matches). Someone like Elijah Burke or Kofi Kingston over on ECW could have benefited from it. . .would have been nice to see a Charlie Haas out there. This years spots seemed a little too pre-planned. . .almost paint-by-numbers. Morrison's moonsault with the ladder was tremendous and an exception to the rule. Shelton continues to show why he is one hell of an athlete and deserves better than where he is right now. Lots of creative stuff. . .none of it bad. I didn't have a stopwatch out, but this felt like it was the shortest of MITB matches, maybe that's why things felt a little rushed. Matt Hardy came back from his injury, preventing MVP from winning. Nice angle to continue their feud. I really liked the finish where Jericho got caught up in the ladder while Punk captured the case. Made sense for Punk to win, as Jericho didn't need it, Kennedy wouldn't get a chance to use it and MVP isn't "there yet." Would have really liked to have seen Carlito, Shelton or Morrison go over to give them a WM moment that would truly elevate them in the fans eyes. Maybe next year. . .
A look back at the HOF, one of the best things WWE has ever done for itself. If you ever attend a WM, don't miss it. That little dance Mrs. Maivia did was something. Mike Graham certainly didn't mind being in front of the camera, did he?? David Flair looks like he hasn't missed many meals since his final days in OVW. . .
Todd Grisham (another clown who belongs nowhere near WrestleMania) interviewed Snoop Dog, who was hanging out with Festus. Santino Marella (should have been you, Ralph Lano), got in Snoop's face. Snoop Dog wanted no part of it, so he rang a bell Mick Foley gave him to give Festus that tard strength. Foley took out a sock. How the mighty have fallen. . .
Batista vs Umaga. . .Smackdown vs Raw. . .Teddy Long and William Regal get their WM face time. Cole and Jerry Lawler handle the commentating. This was short, not so sweet, and to the point. Nice to see Smackdown go over so they don't look like the "little brother" to Raw 100% of the time. Umaga's match with the greener Lashley last year was much stronger. Liked Umaga's Savio Vega-like spin kick (sorry, Jack Murray). The Batista Bomb was ugly. Hopefully things are looking up for Umaga, I like the gimmick. . .
Armando "Don't Call Me Alejandro Because It Was Over" Estrada introduces ECW Champion Chavo Guerrero. That says it all about the ECW brand. Chavo's fine as a mid-card, cruiserweight time. Champion of the promotion? No. Kane seemed to agree with me, as he squashed Chavo in nine seconds. With ECW airing on Tuesday, he's guaranteed a longer reign than when he beat Steve Austin at King Of The Ring 1998 and lost it the next night on Raw. . .
Raven Simone is introduced to the crowd. . .who?? Wasn't she the little annoying kid on the Cosby Show. She's in Orlando to push 50 Make-A-Wish kids from 50 states attending WrestleMania. You can't say enough about WWE when it comes to what they've done for Make-A-Wish. What those poor kids deal with in their daily lives is so sad, so tough. To give them a memory like that is wonderful. . .
Tremendous pre-match video for Ric Flair vs Shawn Michaels. A lot can be said about the angle to end Flair's career, in fact it deserves it's own column which will be on-line shortly. A lot can be said about the booking of Flair in his WWE days (check out the column I wrote last fall when he and WWE appeared to have parted ways). Flair looked like he was given the Blue Blazer's old robe. He's interviewed by Mike something or other (the guy that looks like he should be hosting infomercials at 2AM). . .
And then the match itself. . .what WrestleMania is all about. The entrances were perfect. Match for match, these are the best two professional wrestlers I've ever seen. The match itself was perfect for what it was. Great drama, great finish that will be remembered forever. Flair's final walk to the locker room with no announcers talking was beautiful. . .a sad day for the business. . .but as the old saying goes, don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened. . .this should have went last. . .there was real, raw emotion that we won't see for years. . .
Follow that up with the Playboy Bunny Lumberjack match. . .I'm sure that sold a lot of PPV's. Snoop Dog is alright in my bizook for putting over Ric Flair when introducing the ladies. Glad to see Santino get out there, not a bad angle with Lawler & Snoop Dog. Will Jerry Lawler ever get to work a match at WrestleMania??
Time for the triple threat WWE Championship match. . .another awesome video package leading up to the event. Having it take place this early in the card means Triple H is turning full blown heel and leaving with the belt, or the fans are getting a curveball with Orton retaining. John Cena's entrance was ridiculous, it was like a high school football team coming out. I might have been in the minority, but I loved the finish, playing off of a move / finish / angle that was used all year. I wonder if John Cena Sr.'s head was ringing??
Big Show and Floyd Mayweather was a tremendous piece of business, I don't know if WWE could have done any better putting this match together. Yeah, the build up was hit or miss with both Show and Mayweather turning two or three times each depending on how the wind blew. But. . .the bottom line is they perfected it once it was showtime, and left it open ended so Floyd can return in between his big money fights if so desired (you know, what the Rock should have been doing when business was dying and WWE basically let him walk out on his contract to go make eight figures acting in movies that bombed).
Undertaker and Edge started off really slow. . .and I mean really slow. Classic worked championship match where everything in the turtle paced beginning turned into an explosive finish. I don't think anyone was expecting Undertaker to do the job to begin with, nevermind going on last, but WM is the one event each year where fans can sometimes get caught up in the moment. This was the best Edge has looked since returning from his injury at Survivor Series. Hopefully Undertaker can hold up for what is planned to be the longest championship run of his career. . .
WrestleMania brings out the fan of us even in the wrestling industry. For one weekend, all the pissing and moaning comes to a hault and we remember why we fell in love with the business to begin with. . .