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post #1053 of (permalink) Old 12-16-2007, 12:48 PM
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Re: WWE 2007 & Beyond by DDMac

DDMac’s Wrestlemania 23 Feedback

~ The opening video package was actually really good, as it went with a theme, much like all Wrestlemania video packages do. This one was seemingly, “I’m ready” theme, with each superstar giving their reasons for why they are thus. I particularly liked Randy Orton’s involvement here, as it made him come across as the biggest egotist on the roster, Mickie James’ little clip was awesome too (I marked for that too ) and it was obvious that you were presenting Stone Cold as THE MAN in this video. The best person in it though … Vinnie Mac

Carlito vs. JBL – Intercontinental Championship
I had a few matches marked down as possible openers that I thought you might use: MITB, Daniels/Rey, U.S title and the 8-Man tag, but I must admit I never thought you would opt for this contest. I thought it might come across as a little sluggish, and when JBL was in control of the match, that was exactly the case. For starters I’ll say I really like the way you are writing the entrances, with the first line of the intro music blasting out like that, it gives it a very Wrestlemania feeling. It also shows you have faith in Carlito as a big star face in your thread, as it is usually someone like that who makes their entrance first: Jeff Hardy (WM23), Kane/Big Show (WM22), Eddie Guerrero (WM21), John Cena (WM20), and Rey Mysterio (WM19) is about as far back as I can remember. All big stars, so I hope this means something similar for Carlito. Of course you had to get in some slapping between these two egomaniacs, it would only be right given their characters, but the match was marred by a few slow spots. Whenever Carlito seemed to get a bit of speed offence going, such as in the opening with the dropkick, knee lift and clothesline, JBL was always able to counter somehow, namely by using underhand tactic and escaping to the outside. You really played on JBL’s veteran in ring ability, and the fact that, although he may not be as gifted a wrestler as Carlito, he knows a lot more about what goes on in the ring and how far you can bend the rules. He did it when he lured Carly in and threw him into the steel steps and he continuously did with the excessive hair pulling. I thought Bradshaw’s dominance was almost certainly guaranteeing a victory for Carlito, but when JBL had his feet on the ropes following the missed Back Stabber, I though we might get a new Champion. Carlito upped the pace towards the end with his springboard moves, although the counter from Bradshaw into the Powerbomb was nice. Excellent, really excellent closing few moves, as JBL tries to hang Carlito on the top rope, but he Moonsaults off, JBL misses the Clothesline From Hell, and Carlito hits the Back Stabber for the win. Really, really good fun to read at the end, as it was whenever Carly got on top. I still think it might have been a weak choice for opening contest, but your match writing skills have improved so much, Mac, that you can generally make anything interesting, especially when I am a fan of both men. Hopefully this victory over a former WWE Champions signals great things for Carlito soon. Good match. ***

~ Grrr, I thought you said there would be no comedy segments? You lied, Mac Anyway, nice bit of banter between Coach and Stephanie, although I am personally sick of Maria and her dizziness. She should just stick to answering the questions.

Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Ah, it’s always nice to throw this match into the mix early on. Talk about a way to get the crowd fired up. If this doesn’t do it then nothing will. I think I pretty much made my guess a while back, and the way you billed the introductions seemed to pretty much confirm my way of thinking. Flair came out last and got all the hype (even though The Hardy’s and RVD are probably more over than him nowadays), so it was looking nailed on. I do LOVE MITB matches, they’re just so chaotic. The opening exchanges were fun, with Sabu and RVD hitting planchas on The Hardy’s, followed by Doane going crazy with a dive. Flair was so random in the early going, deciding to strut around instead of win the match, but eventually he does try to sneak through the back door (I love heel Naitch) and grab a ladder for the win. Cool Monkey Flip onto the chair from RVD to Flair, and I could just imagine him rolling around like an eel on his back like he always does. Sabu/RVD and The Hardy’s are pretty much stealing the show so far, with Matt and Jeff taking themselves out on the ladder and Sabu hitting the Triple Jump combo. Doane is really getting his ass kicked though, I have to say, as is Flair (one of them will probably win then). Twist of Fate from the ladder! Great spot that Matt always pulls out of the bag, but I loved the four-man battle in mid-air, as they all climb ladders at the same time. FLAIR CROTCHES!!! HA HA!! I’m just imagining his facial expressions and over selling now. Classic. He is getting SO badly beaten in this match so far. A Hardy Boy’s confrontation atop a ladder? It had to happen. Matt is way better than Jeff, so I’m glad you had him take Jeff out with a Side Effect, before RVD throws Matt through the table. Damn, that was definitely the biggest spot of the night thus far, but I’m sure it will get topped soon. I love the spot with RVD dangling from the briefcase and then Sabu just ignores Fonzie and throws a chair at him. ECW anti-heroes are the best!! Flair is still low blowing people? God, he’s awesome. Both Jeff and Doane crash and burn, but Doane’s is quite a bit worse. To be honest, all Doane has done in this match is set up tables and get his ass kicked. Not a good night’s work. RVD takes Sabu out and goes up, but Hardy hits a Whisper in the Wind to the ladder? Not really sure how that would work, but I’m sure it would be awesome. Jesus Christ, has Flair done anything in this match that hasn’t confirmed his status as the dirtiest player in the game? That chair shot came out of nowhere and I completely marked. Matt’s back up? The race is on then. It makes sense that it’s these two going for it, after their war of words on SmackDown! Naitch rakes the eyes to get rid of Matt; what a glorious way for Flair to win, harping back to what makes him so good: being dirty! FLAIR WINS!!! I knew it was coming, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think it is absolutely awesome the way he got it, and he was entertaining as HELL throughout the match. My only gripe about this contest is that Ken Doane didn’t really do anything, and was a virtual jobber throughout. I hope his fortunes improve after Wrestlemania. Really well written again, Mac, with the right about of clusterfuck writing that a MITB needs, together with the emotional side e.g. Hardy’s fighting and Flair winning. Hell of a contest. *** ¾

~ Oh sweet, MVP is coming to Raw? Awesome. I hope you mark for him as much as I do, Mac, because I will settle for nothing less than a great push for Porter. Original concept with him being accompanied by Extreme Expose as an entourage. Porter’s Posh Playgirls? That name makes me chuckle. Could this be Carlito’s next feud?

William Regal vs. Finlay vs. King Booker vs. Lashley – U.S Championship
Yeah, like I said earlier I thought you might have picked this match to kick things off with, as would be fairly high-octane throughout. Lashley was the one the one who was really built up going into this match, especially given that he is the only babyface in the contest, with Regal and Booker as all out heels, and Finlay as the strangest tweener I’ve ever seen. I loved the opening dynamic from Regal, as he just runs away straight away. It would be quite cool to see him retain like that actually, kind of like JBL used to. The alliance formed between Booker and Finlay was no real surprise, especially when Lashley was annihilating them one-on-one. Lashley keeps pressing people over his head, which is damn impressive considering that Finlay is 230 and Booker is 250 pounds. I loved it when Lashley threw Booker into Monty and Burke, it was a great way to keep the Court included. Ah, so Lashley messes up his shoulder, making him a target to everyone now? The old face storylines never let you down do they? Jesus Christ, I love that Dragon Suplex from Regal; I thought he had the match won then when he hit it right on Booker’s head. Regal really has just hid for the majority of this contest, but he really knows when to capitalise. Lashley is getting his ass handed to him a lot at the moment. He takes a Spinebuster from Booker and then hits that crazy dive he does. Awesome move in my opinion. Regal just pops up again out of nowhere and puts Bobby into the steps. I can definitely see this tactic backfiring on Regal sooner or later. Booker kicks out of the Running Powerslam? You’re either making Booker strong or the move weak with that one, not sure which. That’s right, you make sure the best damn guy in the match gets his flurry towards the end, with Finlay taking everyone out with the shillelagh, before booting Lashley right in the arm … CELTIC CROSS! Damn, Lashley kicked out of that as well. BAM! SPEAR! DOMINATOR! NEW CHAMPION! Hectic finish to say the least, although with Finlay you usually get the feeling that once he picks up that shillelagh, he’s either going to win the match or he’s going to end up screwing himself out of it in some way. It turned out to be the latter. So after all of Regal’s hiding and being smart, he still ended up losing the title. Ha ha. I’m in interested to see where you go with these four now, as they have been feuding for a LONG time. Lashley has the belt and Booker has his new stable. I can’t really see you pairing them all off again, though I guess it could happen. Good match. *** ½

~ Nice little backstage segment from Mr. Money in the Bank himself, Naitch. You’re still pushing Batista’s utmost confidence to the max here tonight – and you inter cut it with Kennedy warming up nicely. Big Dave is going down.

Helms/Benjamin and Hooligans vs. MNM/AMW
Even though it isn’t as high-profile as the other matches on the card, it’s nice that you have booked a match that is a pure wrestling contest. All eight men are quality athletes, and, in my opinion, Helms and Benjamin have been the best in the WWE for a couple of years, they just lack the exposure. I love the way Helms owned Harris in the opening exchanges, with the leap frog and the quality arm drags. Weird chemistry though by both teams, as Helms first tags in Kendrick. You would think he would go to Benjamin, but apparently not. AMW seem to play the power game throughout this contest and it works very nicely, especially when contrasting with the Cruiserweights like Helms, London and Kendrick. It was well written in psychology, as the only times The Hooligans could gain any momentum was by using their speed, whereas with AMW and MNM it was by overpowering their opponents. I chuckled a little bit at the reference to the “smarks” when Shelton entered the ring. I’d actually mark harder for Helms, as I find him awesome. Benjamin doesn’t do as much as I thought he would though, as he gets beat up for a while before hitting a nice cross body counter on Nitro. DOUBLE KIP UP!!! Great spot from those two, but Shelton completely owns Nitro when it comes to the actual wrestling, taking him down with arm drag after arm drag. Fantastic flurry towards the end with everyone connecting with at least a variation of their finishers. Helms takes Nitro out, but Benjamin still gets beat up by Harris with a spinebuster … oh, fantastic finish with the T-Bone from the top!!! SmackDown! wins this one!! Great technical and fast paced match up, Mac. Within the course of their feud you have to promise me that we will get a Helms/Benjamin versus Hooligans in a 2/3 falls match or a ladder match. Damn those teams are so awesome. Really well written again, man, showing the way you can vary your match styles. My only complaint was that my man Gregory Helms did very little after opening the match. Still, I can’t wait for the inevitable Hooligans/S&H rematch. Glorious. *** ¾

~ Oh baby, you really have made me into a believer when it comes to a TNA guy like Christopher Daniels in this thread. When you first started using him I didn’t like it, but damn he has been so good. He retired Chavo though Great interview from him here to add some more hype to the next match. If this match is any less than **** then I will have to hunt you down, Man Oh, I loved the little backstage well wishes from Sabin, Malenko and Chavo too. Damn this match is so personal and emotional. It has everything a ***** contest needs. Perfection.

Christopher Daniels vs. Rey Mysterio – Cruiserweight Championship
A very emotionally charged match up this one to say the least. I’d say only Rock/Hunter has a touch more going into it. Daniels’ complete blanking of Rey before the match was great. I love cocky youngsters Mysterio basically dominated the opening of this match, as you would expect from a big time face on the grandest stage of them all. At every turn he seemed to be outsmarting Daniels, even going for the 619 quite early on. I love the little feint plancha that Rey always pulls off when he is trying to psyche out his opponent. It worked well in his matches with Eddie Guerrero, as it was a means of saying to a technical master like Eddie, “yeah, you can do that, but can you do this?” With Daniels the effect is quite different, as Daniels believes he is actually faster than Mysterio, so seeing Rey perform the feint like that would strike the fear of god into Daniels, which you alluded to when writing his frustration. Hell of a nasty way to turn the tide though, as Daniels dropkicks Mysterio’s face right into the turnbuckle. Ouch. Daniels really steps up his game then, with some suplexes, and even a Split Legged Moonsault and a Suicide Dive onto Rey. The counter to Rey’s springboard attempt was pretty nice too. It seems as though the roles have suddenly reverses now. Whereas in the beginning it was Mysterio outsmarting Daniels at every turn, now it is the Fallen Angel who is constantly one step ahead of the game. It shows that you have thought the contest through carefully to ensure the psychology is sound. Rey seemed to get back into the match a little bit with the Wheelbarrow Bulldog (love that move), but Daniels gets back in charge with that awesome combination he uses into the Last Rites. I would have been very shocked if it had ended there, and I would have been quite surprised had it ended with the 619/West Coast Pop variation, as this match just screams out for a pinning combination to win the match. Sick Death Valley Driver out of nowhere. You know you’re in the finishing straight of a contest when the finishing start coming left, right and centre, and at a wicked pace too with these Cruiserweights. Great tribute to Eddie with the Three Amigos from Rey. I must admit I don’t recall ever having seen him hit that move, although I guess he might have done it on a lighter opponent like Chavo Guerrero, and Daniels is well under 200 pounds, so it’s easily realistic. No chance of it ending with the Frog Splash, and I like the way he shifts from a Mysterio aerial manoeuvre right into a Daniels aerial manoeuvre (the BME) playing the similarities and closeness off between the two really well. It was almost like a variation of the move Rey does with Kidman, Edge and Chavo when Daniels catapulted him onto the top rope and went for the Superplex. I wasn’t sure what you meant by him hitting the West Coast Pop from the top rope. Did he just do a leg drop from the top turnbuckle, or did he actually jump onto and springboard off the adjacent top rope? Jawbreaker and Daniels goes for the Angel’s Wings, BUT REY PINS HIM FOR THE WIN!!! Well, I may have predicted the outcome of this contest wrongly, but it was always going to be SO tough to call. You could have gone the route of ‘Passing the torch’, but you opted instead for the emotional story of Rey’s return to the Cruiserweight division and gaining revenge for Chavo. The aftermath was really nice, with Chavo, Sabin and Malenko all coming down to congratulate their friend. This feud is FAR from over I’m sure. I would leave to see a Title vs. Mask match somewhere down the line, kind of a way of harping back to the great feud that Rey had with Eddie in ’97. That would be cool. As for the match tonight, it was easily a show stealer, and you are going to be hard pressed to top that. The story, the emotion and the non-stop action, it was excellent stuff. Congratulations on a fantastically written contest. **** ¼ - **** ½

Mickie James vs. Victoria – Women’s Championship
Wait a minute; I actually care about a Women’s title match? Consider your job already done, Mac Mickie’s reign has been great (obviously, since stalk her ), especially over this feud with Victoria. Her last promo with the fruit basket was simply classic. I love Mickie’s demeanour in this contest, she is just so completely terrified that it is beyond belief, and heels (especially crazy ones) are always entertaining when their backs are against the wall. Victoria completely owned Mickie in the opening of this contest, Japanese arm drags, moonsaults, and planchas just battering the Champ. It’s hard for the casuals to get into Women’s matches outside of their how hot they are, but the way you are writing Vickie tonight, she is seriously going some distance to get herself over as a wrestler. To be quite frank, the fact that gals like Mickie, Beth, Victoria, Gail Kim and others are hot is just a bonus, as they are great wrestlers on top of that. What’s with all the references to Mickie’s “gorgeous backside” to name one? Are you trying to brainwash us, Mac? Great bit of storytelling on the outside, as Mickie rams Vick into to the steel steps and tries to count her out. Don’t ask me why, but this match is feeling much like a match I saw earlier this year between Samoa Joe and Christian Cage at Destination X. Cage was the Champ and was clearly scared to death by Joe, and spent the majority of the contest on the back foot. It was also a BRILLIANT contest, and this is going that way. Like I said, great storytelling on the outside with James’ desperation to have Victoria counted out. Vic just gets right back into it though by booting Mickie in the head. Woah, a spot of Women bleeding eh? Wait, wait, it’s only a busted lip, nothing to serious then. Blood = great match though. Mickie going nuts after that Mickie-canrana, but this contest isn’t ending in a DQ, no sir, not at Wrestlemania. Good lord, if Victoria wasn’t so attractive I would have to call her a beast in this contest so far, from the way she just completely man handles James at every turn. Top rope moonsault? Yep, Vic is one awesome babe, but this dominance is basically guaranteeing her downfall tonight. Lol @ Mickie just grabbing Victoria in a School Boy out of nowhere! Never, EVER turn Mickie face, as she is FAR too entertaining as a heel (one of the most entertaining in your thread in my opinion). Woah, the finishing moves are flying in now so we must be nearing the home straight: Mick Kick misses, Widow’s Peak misses, and James rolls her up. Honestly, how much offence has Mickie even had in this contest? That’s a spinning side slam she just took, but she hits a tilt-the-whirl-backbreaker and the Mickie DDT, and that’s just about doubles all of the offence for her in the entire match. NO WAY DID JAMES JUST GET OUT OF THE WIDOW’S PEAK!!! Yeah, I guess she grabbed the bottom rope, but the way I see it, that move basically kills you anyway, so you wouldn’t have the senses to go for the ropes. Oh yes, this is starting to get as damn good as Christian/Joe to be honest, as they had this moment at DX too, with CC grabbing his belt and trying to leave, only for some of the roster to send him back into the ring. WHAT THE – BETH PHOENIX!! MARK OUT!! Mac, I freaking love you. Beth Phoenix is the greatest female thing in wrestling today to me. She is so damn hot. She > Mickie What a great finish to the match with the hottest finisher in the business finally putting Victoria away for the three count. MICKIE RETAINS!!! Hell yes, what a great match. I love the psychology you employed so much; the cowardly heel just trying to survive against the 100% dominant challenger, only for her to steal the victory right at the end. It made for a thrilling read, and it was easily the GREATEST Women’s match I have EVER read. Be proud of yourself for this one, Mac. Where this feud goes from here. I’m not sure, but it appears as though we might get some kind of stable war going with Victoria, Trish and Gail against Mickie and Beth. Sounds good to me, man. Great contest. *** ¾ - ****

~ First bit of hype for the WWE Championship match, and it comes from out resident psycho Edge. He’s been a bit irritating of late, as all he ever seems to do is talk about “Orton’s blood”. Seems a bit to heelish for me. His segments with HBK are much better. This was quite intriguing though, as it plants the seeds for what could very well be Orton retaining tonight, as Edge’s anger costs him. We’ll see.

The Undertaker vs. John Cena
Oh baby, this is most definitely what I have been looking forward to. You know from all my reviews that this is the match I have been so excited about. The way you set the scene was simply awesome, even making Cena seem like the bigger star by having him come out second. Definitely a classic in the making here, as these two are far and away the BIGGEST stars in the WWE today. Quite a standard Undertaker match opening, as he gets rocked by Cena, before throwing him into the corner and unloading on him. After the breaking the early Chokeslam attempt though, Cena seems to take complete control, as he throws ‘Taker into the steps and proceeds to out muscle the Phenom with power moves like powerslams. ‘Taker gets in his corner clotheslines in and some Snake Eyes, before Cena halts him with a Killswitch. Awesome spot with ‘Taker grabbing Cena by the throat during the “You can’t see me” taunt, really nice touch. Jesus Christ, your incarnation of Cena is such a damn bad ass; he just slapped ‘Taker right in the face, hit the Five-Knuckle Shuffle and dropped him with an F-U easy as you like!! Yes, ‘Taker kicked out!! I’m behind the Phenom here. Him sitting up right in Cena’s faces way awesome, I can just picture Cena’s expression at seeing The Undertaker get right back up following an F-U. How about this, a flurry of offence for ‘Taker, with the apron leg drop and the Old – no, bloody Cena counters again!! Damn, if ‘Taker loses this thing he is going to come out of it looking fairly weak, as he has had his ass kicked all over so far. Great leg drop to ‘Taker, although I misread it at first and thought he had hit it on the outside, which would have been a bit too extreme for “The Champ”. Ah, the seven-footer shows off his submission skills, but that was one inventive counter by Cena. Let me get this right, he spins body around so he has ‘Taker’s arms wrapped around his head, then hooks his own arm around ‘Taker’s head in a vertical suplex position, then hooks one of the legs, and nails the Fisherman’s suplex? I would definitely love to see that done so fast. Crikey, Cena slaps the taste right out of Undertaker’s mouth yet again … TRANGLE CHOKE … holy mother of good, Cena is like some kind of evil Superman in this match. This is like watching Superman III on DVD. Everyone loves him, he is amazingly strong and such, but he is a complete bastard. Was that a powerbomb he hit on ‘Taker to get out of the Triangle Choke? Damn impressive if it was. Oh god, ‘Taker can’t even hit his usual Last Ride from the corner, as Cena counters that as well … and he counters the Chokeslam … BUT NOT THE RUNNING DDT!! Blimey, it’s been a while coming, but Undertaker finally got some offence in on his opponent. AND a Chokeslam? He’s on a roll. Doesn’t last long though, as Cena reverses a Tombstone into a SECOND F-U!! I thought that might have been it there, if the aim is to job the Phenom out, but he actually survives the move again. Last Ride … STF-U!!! Oh Christ, Mac, you hate ‘Taker so much that you are going to have him tap at Wrestlemania? Oh no, his hand falls, THE STREAK IS – OH YOU BASTARD, MAC, YOU TRICKED ME!! Foot on the ropes and ‘Taker hits the Tombstone Piledriver out of nowhere for the win!! YEEEEEESSSS!!!

When I read that Cena had won the first time I was absolutely horrified, since he had taken such a beating throughout the match. That was some masterful writing though, Mac, tricking us poor fools like that As for the aftermath, ‘Taker’s matches usually end with him in the ring ‘celebrating’ (if you can call it that, but you seem to get rid of the Phenom as soon as possible so we can concentrate on Cena. I thought you might have been hinting at a possible face turn over the course of the match, but I think the idea that you are trying to work with is that Cena is an ass and will always be an ass, and that is why the fans love him so much. So why change? Assaulting referees only increases one’s status amongst the youth. A classic character is Bruce Springsteen – I mean, John Cena. I love “The Boss”. My only real problem with this contest was the constant references to the crowd. I LOVE crowd references and it worked really well in building up the atmosphere; it’s just that I think you got the crowd reception wrong. I honestly think that in Detroit, unless your name is Stone Cold Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan or The Rock, you will be booed when facing The Undertaker, especially at Wrestlemania. Yes, Cena will always have his contingent; I just don’t think it would be as split as you made it out to be. At the real WM23 this year, the majority of the crowd were behind HBK, and he isn’t even as over as ‘Taker. I guess that may just be my humble opinion though, and it takes nothing away from an absolutely fabulous contest. **** ¼ - **** ½

~ Great video package setting up Backlash, and a nicely edited poster (aren’t you lucky that Edge fits in really well with your thread ). One question though, with all of the references to Kennedy, Batista, Cena, Undertaker Mysterio et al from SmackDown, does this mean that it is a joint brand PPV?

Kurt Angle vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin
I’m expecting this match to be awesome, mainly because I know that you love Stone Cold something stupid and you would probably feel it an insult to him or something not to have him put on a classic with Kurt freakin’ Angle. I tend to love Angle whatever role he is playing, but I must admit in this heel role he has been entertaining as HELL to me and these opening exchanges was clear proof of why. Okay, I understand that Austin is past it in all honesty and you can’t simply expect him to pull a ***** out of the bag, so this entertaining cowardice from Angle does exactly what it says on the tin: entertains. Austin finally catches up with Angle (careful, Steve, don’t run too much ) and beats up the Olympian for a while, until Kurt finally takes control by suplexing the crap out of Austin, before going … FOR THE KNEE!!! Uh oh!!! Hey, Angle just stole Triple H’s usual spot by having himself pulled into the steel ring post when trying to work over the legs of an opponent. Angle won’t bleed, I’ll put money on it, but I’m just waiting for the moment when Stone Cold gets busted open like a stuck pig so the reinaction of WM13 can commence in earnest. Austin still seems to whoop Angle’s ass whenever it comes down to the brawling, evident via the Lou Thesz Press exchange, but he always seems to be in trouble whenever it starts to get technical, with Angle going for the Ankle Lock or something. Great spot on the outside with the suplex on the floor, bringing back memories of SummerSlam ’01 when I remember Austin getting his ass suplexed all over the damn floor. Ah, the memories Removing the turnbuckle padding eh? Austin getting busted can’t be far away then. Oh, you know it’s getting intense and personal when guys start hitting their finishers on one another, especially with Austin pulling a trio of Germans out of the bag almost, before nearly falling prey to the technical prowess of Angle again – Stone Cold does seem damn adept at shaking off the Ankle Lock so far. He must have been doing his homework, that’s for sure.

HOLY SHIT, A GERMAN SUPLEX ON THE EXPOSED TURNBUCKLE NECK FIRST!!! God damn that sounded brutal as hell. That would be it there and then for me if I’m imagining it right; it would probably look like Austin just had his neck broken again. Angle is one awesome son of a bitch when it comes to beating the crap out of guys and their old injuries. Now Austin‘s bleeding, at long last, so now it is only a matter of time before he is made to pass out to the Ankle Lock. I thought the end might come fairly swiftly after this, but Austin still has some fight it seems, as he comes back with a spinebuster … but gets rocked with his own Stunner!! Ha ha, yep it’s certainly personal now that one another’s finishers are being broken out. Austin gets the Angle Slam on Angle after a missed Moonsault (he hit it on Austin at SummerSlam ’01 right?). It’s weird how everyone always hits their opponent’s finisher before actually hitting their own. You think they’d care more about the victory than the showboating wouldn’t you? I guess not, as Austin kicks out of the Angle Slam and Angle kicks out of the Stunner. I guess it makes sense in terms of match psychology to go kicking out of a Stunner from Angle early on, as he would probably not hit as well, but later on, when Austin hits the Stunner, it becomes a HUGE feat for Angle to survive it, and the same goes for Austin kicking out of the Angle Slam. Here we go, Angle rises from the dead (versus Shawn Michaels @ WM21 ) and applies the Ankle Lock out of the blue. Austin isn’t tapping, there is just no way at all, especially when this is a BTB thread written by DDMac. Yep, I predicted it and I’m going to remind you of that, Mac (), as Austin passes out in a great tribute to WM13. Unsurprisingly Austin still gets great accolades after the match and a beer bash to go with it, although I’m not quite sure what was meant by “Angle stares at Austin in the ring for a bit, looking a bit puzzled and then … sighs before heading back through the curtain” – was he looking at Austin with respect or what? I doubt there is going to be a face turn of any kind from Angle, since he only just turned heel at the Royal Rumble. I guess he is just unable to figure out how the hell Stone Cold keeps getting back up to his feet time and time again. As for the match itself, it was as good as I expected it to be for sure, as Angle carried the majority of the contest as the suplex machine and technical master, but Austin still hung with it and didn’t slow the battle down too much. I loved it when they were hitting each other’s moves on one another, really added to the personal and Wrestlemania feel of the contest. Even though I had it predicted ages ago, it still came as a great finish when Austin passed out to Bret Hart – mean, Kurt Angle to cap off a wonderfully heartfelt contest. *** ¾ - ****

~ Rocky’s little pre-match interview was a nice touch, just like he nearly always gets before his matches. I laughed a bit when Rock set tonight isn’t “about settling old rivalries” – surely that is exactly what this is between him and Hunter: an age old rivalry? Anyway, nothing to major.

Triple H vs. The Rock – No Holds Barred
Like I said earlier on when reviewing the Daniels/Mysterio match, THIS is the most emotionally charged contest of the evening. Yes, you have rivalries such as Mickie/Victoria, Rey/Fallen Angel, Cena/’Taker, Angle/Austin, KK/Big Dave and Edge/Orton, but NONE of them have spanned the length of time that this one has. Ignoring the fact that Rock and Triple H have been feuding basically non-stop since 1997, in this thread alone this is the longest build you have had into a match out of any of them (first confrontation came just after SummerSlam ’06 right?). In that case, the opening to the contest was handled superbly with neither man willing to wait for the other and brawling all the way through the crowd and back. Some people can be quite critical of the overuse of right hands and such when writing contests, but I honestly don’t see the problem. I mean, Hunter and Dwayne do use A LOT of punches during their matches, and they are both very effective strikers anyway, so it doesn’t really take anything away from the match for me. It seems to be pretty back and forth with the opening exchanges honestly, with Rock gaining the advantage by playing possum on the outside and back dropping Trips on the ramp, only for Hunter to get back in control when in the ring. I really like the references to the infamous assault at No Way Out, especially when it seems as though Helmsley is desperate to recreate that night; it gives off the feeling that a victory just won’t be enough for Hunter tonight, and he wants to end Rocky’s career. Oh yeah, it takes Hunter to get things hardcore in this match up first with his old ring bell trick. I prefer the way Bret Hart used to sucker punch people with the bell, but Trips does it pretty well too. Rocky plays off some of his tweenerish mannerisms and low blows his way out of a Pedigree – ROCK BOTTOM THROUGH THE TABLE!!! Wow, I had thought that we might see someone go through a table, but I didn’t think it would be this early on. I still have Rock down for winning though, despite this beating Hunter is taking.

Gah, first the steel chair shot is going to be sick and then the AA Spinebuster is sick. Try not to overuse sayings like that in your description of moves, as it can get a little irritating and stops a fussy S.O.B like me from fully appreciating the awesome move. It still seems to be a very back and forth contest, as first Rock hits a sick () Samoan Drop on the chair, but Hunter ends up surviving a beating the crap out of Dwayne with the chair. No one has really dominated this match, which is quite a surprise to me, as I thought that Hunter would dominate, leading to a Rock victory. Hunter costs himself by wanting to recreate No Way Out with the sledgehammer? Beautifully synchronised match events here with Triple H’s sadism getting in the way, as it keeps him strong even though he is losing Triple H gets more brutal though, as he stops wasting time and just batters Rock with the chair and a Pedigree. ROCK KICKS OUT!!! Well, I can definitely see Trips kicking out of the Rock Bottom in a minute as well. Rock’s the first one to bleed as well – yep; he’s got this baby in the bag. Crap, Hunter is really screwing himself in this match up isn’t he? He batters the referee senseless and then lays The Rock out for the win. I guess he’ll be bringing this fact up post-Wrestlemania, although I also though John Cena might have done that after he had Mr. Kennedy down and out at the Royal Rumble, but he seems to have forgotten. Great finish to the match though, as Rock finally hits the Rock Bottom (Hunter doesn’t get to monster kick out ) and decides to ‘go Triple H’ on Triple H’s ass with a sledgehammer shot and the People’s Elbow to the steel chair. ROCKY WINS!!! I really hate the People’s Elbow as a finishing manoeuvre, but it looks much more realistic to win a match with it if it’s through a metal chair like you did it. I’m glad there wasn’t much of an aftermath to this match; all that was needed was a post-match celebration from The Rock and you got that right. End of the road. End of the feud. Perfect in my opinion. I can see both of these men stepping up to the plate at some point soon to challenge Mr. Kennedy for the World Heavyweight Championship, and neither of them would be a bad feud. As for this match, it certainly had it all: emotional, great spots, great writing, and the right result. Only fitting that the ten year battle between the two men should end on the grandest stage of them all. Classic, Mac. **** ½ - **** ¾

~ So the RKO Army continues to disintegrate backstage it seems. I had their split marked down as happening before Wrestlemania, but judging from the way you are setting it up, I can actually see it taking place on the very next Raw. Nitro and Doane are very confrontational now, so it would seem now that the only way this break up is going to occur is through violent means, probably with Orton, Masters and Mercury assaulting Doane and Nitro. Nitro and Doane could possibly be the ones to do the attacking though, although I doubt either of them would work as a face. This adds a whole new dimension to the WWE Championship match tonight, and I hope to god Randy retains.

Umaga/Big Show vs. Kane/Mark Henry – Monster’s Collide
Ha, I had actually forgotten about this match up. I’m surprised to see it so far up the card really, despite the fact that it has been given quite a bit of hype thanks to Coach and Stephanie. I hope to see Umaga pushed towards the WWE title in the future though. Slow and steady opening exchanges, with Coach’s antics on the outside making me laugh (leave Umaga to Estrada, Coach ). Show totally man handles Kane (is it wrong that I rate Glen Jacobs?) but gets into a nice test of strength with Mark Henry. Wrestling-wise, this match is dead as the dodo, but it works well from the stand point of “who’s stronger?” and other things like that that casuals might be interested in. Show seems to get the better of Henry though, until Kane gets in and they double-team the giant. Damn, Kane keeps getting his ass kicked by Show so far with the Sidewalk Slam, and in comes UUUUMMMAAAGGGAAA!!! Sorry, I mark for him. Kane gets nailed with a Samoan Drop early on, but manages to fight his way out of the Bear Hug. Finally, Kane starts to get in some offence (why do you hate him? ) and almost seems to be on the verge of victory … MARK HENRY TURNS ON SMACKDOWN, WHAT THE HELL???!!! Well, I really didn’t see that one coming, but I guess I should have seeing as though you would have to be crazy to try and push Henry as a face. Kane ends up getting laid out with a Samoan Spike and a Chokeslam to give Raw the win and evens the score following the earlier 8-man tag match. Beat down on Kane? Is Mark Henry actually jumping ship to Raw or is he doing all of this just because he doesn’t like Kane? I guess I’ll have to wait and see. FOLLLLEEEYYYY!!! Awesome, I wondered when the repercussions of the Raw assault would begin and here it comes, with Barbie beating the crap out of ‘Mags and Show. A Foley/Umaga Hardcore match would be amazing at Backlash and it would seem that Kane/Henry is being set up for Judgement Day. Great booking. From a wrestling perspective, it wasn’t really up to Wrestlemania standards, but as a spectacle it was really good fun: we got a partner turning on a partner, the awesomeness of Coach, a returning legend, and U-freakin’- Maga. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable slobberknocker. ***

~ CM Punk coming to SmackDown? Sounds good to me

Randy Orton vs. Edge vs. Shawn Michaels – WWE Championship
I guess you’re of the same way of thinking as me, that the winner of the Royal Rumble should always Main Event Wrestlemania, because in terms of the matches, this one is easily going to be better than Kennedy/Batista. First off, the entrances were done really well, with HBK’s especially nailed to a tee. Michaels as a tweener is always great fun, and you really tap into the ego of his. SENSATIONAL SHERRI!!! Ha ha, that’s great; I had thought that HBK might need a valet of some kind since Edge has Lita and Orton has Melina. Orton’s entrance was also good, as you are really billing him as a top heel. Edge goes after Orton right away, no surprises there … SWEET CHIN MUSIC!!! WTF???!!! I was expecting Michaels to just lounge on the top turnbuckle or something, but instead he takes Edge out of the match seemingly. Great surprise. HBK dominates Orton with some cheeky chops before the Champ FINALLY gets some offence in and goes for an early RKO, only to be floored by Edge. You sold the SCM well, so no complaints there. Sometimes when people hit their finishers early on, the recipient can get up far too early, and it takes away from the impact of the manoeuvre. You avoided this. I like the way you are really hyping the confrontation between Orton and Edge, and you can almost imagine the crowd getting worked up into a frenzy whenever those two get together. Nice booking though, with Edge’s anger continuously getting in the way, as he gets nailed with a mid-air dropkick (love that move). I had feared that you would have both Edge and HBK completely dominate Randy and have him only survive by sneaky means, but you are keeping him pretty strong thus far. I can see HBK and Edge being paired off quite a lot during this first fall, or HBK being involved in the majority of the action anyway, saving the inevitable Orton/Edge brawl for the final fall. Orton goes into the steps and we get Michaels and Edge going at it again. Ugh, I hate it when people apply the Figure Four having done no work on the legs at all. Orton’s back in pretty quickly though and nearly gets his ass pinned after an Impaler DDT. Great back and forth exchanges in the ring with a lot of roll ups being employed (well Edge and HBK do specialise in them). I really like the way HBK hit Edge with a flying forearm, as he was about to hit the Spear on Orton. Orton gets dumped out once again, Speared through the ropes and Michaels takes Edge out with the elbow … DOOMSDAY CROSSBODY!!! Awesome move from Randy there, and I can’t really see Michaels lasting much longer after this. Uh oh, both Orton and Edge have managed to brawl their way onto the announce table; this can only mean one thing … FLYING ELBOW THROUGH THE TABLE!!! Christ, Michaels certainly is stealing the show tonight isn’t he? I thought Edge and Orton were going to move out of the way, but apparently not. The end must be nigh for someone now. Michaels chooses to take on Edge and ends up getting Speared … kicks out … Speared again, and HBK is gone!!! Well, Michaels was always going to be the one getting eliminated first, but he certainly stole the show for the 19 minutes he was involved. A great way to eliminate him too, with two Spears, as it keeps him looking strong and showcases his guts and determination.

Here we go indeed. I think it’s pretty safe to say that this is the moment everyone has been waiting for. Edge seems to dominate Orton for the opening: misses the Edgecator, but nails the Edge-O-Matic, gets a Cross Body, and Orton is really struggling to survive. DOWNWARD SPIRAL!!! Sorry, I just marked out when I saw that move, ha ha. Great way to showcase Edge’s desperation. More rapid pinning combinations, but Randy gets the Texas Cloverleaf in. You’ve really built up his submission as a deadly one, and it will be interesting to see if he can ever win a match with it. Edge’s Edgecator was slightly less successful it has to be said. Edge kicks out of the RKO!!! Orton kicks out of the Spear!!! Wow, both men are looking absolutely incredible tonight. SUPER RKO!!! ORTON RETAINS!!! Damn, if Randy was going to be keeping the gold tonight, that was the only way it was going to happen. Awesome finish. It seemed as though Edge’s desire for revenge did seem to cost him ultimately, but Randy also comes out of this looking like a VERY good Champion. He basically beat Michaels clean at the Royal Rumble, and he has basically done that again here tonight. I’m really glad that Orton has retained the strap as well, as if Edge had won it would have seemed as though his revenge was complete. With Randy retaining, it seems as though this feud is really only just getting started. We could see a match at Backlash between Edge/Orton, or we could see another Edge/Orton/HBK match. The final battle between these two though, is going to be immense, I just know it. Fantastic match tonight, Mac, and a MOTN thus far. **** ¾

~ What a touching little backstage segment. I loved the fact that there was no dialogue or anything … just simple respect between The Rock and Austin. Wrestlemania worthy indeed.

~ Great Hall of Fame ceremony. Great to see that it was Bret Hart who inducted Mr. Perfect into it, as their matches at SummerSlam ’91 and KOTR ’93 were … wow. Naitch and Dusty are awesome together no matter what. Mean Gene just makes the night for me. Great ceremony.

Batista vs. Mr. Kennedy – World Heavyweight Championship
Okay, this is the big one then, the Wrestlemania match up with easily the most hype going into it. The hype has worked splendidly as well, as for an outsider this wouldn’t look like a Main Event worthy match, but you’ve proved them wrong. Great introduction from Kennedy – “Main E-freakin’-vent” indeed – showing why he is so awesome as the tweener/face you have made him into. Here comes Big Dave!!! Damn, I love Batista in this thread, but that’s probably because of the man accompanying him down to the ring. Flair suited and booted and ready to go after competing in MITB? Even at 57 The Nature Boy has all the stamina in the world (). As I was expecting, Batista basically dominated Kennedy for the opening in the classic monster heel way – Batista shoves KK away in collar and elbow tie ups, Batista muscles Ken into the corner, and Big Dave throws him over the top rope. Dominance. Nice that Kennedy puts some doubt in ‘Tista’s mind too with that Spinning Back Kick attempt out of nowhere. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him hit that before. Ha ha, Flair’s interference is legendary (he had me in stitches during Triple H’s match with Booker T at WM19, and King’s commentary). If Naitch is at ringside, interference is not only guaranteed, it’s wonderful. Kennedy tries to counter but gets powerslammed straight away; this match is being booked really well. He hit the Spinning Back Kick!!! Never mind that being the first cover of the match for KK, that is the first time he has taken Big Dave off his feet. Batista seems to cut off any momentum Kennedy has by overpowering him, as he goes right into the Bear Hug next, but Kennedy comes back yet again, face wash and the running corner boot. I think that’s probably the most offence Kennedy has had in this match up so far, but it doesn’t seem to last long thanks to Naitch (<3) and Batista ends up suplexing KK on the ramp. I thought this match might have spilled out into the crowd a little more, or at least into the ringside area, but I guess the Hunter/Rock match had enough of that to last a lifetime. Ha ha, Batista shoves the ref away and ends up getting a low blow; tweener Kennedy is just awesome; he would DEFINITELY get over with the fans like this. Whenever anyone goes for the Figure-Four in front of Flair, I mark, because his antics at ringside are just classic.

Oh no, Kennedy just beat the shit out of Flair with the steel steps!!! I guess this has taken Naitch out of the match then. Only Flair could get himself busted open before either of the men in the match do. KENTON BOMB!!! I thought that might have been it, but no seemingly. I’m not really sure if KK would have been able to pull off the Eddie Guerrero roll-through following the missed second Kenton, but I’ll let it slide (), as I love the counter right into the spinebuster. A second spinebuster, but Kennedy fights out of the Demon Bomb and they fall out of the ring. I can see Batista kicking out of all of Kennedy’s finisher’s, but you bill the Demon Bomb like DEATH, so I doubt Batista will be hitting that move any time soon, but every time he goes for it, I can imagine the fans getting terrified. Christ, KK just bloodied up the Champ badly on the outside; I would have thought that Kennedy would be getting himself busted open soon. Low blow … AND HE HITS THE DEMON BOMB!!! Well, I never would have thought it. Hmmmm, I’m not really sure if a foot on the ropes constitutes a kick out or not, but it does seem as though the impact of the Demon Bomb has been lessened somewhat. Flair tricks the ref and gets the MITB briefcase into the ring … BUT BASTISTA GETS NAILED WITH IT!!! Well, KK certainly won’t be winning this one cleanly at any right, ha ha. Flair has really done what he does best in this match up, and that is get his ass kicked, as he gets blasted off the apron with the case. Spear … no, KK is still in it. Spear came very late, don’t you think? There’s no way Kennedy is winning this thing with the Green Bay Plunge; could he even lift a 300-pounder like Big Dave up there? No, I didn’t think so. Great counter by Kennedy into the pin … HE WINS IT!!! Wow, I honestly wasn’t expecting a roll up to win the Main Event at Wrestlemania, but I guess if it needs to be done (and it did with Batista’s character) then what better way then the way Bret Hart beat Stone Cold at Survivor Series ’96. I didn’t like the aftermath, simply because the new Champion should be able to celebrate to the fans in the ring and such, rather than be chased away by the heel challengers. That’s my only really complaint though. I had concerns that this match would be unable to live up to the hype, but you made sure it did with a hectic, interference-filled, and exciting brawl between the two men. No, it wasn’t a great WRESTLING match, but it kept me on the edge of my seat; Wrestlemania worthy then, I’d say. By the way, didn’t Kurt Angle pin Batista at SummerSlam? I can’t wait to see how Kennedy’s reign as Champion goes, but odds are this feud with Big Dave will last a while, possibly to SummerSlam. Flair will cash in at the next Wrestlemania I think, and there are guys like Triple H and The Rock for KK to square off against. All in all, things look very bright on SmackDown! Great Main Event, Mac. *** ¾ - ****

~ Great closing video package too

Overall, Mac, I can safely say that this was the best PPV I have ever, ever read. People might disagree with me and say that Wolfy’s Wrestlemania was better – and part of that will always be true, as it was the original – but I just look at your show and see such incredible matches (almost half over ****) and struggle to see otherwise. My favourite match of the evening was definitely the WWE Championship Three Way Dance, with Rock/Hunter 2nd and Cena/’Taker tied with Daniels/Rey for 3rd. Booking-wise, this show was perfection. EVERY match left me dying for the next Raw, SmackDown and PPV … and that, my friend, is class. To round it all off, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair … ‘nuff said … what a motherfucking show indeed…
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