Straight off the bat, you’ve gone with a nice hard-sell from Cole, having him hype then fuck out of Mania. It’s good to see you really trying to hammer home just how big of an event it is, and really sell it. You sold me on tonight too, with the big clash of the champions, and of course the whole Lesnar/Triple H/Austin situation which I’ve been loving.
I don’t know why you had Albright and Kash in the ring when the broadcast was only just beginning. Small thing, i know, but it makes them look jabronified, despite being champions. You’ve continued the psychology of Big Dave as a threat to Albright well here with Albright wanting no part of him, and it’s good to see you allowing Batista to back it up. Again, good psychology with Albright not being afraid of ‘Tista when he’s removed from the ring, with a very unique and different type of a way to swing the momentum. Impressive. Batista was always going to own Kash from here, though again, you’ve kept the solid psychology in place by having Albright just plain run for his life after narrowly escaping ‘The Animal’. Good way to get the crowd going with a face win early, with smart booking behind it. Impressive start.
@ MVP’s plan backfiring. Orton’s dialogue was good here too btw, as it was spot on, and you used that old smartass he had about him at the right time.
Fun tag match really, with some psychology at the start, though none by the end. Only problem I had with this match at all was that afterwards with the banter between Cole and Tazz, the saying is ‘Hit the nail right on the head.’ Apart from that tiny thing, nothing at all wrong with any of this.
Badass angry Edge is definitely the way to go. The message of the start of the promo coincides well with Edge’s old character well, and the dialogue was pretty good. I don’t think you added the pauses in at the right times, as it took away from the flow of the promo, rather than added to the characterization. Edge pauses quite frequently, and I don’t think you did it quite enough, nor at the appropriate times. The other thing Edge does is that he repeats himself every now and then. He repeats his words to try to drive home extra emphasis. In an intense promo like this, he would have really used it to drive the point home. That’s probably the main thing that needed work with Edge here. The basic message was fine, and most of the execution was right. Just some of the small characterizations from Edge that we see that I think weren’t used properly.
Hype for the no doubt huge confrontation tonight is good. Builds anticipation and all that good stuff.
Happy to see The Bashams squashed, to be honest. I’d be lying if I said I thought they added much to WWE. The Hardy Boyz got a chance to showcase their skills, and maybe work off any last rust there may be as a team before WrestleMania since they only just reunited, which is good. The AMW promo started out great straight away, interrupting and just looking like tools. While it carried on well the whole way through, the promo itself seemed to end a bit early. No talk of what AMW would do to the Hardy Boyz? Just, this isn’t a fairytale, we’ll beat you? I think more could have been added. You have the AMW characters down fine, you just needed to travel further in depth to really make the promo worthwhile.
Van Dam was very bland, though that’s just generally him. A bit like Edge, I think you missed his characterizations a but here (the laid-back while also serious at the same time attitude, the dude, man etc), though I guess that’s because you were trying to make this more serious. Not sure on the smoking up reference from Van Dam in WWE either, but I’m glad to see you kept this short and sweet and had Van Dam make a point of exactly that.
Basic win for Angle just so he can really show his intensity to ‘Taker is fine. Not sure about the squash matches being one after the other (as you mentioned) when you could have put The Hardy Boyz on second with no different, but I guess it’s not that important. Intense Angle is rather for the win, as this calling out showed. Not sure on ‘Taker not just appearing in the ring, as that’s pretty much his gimmick, though I guess you were trying to show his intensity as well. Excellent, excellent preview of Sunday, with insane, quick paced counter wrestling really at its best. The action was frenetic, and quite frankly, it was awesome. The ending really put an exclamation point on how deadly the Ankle Lock is and how easily Angle can go for it well. A very strong angle heading into ‘Mania, where despite this momentum gained, angle will no doubt fall.
Jericho’s story about his journey to the main event this Sunday was alright, though like Van Dam, with the serious nature, the ‘Jericho’ as such was taken out of the promo. Appreciate that you’re trying to keep it serious and all business though, making the match seem as big as possible.
Nice way to lead to the Money in the Bank match with the all in brawl. While I thought coming in Orton had this wrapped up, generally in booking people set their talent up for a fall. The whole segment has definitely given an extra dimension to the match at WrestleMania, as you’ve made it seem like the result isn’t perhaps as clear cut as first thought.
Good small segment just to put emphasis on how vicious McMahon is. Serves its purpose well.
Nice concept on the last show before Mania to have champion vs champion. A rather odd match, as you said both men were very cautious, and that’s why it started slowly. Thing is, seemed like all of a sudden both men just went for broke, as all of a sudden we hit the homestretch. There was no in between or anything, and it just made the psychology of the match disappear, as well as really just making the match seem odd. It was definitely much too much of a rushed match, after a slow start. The Edge run in makes sense, and it fits in with the type of character he is, especially considering you’ve had him running in quite a bit in the lead-up to Mania. The brawl seemed a bit off, as I wasn’t a fan of how Cena was weak enough to get a Spear, but RVD wasn’t. Also would’ve rathered have seen Jericho run in maybe when Edge was perched for the Spear, because while I think you were trying to paint a picture of him being smarter, it seemed like he doesn’t have that intensity or that hatred for his opponents. The Christian just walking out thing was a bit strange too. It turned out well done, and I liked how it’s kept with the angle you’ve had thus far about Christian thinking the ‘real’ John Cena is one to take a cheap shot, but I found it hard to imagine at first. The little exchange of speeches between Cena and Christian was beautiful, especially Christian. That was top notch stuff for sure. Not sure about ending with Cena, because while the message showed intensity, I think you were better off ending with Christian. It just seemed like it could have and probably should have ended before Cena spoke again.
Nice little sell job there for Mania. Lol.
Nice cheap heat tactics from McMahon early, especially the nice little slight mention of the beatdown of Lesnar. Very smartly done. Tyson being at ringside? Meh. Seems like he’s just thrown in there for no reason, though no doubt he’ll interfere on behalf of Lesnar and do the face thing. It should have been announced earlier imo, since someone like him could draw a few more buyrates, and well, it should be better hyped. I know it’s BTB and you don’t have to worry about that, but you’ve been selling the event like people are buying it anyway (which is good), so I think this should have been added to the WrestleMania hype. Triple H’s portion of the promo was short, but very good. Perhaps the best you capture a character, as pretty much everything was very easy to see. Austin was much the same as Triple H, as in very good. Simple but good. The brawl was quite simply great. You put Lesnar over huge, which is great. Great shock to see him show up, and he looked like an absolute beast. Lesnar F-5’ing Austin is huge, as it means Austin will have no favourites come Mania, which is good. Guarantees us the best match possible. The jobbers being moved away is right, as you need to leave the last scene before WrestleMania as a selling point. Having someone in OJ in the background doesn’t help that. So yeah, good work. Awesome segment all-round.
Overall, a pretty damn good show. It did its job in building the event up, and that’s really all it was required to do.
Final Card for WWE Wrestle Mania XXIII:
Date: 18th March 2007
Location: Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Event Music: U2 & Green Day; The Saints are Coming & Killers; Sams Town
World Heavyweight Championship Match:
World Heavyweight Champion, John Cena vs.
2007 Royal Rumble Winner, Christian
It just needs to happen. It simply needs to. Christian overcame so much to get to the Rumble, let alone win it. To have him lose from here would be rather baffling.
WWE Championship; Triple Threat Match:
WWE Champion, Rob Van Dam
Mr. Money in the Bank, Edge vs.
‘Highlight of the Night’ Chris Jericho
WWE Tag Team Championships Match;
Americas Most Wanted vs. The Hardy Boys
I can't see the big reunion going sour.
One Fall; Triple Jeopardy Match:
Intercontinental, World Tag Team & Womens Championships all on the line:
Rey Mysterio, CM Punk. Gregory Helms & Alexis Laree
vs. Mr. Kennedy, Mercury, Nitro & Melina
MNM have been built to lose.
Cruiserweight Championship Match:
vs. Brian Kendrick
Kendrick isn't the man to own the division.
United States Championship Match:
Brent Albright vs. Batista
It all points to this.
Money in the Bank Ladder Match:
WINNER HAS AUTOMATIC TITLE SHOT ANYTIME IN NEXT 12 MONTHS
M.V.P vs. Umaga vs. Paul London vs. Finlay vs. Carlito vs. Randy Orton
vs. Charlie Haas vs. Shelton Benjamin
You have me doubting him on SmackDown!, but he's still the biggest star in the match.
FIRST TIME EVER:
!!FIVE YEARS IN THE MAKING!!
Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar
With The McMahon Family Empire in the corner of Triple H, and ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin as special guest enforcer.
Everything about this feud points to a Lesnar win.
The Irresistible Force vs. The Immovable Object:
Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker
Non Sanctioned Match:
Mick Foley vs. Shawn Michaels
Can't see an actual full-time wrestler losing to Foley.
40 Person Pre-Show Battle Royal:
Orlando Jordan, Rodney Mack, Mark Henry, Garrison Cade, Nick Dinsmore, Ken Doane, Booker T
, Elijah Burke, Snitsky, Val Venis, Kevin Thorn, Michael Knox, Harry Smith, Paul Burchill, Rob Conway, Rico, Stevie Richards, The Boogeyman, Simon Dean, Victoria, Dusty Rhodes, Goldust, William Regal, Hardcore Holly, Robbie MacAllister, Rory MacAllister, Trevor Murdoch, Festus Murdoch, Jamie Noble, Super Crazy, Chavo Guerrero, Cody Rhodes, Jerry Lawler, Akio, Danny Basham, Doug Basham, Deuce, Domino, Funaki, Scotty Too Hotty
Just because he's Booker T, sucka.
What will be the longest match??
The Undertaker vs Kurt Angle
What will be the shortest match??
Kid Kash vs Brian Kendrick
Will there be any special appearances?:
Yeah. Heyman will be here, and we'll probably see the return of Naitch in some way, shape or form.
Which competitor will score the fall in the Triple Jeopardy Match:
Name the final four in the pre-show Battle Royal:
Booker T, Ken Doane, Jerry Lawler and Dusty Rhodes
Predict the location of WrestleMania 24: