WWE PPVs CALDWELL'S WWE WRESTLEMANIA 27 PPV RESULTS 4/3: Complete "virtual time" coverage of live PPV - Rock hosting, Cena-Miz, Taker-Hunter for The Streak
Apr 3, 2011 - 9:59:45 PM
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WWE WrestleMania 27 PPV Results
April 3, 2011
Live from Atlanta, Ga. at the Georgia Dome
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
WWE's 27th annual WrestleMania PPV, hosted this year by The Rock, started with a live shot inside the Georgia Dome from high up inside the building. Justin Roberts introduced Keri Hilson to open the PPV with America the Beautiful. WWE went to various shots of the stage area, which has a giant videotron, classic-looking WrestleMania text above the video screen, and "WrestleMania" written across an elevated entrance ramp to the ring.
Opening video: An SNL-sounding voice-over man introduced a video package hyping WrestleMania hosted by The Rock... Back live inside the Georgia Dome, Rock's theme music was cued up to bring out The Rock wearing a track suit. Rock slowly walked out on-stage as they cut to a shot of a giant videoboard spelling out "THE ROCK." Rock stood on the massive stage soaking up the audience response for a good while. The production set-up looks amazing.
Interesting to note no announcers were heard as Rock completed his ring entrance. He took the mic seven minutes into the PPV. In the ring, Rock smiled as the crowd applauded and chanted his name. Rock had to take a breath and step away from the mic before opening with, "Finally, The Rock has come back to Atlanta." Followed by, "And, finally, The Rock has come back to WrestleMania." Rock promised this will be the most memorable WrestleMania of all-time. He said the electricity is everywhere. "Can you feel it? Can you taste it? Can you smell it?"
Rock paused and said they're going to have some fun with this. When he says "wrestle," you say, "mania." Rock then cut a promo on John Cena, saying he's in the back right now deciding which rainbow-colored Fruity Pebble t-shirt he's going to wear. The crowd popped, then Rock paced the ring. Rock laughed as a "Fruity Pebbles" chant took about two minutes to get going. Rock then took a swig of water and said this is going to get good. He said this isn't just any water, but the people's water. Next, when The Rock says "Yabba," the people say, "Dabba." And the last one, of course. The Rock is with the millions...AND MILLIONS.
Rock took off his sunglasses and said WrestleMania is hosted by (and the usual catchphrases). He rhymed Dirty South and Shut Your Mouth, Brahma Bull and Andre the Giant, and then Santa and Atlanta for the close. He started If You Smell, but cut himself off. He said that catchphrase is the most famous, electrifying in the world. He said that phrase belongs to the people, not just The Rock. He told the crowd to get on their feet and assume the position with Rock doing the mic tilt and If You Smell routine. Cue up the People's Eyebrow and Rock's music to conclude the intro. Rock hopped out of the ring and made his way up the entrance ramp as they faded out.
Video package: A full-blown WrestleMania hype video aired taking viewers through the history of WrestleMania leading to this year's events with the top feuds and matches hyped. 16 minutes in, they went to a regular TV/PPV intro with pyro blasting on the stage. The lights were turned down to create more of an arena setting after Rock's intro was fully-lit. Michael Cole's voice was heard 17 minutes in throwing out hyperbole like mad about the significance of WrestleMania.
In-ring: Justin Roberts introduced the World Title match to start the PPV. Alberto Del Rio rode onto the stage with an amazing background and color scheme filling the video screen. Ricardo Rodriguez introduced Del Rio, who stood on the stage playing to the crowd. Josh Mathews was heard, joining Cole on commentary. Cole struggled to get the word "philanthropist" out, then Jerry Lawler was heard. Let the bickering begin. Brodus Clay joined Del Rio ringside once Del Rio made it to the ring.
Cue up Christian's theme music to bring out Christian with a giant "C" logo spinning on the giant video screen. They cut to Mathews and Lawler formally dressed ringside to call WrestleMania. Cole was next to them in the Cole Mine. And the Spanish announce table was tucked away ringside to the right of Cole's box.
Edge's music hit to bring out the World champion as a giant "E" logo spun on the video screen. Full pyro blasted behind Edge as he made his way half-way down the ring entrance. Edge sold full determination walking to the ring, then Edge and Christian posed in the ring. A giant cube-like video screen flashed Edge's logo above the ring. Justin Roberts handled formal ring intros, starting with Del Rio. Edge's left elbow was taped up to sell Del Rio's pre-PPV work. First bell 24 minutes into the PPV.
1 -- World Hvt. champion EDGE (w/Christian) vs. ALBERTO DEL RIO (w/Brodus Clay) -- World Hvt. Title match
The announcers noted Edge has never successfully defended the World Title at WrestleMania. Del Rio quickly targeted the left arm, then Edge knocked Del Rio to the outside. Edge tried a baseball slide, but Del Rio side-stepped him and rammed Edge into the ring steps. They went in and out of the ring trading control of the match while the cornermen shouted encouragement. Del Rio teased the cross arm-breaker at 7:00, but Edge countered with a sit-out slam for a close nearfall. Edge then lifted Del Rio to his feet and tried a pin, but Del Rio rolled Edge into the cross arm-breaker. Edge grabbed the ropes for a break, though, after a teased finish.
Edge went up top, but Del Rio caught him with a step-up enziguiri. Ricardo tried to get involved during a subsequent pin attempt, then Christian got involved ringside and was smashed on the floor. In the confusion, Edge scored a close nearfall with a roll-up from behind. Edge then implant DDT'ed Del Rio and got that crazy look in his eyes. Time for the finishing sequence...
The crowd cheered for the spear as Edge backed away to the corner. Huge reaction for the spear tease, which led to Del Rio side-stepping Edge. Clay then rammed Edge into the ringpost behind the ref's back and Del Rio slapped on the cross arm-breaker. Edge was in trouble, but he countered into a Edge-u-cation submission. Christian fought off Clay ringside. Del Rio then countered into the cross arm-breaker, but Edge slipped right out and nailed the spear mid-ring. Edge made the cover and he retains the World Title. The crowd popped huge for Edge retaining.
WINNER: Edge at 11:09. Nice opening match. Good finishing sequence after a lot of moving parts kept the crowd invested. Surprising to see Del Rio not take the title, but when it was announced for the opening match, it seemed to indicate Edge would retain since they like to start WrestleMania on a positive babyface note. (**1/2)
Post-match: Edge left the ring still in possession of the World Title belt. He stopped at Del Rio's vehicle and considered damage he could inflict. Edge teased a running boot to the window, but stopped, then kicked the side of the car. Edge hopped onto the hood of the car and dropped an elbow Ric Flair-style. Christian then emerged on-stage holding two tire irons. Edge then bashed the car over and over in a somewhat heelish move. Del Rio begged Edge to stop as Cole called it an outrage. E&C left, then Del Rio shed tears kneeling over the hood of his ride.
Atlanta: They went to a fly-over shot of Atlanta with the Georgia Dome in the middle of the shot. Back inside the dome, Michael Cole started taunting Lawler by shadow boxing inside the Cole Mine. Lawler no-sold, then called him a moron. "What are you talking about?!" Cole asked before noting his credentials. Cole stood up in the box, then Cody's dreary music hit.
On-stage: Cody Rhodes slowly emerged on-stage as the giant video board flashed various headlines like "Grotesque" and "Disfigured." Cole recapped the origins of the Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes feud as Cody slowly made his way to the ring. Back live, they went to a close-up shot of Cody peering down at the ground, his face covered by a dark hood attached to his black jacket. Next, Rey Mysterio's music hit and he popped out on the stage dressed like a comic-book character, Captain America. Cole heelishly told Mathews to hurry up and describe the origins of Rey's character. Cole and Lawler continued to bicker about the Rey-Cody feud before the opening bell sounded.
2 -- REY MYSTERIO vs. CODY RHODES
Rey forced Cody to remove his jacket to start the match and landed a quick huracanrana. Cole heeled on Rey that the rumor is perhaps he doesn't even need the kneebrace and uses it as a weapon. He then laughingly noted Cody's facemask has been "approved by the board of commissioners." Cody began working on Rey's upper body before landing a Hardcore Holly-influenced Alabama Slam for a close two count. Cody continued to work over Rey with a nervehold. Cody then took Rey up top and held Rey up in the air for a good 10-15 seconds for a super delayed vertical suplex. Great move that drew a polite applause from the pro-Cody fans in the building.
Cody then went back to work on Rey's upper body. "This is my face!" Cody shouted at Rey. Cody did a lot of in-ring work continuing to punish Rey, who bumped around before landing a head scissors. Rey then teased the 619, but Cody grabbed Rey's feet mid-619 to block. Cody followed with a slingshot across the bottom rope for a close two count.
Cody lost his mask at 10:00 and Cole shrieked horror. Moments later, Rey smashed Cody in the face with the 619. Rey tried to hit a springboard dive, but Cody blocked by getting his knees up. Rey then smashed Cody in the face with a kick strike for a two count. Rey proceeded to retrieve and place on Cody's hard mask, which he used to deliver multiple head butts. The crowd didn't respond too well to the bit. Rey then nailed a top-rope diving headbutt using the mask for a close two count. Rey removed Cody's mask, then the ref tried to take it away from him. With the ref's back turned, Cody smashed Rey in the face with a knee brace. Cody followed with Cross Rhodes for the pin and the win. Cole hyped Cody's win and knocked Rey for his "dirty, dirty tricks."
WINNER: Cody at 11:58. The match fell flat. There seemed to be a hint of anti-Rey sentiment in the crowd and some of the bits didn't go over well with the crowd. Good win for Cody to give him bragging rights going forward, but Rey's stock has dropped a bit. (*1/2)
Announcers: Cole and Lawler fed to a backstage shot of Snoop Dogg, who was greeted by Smackdown GM Teddy Long. Dogg said he's looking for talent for his tour. Long and Snoop sat down at a table to evaluate the contestants. William Regal was first doing a rhyming poem-reading as a beat played in the background. Great Khali and Beth Phoenix sang "Summer Loving" from Grease. Zack Ryder sang "Friday" by Rebecca Black as Roddy Piper stepped in giving him a look. Piper then smashed Ryder with a coconut. Next were Chris Masters and Yoshi Tatsu. Masters danced his pecs to "We will, we will rock you."
Hornswoggle, dressed like he was going to the club, did his mutterings. Dogg said he thinks they have a winner. Long said they have a problem that Hornswoggle can't talk. Horny tried explaining and Long said they need to leave. Horny waved good-bye and the crowd aaahed. Suddenly, the lighting changed and Horny put on some shades. The Bellas danced as he started rapping, his voice heard for the first time. He sounds normal, imagine that!
In-ring: Next up is the eight-man tag match. The Corre came out first as a unit as Cole talked them up. Big Show & Kane came out as a united front next. Santino then did a sort of aerobics speed-walk down the ramp to the ring. Cole and Mathews noted Corre took out Kozlov at Axxess, then Cole acted like they would find out who was replacing Kozlov. Of course, the already-announced replacement of Kofi Kingston came out. Kingston came out excited and sporting neon green and black colors.
3 -- THE CORRE (IC champion WADE BARRETT & EZEKIEL JACKSON & WWE tag champions HEATH SLATER & JUSTIN GABRIEL) vs. BIG SHOW & KANE & SANTINO & KOFI KINGSTON
Big Show, fresh from a spray tan, started things off smashing Slater until Jackson came into the ring and blindsided Show with a big clothesline. Bodies started flying as men came out of nowhere in sequence smashing the opposition. Suddenly, Santino was alone in the ring. He smashed Slater with The Cobra, then Show KO punched Slater square in the face. Santino with the cover and that's all she wrote. That was fast. Cue up the trumpet celebration and slow-mo replay of Slater taking the KO Punch.
WINNERS: Team SantinoShow at 1:32. Another virtual squash of The Corre, although Slater was the only one who looked weak in such a limited match. (n/a)
Backstage: The Rock was shown talking to Divas champion Eve. He quizzed her on WrestleMania Week before talking about magical moments. Rock said that whoever comes around the corner next, he will create an incredible, unforgettable moment next. Rock turned around and it was Mae Young. That was an awkward set-up. Rock called her a "Diva-sauras." Mae said she wants the people-strudel. Rock made some old jokes, including Mae knowing Eve...as in Adam & Eve. Mae said she will never get old. Rock told Eve to escort Mae to her seat. Mae hung around long enough to slap Rock on the rear end. "Frisky Mae, inappropriate Mae," Rock mock noted.
Rock shouted out to no one in particular there could have been anyone else coming around the corner. Suddenly, Rock turned around to find Steve Austin. Huge pop with Rock and Austin face-to-face in the same camera shot, ten years removed from their encounter at WrestleMania 17 in the Astrodome. Austin locked eyes with Rock and coldly told him it was good seeing him. They shook hands and Austin walked off.
Twitter WrestleMania Take-over report #1: Currently trending on Twitter - #wrestlemania, Cody Rhodes, Zack Ryder, Kofi Kingston, William Regal, Rey Mysterio, and Hornswoggle.
In-ring: A recap of the feud between C.M. Punk and Randy Orton brought out Punk to the ring for the next match. Nice camera work showing Punk emerging from his lightning-bolt yellow & black logo and walking down the entrance ramp. After a pause, Randy Orton's music hit to a strong reaction. Orton paused on-stage and bounced up and down to show his knee is fine. Mathews said Orton just removed Punk's psychological advantage. "Nope!" Cole retorted as they showed Orton's right knee taped up. Orton made his way into the ring and the giant cube-like video screen dropped down to serve as a backdrop for Orton posing in the ring.
4 -- RANDY ORTON vs. C.M. PUNK
The match started with an aggressive attack by Orton. He then clotheslined Punk over the top rope and followed with European uppercuts. Punk then played cat & mouse and jammed the ring steps into Orton's knee. In the ring, Punk scored with a top-rope cross-body block, then pretended to limp around the ring to mock Orton. Orton then ducked a clothesline and landed a fallaway backbreaker. Both men sold the effects as Orton pulled himself up in the corner. Punk then targeted the right knee with multiple offensive attacks as Lawler and Cole continued to trade verbal barbs.
Punk advertised the G2S as he slowly dragged Orton to the middle of the ring. Punk took his time setting up to execute, then Orton slipped out and teased the RKO, but Punk countered with a kick strike that decked Orton for a two count. Punk then slowly made his way up top, balanced himself, readied, and Orton crotched him at the make-or-break moment. The camera zoomed in tight on Punk selling the effects while gasping for air. Orton then climbed up top, stood up there forever balancing himself and playing to the crowd, and then landed a superplex for a two count.
Punk rolled to the floor to recover, then trapped Orton in the corner to ram him knee-first into the ringpost. Punk followed with a figure-four around the ringpost that drew Ric Flair whoos from the crowd. Back in the ring, Punk went to work on the knee some more. They were locked together on the mat selling a struggle for leverage on the mat. Orton then exploded on Punk with clotheslines, followed by a snap powerslam. "Here comes Orton," Cole noted in a deep voice. Orton smashed Punk with a right hand assault before executing an Angle Slam for a nearfall.
At 10:00, Orton slowly made his way to his feet and stood over Punk, who surprised him with kick strikes, then a leg sweep into a neck vice submission. Cole sold that Orton was in jeopardy not able to use his bad leg to push away. "He's tapping!" Cole heelishly declared with no hint of Orton tapping. Orton then rolled both of them to the ropes and forced a rope break. Punk, standing on the apron, tried to pull up Orton, who blocked by ramming Punk head-first into the ringpost. Orton capitalized with the trademark spike DDT off the second rope. The crowd popped as Orton "went to that place" teasing the RKO. The camera zoomed in tight on Orton's eyes as he measured Punk. Orton then left his position as Punk continued to sell on the mat. Orton backed up to the corner looking for The Punt, but he sold that his leg gave out.
Punk smiled as Orton sold the knee work center-ring. Punk continued to smile as he pulled himself up in the corner. He slowly approached Orton, who suddenly teased the RKO after playing opossum, but Punk just barely slipped out of Orton's trap. Punk smiled again, then went to the corner for a trademark springboard forearm smash, but Orton caught him with a mid-air RKO that popped the crowd. Orton with the cover and the win.
WINNER: Orton at 14:46. Nice match. The finish was well-done getting over Orton as this generation's cerebral assassin outsmarting his opponent. (**3/4)
Backstage: "Mean" Gene Okerlund was with The Rock. Rock said he heard John Cena's #1 fan is upset with him and he's come here to confront him. Okerlund told him he's already here. Rock turned around to talk to Cena's #1 fan, who was off-camera. The camera swung around to show Peewee Herman. Of course. Herman repeated You Can't See Me over and over. Rock asked Herman if he wants to be a Man on Team Bring It or a little boy on the Fruit Loop Troupe. In walked Mean Gene sporting Cena gear. Herman told him he looks like a tool. "I know you are, but what am I?" Gene asked. Herman said he gets Rock's point and he wants to be on Team Bring It. Herman did If You Smell, asking if you smell what the Pee is cooking.
Hall of Fame intros: The Fink stood mid-ring to introduce this year's Hall of Fame class. Abdullah the Butcher came out on-stage first. Sunny was out next, followed by Animal & Paul Ellering representing the Road Warriors. Drew Carey was mildly booed and he smiled. "Bullet" Bob and "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan were next. They paused before introducing Shawn Michaels. After an "H-B-K" chant, the stage lit up with H-B-K in bright red letters to bring out Shawn Michaels dancing to his place at the center of the stage. Michaels clapped toward the crowd as the fans applauded. After another look at the Hall of Fame class, they focused on Michaels again. Mathews then plugged Monday's schedule on USA Network with the Hall of Fame, Raw, and Tough Enough premiere.
WrestleMania Recall: They went all the way back to...Raw on Monday for a recap of Jerry Lawler bashing Jack Swagger with a chair, then Michael Cole taunting Lawler ahead of their WrestleMania match.
Arena: Back live, Josh Mathews introduced Booker T to help call Cole vs. Lawler. And, next out, WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross to a nice reaction. On the video board, clips of the Texas vs. Oklahoma game from the Cotton Bowl played. Ross tipped his cowboy hat to the crowd as he made his way to the ring to call the match with Booker and Mathews.
Michael Cole then emerged on-stage cutting a promo on Ross. Cole was sporting amateur wrestling headgear, a Team Cole sweatshirt, black kneepads, and biker shorts in Oklahoma St. colors. Cole continued to cut a promo on Ross and Jerry Lawler as he made his way to the ring. Cole said he's been thinking. Lawler has been in this business about as long as he's been alive, yet this is Jerry Lawler's very first WrestleMania. Cole said afer this is all over, Ross is going to go back to making bad BBQ sauce, Lawler is going to be embarrassed, and Steve Austin is going to raise his hand in victory. Then, all of the fans all over the world are going to proclaim him, the "new Mr. WrestleMania!"
Jack Swagger, complete with white towel in hand, was out next to be Cole's cornerman. Cole danced around in the ring with his gut protruding through his singlet. Swagger was mid-push-up on-stage when the glass broke and Steve Austin's music played to bring out the guest referee. Austin was sporting an ATV and he nearly ran over Swagger flying down the entrance ramp. Austin flew around ringside on the ATV, then chased down Cole, who flew into the Cole Mine to hide from Austin.
Austin slipped into the ring and bounced off the ropes as Cole stood up in the Mine. Austin continued his standard ring intro playing to all corners of the ring before Jerry Lawler's classic WWE music played to bring out Lawler. Lawler was sporting a warrior-like outfit complete with a black & red battle-ready jacket. Very noble. Lawler entered the ring as Cole continued to "warm up" as Swagger gave him encouragement. Cole said he's not ready yet. "I'm still warming up!" he told Austin. Austin had enough and called for the bell.
5 -- MICHAEL COLE (w/Jack Swagger) vs. JERRY LAWLER -- "Stone Cold" Steve Austin special referee
Lawler slipped to the outside and ran Swagger into the ringpost, then barricade. Lawler then stalked Cole, who continued to stand in the Mine. "Jerry, please, I'm begging you. I didn't mean what I said. Can we talk about this?" Cole said. Cole extended his hand through a hole in the Cole Mine begging Lawler to let bygones be bygones. Lawler shook his hand, but maintained his grip. Lawler then yanked Cole head-first into the Cole Mine. Ross noted Cole's face was being distorted. Lawler climbed into the Cole Mine and rammed Cole into all corners of the box. Apparently it's a No Count-out match.
Lawler dragged Cole out of the box, then rammed him head-first into the Raw GM podium. "The King, and I quote, just rammed Cole's head into some...hallowed ground for Michael Cole," Ross said. Lawler slipped Cole into the ring, then Swagger blind-sided Lawler. Austin turned around to see Lawler on the ground and Swagger nowhere to be found. It's worth noting Cole is covered in these weird little tattoos on his upper body. Cole then told Austin he had something in his eye and Swagger grabbed Lawler ringside with an anklelock.
Cole told Austin to count out Lawler, but Austin was having none of it. Austin started the slowest ten-count ever as Lawler slowly made his way into the ring. Cole then completely botched the spot on the ropes trying to make it look like he was applying pressure on Lawler's legs using the ropes while holding the ropes as a diversion. Booker noted he was doing calf raises. The crowd responded with a "You can't wrestle" chant. Cole continued a "methodical attack" targeting the leg. Cole then sort of folded Lawler's legs in the corner and backed off. "I have no idea what Cole is doing," Ross said in the understatement of the evening. Cole then executed Swagger's Vader Bomb on the legs. Cole scored a nearfall and Booker said his heart skipped a beat.
Cole continued his "methodical attack" in slow-motion as the crowd chanted, "boring." Swagger then stood up ringside calling for the Anklelock. Cole then stood over Lawler and smiled before dropping one of the straps. Ross said for the sake of the children, don't drop the other strap. Cole then applied the An-Cole Lock as Ross encouraged Lawler to fight back. Lawler rolled over and pushed Cole away to draw a reaction from the crowd. Lawler came to his feet and finally scored some offense with multiple stomps to the chest. Mathews asked for a classic call of Lawler stomping a mudhole.
Swagger then threw in the towel, trying to end the match and save Cole. Austin no-sold the towel as Swagger screamed at him to end the match. The crowd chanted for a Stunner and Austin delivered to a big reaction. Cole then begged and pleaded with Austin, who checked his watch and Cole slapped his wrist away. "You don't know who I am!" Cole told him. Austin spun Cole around into a right hand from Lawler. Cole sold it awkwardly, then Lawler teed off on Cole with right hands.
A dropkick was next, then Lawler went to the second rope, pointed to the heavens, dropped the strap, and landed a right hand fist drop. Lawler made a cover, but Lawler pulled off as Austin did a dramatic nearfall call. Everyone had a good laugh, then Lawler slowly picked up Cole. No piledriver, but Lawler applied the anklelock and Cole tapped out furiously. Austin mockingly asked Cole if he wanted to give up. Cole continued to tap furiously, asking for the bell. Austin looked at Lawler, who shrugged his shoulders and Austin called for the bell.
WINNER: Lawler via submission at 13:45. About a 6/10 satisfying for people who ordered the PPV to see Cole get his. The lack of an emphatic piledriver or a Stunner for Cole took down the satisfaction level a notch. Also, Cole trying to apply holds was comical, but not necessarily engaging. (n/a)
Post-match: Swagger scooped up Cole like a small child and carried him off, then Austin's music played. Austin and Lawler shared a few drinks, then Booker threw down the headset to join the party. Booker warmed up the Spinarooni, then his Harlem Heat music played and Booker danced. More drinks, then Austin and Booker celebrated. Suddenly, Austin dropped Booker with a Stunner and Booker did a great sell spitting up beer mid-Stunner. There goes the "Tough Enough" cast.
Suddenly, the Raw GM buzzed as Austin horsed around with Booker, who recovered from the Stunner. Josh Mathews walked to the podium as Ross dryly said he's not up on this email stuff. Mathews read that the referee over-stepped his boundary in this match. Therefore, Lawler has been DQ'ed and the winner of the match is Michael Cole.
WINNER: Cole via reverse decision. At the end of the day, it was a nostalgia trip for fans to get a kick out of Steve Austin's classic spots. Now, for the next several weeks (months, years), Cole will brag about beating Lawler on TV.
Austin cussed toward the podium as they cut to a shot of Cole bleeding on the stage. Lawler walked to the podium and asked Mathews to read it again. Austin threw down his beer and cussed some more. Lawler asked for another reading. Mathews apologized and said Michael Cole is the winner. Lawler threw Mathews into the ring where he accepted a Stunner from Austin. Ross said he's just the messenger. Austin's music hit again and he cussed out the podium some more. Austin then hopped on the ATV as Ross said he can't believe he has to announce Cole as the winner. Lawler remained dumbfounded ringside as Austin sped off on the ATV.
WrestleMania Week video: They went through various clips of the activities in Atlanta for WrestleMania Week.
Announcers: Ross remained on-commentary as Lawler joined him fresh off the "defeat." They cut to a shot of the National Guard ringside and Ross thanked them for their service. And now, it's time for Triple H vs. The Undertaker. Interesting placement. It's in that "WrestleMania sweet spot" of being at the end of the third hour of a PPV when a PPV typically crescendos before the crowd is burnt out.
In-ring: Justin Roberts introduced the No Holds Barred match. A bell tolled, which usually means The Undertaker, but it signaled the start of Metallica's "For Whom The Bell Tolls" for Triple H's custom ring entrance tonight. On-stage, a bunch of men holding shields assembled to create a wall. They fell down to reveal Triple H standing on-stage in his King of Kings outfit. The arena went black, then Hunter's classic Motorhead theme hit and Hunter marched down to ringside as the arena was bathed in green. Hunter stood on the ring apron and did his water-spit before posing in the ring. WWE incorporated a variety of different camera shots to show the full scope of the arena as Hunter posed in the ring and surveyed the crowd.
Once Hunter's entrance was done, he looked toward the entrance ramp and held up a "1" to signal being "the one" to end The Streak. Taker's classic bell tolled and the arena flashed in a variety of different colors. The music transitioned into "Ain't No Grave" and the lighting transitioned to the classic black & blue look. Taker slowly emerged on-stage and Roberts formally introduced him as Hunter crouched in the corner. Taker looked straight ahead at Hunter slowly making his way to the ring as ominous clouds moved on the videotron over Taker's shoulder. Taker eventually made his way into the ring and stared at Hunter out of the corner of his eye. Taker slowly removed his hat, rolled his eyes, and lightning flashed in the arena. The jacket was gone next, then they came face-to-face. The ref separated them, then called for the bell.
6 -- THE UNDERTAKER vs. TRIPLE H -- No Holds Barred match
Taker and Hunter came running toward each other with right hand blows and strikes. The fight quickly moved to the floor where Hunter landed right hand bombs before Taker threw Hunter into the ring steps. Taker wasted no time deconstructing the Spanish announce table. Hunter then charged Taker with a spear through the Cole Mine, crashing the box into pieces. Hunter got up and re-entered the ring, then Taker pulled himself together and glared into the ring. Taker re-entered and popped Hunter with a right hand blow to answer Taker. Taker teased the Old-School walk-the-ropes, but Hunter countered with a hip toss.
On the floor, Hunter threw Taker into the gimmicked guardrail in front of the timekeeper. Hunter then cleared the regular announce table and teased the Pedigree through the table, but Taker countered with a huge back-drop sending Hunter flying through the air before landing with a thud on the ground. The crowd then started up a dueling chant of "19 and oh" vs. "18 and 1." Taker was the first man back in the ring as Hunter slowly pulled himself up ringside. Taker then built a head of steam and launched himself over the top rope with a big splash onto Hunter, sending both men crashing to the floor. On a replay, it was clear Taker's knee just bumped the top rope, causing him to nearly dive head-first onto the floor, but Hunter caught him just in time to absorb the blow.
After that spot, Taker walked around the ring catching his breath before ramming Hunter into the ring steps. Taker teased a move on the steps, but Hunter blocked and headbutted Taker away. Taker then built a head of steam charging Hunter, who took Taker's momentum through the Spanish announce table with a big spinebuster. Another big spot ringside here. After everyone caught their breath, Hunter rolled Taker into the ring. Hunter slowly re-entered, then walked into a mid-ring chokeslam. Taker made the first cover of the match at 9:50, but it was good for a two count only.
Hunter took control moments later and set up Taker for ten punches, but Taker teased the Last Ride powerbomb instead. Hunter slipped out, though, and they went through a series of counters that took the crowd on an emotional rollercoaster that resulted in Hunter countering a Snake-eyes big boot into a spinebuster for a two count. For his next trick, Hunter went to the floor and retrieved a chair, but Taker kicked Hunter in the gut to send the chair flying. Taker then picked up the chair and cracked it across Hunter's lower back. Taker wanted Part 2, but Hunter kicked Taker in the gut and nailed the Pedigree center-ring. Hunter made a cover rather quickly and Taker kicked out just before three. The crowd oohed the close call.
Hunter stalked Taker in the corner and placed him up top to land right hand blows. Hunter then went for a superplex, but Taker countered with a mid-air Last Ride powerbomb. Taker made the cover, but Hunter kicked out. Taker angrily threw Hunter's hand away and shouted obscenities, selling frustration that Hunter kicked out. A little show of emotion from Taker, who stood up and called for the Tombstone. Taker set up Hunter center-ring and delivered the Tombstone mid-ring. Taker made the classic arms-folded cover, but Hunter kicked out just before three. Big pop and Taker angrily threw Hunter's arms away again.
Next, Taker slammed the chair down center ring and scooped up a lifeless Hunter. He set up for the Tombstone onto the chair, but Hunter slipped out and DDT'ed Taker shoulder-first into the chair. Both men remained down on the mat selling as the crowd murmured and expressed nervous energy. They pulled themselves up on opposite sides of the ring, then Hunter kicked Taker in the gut and landed the Pedigree. Hunter made a cover near the ropes, but Taker kicked out just before three. Another big reaction as both men sold on the mat.
At 20:00, Hunter scooped up Taker and delivered yet another Pedigree. Hunter made a cover, but Taker kicked out again and Hunter sold frustration unable to put Taker away with the tit-for-tat exchange. Hunter angrily dragged his body toward the chair, which he picked up as Taker remained face-down on the mat. Hunter popped the chair over Taker's back, then again. Ross suggested the chair be inducted into the Hall of Fame with these two men. Hunter with two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight more chair shots to the back, which drew a few boos from the crowd. Lawler said in a solemn tone that could be it for Undertaker. Hunter pulled himself to the corner and breathed heavily before screaming, "Stay down!"
Hunter pulled himself up again with chair in-hand as Taker pulled himself up on the other side of the ring. Hunter charged Taker and smashed him in the face with a chair. Geez, a chair shot to the head. Well, on a replay, it looks like Taker got his hand up at the very last second. Still, a chair directed to the head should be a no-no. Hunter backed off to a corner as Taker teased a sit-up, but he could not. Lawler said his nervous system is not right. The nervous system! Hunter approached Taker and screamed at him, "Just die! What's wrong with you?!"
Hunter got in Taker's face to ask him again, but Taker clutched his throat. Hunter shook his head no as Taker stumbled to his feet. Hunter threw off the chokeslam grip, then Taker threw up his hands like a fighter asking for more. Hunter then did the throat-slash and set up Taker for the Tombstone. Hunter paused in mid-air, said, "It's over," then dropped Taker with the Tombstone mid-ring. Hunter did the arms-folded cover, did the tongue ala Taker, and Taker kicked out. The crowd went nuts for the nearfall. Hunter was great recoiling across the ring in disbelief that Taker kicked out. Lawler played up Taker being a supernatural being who can't be beaten.
Hunter slipped out of the ring and retrieved a sledgehammer at 27:00. Ross said it's desperate times. Hunter re-entered the ring with sledgehammer in hand and told Taker it's time. Taker grabbed Hunter's arm, though, and trapped him in the Hell's Gate submission. Hunter lost control of the sledgehammer trying to fight off the hold. Hunter stopped writhing trying to escape and the announcers said he was fading. Hunter then positioned himself as if he were going to lift up Taker in the air for a powerbomb, but could not. So, he reached for and found the sledgehammer. Hunter dropped it, though, his body motionless. Taker continued to maintain the hold as Hunter's arm dangled in the air. Hunter then lightly tapped on Taker's shoulder and that was it. Taker is 19-0.
WINNER: Undertaker via submission at 29:23. Amazing, epic encounter. They certainly used a lot of bag of tricks, but paced the match perfectly to maximize each big move and sequence. It was WWE's main event style match at its finest. Having Ross on the call took this to the next level just below the first Taker-Michaels encounter two years ago. (****1/2)
Post-match: Both men remained motionless on the mat, the remains of their bodies somewhat entangled. Fireworks shot off as giant 19-0 text flashed on the video board over the stage. Ross said Taker once again rose to the occasion at WrestleMania. They cut to a crowd shot where a section of fans were holding up a ton of Tombstones symbolic of Taker's WrestleMania victims. One tombstone read: "2012: ?"
WWE's ringside doctor slipped into the ring to check on Taker, who continued to sell. Meanwhile, Hunter pulled himself up, a cut forming on the bridge of his nose. The doc checked Taker's pulse as Taker licked his lips. The announcers were silent as Taker rolled onto his stomach to exit the ring. Meanwhile, Hunter slowly left the ring clutching his left forearm. He looked back to Taker, who fell off the ring apron. Hunter went to check on Taker, but the ref waved him off. Taker then clutched the WrestleMania ring apron to pull himself up. The ringside doctor spoke into his mic to ask for additional help as Taker remained motionless on the floor. Taker continued to sell before a cart was wheeled down to ringside. Mike Rotundo and Dean Malenko made their way to ringside to help Taker onto the cart. The camera continud to follow Taker up the entrance stage as the crowd chanted, "Under-taker."
WrestleMania 28: A video package showcased Miami, the host of WrestleMania 28 next year.
Arena: Back live, Ross said the crowd is still buzzing over what just happened with Undertaker vs. Triple H. Justin Roberts then introduced the six-person tag match up next.
Suddenly, Vickie Guerrero's voice was heard screeching over the house mic. Vickie introduced "the greatest combination of beauty, talent, and intelligence ever assembled at WrestleMania," Lay-Cool and Dolph Ziggler. After the heels came out, John Morrison, then Trish Stratus, then Snooki came to the ring for the default semi-main event. Ross noted Snooki has a "low center of gravity," which was a nice way of saying she's short.
7 -- JOHN MORRISON & TRISH STRATUS & SNOOKI vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Vickie Guerrero) & LAY-COOL (MICHELLE MCCOL & LAYLA)
Before the bell sounded, a scrap broke out before order was eventually restored and the bell sounded. The crowd was quiet early on, still absorbing the Taker-Hunter match and post-match situation with Taker selling exhaustion. After Morrison took out Ziggler on the outside, Trish tagged in Snooki, which drew boos. Snooki then scored a handspring elbow in the corner on a surprised McCool. Snooki then made the cover as Morrison held off the heels to give Snooki the pin. They replayed Snooki's handspring elbow after the match as the faces celebrated. They cut to a shot of the Tough Enough contestants ringside soaking it in.
WINNER: Team Snooki at 3:16. They kept it short and sweet to bridge the gap from Taker-Hunter to Cena-Miz. Snooki's little involvement was fine and will give WWE the mainstream play they're looking for coming out of this. (n/a)
Extreme Rules plug: After clips of various "extreme sports" aired, they plugged the next WWE PPV in four weeks.
In-ring: Justin Roberts announced 71,617 as the attendance, which they claimed is the new record for any entertainment event held at the Georgia Dome.
Video package: Ahead of the WWE Title match, they went to a video package on The Miz. It started with Hulk Hogan as WWE champion. They showed Miz's origins on "Real World," then awful WWE start. Next, clips of Ric Flair, Steve Austin, and The Rock as WWE champion. They showed Miz sitting in a dark room watching video of the clips showcasing Miz's journey to WWE champion, joining Hogan, Flair, Austin, Rock, etc. A music video played hyping Miz as they continued to cut back to Miz watching all of this on multiple video screens. Very unique pre-match video package.
Arena: Back inside the building, they cut to a shot of "AWESOME!" spelled out on-stage. The Miz walked out alongside Alex Riley sporting a full-length black jacket. Miz marched to the ring as they went to a wide shot of the Georgia Dome that made Miz look like an ant walking to the ring. In the ring, Miz held up the WWE Title belt for the crowd. Once his music played, the crowd booed. The boos could have been more Miz or the anticipation of Cena's intro.
Dramatic music played and they showed a gospel choir standing on-stage humming a tune. Cena's voice was heard saying, "Let us pray." A very familiar voice (DMX, Tupac?) provided a voice-over prayer as footage showed Cena's childhood and WWE career. They're really playing into Rock's comments to Cena on Raw that only the Good Lord will judge them. Back live, the gospel choir began clapping and singing. My soul is good. They transitioned into singing a gospel version of Cena's theme song. The crowd booed, then Cena's standard theme hit and Cena emerged on-stage sporting his new color scheme of Fruity Pebble red. It looks like the tint color to the Miami Dolphins's uniforms. After running to the ring, Cena smiled to the crowd as they booed him. During the formal intros, Cena was booed by the hardcore fans. Miz was also booed, but there were some cheers from the hardcores.
9 -- WWE champion THE MIZ (w/Alex Riley) vs. JOHN CENA -- WWE Title match
Ross noted Cena has never lost one-on-one at WrestleMania. The bell sounded, then sounded again. Odd. Miz and Cena circled the ring, then locked up. Miz took the early advantage as the crowd looked for something to emotionally invest in. Cena scored with a knee to the gut, then delivered a gutwrench suplex for a nearfall. Ross noted they were even at 1-1 in that department. They traded nearfalls again, then Miz landed a boot to the head for a two count.
They set up a spot where Cena went for a flying shoulder tackle, but Miz ducked and Cena kind of fell to the mat in a way that the crowd nearly laughed at. Miz then went back on the attack and Lawler said Miz did something to Cena early in the match to throw off Cena. Cena then fired back with a shoulder tackle, sit-out slam, and Five Knuckle Shuffle. Lawler noted Cena wasn't all the way into the comeback, though, still selling the injury angle aspect. Miz slipped out of the Attitude Adjustment, then dropped Cena with a DDT for a two count.
At 9:00, Cena teased the STF out of nowhere, but Miz blocked and executed the Reality Check neckbreaker combo for a two count. Miz then removed the top turnbuckle pad and the ref tried to re-place it as Cena caught Miz with a small package. Cena had the visual three, then the ref came over to count a nearfall. Cena followed up with an STF center ring and Miz dragged himself toward the bottom rope to score a rope break. Cena recoiled backward, then Riley snapped Cena's head off the exposed steel behind the ref's back. Miz followed with the Skullcrushing Finale and Cena escaped a pin.
They set up a spot where Miz wanted the SCF again, but the ref was bumped. Cena then dropped Miz with the Attitude Adjustment, but the ref was down. Cena checked on the ref as Riley slipped into the ring and popped Cena in the head with the briefcase. The ref magically came to life, Miz made the cover, and Cena kicked out just before three. Riley screamed and shouted at the ref as Miz picked up the case. Cena ducked and Riley ate the case in the mush. Cena then sprung to life and dropped Miz out of nowhere with a super Attitude Adjustment. Cena made a cover, but Miz kicked out and the crowd popped big for the first time in the match.
Miz then went to the floor to recover and Cena followed to the floor. Cena got into a football stance and came flying at Miz with a clothesline over the guardrail to the ringside area. Cena then went over the guardrail to the floor to fight Miz. They eventually collapsed on top of each other as the ref applied a ten count. The ref reached eight and both men were on the floor. Nine, ten, and it's a double count. The crowd groaned.
WINNER: Double count-out at 14:45, Miz retains the WWE Title.
After the decision was rendered, The Rock's music played and Rock stormed the ring after throwing down his track jacket. Rock wasn't going to let WrestleMania end on a DCO. Rock kicked the briefcase out of the ring, paced around, and suddenly the Raw GM buzzed. Rock told Jim Ross to stay seated. Lawler got up, but Rock told him to stay put. Rock approached the podium and lifted the laptop. Rock said he just received an email. "And I quote. As Raw General Manager, I think..." Rock paused. "It doesn't matter what you think!" Rock screamed, then threw down the laptop.
Rock entered the ring and said that as the host of WrestleMania, there is no way WrestleMania is over. Rock said the match must re-start right now. It's now No DQ. No count-out. He said there's no way this match will end like that. They're pushing the four-hour time here. Rock said it's time to give the people what they want.
9b -- WWE champion THE MIZ (w/Alex Riley) vs. JOHN CENA -- WWE Title match -- No DQ
Cena brought Miz into the ring for the AA, but Rock yanked Cena away and dropped Cena with Rock Bottom. Rock moved Cena's hand wave, then Miz slid into the ring, draped an arm over Cena, and made the cover for the win. Miz retains the WWE Title.
WINNER: Miz at 15:21 total time (0:36 re-start) to retain the WWE Title. Eh. Over-booked for a WrestleMania main event. Not memorable and not a showcase match for anyone involved. (**)
Post-match: Rock stood on the outside staring into the ring as Miz celebrated with the WWE Title belt. Miz then caught Rock's glare and Miz's music stopped. Miz nervously clutched the title belt as the crowd chanted Rock's name. Rock ran into the ring and ducked a belt shot before landing right hands on Miz. Rock then dropped Miz with a spinebuster and stared into the hard camera to set up the People's Elbow. Rock delivered it, then Rock's music played and he posed in the ring.
Ross noted Rock hosted and dominated WrestleMania tonight. They went to a replay of the re-started finish with Rock dropping Cena with Rock Bottom. Ross said Rock came to Atlanta for retribution. The sign-off credits flashed and Ross said they all smelled what The Rock was cooking. They signed off with one minute to spare. A bit of an underwhelming finish after an underwhelming title match main event. It didn't feel like a WrestleMania ending.
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