PPV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE WRESTLEMANIA 25 REPORT 4/5: Ongoing LIVE COVERAGE from Houston inside Reliant Stadium
Apr 5, 2009 - 9:50:01 PM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch.com assistant editor
WWE WRESTLEMANIA 25 LIVE REPORT
April 5, 2009
Houston, Tex. at Reliant Stadium
We are live inside Reliant Stadium for WrestleMania 25. Currently on the floor in section 138 with a nice view of the stage and ring. The stage is pretty much all-black with a giant "WrestleMania 25th Anniversary" banner hanging in the middle of the stage. Not an elaborate set, but it will probably look great on TV using the black backdrop as a "green screen" for ring entrances.
Over the ring is a big square over-hanging light set. No octupus-looking deal like last year in Orlando. Of course, fans have been "Whoooing" all afternoon waiting in line and it's continuing inside the building. Pre-show starts in 30 minutes. I'll be checking in periodically with PPV notes to conserve battery life. But, we're live inside Reliant Stadium and the buzz is picking up an hour before show time.
Well, here's what WWE thinks about tag team wrestling. They put the unified tag title match in the dark match spot. Miz & Morrison came out first to defend the World Tag Titles vs. Carlito & Primo, who have the WWE tag titles. Before that, ECW announcers Todd Grisham and Matt Striker made their ringside appearance to call the match. Lumberjacks also came out to surround ringside.
Before the show, Bruce Pritchard was walking around on the floor. Very much a stand-out personality. ... Crowd filled in magnificently before the dark match. I've never seen Reliant Stadium this filled for a Texans game. Looks great.
A -- WWE tag team champions PRIMO & CARLITO COLON vs. World tag team champions THE MIZ & JOHN MORRISON -- Unified tag title match
Very good tag match. Primo took the hot tag and cleaned house with his aerial offense. Morrison wanted the Moonlight Drive on Primo, but he countered with the backcracker for the pin and the win after Carlito took Miz off the ring apron.
WINNERS: Carlito & Primo at 8:20 to win Unified tag titles. Like I said, this was a really good tag match. Crowd bought into the nearfalls post-hot tag. Should have been on the live PPV. Perhaps a video package will air? (***)
Announcers: Spanish team out ringside. Well, there you go. Jim Ross then came out to a round of boos and cheers with the OU theme music playing. Michael Cole came out to very loud boos, then Jerry Lawler came out. Howard Finkel came out fourth to pick up another WrestleMania in the 25-0 streak.
Live PPV broadcast
After Nicole from the Pussycat Dolls started us off with "America the Beautiful," ring intros for the Money in the Bank match kicked us off.
1 -- MITB Ladder match
As expected, Shelton tried to do the crazy bumps. Some crazy spots early on, including a tease of Mark Henry doing a huge splash off the top rope onto the other seven on the floor. Turned into Hornswoggle running off Henry's back for a big splash onto the other seven. At the end, they teased Christian climbing the ladder to pop the hardcore fans who wanted to see Christian win, but Kane knocked him off. Punk then knocked Kane off and climbed up top to grab the ladder and win the MITB match for the second year in a row.
WINNER: Punk at 14:24. Very good, but not quite great MITB ladder match. We knew it was going long because they set up the set for Kid Rock on stage while the match was going on. Shelton had the usual crazy spots, which were pretty cool. MVP was below-average, I felt, especially on the botched sunset flip powerbomb spot with Shelton near the end. Good start to the PPV. (***)
-- Kid Rock performed a medley of songs on stage. During the last round, the divas filed into the ring for the 25-divas battle royal. Mae Young is ringside as timekeeper.
2 -- 25-Divas Battle Royal
Santino was in there as Santina Marella, Santino's long-lost twin sister. She...er...he...just danced around the ring avoiding man-on-woman violence. He eventually made it down to the final three after doing nothing but avoiding the action. Beth and Melina were the last two females in there and Santino snuck up behind them to eliminate them at the same time. Uh-oh. Trouble in Glamarella land. Mae Young was ringside as the timekeeper. Candice Michelle then presented Santino with a crown and he did a mock Beauty Pageant celebration.
WINNER: Santino(a) at 5:48. Just fine for the comedy divas match. WWE doesn't treat the divas seriously anyways. (n/a)
-- Mickey Rourke was shown ringside. No shades tonight. He was sporting a Cowboy hat, though, and looking quite uncomfortable.
3 -- CHRIS JERICHO vs. RICKY STEAMBOAT & RODDY PIPER & JIMMY SNUKA (w/Ric Flair)
Strong reception for Flair, who came out last. Snuka was out at 3:50, then Piper out at 4:44. Piper was fine early on as the first Legend in there. Steamboat was very popular, then he came in as the last line of defense for the Legends. Jericho tried to toss Steamboat over the top rope, but Steamboat skinned the cat - yes he did - back into the ring. After Jericho bumped Flair off the apron, he found a blow from Steamboat. Steamboat nailed a plancha to the floor. Man is still in good shape. Crowd is really behind Steamboat. He nearly scored pinfalls with roll-ups, but Jericho eventually got him with the codebreaker for the pin.
WINNER: Chris Jericho at 8:57. Steamboat can still go and the crowd was definitely into him. Fine undercard match. (*1/2)
Post-match: Jericho and Flair brawled until Jericho caught Flair with the codebreaker and sent Flair scurrying to the outside. Jericho then turned his attention to Mickey Rourke on the front row. Fans wanted Austin, though. Rourke eventually took the bait and jumped into the ring after milking it forever. Too long to where the audience lost interest momentarily. Rourke then got into the ring and went into a boxing stance. Jericho dodged twice, then went for a big punch, but Rourke ducked and nailed him with an elbow. Jericho sold it and that was that. Flair and Rourke celebrated to close the deal. Surreal seeing Rourke in the ring, but he didn't have the timing down to work the crowd up for the moment. It'll get WWE on entertainment TV, but not much to write home about. So, mission accomplished.
4 -- MATT HARDY vs. JEFF HARDY -- Extreme Rules match
The brothers were in a tough position of following some gimmick matches and a legends match, so they pulled out the weapons too soon without trying to build up a story. Crowd was laid back for this one until they started to try to kill each other with highspots. Jeff pulled out two giant ladders and tried to leap onto Matt in center ring, but Matt moved and Jeff ate the mat with a flatback bump. Matt, having taken a huge beating to give Jeff plenty of offense for Even Steven booking, then hit a Twist of Fate with Jeff's head inside a chair. Matt with the pin for the win.
WINNER: Matt at 13:14. They tried hard, but couldn't push the match into second gear until they tried to kill each other. Of course, they used a chair shot to the head from Jeff to Matt to try to get a reaction, but that didn't work too well. Hopefully the lack of response for chair shots to the head will be a deterrent more than any medical research. (**1/2)
-- JBL came out for the IC Title match against Rey Mysterio, JBL said he had a WrestleMania vision a few months ago to return home to Texas as a conquering hero. JBL accused Texas of not having champions. He said we sit around reading through the Houston Chronicle looking for jobs. Well, what's left of that section of the paper. Rey Mysterio then came out dressed as the Joker apparently to challenge for the IC Title.
5 -- IC champion JBL vs. REY MYSTERIO -- IC Title match
Before the bell sounded, JBL attacked Rey with a big boot. Ref allowed Rey to recover, then he called for the bell. Rey suddenly busted out an enziguiri kick, hit the 619, and nailed the springboard splash for a surprise pin to win the belt.
WINNER: Rey at 0:19 to capture the IC Title. Well, there's your memorable WM moment. (n/a)
Post-match: Rey celebrated with the belt, then JBL came to looking very shocked. JBL looked around the arena, then took the mic and said he has something to say. Crowd booed. JBL waited with concern written all over his face. JBL stuttered, then shouted, "I Quit!" Oh. Crowd applauded, then chanted, "Na na na, goodbye." So, is that the historic thing at Mania? First person to quit on the spot?
6 -- SHAWN MICHAELS vs. THE UNDERTAKER
I just watched this one without taking notes during the match. Simply amazing. The only debate will be how close to five stars that match was in terms of setting the bar so high on how to perform in a WrestleMania main event. Big stage. Big match. Big stakes. Big spots. Taker taking the skin-the-cat into a Tombstone and Michaels kicking out of the Tombstone was one of the all-time great spots. Only thing that knocked it down from a five-star classic was the deal with the cameraman ringside. Worked well to set up a tired ref for more drama with the nearfalls, but could have been done in a different way. Other than that, just what you expect from two of the top two performers in wrestling. Right before the counter of the moonsault into Tombstone for the pin, I looked up and saw an entire stadium on its feet with eyes glued on the ring (or giant HD screens) to watch a great performance. Just a sight to behold.
WINNER: The Undertaker at 30:41. (****3/4)
7 -- WWE World Hvt. champion EDGE vs. BIG SHOW vs. JOHN CENA -- World Hvt. Title match
WWE took a gamble that the fans wouldn't treat this as a buffer match to the main event with the star power of John Cena in the semi-main event following the amazing Michaels vs. Taker match. Fans treated it as a buffer match, though. There were a few spots that generated reactions, but it wasn't until the finish that the crowd came to life for Cena hitting FUs on Show and Edge, then pinning Show for the win to capture the title.
WINNER: Cena at 14:43 to capture the World Hvt. Title. Underwhelming title match. Just not memorable despite Cena winning the title. Tough spot to be in following HBK-Taker. (**1/2)
-- Hall of Fame segment: They brought out Steve Austin last for a huge reaction. He was introduced last, then he simply left the stage while the other Hall of Famers ... oh, the Glass Broke and Austin came back out on a four-wheeler sporting an Austin 3:16 t-shirt. Austin did his send-off to a huge reaction and rode off into the sunset on a his four-wheeler while drinking beer. Fun segment before the main event for Austin to officially close his wrestling career after sharing a beer with Jim Ross ringside. Austin appeared to be a bit emotional on stage for his final salute to the crowd.
-- Lilian announced 72,744 in attendance. Right up there with some Rodeo Houston records at Reliant Stadium. I'll have to check if it beat the all-time Reliant record. Very close if not the best-ever.
-- After they showed Triple H meeting the McMahons in the hallway, they mis-timed Randy Orton's entrance, which killed his crowd reaction. Louder pop pro-Orton for the video package than when he came to the ring for the main event.
8 -- WWE champion TRIPLE H vs. RANDY ORTON -- WWE Title match
Boring title match. Crowd was not into the action, which never moved out of first gear as they tried to win the crowd with a slow-paced, methodical main event match. Hunter gets his WrestleMania moment in the sun, but the match wasn't any good. Weak title match. They set the bar too high with this storyline with crazy antics and storyline progression, then delivered a basic deal with only a sledgehammer coming into play behind the ref's back to set up Hunter with the Pedigree for the win.
WINNER: Hunter at 23:32. Anti-climatic finish to a PPV featuring one of the all-time best WrestleMania matches. I'll write more about this on Monday regarding the same problem I saw from ROH on Friday where the next-to-next-last match stole the show and left the final two matches with a tough hill to climb to re-involve the crowd in a four hour show. There's just a standard for three hour wrestling shows and the audience is ready for the main event at the two-hour mark. Michaels vs. Taker was the main event and the last two matches just didn't have a chance. (**)
-- After the PPV went off the air, Triple H celebrated his title victory and did a victory lap around the ringside area before leaving up the entrance ramp. End show.
We welcome your 0-10 score and comments on this show for a "WWE PPV Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of PWTorch.com. To contribute your thoughts on the PPV, click here.
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