Torch Today APR. 3 IN HISTORY: WrestleMania 21 nine years ago - Cena wins first WWE Title, Batista wins first World Title, first MITB ladder match, Angle-HBK classic, more
Apr 3, 2014 - 8:47:31 AM
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This Day In Wrestling History - April 3
Date: April 3, 2005 (9 years ago)
Feature: WrestleMania 21 in Los Angeles featured John Cena winning the WWE Title for the first time, Batista winning the WWE World Title for the first time, the Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels WrestleMania classic, and Edge winning the first Money in the Bank ladder match. Plus, Undertaker extending The Streak over Randy Orton, Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio, and Hulk Hogan's "WrestleMania Moment" running over Daivari & Hassan. ...
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WRESTLEMANIA 21 REPORT
APRIL 3, 2005
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. AT STAPLES CENTER
REPORT BY WADE KELLER, PWTORCH EDITOR
-The show opened with Lilian Garcia singing "America the Beautiful." Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler introduced the show. Then they went to the Spanish announce team followed by Michael Cole and Tazz.
-After a highlight montage aired of previously aired movie spoofs, the Steve Austin "Gladiator" movie spoof then premiered. (Note: A Torch reader was an extra on the set and had reported to us that it was filmed just two or three weeks ago.)
1 -- REY MYSTERIO vs. EDDIE GUERRERO
WINNER: Mysterio at 12:00.
STAR RATING: **3/4 -- Good match, but for a four hour PPV, it's really a lost opportunity and a great disappointment they didn't let them go at least 18 minutes. There were a couple of shaky moments in the match. Guerrero afterward almost seemed to be legitimately disappointed in the match, not just selling the storyline effect of losing. Still, it was really good in spots.
2 -- CHRIS BENOIT vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN vs. CHRISTIAN vs. KANE vs. CHRIS JERICHO vs. EDGE -- Money in the Bank Ladder Match
WINNER: Edge at 15:10.
STAR RATING: ****1/2 -- Really good, memorable, well-executed, innovative stunt match with some new spots with the ladder - which is tough to do after so many ladder matches. Benoit's selling was spectacular.
-Eugene walked out to the ring to zero reaction. He jumped up and down and said, "I, I, I can't believe I'm at WrestleMania." He said it was his second favorite WrestleMania moment ever. He said his favorite moment was when King Kong Bundy bodyslammed a midget. He said the good and bad midgets formed an army and attacked Bundy. "Midgets are awesome! WrestleMania is awesome." Muhammad Hassan and Khosrow Daivari then walked out wearing all white garb. Hassan and Daivari ranted about not being part of WrestleMania, then they said they were going to make their own WrestleMania moment. They attacked Eugene and put him in a Camel Clutch. Hulk Hogan made the save in his ref and yellow garb. He beat up Hassan and then played to the crowd. Ross screamed, "This is a WrestleMania moment!" After Hogan tossed Hassan over the top rope, Daivari hit Hogan in the back with a chair. Hogan no-sold it and then beat up Daivari, tossed him over the top rope, and posed in the ring. He didn't do a legdrop, which would be tough on his hips at this point. They showed David Arquette in the crowd cheering Hogan. Ross and Lawler did not note that he is a former WCW World Champion.
3 -- UNDERTAKER vs. RANDY ORTON
WINNER: Taker at 14:06.
STAR RATING: ***1/4 -- The near falls were convincing, assuming you didn't enter the match figuring strongly Taker was going to win. Well executed, and a nice tease by Orton with the Tombstone at the end. It had the methodical pace of an Undertaker match early on, but it was never boring.
4 -- TRISH STRATUS vs. CHRISTY HEMME (w/Lita) -- Women's Title match
WINNER: Trish at 4:40 to retain the Women's Title.
STAR RATING: 1/2* -- They did a nice job masking a best they could the fact that Christy had no business in the ring on this big of a stage at this point in her career. It looked like Christy was a rookie, but Trish was enough of a pro to make it watchable.
5 -- SHAWN MICHAELS vs. KURT ANGLE
WINNER: Angle at 27:16.
STAR RATING: ****1/2 -- Excellent match. It was a tad bit ordinary early on with the long matwork that wasn't particularly innovative. Great second half, and incredible intensity by both leading to the tapout.
-Roddy Piper walked out for Piper's Pit. He asked the crowd who the baddest guy in WWE ever was. He dropped in a "bullsh--" when the crowd shouted "Austin." That may or may not have been scripted knowing Piper. Steve Austin then walked out with a black t-shirt that said, "Unleash Hell." It was difficult to tell on TV how his crowd reaction compared to Hulk Hogan's earlier, so reports from fans in attendance should be interesting. Austin, still in the double knee braces, stood on the second rope in each corner and saluted the fans with his double middle fingers. Austin grabbed the wireless mic off of the stool. Piper tossed the stool out of the ring. He took the mic back and said, "So, you're the rebel, huh? Welcome to Piper's Pit." He then slapped Austin. Austin took a deep breath, thanked him, and slapped him back. Piper said, "I liked it." Austin asked him if he wanted another Piper no-sold it and told him that he has a lot of respect for him. The crowd chanted "What?" Piper asked, "What, are you deaf?" The crowd did it between each of Piper's sentence fragments. The crowd kept chanting "What?"
Piper said, "Try to keep up with me." The crowd popped for Piper acknowledging their "What?" chants. He told the crowd to shut up and listen so he could make his point. Austin asked, "What point would that be?" Piper said, "I was here when WrestleMania didn't have a number. I was pissing Vince McMahon off when the red on the back of your neck was diaper rash, buddy." The crowd oohhed that comment. "As far as the rebel part goes, you and James Dean don't have a thing on me," Piper said. Austin picked on Piper's outfit including his "cute little dress" and goatee. "Am I supposed to be impressed by you? There's something going on here I don't understand because I'm not intimated by you one bit. Do I make myself clear?" Piper was about to answer. Austin said, "No, take another minute." Piper said, "What we have is a failure to communicate." Carlito Cool's music then played and he walked out. This is smart because it takes the Austin-Piper skit from a fun nostalgia segment with no long term impact to giving rub to a new character with real potential. Carlito said, "Nobody wants to see you two anymore." He said they aren't cool and made of them slapping each other around. Austin told Carlito to bring his nappy little head into the ring. Piper called for timeout and asked who he is. "You look like Alfalfa."
Carlito asked them to walk out of the ring and return to the back. Carlito then tossed his apple in the air. Piper caught it and chewed it up. Piper looked at Austin, swallowed, and then took another bite. He spit the wads of chewed apple in Carlito's face. Carlito punched Piper. Austin watched as Carlito punched away at him on the mat. Austin watched with a big smile on his face. Austin threw Carlito into the corner turnbuckle and "stomped a mudhole in Carlito." He threw Carlito to Piper who poked him in the eyes. Austin then gave him a Stunner. Piper then tossed Carlito out of the crowd. Austin gave Piper a can of beer and they drank together. Ross said Austin enjoys his beer, and added, "Roddy's been known to have a party or two in his time as well." As Piper drank beer, Austin gave Piper a Stunner. Lawler said Austin got the final word.
-Ross plugged the May 1 Backlash PPV, which is officially headlined with a rematch between Batista and Triple H. Advertising for the rematch was already on cable commercials last week. Ross said the favorite movie trailer as voted by WWE.com fans was the Taxi Driver spoof. It's the proudest honor of Michael Cole's life.
-They went to Cole and Tazz at ringside to introduce the first-ever WWE Sumo Match. There were just under 90 minutes left in the show at this point.
6 -- AKEBONO vs. BIG SHOW -- Sumo Rules Match
WINNER: Akebono at 3:00.
STAR RATING: n/a -- Big Show had to be asking himself, "I shaved all of my bodyhair for that?" It didn't even feel like a cool novelty. It was just lousy and didn't do anything for WWE, WrestleMania, or Big Show other than getting WWE some extra pub in Japan.
7 -- JBL (w/Orlando Jordan) vs. JOHN CENA -- WWE Title match
Cena took JBL down with an early shoulderblock. JBL quickly took control with a shoulder tackle of his own and then some stomps. He hit a chop and a neckbreaker. JBL remained on sustained offense for several minutes. Cena made two brief comebacks including a powerslam of JBL off the ropes. He made full-fledged comeback at 10:00 including a flying shoulder tackle and sideslam. He then looked to the crowd and didn't seem to get much of a pop. He did the "you can't see me" bit, and then pumped up his shoes. JBL threw a punch, but Cena gave JBL the FU and scored the pin.
WINNER: Cena at 11:18 to capture the WWE Hvt. Title.
STAR RATING: *1/2 -- Below average and really way too short to be considered the least bit worthy of its semi-main event slot. Not a terrible match for second on the card, but a huge disappointment in that it was very very basic stuff throughout where the heel dominated the face until a largely mundane comeback by Cena that got the mediocre crowd response it deserved. He went for a bodysurf in the first few rows, but they couldn't support him and he sank nearly to the floor. There was really no excuse for that match not to be booked to be more special than that. Cena did not look like a star and the ending of JBL's long title reign should have felt like a bigger deal. It wouldn't shock me if they were running short on time and that match had to be sliced down because nobody is telling Triple H he has to shave even a minute off of his aloted match. Then again, if that's the best they had in them, it might have been better the match didn't go longer.
-Highlight clips aired of the Hall of Fame ceremony. Then Gene Okerlund introduced the new Hall of Fame inductees from center ring. Order of introduction was Nikolai Volkoff, Iron Sheik, Paul Orndorff, "Cowboy" Bob Orton, Jimmy Hart, Roddy Piper, and Hulk Hogan. WWE divas escorted each of them onto the stage.
8 -- TRIPLE H (w/Ric Flair) vs. BATISTA -- World Hvt. Title match
Finish: Batista gripped Hunter's head and fell back, slamming him to the mat. Batista shook the top rope a la Ultimate Warrior and got a rise out of the crowd. He then pointed his thumbs up and then turned them down. he followed with a Batista Bomb and made the cover for the win. Batista let out a barbaric yell. Fireworks shot off as Batista stared at his newly won title.
WINNER: Batista at 21:32 to capture the World Hvt. Title.
STAR RATING: ***1/4 -- Above-average match. Not great, but passable as a WrestleMania main event. The two main events did not surpass expectations, though. The finishes, though, in many fans' eyes will make up for the matches not being classics.
-A traditional post-WrestleMania video them aired with highlights from the show.
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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
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He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).
He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)
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