(As written by Graham "GSM" Matthews)
In the season of WrestleMania, I've begun to see more and more articles being written on the best WrestleManias of all time. The most popular ones I've read include WrestleMania 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25.
Personally, those opinions are all true. Each ones of those monumental events included something that made the event note-worthy, However, I've decided to write about something that has yet to be addressed: The 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania.
If you have written or read any articles on this subject, I apologize and give you credit. But I'm not here to write about how amazing it was. Moreover, I'm here to write about how disappointing is was.
When I hear the word "anniversary," I expect something special and memorable, such as RAW's 15th Anniversary in 2007 for instance. This specific 'Mania event in 2009 was being buzzed as the greatest of all time, and obviously being over-hyped months leading into the event.
After a few straight years of solid WrestleManias, the 25th Anniversary had the potential to be something much bigger than it was. Let's take a trip down memory lane, and you can decide for yourself whether the event lived up to the speculation.
Before the actual event took place, a tag team dark match was held between WWE Tag Team Champions Primo and Carlito Colon, and World Tag Team Champions The Miz and John Morrison to determine who would be crowned the first-ever Unified Tag Team Champions in history. This feud was the hottest thing in the tag division at the time, and keep in mind, this was the first time the titles were combined in history.
The match ended up being a good one (as seen on the WrestleMania 25 DVD), but the talents involved were unhappy they weren't included on the actual card. It's disappointing to drop a historical contest for other less desirable matches that made the live card.
As the biggest show went live for its first match, we were treated to the annual Money in the Bank Ladder Match. The bout itself was a perfect opener for the show, including breakout performances by Kofi Kingston, Christian, and Shelton Benjamin. Kaneand Mark Henry were a little slow, but even they were at their best and fit well into the mix.
The real problem with this match was the outcome of Punk winning the match for the second straight year. Of course no one expected it, and since everyone was anticipating Christian to win the briefcase, the result was a little disappointing.
Don't get me wrong, the win ended up being beneficial to Punk, going on to be a rising heel in the WWE. But at the time, the win didn't feel all that special. Is surprising the fans always better?
Next up was the 25-Divas Battle Royal to determine the first-ever Miss WrestleMania. We all weren't expecting anything special from the Divas like always, but we were expecting some surprise appearance from some past Divas including Sunny, Torrie Wilson, and Victoria.
To much negative criticism, these historical returns were overshadowed by the ten-minute music performance by rock artist Kid Rock, singing one of the themes of 'Mania, "So Hott". The match itself was filled with horrible chaos, where the commentators sometimes even failed to acknowledge who was being eliminated.
As if that wasn't bad enough, the battle royal would go on to be won by Santino Marella disguised as his twin sister, "Santina." Simply pathetic.
Fortunately, Chris Jericho's match that followed saved us from this agony. Y2J would defeat three established legends, Ricky Steamboat, Roddy Piper, and Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, in a three-on-one handicap match to prove why he is the best in the world at what he does.
His last few minutes of the match with Steamboat were phenomenal, something we would see again a month later at Backlash. It's a shame a talent like Jericho wasn't placed higher on the card which is what ticked me off. The right hand by Mickey Rourke following the match didn't do much for me either.
In a heated rivalry that began two months prior, the Extreme Rules Match between Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy was also very-well wrestled that wasn't given enough hype. The two brothers obviously contain a lot of chemistry and were able to put on a fantastic match. Having Matt Hardy go over here was the best thing to do, even if he wouldn't be able to go on as a bigger heel due to injury.
At this half point in the show, loyal viewers were probably having mixed feelings about what they've seen so far, with some good and bad things happening that hadn't expected.
However, the next match didn't do any justice. Intercontinental Champion JBL, hellbent on returning and leaving Houston, Texas as a champion, was literally put in a last-minute feud with Rey Mysterio in an effort to get both on the show.
The match only lasted a record-breaking 21 seconds, something I, among others, were not too fond of. Short title matches, such as these should, reserved to the main shows, not the biggest pay-per-view of the view. In a surprising turn of events, JBL would quit the WWE thereafter. I can't say I blame him.
As we enter the main matches on the show, the highly anticipated Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker match would follow. Prior to the event, Undertaker had yet to defeat HBK in a one-on-one match, where the Deadman's WrestleMania streak was also at stake.
In what was easily the match of the night, Undertaker would defeat Shawn Michaels in the most suspenseful, memorable, and epic match of all time. The only negative to this match is the fact that it wasn't the main event, which was a huge letdown knowing what we were about to encounter.
Up next was the oddly booked World Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat Match between reigning champion Edge, Big Show, and the favorite John Cena. The match wasn't bad, but it wasn't a five-star classic either.
The build-up was odd, uncomfortable, and not entertaining, including three guys who didn't have much chemistry prior to the event. It basically came out of no where. This had to be the most predictable match of the night, seeing John Cena winning the title with a unique finish and getting the inevitable victory.
After three and a half hours, the WWE Championship main event finally arrived. It was contested between reigning champion Triple H and 2009 Royal Rumble Winner Randy Orton, who were engaged in a massive rivalry following Orton's focus on eliminating every member of the McMahon family.
In the end, the Game retained the championship and earned family pride, but at what cost? The match was no different they've contested in the past, and the finish was a huge letdown where HHH used his signature sledgehammer (which was banned no less) to win the bout.
Critics complied that the main event was nothing special at all, quoting "it didn't click." It was also stated that the lack of interferences and twists in the match left viewers scratching their heads, costing the event any credibility it may have had before the match.
Overall, it was truly a mediocre pay-per-view, even being quoted as possibly being "the worst executed WrestleMania of all time." Normally, a mediocre WrestleMania wouldn't being welcome but at the very least excepted, but being the 25th Anniversary, this show was certainly a letdown.
I may not be familiar with every WrestleMania that has ever taken place, but I can be certain on my opinion that this WrestleMania was the most disappointing of Manias in recent years. Thanks for reading, and make sure to leave your feedback in comments below on whether you agree or disagree with my theory. GSM out.