The Only Review of WrestleMania 26 That You’ll Ever Need

Before we begin, allow me to apologize. Sometimes I get a little wild, a little crazy, and I forget how dangerous assigning a certain number of asterisks to a wrestling match can be. I know some of you have friends, families, and careers. Even with this knowledge, I went and, WITHOUT SAFETY, declared that WrestleMania 25 was great. Looking back, how dare I. I know how deeply it affected some of you. Sending shock-waves all through out the World, and basically ruining lives. Some may say “why get so worked up over the rating of a wrestling match?”, but c’mon, they just don’t know. This is serious stuff. This is reviewing pro-wrestling!

& John Morrison vs. ShowMiz – WWE Unified Tag-Team Championship

This match went a whole three minutes and 25 seconds. Easy
paycheck for all involved. There honestly isn’t much for me to say, really.
Morrison eats the WMD from Big Show, and is pinned at 3:25 | *
Ted DiBiase vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Randy Orton

He headlined the previous WM, now he’s the second match on the
card. Greatest WM fall from grace?
The match starts off as a handicap match, with Rhodes and
DiBiase working over Orton. Eventually each man’s greed for the pinfall causes
them to start brawling while Randy gets his second wind. Crowd pops big for the double
2nd-rope DDT. Soon after, Rhodes catches a punt to the face, while DiBiase
sneaks up from behind Orton to slap on The Million Dollar Dream. Yeah, after
watching Orton for 6 years up until that point, the one thing I’d learn is, if
you’re gonna attack Randy, going from behind is your best bet. It’s decent, but
if this had been an actual triple threat, they could have really had something.

DiBiase gets hit with the RKO and pinned at 9:02 | **1/4

Jack Swagger vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Drew
McIntyre vs. Christian vs. MVP vs. Matt Hardy vs. Evan Bourne vs. Kane vs. Kofi
Kingston – Money In The Bank

Great set up as Swagger is under a ladder, then Christian and
Matt Hardy each take a ladder and crush him between the two that they fed
between the rungs. The ladders are then set up as a scaffold between the main
ladder and ropes. Sweet moments on this contraption are everything from Evan’s
Air Bourne, to Matt Hardy being flipped from one side to the other, land back
first on the horizontal ladder. Soon after, a ladder breaks and Kofi uses both
parts as stilts in order to reach the brief case, no such luck, but he gets
close. MiTB matches are just about impossible to screw up, and this is no
exception. Not as great as others, as I feel 10 wrestlers is too many
participants and with that all you get is spot after spot after spot, and that
can get tiresome. Even still, a WM-worthy match, despite the fact the winner
ended up being the biggest waste in the history of the match.

Swagger grabs the briefcase at 13:45 | ***1/2

Sheamus vs. Triple H

This was one of the matches I was looking forward to back in
2010 when the card was completed, and it lived up to my hopes. The story itself
was great, and shows that when you KISS, you can’t lose. The match itself was
hard-hitting and left you wanting more. Sheamus may have lost, but this match
did more for him than the entire 2 months he was WWE Champion. Sheamus went out
there and held his own against Triple H like few get to. Triple H had to work
for this victory, which does a lot more for Sheamus than John Cena tripping
into a table. Sadly, something the E refuses to realize; the belt doesn’t make
the man. It’s a shame the feud only had one other match, because these two mesh
well, and I was looking forward to more knock-down drag-outs. A great match
that deserved to be higher-up on the card.

Sheamus eats a Pedigree, giving Triple H the win at 12:09 |

CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio

Top heel in the company out there with one of the best of all
time and they get a cool 6 minutes! Their match at Over The Limit needs to be
seen to be believed, a 5-star match as far as I’m concerned, with Punk showing
just how great he is, and showing exactly what should have gone down here at
26; which would have cemented it in the minds of everyone as the greatest WM
ever. Honestly though, what we get is no slouch. It’s fast paced, and packed
with some of the best wrestling you were gonna see that year. Two of my
favorite moments: Punk turning a Moonsault from Mysterio into an attempted GTS;
and Mysterio turning a GTS into a hurricarana. If it had only got about 7-8
more minutes, we’d have a sure fire classic on our hands. But it’s OK, they
gave it to us at Extreme Rules & Over The Limit. 
Mysterio hits the 619 on Punk & gets the pin at 6:30 | ***1/4

Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon

The video showing the build-up really showcases the fact that
Vince is one of the greatest heels of all time. Match starts with Vince saying
he has the entire Hart family on his side, which Bret promptly turns on him and
says it was all a ruse. Bret then literally beats the hell out of Vince with a
crowbar and a chair for about 10 minutes before slapping the Sharpshooter on
him. Honestly, this match is terrible. I had no idea going into it that Bret
couldn’t take a single bump, and was rather let down that there wasn’t anything
resembling a match. However, I understand, so they should have simply made this
match about 5 minutes, and given the extra time to Punk and Mysterio. In the end
though, we got to see Bret Hart stomp Vince’s balls, and beat him half to
death, so that’s worth at least something. 
Vince taps-out to the Sharpshooter at 11:09 | *

Chris Jericho [C] vs. Edge – World Heavyweight Championship

Match starts off with Jericho holding the momentum until it gets
to a point where Edge starts doing whatever he can to turn the tide. Including
diving off the apron into Jericho, and delivering an off-the-top-rope face
plant. After all this, Jericho starts doing whatever he can to finish things;
Codebreaker, Walls of Jericho, and the Lionsault. All for naught, as Edge is
able to answer each one. Eventually, both attempt a spear, and both pull off a
counter. Brilliant moment. The match ends a bit abruptly, unfortunately. That’s
the only thing keeping me from giving it the full monty. However, there’s part
of me that wants to give it anyway for the awesome spear through the table
spot, if only that had been in the confines of the actual match. As it goes,
best of the night, and one of my all-time favorites. 
Jericho hits the Codebreaker & pins Edge at 15:48 | ****3/4

Michelle McCool, Layla, Maryse, Alicia Fox & Vickie Guerrero
vs. Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres, Gail Kim & Beth Phoenix
What is there to say, really? One thing that bothered me is that Vickie had her
catch phrase on her shirt, and her jacket, and still felt the need to say it. I
hate it when people just ride a horse until it’s dead, then turn it into a
zombie horse and ride that bitch too. Even though the move itself was executed
terribly, seeing her pay homage to Eddie like that was really nice. 
Vickie hits the Frog Splash on Kelly Kelly for the win at 3:26 | *

John Cena vs. Batista [C] – WWE Championship

The entrance stage for WM 26 is absolutely
ridiculous. Batista is a savage and is out to do nothing but hurt, these
intentions are displayed clearly while he does things like a running
clothesline to the back of Cena’s head, and a DDT that has John in clear pain
after trying an FU. Cena responds perfectly by refusing to break the STFU once
Batista hits the ropes, or hitting him with a top rope 5 Knuckle Shuffle. These
two just work great together. Nothing flashy, nothing detailed. Just two guys
trying to break each other’s bones. Cena proves why he’s the man as he poses
and smiles with the people in the front row who have home-made Cena Sucks

Batista taps to the STFU at 13:31 | ****1/2

Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker – Streak vs. Career

The video beforehand is proof enough that this is the greatest
WM main event of all time. I’m not saying it’s the best match, but as far as
build and importance, this is it. At no point during this match, do they ever
make you feel like it isn’t. From the get go Shawn is an absolute house of fire
and The Undertaker is doing whatever he can to put it out. The Tombstone on the
outside is f------ ridiculous, and Shawn kicking out of that says more than him
kicking out of 10 in-ring Tombstones. From that point, it just keeps
escalating, it just keeps getting better, creating the very definition of why
we love pro wrestling so much at times. The ending was fantastic. The
Undertaker wants to show Shawn mercy, and Shawn knows it’s over. He knows it.
His career, his attempt at the streak, it’s done with. So if it’s over, then
it’s f------ OVER, and demands Undertaker put the exclamation point on it.

Undertaker gives Shawn the Super Tombstone and pins him at 24:00
| *****

Showcase Showdown: I always knew 26 was a great show, but on a
second viewing it’s even better than I thought. The undercard delivered greater
than I remembered, and the main-events are no-brainers. Just about every match
had the ability to deliver a show-stealer had they been given the time, and
their build-up was main-event worthy on any PPV. 
Other than fantastic matches, the show wasn’t bogged down with rock concerts, a
bunch of dancing grandmas, or an attempt at the dumbest Guinness World Record.
If Vince is so hard up for that, can’t he just go for the longest finger nails
or something?
The color schematic and stage set up for the show was fantastic
as well. The orange and brown was something different, and gave WM26 a very
vibrant, western feel. The giant pyramid of screens at the entrance was as
decadent as a wrestling show can get and it was awesome. It can never be
topped, which we saw when WM27 went back to a more traditional setting.
In the end, the up-coming WM review is what I’ve always considered to be my favorite one, but WM26 may have earned that dubious honor. 
Much thanks to my editor, Steven Ferrari. First time we met was in a hotel lobby where we played Karate Fighter. Turns out we were both there for the Kumite. 
Str8 Gangster, No Chaser
– 4 of the Worst Instances of TV Censorship, Saved By The Bell Archives, Comic Book Films You Didn’t Know Were Comic Book Films, plenty of other goods.
WCW In 2000 – Recently updated with the Nitro after The Great American Bash.
Man Movie Encyclopedia Vol.1
– My book about action films. Endorsed by Scott Keith & Maddox, as
well as some fellow BOD’ers. Constant 5 star reviews on amazon.
A Wrestling Show for the IWC, by the IWC – Episode 1 of the greatest wrestling program of all time. Finally someone repping for the IWC.
Board for the BoD’ers – Some hip cats doing some hip things. 
Roger Malcolm – This is a friend of mine. Director, writer, producer. He’s to film what Scott is to wrestling. Brilliant guy. Do check him out. 
MAILBAG: “Hey Cal. Got a question for your article if you do mailbag stuff like scott. In your review of wrestlemania 25 you said Shawn vs Taker was ****1/2 but a week before you said it was ***1/4 and got s--- for it. Why the big change? Was it so people would stop flipping you crap? Because thats a big change”
I don’t know how it goes for others, but there are times when I can watch a match at different times and feel completely different about it. Take Kurt Angle vs Undertaker from NWO 2006 for example. First time I saw the match I had it pegged at **1/2. I watched it again the next day,  all of a sudden ***** to me, and now ranks in my Top 5 of all time. With Shawn vs Taker, that’s just what happened. I felt the need to give it one last go, and sure enough, I was finally digging it. I would never change an opinion because it got a lot of heat, nor would I ever say something just to get heat. Anyone doing that is pretty pathetic.

Thanks for the email, and anyone else that wants to shoot me one for the mailbag, feel free at [email protected] . If you want a direct response, just let me know in the message. Thanks.

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– Caliber Winfield