Wrestlemania XXII

Wrestlemania XXII
Date: April 2, 2006
Location: Allstate Arena, Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 17,159
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz, Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross

It’s time for the biggest night of the year and this time around it has been rather fun. The Raw side has been a heck of a build while the Smackdown side has been hit and miss at best. This is one of the more forgotten Wrestlemanias (given that the image on the poster was of John Cena vs. Booker T., a match which hadn’t taken place in over a year at this point, you can kind of tell that they aren’t caring all that much) and it’s also the last one to date in a regular arena. Let’s get to it.

Pre-Show: Battle Royal

Eugene, Viscera, Goldust, Snitsky, Rob Conway, Tyson Tomko, Lance Cade, Trevor Murdoch, Matt Striker, Super Crazy, Psicosis, Funaki, Steven Richards, Joey Mercury, Johnny Nitro, Animal, William Regal, Simon Dean

Half from Raw and half from Smackdown, so yes they are wearing the designated shirts. Dean tries to do his intro and gets kicked in the face for the immediate elimination. Richards gets rid of Conway and Funaki goes out as well. There goes Cade, followed by Goldust getting rid of Richards. Striker is out too and there go Crazy and Goldust as the ring is cleared out in a hurry. Snitsky gets rid of Regal and MNM dumps Eugene after a Snapshot.

We get the Raw vs. Smackdown showdown and Murdoch and Psicosis go out back to back. We’re down to Viscera, MNM, Snitsky, Tomko and Animal with Viscera and Animal being the targets for the other four. Viscera misses a charge in the corner but beats up MNM without much trouble. That means a double Visagra (Cole: “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand!” What in the world could that possibly mean in this context?) and Melina is nearly sick. It gets even worse as Viscera tosses MNM to get us down to four.

Snitsky kicks Tomko out by mistake and the LOD chants start back up. A big boot to Animal lets Viscera get rid of him, much to the crowd’s annoyance. Snitsky misses a running big boot though and Viscera wins without touching Snitsky at all. Cole: “I was hoping that would go on for another 15-20 minutes!” Tazz: “One of the best battle royals I’ve ever been a part of!” They’re bringing the Wrestlemania level snark this year.

Rating: D. Yeah this was horrible but the whole point was to get the undercard on the roster. I’m not sure on the logic of having the Chicago guy get all the way to the final three and then have him lose for the sake of Viscera, but I guess they don’t want a heel winning to open the show. Not that it would have mattered as it would have been one of the pops of the night, but it’s not worth getting annoyed about in the first place as it was a six minute battle royal before the feature presentation begins.

Post match Viscera kisses Lilian, who doesn’t seem thrilled.

Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child sings America the Beautiful. You know they’re getting in those American visuals every year and this is no exception.

The opening video looks at some great Wrestlemania moments over I Dare You by Shinedown. I like the song so this is a pretty good combination. They switch over to another song and the matches for this year’s show. That’s a nice mix that they tend to do well most years.

The posters of wrestlers around the top of the arena are a nice touch.

Raw Tag Team Titles: Carlito/Chris Masters vs. Big Show/Kane

Show/Kane are defending and we get the always awesome visual of the city set being on fire during Kane’s entrance. Masters shoulders Kane down to start as JR says this is the first tradition two on two tag match for these titles since Wrestlemania XV. How do you go that long without doing the normal version? Kane is back up with a leapfrog into a dropkick and it’s off to Show for the loud chops in the corner. A poke to the eye allows the tag off to Carlito, who gets a HECK of a reception (one of the loudest reactions I’ve ever seen for him), though Show throws both he and Masters around with ease.

Carlito gets gorilla pressed over the top onto Masters (seemingly elbowing him in the face on the way down) and Kane hits the top rope clothesline onto both of them. Back in and a double flapjack actually gets two on Show, with the replay showing a ram into an exposed buckle had something to do with it. Kane gets the tag so Show has to break up the Masterlock. Everything breaks down and Masters saves Carlito from the chokeslam. Masters hits Carlito by mistake when trying to save him again, meaning Kane can boot Masters to the floor. Not the chokeslam can hit Carlito to retain the titles.

Rating: C-. It was basically a more energetic Raw match and that works well enough for a Wrestlemania opener. I tend to like something like this more than some white hot match to open the show as it means you can go up from here. Carlito and Masters hadn’t been treated as threats to the title coming into the show so it makes sense for them to be little more than an annoyance here.

Post match, Carlito and Masters argue, with the fans being entirely behind Carlito. No violence ensues though.

Shawn Michaels, with a bandage on his head, says he doesn’t regret saying that Vince McMahon needed to grow up. Last year he and Kurt Angle tore the house down and the year before that, he did the same thing with Chris Benoit and HHH. Tonight, Shawn is going to be a different version of himself. Tonight, Vince McMahon needs to bow down and pray because Shawn is taking him to his own personal h***.

Matt Hardy vs. Finlay vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Ric Flair vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Rob Van Dam

Money in the Bank, allowing Cole to get in his first (to be fair in this case, minor) slip up of the night by saying Edge cashed in after John Cena’s Armageddon match. It’s a big brawl to start and the fans are behind Van Dam early on. Hardy goes for the first ladder but Van Dam takes him down with a slingshot dive onto the ladder onto Hardy for the crash. A ladder is bridged against the ropes so Shelton gets a running start for a huge flip dive to take down all of the young people.

Flair and Finlay fight in the ring (go on) but Matt comes in for the save with a superplex to bring Flair off the ladder (egads man). So Flair screams a lot and gets the X treatment (thanks to his knee), meaning we’re going to be down a person after about two and a half minutes. Lashley goes up top but Shelton grabs a sunset bomb. He can’t get Lashley down though so Finlay and Hardy go into the hurt business to bring Lashley crashing to the mat. Hardy crushes Finlay with the ladder in the corner until Finlay throws it back at him.

Finlay loads up the ladder but here’s Flair (after about three minutes away) to cut him off. Chops abound and Flair goes up again until Finlay makes the save with the Shillelagh, making Flair take another bump he shouldn’t be taking. The briefcase is swinging back and forth so Finlay can’t pull it down, allowing Shelton to go up as well. Lashley breaks that up and hits the Dominator on Benjamin, so Van Dam has to dropkick a chair into Lashley for the save.

Matt’s screaming legdrop from the ladder hits Lashley but he has to Side Effect Finlay off the ladder. Finlay gets knocked down as well though and Rob hits a splash off the very top of the ladder for the big crash. Van Dam goes up so Shelton does the always insane springboard onto the top of the ladder (because he can just do that) and hammers away. Matt brings in another ladder and climbs up to slug away at Shelton, who steps over to the other ladder. Rob shoves them both over for the big crash to the floor (always looks great) though and pulls down the briefcase to win.

Rating: B. This was good but not quite up to the standard that the big ladder matches have. It wasn’t all that long either and they didn’t have time to build much up. Shelton got in the big, impressive spots but there were enough high level bumps to go around. Van Dam and Flair were the only realistic winners here too so they picked one of the best options. Not as good as the others, but it still did what it was supposed to do.

New Hall of Famer Gene Okerlund is interrupted by Randy Orton, who doesn’t think much of someone who held a microphone for thirty five years. He promises to win the Smackdown World Title tonight but here’s Batista to say whoever leaves as champion is just holding it for him. Next year, he’s going to be champion at Wrestlemania XXIII.

It’s time for the Hall of Fame class, minus Bret Hart, who was not comfortable with appearing.

Gene Okerlund (No one did it better.)

Sensational Sherri (How was she not in already?)

Tony Atlas (He always seems happy to be around.)

Verne Gagne (Doesn’t mean anything directly to WWE, but you don’t have a wrestling Hall of Fame without him.)

William Perry (Sure, but he couldn’t get a suit? Or a tie? Or a shirt that tucked in?)

The Blackjacks (Again, how were they not in already?)

Eddie Guerrero (Yep.)

Vickie Guerrero looks rather overcome by the reception in a touching moment.

US Title: Chris Benoit vs. John Bradshaw Layfield

JBL, with Jillian Hall, is challenging and the ramp raises up so the limo can drive in. After commentary can manage to stop talking about Jillian’s cowgirl look, they bring up JBL wanting to prove that he can beat another great technical wrestler after Eddie Guerrero. They go straight to the slugout to start until Benoit drop toeholds him to try the Crossface. JBL is able to block it so Benoit headbutts him in the back of the head, which is a rather intense next step.

Some forearms to the neck keep JBL in trouble and a chop takes him down again. It’s too early for the Sharpshooter though and JBL bails to the floor to hide behind Jillian. Back in and JBL hammers him down in the corner until he misses a charge, allowing Benoit to roll the German suplexes. JBL crotches him on top though and hits the Eddie dance for some good mocking. The superplex brings Benoit down in a crash, allowing JBL to dance some more. He even hits two Amigos before having to boot Benoit in the face to cut off the comeback.

We hit the chinlock but Benoit fights up with more suplexes. The Swan Dive gets a close two but JBL blocks another Crossface attempt. He also blocks a German suplex with a grab of the rope and the referee, allowing him to….actually not cheat. Instead the Clothesline From JBL is countered into the Crossface, which is countered into a cradle (with a grab of the rope) to give JBL the pin and the title.

Rating: C+. This has always been a bit of a weird one for me as JBL wasn’t exactly a hot challenger coming in but he did pick up the title, which reheated him in a hurry. He wasn’t going to make it back to the World Title anytime soon (or ever, as he didn’t need it), but he needed to win something instead of losing over and over again. This was good enough though and it’s hardly a stretch to see JBL win a match over Benoit.

We recap Edge vs. Mick Foley. Edge accused Foley of costing him the Raw World Title and wanted to beat him down, so Foley agreed to a fight. Foley wanted that one Wrestlemania moment and Edge is starting to realize that he might be in over his head.

Edge vs. Mick Foley

Hardcore match, Joey Styles joins commentary, Lita is here with Edge and Foley’s flannel shirt is buttoned up for a change. Edge has a bat to start but the early swings miss and Edge drops it to the floor. Foley slugs away in the corner and puts Edge in the Tree of Woe for the running elbow to the face. Lita throws in a metal sign though and it goes upside Foley’s head over and over. The spear hits early….and Edge is in a lot of pain, as Foley opens up the shirt to reveal a band of barbed wire wrapped around his stomach.

Foley cuts himself free and ties Edge in the ropes, meaning it’s time to grab the barbed wire bat. Lita tries for the save so it’s the Cactus Clothesline to Edge, sending all three outside in the process. Foley is certainly bringing it early on. A neckbreaker on the floor drops Edge and Foley pounds him down but his charge is hiptossed into the steps for a REALLY painful looking crash. There go Foley’s knees into the steps and it’s time for a chair. Edge loads up a table on the floor but Foley rolls off before Edge can come off the top.

Instead Edge slams him head first into the steel ramp (for a SICK thud)….and it’s time for the lighter fluid. Edge covers Foley in the fluid but gets piledriven for two. Foley grabs the chair but a Lita distraction lets Edge hit a DDT. Foley is busted and the barbed wire bat to the head makes it even worse. It’s time for the thumbtacks but Foley slams Edge (with no shirt) down onto them for the really big reaction.

A barbed wire Mandible Claw goes on and now it’s Edge being hit with the barbed wire bat over and over. Now it’s time for Foley to spray the table with lighter fluid but Lita hits Foley in the knee with the barbed wire bat. The table is set on fire and Edge hits the spear through the ropes and through the fire for the pin.

Rating: A. What is there to say about this? They massacred each other and Foley bled all over the place before taking a huge bump to end the match. This was a different side of Edge and it’s the side that needed to be shown to make him feel like more than a flash in the pan. This felt like two people wanting to hurt each other and then getting to do so, as Foley continues to know how to make someone into a much bigger star than almost anyone else.

Edge and Lita looking like they’re in physical shock after the match makes it a lot better.

With that out of the way, it’s time for Booker T. and Sharmell to be scared of the Boogeyman. Booker insists that he isn’t a freak magnet and runs into Paul Burchill, Ted DiBiase not letting Eugene dribble a basketball to win money, Snitsky doing…something to Mae Young’s foot as Moolah watches, and Goldust dressed as Oprah. Goldust says they’re all freaks and the only way to beat the Boogeyman is to put the worms in his…and it’s whispered in Booker’s ear. A ticked off Booker leaves with Sharmell.

Some fans won tickets to the show from Snickers.

Booker T./Sharmell vs. Boogeyman

Booker makes Sharmell start, jumps Boogeyman from behind, and then comes in to hammer on Boogeyman. The comeback doesn’t take long and Booker is sent into the post. Boogeyman eats some worms and stares at Sharmell for trying a staff shot to the back. Sharmell gets kissed with the worms and runs off, leaving Boogeyman to chokebomb Booker for the pin.

Rating: F. Of course this is a failure as there isn’t anything to be praised here. It was the three of them doing a short, bad match and the big deal was Sharmell getting a mouth full of worms. There isn’t much else to it than that and the fact that this aired at Wrestlemania at any point after about 1991 tells you why it’s a failure.

We recap Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James for the Women’s Title. Mickie is a psycho who was obsessed with Trish (they never said the word lesbian but that’s what they were going for) but Trish wasn’t interested. Once Mickie was flat out turned down, she completely snapped and decided to take the Women’s Title instead. This feels like a big fight and that’s a good thing around here.

Women’s Title: Mickie James vs. Trish Stratus

Trish is defending. They fight over a lockup to start as JR tries to diagnose Mickie’s mental state. The Thesz press (JR: “Maybe the Louise Thesz press.”) puts Mickie down but she comes back with a kick, only to be thrown into the splits. A baseball slide puts Mickie on the floor but Trish kicks the post by mistake. Mickie wraps the leg around the post in a smart move and there’s a dropkick to the knee to make it worse.

The fans get behind Mickie and she wraps the leg around the ropes. The half crab goes on before it’s time to stomp on the leg in the corner. Mickie stops to soak in the cheers and bends the leg some more. This time Trish reverses into the spinning anklescissors but the fans aren’t happy with the comeback. The Stratusphere is countered with another slam of the leg to the mat as Lawler notices that Mickie’s skirt isn’t the most functional in a match.

Trish comes back with a Stratusfaction attempt but Mickie grabs her between the legs (on the Network) and licks her own hand (not on the Network) as JR loses it. Mickie tries the Stratusfaction but she either leaves it short or Trish can’t hold her on the knee, meaning they botch it horribly (also not on the Network). Mickie settles for the Chick Kick for the pin and the title. JR: “THE NUT JOB HAS WON THE TITLE!”

Rating: B-. This was getting really good near the end but then the botch happened and it stopped everything cold. The leg stuff was good and while it would have made more sense to have Trish’s knee give out when she was trying the Stratusfaction, it worked for a story in the match as Mickie knew how to break the thing down. More importantly though, Mickie FINALLY ends Trish’s year long plus reign and becomes the new star, which is long overdue. They needed to have the title change here as Trish had run out of gas a long time ago but it wasn’t like she had anyone good enough to drop it to.

Vince McMahons has the rest of the family drop to their knees in prayer before his match with Shawn. Vince: “God, let’s face it. I don’t like you, and you don’t like me.” Vince praises his own physique and promises to end Shawn.

Mark Henry vs. Undertaker

Casket match and the druids take their time wheeling the casket to ringside. Undertaker does the full entrance and Henry manages to keep glaring at him before jumping him to start things off. Some running clotheslines don’t do much to Henry so he runs Undertaker over with a single shot. They head outside with both guys going head first into the steps. The fans are in am ore traditional role here with the Undertaker cheers, which are cut off when Henry blocks Old School.

A low blow saves Undertaker from going into the casket and now it’s time to go after the arm. Old School connects this time but he still can’t get Henry down. Henry runs him over again but misses the running crotch attack and gets dropped into the casket. Undertaker follows him in and the lid closes before opening up with Undertaker’s hand around Henry’ throat.

They get back inside with Henry hitting the World’s Strongest Slam and covering because he isn’t that bright. Speaking of not that bright, Henry hammers away in the corner but gets planted with the Last Ride. Undertaker throws him onto and over the casket, setting up the Taker Dive (which barely clears the casket). Back in and a pretty impressive Tombstone lets Undertaker put him in the casket for the win.

Rating: D. Another one which didn’t work so well, mainly because there was no drama. Who was believing that Mark Henry was going to be the one to break the Streak? The Taker Dive and Tombstone both looked great but there isn’t much of a way around the fact that it was Mark Henry trying to break the Streak. It had no drama and wasn’t even that long, leaving this near the bottom end of the Streak (at least once it became a big deal).

We recap Shawn Michaels vs. Vince McMahon. Shawn told Vince that it was time to get over the Montreal Screwjob and grow up so Vince decided to destroy Shawn once and for all. He has done a great job of making Shawn miserable and now it is time for Shawn to FINALLY get his hands on Vince in a no holds barred match.

Shawn Michaels vs. Vince McMahon

No Holds Barred and there is a big framed copy of Vince’s Muscle and Fitness Magazine at ringside. Shawn jumps him to start and sends him into JR as the WE WANT BRET chants begin. The framed magazine goes around Vince’s head and Shawn is all ticked off. Cue the Spirit Squad to beat Shawn down though and hit the five man toss into the air. JR: “Someone get the hook!” Shawn gets their megaphone (which is smoking/powdery for some reason) and beats them down though, which sends them off for some reason.

Vince, now bleeding above the eye, gets in a clothesline to take over and it’s time to choke in the corner. The leather belt rips Shawn’s back up and it’s time to choke. Vince actually tunes up the band but Shawn blocks the kick (which had height but was nowhere near the right form) and hammers away. JR: “How are your stock dividends now???” The top rope elbow connects but here’s Shane with a kendo stick to take Shawn down. Always one to rub it in, Vince drops his pants but Shawn puts Shane’s face into it instead, followed by a low blow to Vince.

A clothesline puts Shane on the floor but that’s not enough, as Shawn handcuffs Shane to the rope. The Shane dance sets up a bunch of kendo stick shots to Shane and there’s a heck of a chair shot to Vince’s head. Lawler: “CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN!” Vince is busted open and Shawn tunes up the band….before stopping cold. Instead he goes outside and grabs a ladder, which goes straight into Vince’s forehead.

Shawn still won’t cover as he grabs some trashcans and a table instead, even shoving Shane away to get to them. The trashcan to the head drops Vince again and Shawn goes up the ladder. Then he climbs back down and pulls out the BIG ladder. Shawn climbs again, does the suck it sign, and elbows Vince through the table for the huge crash. Medics bring a stretcher out but Shawn scares them off, stands Vince up, yells a lot, and finishes with the superkick.

Rating: C+. Of course it’s junk as an actual match, but this was exactly what they set it up to be. There is no reason to believe that Vince can hang with Shawn in a regular match so he didn’t really come close. Vince brought in a bunch of people, Shawn beat them up and then the beating began. Shawn destroyed him completely (or at least until the next night on Raw, or maybe a week later if they’re feeling generous) and it made sense. Might have gone a little long, but it was the logical way to go.

Post match Vince is taken out on a stretcher and still flips Shawn off. Cole talks about how Shawn promised to never go back to his old self but did it here. Not exactly, as it was just Shawn being violent and aggressive, which isn’t quite what they were talking about on the way here.

We recap Randy Orton vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Kurt Angle for the Smackdown World Title. Rey won the Royal Rumble to earn the title shot but Orton talked enough trash to get him to put the shot on the line at No Way Out. Orton cheated to win, but Teddy Long put Rey in the match too, making it a triple threat.

Smackdown World Title: Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton vs. Kurt Angle

Angle is defending and POD plays Rey, in an Aztec warrior costume this year, to the ring. Orton jumps Angle with the belt before the bell to start but Angle is right back in with a German suplex to Orton, plus a double German to both of them at once (with Rey flying through the air). An overhead belly to belly takes Orton over as well but Rey sends Angle face first into Orton’s crotch.

Angle is fine enough to send Rey up for a super hurricanrana to Orton before throwing Rey outside. Rey breaks up the ankle lock attempt and kicks Angle in the head for two as the fans are split between Rey and Kurt. The 619 is countered into the ankle lock and Rey taps (less than four minutes in) but the referee is with Orton. The German suplexes take down both challengers and an Angle Slam to the floor drops Rey in a heap. That means an ankle lock to Orton but this time Rey grabs the referee so he can’t see a tap.

Rey Drops the Dime on Angle but gets knocked outside again. The RKO connects for a delayed two on Angle and Randy goes up top, earning himself the running belly to belly superplex. Rey is back in with the springboard seated senton for two more on Angle and Orton is back in to kick Angle to the floor. The powerbomb neckbreaker gets two on Rey but the RKO takes too long, allowing Angle to come back in with the Angle Slam on Orton. Rey slips out of the Angle Slam and armdrags Angle to the floor. That leaves Orton to be dropkicked into the ropes for the 619 into the West Coast Pop for the pin and the title.

Rating: C+. This is still one of the more perplexing big matches in Wrestlemania history as it had no real structure other than them doing moves to each other. Nothing was built up, nothing set up the finish and Rey just pinned Orton to win. It was fine as it was, but I was expecting a lot more, including more time as it didn’t even last ten minutes.

Post match the Guerreros come out to celebrate with Rey.

JR and the King talk about HHH and John Cena being ready for tonight. They needed two minutes for this instead of the other World Title match? Ah right: they needed to put a bed and pillows in the ring. Great way to use the Wrestlemania time.

Torrie Wilson vs. Candice Michelle

It’s the annual Playboy match pillow fight so JR talks about Frank Gotch gate records in Chicago during the entrances. They to to the bed to start and then hit the catfighting. Torrie turns the bed over on her and then puts her dog on Candice’s face. Candice loses her dress and then puts on a headscissors over the ropes while bending backwards over the ropes. A middle rope elbow hits Torrie on the bed and it’s time to cut Torrie out of her dress. Candice pulls out her Playboy but gets rolled up for the pin.

Rating: D-. Yeah this happened and that’s about all there is to say about it. They were there to promote Playboy and it worked well enough, even though the Playboy Diva is usually a face and someone who wins but not quite this time around. It wasn’t exactly a match of course, but why would you expect anything else?

We see clips of the Wrestlemania press conference, with HHH saying the match against John Cena will be easy and Cena saying not so fast. HHH won a tournament to get the shot so there isn’t much of a story.

Raw World Title: HHH vs. John Cena

Cena is defending and HHH, sitting on a throne in a Thor/Conan motif (the announcers say Conan but he had a big hammer), rises out from the stage. Cena on the other hand comes out after a gangster video and following an old car, complete with CM Punk as a machine gun toting gangster in one of the more well known Before They Were Famous cameos. Still as close as he ever got to the Wrestlemania main event. We get an old school weapons check as JR puts over the idea of the grunt vs. the seasons, trained professional to give us a good story to the match.

They fight over the arm control to start and Cena is sent into the corner for some frustration. The fans are almost entirely behind HHH here, or at least the loud ones are. The FU doesn’t work and they stare each other down again. Cena is sent outside for a big cheer but he comes back in to slug away. A backdrop gives Cena two and the fisherman’s suplex gets the same.

We’re already into the chinlock as the fans tell Cena that he can’t wrestle. There’s the big whip over the corner to send HHH to the floor and another backdrop puts him on the ramp. Back in and HHH hits the jumping knee for a positive reaction as commentary keeps talking about the crowd reactions. HHH whips him hard into the steps and the fans even pop for him breaking the count.

Back in again and the facebuster into a running clothesline gets two on Cena, with JR calling it a slobberknocker. A pair of neckbreakers gets two more and we hit the neck crank. HHH switches to a sleeper and then a chinlock as JR gets the World Title wrong and has to apologize to Rey Mysterio. Cena fights up and hits his own clothesline before winning the slugout. There’s a powerslam and Cena initiates the finishing sequence but the Shuffle is countered with a spinebuster for two more. Another sleeper is countered into a belly to back suplex and it’s the Shuffle into the STFU.

HHH finally makes the rope and escapes the FU before sending Cena into the referee in the corner. That means a low blow to both of them, meaning HHH can give us the crotch chop. It’s sledgehammer time and Cena is knocked silly for a delayed two. The FU gets the same and the fans are popping hard on these near falls. Cena misses a high crossbody so HHH tries the Pedigree but Cena pulls him into the STFU, even trapping the arm so HHH can’t make the rope. It takes some time but HHH finally taps and Cena retains.

Rating: A-. That’s the ultimate achievement on Raw and the win that Cena really needed to become THE guy. He had been champion for almost a year straight but still felt somewhat like someone who hadn’t made it all the way to the top yet. Cena had been the guy, but he wasn’t THE guy until this one and that’s a big change.

The match itself was great as you would expect from these two on the big stage. They played up the idea that Cena was in over his head but ground out another win as he tends to do. Cena was getting better at the big matches around this point and of course that would become one of his calling cards down the line. This worked well and felt like a Wrestlemania main event as the company is now Cena’s, which is what matters most.

The celebration and five minute highlight package wraps us up.

Overall Rating: B-. Just like it did in the buildup, Raw annihilated Smackdown here with the two matches that made the show and a lot of other good stuff in between (plus winning Money in the Bank). Edge vs. Foley and the main event certainly deliver, but the rest of the show isn’t anything great. There are some really bad parts on here but the rest is good enough. That may sound good, but I’d like a little more than “good enough” for Wrestlemania.

The biggest problem here is that there really aren’t many blow away moments. Cena winning was more of a long term deal, Rey winning the title felt more like Eddie’s big farewell, Money in the Bank is all about the future and Trish finally losing is hardly top tier stuff. Shawn getting the win against Vince was nice to see, but that middle finger after the match doesn’t make it seem like a blowoff. The problem here is Smackdown, as there wasn’t much of note other than Rey’s title win. It was a one sided show between the two brands and when the show is built around both, it doesn’t work so well, Good, but forgettable.

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