WrestleMania comes to us from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA, the first time a WrestleMania has been staged there. Much like its predecessors, it hasn’t been a hit with critics, despite the return of The Rock, Triple H vs Taker II (Part I being in 2001) and several promising matches. So, what’s the problem?
Keri Hilson sings ‘America, the Beautiful’. We get a weird, showbizzy introduction for WrestleMania and the Rock. Rock hasn’t been at WrestleMania proper since 2004, but still gets an amazing pop.
Rock cuts an…okay promo. I’ll give him a break because he’s been gone for such a long time, so his mic skills are a little creaky. However, he throws some shade at John Cena, to the amusement of the audience.
We get a montage about the history of WrestleMania.
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Edge (with Christian) vs Alberto Del Rio (with Broadus Clay and Ricardo Rodriguez)
I was actually surprised to find that this match was going on first since Del Rio won the Royal Rumble and thus, should’ve been in the main event. ADR comes out in a Rolls Royce to a round of boos. Christian comes out next to a loud pop, Edge gets the biggest pop of all.
Cole mentions that this is the first time that the World Heavyweight Championship match was the first match of WrestleMania. I can’t say that impresses or excites me. This was a good match, but it wasn’t a great one, certainly not the usual caliber of an Edge match. He seemed to be struggling a great deal, which is worrying.
Winner: Edge retains by pinfall. Afterwards, he and Christian trash ADR’s nice car.
Comments: Sadly, this would be Edge’s last match. He would retire, still World Champion, on April 11 due to complications from his spinal fusion surgery in 2003. He would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012.
Cody Rhodes vs Rey Mysterio
Cody is out first, not much pop, and this is his Phantom of the Ring gimmick. Rey Mysterio comes out dressed as Captain America to a great pop, but he doesn’t have the shield.
This was an okay match, but I couldn’t get into it, despite the really good matwork. The whole storyline about Cody’s nose and the mask just didn’t do it for me, not sure why.
Winner: Cody Rhodes by pinfall.
Comments: This is a match I really wanted to like, but didn’t, not sure why.
Eight Man Tag Match: Big Show, Kane, Kofi Kingston, and Santino Marella vs The Corre
The Corre (Nexus rehash) comes out to boos. Big Show’s team comes out to a great pop. There’s not much to say about this match, it was so quick. Basically, the faces all got a chance to beat up the Corre, ending with Santino hitting Slater with the Cobra and Big Show getting the pin.
Winner: Big Show’s team.
Comments: That was quick.
Randy Orton vs CM Punk
Punk gets a mixed reaction. Orton gets a great pop. This was a really good match, it definitely a sleeper hit, but the story was a little ‘eh’ for me. However, the styles meshed beautifully and they really did a great job, I just wish the story was better.
Winner: Randy Orton by pinfall
Comments: That was a really good match.
Hall of Fame Inductees: Abdullah The Butcher, Sunny, The Road Warriors and Paul Ellering, Drew Carey, ‘Bullet’ Bob Armstrong, ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan, and Shawn Michaels.
Michael Cole (with Jack Swagger) vs Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler.
Special Guest Ref: Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Booker T and JR are here to call the match with Josh Matthews.
Cole INTERRUPTS JR’s music and comes out, to a loud round of boos. Cole looks like a very stupid pumpkin and he’s running his mouth. Swagger gets a round of boos.
Austin is out next and nearly runs over Swagger, who was doing pushups, with his ATV, much to the chagrin of the commentators, and chases Cole into the Cole Mine.
Lawler gets a decent pop and comes out in his old Memphis gear. Cole refuses to come out of the Cole Mine once Lawler takes out Swagger, so Lawler goes in after him.
Michael Cole says that he was knocked out on his feet about two minutes into the match, and that was probably merciful. This was a mess. Lawler is still a heck of a performer, but this was just a mess.
Winner: Lawler actually won the match by submission, but the decision was overturned by the RAW Anonymous General Manager, giving Cole a DQ victory. Austin’s reaction is to stun the messenger (Josh Matthews) and Booker T.
Highlights: The entrances. JR being outraged on King’s behalf by the GM’s call. JR trying to cheer up Lawler, after Lawler got screwed over in his first WrestleMania match, by pointing out that they were going to get to call the rest of WrestleMania together. Austin letting his feelings be known
Comments: This was Lawler’s ONLY match at WrestleMania in the 20+ years he’d been with WWE, and this was what he got?
The Streak: Undertaker vs Triple H – No Holds Barred
Triple H comes out first with his Skull King entrance to a great pop. The Deadman Cometh in what looks like rain, walking up like he’d just come out of the Underworld.
This was great match and had a better story than their bout in 2001. I really bought that Triple H was fighting to avenge Shawn’s loss. I have yet to see a technically pretty Taker match, but this got close. This wasn’t a Taker/Michaels caliber match, but it go pretty close and is a must-see on its own merits.
Winner: Undertaker by submission, but Taker was unable to leave the ring under his own steam and Triple H was, so it’s hard to say who really won. The Streak is 19-0
Comments: I loved this match. Taker’s matches are never pretty, but this was magnificent.
Six Person Mixed Tag Match: John Morrison, Nicole ‘Snooki’ Pollizi, and Trish Stratus vs Dolph Ziggler and LayCool (with Vickie Guerrero)
Vickie is out first to a round of boos and introduces LayCool and Ziggler, none of whom get a good pop after Vickie’s screeching. Morrison gets a great pop. Trish gets a huge pop. Snooki gets little reaction.
LayCool get the jump on Trish and Snooki, but are quickly separated by the guys. Dolph gets in Snooki’s face and gets a hard slap for his efforts.
We get something of a dream match between Trish and Michelle McCool that was basically the whole match, the guys never got tagged in and only had one spot during the match. The crowd doesn’t seem to like Snooki very much, but she doesn’t care and picks up the win for her team with some surprising gymnastics skills.
Winner: Morrison, Snooki, and Trish
Highlights: Trish vs Michelle. Snooki’s surprising gymnastics ability.
Comments: This was okay because Snooki wasn’t involved very much and what she did was actually pretty good. Her DGAF attitude about the crowd booing her was actually really funny.
Record breaking crowd for any entertainment event at the Georgia Dome (including WCW): 71,617
WWE Championship Match: The Miz (with Alex Riley) vs John Cena
Miz and Riley come out to a round of boos, or they would if the music wasn’t deafening. Cena is being sung to the ring by a gospel choir. Cena gets a mixed reaction.
I’m ‘eh’ on this match. It was a good match, but something just wasn’t clicking for me, and I don’t think I’m alone. Cena and Miz have had really good matches together, but this was just not one of them. I just seemed like they were going through the motions and waiting for something to happen. Miz legit got a concussion during the spot that got them counted out and seeing his glazed eyes was actually very scary to me. It makes me wonder if the countout was intentional or not and how that would’ve affected the outcome.
Winner: TECHNICALLY, Miz and Cena were counted out, but the Rock restarted the match, after ignoring the RAW General Manager, making the match No DQ and no time limits before hitting Cena with a Rock Bottom and letting Miz pick up the pin.
Highlights: Rock ignoring the RAW General Manager.
Comments: This match felt like Cena and Miz were just waiting for Rock to come out.
So, what was the problem with WrestleMania 27? Well, quite a bit, actually. I don’t think the show was an overwhelming flop, but there was very little to be excited about. NO championships changed hands in this show, which I think is a first for WrestleMania. Rock was a better host than Kim Kardashian, but his promo at the start was not up to par.
Snoozers: About half the card.
Stinkers: Lawler/Cole. Lawler is still a great wrestler, but that was a mess.
Match of the Night: Undertaker vs Triple H
Final Thoughts: This was not an awful show, but it was not the best WWE could do by any stretch of the imagination.