Retro WrestleMania Review: 26


And we’re back with another retro WrestleMania, this version being the 26th edition from Phoenix, Arizona. Let’s get it started!

The Big Show (C) and The Miz (C) def. John Morrison and R-Truth – Unified Tag Team Titles

Did they really have a 3-minute match serve as the opener to WrestleMania? I know the main card is 10 matches long, but for Pete’s sake, that doesn’t even qualify as a match on WWE Superstars. I don’t know what they were told backstage, but it seemed like the entrances for this match were just as long as the match itself. Total nothingness here. 1/2*

Randy Orton def. Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes

I’m not sure why this was a Triple Threat match instead of a Handicap match. I hate Handicap matches, but the Triple Threat formula didn’t make sense here. This feud was all about Rhodes and DiBiase wanting to separate themselves from Orton and establish themselves. However, in a triple threat, there is only one winner. Everyone knew that DiBiase and Rhodes were just going to gang up on Orton, and eventually, they’d put 2 and 2 together and realize that only one of them would win. Then, they attack each other, Orton takes advantage and ends up finishing off both of them in the process anyway. It was an okay match, but the formula prevented this match from being anything great. The RKO and punt were heavily over here, though. **1/4

Jack Swagger def. Kane, Drew McIntyre, Kofi Kingston, Matt Hardy, MVP, Shelton Benjamin, Evan Bourne, Dolph Ziggler and Christian – Money In The Bank Ladder Match

Isn’t this the biggest field for a Money In The Bank ladder match ever? I’m pretty sure this is the only with 10. It’s clear to me that this was just a reason to get most of the mid-carders an excuse to be on WrestleMania. What makes this even more baffling is that 2010 was also the first year where Money In The Bank would become an exclusive PPV. So even though Swagger won this match, there were two extra MITB ladder matches in the summer of that year. I think that makes 2010 the only year where there was 3 separate Money In The Bank ladder match winners.

Anyways, the match was okay, but the amount of competitors kind of hurt the flow of the match for me. With 10 people, there is only so much creativity you can do to feature all 10 prominently. I did like Evan Bourne’s creativity, and Kofi using the ladder parts as stilts is pretty neat. But a lot of the match was kind of sloppy and disjointed. Mainly, some moves were overshot or just not hit cleanly. They all worked hard, but I prefer to have MITB ladder matches with 6 or 7 competitors. At 10, it just kind of starts to get crowded and can lead to more sloppiness.

Of course, the best part of the match, by far, is Jack Swagger needing about a minute or so to unhook the briefcase, causing an incredibly awkward moment to which replays of this match on the WWE network will have the finish cut off. Perhaps that was an omen for Swagger’s lackluster title reign. ***1/4

Triple H def. Sheamus

I thought this match worked with a great sense of urgency, although I am kind of miffed that Triple H went over here. 2010 was the last year in which he performed on a full-time basis, and I don’t think there was a good reason for him to be put over Sheamus here. That notwithstanding, this was a good, hard-hitting physical outing which showcased Sheamus’ strengths at the time very greatly. He was opportunistic and was able to match Triple H’s physicality, even though he got the better of him early on in this match.

The finish was also clever because Triple H didn’t necessarily beat Sheamus outright so much as he hit a Pedigree out of desperation and was able to capitalize. He took Sheamus by surprise, and it was sort of like a seasoned veteran teaching the young grasshopper never to lose focus. While I think Sheamus could have benefited greatly with a win here, the match was still good, and they got the crowd into it by the very end. See? Not every Triple H match at WrestleMania needs to go on for 25 minutes to be watchable. ***1/4

Rey Mysterio def. CM Punk

Seriously, this only got just over 6 minutes? The pre-match promo from Punk (I loved these back when he was in Straight Edge Society) and Rey’s entrance were nearly as long. Overall, while I can’t say the match was great because of how short it was, I’d be dammed if I don’t say that this was one hell of an effort. It’s like they tried to cram the entire story within the confines of about 6 or so minutes.

It obviously could not reach that next level of greatness, but Punk and Rey were two of the top workers in the business at that time, and they were able to occupy whatever time was given to them effectively. You had Punk playing the cruel cult leader, and Rey felt like a true underdog with the interference of Selena and Gallows. I can complain about the length of the match, but not the quality. ***

Bret Hart def. Vince McMahon – No Holds Barred

I never understood the point of this match and never will. This was nothing more than two old men trying to settle a beef that should have been water under the bridge for a long time. Hell, Breat Hart knocked out Vince in the locker room right after that infamous night in 1997, so didn’t he technically already give Vince his comeuppance? We didn’t need 11 minutes of the entire Hart family and Bret just jumping Vince. That’s something that could have been done on a segment on RAW. What does having a match against him prove? That Hart is better in the ring than Vince?

I almost don’t even want to give this a rating, because this really wasn’t even a match. But considering this match went longer than Rey/Punk and the opener combined, I’ll definitely harp on this. This sucked majorly if you asked me, and nothing good came out of this. DUD

Chris Jericho (C) def. Edge – World Heavyweight Championship

Jericho and Edge can always be counted on for a quality showing, and we definitely got one here. What I loved about this match was how consistent the story-telling was and what both men needed to do in order to win. For Edge, it was connecting with the spear. For Jericho, it was targeting Edge’s achilles. It was all a matter of which plan was going to work out. Edge tried connecting on the spear twice, but Jericho scouted and was able to reverse it into the Walls of Jericho and a Codebreaker each time. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to capitalize, so then he had to resort to desperate measures by locking in a half-crab. and Edge had to put in all his will-power in order to escape.

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