Wrestlemania I-XXX Series (23/30)

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WrestleMania 23 (tagline: All Grown Up) drew 80,103 fans to Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan on April 1st 2007. At the time, the event was the second most attended event (behind WrestleMania III), and the PPV buy rate was the highest in company history with 1.2 million buys. For the first time, the brand extension included Raw, Smackdown and ECW, and each brand were represented by their respected announce teams: JR/King (Raw), Cole/JBL (Smackdown) and Styles/Tazz (ECW).

Before the show, Carlito and Ric Flair won a Lumberjack tag team dark match against Gregory Helms and Chavo Guerrero. The tagline “All Grown Up” was used throughout, as video packages showed child equivalents of the wrestlers growing in to their adult selves, as the wrestlers emphasized their dreams to perform from a young age. The main event matches included: John Cena vs Shawn Michaels for the WWE Championship. The Undertaker vs Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship. Also, the Billionaire Hair vs. Hair Challenge, which saw Umaga represent Vince McMahon, and Bobby Lashley for Donald Trump, with Stone Cold Steve Austin as the special guest referee.

Aretha Franklin sang a stunning rendition of the American Nation Anthem, which could only be beaten by Lillian Garcia’s. And without any further delay, let’s delve in to the match card.


Match #1 Money In The Bank Ladder Match including: CM Punk, Randy Orton, Finlay, Matt Hardy, King Booker, Mr. Kennedy, Jeff Hardy & Edge.

CM Punk and Mr Kennedy (Kennedy!) WM debuts! Like previous MITB matches, this one did not disappoint. Brawling ensued immediately, and Finlay hit a dive on everyone on the outside. Edge and Matt waste no time fighting each other, so clearly no love lost. Everyone scrambled up the ladder, Hardy was closest, til Kennedy pushed him off. Booker soon found the mini ladder usually reserved for Hornswoggle, CM Punk hit him from behind, took the tiny ladder, and smashed Booker, Randy and Finlay with it. Edge noticed and took the ladder off him, before throwing the ladder at Punk’s head.


Edge bridged a huge ladder from the ring apron to the guard rail. Punk cut open from the mini ladder shot. Edge goes for a suplex on Punk on the bridged ladder, but Punk reverses with his own. In the ring, Booker T nails spinebusters back-to-back on everyone. WrestleMania SPINAROONIE! The Hardys work together to sandwich Booker between two ladders. Edge sneaks in and punches Jeff, but Matt cuts him off with the Side Effect. Jeff sets a dangerous ladder spot up (the same which mangled Joey Mercury’s face), but Edge and Finlay ensure it doesn’t happen. Edge suplexes Matt on the ladder .. ouch.

Kennedy takes advantage of Matt and sets him up on another ladder. He attempts the Kenton Bomb, but he misses and hits the ladder with the tip of his head!  OW! Jeff nails the real Swanton on Kennedy shortly after. Hardys work together to take everyone out. They climb the ladder and exchange punches, but Finlay pushes them off and takes everyone else out with clotheslines and splashes. Edge turns it up a notch, spearing all except CM Punk, who moves out the way in time to send Edge crashing in to the ring post.

You know the funny thing about the match? All six commentators called the action. CM Punk’s left in the middle of the ring, so Joey Styles and Taz put him over. Punk uses the Terry Funk ladder on the shoulders spot, til Edge finally spears him, sending the ladder in to Finlay and Orton as well. He brings the biggest ladder in to the ring and climbs. Orton gets some brief spotlight by pushing Edge off the giant ladder to the outside, but Hardy drops him with a facebuster.


Matt lifts Edge on to the bridged ladder on the outside, and Jeff has plenty of time to climb the ladder to retrieve the briefcase, Matt Hardy encourages his brother to throw his body straight through Edge and the ladder! Definitely a holy bleep moment. Edge is stretchered to the backstage area immediately, while Jeff Hardy carries on. In the ring, Randy RKO’s Finlay and Mr.Kennedy. He takes a very long time finding the right position for the ladder so he can climb .. and gets it terribly wrong, so he climbs to the top and can’t reach. Punk knocks him off with a ladder of his own. Orton and Punk fight on two ladders, til Randy sees the opportunity to hit the Super RKO!


Orton and Booker T on the ladders now, and this time it’s Randy who crashes down with a Super Bookend; you don’t see that often. Booker climbs the ladder and looks set to win, but Matt grabs Sharmell and tells him if he doesn’t come down he will put her in harm’s way. Booker leaves the briefcase to help Sharmell, but it goes against him as Matt lets her go and drops him with the Twist of Fate.

As Matt climbs, Finlay casually drops him by lifting the ladder up. He’s bleeding heavily from the top of his head, but goes ahead with a Celtic Cross to Matt Hardy on to the ladder, Finlay caught some of the ladder too, so he sells while taking his time climbing the ladder, Hornswoggle sighting! He climbs the ladder to help Finlay get the briefcase, but Kennedy recovers, hits Finlay, climbs the ladder and threatens Hornwoggle. He punches Kennedy in the face twice, but it’s not enough to stop Kennedy throwing him on to his shoulders and crashing to the mat with a rolling fireman’s carry slam!

Finlay throws a ladder at Kennedy and climbs again, only for Punk to dropkick him off. Punk climbs the ladder, and Kennedy follows. He knocks Kennedy off, but is unable to grab the briefcase as he was brutally struck with the other ladder. With no one to interfere, Kennedy sets the ladder in the right position, climbs it and wins Money in the Bank match! Commentary team express the importance of the victory, and how it guarantees a championship match at any time.

While the result is questionable, the match itself was brutal in a good way. Quite possibly the most intense opening match to a WrestleMania I can recall. It leaves me wondering whether Edge was supposed to win, or if his injury was a work to protect him in loss. The reason why I assume Edge was originally scheduled to win, is because he soon claimed the Money in the Bank briefcase after goading Kennedy in to defending it. Edge won the match, and Kennedy never received his World title shot. In the end, it turns out that Kennedy was injured and needed time off, so they handed it over to Edge in a quick match on Raw.

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