Wrestlemania I-XXX Series (23/30)

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Vince tries getting out of it, but is incapable of running away from Lashley (Vince overselling with dramatic bumps and goofy facial expressions), and if you enjoy watching someone get his head shaved, then the next part is gold to you. Otherwise, you’re watching two bald guys, and a dude with hair which never moves, shaving another guy bald. Is this entertaining? You decide.


Match #7 – Melina (c) vs. Ashley for the WWE Women’s Championship, in a Lumberjill match.

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Oh my. I wondered what could follow the shaving of Vince, and I was NOT pleasantly surprised. So there’s lumberjills at ringside, wrestlers like Mickie James, Victoria, Layla, and a bunch of other divas for the eye candy. Melina decided to leave the ring early on, which was really dumb as she was soon thrown back in. Some choking going on .. Melina locks a surfboard-like move on Ashley for a while. Dead crowd, yawn. Thinking whether I should go to the toilet.

I should have really .. after a missed elbow drop by Ashley, and a pin attempt, Melina reverses in to a pin of her own and retains the title. Seriously!? You bring out girls like Mickie James, Victoria, and Layla, and have them stand there doing literally nothing at WrestleMania 23? While a green wrestler like Ashley, and a decent, yet not great wrestler like Melina wins a match .. where the Lumberjills are used ONCE!? For no reason whatsoever, the divas enter the ring and attack each other. Moving on quickly ..


Match #8 – John Cena (c) vs Shawn Michaels for the WWE Championship

SUPERCENA time! Are you ready!? HBK enters to the D-X theme, which is kinda cool. And then John Cena, the master of trying so hard to be cool, starts his entrance in a Ford Mustang somewhere in Detroit. He (not a stuntman, it was Cena dammit! Keep kayfabe!) drives the Mustang like a professional, drifting it around the streets of Detroit. Eventually, he makes his way to the arena and smashes through some glass. He gets out of the car on the drivers side .. to a hateful reception.

Most of the crowd sides with HBK, so I guess he is the babyface. Some early offense is dodged and weaved by Mr. WrestleMania. Shawn tries wrestling Cena, but he clotheslines HBK instead. Michaels gets angry and downs Cena with a Thesz Press, an Enzuiguri, and an Asai Moonsault. He starts working the knee, and Cena sells pretty well. Shawn charges at Cena but he moves, sending him to the ring post; and busting him open.

The fans boo Cena more when he jumps on the opportunity to punch at HBK’s head wound. FIVE MOVES OF DOOM .. but wait, HBK counters the FU. He tries following with the Sweet Chin Music, but again, Cena ducks and HBK hits the ref with instead. Probably the best Superkick I have ever seen on a referee. Shawn gets pissed and reverts to dirty tactics, setting up the steel steps on the outside. He drills Cena with a wicked piledriver, and top of his head is busted open now. Michaels gets the upper hand delivering the elbow drop and setting Cena up for Sweet Chin Music. HBK tries again, but Cena counters in to a flying lariat.

Michaels counters the FU again, but soon finds himself taking one anyways. HBK kicks out at 2, which at the time was pretty rare. Cena goes for for the super FU from the turnbuckle, but HBK blocks and counters in to a crossbody. Cena rolls through and picks HBK up for the FU again. Really nice sequence follows, as Cena tries locking in the STFU repeatedly, but HBK blocks the attempts and eventually counters in to a roll-up. Shawn misses the enzuiguri, leaving him open to the STFU! HBK is too close to the ropes and gets a hand on the rope for the break.

Cena gets frustrated now, and almost gets disqualified when he refuses to let go of the STFU. The referee (does a Steve Austin) overpowers Cena, forcing him to break the STFU. Cena argues with the ref and almost knocks him over, which gives HBK time to hit Sweet Chin Music for a long two count. With both men spent, they try getting to their feet, and only manage to do so at nine. Cena once again hits HBK with the FU, and transitions straight in to the STFU. In the 28th minute Shawn Michaels has nowhere to go, and with no options available to him, he is forced to submit.

Cena tries consoling HBK after the contest, but HBK is in no mood and walks off. The Tag Team Champions were not going to celebrate together. Cena holds his title in the air, as the mixed reaction from the fans continue. Fans either loving or hating him profusely, Cena is still “The Man”, and HBK delivers another solid performance at WrestleMania 23. The match was really good, and I’ve read reviews saying it was match of the night. It certainly was, although it was given extra time to shine.

I remember being shockingly appalled by HBK losing by submission to Cena when I saw it live in 2007. I thought .. yeah, it’s Cena, he always wins. Even against guys like HBK at WrestleMania, he still wins. It’s booking like that which got me looking for an alternative, so I soon tuned in to TNA. I was already tired of Cena by 2007, and I wasn’t ready to accept him as a main event guy. Regardless of how we feel for either man, it was a really good match, and one of Cena’s best efforts.


Conclusion

I was a little disappointed with WrestleMania 23 for various reasons. Firstly, why stack the MITB ladder match so high? They couldĀ  have taken Jeff Hardy, or Edge and put them in a main event spot. The first match stacked a lot of the better talent, so it left some of the later matches begging for them to be involved. We also had two time wasters with Khali vs Kane and Melina vs Ashley. Seriously, put these matches on Smackdown, not at WrestleMania.

I feel like Vince purposely books the worst matches ever, just to ensure nothing outshines the main matches. There’s also a lack of title matches, aside from the WWE, World, US, and Women’s Championship, the ECW and IC titles weren’t on the line, and neither were any of the tag titles. Some of the backstage interviews/segments were pretty good though. Batista vs Undertaker was pretty sweet too; you could believe Undertaker losing to a guy like him. The ECW Originals match was like “Hey look! We have the ECW guys here!”, but no one used any weapons.

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