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One of the matches that was supposed to be on tonight's Wrestlemania XXVII card was a United States title match between Daniel Bryan and the current champion, Sheamus. However, that match did not take place during the regular broadcast. So what happened to it?
Well, here's what happened, according to the good folks at Cageside Seats, SB Nation's wrestling site.
Meanwhile, Sheamus-Bryan was moved to the dark match slot as a lumberjack match that turned into the "payoff for everyone" battle royal, which was won by The Great Khali. U.S. Title wasn't on the line.
So, in order to make sure that everyone got a Wrestlemania paycheck, only two titles were defended tonight. . .Edge's World Heavyweight Title, which he retained, and The Miz's WWE Title, which he also retained.
I'm not sure if there's ever been a Wrestlemania where no titles changed hands, but there were no title changes at this one.
And so we're on to the main event of the evening, as the WWE Championship will be decided between The Miz and John Cena. We get dueling entrances once again, as Miz gets a nice video package to document his rise from reality superstar to WWE Champion, and a big, inflatable "AWESOME" on the stage as he makes his way to the ring.
Not to be outdone, Cena's entrance involves what has to be a church choir of about 100 members, and a video montage of Cena with a prayer being read over the top of it. I'm not sure who's reading the prayer. . .the voice sounds familiar, but I can't place it right now. Holy crap, they're doing a gospel version of "My Time Is Now". . .sort of. But it sounds great, and it segues right into Cena's real entrance music.
Cena apparently has a new shirt and hat, too, this one in red. You know, for those of you that are into that sort of thing. New wristbands and armbands, too.
The announcements are made, and the reaction for Cena is definitely mixed, as is the reaction for The Miz. J.R. informs us that Cena has never lost a one-on-one match at Wrestlemania, and that this is his eighth consecutive Wrestlemania main event.
Miz gains the early advantage, pounding Cena into the corner and hitting his sit-out clothesline. The crowd is astoundingly dead for this one thus far. . .hopefully that will change as things progress.
Miz goes for a second sit-out clothesline into the corner, but Cena gets out of the way, and comes off the top rope with a Rocker Dropper. After a near fall, Cena misses a blind charge into the corner, and The Miz has the advantage again. Big boot to the head gets The Miz another near fall. Cena bounces off of the ropes, goes for. . .something. . .and the Miz ducks it, causing Cena to hit the deck. Miz dropkicks him out of the ring, and hits a running kneelift on the ring apron.
Lawler and J.R. are commenting that Cena seems "addled" and "not quite right." His timing does seem a bit off, but I'm not sure if Cena is legit concussed or what the deal is. Cena gets a bit of a comeback capped off with the Five Knuckle Shuffle, and gets a near fall. Cena goes for the STF after a drop toe hold, and Miz kicks him away, following up with a backbreaker/neckbreaker combo.
(I found out what happened to the Sheamus/Daniel Bryan match. More on that later.)
Back in the ring, Cena has the STF locked on to the Miz, but The Miz gets to the ropes. Alex Riley manages to drive Cena's head into an exposed turnbuckle, and Miz follows that up with the Skull Crushing Finale, but Cena manages to kick out at two. Cena and Miz both run into the referee, knocking him out, and Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment on The Miz, but the referee is nowhere to be found. Cena gets up, figures out what's going on, but doesn't see Alex Riley waiting for him with the metal briefcase, and he gets waffled upside the head as a result. Miz covers, and gets a near fall as Cena kicks out.
Miz now picks up the briefcase, and hits Alex Riley with it. . .well, actually, Miz sort of threw it at Riley, but Riley sold it like he had been shot. Cena hits another Attitude Adjustment on The Miz, but Miz kicks out before the three count. To the outside we go, and Cena clotheslines The Miz into the timekeeper's area at ringside. Cena then tackles Miz over the security wall, and both men get counted out for a draw. The fans are angry, and make their displeasure known, until. . .
IF YA SMELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL. . .WHAT THE ROCK. . .IS COOKIN'!
Rock makes his way down to the ring, and we get another e-mail from the Anonymous Raw General Manager™, which The Rock decides he's going to field rather than letting J.R. do it. The Rock starts reading the e-mail. . .and I quote. . .
"As the Raw General Manager, I think. . .IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOU THINK!"
Rock gets back into the ring, and after some oration, declares that the match will continue with no disqualifications and no countouts. Cena and Miz make their way back to the ring, puts Miz in position for an Attitude Adjustment, and Miz grabs the rope to counter. Cena then turns around. . .and eats a Rock Bottom from The Rock. Miz crawls over the top of Cena, and gets the three count.
So, does this mean that the Rock is hanging around for a while longer to advance a program with Cena? One would hope so, with the way this match ended. Either way, I'm surprised that Miz retained here, and I'm not sure that this win "legitimizes" him any more or anything like that.
After the match, The Rock remains outside the ring, staring in the ring at The Miz. The Rock charges the ring, attempts to hit The Rock with the belt and misses, and the Rock starts taking it to The Miz. Spinebuster leads into The People's Elbow, and The Rock takes to the turnbuckles to celebrate.
So, he did manage to get both combatants in this one, but in the opposite order I thought he would. . .I thought he'd get Cena after the match rather than during. We'll have to wait until tomorrow night's Raw to see where they go with this one.
Winner: The Miz via pinfall by a Rock Bottom from The Rock on John Cena
Well, after the awesomeness that was the Triple H/Undertaker match, we follow that up with Snooki's appearance, as she teams with Trish Stratus and John Morrison to take on the team of Dolph Ziggler, Layla, and Michelle McCool.
I'll level with you, folks. . .I didn't pay a hell of a lot of attention to this one. I said in the preview that this would be a good time for everyone to take a bathroom break, so I went and made my wife a coffee and microwaved a couple slices of pizza.
I did come back in time to see Snooki hit a fairly impressive. . .relatively speaking. . .handspring elbow onto Michelle McCool, and followed that up with. . .um, something. . .for the pin.
Winner: John Morrison/Trish Stratus/Snooki via the Flying Snooki (or whatever we're going to refer to that as).
And, apparently, the WWE Championship match is up now. . .so I guess that Sheamus and Daniel Bryan have just been cut out of tonight's program. Well, that sort of blows.
Next year's Wrestlemania event will be held on April 1, 2012 in Miami, Florida.
No location was specified. . .don't know if they're going to try to fill the Orange Bowl or anything like that, but there's your time and your location.
Make your travel plans accordingly.
This one's happening significantly earlier in the card than I thought, too. Why in the heck is this going on before that abomination that Snooki is involved with takes place?
Triple H comes out to the strains of Metallica's For Whom The Bell Tolls, complete with a bunch of guys carrying shields before the familiar sounds of The Game strike up for the rest of his entrance. Sadly, Triple H only has the second-most awesome entrance music for this one, Metallica or not, because the Undertaker comes out to Johnny Cash's Ain't No Grave, which trumps basically everything.
Still not happy that this one is happening this early in the show. Ah, well, guess I have to get past that.
We get a big ol' brawl to start things out with, resulting in Triple H getting tossed into the steel steps. He then proceeds to pretty much spear The Undertaker through the Cole Mine, which gives us our first zombie sit-up of doom of the evening. Undertaker tries to go for the "Old School" rope walk, but Triple H beals him into the center of the ring. Triple H appears to be favoring his right arm, but I don't know at this point if he's selling or if he's actually hurt. . .I'm betting on the former.
After throwing Taker around outside of the ring, Triple H sets to disassembling the Raw announce table (Undertaker had taken apart the Spanish table on the first sojourn outside of the ring.) Triple H attempts to Pedigree The Undertaker through the table, Undertaker counters into an attempted choke slam, Triple H hits a knee to the gut and goes for the Pedigree again, and Undertaker back drops him from the announce table to the floor.
Triple H is recovering outside the ring, and as he starts to get up, we get LUCHA-TAKER, as The Undertaker hurls himself over the top rope onto a waiting Triple H on the floor, which gets a nice "Holy (censored)" chant going from the crowd. Taker is first to his feet, and he moves the ring steps over next to the partially assembled Spanish announce table. The Undertaker sets Triple H up for a Tombstone on the steel steps, but Triple H counters. Undertaker charges Triple H, who is still standing on the steel stairs, and Triple H turns it into a spinebuster through the Spanish announce table.
Back into the ring we go, and right when it looks like Triple H has the advantage, Taker dials up a choke slam and plants The Game for a near fall. Triple H eventually gets the Taker in a corner. . .and nobody puts Taker in a corner, as he goes for The Last Ride, but Triple H counters out into a Pedigree attempt. Undertaker turns that into Snake Eyes, and goes for the big boot, but Triple H hits another spinebuster to take back the momentum.
Triple H heads outside of the ring for a steel chair, but Undertaker hits a boot to the face before he can make use of it. The Undertaker picks up the chair, and hits a NASTY chair shot to the back of The Game. Undertaker goes for another one, but takes a kick to the gut. . .and Triple H hits the Pedigree for 2 7/8. Triple H sets the Undertaker up on the top rope and goes for a superplex, but Undertaker counters into The Last Ride for a 2 7/8 of his own.
Undertaker picks Triple H up, hits the Tombstone and get the. . .2 and 99/100. Obviously, this displeases the Dead Man, so he grabs the steel chair and sets Triple H up for another Tombstone attempt onto the chair. Triple H counters, and hits a DDT on Taker onto the steel chair. Both men eventually get to their feet, and Triple H hits a second Pedigree, which nets him nothing more than another near fall. Triple H gets up first, hits a third Pedigree, and the Undertaker kicks out again.
(The third Pedigree was terribly botched, but hey. . .not a big deal at this point, I don't think.)
Triple H picks up the steel chair, gets to his feet before the Undertaker, and hits nine nasty chair shots to the back of the Undertaker, and that chair is bent all to hell. Triple H is screaming at The Undertaker to stay down, but Taker struggles back to his feet. . .so Triple H hits him right between the eyes with the chair.
And the Undertaker gets. . .up. . .again.
Triple H continues yelling at the Undertaker to "stay down" and "just die." Triple H gets right up into the Undertaker's face and asks what's wrong with him, and Taker gets his hand around Triple H's throat, but The Game shrugs him off. Triple H mimics The Undertaker's throat slash, picks Taker up, and screams that it's over before he. . .HITS A TOMBSTONE!?
And the Undertaker kicks out. . .again!
So, Triple H heads outside of the ring and goes for Old Faithful. . .his trusty sledgehammer. And, in this match, the sledgehammer is as legal as a headlock. Triple H sets Undertaker up for a sledgehammer shot, and The Undertaker pulls him down and locks in Hell's Gate. Triple H can't get loose, and looks to be fading. Triple H manages to get his hand on the sledgehammer, pick it up. . .and drops it again as Hell's Gate remains locked in. And Triple H taps out! Triple H taps out to the Hell's Gate, and the Undertaker gets to 19-0.
Great, great match. . .maybe not to the level of the matches that Undertaker has had with Shawn Michaels the last two years, but still an outstanding match. In the previews I said this would probably be the match of the night, and I think that's a pretty accurate prediction.
Winner: The Undertaker by submission via Hell's Gate.
After the match, Triple H is able to get to his feet, while Taker lies motionless for a few minutes, and manages to struggle his way out of the ring. After he gets outside of the ropes and onto the floor, he immediately collapses into a heap again, and is unable to get back to his feet. They bring a cart out for the Undertaker, and about four WWE workers help him onto it. The cart goes up the ramp, taking The Undertaker to the backstage area, as we fade to black and one of the WWE's "Don't Try This At Home" announcements.
Creepy ending to this one, but it was a great match. It will be interesting to see how they handle this one on Raw and/or Smackdown.
Booker T and Jim Ross were introduced prior to this one as the announcers, with Cole running down J.R. and Jerry Lawler down all the way to the ring. They introduce Jack Swagger, who makes his way down to the ring and starts doing push-ups, and is interrupted by the sound of breaking glass and AUSTIN AUSTIN BAH GAWD AUSTIN makes his way to the ring. Oh, and Austin is on an ATV, which he uses to damn near run over Swagger and chase Michael Cole back into the "Cole Mine."
Cole's wearing an old-school wrestling singlet that looks like an homage to Oakes High School. (Approximately three people that read this are going to catch that reference. Sometimes, I have to do things just for me.) Cole refuses to come out of the "Cole Mine," so Austin says to ring the (censored) bell and tells Lawler to go out and get Cole. Cole offers to shake hands with Lawler, sticking his hand out of one of the holes in the plexiglass that comprises the "Cole Mine," but Lawler pulls him into the plexiglass several times. Eventually, Lawler gets Cole out of the enclosure and throws him into the Raw General Manager podium before tossing him into the ring.
As Lawler was attempting to get into the ring, Swagger jumped him from behind (he had been taken out by Lawler early in the match), and left him vulnerable to a baseball slide (!?) by Cole, after which Swagger applied the ankle lock outside of the ring. Lawler finally gets into the ring, and Cole goes after the ankle. Cole's offense is incredibly weak, and I understand that's by design, but really. . .it's just sad.
Cole eventually puts the strap down on the singlet, Lawler-style, and locks in the. . .ugh. . .An-Cole Lock on Lawler. Lawler, to his credit, is selling it like he's being beaten with a rubber hose, but he eventually managed to kick Cole off of him. Lawler gets the advantage, after which Swagger attempts to throw in the towel on Cole's behalf to stop the match. Austin tells him that he can't do that, Swagger enters the ring to protest, and eats a Stone Cold Stunner for his troubles.
Lawler finally gets well and truly on the offensive, and just starts pummeling Cole with right hands. Lawler hits a dropkick, heads to the second rope, drops the strap, and hits the flying fistdrop. Lawler goes for the pin, Austin gets to a two count. . .and he picks Cole up off the mat. Lawler hits the ankle lock, and Cole immediately starts tapping out. It takes Austin a while to determine that Cole really does want to give up and call for the bell, but he eventually does.
No surprise here. I'm pretty sure everyone in the building thought that Lawler was going to win this one. Swagger carries Cole back to the locker room, as Lawler and Austin share some ice cold adult beverages in the ring. Booker T then makes his way into the ring, celebrates with Austin for a bit, and then hits the Spinaroonie in the middle of the ring, much to Austin and Lawler's delight. . .and then Booker T eats a Stunner, with the accompanying beer spitting effects.
Winner: Jerry Lawler via submission with the ankle lock.
We then get an e-mail from the anonymous Raw General Manager, saying that Austin overstepped his bounds as the referee, and that Lawler has been disqualified.
Winner: Michael Cole via disqualification
Lawler can't believe it, and he takes it out on Josh Matthews, who read the e-mail announcement. Lawler tosses Matthews into the ring, and he eats a Stunner as well. Lawler isn't happy with the result, and quite frankly, neither am I. I have no idea why in the heck they would do the ending that way, and it still doesn't give us any idea who the Raw General Manager is.
Looks like Lawler is taking his seat by J.R. at ringside, so he may announce the rest of the way. . .which is nice, since after the Stunner-a-thon we just witnessed, they're the only two healthy announcers left.
Back in the locker room, Mean Gene Okerlund is expounding to the Rock how great Wrestlemania has been so far, and The Rock says that John Cena's number one fan is coming to confront him. Mean Gene says that he's already there. The camera pans to the right, and we see. . .Pee Wee Herman. Full costume and everything.
Rock tells Pee Wee that he can either be a child on Team Cena, or he can be a man with Team "Bring It." (I know this is a male soap opera, but we don't need this turning into the Twilight movies, for crying out loud.) Pee Wee tells Rock that he wants to join Team "Bring It," and asks if everyone can smell what the Pee is cooking.
Yes, that's what he said. Smell what the Pee is cooking. I wish to God I was making that up.
We now have a brief intermission to recognize this year's Hall of Fame class, emceed by Howard Finkel.
The announcers pointed out at the start of this one that Randy Orton was limping less noticeably than he was last week after C.M. Punk hit him in the knee with a wrench, but his right knee was still heavily taped.
Orton got off to a quick start, taking the fight outside of the ring, but when Orton tried to throw Punk into the steel ringsteps, Punk went up and over the stairs, and then kicked the stairs into Orton's injured knee when the Viper gave chase.
Punk immediately took advantage, pummeling the injured right leg of Orton with a series of moves. Punk went for the Go To Sleep, but Orton countered his way out and attempted to hit the RKO, but Punk countered his way out of that, and Orton was down again. Punk then went to the top rope, took too long, and wound up getting knocked onto the top turnbuckle by Orton. Orton then climbed the ropes and hit Punk with a top-rope superplex that got him a near fall.
Punk went outside the ring to catch his breath, and when Orton gave chase, Punk pulled him onto his back, racking his knee across the steel ring post a couple of times, and even breaking out the Bret Hart-style ringpost figure four to work Orton's knee a little more. Punk continued to assault the right knee of Randy Orton, but a series of headbutts allowed Orton to break free temporarily.
Orton then took to the offense, hitting a couple of clotheslines and a power slam, among other moves. Punk fought back with a series of kicks, and then locked on the Anaconda Vice in the center of the ring. Despite having a bad leg, Orton managed to roll himself and Punk into the ropes, forcing Punk to break the hold.
After getting to his feet, Orton took Punk to the ringpost on the apron, and followed that up with the suspended DDT. He was setting up for the RKO, but relented. . .in favor of attempting to set Punk up for the punt to the head. However, just like this past Monday on Raw, Orton's knee gave out on him, and he was unable to complete the move, crumpling to the mat in a heap. Punk approached Orton, who once again went for the RKO, but Punk countered by pushing Orton off.
Punk went to the top rope for. . .something. . .and as he flew across the ring, Orton got to his feet again and finally hit the RKO for the three-count.
Honestly, I still think Punk could have used the victory more, but Orton winning it isn't too egregious. He conquered the entire new Nexus, and I'm assuming that this closes the book on the Orton/Punk feud. The Super RKO was pretty impressive as well.
Winner: Randy Orton via pinfall after Super RKO
It's going to take me longer to type up this recap than it took this match to take place.
We expected this one to be a schmozz, and that's exactly what it turned out to be. It started out as an actual match, but it eventually erupted into a Pier Four brawl. . .they didn't actually wrestle long enough to make it to Pier Six. . .and Heath Slater found himself in the ring with Santino Marella and the Big Show. Santino loaded up the COBRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA, and hit Slater with it, and then Big Show hit Slater with the Greco-Roman punch to the head for the three count and the win.
Winner: Santino Marella/Kofi Kingston/The Big Show/Kane via pinfall with the Knockout Punch.
Backstage, we see The Rock with Divas champion Eve Torres, promising to make a Wrestlemania memory for the next person that comes around the corner.
Cue Mae Young, who Rock refers to as a Diva-saurus. Eve escorts Mae to her seat, and when Rock complains that it wasn't anyone else. . .cue AUSTIN AUSTIN BAH GAWD AUSTIN 3:16! The two men talk for a bit, say it's good to see each other, and. . .that's it.
Well, then. . .filler segment. Nice. Next up, we have C.M. Punk and Randy Orton going one-on-one.
Backstage at Wrestlemania, Snoop Dogg is looking for talent to go on his tour with him. This gives us an "American Idol" type talent show. This gives us the following
-William Regal rapping "straight out of Blackpool," which was every bit as awesome as pretty much everything else William Regal does in the WWE.
-Great Khali and Kelly Kelly doing a duet of "Summer Lovin'" from Grease.
-Zack Ryder covering Rebecca Black's "Friday."
-Yoshi Tatsu singing "We Will Rock You" while Chris Masters. . .umm, "accompanied" him by moving his pectoral muscles in time with the beat. Yeesh.
-Hornswaggle auditions, and impresses Snoop. . .until Teddy Long tells him that Hornswaggle can't talk. After which, Long and Hornswaggle leave. . .after which Hornswaggle starts rapping, accompanied by the dancing Bella Twins.
Good comedy sketch, if only because William Regal rapping was great. That guy should have a more permanent on-camera role somehow, but unfortunately, I don't see it happening. Definitely worth finding on YouTube once it's up there.
Now we're moving on to the eight-man schmozz, which had originally been rumored to be in the "cool down" slot before the main event. See, I told you this stuff was subject to change.
Our second match of the night gives us Cody Rhodes taking on Rey Mysterio, Jr. As we touched on in our preview, this match stemmed from Rey Mysterio hitting Rhodes in the face with his knee brace during a match on Smackdown in January, breaking Rhodes' nose and "disfiguring" him.
Rey Mysterio comes out in a nice Captain American ensemble, complete with winged mask, red gloves, and the whole nine yards. Yeah, yeah, Mysterio is Mexican. . .just roll with it, folks.
Rhodes got off to a quick start, dominating Mysterio early and using his Bill Laimbeer-style face mask as a weapon to gain the advantage. (Yes, Bill Laimbeer. . .some of you may have to look him up on Wikipedia or something.) Rhodes went for Mysterio's knee brace, attempting to remove it, without success. Mysterio managed a flurry, but got stopped on his way to the top rope, and got an amazing delayed superplex. . .yes, delayed superplex. . .for his troubles.
Rhodes attempted to end the match with the Cross Rhodes, but Mysterio countered, sending Rhodes out of the ring, and the pace picked back up. Mysterio got a near fall, but Rhodes kept countering Rey's momentum. Mysterio went on another run, and attempted to hit the 619, but Rhodes caught it and countered it into a slingshot, snapping Mysterio's neck on the ropes.
Rhodes did, finally, get Mysterio's knee brace off, after which Rhodes immediately went after the luchador's knee. Rey managed to make it to the top rope for a moonsault and another near fall, after which he removed the protective mask from Rhodes' face. Mysterio then hit the 619 and followed it up with the swan dive, but was caught by Rhodes.
Mysterio then put Rhodes' protective mask on over his own mask, and hit a series of headbutts on Rhodes. Mysterio hit a swan dive headbutt with the mask on, but Rhodes managed to kick out again. Mysterio went for a suicide dive, and was met by his own knee brace to the head by Rhodes. Rhodes then brought Mysterio back into the ring, hit the Cross Rhodes, and got the pinfall victory.
Again, another decent match between these two, and they worked both the mask and the knee brace into the match nicely. Maybe not as good as the opener, but still a decent effort overall.
Winner: Cody Rhodes via pinfall with the Cross Rhodes.
The biggest show on the WWE calendar got underway with one of the biggest matches of the night, as Alberto Del Rio took on Edge for the WWE Championship. Strange choice for an opener, in my opinion, but I'm not running things here. Christian was in the corner of his best friend Edge for this one, while Del Rio was seconded by the 360-pound monster known as Brodus Clay.
Del Rio took an early advantage over the Rated "R" Superstar, whose left arm was heavily bandaged thanks to Del Rio's cross-armbreaker Friday night on Smackdown. Edge gained a temporary advantage over Del Rio, but lost it when he went to the top rope and had Del Rio arm drag him off the top rope by that injured left arm. Edge managed to get another flurry in, lost it, and then countered Del Rio's attempt at the cross-armbreaker for a near fall.
Immediately after the near fall, Del Rio DID manage to counter a move by Edge into the cross-armbreaker, but Edge managed to reach the ropes. Edge went to the top again, and was foiled again, this time by an enzuigiri by Del Rio. Christian and Brodus Clay then got into it on the outside, and while Christian was getting tossed around like a rag doll, Edge rolled the Mexican aristocrat up for another near fall.
Edge then went for a spear, missed it, and had Brodus Clay pull his injured arm into the ring post. Del Rio then locked in the cross-armbreaker, and Edge managed to counter his way out of it, transitioning from a near fall into the Edgecution submission hold. Brodus Clay attempted to break up the hold, but was met by a tornado DDT from the apron to the floor by Christian. Del Rio managed to make his way out of the hold, but was immediately met by a spear from Edge for the three count.
Surprising result in this one, in my opinion. . .I figured they'd pull the trigger on Del Rio and give him the championship, but Edge retains in a pretty darn good match to kick off Wrestlemania XXVII.
Winner: Edge by pinfall via the spear.
After the match, Edge put some very nice dents in the expensive Rolls Royce that Del Rio made his way into the arena in. Edge then took a crowbar to the ride while Christian held Del Rio at bay.
Live from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, it's time for Wrestlemania XXVII (or 27, for you non-Romans). Keri Hilson. . .and I'll be honest, I'm not young enough or cool enough to know who she is or anything about her other than the fact that she's from Atlanta (and I only learned that from her intro) did a decent job with America the Beautiful, and the show is underway.
The ramp from the stage to the ring looks tremendously long. . .if anyone has any run-ins planned, I hope they've been working on their cardio.
And FINALLY. . .the ROCK. . .HAS COME BACK. . .to ATLANTA!
Rock promises us that this will be the most memorable Wrestlemania of all time. There's a WRESTLE MAINA sign in the crowd. . .nice.
Rock gets in another "Fruity Pebbles" dig at Cena, prompting a "Fruity Pebbles" chant from the crowd. Yeah, Cena's eating a Rock Bottom by the end of the night. Catchphrases abound, and The Rock asks the crowd if they can smell what he's cooking, to which they respond in the affirmative.
Now that the crowd is officially warmed up, we're on to the first match of the evening! And we're going to kick things off with. . .Edge and Alberto Del Rio? Dang. . .kicking things off with a World Heavyweight Title match? Impressive!
Sports Entertainment Scoops has an update on what the announcer situation is going to look like for tonight's event, as well as the sequence of some of the matches.
Josh Matthews is set to be the host of the show, and Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler will also be hosting the show until their match. Good Ol' JR, Jim Ross, will announce the last four matches on the card, starting with Cole vs. Lawler.
According to SRS, the last four matches will be as follows:
-Cole vs. Lawler
-Triple H vs. The Undertaker
-Eight-man tag team schmozz
-John Cena vs. The Miz (with Rock involvement)
That's the sequence of events as of 1 PM Central time this afternoon. As we know all too well, these sorts of things are always subject to change, and I'm sure there are things that we have no idea about yet that will take place as well.
The show starts in about an hour and 45 minutes, ladies and gentlemen. We'll have updates and results as they occur.
The Corre, Wade Barrett's latest faction, had set their sights on two of Smackdown's biggest superstars. . .both literally and figuratively. . .in Kane and The Big Show. One of their assaults on the monstrous duo saw the quartet put The Big Show through an announcing table and attacking Kane with the steel ring steps. When the WWE Tag Team champions, current Corre members Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater, attempted to do the same to former tag team champions Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov, they might have succeeded. . .if it hadn't been for The Big Show and Kane charging the ring to stop the beatdown from taking place.
Now, the Corre. . .featuring the Intercontinental Champion in Barrett, the tag team champions in Slater and Gabriel, and the powerful Ezekiel Jackson, will take on this mishmash of superstars. It was learned today, however, that The Corre had attacked Kozlov at WWE Fan Axxess this afternoon in Atlanta, and the high-flying Kofi Kingston will replace him in this match.
While Santino may be my favorite overall WWE character right now. . .and you have to give it to the guy, his interviews are great, and he's gone from being an average worker to a pretty darn good one while still retaining his sense of humor. . .if The Corre are going to attempt to continue establishing themselves as a dominant faction, they need a victory over a team with the star power of The Big Show, Kane, and Kingston.
Prediction: The Corre walks out of this one with a victory in what could be a pretty decent match.
On the January 21st episode of Smackdown, Rey Misterio broke the nose of "Dashing" Cody Rhodes when Mysterio's leg brace. . .which, mind you, had been exposed earlier in the match by Rhodes. . .hit Rhodes in the face. While this would be a devastating injury for any superstar, it's even more so for one that prides himself on his physical appearance the way Rhodes does.
Needless to say, Rhodes' demeanor had changed significantly when he returned to Smackdown a couple of weeks later. Gone was the brash, confident superstar that was brimming with bravado, and he had been replaced by an angry, brooding young man that was blaming the master of the 619 for his problems.
Rhodes has vowed his revenge at Wrestlemania, and if I were booking things, he would get the victory here. Mysterio is going to stay over with the fans whether he wins or not, but Rhodes could use a win to build his character. Sadly, I don't think that's the way things are going to happen.
Prediction: Even though he really doesn't need the win, Mysterio will probably get the best of Rhodes in this one.
Sheamus had found himself in a pretty nasty slump that saw him winning very few matches since being crowned the most recent WWE King of the Ring. On March 14 on Raw, he declared that if he couldn't beat the United States champion, Daniel Bryan, on Monday Night Raw that he would quit the business entirely. Thanks to the Brogue kick, Sheamus did register a pinfall against Bryan and took home the U.S. Title.
The next week on Raw, the internet darling reminded the Celtic Warrior that America is, indeed, the land of opportunity, and invoked his rematch clause for a battle at Wrestlemania XXVII. Sheamus obviously has a huge size advantage in this one. . .he's a full eight inches taller and eighty pounds heavier than his opponent. . .but Bryan's arsenal of submission maneuvers and precision striking make him a formidable foe for an opponent of any size.
With that having been said, however, I don't see any real reason to think that Sheamus' push to stop at this match. He's back on a roll again after a couple of down months, and she really be allowed to keep his momentum going in this one.
Prediction: Sheamus is the only champion to retain his championship on this night, as he beats Bryan once again with the Brogue kick.
After the New Nexus attacked Randy Orton at this year's Royal Rumble, Orton knew that if he wanted a one-on-one match with C.M. Punk at Wrestlemania XXVII, the only way to ensure that would happen would be to systematically eliminate the members of Punk's crew. Punk advised him not to do that, but that just made The Viper angry. . .and, believe me, you wouldn't like The Viper when he's angry.
In consecutive weeks, Orton took out Husky Harris, Michael McGillicutty, David Otunga, and Mason Ryan. . .all with what Bobby Heenan might have called a Greco-Roman boot to the skull. As a result, none of the members of the New Nexus will be accompanying C.M. Punk to ringside for this confrontation.
However, Punk got a bit of an equalizer this past week on Raw, as he began stalking Randy Orton's wife, going so far as to stake out Randy Orton's private bus. When Orton ran out to make sure that his wife was okay, Punk jumped him and did his best Tonya Harding impression by taking a wrench to Orton's leg. So, Orton is hobbled going into this one, but at least the numbers are even.
To be honest, I'm really not completely sure how this one is going to turn out. The conventional wisdom is that Orton is going to find a way to win. . .but I see it differently.
Prediction: Punk manages to pull out a win via some form of interference. (A returning Skip Sheffield, perhaps?)
For weeks, Raw head announcer Michael Cole's sycophantic schtick in support of The Miz (among others) have gotten on the nerve on a whole lot of people, and nobody more so than his broadcast partner, WWE Hall of Famer Jerry "The King" Lawler. It finally came to a head when, during a ladder match between The Miz and Lawler for the WWE Title, Cole prevented Lawler from reaching the title belt and cost him his first chance to be the WWE Champion. Lawler finally couldn't take any more, and attacked Cole.
Cole answered by hiring the All-American American, Jack Swagger, to train him for a match against Lawler at Wrestlemania. Cole further attempted to stack the odds in his favor by making former WWE Superstar John "Bradshaw" Layfield as the special referee for that match. However, before JBL could sign the contract, the sound of breaking glass was heard and BY GAWD, STONE COLD, STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN HAS HIT THE RING! After hitting JBL with a stunner, Austin signed the contract instead, making him the special guest referee for the match between Cole and Lawler.
Over the course of the past few weeks, Cole has tried everything to gain a psychological advantage over Lawler, going so far as to bring Lawler's estranged son (former WWE Superstar Brian Christopher) on to Raw to belittle his father.
Frankly, I don't think there's any way that Cole doesn't finally get his in this one, as Lawler will finally get a measure of revenge for being belittled by Cole all these weeks. It's probably going to turn out to be a schmozz, but thanks to the six-person match we just talked about, it probably won't be the worst match of the night. The only drama of this one is whether or not the long-hidden, nebulous "Anonymous Raw General Manager" will make an appearance after all this time.
Prediction: Lawler gets to beat the heck out of Cole and gets the victory, after which Cole either disappears, or quits the announcing job and continues as a manager.
When Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi was a special guest star on Raw a few weeks ago, nobody could have really expected the pint-sized party girl to have a quiet appearance. Sure enough, while sitting at ringside during a match between Vickie Guerrero and Trish Stratus, she was confronted by Vickie's cohorts, LayCool (Layla and Michelle McCool). Snooki didn't take too kindly to being pushed around, so she and Trish immediately took it to both Layla and Michelle, and when Vickie's boyfriend, Dolph Ziggler, tried to interject himself into things, Snooki and Trish were aided by the Prince of Parkour, John Morrison.
(Yeah, wrestling is still a "male soap opera." Thanks for noticing.)
So, with that, we wound up with a six-person tag team match with Ziggler, Layla, and Michelle McCool on one side, and Morrison, Trish, and Snooki on the other. To be honest, unless you're a big Jersey Shore fan, this match is probably as good a time as any to take a bathroom break or refresh your beverage of choice.
Prediction: Morrison/Trish/Snooki emerge victorious. Come on, now. . .you don't think the WWE is paying Snooki's appearance fee for her team to lose, do you?
When it was announced that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson would be the host for this year's Wrestlemania in Atlanta, the first person the Great One targeted was one John Cena. From insulting his style to his catchphrases to his appealing to younger fans, The Rock verbally raked Cena up one side and down the other. Cena fired back the next week, and the two have traded barbs ever since.
For most of that time, however, both men were overlooking one person. . .the current WWE Champion, The Miz. You know, the man that was set to be Cena's opponent at Wrestlemania. That changed this past Monday night on Raw, however, when the former reality show star got into the ring during the face-to-face meeting between Cena and the Rock, getting himself a whipping from The Rock and a People's Elbow for his troubles.
Not to be outdone, after The Rock had deposited The Miz outside of the ring, he turned around. . .and was immediately hoisted in the air by Cena, who hit him with the Attitude Adjustment as the show came to an end.
It's a pretty sure bet that The Rock is going to interject himself into this match somehow. . .but on whose behalf? Will he be targeting the Miz after he and Alex Riley tried to get the jump on him on Raw? Or will he look for revenge on John Cena for hitting him with the Attitude Adjustment? Or. . .will he somehow get his hands on both combatants in this one?
Prediction: Cena wins the championship for the eighth time via Rock-terference. . .and then eats a Rock Bottom/People's Elbow combination after the match so that the crowd can go nuts.
Mexican aristocrat Alberto Del Rio is a big believer in destiny, and it appears that it's for good reason. Long before January's Royal Rumble, he was telling the world that it was his destiny to win the 40-man battle royale and go on to the main event of Wrestlemania to have a chance at a title. . .and that's exactly what happened. Now, he's declaring that it is his destiny to be victorious at Wrestlemania and bring home the World Heavyweight Championship. With the hot streak he's been on recently, it's kind of hard to doubt him.
In order to do that, however, he needs to get through the man they call the Rated "R" Superstar, the seven-time World Heavyweight Champion (to go along with four WWE Championships), Edge. Thanks to the numerous manipulations of then-Smackdown General Manager Vickie Guerrero, Edge has been fired and stripped of his title, re-hired (after which he regained his title), and has also been unable to put his hands in Del Rio in any manner on Smackdown for the past couple of weeks.
It has also been announced that Edge's best friend, Christian, will be in his corner tomorrow night, and the 370-pound monster known as Brodus Clay will be in the corner of Del Rio.
Del Rio has been on a roll lately, and even with the numerous twist to his storylines recently, Edge has gotten a bit stale as the champion, in my estimation. So, it's time for a change, and there's only one way to go about that.
Prediction: Smackdown will have a new World Heavyweight Champion. . .and his name? His name is Alberto Del Rio! But you already knew that.
Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka
Jake "The Snake" Roberts
King Kong Bundy
"Big Daddy Cool" Diesel
The Big Boss Man
"Nature Boy" Ric Flair
The Big Show and A-Train
What do all of those men have in common? They've all been beaten by the man from the dark side on the biggest stage in wrestling. Seventeen different men in eighteen different matches. . .the match with Big Show and A-Train was a handicap match, and Kane and Shawn Michaels have each been defeated twice. . .have helped The Undertaker to an astonishing 18-0 record at Wrestlemania over his illustrious career.
You'll note that the name of The Undertaker's Wrestlemania 27 opponent, Triple H, is on that list as well. He and the Undertaker had an outstanding match at Wrestlemania 17 (I refuse to call it X-Seven) in 2001, with the Dead Man ultimately emerging victorious. This will be Triple H's first match in over a year, as he's coming off of an injury, and he picked a heck of his opponent to come back against. On Raw this past Monday night, Shawn Michaels. . .Triple H's best friend and the man who has lost to the Undertaker at both of the two most recent Wrestlemanias. . .told The Game straight up that he couldn't beat the Undertaker, which has to plant a seed of doubt in the mind of the Cerebral Assassin.
Let's be honest. . .betting against the Undertaker at Wrestlemania is a lot like betting against the Harlem Globetrotters. It's not the smartest thing to do. Even with as large as Triple H's ego is rumored to be, I still don't see any good reason for him to go over here. This is my early pick for match of the night, as I'm sure these two veterans will put on the same kind of performance that they always do when the lights are at their brightest. In the end, however, I think we get the same result that we've gotten 18 times before at Wrestlemania.
Prediction: Undertaker wins by pinfall
For yours truly, there are two sure-fire signs of spring's arrival. The first one is one that we saw on Friday, with the Minnesota Twins taking the field for the Opening Day of the baseball season. . .and the other is World Wrestling Entertainment putting on their biggest show of the year. That's exactly what we're going to get on Friday when we are presented with the 27th installment of Wrestlemania from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
The state of Minnesota has a pretty proud pro wrestling heritage, going back to the day's of Verge Gagne's AWA and the long list of professional wrestlers that hail from the great state of Minnesota. Names like Larry and Curt Hennig, Jesse "The Body" Ventura, Ric Flair (born in Minneapolis), "Ravishing" Rick Rude, and Michael Hegstrand. . .who you may know better as Hawk, one half of what many call the greatest tag team of all time, the Road Warriors.
While Wrestlemania may not be a pure "sports" event, per se, it's still a pretty major event, and one that bears covering, in our opinion. I don't intend to make wrestling coverage a regular part of the site, but for Wrestlemania I'm happy to make an exception. So, tonight I'll be putting together quick previews of all of the matches and some predictions as well, all in preparation for tomorrow night's festivities. So kick back, relax, and enjoy!
Here's the card as it stands right now:
No Holds Barred Match - Triple H vs The Undertaker
WWE Championship Match - The Miz (champion) vs. John Cena
World Heavyweight Championship Match - Edge (champion) vs. Alberto Del Rio
United States Championship Match - Sheamus (champion) vs. Daniel Bryan
Randy Orton vs. C.M. Punk
Jerry "The King" Lawler vs. Michael Cole (with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin as the special referee)
Mixed Tag Team Match - John Morrison, Trish Stratus, and Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi vs. Dolph Ziggler, Layla, and Michelle McCool
Eight-Man Tag Team Match - Kofi Kingston, Santino Marella, Kane, and The Big Show vs. Wade Barrett, Ezekiel Jackson, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel (Kingston is subbing for Vladimir Kozlov, who was attacked by the Corre) at WWE Fan Axxess today
Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes
And, as you've probably heard, all of the festivities will be hosted by the jabroni-beating, pie-eating, trail-blazing, eyebrow-raising most electrifying man in sports entertainment. . .The Rock!
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