The John Report: WrestleMania 25 Thoughts (Plus Three Ideas)

This will be a two parter. First, I’ll rundown my thoughts on WrestleMania 25 and after that I’ll give you three ideas I have for things that I want to see happen in WWE between this WrestleMania and the next one.

I wasn’t sure if I would be watching WrestleMania 25 live, which is partly why I didn’t even write a preview. I ended up going to a friend’s house and we ordered it as a group while playing some cards. Here’s a rundown of my thoughts.

CM Punk wins Money in the Bank
MITB was okay. I’m not crazy about Punk winning again. Nothing against him, I just wanted it to be MVP. I think once again Shelton Benjamin was the star of that match. Good to see there weren’t too many crazy bumps in it too, at least compared to year’s past. I still remember that one a couple years back when Jeff came off the high ladder onto Edge as he was laying on top of other ladders. That was nuts. This year’s was more tame, but still a lot of fun.
Rating: ***1/2

“Santina” wins 25 Diva Battle Royal
Terrible and not really funny either although Vince sure loves seeing men dressed up like women. That and midgets are two keys to Vinny Mac’s heart. If you ever interview with WWE for a job, make sure you profess your love for those two things and you’ve got a shot. Poor use of a women’s division that does have good talent in it.
Rating: DUD

Jericho defeats Snuka, Piper and Steamboat
One of the biggest problems in WWE is that they lack babyfaces to go up against all the great heels in the company. This was a perfect example of that. The best performer of 2008 was rewarded with a 9 minute match on the biggest show of the year. Such a shame. And yes, Steamboat was game, but I would have rather seen Jericho in a 15-20 minute match that allowed him to show his skills in a better way. The Jericho/Rourke exchange was painfully bad. Good idea on paper, but terrible execution.
Rating: *3/4

Matt Hardy defeats Jeff Hardy in an Extreme Rules Match
It didn’t live up to the hype I personally had for it. I thought Jeff should have gone over although I guess this means they’ll do another PPV match, which is fine. Hopefully they have better chemistry in that one. The spots were crafted well and obviously they trust eachother in there, it just didn’t feel as special as I thought it could be. You’d think the crowd would be more into a match with these two, but maybe it’s a sign that they had little interest in seeing them against eachother. With all due respect to Matt, I would have preferred Christian in this spot.
Rating: ***

Rey beats JBL for the IC title and JBL quits
I thought JBL would get more time for his last match, but I guess not. Mysterio’s yet to have a memorable WrestleMania match, which is a shame considering how good he is. Even when he won the world title it wasn’t even a ten minute match. It’s a shame that Vince is so fixated on size because he’s missing out by using Mysterio poorly. As for JBL, I always enjoyed his promos more than his matches and I wish him the best in his future endeavors.
Rating: *

Undertaker beats Shawn Michaels
Wow, what a match. They definitely followed the Austin/Rock formula for the WrestleMania match by having each guy kick out of the big spots. I never thought Michaels was going to win at any point, but those nearfalls were as believable as any Undertaker Mania match I’ve ever seen. Even when Taker went for covers and didn’t get them his facial expressions were great. I loved some of the spots in there and there’s no point in going over the big ones because everybody knows why they work. To me, the things that stand out were moments like when they were slugging it out at the end and Undertaker just boots him down forcing Shawn to collapse in a heap. That’s great. That’s how you properly do big man/little man spots. I think Undertaker needs to realize he can’t move at age 44 the way he did ten years earlier. Either that or the camera guy (probably some indy wrestler) was a bit too far back because he wasn’t in a good enough position to break his fall. I thought Undertaker broke his neck. I love their chemistry although I’d be fine if they never had a singles match again because it will make this one that much more special. On my original viewing I had it at ****3/4 because I thought it was a bit slow at times, but in watching it a second time I think it deserves the full five stars. I doubt this match will be topped in 2009 although you never know. And yes, this match should have gone on last. If Shawn Michaels is on the card at WrestleMania it should always be last because it’s probably not going to be bested by those that followed.
Rating: *****

John Cena beats Edge and Big Show to win the World Title
The title that Cena holds never should have left his hands in the first place. It was only done to create an interest in No Way Out. These belts mean nothing because they get passed around so much. Why should fans pay money to watch PPV matches when all they do is move them around constantly? They’re supposed to be treated as rare prizes, not something that anybody can win every month. I saw somebody in the Oratory forums point out Edge has had 3 one month title reigns in the last few months. That’s terrible. Belts mean more when champions have four or five month reigns with multiple title defenses. And what was the point of Jeff Hardy winning it in the first place? So Matt can turn on him? They could have done that without hurting the credibility of the title. As for the match, it’s been two days and I barely remember much about it except Cena won with the finishing move that changed its name. Nice.
Rating: **3/4

Hall of Fame people get introduced
Nice to see Austin again although it sucks that they keep pushing that it’s his goodbye from wrestling. I guess that’s what his agent tells people in Hollywood. You can tell nobody in Hollywood wants anything to do with the business because they must be telling him he won’t get parts unless he gets away from it. Can’t say I blame them, really.

“Stone Cold” Triple H “McMahon” beats Randy Orton to retain the WWE Title
Do you think Vince heard how dead the crowd was for HHH vs. Orton? I doubt it. I’m surprised they didn’t pipe in the sound mixers they use on Smackdown when they think the fans should be cheering and they’re actually dead. The match was boring. They did such a good job of putting Orton over before the Rumble, at the Rumble and since the Rumble only to look like a moron here. As for HHH, we’re supposed to feel sorry for the guy that’s main evented shows for a decade, has won more world titles in this company than anybody else and is married to the daughter of his rich boss? Really? No thanks. More on that in a minute.
Rating: **1/4

Final Thoughts
Just an okay show. One match is worth watching. Find it. No, it’s not the one with Santina. You can figure it out, I’m sure. The rest was nothing out of the ordinary, which is a shame for WrestleMania.

——–

Five Things I Want To See Happen Between WM25 and WM26

1. One more title run for Shawn Michaels.
Prior to WrestleMania, Michaels said that his contract expires shortly after WM26, which is also when he thinks he’ll stop wrestling on a full time basis. With that in mind, let this year be the year of Michaels because the guy deserves it. He’s the best in ring performer that I’ve ever seen. Nobody else has so many great matches with so many different performers in so many different match types. It’s rare to find somebody with the talent, athleticism and dedication that this guy has. He’ll be 44 years old this year, yet he’s still the best performer on the roster especially on the babyface side. So why not reward him? Give him one more run. I’d love to see a three or four month reign for him. I know that part of the reason why he wasn’t given a long run in the last seven years (all he had was a month) is because he’s less active on the house show circuit. That’s fine. Here’s a plan. Have him win the Rumble, give him the Mania title shot and have him win the belt at Mania while hyping it up as his last match. Then he retires as champion and is recognized as the best ever. Nobody deserves it more than him.

2. Turn HHH heel. The sooner the better.
The fans aren’t into him the way they are into Undertaker and Michaels in terms of being a legendary babyface. Yes, he’s got respect and admiration, but it’s different. Undertaker’s got one of the greatest gimmicks ever while Michaels has that underdog mentality about him every match. What does HHH have? He’s bigger than most, he’s won more titles than pretty much everybody and he’s obviously married into a family with a lot of money. It’s not that he’s a bad babyface. It’s just that he’s a great heel. Plus, I read in interviews prior to Mania where he said he’d rather be a heel, but he knows he’s needed more as a face. That’s why WWE needs to really push babyfaces hard in the spring and into the summer to allow HHH to go heel again by year’s end.

3. Elevate Jeff Hardy, Rey Mysterio, CM Punk and MVP.
Those four guys all should be considered for WrestleMania main events in a year’s time. They need fresh faces in that picture. For two years running it was the same people. Change is needed. Jeff Hardy should have been in a singles match for the title this year without that meaningless title win at Armageddon happening. I understand why it wasn’t done. He’s been suspended multiple times and there’s not as much faith in him as there are in the usual suspects like Cena and HHH. We know why Mysterio doesn’t get sustained main event pushes. It’s stupid that the size issue still exists. Listen to the people, Vince. They want him in the picture. Punk won the title last year and had a reign for a couple months although after he lost it he never sniffed a main event again. That’s a problem. I’d love it if he saved the MITB title shot until next year’s Mania. Now that’s a lot of build for a deserving person. As for MVP, he should have won the MITB match although I guess he could still reach main event status without the guaranteed shot. The question is does management have enough faith in him? I’m not totally sure, but it does seem like the people do and that’s what should matter most.

That’s it. It’s not that hard to do, is it? I hope not. Like I said earlier, I think the biggest issue in WWE right now is the lack of babyfaces to counter the great heels they have on the roster. If fans don’t have people to get behind they’ll lose interest in the product. That’s not to say somebody like Cena is a bad babyface. He’s not bad at all. I like the guy. It’s just that they need more. The talent is there waiting to be used the right way. Hopefully it happens sooner rather than later.

Smell ya later,
John C. – oratoryjohn@gmail.com
MSN: oratoryjohn@hotmail.com – Do not email me here! Will not be read!

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