Welcome to Part 9, beginning with the 25th Anniversary....of the year before WrestleMania started!
|Reliant Stadium - 4/5/09|
Speaking of WrestleMania cards I wasn't excited about, we now arrive at the "25th Anniversary" of WrestleMania (good lord that marketing drove me nuts - does WWE think people can't count?). Early 2009 was an extremely stagnant time for the company, where the same 5 or 6 wrestlers were being shuffled around the same 5 or 6 spots and no new talent was breaking into the main event scene. If you take the seven participants in the top three matches of 'Mania 24 and compare them to the top three matches of 25, swap out Flair for The Big Show and you have the same seven guys. Couple this with very poor buildup for both Championship matches and you have a recipe for an anemic WrestleMania season. As it turned out though, the show was pretty good.
Triple H vs. Randy Orton took the main event slot and despite an awful, awful buildup (Explain to me again why I'm supposed to cheer for the all-powerful McMahon family just because Randy Orton beat them up? Didn't Steve Austin make a megaface career out of beating up the McMahons?) and a suitably disinterested live crowd, they managed to salvage a solid Title match out of it. But really the only good segment leading up to this match was when Orton handcuffed Triple H to the bottom rope and forced him to watch Stephanie be DDT'd and kissed by his arch-rival. Then the following week all the tension was immediately diffused as Triple H broke into Orton's house and beat the snot out of him. I thought the whole point of the PPV match was to get the audience to want to see the villain get his comeuppance. If that happens a week before the big match, why should we care? Also given the highly personal nature of this feud, you'd think WWE would've made the match a no-DQ match of some sort. Instead the only stip was that if Hunter got disqualified he'd lose the Title.
|Oh look, it's the only good part of this feud|
The Smackdown Title match was a Triple Threat that I was equally blase about - Edge vs. John Cena vs. The Big Show. Their feud centered around some twisted love triangle with Vickie Guerrero, yadda yadda. Bottom line is that the match was actually really entertaining. I was very shocked by how much fun it ended up being.
But the real standout of 'Mania 25 was of course the epic 30-minute war between The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. I honestly didn't get caught up in the build for this match either and by this point was so fed up with WWE's lack of star-building that I half-expected this to be mediocre. I was wholly incorrect, as these two legends showed us all how it's done. This match ended up being one for the ages.