WWE Wrestlemania 21 Review

Pro wrestling fans only get one event like this a year. Well, actually they get one a month from the WWE, just none with the grandeur that Wrestlemania carries with it. This is the 21st year for wrestling's Super Bowl. It was a solid event, helped along by a few great bouts, but some disappointments and lackluster finishes put a damper on everything.

Pro wrestling fans only get one event like this a year. Well, actually they get one a month from the WWE, just none with the grandeur that Wrestlemania carries with it. This is the 21st year for wrestling's Super Bowl. It was a solid event, helped along by a few great bouts, but some disappointments and lackluster finishes put a damper on everything

The night started off with what should have been a classic, Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio. This was an unusually sloppy match from these two with multiple missed spots, which is highly uncharacteristic of them both. When they were on, the co-holders of the tag team belts put on a fantastic technical, complicated, and high-flying showcase. Mysterio edged out Eddie in what was a solid opener if you ignore the few missteps.

Things followed with the "Money in the Bank" ladder match, a 6-way dance featuring Kane, Christian, Edge, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, and Shelton Benjamin. Kane started things off with a spectacular entrance that sent all six ladders on the stage into flames. Benjamin stole the show with the move of the night, leaping across an outstretched ladder to knock Jericho off another as he was reaching for the briefcase. It was innovative enough to make the match one of the best of the night; it was just too crowded in there for anything truly spectacular to occur the rest of the way. Edge would get the finish in a rather mundane fashion with little tension.

Eugene would make an appearance to talk about his favorite moment in Wrestlemania history, but Mohammed Hassan interrupted him. After some trash talk, Hassan took Eugene down in frustration (since he wasn't given a spot on the show even though he's undefeated). Coming to his rescue was the immortal Hulk Hogan, dressed in classic in red and yellow with "Real American" blaring behind him. He took down both Hassan and his manager then stuck around to celebrate to one of the loudest pops of the night. Oddly, no one would see Eugene again once Hogan appeared.

Next up is the Undertaker, complete as always with torch-carrying druids. He "glides" down the ramp on something (hidden by smoke) to make another one his great entrances at the event. Randy Orton gave him a great fight in a solid back and forth match-up. Orton's Hall of Fame father, Cowboy Bob Orton, lent him a hand late into the game, but it wasn't enough as the fantastic finish concluded (with some great reversals tossed in) with the Undertaker on top.

The women's title match between Trish Stratus and current Playboy Playmate Christy Hemme should have happened on RAW. If the WWE is serious about the women's division, get some real wrestlers in there. The only real highlight was Christy nearly falling out of her top, though it was barely on the entire match anyway. The finish just came out of nowhere with a kick from Trish, who now retains a title that no one really cares about.

The Smackdown/RAW feud continues as Shawn Michaels takes on Kurt Angle. As it usually ends up at Wrestlemania, the main event is not the most memorable bout of the night. Instead, this years award goes to these guys who put on a spectacular performance, highlighted by numerous false finishes, an announce table that forgot to break, and some of the best technical wrestling of the night. The only thing missing was one of Michaels' always shocking blade jobs. If he had begun to gush blood, he might have passed out before he could tap to a second and brutal ankle lock. It seemed to go on forever and Michaels did a fantastic job of selling it and Angle did his part by making it look excruciating.

The much-hyped return of Piper's Pit fizzled completely. It's not that Steve Austin and Piper weren't in top form (could you think of two better guys to get on the mic and face off?), it's the last minute addition of Carlito. Just when the two began trading banter giving the fans what they wanted, out walks the newcomer for no apparent reason. A future and current Hall of Famer do not need help. Austin ended up stunning both parties and downing beer before leaving.

The first ever sumo match in Wrestlemania (WWE?) history was pretty much a wash. Akebono and Big Show did just as advertised as they fought for position in a ropeless ring. Eventually (after maybe two minutes), Akebono threw Big Show out on his back with little or no fan reaction. This did nothing to create fans of the sport here in the U.S.

A major letdown, John Cena took home his first WWE title against JBL. There's little of note here in a match absolutely dominated by Bradshaw. The fight was short and to the point without much worth mentioning except for another finish that came entirely from left field. After taking a massive beating, Cena must have been informed they were running out of time and just slapped JBL down to the mat with the FU. There was no flow to the bout at all, which makes the decision to give Cena the belt questionable. Afterwards, all of the Hall of Fame inductees are brought out, with the focus clearly on Hogan.

Though the main event between Triple H and Batista was entirely predictable, the great build-up (something we haven't seen in a long time) and unforgettable blade job by HHH made it worthwhile. HHH was busted open with a well-done catapult from the disassembled ring steps into the turnbuckle support. This was a long bout with a little bit of everything. However, it was a step down from last year's classic triple-threat. The finish was again abrupt, a real rarity in Wrestlemania main events. Those close calls and faux finishes always get the crowd on their feet, but once Batista hit his finisher, it was over. Triple H never recovered.

This was a rare Wrestlemania, one that didn't feature a single tag team match and the only "gimmick" match was the six-way ladder dance. The event really needed that extra push, and a cage match or no-holds barred brawl probably would have helped. Still, it was a night with some great pro wrestling, just not enough to really put it into the upper echelon of Wrestlemania's. In fact, it seemed like most of the WWE programming as of late, a little lazy without much originality.

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