March 07, 2015
WrestleMania XXVI was held in Phoenix, AZ on March 28, 2010 with a reported attendance of 72,219. The announce team was a three man team consisting of Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Matt Striker. I had never seen this event before, but I think I had seen most if not all of the Bret vs. Vince match before. It's hard for me to offer an overall review or feel for the show because I watch these events while doing cardio at the gym, on my iPad via the WWE Network. While that is very convenient I do my cardio in 45-60 min. sessions, which mean I watch the event over the course of 4-5 cardio session, so it takes me a week and watching a show in pieces losses a bit of the overall feel.
The MizShow vs. Truth & Morrison (Unified Tag Titles): This was okay but nothing special at all. I think it went maybe 4 minutes so not much of a match. A very weak opener. Big Show KO'd Morrison for the pin to retain the titles.
Randy Orton vs. Ted DiBiase jr. vs. Cody Rhodes: This was the implosion of the Legacy group and while it was presented as a 3-way it was more of a handi-capped match with Orton the face against his two heel former stable mates. This was a fun match and Orton was super over as a baby face. They could have used more time but it was good. The psychology and timing of the finish was incredible. The slow transition from teasing the RKO, into doing the Orton Punt was a thing of beauty, and workers need to watch this over and over until they understand what is meant by slowing down and making things mean something. Taking your time so the crowd can connect the dots for themselves makes everything great. Orton picked up the win, in a match that would have been a way better opener. A huge step down the card for Orton who was in the Main Event last year.
Swagger, Christian, Matt Hardy, Kane, Drew McIntyre, Kofi, Ziggler, Shelton Benjamin, MVP, Evan Bourne (MITB): This match is a can't miss and this year was no exception, man I wish they would bring this match back to Mania where it belongs. This was exciting as hell and Jack Swagger captured the MITB Brief Case.
HHH vs. Sheamus: This was a real solid match that I really enjoyed and HHH was over very strong as a baby face. HHH won with a Pedigree literally out of nowhere that surprised me quite a bit. Not surprised that he won, just did not expect the Pedigree at that point and I didn't expect the 1.2.3 when it happened. I suppose this have been an even bigger step down the card for Hunter than Orton seeing he was not just in the Main Event but closed out the show as Champion.
CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio (If Rey losses he joins the Straight Edge Society): This needed more time but was still really good and the build into the finish was quite great. If they would have had an extra 5-10 minutes this could have been a show stealer, but as it was it was just a really fun part of the show. Rey won so I guess he was allowed to keep smoking, drinking and taking drugs.
Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon: In the crowd there was a huge "Brett Beat Vince" sign. Yes a fan that loved Bret Hart enough to get ring side seats at Mania and make a giant sign in support of his hero, didn't know how to spell the guys name. I mentioned this on twitter and heard from a guy who claimed he was there that night and said that he mentioned the spelling to the guy and the guy insisted the proper Canadian spelling of Bret is with 2 Ts. Well I guess he would know more than say Bret Hart who you know had the name his whole life and assumingly saw his own birth certificate before. In any event this was a real weird match. Bret had a lot of limitations because of his head. He couldn't take bumps or really even get hit so this was just a one sided thrashing of Vince McMahon. This match didn’t work for me; in my opinion it went too long. They also had the entire Hart Family out there which almost made Vince the victum because the deck ended up being so stacked against him. After a few minutes of beating on Vince, Bret teased the Sharp Shooter and the crowd went absolutely nuts for it. He then proceeded to beat on Vince more and more and it just felt like the heat decreased rather than increased from that point. Bret won and Vince deserves credit for taking a brutal ass whooping. Vince took a dozen or more chair shots (to the body) that looked very unpleasant.
Chris Jericho vs. Edge (World Title): There was a great video package building up this match. It was so great I couldn't help but think that the build to this year's Title match at Mania is incredibly weak in comparison. It took them a while to get the crowd into this one, but they did the work and totally had everyone by the end. The last several minutes of this match were absolutely excellent. Jericho retained but Edge got a degree of redemption spearing Jericho off the announce desk through the barricade post match.
McCool, Fox, Layla, Maryse, Vickie vs. Phoenix, Kelly Kelly, James, Kim, Eve: They had no time for a 10 person tag but they did what they could. They did the parade of finishing moves, where everyone hit their move then got hit by someone else's move. That made for excitement at least, which is all you can hope for when you have 10 people and 3 minutes. In the end Vickie got to do the Eddie Frog Splash in her home town at WrestleMania for the win, which was really cool, and I will admit I got goose bumps for her when she did it. Vickie was always a team player and was the butt of jokes and humiliated on WWE TV time and time again and was always a good sport about it. Letting her do a tribute to her late husband on this stage was a really great moment.
Batista vs. John Cena (WWE Title): Another great video package for another great feud. Cena got the highlighted entrance with the Military honour guard. They did maybe one wrestling spot before getting into big moves and selling in this match. It was almost like they had figured on a epic 30 minute match and then before they went out they got their time cut in half and just said screw it lets just do the last half of the match we planned. That one wrestling spot was a headlock take over by John Cena and Matt Striker actual said the following (Not a direct quote). John Cena demonstrating some mat acumen. He is constantly evolving on his quest to become a 10 time Champion. Yes Mat Striker, John Cena a Former 9 time WWE/World Champion has decided to evolve his game by adding a Headlock take over to his arsenal, a move taught the second week of wrestling school, in hopes it will enable him to win his 10th WWE Championship. Perhaps instead of learning the headlock take over, Cena would have been better off learning how to properly apply an STF. I know for most fans it doesn't matter but as a detail guy with a touch of OCD, John's STF is painful for me to watch. At one point he had both the step over toe hold and the cross face hooked incorrectly. That said this was a very good match and the crowd was totally into John Cena, the baby face. Cena eventually won with the STF and the crowd popped huge for him. A very good match and Cena picked up #10.
Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (No DQ, No Count out, HBK career vs. Streak): These guys had the task of trying to follow the match they had the previous year which was one of the greatest matches I've ever seen. To do this they decided to tell more of a story and Shawn worked Taker's leg and they started out a little slower than the previous year. I don't know if they topped the previous year or not, to be honest I don't even care, this was awesome and I loved the drama of the story and the action of this match. At one point HBK did a top rope Moonsault to the announce desk and I hope to hell he was smart enough to wear hockey style shin and knee guards under his pants, because that bump looked insane. Incredible closing moment with drama and story on the finish, reminiscent of the HBK - Flair ending; what a way to go out. Taker keeps the streak alive, and Shawn goes out on his back like a pro. What an incredible end to an unparalleled career.
Looking back at it now I've got to give this show a pretty big thumbs up. Taker-Shawn was fantastic; both title matches were great (if a little short). Punk-Rey, HHH-Sheamus were real good. MITB was exciting, and the Vickie spot light was touching. I enjoyed this show.
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