April 06, 2015
This was a tough review for me and I'm going to struggle through these last few. The main problem is that I watch these while I do cardio which means for a Mania event it takes me 4 to 5 session of cardio and the better part of a week to watch them. Watching them is so many pieces really kills the flow and feel for the event, but the chances of me finding 4 hours to sit down and watch an entire event is practically nil. Thankfully I am nearing the end.
Mania 27 was held on April 3, 2011, which is my Birthday and the reasons I've seen this event before. I almost never ordered PPV event but I'm not an easy guy to shop for so my kids purchased this event for me for my birthday. The event was held in Atlanta, GA in front of a reported 71,617 fans and was hosted by The Rock. On commentary we had Jerry Lawler, Josh Matthews, and Michael Cole. This was back when Cole was in full Heel Michael Cole mode, which was a terrible time for commentary and the commentary was not an asset to this show.
The show opened with a Rock promo which the crowd was into but really had no purpose other than highlight the Rock and let the crowd have fun. Rock was super over and I felt bad for the opener that had to follow him.
Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio (World Title): ADR was the Royal Rumble winner so instead of being guaranteed the Main Event at WrestleMania and a shot at the title, he got a shot at the title and the opening spot at WrestleMania. It took them a while to get the crowd into it, no doubt a result of following The Great One, but they got them in the end. This was hard for me to watch because now I know how bad Edge's neck was at the time. To make it worse ADR kicked Edge in the head and neck several times for no reason what so ever. He was working Edge's arm to set up the arm bar and every once in a while would just kick him in the head making me cringe. Edge picked up the win to retain, which got a good reaction. Post match Edge and Christian destroyed ADR's car up on the stage, which seemed very odd. I almost wonder if when this was originally laid out ADR was screwing Edge to win the title and the demolition of the car was a "getting back at him" moment and they forgot to take out after they switched the finish. Good but not great and considering how bad of shape Edge was really in, probably way better than it had any right to be.
Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio: This was the first match that really highlighted the crappy announcing. There was a story to be told here and the guys in the ring did their best to tell it but the announcers completely dropped the ball on getting the story over. Cody was wearing a protective face mask after injuring his face getting hit with Rey's knee brace on a 619 earlier in the year. Cody used the mask for head butts throughout the match, which the announcers completely missed and ignored. Cody eventually tears Rey's knee braceoff off of him, and Rey manages to "even the score" by taking off Cody's protective mask. In retaliation for the head butts Cody delivered earlier Rey puts on the protective mask and returns the favour for his comeback. Announcers completely failed to put over this was a payback situation and Cole just buried Rey for cheating and using the mask as a weapon. In the end Cody manages to use Rey's knee brace as a weapon, hitting Rey in the face to pick up the win. This could have been so much better had the announcers done their job of getting over the story of the match, but as I mentioned at the beginning, this was Heel Michael Cole era announcing and the only thing the announcers got over was how obnoxious Michael Cole was.
We went backstage at this point for Snoop Dog Rap auditions. This was a completely pointless skit saved somewhat by William Regal. This was the first of several backstage skits that really took down the show for me. They felt like RAW level segments and made this show feel more like a longer version of RAW than a huge Stadium Event.
The Core vs. Big Show, Kane, Santino, Kofi: This wasn't even a match, it was a 1-2 minute series of moves. There was only 1 tag and everyone just fed in, in a sequence, to hit a big move then get hit by someone else's big move. Big Show eventually KO'd Heath Slater (who still takes the best KO Punch) for the win. The entrances took longer than the match.
We then got a backstage Rock segment that literally had no purpose. Rock was just standing there talking to Eve Torres as different people walked up. In the end Steve Austin walked up for a fun face to face, but again this had no real purpose.
CM Punk vs. Randy Orton: Great video package setting this match up. I really liked this match and the finish with Randy catching Punk out of the air on a spring board with an RKO was great. I think this was the first time he had done this so it got a great reaction.
We got another Rock segment backstage, this time with PeeWee Herman, so this served even less purpose than the previous one. I suppose some people found these funny, but I did not.
HOF Inductees were brought out. I felt so bad for Drew Carey, who came off like a super nice guy who was just thrilled to be there and the crowd booed him. So ignorant of the crowd in my opinion. Carey was a huge wrestling fan who got invited to be a part of WrestleMania and be in the HOF. I doubt a single person booing him would have turned that down if they were given the same offer. Don't boo the guy, it's not his fault.
Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole (Steve Austin as the Ref): Everything about this was bad. Cole started with a long pointless cheap heat promo that was just go away heat for me. He'd been obnoxious on commentary the whole show; he did not need to remind us why we disliked him here with a promo. Cole was terrible and this match just over stayed its welcome. Everything was fine up to the point where Swagger (who was out with Cole) cut Jerry off and Cole went on offense. They needed to do this to give Cole a glimmer of hope before Jerry Lawler made his comeback, but it went on and on and on. Cole was on offense forever and it looked terrible. Austin was having a hard time keeping a straight face because the offense looked so bad. If he'd have only stayed on offense for 1 minute all could have worked out but this match ended up going almost 14 minutes. Jerry's comeback was good, and the crowd popped when he finally Won but this match went 8-10 minutes too long. To make matters worse the Anonymous GM sent an email to reverse the decision so Jerry Lawler lost his only WrestleMania match to Michael Cole. We got beer and stunners at the end to save this a bit but My God Michael Cole in a 14 minute match was No Buys.
The Undertaker vs. HHH (No Holds Barred): Awesome Video package for this one, and we got JR out to replace Michael Cole, so business most certainly picked up. I liked this match way better the first time. When a match is built on story and emotion, they often don't hold up as well because the emotion is never the same the second time around. They got to big bumps on the floor quickly and the match really slowed down. Live this worked because an Undertaker match at Mania is all about the Streak so until guys get beat down enough to get into near falls there isn't really a point to it. They got to that point quickly and that's when the story started to unfold. It was almost like this was the second half of a 60 min epic battle. The facial expression and the telling of the story was great and the crowd was completely into it. There was a chair shot to the head, which I remember everyone complaining about at the time, but if you look closely Taker got a hand up and most likely did not experience any steel to head contact. When this job is done right it can be awesome, it was all the years of idiots leaving their hands in their pockets and getting hit in the head with insanely stiff chair shots that ruin it for everyone else. Everyone bought the Tombstone Piledriver HHH hit Taker with as the finish and this match was truly awesome here at the end. Taker picked up the win to keep the Streak alive. Best match on the show by far.
Ziggler & LayCook vs. Morrison, Trish, Snooki: This was very short and for the most part was just a singles match between Trish and McCool. It broke down at the end and we got Snooki in for the finish. She did a round off back handspring thing in the corner and pinned McCool for the win. Like the Core match I think we got 1 tag in this whole match. It went 3 minutes.
Miz vs. John Cena (WWE Title): This match was actually better the second time around, because watching it live they lost me in the first 2 minutes. With me expecting this to be bad the second time around I wasn't put off in the beginning and I realized there was a fair bit of decent stuff late. The reason I gave up on this match the first time was how, to be completely honest, absurdly basic it started out. Not to get too in-depth into ring psychology but at the beginning of the match is where you traditionally showcase the baby face. In this match the showcase portion consisted of just one spot, Tackle-dropdown-leapfrog-hiptoss, which is quite literally spot 101. I do more than this in camp matches with students 6 weeks into training. They then went to the cut off which was 1 punch in the corner... Yup 1 punch. Miz punched Cena on the break, Cena collapsed to the canvas and Miz proceeded to stomp him into oblivion. I know the ending of this match with the Rock was the important part, but this was the Main Event of WrestleMania and I do harder more complicated things calling a match on the fly with students who've never had a match.
It would get way better later but live I completely lost interest and stopped watching after this. Once they got into near falls this got a lot better, and then Miz took an ungodly bad bump on the floor. He was sitting on the dasher boards and got speared off them by Cena and smashed his head hard on the floor. I hope they planned ahead and at least had some layer of matting on the floor, because that was quite brutal. We got a double count out off of this, which the crowd hated, but The Rock came out to restart it, Rock Bottom Cena, and allow Miz to pick up the win and retain the title. Miz took a Spine Buster and a People's Elbow post match and The Rock is left standing tall to close out the show. The Main Event and the Title were left an afterthought here, but this did set up the next 2 WrestleMania Main Events, which did huge business, so in the end a success.
All in all not a great WrestleMania. There was that fantastic Undertaker-HHH match and a couple solid matches underneath, but those 2 multi person matches that went less than a couple minutes and that 15 minute Michael Cole match really soured me on this show. Then to top it off the Main Event felt more like an angle than a Main Event match, which I guess it pretty much was. Taker vs. Hunter would have been a more fitting Main Event but you really did need to close this show with The Rock so I guess it was a necessary evil. This was just step one in the Rock - Cena Mania trilogy so I suppose mission accomplished.
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