We are three weeks removed from WrestleMania XXVI, yet I cannot let go of the WrestleMania XXVI memories. Since the event came to its bittersweet conclusion, I have been suffering from WrestleMania XXVI withdrawal. Every time I turn around to face the television, I am hoping to see one more glimpse of the glamour and grandeur of WrestleMania. In its place, all I see is Darren Young. While he is glamourous in his own right, he cannot compare to an annual Pay-Per-View that continues to shock, violate, excite, arouse, and astound me.
April's Extreme Rules Pay-Per-View will be an event of the extreme variety presented by Kitchen Fresh Chicken, but what about Slim Jim? Has WWE already forgetting the benefits of eating Slim Jim during a wrestling Pay-Per-View? The times: they change too fast. Just last month, I was snapping into some beef jerky, enjoying the musical stylings of American Idol's Fantasia Barrino. Now, what is there to look forward to? I don't eat KFC when I watch professional wrestling. I don't hate myself.
Last week, I took a look at the first five WrestleMania XXVI matches. We relived ShoMiz's hard-fought victory over the timeless team of John Morrison and R-Truth. We remembered the rise of the risen Randy Orton and the fall of the fallen Legacy. Jack Swagger's greatest enemy was a hook. Triple H beat Sheamus in a match that wasn't for a World or WWE Championship. According to Wendi Richter, girls wanted to have fun. Most of all, booyaka. Booyaka forever.
In the second part of this WrestleMania XXVI review, we shall delve deep into the marquee matches that set the Pay-Per-View apart from any event you will see for the rest of the year. Sit back, sit forward, sit back again, relax, don't relax, then make me a sandwich that contains the correct meat-to-bread ratio. Sandwiches help me review.
No Holds Barred Match
Bret Hart vs. Mr. McMahon
The following match has been thirteen years in the making. Coincidentally, thirteen years is the time it takes for one man to put another in the Sharpshooter. The breakdown is one year to read about the Sharpshooter, one year to gain the motivation to put another man in the Sharpshooter, five years to learn how to use the Sharpshooter, two years to gain a license to use the Sharpshooter, and four years to use the Sharpshooter.
Bret Hart enters the ring wearing his jean shorts and leather jacket ensemble. Jerry Lawler believes that Bret is not dressed in wrestling gear because he does not plan to have a wrestling match. Interesting. That's interesting.
Vince McMahon flexes in his sleeveless shirt and takes out a microphone. He states that Bret deserves a WrestleMania-sized screwing. If I was Bret, I would not want a WrestleMania-sized screwing at all. I assume WrestleMania is far from a gentle lover. Plus, 70,000 people will be there, which is 60,000 more people than I’m used to when it comes to getting intimate with large Pay-Per-View extravaganzas.
Vince enthusiastically announces that he bought himself a whole bunch of lumberjacks — The Hart Family. With this announcement, an excited Mr. McMahon struts down the aisle with The Hart Dynasty, Bruce Hart, Diana Hart, Smith Hart, Melissa Joan Hart, and Total Eclipse of the Hart. How dare you, Sabrina The Teenage Bitch.
- Bret Hart grabs the microphone and expresses his disappointment with his family. He guesses that Vince paid the Hart Family up front, who proceeded to cash their cheques and put it in the bank. As David Hart Smith agrees that he got paid up front, I secretly make him agree that his mother is still kind of attractive for an older woman. Bret says that one thing he has learned from the Montreal Screwjob is that there is nothing better than a good double cross. This statement leads to Vince realizing that Bret and his family are about to screw him. Bruce and Bret hug, then a audience member holds up a "Brett beat Vince" sign. Man, Brett Favre and Bret Hart are going to beat Vince? That's rough.
- Bret rakes Vince's face against the top rope and kicks him in the corner. Vince rolls out of the ring to take a breather, but The Hart Dynasty and Smith Hart quadruple-team him. David Hart Smith holds Vince up, allowing Tyson Kidd to come off the top turnbuckle with a Hart Attack. When two young men attack an old guy, everybody cheers. When an old man beats up two kids, it's "wrong." I don't understand.
- A desperate Vince crawls under the ring to get away from the Harts. Once they pull him out, he wields a crowbar and keeps them at a distance. Vince re-enters the ring and swings the crowbar at Bret, but gets caught with a punch to the gut and drops his weapon. The next time somebody comes at you with a weapon — whether it is a crowbar, baseball bat, or firearm — sidestep the attacker and punch him or her in the gut. This move always works in wrestling. Therefore, it will work in real life.
- Bret hits Vince with a crowbar. Bret hits Vince with a crowbar. Bret hits Vince with a crowbar. Bret hits Vince with a crowbar. Bret hits Vince with a crowbar. Bret teases the Sharpshooter, then hits Vince with a crowbar. Bret hits Vince with a crowbar and follows that up by kicking Vince in the testicles a bunch of times. Bret's shoe is a crowbar.
- Bret hits Vince with a chair. Bret hits Vince with a chair. Bret hits Vince with a chair. Bret hits Vince with a chair. Bret hits Vince with a chair. Bret is still hitting Vince with a chair, weeks after the match has concluded. In France, Bret hits Vince with a chaise.
- Vince McMahon taps to the Sharpshooter. He is afraid of getting hit with a French chair.
Rating: I think the most important thing is that nobody got hurt.
Justin Roberts has just been informed that the attendance at the University of Phoenix Stadium is 72,219. Justin Roberts failed to say who or what made up that number. Sure, 72,219 people is impressive, but what if a few thousand of those people were ducks? I would be less impressed. Ducks don't have that kind of money. I bet they got comp tickets.
The attendance celebration culminates with a fireworks display from the outside of the stadium and the WrestleMania wigwam situated within the stadium. For a second there, I thought Triple H won a second and third unannounced, unseen match.
World Heavyweight Championship Match
Chris Jericho (c) vs. Edge
Break the WrestleMania Aztec pyramid down. Also, don't break the WrestleMania Aztec pyramid down. WrestleMania XXVI is not finished yet. Slightly vandalize the WrestleMania Aztec pyramid so that it is ruined, but still freestanding. Michael Cole announces that Chris Jericho is a six-time world champion and a nine-time Intercontinental Champion. Obviously, Cole is forgetting that Chris Jericho was on Celebrity Duets, too. At the same time, Matt Striker wonders if Edge is genetically coded to physically break down. I wonder if Celebrity Duets will get a second season.
I think I know Edge, but Edge thinks that I will never know Edge. If I could only get Edge to open up a bit about himself and his personal life, I would know him better. Alas, he is a mystery that I cannot solve, like a puzzle with a missing piece. Coming down to the ring in his rock star trench coat and red tights, Cole informs us that Edge is a nine-time world champion. With all these former champions running around, I'm infected. Now, I am a three-time world champion.
- Edge plants Jericho with a faceplant and positions himself in the corner, waiting for the Spear. Before Edge can take a full run at him, Jericho sidesteps Edge and leaves the ring. Once Edge returns Jericho to the ring, Chris kicks him in the chest and sends him to the floor with a baseball slide. The baseball slide reminds me of a great player known as Pete Rose, but not because he was a baseball player. I bet one hundred bucks that Jericho would do a baseball slide in this match. These winnings are for you, Charlie Hustle.
- Jericho continues his offense by suplexing Edge gut-first onto the top rope. After attempting his turnbuckle dropkick, Edge evades the move, bounces off the ropes, and sort of spears Jericho to the outside. In the corner, Edge and Jericho proceed to climb the turnbuckles. Edge gains the advantage and takes Jericho down with a face-buster suplex for a two-count. Perhaps it was the Edge-O-Cution, but I am not Edge-U-Cated enough to tell.
- Jerry Lawler has a personal friend who never recovered fully from his Achilles tendon injury for his entire life. Jerry Lawler has never recovered fully from his sparkly t-shirt injury for his entire life.
- Jericho's first attempt at a Codebreaker is spoiled by Edge, who rams him backwards into the corner. At the opposite corner, Edge prepares to spear him, but gets caught in the Walls of Jericho instead. Following a small package pin attempt by Edge, Jericho bounces off the ropes for the Lionsault and lands on his feet. Edge gets behind him and slams him down with the Edge-O-Matic. When I first heard about the Edge-O-Matic, I said, "Finally, a WWE Superstar has made a food processor that I can actually use." Thanks for nothing, Edge. I'm stuck eating entire stalks of celery here.
- Off the middle turnbuckle, Jericho Superman punches Edge in the back of the head. Edge crawls to the corner, leading Jericho to set up his version of the Spear. To my dismay, Jericho's version of the Spear is a kick by Edge to his face. He's doing it wrong. With Jericho down, Edge prepares his WrestleMania-sized Spear. Edge's WrestleMania-sized Spear turns out to be a Codebreaker executed by Chris Jericho for a near-three count. They're both doing it wrong.
- Out of frustration, Jericho attacks Edge's healed Achilles tendon and puts him in the Walls of Jericho in the center of the ring. Matt Striker urges viewers to touch their Achilles tendon at home and feel how tender it is. I recently hurt my lady parts. Your call, ladies. Edge almost crawls to the ropes to break the submission hold, but Jericho drags him back and pulls off a single leg crab. Lance Storm is smiling right now, yet wants to know how his smile is building to the next Pay-Per-View.
- At ringside, Jericho grabs his World Heavyweight Title before Edge drags him back to the ring. Edge pulls Jericho up onto the ring apron, only for Jericho to drop Edge’s throat onto the top rope. Edge’s momentum sends his backwards, his hand accidentally hitting the referee in the face. The momentary distraction allows Jericho to hit Edge with the belt. Kicking out of the pin attempt, Edge hops on one leg and eats a Codebreaker that gives Jericho the win. Hopping on one leg gets you nowhere. If you see a rabbit hopping on one leg, he is a failure.
- As payback for Jericho's victory, Edge goes crazy and dismantles both announce tables. Jericho struggles to stand on the Spanish announce table. He turns around and sees Edge, who runs from the American English announce table to the Spanish announce table, spearing him through the barricade. I want to think that Edge was aiming to send Jericho through a non-existent, Chinese announce table to make him more cultured, but he just wanted to hurt him. That's not nice.
Yoshi Tatsu wins the WrestleMania XXVI Pre-Show Battle Royal
Yoshi Tatsu won the WrestleMania XXVI Pre-Shot Battle Royal. Were you aware?
10-Diva Tag Team Match
Vickie Guerrero, Michelle McCool, Layla, Maryse, and Alicia Fox vs. Beth Phoenix, Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres, Gail Kim, and Mickie James
First, Vickie Guerrero and her tag team partners make their WrestleMania entrance. Each Diva does a pose: Alicia Fox pretends she is a sexy, African-American panther; Michelle McCool and Layla turn the wrong way; Vickie Guerrero is Bret Hart; Maryse flips her hair. Four audience members hold up a sign that reads, "Bring Out The Divas." Oh, you fans with your reasonable dreams.
Next, Beth Phoenix and her crew try to trump the first set of poses with their own. Mickie blows a kiss to the audience; Kelly Kelly points to the sky, Beth Phoenix holds an imaginary Terry’s Chocolate Orange; Gail Kim is Korean Shawn Michaels; Eve Torres puts one hand on her hip. The winner of this pose down is Beth Phoenix's team. Beth is a rare human being who appreciates an unbroken Terry’s Chocolate Orange.
- In the corner, Beth, Eve, Gail, and Mickie tag in and out, attacking a screaming Vickie Guerrero. Mickie tags Kelly, who chokes Vickie with her sneaker. In celebration of the sneaker choke, Kelly turns to the crowd and says, "Come on!" In response, Vickie yells in her face, disagreeing with Kelly's point of view. Vickie asks Kelly if she knows who Vickie is. Kelly responds by kicking her in the gut, stepping on her back, and connecting with a leg drop to the back of Vickie's head. This is one of the more entertaining episodes of Charlie Rose in public television history.
- Kelly's pin attempt is interrupted by Michelle McCool. She too disagrees with Kelly's viewpoint and takes her down with a Styles Clash. Mickie James defends the honour of Kelly Kelly and takes McCool out with her Mickie DDT. Layla defends the honour of Michelle McCool and takes Mickie out with a neckbreaker. Gail Kim defends the honour of Mickie James with her inverted stomp facebreaker. Maryse defends the honour of Layla with the French Kiss. Eve defends the honour of not connecting with a move by grazing Maryse with a running senton. Alicia Fox defends the honour of connecting with a move by connecting with an axe kick to Eve. Beth Phoenix promotes slamming women in a glamourous fashion with a Glam Slam on Alicia Fox. How come female wrestlers get knocked out with one move, WWE? Is it because they're
- Beth looks to finish off Vickie, who prays in the corner. As Beth gets her hands on Vickie, she turns around and eats Michelle McCool's boot. Michelle tells Vickie that she can act like a frog. Gaining confidence from Michelle McCool, Vickie climbs to the top turnbuckle, salutes Eddie Guerrero, drops to a standing position, then falls on top of Kelly Kelly. Matt Striker calls it "The Bullfrog Splash." I call it "If You Say So, Matt Striker." Vickie rolls Kelly up for the pin. The referee is about to count to three, but notices that Kelly's right shoulder is off the mat. Everyone is confused for a second before Vickie pins Kelly again for the win. I'm glad we're spending quality time together. Let's build a small birdhouse in a bottle after this review.
WWE Championship Match
Batista (c) vs. John Cena
Justin Roberts announces that the following match is set for one fall and is for the WWE Championship. Batista's entrance theme says, "Yeah." For once, Justin Roberts and Batista's entrance theme can agree on something. Batista jaw-jacks with the entire crowd, then points at himself to trigger a fireworks display and a spotlight. When you can trigger fireworks displays and spotlights just by pointing at yourself, leave your transparent machine guns at home.
In a game of entrance one-upmanship, the U.S. Air Force Honour Guard Drill Team show off their rifle-twirling skills. This brief drill is called "Bring Out The Impatient Guy In The Orange Shirt." Seconds later, John Cena appears, salutes everyone, and sprints down the ramp. The U.S. Air Force Honour Guard Drill Team sure know how to introduce impatient guys in orange shirts. I would use them on Tuesdays (Orange Shirt Day), but I am often patient throughout that day.
- In the corner, John Cena attacks Batista with rights and lefts to the midsection. In my opinion, Cena should refrain from hitting Batista in the midsection. Prior to the opening bell, Batista ate a ton of fishsticks. Batista does not take to kindly to Cena's punches. He whips Cena into the opposite corner and clotheslines him in the back of the head. Batista dips his fishsticks in tartar sauce.
- Cena counters Batista's suplex into one of his own. The difference between Cena and Batista's suplex is that Cena over rotates to the point where Batista almost injures both of his legs and tailbone upon landing. I bet Cena has never tried fishsticks. He shouldn't judge.
- Cena picks up Batista for the Attitude Adjustment. In turn, Batista reverses the fireman's carry into a DDT that almost cracks Cena's skull for a near-three count. Captain Highliner taught Batista that move.
- Batista puts Cena in a rear naked choke in the middle of the ring. Using Gillette Fusion Power, Cena stands up while still caught in the hold before separating Batista's hands. As both wrestlers engage in what looks to be a practice session for the next season of Dancing With The Stars, Batista kicks Cena in the back. Batista does not need a dance partner. He will dance alone.
- Draining more of his Gillette Fusion Power, Cena escapes Batista's front facelock with a back bodydrop. He runs through his sequence of shoulder blocks and a spin out powerbomb, then fixes a tie that isn't there. Of course, the crowd boos him because they appreciate tangible ties over metaphorical ones. As Cena bounces off the ropes for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, Batista gets up and hits him with a spinebuster. Batista hates metaphorical ties. Why straighten them when they're not even there?
- Batista positions Cena for the Batista Bomb. Cena trips him up and slaps on the STF. Cena is holding Batista so tight in the STF that Batista can shake his head all the way from one side to the other. Eventually, Batista reaches the ropes and spears Cena for a two count. Batista speared Cena so well that John has chosen to nap in the corner.
- Cena wins a test of strength on the middle turnbuckle by head-butting and shoving his opponent to the mat. Audience members rise to their feet as Cena comes off the top turnbuckle with a Five Knuckle Shuffle, except he didn't shuffle. For the first time in his career, John Cena has disappointed me. Cena lifts Batista up for the Attitude Adjustment, but Batista grabs the top rope, drops to his feet in the center of the ring, and nails the Batista Bomb for a near pinfall. His opened-mouth look of utter disbelief at the near pinfall has changed the way I think about life forever.
- After Batista blocks several attempts at the Attitude Adjustment, Cena finally executes one for a two count. Once again, Cena climbs to the top turnbuckle. As Cena comes down with some sort of move, Batista counters it into a sit-out spinebuster — the same move that injured Cena's neck at Summerslam 2008. Looking to take Cena out with another Batista Bomb, Cena counters and gets Batista to tap to the STF. Cena has proven that twirling rifles are cool. Fishsticks are not.
- Cena celebrates his ninth world title reign by posing with Cena haters at ringside. The ultimate underdog has done it. He has won back the title that was made for him.
Career vs. Streak
Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker
At WrestleMania XXV, the seeds were planted for this main event matchup. At the same time, I planted the seeds to grow a bunch of trees in my backyard. As this rematch happens, I am planning to leave the room and see if those trees are fully grown. On second thought, forget about it. I never planted those seeds in the first place. I was watching the WrestleMania XXV match between The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels at the time. Should I plant them this year? No? Wrestling doesn't want me to help the Earth.
He thinks he's cute (possibly for the last time). He thinks he's sexy (possibly for the last time). He's got the looks that drives the girls wild (not anymore, but those girls are older and less attractive anyway). Shawn Michaels walks down the aisle with a black and white, ill-fitting tribal vest. Due to this unfortunate wardrobe mishap, the WrestleMania celebration cylinder wants to make it up to him. The WrestleMania celebration cylinder lowers itself as Shawn does his trademark pose twice.
This WrestleMania, The Undertaker rises from the entrance ramp, surrounded by a cone of laser lights. His entrance attire consists of a sleeveless, leather trench coat, complete with hood. Michelle McCool must have started a online, hooded coat business. He doesn't like the idea himself, but he can't tell her that. She will get mad.
"This coat was good, but it's better with a hood, right?" says Michelle.
"Wow. How about that?" says The Undertaker.
- The Undertaker goes Old School on Shawn Michaels. Everybody knows that going Old School hurts your left knee, except The Undertaker who ends up favouring his knee. Shawn blocks his Chokeslam attempt and goes Middle School on his knee.
- Limping around the ring, Shawn Michaels raises his foot for Sweet Chin Music. At the last second, The Undertaker sees Shawn’s raised boot and backs away. A brief chase around the ring ensues before Shawn goes Ivy League School on his opponent's knee in the corner.
- With Shawn Michaels on the outside, The Undertaker looks to pull off his annual suicide dive. He bounces off the ropes, but Michaels slides back into the ring and attacks the knee again. The Undertaker shows his appreciation for the attack by following Shawn to the outside and driving his back into the ring post. At some point in this match, Shawn should express his interest in purchasing some of Michelle's hooded coats.
- Back in the ring, Shawn continues to abuse The Undertaker's knee with a Figure Four Leg Lock. Every so often, The Undertaker sits up with a furious look on his face before lying back in agony. He knows that Shawn doesn't want to buy any hooded coats, so he shouldn't bother feigning interest in Michelle's business. The Undertaker manages to roll over and reverse the submission, forcing Shawn to break the hold.
- The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels trade punches while Michael Cole reminds us that The Undertaker is the best pure striker in WWE. Matt Striker is second, though he would have been first if it wasn't for all those impure things he did a few years ago.
- Michaels' kip up is met with a Chokeslam for two count. "Is the career over? Is the career over?" asks an excited Michael Cole. No, it is not. Charles Robinson has many WrestleManias left in the tank. The Undertaker follows the Chokeslam up with a Tombstone attempt, but Michaels is able to roll through and put him in an Ankle Lock. I know somebody used this submission move in WWE before. Although, I don't remember who it was. I'm going to say that Shawn Michaels has used this move and the Crossface for the entire time. That seems like the right answer.
- At ringside, The Undertaker catches Shawn Michaels in mid-air and tombstone pile-drives him onto the floor. In response to this great move, WWE shows us the entranceway, where no WrestleMania main event match is occurring. Nevertheless, they have themselves a mighty fine entranceway.
- In the ring, The Undertaker takes Michaels up for the Last Ride. Before both men fall back to the mat, Shawn grabs The Undertaker's hair and drives his head to the canvas. Billy Kidman and X-Pac thank him. Seconds later, Shawn leaps from the top rope for an elbow drop, but The Undertaker gets his knees up for the block. The story of this match is that The Undertaker wants Shawn to injure his knees so he can skip the Hooded Coat Expo in three weeks.
- The Undertaker catches Shawn Michaels in Hell's Gate. Michaels flips over him and gets a two count. When both men rise to their feet, Michaels stands back and hits Sweet Chin Music for a two-and-a-half count. Soon enough, the Undertaker hits the Last Ride for a two-count. Shawn is twelve pin attempts away from getting a 2.89 count, which WWE will round to a 2.9. The Undetaker needs more pins.
- Back at ringside, The Undertaker dismantles the American-English announce table and lifts Shawn up for the Last Ride. Michaels escapes out of the move, takes one step back, and nails The Undertaker with a second Sweet Chin Music. Because he is Mr. WrestleMania, Shawn Michaels is legally obligated to moonsault off the top rope onto The Undertaker's injured knee, breaking the table. Moves that make sense are cool.
- A third Sweet Chin Music fails to give Shawn the win. Matt Striker asks, "Where else will you find this kind of emotion, this kind of passion? It only happens at WrestleMania." If you know the answer, don't ask me the question. Matt Striker is now the third best pure striker in WWE. In his place is nothing, but he doesn't deserve second place anymore.
- The Undertaker cannot believe that Shawn Michaels just kicked out of the Tombstone again. Unfortunately, his look of frustration is not as amazing as the wide-eyed stare he had last year. Pulling his straps down, The Undertaker shrugs his shoulders. Showing sympathy for his opponent, he asks Michaels to stay down. Michaels climbs him, stares up, and drags his thumb against his throat. After Michaels slaps him in the face, The Undertaker freaks out and hits a jumping Tombstone. Shawn Michaels career is over.
- After the match, The Undertaker and Shawn shake hands and hug. Shawn waves goodbye to the WrestleMania crowd and says that he is going to drive his kids nuts in three weeks. I am willing to congratulate Shawn Michaels on a fantastic career, but I don't think a parent is supposed to drive his children's nuts anywhere. They should be attached to his children.
Being itself was all that WrestleMania XXVI could do.