WrestleMania is, and always will be, the biggest wrestling show in the history of the business. From its inception in 1985 to the current trend for large stadiums (every ‘Mania since 2007 has had more than 70,000 in attendance), WrestleMania has been the pinnacle of professional wrestling, the one show where everybody wants on the card and the one show where your career can be made in a single moment.
For this, the twenty-seventh event held under the banner, the potential for a new beginning in WWE was laid out. Alberto Del Rio, who had been telling us that the World Championship is his destiny and, after winning the Royal Rumble, this was his chance to fulfil that destiny. On the other side of the WWE fence, The Miz was given the chance to show the world he belongs in the main event as WWE Champion. We also had another man take a crack at the Undertaker’s undefeated streak as Triple H stepped up to try and do what his best friend failed to do for two years straight and what he has already failed to achieve once before (although, rather strangely, WWE omitted EVERY reference to what is considered one of Undi’s best WM bouts in the pre-match hype).
All of this would be enough to garner the attention of the fans, but there was a huge icing on the cake as The Great One himself, The Rock, would be on hosting duties.
WrestleMania, my dear friends, was about to become ELECTRIFYING!!
Running Time: 517mins (8hrs 37mins – including extras)
- Keri Hilson sings “America the Beautiful”
- WrestleMania Host The Rock
- World Heavyweight Championship: Edge v Alberto Del Rio
- Rey Mysterio v ‘Dashing’ Cody Rhodes
- Snoop Dogg is in the house
- Kane, Big Show, Santino Marella & Kofi Kingston v The Corre
- The Rock with Divas Champion Eve
- Randy Orton v CM Punk
- The Rock with ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund
- WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2011
- Stone Cold Steve Austin as Special Guest Referee: Jerry Lawler v Michael Cole
- No Holds Barred Match: The Undertaker v Triple H
- John Morrison, Trish Stratus & Snooki v Dolph Ziggler & Lay-Cool
- WWE Championship Match: The Miz v John Cena
- WrestleMania 27 Highlights
- Home Video Exclusive – United States Championship Lumberjack Match: Daniel Bryan v Sheamus
- Edge and Alberto Del Rio History
- WWE’s Legendary Moments
- Cena Welcome
- The Austin Era Begins
- A Degenerate Invasion
- The Millennium Man Arrives
- This Is Your Life
- SmackDown Gets “Terminated”
- Cena Intros Rock & Rattlesnake
- Corporate Punishment
- Got Beer?
- Jimmy Cracked… The Boss
- TLC 2
- The Rock Says…
- Game On
- Cena Intros 9/11 Tribute
- A Night To Remember
- Cena Intros WWE Debut
- My Time Is Now
- Y2J Makes History
- Bringing Down The House
- The Face of a Monster
- The Champ is Here
- Cena Intros Billionaires
- The Tale Of A Bald Billionaire
- Viva La Raza
- The Icon v The Great One
- Cashing In
- Two Words: We’re Back!
- Rey Goes The Distance
- You Can’t See Me
- A Rumbling Return
- That’s The Bottom Line
- Legends Collide
- A Hart-Breaking Return
- Shawn Michaels Has Left The Building
- Tribute To The Troops
- Cena Wrap-Up
Disc 3 – 2009 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
- Hacksaw Jim Duggan
- Bullet Bob Armstrong
- Abdullah the Butcher
- The Road Warriors
- Drew Carey
- Shawn Michaels
71,617 people jam-packed the Georgia Dome in Atlanta (the “home” arena of former rival WCW) in anticipation of a stellar event and to see The Rock in full flow as he interacted with the roster on the biggest stage of them all; the first time he had been at a WrestleMania since 2004.
Opening with the traditional singing of the American national anthem, WrestleMania got underway properly as The Rock came out and the sound of almost 72,000 fans coming unglued shook Atlanta to its foundation. The WrestleMania set is usually something special and this one screamed class as it was understated, but let anyone watching know that this event was the big show of the WWE calendar.
Rock cuts a great promo to kick us off (although he almost overshadowed by a woman with the biggest bingo wing you’ll ever see cheering as he disses Cena… even though she’s wearing a Cena t-shirt) and then the WWE production team earn their first dollar of the night with a great little look at the history of WrestleMania.
With no Money in the Bank for the first time since the match was introduced, it was left to the World Heavyweight Championship Match to get the fans off the an exciting start. Alberto Del Rio was one match away from proving himself right and attaining his destiny. Standing in his way in what would be his last match (although no-one knew this at the time) was Edge and a passing of the torch was mooted by virtually everyone who was watching.
The two men had a shorter match than you’d expect, but the 11+ mins of action was on the money for the most part. In the end, the wrong guy won and the post-match crap really took the shine of things as it was ass-backwards to do what they did. On the plus side, Del Rio showed that he belongs in top-level matches (his leap-to-the-top enzuigiri is a work of art) , Ricardo Rodriguez is a fantastic act and Brodus Clay’s timing for his bouts of interference (particularly when he drove Edge’s shoulder in to the ring post near the end) was perfect.
Match two was another encounter that had been built beautifully in the preceding weeks on Smackdown. The transformation of Cody Rhodes from “default Create-A-Wrestler template” to the dark, ahem, disfigured man behind the mask had been nothing short of extraordinary, with the delivery of his promos, his mannerisms and entire act being a revelation. The rivalry with Mysterio came across as totally natural and you could feel the hatred between the two. Thankfully, between the ropes, the contest lived up to the hype. Great sequences, psychology and a well-worked finish left us one hour into the show and two-for-two when it comes to good matches.
WrestleMania has many traditions and one of them is the annual multi-person clusterfunk. This time out is was the turn of Nexus-light (aka The Corre) to take on the quartet comprised of Kane, Big Show, Santino Marella and Kofi Kingston (replacing the injured Koslov). The one thing most (if not all) WWE eight-man tags have is a fast-paced finishing sequence where everyone hits their finish in rapid succession. The booking team must’ve realised that this is the usually the most well-received part of these type of matches because, in this instance, it was THE ENTIRE MATCH.
Too short to be offensive, this was the perfect follow-up to the two matches we had previously and left us with a trifecta of matches that have been enjoyable to watch. Sure, it would’ve been nice to have allowed The Corre a chance to shine, but every ‘Mania has the quick-fire win and this was the perfect match to have it happen.
In match four, Punk v Orton had the chance to steal the show. Based on a rare show of long-term continuity, this rivalry came about when Punk sought revenge of Orton for costing him his first World Championship almost two years earlier during a backstage assault. Also, in a rare show of forward-thinking, WWE had Orton run through Punk’s lackeys (and eliminated all of them) in the weeks leading up to the big show. A one-on-one match with no outside interference is what we ended up with and both men exceeded themselves and gave us almost 15mins of fantastic wrestling action. The exchanges were crisp, the near-falls believable and the finish absolutely perfect. Match of the night so far and the great
To give the fans a breather, we had the traditional parade of the HoF inductees onto the stage, with HBK being the rightful star of the segment and Drew Carey getting booed by the fans for basically doing nothing to earn his ring.
From the new batch of Hall-of-famers to an old alumni, as the Announcer Grudge Match was match number five on the card. Now, there is not a person alive who expected Michael Cole v Jerry Lawler to match the in-ring level of the other matches on the card. Basically, what we expected was ‘The King’ to finally get revenge on Michael Cole and shut him up for good. Of course, Cole had to get some offence in and the presence of Jack Swagger at ringside easily facilitated this in a believable manner. However, WWE, in a rather stupid decision, thought that having Cole dominate majority AND have the match run over 13mins was a good idea. Instead, it turned people off and the match became tedious. But at least the right guy won. Oh, that’s right; in another stupid decision, the RAW GM (who should have no power of a PPV) reversed the decision and gave Michael Cole the victory.
Whoever came up with this idea deserves to be kicked in the nuts from now until the end of time. Not even having JR back on commentary alongside Booker T or Austin referreeing could salvage this mess. It’s a shame because Cole’s pre-match promo was pretty good, his wrestling attire was perfect for his character and just having Lawler destroy him would’ve made everybody happy. The man I feel most sorry for is Jack Swagger for being dragged into it in the first place.
Any match following the previous debacle would seem like a classic, but having Undertaker v Triple H follow it was a stroke of luck/genius. The fans would’ve been totally bummed out, so the prospect of a level of brutality far exceeding anything seen so far lifted them straight back up. Out first, Hunter’s entrance to Metallica while dressed as Shao Khan from Mortal Kombat was cut disappointingly short, but it was still pretty damn sweet to witness. Undertaker’s entrance was, unusually for him at the event, rather subdued, however the atmosphere and anticipation for them locking up was off the charts.
From the moment Undertaker made his hugely hyped return, only for Triple H to make his long-awaited return and interrupt Taker (with them having one of the most compelling segments to set up a match – and not a single word was spoken either) to the build towards Atlanta (the sit-down interview with Shawn Michaels and the in-ring segment with Undertaker, HBK and HHH are sublime), this was the match most people wanted to see. WWE’s production team earned another bonus with the Mark Collie track ‘In Time’ being the perfect soundtrack to the rivalry.
The match itself wasn’t a wrestling match so much as an out-and-out brawl where they just hammered each other with whatever they could lay their hands on. Early highlights were the destruction of the Cole-Mine, a backdrop from the US announce table to the floor and a stunning spinebuster through the Spanish table that had to be seen to be believed.
The psychology (considering it was on spot to another with no real transitional segments) was spot on and both men sold the kick-outs of the other to perfection. Add in THE most amazing near fall you’re likely to see (virtually everyone thought the streak was finally over and the cheer when Undertaker kicked out of Triple H’s tombstone was deafening – Hunter’s reaction was beautiful) and a stunning finish and you have the match of the night by far.
Of course, by having such an awesome encounter with such an awesome ending, whatever followed was always going to have a hard time in making an impression. Thankfully, the six-person match was kept short and Snookie (who is positively tiny – about the same height as the top rope) executed a frankly stunning double-backflip corner elbow (actually a butt-bump) to win the bout… and turn a chorus of booing into cheers in the process. As with the eight-man before, Dolph and Morrison were wasted in the one brief exchange they had, but at least they got on the show and had a nice pay day to go with it.
As is the norm at recent WrestleManias for the final three matches, we have a huge bout followed by a quick “piss-break” bout and then the show-closing contest. This time out it was the turn of The Miz to enter for his first WrestleMania main-event… and as WWE Champion to boot.
For the final time tonight, the WWE production staff earned their bonus by putting together two utterly fantastic video packages for champion and challenger that put across the parallels of both men and their quest to attain the top title in WWE. The Miz’s in particular is a bona-fide work of art (from the idea of the video, the choice of the song over the top, the soundbites and, crucially, the fact Miz was correct in everything he said – the backbone of a great heel). Unfortunately, due to the pre-show history also including The Rock, everyone knew this match wouldn’t end until The Great One appeared, rendering every near fall as decidedly worthless.
The match itself was pretty good, but the first finish sucked all the air out of it and The Rock’s frankly mediocre contribution ended the night on a rather sour note. It’s a shame as this had the potential to end things on a major high and undid all the good work from most of the matches that came before it.
Oh, and I said that the production staff earned the final bonus earlier, but you also have to take your hat off to the fact they can put together a highlight package of such quality mere moments after the show comes to a close. It’s genuinely amazing they can edit and have it ready so quickly.
Disc 2 is packed with extras and is worthy of WrestleMania status. First up is match that was bumped from the main card and then turned into a worthless, but traditional ‘Mania Battle Royal – Daniel Bryan v Sheamus for the US Title. That this happened to a title match (and one that was heavily pushed featuring two of the guys WWE should be setting up for the future) is, frankly, a disgrace and WWE should be ashamed of themselves for doing it.
We also get a recap of the entire Edge/Del Rio feud, which is a nice filler before a rundown of Legendary moments in WWE closes out disc 2. The rundown is 90mins of moments from WWE’s history and is one of the best bonuses a WWE DVD has ever had, to the point that having it released on its own wouldn’t have been a surprise. The only gripe is that there’s nothing from before 1998.
The third disc is devoted entirely to the Hall of Fame ceremony and the inductions of Hacksaw, Abdullah, Sunny and HBK are the obvious highlights in a ceremony that lacked the “oomph” of previous years.
This was a really good WrestleMania, with only the Michael Cole v Jerry Lawler match and the finish to the main-event dragging things down from an in-ring perspective. The Rock was generally wasted as a guest host and the backstage segments with him and Mae Young, Pee-Wee Herman and Eve were lame (although is face off with Austin was great). The segment with Snoop Dogg was inoffensive enough and William Regal showed off his vastly underrated comic side into the bargain.
The extras are top-notch, especially the Legendary Moments countdown (possibly the best extra they’ve done for a DVD release) and the HoF ceremony is always worth a viewing. It also has to be said that Sunny is looking fantastic these days.
Even for those who watched the PPV, this is well worth the asking price.
As normal, the Blu-Ray version has everything the DVD set does, but also includes the pre-WrestleMania editions of RAW and Smackdown.