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Dark Pegasus Video Review: WrestleMania XXVI

June 8, 2010 | Posted by J.D. Dunn
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Dark Pegasus Video Review: WrestleMania XXVI  

WrestleMania XXVI
by J.D. Dunn
Twitter.com/jddunn411
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  • March 28, 2010
  • Live from Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Matt Striker.

  • Pre-Show Battle Royal.
    Your participants are Mark Henry, Shad Gaspard, JTG, Santino Marella, Yoshi Tatsu, Goldust, Primo, Funaki, Jimmy Wang Yang, Finlay, William Regal, Carlito, the Great Khali, Mike Knox, Tyson Kidd, David Hart Smith, Vance Archer, Caylon Croft, Trent Baretta, Zack Ryder, Luke Gallows, Tyler Reks, Vladimir Kozlov, Jesse, Chris Masters and Chavo Guerrero. Primo goes immediately as does Jesse. Mark Henry tosses Croft and Baretta and then throws Chavo out on top of them. Khali sneaks up on Henry and tosses him only to have a gaggle of wrestlers team up to eliminate him. Shad and JTG clothesline Gallows out before Shad turns on JTG and dumps him. FORESHADOWING! Masters starts putting everyone in the Masterlock, but Vance Archer boots him over the top. Kozlov tosses both Hart Dynasty members before Knox dumps him. There goes Funaki. Funaki still works here? There goes Reks. Santino busts out THE MOTHERFUCKING COBRA! COBRA-LALALALALALA! Finlay dumps him, drawing boos. Archer sends Yang to the floor but stops to gloat and gets dropkicked out by Tatsu. Hornswoggle tosses Finlay the shillelagh so he can knock Knox silly. Ah, Finlay’s back in the crowd’s good graces. He clotheslines Carlito out and lofts Finlay onto his shoulders. Ryder dumps them both from behind. That leaves Tatsu and Ryder. Tatsu gives him a back kick, clotheslines him to the apron and finishes him with the roundhouse kick around 10:00 in. Oh, Zack Ryder. You’re cool, but you’re not four-popped-collars cool. Yoshi Tatsu? Really? Tatsu won a battle royal… at WrestleMania? Nothing against Tatsu, but wow. What promotion am I watching again? I small, high-flying Japanese woman wins in the WWE? Was Vince not paying attention? I think it must just be an excuse to play his music. **

  • Well, that happened.
  • Opening Match, Unified Tag Titles: Big Show & Miz vs. R-Truth & John Morrison.
    The usual formula applies here. Miz gets his ass kicked, but Show comes in and tosses guys around like a rag doll. Miz and Morrison barely have a chance to renew acquaintances. Show saves Miz from Starship Pain and rams Truth into the post. Morrison goes for Flying Chuck, but Show blind tags himself in and knocks Morrison silly for the win at… 3:23? How epic. Sweet but short. *

  • Triple Threat: Randy Orton vs. Ted Dibiase vs. Cody Rhodes.
    Rhodes and Dibiase are on the same side here, which just screws everything up because Cody is superfluous. They should have either done the final break-up here as part of a six-man or something or just did Ted vs. Randy. Randy cleans house early, which the fans love. Legacy takes over on him through the NUMBERS GAME, though. Cody turns on Ted after a few boring minutes. To the floor, Cody and Ted pummel each other. Striker: “Perhaps a future WrestleMania main event right here.” Don’t even joke about that. If you pay $60.00 for Rhodes vs. Dibiase, they should probably throw in a free vasectomy just for the sake of mankind. Randy uses the opening to hit a double rope-assisted DDT. He kicks Cody silly and counters Dream Street to the RKO for the win at 9:00. At least this gave Ted a new direction, which he desperately needed after looking like a goof in this match. No one cares if Cody looks like a goof, but jeez, don’t screw up Ted. *3/4

  • Vickie Guerrero and her teammates show up to cut a promo. Vickie’s warm-ups say, “Excuse me.” You know, I actually got hate mail when I suggested that as a merchandise item a few years ago. Santino Marella shows up to shill Slim Jims. Hey, you didn’t think they were producing the show on the $6 million gate or the hundreds of thousands of PPV buys, did you?
  • Money in the Bank: Kane vs. Jack Swagger vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Matt Hardy vs. Evan Bourne vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Christian vs. Drew McIntyre.
    I reiterate my suggestion that they change this annual match to be for the U.S. Title and use the MitB stipulations year-round. Drew waits for the ring to clear out and grabs a ladder. Cole: “Drew McIntyre trying to go through the back door once again.” Oh, that would explain so much. Everyone teams up against him. Evan goes up and gets a hand on the case, but Kane yanks him off and chokeslams him onto a pile of guys. Christian monkeyflips Kofi into the ladder. All the black guys team up against Kane. Shelton and MVP pin him to the corner as Kofi tries to run up. Sadly, he stumbles a bit but still gets close enough for Kane to grab him and powerbomb him. Swagger starts swinging the ladder, but Evan jumps off the top and knocks it into his face. Matt and Christian pin Swagger under the ladder and ram him with more ladders. Evan joins them on the ladder, and they all go up. Swagger makes Matt pay by yanking the ladder platform out from under him. That allows Bourne to knock Christian to the canvas and hit the Shooting Star Press. He’s stupid for even trying that off a shaky ladder. I salute him. Matt returns and hiptosses Bourne off the ladder. Crazy. MVP tries to powerbomb Shelton but gets ranad to the floor. That leaves Ziggler and Kane. Ziggler tries to scramble over him, but Kane shoves the ladder over and then crushes him in between. Kofi kicks it into Kane’s face, breaking the ladder in half. He tries to use the separate parts as stilts. Now that’s just silly, especially since there’s a good ladder leaning up against the ring. The fans are rooting for him, though, and Kofi almost gets somewhere resembling close to the case before Drew McIntyre returns to knock him off. Matt crotches Drew on the top rope to a big pop. Matt and Christian battle Kane off, leaving only Christian standing. Swagger catches him, though, and they fight on top. Swagger smashes the case into Christian’s face, allowing him to retrieve the case at 14:17. Swagger’s a good enough choice, even though he was persona non grata in the weeks leading up to this. The eight-man format is showing itself to be a bit unwieldy for storytelling. Instead, it’s just a carwreck. ***

  • Recap of the WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony and the inductees for 2010. Bob Eucker looks like the illegitimate love child of Ric Flair and Bob Barker.
  • Triple H vs. Sheamus.
    Did Triple H purposely go out and get a darker tan just to piss Sheamus off? Honestly, I thought this would be a total stinker, but it’s not too bad thanks to Hunter sticking to a good storyline: “Sheamus just isn’t that good yet.” Hunter is always one step ahead, suckering Sheamus into silly moves, countering blatantly telegraphed moves, and generally just making an ass out of him. Sheamus finally resorts to tripsickery, ramming Hunter into the steps to take over. I refer you back to the non-kayfabe version of the storyline for a review of Sheamus’ control portion: “Sheamus just isn’t that good yet.” Hunter hits a DDT to come back. Sad moment as Sheamus runs from across the ring and for a moment I think Hunter calls “facebuster” but it turns out it’s just a fan in the crowd calling it way before it happens. You know what would help there? If someone were to start countering that clichéd move. They go into the Pedigree reversal sequence, and Sheamus hits the Bicycle Kick. It only gets two. Hunter gets two off the spinebuster, but Sheamus boots him in the head. Hunter plays dead for a good 30 seconds, but it was just a Bret Hart-like sucker job as Sheamus hauls him up only to have Hunter pop up and hit the Pedigree at 12:08. I’ll say this for Sheamus, he did a better job against Hunter than Randy Orton did last year. **3/4

  • It has now been about an hour since I saw Yoshi Tatsu win a battle royal at WrestleMania, and it still hasn’t quite sunk in.
  • For Rey’s Immortal Soul: CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio.
    As great and creepy as the “Happy Birthday” skit was, WWE post production makes it look that much better. N’avi Rey for this show. G.I. Joe look for Punk. Punk takes advantage of Gallows’ distraction, but Rey lifts himself out of the tree-of-woe. Punk crotches himself. Punk catches Rey trying the slidy trick and smashes him on the steps. Nice sequence as Punk blocks Rey’s huracanrana and ENDS HIM with a roundhouse kick. Rey responds with the slick, quebrada DDT that he used to bust out with Eddy Guerrero. In this case, he actually uses Punk’s arm to make him DDT himself. Serena and Gallows cut off the 619, but Rey counters the Go2Sleep to a huracanrana, sending Punk into Gallows. That sets up the 619 and the springboard splash at 6:29. Tight six minutes of action here. I’m glad this feud wound up getting extended because it’s been one of the best, if not the best, in-ring series this year. ***1/2

  • No Holds Barred: Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon.
    Before the match, Vince admits to screwing Bret one more time by buying off the Hart Family. Oh, but it’s a classic double swerve as the Harts took the money but double-crossed Vince. BAZINGA! The Harts act as lumberjacks – hey, how appropriate – keeping Vince in the ring or just dragging him out and kicking the shit out of him on their own. Sick Hart Attack on the outside bounces Vince’s head off the floor. And it didn’t even look as cool as it could have. Vince grabs a crowbar to fight them all off, but he swings at Bret like a doddering old man. Bret ducks and kicks the crap out of him even more. Bruce hands Bret the crowbard. No. Holds. Crowbarred. Sharpshooter? No. Nut stomp. Nut stomp. Chairshots. Chairshot. Chairshot. At this point, it’s getting uncomfortable and, worse yet, boring. It’s like watching a snuff film where the assailant wears hot pink wrist bands. Sharpshooter ends the misery at 11:08. Catharsis. Pathos. Other Greek words. That’s all this was. Neither guy can really work a match, so this is about what people expected. Most of the “WWE Universe” got over Montreal long ago. 3/4*

  • World Heavyweight Title: Chris Jericho vs. Edge.
    Edge goes for the spear early, but Jericho ducks to the floor. He suckers Edge in and catapults his throat on the bottom rope to take over. Shinni no make follows. Ask him! Ask him! Jericho misses a charge and posts himself. The brawl to the top where Edge hits a sitout gourdbuster for two. Jericho rolls through a crossbody for two, but Edge blocks the Walls of Jericho. Edge blocks the Codebreaker and sets up for the spear. Jericho leaps over him and schoolboys him into the Walls of Jericho. Big pop for that. Edge makes the ropes and avoids the Lionsault. Edge-O-Matic! ONE, TWO, TH-NO! Jericho forearms Edge in the back of the head. Jericho sets up in the corner. SPEA-NO! Edge just boots him in the face. Now, Edge sets up. SPEA-NO! CODEBREAKER! Jericho goes to work on the ankle, which he probably should have started with. WALLS OF JERICHO! Edge. Just. Makes. The ropes. A Cactus Clothesline takes them both over. Jericho grabs the belt, “inadvertently” knocks down the ref, and hits Edge with the belt. ONE, TWO, TH-NO! Edge staggers to his feet but eats the Codebreaker at 15:46. This received a lot of praise, but I thought it was pretty slow and plodding, considering the talent involved. They did a nice job building to the false finishes, but then I didn’t really buy many of those either. Good ideas in the match and decent execution, it just seemed to lack a certain intensity that I expect in a classic. ***

  • After the match, a grumpy Edge spears Jericho off the table through the barricade, presaging his heel turn.
  • Recap of Yoshi Tatsu winning the pre-show Battle Royal. Yes. That happened.
  • Eve Torres, Beth Phoenix, Gail Kim, Kelly Kelly & Mickie James vs. Vickie Guerrero, Michelle McCool, Layla, Maryse & Alicia Fox.
    Vickie gets quite a bit of punishment, which she sells like a champ. Everyone starts hitting finishers until Beth is left standing. She goes after a squealing Guerrero, but Michelle knocks Beth to the floor. That sets up the Hogsplash on Kelly Kelly. It’s probably a good thing she lands on her feet first. That gets the pin after a false start at 3:22. Vickie carried the day. 1/2*

  • WWE Heavyweight Title: Batista vs. John Cena.
    Cena’s overly pretentious entrance for the event: the USAF Honor Guard. They get quite scrappy in the opening sequence, which ends when Batista nails him from behind with a lariat. Cena recovers from a big boot and goes for the FU, but Batista counters to a killer DDT. They hit the chinlock because it looks like Cena might really be hurt from that one. Cena powers out, and they slug each other. Batista ends that with a neckbreaker. Cena battles back and goes into the usual, but Batista catches him with the spinebuster to block the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena takes him down into the STF, but they’re near the ropes. Batista hits a short spear for two. They fight on top, and Cena knocks him back for the Super Five Knuckle Shuffle! Batista catches him with the Demonbomb, though. ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! He goes for another, but Cena reverses to the Attitude Adjustment. Batista reverses that to a powerslam, but Cena reverses to the AA! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Cena goes up, but he comes right off into the spinebuster. DEMONBOM—NO! Cena rolls through and reverses to the STF at 13:29. Loved the final sequence with all the reversals and kickouts. I just wish they had more time to set it up. It was like watching Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa back in 1998, slugging homers out of the park. No finesse. No strategy. Just swinging for the fences with finishers. Interesting too, that the two great in-ring workers in the other title match were outshined by the much-maligned big slugs. ***1/2

  • Typically excellent promo package for the main event is marred only by the yellow ointment on the Undertaker’s face after he got burned by in the pyro incident. He looks like a fat kid who went crazy at Der Wienerschnitzel and forgot to wipe off the mustard.
  • Career vs. Streak: The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels.
    Wow. This is probably the most I’ve looked forward to a match and not had a rooting interest for either competitor since Samoa Joe vs. Bryan Danielson at Fight of the Century – or, if you want to stay in the WWE, since Austin vs. Rock at WrestleMania X-7. It’s just about the potential quality. I don’t envy them their task here. Everyone remembers “Who Shot JR?” but very few remember when they did “Who Shot Bobby?” a few years later. For all his obsession, Shawn gets off to a horrible start, getting whipped into the buckle and Snake Eyesed. That sets up a big boot that sends Shawn spinning. Taker’s knee buckles awkwardly, giving Shawn an opening to defend himself. He tries a Crippler Crossface, but Taker is too powerful and counters to a chokeslam. Shawn goes to the knee to counter. Repeat that idea a lot. Taker hits his guillotine legdrop on the outside, but Shawn recovers first and locks in the figure-four leglock. Taker reverses, though. They slug it out, which goes better for Shawn than you might think. Shawn hits the flying forearm and kips up… right into the chokeslam! ONE, TWO, THR-NO! It’s funny to see Undertaker getting progressively more pissed off the more Shawn has success. Taker hauls him up for the Tombstone, but Shawn grabs his leg and reverses to the Anklelock! He even goes all Angle with it and does the scissors. Taker kicks him straight in the face to counter. Yep. That’ll work. To the floor, Shawn tries his Asai Moonsault, but Taker catches him… and TOMBSTONES HIM ON THE FLOOR! SNAKEKILLER PILEDRIVER! Taker convalesces as an EMT runs down to check on Shawn. Taker tosses the EMT aside and rolls Shawn back in. ONE, TWO, THR-NO! Taker picks Shawn up for the Last Ride, but his knee buckles and Shawn is able to counter to the facebuster for two. Shawn goes up for the flying elbowdrop, but Taker gets his knees up. That hurts both guys. Taker drags him down into Hell’s Gate. Shawn flips over into a jackknife roll, forcing Taker to relinquish the hold or be pinned. Shawn hits Sweet Chin Music out of nowhere! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Shawn tunes up the band for another, but Taker cuts him off and DESTROYS HIM with the Last Ride. ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Sick landing on that one. Taker is *really* pissed now and tosses Shawn to the floor. He sets up for a Last Ride through the table, but Shawn slips out and superkicks him onto the table. That sets up Shawn’s signature moonsault that puts Taker through the table (and hits his injured knee in the process). Back in, SWEET CHIN MUSIC! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Both men struggle to their feet. SWEET CHIN –NO! CHOKESLAM! Taker hauls him up and hits the Tombstone. ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! No one can believe it, especially the Undertaker. Taker pulls him to his knees and tells him to stay down in an uncharacteristically merciful moment for the Undertaker. Shawn gives him the throat-slash gesture and slaps him in the face, in effect committing career suicide and demanding Taker kill him (metaphorically speaking, of course). Taker yanks him up and delivers the jumping Tombstone for the win at 23:58. Rising to, and even exceeding the quality of last year’s match. This had the added emotion of the stipulations and, as far as I could see, no significant botches or down stretches. This reminded me so much of those classic Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Toshiaki Kawada classics from the 1990s. The psychology, build and pacing were very All Japan while the characterizations were straight WWE. The best of both worlds, the perfect blend, and the results are nearly a perfect match. *****

  • After the match, Shawn shakes Taker’s hand and gives him a hug. The fans and announcers give Shawn a standing ovation as he tearfully says goodbye.
  • The 411: The usual big-arena WrestleMania complaints apply – way too much pomp & circumstance while many of the matches that could have been epics have been squeezed down. Still most of the matches delivered what they promised, and the main event is arguably the best in WWE history.

    Thumbs way up.

    411 Elite Award
    Final Score:  8.5   [ Very Good ]  legend

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