Wednesday, 6 April 2011

WWE Wrestlemania 27 on Sky Box Office - TV Review

It was the biggest show of the year, the grand-daddy of them all, but did it live up to expectations? That was what I was hoping to find out by watching WWE’s Wrestlemania 27, shown live in the early hours of this past Monday morning on Sky Box Office here in Britain.

After someone I’ve never heard of sang “America the Beautiful”, and after an overlong promo from the Rock it was on to the opening match as Alberto Del Rio challenged Edge for the World title.

While it was surprising to see Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler at their commentary positions it was also surprising to see the second most important title in the company defended in the opening match.

The match itself was a solid and very enjoyable affair. Both men put in good performances here, with ADR in particular looking quite good as he came close to winning the match a couple of times with his cross arm breaker.

Of course there was the inevitable encounter between corner men Christian and Brodus Clay before Edge got the title retaining pin after a spear.

Afterwards Edge took out his frustrations on Del Rio’s Rolls Royce, attacking the car with a crow bar. Rematch at Extreme Rules anyone?

Next up was the no longer dashing Cody Rhodes, who came down to the ring like the Phantom of the Opera, taking on Captain America….I mean Rey Mysterio. I wonder if the powers that be at Marvel Comics saw this? After all, they sued WCW after Arachnaman appeared a few years ago.

In what probably should have been the show opener we saw an example of how Rhodes has really upped his game recently.

This was probably the best performance I’ve seen from the son of the American Dream. His aggressive work looked good throughout, especially when he used his protective mask to deliver a series of hard head butts.

As the action progressed both Mysterio’s knee brace and Rhodes’ face protector were ripped off, with Mysterio managing to get his hands on the mask so he could use it himself.

The foreign objects came into play at the end of the match, with Rhodes clobbering Mysterio with his own knee brace as he tried to dive out of the ring. A cross Rhodes later and Cody had the win.

After a rather amusing segment in which various WWE stars auditioned for Snoop Dogg’s tour (and yes, I can’t stand that Friday song either) it was on to the eight man tag, with the Corre, Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater and Ezekiel Jackson, taking on the Big Show, Kane, Santino Marella and Kofi Kingston.

Well, this actually wasn’t much of a match. It broke down early, with all eight men pulling off big moves before Marella attacked Slater with the cobra. The Big Show sealed the deal with his big right to get the pin. And that was that.

After Mae Young wanted the people’s strudel it was on to the big grudge match as C.M. Punk faced Randy Orton.

The slow and methodical approach was the order of the day here, but then again, this was a Randy Orton match.

Punk did a good job of working over Orton’s injured leg, and it made for great storytelling as the viper attempted to continue with his injured wheel.

At one point Orton went to punt Punk in the head, but his injured leg collapsed from under him. The RKO attempt failed as well, with Punk countering the move.

Punk’s luck ran out immediately afterwards. As the straight edged one came off the top rope Orton finally managed to connect with the RKO. A three count later and we had a winner.

After Pee Wee Herman came out as a John Cena fan before defecting to Team Bring It, as well as an appearance from this year’s Hall of Fame class Booker T and Jim Ross joined the commentary team as Jerry Lawler went up against Michael Cole, with Steve Austin as special referee.

Just before this match started I had visions of the Hart/McMahon debacle from last year, and justifiably so.

Cole put in a performance that David Arquette would have been proud of. He moved around the ring like an old man collecting his pension from the post office, having been given too much offence following Jack Swagger’s ankle lock on the King at ringside.

It really was poor, and, of course, the special referee got involved as Lawler eventually took control. He soon got his hands on Cole, applying an ankle lock for the submission win.

As Lawler and Austin celebrated in the ring with a few beers they were soon joined by Booker T. He was soon sent packing, the victim of a stone cold stunner after a spinner-roonie.

Then we got the bombshell. The mystery Raw general managed announced that because of Austin’s interference he was reversing the decision, awarding the win by disqualification to Cole. Josh Matthews, who’d read the e-mail, ended up on the end of a stunner for his troubles.

It was the battle of the veterans next as Triple H went up against the Undertaker in a no holds barred match.

I’d read a few reviews that were quite critical of this match, but personally I didn’t think it was that bad. Okay, it wasn’t a patch on the two Undertaker/Shawn Michaels encounters, but it was a solid enough match put on by two master storytellers.

These two beat the hell out of each other. Michael Cole’s little booth took a hit, as did the Spanish announcer’s table. We also saw countless chair shots, as well as each man kicking out of the other’s finishers, and after all of that they still couldn’t put each other away. At one point Triple H even took the Undertaker down with a tombstone, and he still couldn’t get the job done.

But just as the Game was about to use his trusty old sledgehammer the Dead Man locked in the hell’s gate submission. For what seemed like an eternity Triple H fought the hold, but eventually he succumbed, his weak right hand finally tapping out, giving the Undertaker the submission win and keeping the streak alive, although he hardly looked like a winner as he was being carried away.

Then it was on to the six person tag as Dolph Ziggler and LayCool, accompanied by Vickie Guerrero, faced John Morrison, Trish Stratus, and some girl called Snooki, or whatever the hell her name is.

This was the filler material of the show. Stratus and Michelle McCool did a few moves, Morrison did one of his highflying things before the Snooki girl pinned McCool after a couple of flips. Move along, nothing much to see here.

The main event saw John Cena challenging the Miz for the WWE title.

This was certainly better than their previous pay-per-view encounter, mainly because the Miz was allowed to get some offence in.

The action was okay, and it really can’t be faulted, although it took a while for the match to get going.

But when it did get going it was quite solid. Both guys pulled out their big moves, kicking out of each other’s finishers before we got something of a surprise ending, a double count out after both men fought outside the ring.

After the decision was announced the Rock made his way to the ring, just as the Raw GM sent in an e-mail. The Rock dismissed this with his customary expertise, before announcing that, as the host of the show, the match was re-starting, becoming a no disqualification, no count out affair.

Mr. Johnson quickly took Cena out with a rock bottom, with the Miz making the cover afterwards. A three count later and the champion had retained his title.

But as the Miz celebrated the Rock returned to the ring, taking him out seconds later with the people’s elbow, soaking in the applause of the crowd as the show came to an end.

In conclusion - as I said before I’d read a few reviews before watching this show. Most of them were pretty negative, while the few positive ones were met with that tired old line “you must have been watching a different show”. That one’s been around for so long it was used on the show where Mae Young made her debut.

Personally I thought the show was okay. There were some pretty poor moments, that’s undeniable, but overall the action was pretty good, and while this won’t go down as my favourite Wrestlemania of all time it will still get the thumbs up from me. Not the big thumbs up, but a thumbs up nonetheless.

Now can someone please tell me who the hell Snooki is?