THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne – now in it’s 10th year!
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It’s the biggest wrestling show of the year, with a legend returning, two massive title matches, and a re-match from last year’s show as WWE presented Wrestlemania 26, shown live in the early hours of this past Monday morning on Sky Box Office here in Britain, with Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Matt Striker handling commentary duties.
The show began with the first title match of the evening as R-Truth and John Morrison challenged the Miz and the Big Show for the Unified Tag Team titles. This match promised much, but was over before it really got started. There were some good exchanges here, but the end came rather quickly, with Show knocking out Morrison with the big right from the ring apron to get the pin. It was okay, but it could have been so much better.
Triple threat action followed as former Legacy cohorts Ted Dibiase, Cody Rhodes and Randy Orton went at it. Slow and methodical was the order of the day as Rhodes and Dibiase doubled up on Orton to good effect, but it wasn’t long before the inevitable falling out, before Orton made his comeback, taking Rhodes out with the punt and sealing the deal after taking Dibiase out with the RKO. A really enjoyable match which made sense in every way.
After an awful comedic skit it was Money in the Bank time, with Kofi Kingston, MVP, Evan Bourne, Jack Swagger, Shelton Benjamin, Matt Hardy, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Kane and Christian. This was just what I expected it to be, a match filled with tons of fast paced action and big bumps throughout, and although there were no real stand out performances, each man put on a great showing, with Jack Swagger emerging from the pack to scale the ladder and grab the case. Great stuff here.
After an appearance from this year’s Hall of Famers, it was on to the first singles match of the show as Sheamus faced Triple H. This certainly proved to be a very good encounter. The boy from Dublin more than held his own against the Game, and looked great in doing so in this back and fourth encounter. Triple H was, as always, as solid as ever, and countered Sheamus’ Celtic cross attempt to take him out with the pedigree for the pinfall win. This is one rivalry I’d like to see continue, as just one match wouldn’t do it justice.
Next up was one of the matches I was really looking forward to as C.M. Punk went up against Rey Mysterio, with the stipulation that if Mysterio lost he’d have to join the Straight Edge Society. Well, it was relatively short, but good nonetheless. Two good performances here in a well executed match, with Mysterio taking out Punk with the 619 at the third attempt, finally taking him down with the big splash off the top rope. Nice stuff.
Then came the other match I was really looking forward to, the big grudge match between Vince McMahon and Bret Hart, a no holds barred affair. Before the match began McMahon announced that he’d enlisted the aid of the Hart family lumberjacks, with Bruce Hart as special referee, until Bret revealed that they’d actually double-crossed old Vinnie. What followed was a match that certainly did not live up to expectations, but then again perhaps we expected way too much, especially given the fact that this involved a non-wrestler in his sixties and a retired wrestler who was told that if he took another bump it could kill him. Basically, the Hitman beat up the chairman, hitting him with a crowbar and a steel chair, before getting the submission win with the sharpshooter. Well, it was what it was.
The first big title match followed, as Edge challenged Chris Jericho for the World title. Those in attendance certainly took a while to warm up to this one. These two ere made for each other as they put on a match worthy of it’s status, an entertaining back and forth affair with two great performers, with Jericho retaining the title after taking Edge out with a second code breaker, having set up the move by clobbering Edge with the title belt while the referee took a snooze. The action continued after the bell, with Edge running across both announcer’s tables and spearing Jericho through a wall. Another very good match, and another rivalry I’d like to see continue.
It was then on to the ten Divas tag match. Do I really need to go into how bad this match really was?
Thankfully, normal service was resumed when John Cena challenged Batista for the WWE title. This one really had that big match atmosphere. It started slowly, and was built up perfectly as it went on, with each man pulling out the big moves as they both kicked out of each other’s finishers, until Cena got the win as Batista finally tapped out to the STF. A very dramatic encounter, and the better of the two big title matches.
Finally, the match that everyone wanted to see, as the Undertaker faced Shawn Michaels in a re-match from last year’s classic. No count outs, no disqualifications, and with Shawn’s career on the line. Now this was a match, and may very well be the greatest match in Wrestlemania’s long history. It was perfect in every way, even greater than their classic twelve months ago. This was an encounter between two perfect storytellers, the proverbial knock down, drag out affair that had you on the edge of your seat. Each man gave their all, with so many fantastic moments that it would take too long to list them here, and after what seemed like an eternity of great action, the Dead Man was finally able to put the Heartbreak Kid away with the tombstone. The respect that the Undertaker and everyone else in the stadium showed Michaels afterwards spoke volumes, but at the same time it just didn’t say enough as one of the greatest careers in the history of professional wrestling came to an end.
In conclusion – Wrestlemania 26 certainly had it’s moments. While some of the matches seemed a tad too short and a couple were just plain awful, the three major encounters delivered in every way possible, with the Michaels/Undertaker match the match of the night. Wrestlemania 26 delivered, and will be remembered for all the right reasons. It definitely gets my thumbs up here.