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BY THE NUMBERS: WRESTLEMANIA EDITION WITH COMPARISON TO WRESTLEMANIA 26 AND WRESTLEMANIA THOUGHTS

By Richard Trionfo on 2011-04-05 14:04:06
Sunday night was WWE’s biggest pay per view of the year and it was the usual spectacle to expect from WWE for the biggest weekend of the year for professional wrestling (until Dave says that we can’t use the ‘w’ word, it’s still wrestling to me).

Make sure to check out the multiple reports, audios, and thoughts columns on Wrestlemania all over PWInsider.com and PWInsiderElite.com.

I figured I would combine my thoughts about the pay per view with a special edition of By The Numbers looking at this year’s Wrestlemania.

I am going to start off with my thoughts on Wrestlemania.

I am going to keep the ‘Chart of Expectations’ concept that I utilize for my thoughts on TNA pay per views for Wrestlemania in order to maintain some consistency. Just to remind everyone, a match can exceed my expectations, but it might not be a good match. It also means that a match can fall below my expectations and still be a good match.

When looking at the pay per view as a whole and the elevated price tag for this show in the United States ($54.95 for standard definition or $64.95 for high definition on my cable system), I would say that this show is not worth getting the replay. I thought there were three very good matches on this show, two matches that got no time, a match that went way too long, and two title matches that seemed to be missing something to give it a Wrestlemania feel. With the addition of the Hall of Fame ceremony and the battle royal featuring the participants in the match that got kicked off the pay per view on the DVD, it is probably worth getting Wrestlemania when it is released (and will be available in the PWInsider.com Online Store)

Here are my thoughts on the show:

With the way that the show opened after the performance of America the Beautiful, I guess WWE is trying as hard as possible to get rid of that middle ‘W’. With the voice over it felt like we were watching Jimmy Kimmel or the Ginga Ninja instead of a wrestling show. If that was WWE’s goal, Mission Accomplished.

If I am going to expand the ‘Chart of Expectations’ to the host of this year’s Wrestlemania, I would say that The Rock fell below my expectations. I will discuss all of the Rock’s non-match related appearances in this part of this column. I was not a huge fan of Rock’s promo last Monday on Raw and outside of his first promo, I have thought that Rock fell back into the catchphrase heavy and slightly juvenile mentality that he had during his run with the company. I thought his opening monologue when way too long and felt like it was a segment that would open Raw. I thought the only thing missing from the opening segment was Eric Bischoff, unless Mr. Johnson changed his name to E-Rock Bischoff.

The segment with Rock, Eve Torres, Mae Young, and Steve Austin also felt like it belonged on Raw and not a pay per view. However, it was the closest thing to past Wrestlemania backstage segments. I guess Eve is the replacement for Bobby Heenan in the Mae Young segment. I wonder how many people were hoping that the stare down between Steve Austin and The Rock would lead to a match?

The Pee Wee Herman and Gene Okerlund segment with The Rock also felt like it belonged on Raw.

I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t incorporate something that I said on recent Smackdown post games, the rotating announcer concept for matches based on links to who was in the ring. I was afraid that with Cole and Lawler both at ringside before their match we would hear Cole make himself more important than the show. It was not as bad as most Raws, but it was evident as we got to the post Cole/Lawler announcing.

Before I get to the first match of the night, I was very disappointed that we did not get the Daniel Bryan/Sheamus match that was announced on the site and hyped. It was a match that I had high expectations for and unless they were going to give them only four or five minutes, I was expecting it to exceed my expectations. I am not going to say that it is any one thing that got this pulled off the pay per view and I am not going to allege some sort of conspiracy against wrestling fans after the edict that wrestling is akin to a four letter word. There were a number of things on the show that I felt went long and could have been cut to allow Bryan and Sheamus to get on Wrestlemania.

I thought the Edge/Alberto Del Rio match fell slightly below my expectations. The main reason was the result of the match. I thought that the way they had built this match since the Royal Rumble, Alberto Del Rio was destined (no pun intended) to win the World Title at Wrestlemania. I thought there was some good action in the match with Del Rio focusing on the arm while Edge was able to counter Del Rio’s attempts to apply the cross arm breaker early in the match. Edge hit a nice flip dive onto Del Rio on the floor. I also liked when Del Rio finally locked in the cross arm breaker, Edge was trying to neutralize the hold by holding his hands to prevent Del Rio from fully applying the hold. I was a little surprised at the way that Edge was selling his arm during and after the match.

I did not mind that they put this match on first. On Friday night, I talked about my ideal order for the pay per view and I would have had Sheamus/Bryan be the opening match to pop the crowd. That wasn’t going to happen and I think that this match was the best choice of the eight remaining matches because of the type of reaction that Del Rio gets and Edge is a perennial fan favorite regardless of whether he is a face or heel. I don’t think it is a travesty that the World Title opened the show

I really liked the way they used the stage area for the ring entrances. Starting with Alberto Del Rio, it was very impressive through the night.

I have been a bit surprised by Edge’s demeanor on and off since his feud with Kane. It seems like Edge is the face in his feud with Kane as well as Alberto Del Rio, except he is the one kidnapping Paul Bearer and the one, along with Christian, destroying Alberto Del Rio’s car.

I actually agreed with something that Cole said during the destruction of the car when he suggested that Edge and Christian should have been arrested for what they did.

The Rey Mysterio/Cody Rhodes match exceeded my expectations. I thought this was the third best match on the pay per view. They capitalized on the psychotic nature of Cody Rhodes throughout the match. They also showed that Rey was trying to do whatever to even the odds by going after Cody’s face mask as soon as the match started. It was smart since it forces Cody to focus on something other than his goal of destroying Rey for what Rey did to him as well as keeping Rey from injuring himself due to the mask. I also liked that Cody was able to counter the wheelbarrow move into a bulldog that Rey usually incorporates and turn it into a wheelbarrow suplex. Rey also did a good thing by using the mask on Cody and since it was legal for Cody to use, it was legal for Rey.

I did not like the backstage segment with Teddy Long and Snoop Dogg. This is another segment that felt like it was something they wanted to do on Raw but they ran out of time and decided to throw it on the pay per view. Didn’t we see this when Ozzy Osbourne was the guest host on Raw? I thought Regal was okay, but didn’t we see him rap before? I wish Regal would have done commentary for at least a match. The only other performance that I liked was Zack Ryder performing ‘Friday’ only to be gonged off by Roddy Piper. Did we discover that you need to be on drugs to hear Hornswoggle speaking English? If there was ever a reason to ‘Just Say No’, I think we have it.

By default, the Eight Man Tag Match fell below my expectations because if a match falls within five seconds of the length of the main event of Victory Road, can it really have expectations? The entrance by Team Trombone was longer than the match. It was nice to know that Michael Cole was too busy training for his match in the main event of Mania because he did not know that Kofi Kingston was added to the match to replace Vladimir Kozlov.

I was very shocked to see the ‘clusterpalooza’ segment of the eight man tag match so soon because at that point, I knew the match wouldn’t be long for this show.

Up to this point of the show, the United States Title was pulled from the show and the Intercontinental and Tag Champions were in a 93 second match where they lost. It was not a good night for the secondary titles.

You can see above for my thoughts on the Rock/Eve/Mae Young/Steve Austin segment.

The CM Punk/Randy Orton match exceeded my expectations and I thought it was the second best match of the night. I liked that Punk worked on the knee throughout the match in an attempt to weaken Randall and Orton did a good job of selling the knee. I would have liked to have seen Orton try to hit the IEDDT but be unable to do it so he has to put Punk on the bottom rope and hit the move from his knee. I think Orton’s injury helped this match because with Orton’s deliberate style, Punk was wearing him down and wasn’t working at a faster speed than Orton. I liked Punk using leg submissions throughout the match to try to get the win. I was a bit surprised that Punk went for the Anaconda Vice instead of a Cloverleaf or Sharpshooter to focus on the leg. I liked the finish to the match with Punk going for the springboard move only to realize that he was going to take an RKO. In the Tip Sheet and on the Smackdown post game last week, I was trying to figure out of Orton could give an RKO while on Punk’s shoulders for the Go To Sleep. While I am still waiting to see that, this was a good alternative. I was a little surprised that Orton won, but the loss didn’t hurt Punk at all.

The Hall of Fame inductee segment is always good and this year was no exception. Since Shawn Michaels was the major star, it made sense to have him come out last.

I liked that they added both Jim Ross and Booker T to the commentary for the Cole/Lawler match.

The Jerry Lawler/Michael Cole match fell below my expectations. This match felt too much like last year’s Vince McMahon/Bret Hart but instead of having someone who had wrestled before, you had Michael Cole as the person who was fighting off Lawler (with help from Jack Swagger) too long. I did like the job that Austin did as the referee. I liked how after Cole retreated into his panic room, Austin rang the bell and told Lawler to go after him. Then at the end, Austin did exactly what Dave said should have happened with the Hart/McMahon match with the referee ignoring the tapping out and taking his time to call for the bell. Since Michael Cole was cutting promos throughout the first few matches, why did he have to cut another promo before his match?

I was hoping that when Lawler was ‘stomping a mud hole’ into Cole in the corner that Austin would have shown Lawler the proper way to do it.

Michael Cole is no Colt Cabana when it comes to trying stand up comedy.

I thought the stuff after the Lawler/Cole match was okay. I did not like the reversal of the decision, especially with it being done through the ‘anonymous General Manager’. Josh Mathews got his ‘Wrestlemania moment’ being given a Stunner by Austin for reading the e-mail. Then Booker joined in on the celebration and got a Stunner for his troubles. I guess Austin agrees with me about inappropriate uses of the Spinaroonie. I felt that this segment also went a little too long.

I was glad that we got Jim Ross for the second half of the pay per view. He started off great with a line about how he wouldn’t take Cole with the points against Lawler. Josh and Booker also did a good job together with the back and forth about how Booker thought it would be a one-on-one match and Josh’s ‘You did?’ response. They also did a good job putting forward how unbearable things would be on Smackdown if Cole wins the match.

The Undertaker/Triple H match exceeded my expectations. When I saw that this was not the main event, I was worried that this match was going to run short. Instead we got the longest match of the night from these two men. It reminded me a lot of Taker’s match with Shawn Michaels last year with the way that Taker and Hunter were able to kick out of the other’s finishers during the match. I think the No Holds Barred concept definitely benefitted this match and allowed them to brawl more than trying to put on a technical match. It stood out from the other matches for that reason. There were a few points during the match when Undertaker kicked out of covers and Hunter had a look on his face like he was shocked that he kicked out.

I thought Hunter broke two of the ‘Unwritten Rules of Wrestling’ in this match. The first was ‘Don’t ever punch Undertaker in the corner while standing on the ropes’ because it means that you are going to take the Last Ride. Then at the end of the match, Hunter tried to attack Taker by going between his legs and we know the rule is ‘Go through Taker’s legs and you are going to get Hell’s Gate’.

I thought Lawler and Ross showed why they are the best pairing for the WWE during this match. They were letting the action tell the story instead of doing commentary over the action that was so compelling.

The Six Person Mixed Tag Match fell below my expectations because of the length of the match. I thought we would see more than Starship Pain to the floor from Morrison and Ziggler during the match. WWE got their mass media moment with Snooki’s performance and the Muta-esque splash into the corner looked good.

The video packages for John Cena and The Miz prior to the main event were very well done. It gave the match that ‘Main Event of the Biggest Show of the Year’ feel. I also liked the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man’s Awesome Sign when Miz came to the ring. The choir was an interesting idea for John Cena being in Atlanta. I guess next year we get the Miami Sound Machine Reunion with Gerardo and Two Live Crew.

The Cena/Miz match fell slightly below my expectations. I was glad that Miz retained the title, but it came off to me like he won the match because of the Rock and not based on what he did during the match. It reminds me a little of A.J. Styles victory over Jeff Jarrett because Tito Ortiz knocked out Jarrett. There was some good action during the match and I thought seeing Miz kick out of the Attitude Adjustment was good for Miz. I did not like the double count out finish of the ‘original’ match. As soon as that happened, it felt like we were waiting for The Rock to come out to restart things. Why not have Rock stop the count out instead of having to go through with it in the first place?

Based on what happened during the ‘restart’, I think the double count out victory would have been better for Miz because it was the Rock Bottom that gave Miz the victory. Then Miz makes the mistake of staring at Rock and that meant that we got the Rock Bottom of the current WWE Champion. I guess that means we will see Rock and Miz soon?

Now that my thoughts about Wrestlemania have been completed, it is time to look at some of the numbers behind Wrestlemania 27.

First, here are the times for the eight matches on the pay per view. For the purpose of this column and my By the Numbers Pay Per View Edition for April that will be up after Lockdown, the main event and restart count as one match. The times are not being rounded up or down here, but will be for other By the Numbers or Beyond the Numbers Columns.

Edge versus Alberto Del Rio: 11:08
Cody Rhodes versus Rey Mysterio: 12:00
Corre versus Big Show, Kane, Kofi Kingston, and Santino Marella: 1:33
CM Punk versus Randall Keith Orton: 14:46
Jerry Lawler versus Michael Cole: 13:45
Undertaker versus HHH: 29:23
Snooki, Trish Stratus, and John Morrison versus LayCool and Dolph Ziggler: 3:16
Miz versus John Cena: 15:20

Total amount of wrestling on the show: 1 Hour 41 Minutes 11 Seconds (101 Minutes 11 Seconds)

Average Match Length: 12 Minutes 38.88 Seconds

To compare this year’s Wrestlemania to Wrestlemania 26:

Amount of Wrestling
Wrestlemania 26: 113 Minutes
Wrestlemania 27: 101 Minutes

Amount of Matches
Wrestlemania 26: 10 Matches
Wrestlemania 27: 8 Matches

Average Match Length
Wrestlemania 26: 11 Minutes 18 Seconds
Wrestlemania 27: 12 Minutes 38.88 Seconds

Longest Match
Wrestlemania 26: Shawn Michaels versus Undertaker 24 Minutes
Wrestlemania 27: Undertaker versus Triple H 29 Minutes

Shortest Match
Wrestlemania 26: Big Show and Miz versus John Morrison and R Truth; and Michelle McCool, Vickie Guerrero, Alicia Fox, Layla and Maryse versus Beth Phoenix, Kelly Kelly, Mickie James, Gail Kim and Eve Torres 3 Minutes
Wrestlemania 27: Corre versus Big Show, Kane, Santino Marella, and Kofi Kingston 1 Minute

Since this is solely looking at Wrestlemania, and with the Daniel Bryan versus Sheamus match moved to a dark match and then a battle royal, I figured that I would take a look at some of the other numbers involved in the show.

Here is a run down of the non-wrestling segments on the show (at least ‘non-wrestling’ in the non-WWE vernacular because everyone on the show would be considered ‘non-wrestling’ in the eyes of the WWE). This includes the promos, ring entrances, and other assorted segments on the show. The ring entrance times are from the time their music starts until it ends.

Rock’s Monologue: 10:59
Alberto Del Rio’s entrance: 2:10
Christian entrance: 1:00
Edge entrance: 1:50
Auto destruction and aftermath: 3:45
Cody Rhodes entrance: 1:44
Rey Mysterio Entrance: 1:56
Snoop/Teddy Idol: 3:30
Corre entrance: 53 seconds
Team Trombone entrance: 2:32
Rock/Eve/Mae Young/Steve Austin: 3:10
Randy Orton/CM Punk video package: 3:08
CM Punk entrance: 1:05
Randall Keith Orton entrance: 2:20
Rock/Gene Okerlund/Pee Wee Herman: 2:22
Hall of Fame segment: 3:35
Booker T entrance: 34 seconds
Jim Ross entrance: 27 seconds
Michael Cole promo: 2:56
Jack Swagger entrance: 56 seconds
Steve Austin entrance: 2:07
Jerry Lawler entrance: 1:23
Post Michael Cole versus Jerry Lawler: 5:20
Mania Week video: 2:28
Undertaker/HHH video: 3:20
HHH entrance: 4:25
Undertaker entrance: 4:18
Undertaker/HHH aftermath: 7:17
Dolph Ziggler/LayCool entrance: 2:20
Snooki/John Morrison/Trish Stratus entrance: 2:18
Miz entrance including video: 5:00
John Cena entrance including video and choir: 5:27
Rock restarting match: 3:15
Miz/Rock post match: 2:42

Total Time: 1 Hour 42 Minutes 33 Seconds

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