PWInsider - WWE News, Wrestling News, WWE

 
 

WRESTLEMANIA RETRO LOOKS BACK AT TWENTY-SIX YEARS OF WRESTLEMANIA HISTORY

By PWInsider.com Staff on 2011-04-03 09:13:00
WRESTLEMANIA 23 by Buck Woodward

Wrestlemania 23 opened with a video montage of past Wrestlemania logos and clips from those events.  They showed Vince McMahon welcoming fans to Wrestlemania III at the Silverdome, then switched to a live shot of Ford Field.  They continued to play the Wrestlemania III audio of Vince's introduction, which led to Aretha Franklin singing "America The Beautiful".  Aretha, accompanied by a choir, sang while a montage of clips of WWE stars with troops overseas was shown. Fireworks went off at the end. 

A video package focusing on the "All Grown Up" theme for Wrestlemania was shown. Pyro went off, and WWE Hall Of Famers Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to the show.  They immediately put over that there were more fans at Ford Field tonight than there were when the Superbowl was held there (of course, that is due to floor seating).  The Smackdown and ECW announce teams were then given their chance to welcome us to the show. 

Money In The Bank ladder match for a guaranteed future title match: Edge vs. CM Punk vs. King Booker vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Ken Kennedy vs. Matt Hardy vs. Fit Finlay vs. Randy Orton 

Each wrestler had a separate entrance and each wrestler's entrance was accompanied by their respective brand's announcers talking about the participant.  Jeff Hardy, then King Booker with Sharmell, then Fit Finlay, then CM Punk, then Ken Kennedy (who had his mic on the stage to introduce himself), then Matt Hardy, then Randy Orton, and finally Edge.  All the announcers are going to call this match together. There were several ladders set up in the aisle, and all around ringside on the floor.

At the start, everyone stared at the briefcase, then some wrestlers ran to the floor to get ladders, while others began brawling.  A group of them fought on the floor and Finlay, yes, Finlay, jumped off the top rope onto the pile.  In the ring, Edge went for the case, but Matt Hardy pulled him down.  They went to the floor.  Orton and Finlay climbed the ladder together, and then tipped over.  Jeff went to climb up, but Kennedy pulled him down.  Booker reached under the ring and pulled out a stepladder.  CM Punk ambushed him and then began using the stepladder as a weapon until Edge got a hold of it and threw it in Punk's face.  Punk was busted open.  Edge bridged a ladder between the rail and the ring apron and went to suplex Punk in it, but Punk reversed it and suplexed Edge on the floor.

In the ring, Booker gave Orton a spinebuster, Kennedy a superkick, then Punk and Finlay spinebusters.  Booker did a spinarooni, then was squashed between ladders by the Hardys.  Matt gave Edge a Side Effect.  The Hardys set up some ladders for the "Mercury face crusher spot" on Edge.  Finlay shoved Jeff off the ropes to the floor to break it up, and Edge suplexed Matt onto a ladder.  Kennedy got in and knocked Edge out, then pounded on Matt.  Kennedy put Matt on a ladder and went for the Kenton Bomb, but Matt moved out of the way and Kennedy crashed.  Jeff gave Kennedy a Swanton Bomb.  Matt and Jeff then hit Finlay with a ladder, then knocked Orton off the apron with it.  They hit Booker with the ladder as well, then set it up.  The Hardys climbed a ladder, then punched it out at the top of the ladder over who would win, until Finlay knocked down the ladder, sending them into the ropes.

Finlay knocked down Booker and Punk, then picked up a ladder, but Edge speared him.  Edge gave spears to everyone else in the match (including Orton), until CM Punk leapfrogged him and Edge hit the corner hard.  Punk then took a ladder and did the Terry Funk whirly bird spot.  He hit a bunch of participants, but then Edge speared him and Punk went down, with the ladder catching some people on the way down.  Edge set up a huge ladder, and went to climb up, but Orton toppled it and Edge fell to the floor.  Jeff Hardy gave Orton a gourdbuster, then set up the huge ladder again.  On the floor, Matt put Edge on the ladder that was bridged between the apron and railing.  Jeff looked to be deciding between the briefcase and killing Edge.  Jeff decided on the latter, jumping off the ladder and legdropping Edge through the bridged ladder and to the floor.  Yes, I said through, as the ladder broke in half.  Jeff and Edge were laid out on the floor and stretchers were brought out.

In the ring, Orton gave Matt an RKO, then gave one to Finlay, and one to Kennedy.  Orton set up a ladder began to climb up.  Punk used another ladder to knock Orton down.  Punk set up another ladder, so there were two ladders side by side.  Edge was stretchered out.  Orton and Punk fought it out on the two ladders.  Orton gave Punk an RKO off the ladder, hurting himself as well. Booker came in and started to climb, but Orton got up and stopped him.  Orton went for the Ladder RKO on Booker as well, but Booker blocked it and gave Orton a Bookend off the ladder.  Booker started to climb, but Matt Hardy came up the other side of the same ladder and slugged it out with him.  Sharmell ran in and pulled Matt down.  Matt threatened to give her the Twist Of Fate, so Booker gave up grabbing the briefcase to save her.  Booker came down, and Matt grabbed him and hit the Twist Of Fate.  Finlay, who was bleeding, was crawling back into the ring.

Matt was climbing a ladder, so Finlay toppled it down.  Finlay then gave Hardy the Celtic Cross onto a ladder that was laying in the ring.  Finlay, holding his back from the move, was having trouble climbing the ladder.  Hornswoggle, to a pop, came in and began to climb the ladder.  Kennedy came in, kicked Finlay, then got up on the other ladder.  Hornswoggle punched him, which made Kennedy mad.  Kennedy gave Hornswoggle a somersault Samoan Drop off the ladder.  Finlay picked up a ladder and threw it at Kennedy, hitting him in the face.  Finlay started to climb another ladder, but CM Punk gave it a springboard dropkick to knock him off.   Punk set up a ladder and started to climb.  He got a hand on the case, but Kennedy came up the other side of the ladder.  They slugged it out, and Punk shoved Kennedy off the ladder.   Kennedy picked up another ladder and used it to knock Punk off.  Kennedy climbed up and grabbed the briefcase at the nineteen minute mark.

Winner: Ken Kennedy.

Finlay was shown helping Hornswoggle up on the floor.

They showed a video package on The Condemned premiere.

Todd Grisham interviewed Ken Kennedy, who said that any champion in WWE should "grow eyes in the back of their freakin' head".  Kennedy said that nice guys finish last, and that he isn't a nice guy.  Kennedy said he is Mr. Kennedy, and he is Mr. Money In The Bank.

Kane vs. The Great Khali 

Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are the lucky announcers for this one.  Kane didn't have his hook with him.  Kane was shoved down on the initial lockup, then went down on a shoulderblock attempt.  Kane went for a whip, and Khali tossed him to the floor. Kane yanked Khali throat first across the top rope as he got back into the ring, but Khali took him down with a clothesline, then slammed Kane.  Khali applied a nervehold, then hit some forearms to the back and some elbows in the corner.  Khali choked Kane.  Kane battled back with some punches, but Khali just shoved him away.  Kane charged and hit a clothesline, then went to the top rope and hit a clothesline, but Khali still didn't go down.  Kane hit a big boot to the face, and Khali fell back and got tied up in the ropes.  Kane hit a series of right hands.  Kane went under the ring and pulled out his hook.  Khali was freed by the referee.  Kane got in the ring, but Khali hit some punches and Kane's hook ended up being hooked on the top rope. 

They exchanged punches, and Khali got the better of it.  Khali ripped the pad off of a turnbuckle.  While the referee cleared the stuffing out of the ring, Kane used the chain on his hook to crotch Khali.  Kane then bodyslammed Khali for a two count.  Kane called for a chokeslam.  Khali grabbed Kane by the throat as well.  Kane punched free, but then walked into Khali's double handed chokeslam.  Khali stood on Kane's chest for the three count at the five minute mark.

Winner: The Great Khali.

Khali choked Kane with the chain from the hook for a while before walking off.

Backstage, Cryme Tyme were trying to cheer up Eugene over having his head shaved.  They had Extreme Expose start dancing, and Cryme Tyme joined in.  This wasn't cheering up Eugene at all.  The Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young showed up, dressed like Extreme Expose, and started dancing with Eugene, which did cheer him up.  They were stopped by the Doctor Of Style, Slick, who told them they shouldn't be illin', when it was time to be chillin'.  Slick then danced, but was interrupted by Dusty Rhodes, who said you can't have a dance party without him.  He started dancing, and we had Sgt. Slaughter, Jimmy Hart, IRS, Pat Patterson, Geraldn Briscoe, Mean Gene Okerlund and Howard Finkel joining in.  The music stopped and Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, to a big pop, appeared on the screen.  Steamboat looked at the camera, winked, and the dance party continued.

U.S. Champion Chris Benoit vs. MVP 

Obviously, Michael Cole and JBL handled this one.  They locked up and MVP took Benoit down with a headlock, but Benoit switched to a headscissors, and MVP reversed into a single leg crab, then went into a headlock.  MVP hit a shoulderblock, blocked a German suplex attempt by Benoit, and armdragged him to the floor wen Benoit went for an arm. Benoit got in and went for a sharpshooter, but MVP tripped out of it and Benoit went for the Crossface, but MVP rolled out.  MVP went for a waistlock, but Benoit reversed it, only for MVP to take Benoit down with a fireman's carry.  Benoit went for an arm, but MVP grabbed the ropes.  MVP kicked Benoit in the gut, and whipped him hard across the ring.  Benoit elbowed him as he charged in and set up MVP for a superplex.  Benoit hit some chops, then went for the superplex.  MVP blocked it, and pulled Benoit's arm across the top rope as he jumped down to the floor.

MVP got back in and went to work on the arm with kicks and punches, then kicked Benoit hard in the back for a two count.  MVP hit the arm again, but Benoit responded with a chop.  MVP hit some kicks to take Benoit down, but missed a roundhouse and Benoit grabbed MVP in a waistlock.  Benoit hit three consecutive German suplexes, then went to the top rope.  MVP crotched Benoit on the top and set up for the superplex.  MVP hit the top rope superplex, but Benoit cradled his legs up and got a two count on MVP when they hit the mat.  MVP kicked Benoit and threw him shoulder first into the ringpost.  MVP rolled up Benoit for a two count. 

MVP hit a back suplex for a pair of two counts, then applied an armbar.  Benoit punches out of it, and avoided an MVP kick, but MVP caught him with a boot to the face on the rebound.  MVP went for a slam, but Benoit floated over it and went for the Crossface, but MVP pounded out of it.  MVP slammed Benoit, then hit his elbowdrop for a two count. MVP missed a running kick in the corner, and Benoit hit two consecutive German suplexes.  MVP blocked a third and went for one of his own, but Benoit blocked it.  MVP shoved Benoit into the ropes, but Benoit ducked a kick and hit three consecutive German suplexes.  Benoit called for the diving headbutt, and hit it for the three count at the nine minute mark.

Winner: Chris Benoit

Donald Trump was backstage with the former Miss USA, Tara whateverhernameis.  He was on the phone complaining about the lack of catering in the dressing room.  The Boogeyman appeared, and Tara ran off.  The Boogeyman said "I'm the Boogeyman, and I'm coming to get ya!"  Donald Trump said he wanted a sandwich.  Boogey said he would.  Trump said if he did, he'd get Boogey some worms.  Boogey asked if Trump wanted a worm sandwich before leaving.

The showed a video package on last night's Hall Of Fame ceremony.

Lilian Garcia announced that tonight's attendance, a new Ford Field record, is 80,103.

Howard Finkel was then introduced, and he brought out the Hall OF Fame class of 2007.  Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler were on the stage for this segment.  Curt Hennig was represented by his wife and father.  Don Muraco accompanied Mr. Fuji, who was in a wheelchair.  Afa & Sika mugged for the camera.  Joyce Farhat represented her late husband, the original Sheik.  Dusty Rhodes was the last one introduced.

They showed the results of a WWE text message poll for the Undertaker vs. Batista match, with 82% of those responding picking Undertaker to win.  They then showed a video package on the events leading to the World Title match.

World Champion Batista vs. The Undertaker 

Smackdown General Manager Theodore R. Long was the ring announcer for this match.  Batista came out first.  Undertaker had a long entrance.

Batista speared Undertaker immediately and hit some punches in the corner.  Taker reversed positions and pounded Batista with punches.  Batista responded with shoulderblocks to the gut.  Batista whipped Taker across the ring and hit a clothesline, then clotheslined him to the floor.  Taker landed on his feet and pulled Batista out.  They slugged it out on the floor.  Fans are solidly behind Undertaker.  Batista whipped Undertaker into the ringsteps and rolled back into the ring.  Batista came back out and tossed Undertaker in.  Batista went to the top rope and hit a flying shoulderblock for a two count.  Batista hit some punches, but ran into an Undertaker boot to the face.  Batista absorbed the shot and came right back with a clothesline.  They exchanged punches, and Batista slammed Undertaker.  Batista went for a kick, but Taker caught it and then hit a series of rights and lefts to the gut.  The back and forth punching resumed, with Taker getting the better of it. 

Undertaker whipped Batista across the ring and hit a running splash.  Taker hit a second, then gave him Snake-Eyes and a boot to the face.  Undertaker dropped the leg for a two count.  Undertaker went for the Old School rope walk and hit the top rope forearm.  Undertaker called for a chokeslam, but Batista blocked it and pulled Taker's hand off his throat.  Batista hit a knee to the gut, but Taker came back with a shoulderblock.  Undertaker got a two count, then punched Batista to the floor.  Undertaker rammed Batista into the ringsteps, then stretched him over the ring apron and hit an elbow, then kicked him in the head.  Undertaker went for the ring apron legdrop and nailed it, bringing Batista to the floor with it.

Batista slowly got up on the floor, and Undertaker dove over the top rope and hit a tope to a huge pop.  Taker pounded Batista on the floor, rolling in briefly to break up the count.  Baitsta reversed a whip and sent Undertaker into the timekeeper's table.  Batista pounded Undertaker on the floor, clearing off the Raw and ECW announce tables and putting Taker on the Raw one.  Batista stood on the Raw announce table, lifted Undertaker, and powerslammed him through the ECW announce table. Batista shoved Undertaker back into the ring for a two count, hit a series of punches, then covered him for another two count. Batista set up for a powerbomb, but Taker backed him into a corner and hit a pair of back elbows.  Taker went for a whip, but Batista blocked it and hit a belly to belly suplex for a two count.  Batista kicked Taker in a corner, then got on the second rope and started punching him, arguing with the referee in between shots.  Undertaker pulled Batista off the ropes and gave him the Last Ride powerbomb for a two count.

Both men got to their feet and Undertaker hit a series of rights.  Batista reversed a whip and hit a spinebuster.  Batista called for his powerbomb, but Undertaker sat up and rose to his feet.  Batista went for a clothesline, but Undertaker ducked it and hit a chokeslam for a two count.  Undertaker called for the tombstone.  Undertaker lifted Batista, but Batista floated over and speared the Undertaker.  Batista hit the Batista Bomb, but Undertaker got a shoulder up at the two and a half count to a big pop.  Batista was stunned.  Batista went for a second one, but Undertaker backdropped him.  Undertaker went for a punch, but Batista ducked it and scooped him up for a slam.  Undertaker floated over and shoved Batista into the turnbuckles.  Batista staggered out, Undertaker lifted him and delivered the tombstone piledriver.  Undertaker goes 15-0 at Wrestlemania at the fifteen minute mark.

Winner and new World Heavyweight Champion: The Undertaker.

Backstage, Vince McMahon was checking out his hair in the mirror.  Stephanie McMahon entered, with a baby carriage.  Vince chastised her for bringing his grandaughter to Wrestlemania.  Vince then said maybe she would bring Vince luck.  Vince then talked to his granddaughter about how he was going to give Donald Trump a skull fracture.  We saw this from the point of view of the baby.  Seriously.  Vince suddenly acted like he smelled something.  He said the baby just "took a Trump." 

Joey Styles and Tazz, sans table, talked briefly about the ECW Originals vs. ECW New Breed war. 

ECW Originals (The Sandman, Tommy Dreamer, Sabu & Rob Van Dam) vs. New Breed (Elijah Burke, Kevin Thorn, Marcus Cor Von & Matt Striker) 

The ECW Originals entered through the crowd.  The New Breed entered as a group, accompanied by Ariel.  Elijah Burke has new ring gear.  Sabu started off with Matt Striker.  Striker missed a clothesline and Sabu hit a springboard clothesline and a springboard leg lariat, then another springboard clothesline.  Sabu dropkicked Striker in the face, then hung him over the top rope.  Sandman was tagged in and hit hit a top rope legdrop to the back of Striker's head.  Cor Von broke up the cover.  Burke tagged in, but Dreamer did as well and Dreamer & Sandman hit a double clothesline and a double elbowdrop.  Cor Von hit Dreamer from the apron and Burke nailed him with a clothesline. 

Cor Von tagged in and worked over Dreamer with punches.  Cor Von hit a double underhook suplex, then tagged in Burke for a double backdrop.  Burke hit a jumping double knee to Dreamer's back and got a two count, as Sabu broke it up.  Thorn tagged in and hit a splash on Dreamer in the corner, then a clothesline.  Thorn put Dreamer in a chinlock and hit some forearms to the chest.  Dreamer elbowed out, but Thorn rammed him in a corner.  Dreamer booted him in the face as he charged in, but Thorn caught him with a spinebuster for a two count.  Cor Von tagged in and hit a vertical suplex for a two count, then put Dreamer in a chinlock.  

Cor Von lifted Dreamer for a slam, but he floated over and gave Cor Von a reverse DDT and Burke, who had run in, a neckbreaker at the same time.  Dreamer crawled for a tag, kicking away Burke.  RVD got the hot tag and cleaned house on Striker and Thorn.  RVD nailed Striker with a kick to the head, then hit Thorn with a top rope kick.  RVD gave Striker a monkeyflip, then hit Rolling Thunder, but Cor Von pulled RVD to the floor and laid him out.  Sabu dove over the top rope onto Cor Von.  Dreamer DDT'd Striker.  Burke knocked Dreamer out of the ring.  Sandman knocked Burke over the top rope, and went over with him.  RVD hit the Five Star Frog Splash on Striker for the win at the seven minute mark.  

Winners: The Sandman, Tommy Dreamer, Sabu & Rob Van Dam

Joey Styles let out an "Oh My God" in celebration.  

They showed a video package for next year's Wrestlemania, which will be in Orlando, Florida at the Citrus Bowl. 

The Hitman was shown in the crowd.  Thomas Hearns, that is. Yeah, cheap joke.

For the last time (thankfully) we saw the celebrity predictions for the Battle Of The Billionaires, followed by a long video recap of the events leading to the match. 

ECW Champion Bobby Lashley, with Donald Trump, vs. Intercontinental Champion Umaga, with Armando Alejandro Estrada & Vince McMahon in a hair vs. hair match, with Trump and McMahon putting their hair on the line. Steve Austin will be the special referee for the bout. 

Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are the announcers for this match.  A barber's chair was pulled to ringside, complete with it's own entrance music.  Vince McMahon then entered, alone. Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA were shown at ringside. Umaga, accompanied by Armando, then made his entrance.  Donald Trump then made his entrance, accompanied by Tara.  They dropped money (yes, real money) from the ceiling as Trump walked to the ring.  Bobby Lashley then made his entrance.  Steve Austin then made his entrance, wearing a sleeveless referee shirt. 

They charged into each other at the start, and neither man budged.  Lashley hit a series or right hands, and Umaga shoved him, but Lashley hit a clothesline in the corner.  Lashley hit some punches in the corner, and Austin told him to break.  When he didn't, Austin pulled Lashley out of the corner.  Umaga kicked Lashley and whipped him into a corner.  Lashley dodged a charge and hit a second rope clothesline.  Lashley covered Umaga, but Armando put Umaga's foot on the bottom rope.  Lashley pulled Armando into the ring and gave him a running powerslam.  Lashley tossed him out of the ring.  Umaga charged Lashley, but Lashley dodged it and pulled the ropes down.  Umaga went over the top rope and landed on the floor.  Armando is totally out.  Vince convinced Umaga to get back in the ring and fight. 

Umaga got back in and dodged a Lashley charge and Lashley went through the ropes and landed on the floor.  Umaga got Lashley back into the ring and hit a splash for a two count.  Umaga choked Lashley against the bottom rope.  Austin told him to break, and when he didn't, Austin slapped Umaga in the back.  Umaga and Austin had a staredown.  Umaga choked Lashley again, and Austin pulled him off by the hair.  They had a staredown again.  Lashley hit Umaga with some shots, but Umaga took him down with a clothesline.  Umaga used the second rope to hit a Bonsai Splash on Lashley, then hit a second. Lashley came back with some punches, but Umaga caught him with a Samoan Drop. 

Lashley went to lift Umaga for a slam, but fell under the weight and Umaga went down on top.  Vince got on the ring apron.  Umaga went to slam Lashley, but Lashley floated over and bounced into the ropes, knocking Vince to the floor.  Umaga gave Lashley a faceplant.  Umaga went to the top rope, but Lashley went over and slammed him off the top.  Lashley hit Umaga with a running clothesline, and both men were down.  Austin counted both men down, but stopped at nine, refusing to end the match in a draw.  Austin said there would be no countouts in the match.  Shane McMahon came down to help up Vince, who had been lying on the floor since being knocked off the apron.

Umaga got up and hit Lashley with some punches, then choked him in the corner.  Austin pulled Umaga off by fish hooking his eye.  Shane McMahon got on the apron, but Austin chased him away.  Umaga gave Austin the Samoan Spike, knocking him to the floor.  Shane McMahon got in the ring and gave Lashley some right hands.  Lashley grabbed Shane for a suplex, but Umaga hit him.  Shane stomped Lashley down in the corner, and Umaga gave him the running posterior shot in the corner.  Vince got a trash can out from under the ring, and Umaga held it over Lashley in the corner.  Shane went to the top rope and hit the Coast To Coast dropkick, crushing the trash can into Lashley's face. 

Shane McMahon took off his shirt and jacket, and had a referee's shirt on.  Shane pulled Lashley into the center of the ring, and Umaga hit a top rope splash.  Shane counted two, but Steve Austin pulled Shane out of the ring, hit a series of right hands and tossed him into the ring steps.  Austin got into the ring and Umaga hit him with another Samoan Spike.  Austin was down, and McMahon trash talked him from the floor.  Trump gave McMahon a clothesline on the floor and hit a few punches.  There's your highlight moment for the new programs.  In the ring, Umaga lifted up Austin for a third spike, but Austin ducked it and hit a stunner on Umaga.  Lashley hit a spear and covered Umaga and got the pin at the fourteen minute mark.

Winner: Bobby Lashley.

Austin grabbed Vince on the floor and tossed him into the ring.  Shane attacked Austin, but Austin gave Shane a Thesz press.  Austin gave Shane a series of right hands, an elbowdrop, and a stunner.  Meanwhile, Vince was trying to sneak off.  Austin was raising Trump and Lashley's hands in the ring, when they saw Vince escaping.  Lashley ran down the aisle, scooped up McMahon and brought him back to the ring. McMahon yelled at Lashley from the ring, and backed into Austin.  Austin gave Vince a stunner, and Lashley put him in the chair. 

Austin held down Vince while Lashley and Trump used razors to shave Vince bald.  Vince screamed for them to stop, but they shaved it all off.  Ross joked that we now knew the truth, and that it was Vince's real hair all along.  They played the "Bald Headed Blues" as Lashley and Trump put Shaving cream on Vince's head, and then used razors on it.  Austin was drinking a beer.  They unstrapped Vince from the chair, and Lashley had a mirror to show Vince how he looked.  Vince saw his bald head, and tried to fall back over the chair, but the chair wouldn't topple, so Steve Austin knocked it over.  Bald Vince staggered down the aisle.  Steve Austin had a beer celebration with Trump and Lashley in the ring.  Austin then gave Trump a stunner and walked off.  Trump takes a stunner like Linda McMahon takes one.  Austin walked off, while Lashley checked on Trump in the ring. Austin gave a double bird from the stage as Lashley helped Trump from the ring.

They showed the finish from the dark match earlier tonight, which saw Carlito & Ric Flair defeat Chavo Guerrero & Gregory Helms in a Lumberjack tag match when Carlito gave Guerrero the backcracker.

WWE Women's Champion Melina vs. Ashley in a Lumber Jill Match with Kristal, Victoria, Layla, Jillian Hall, Candice Michelle, Kelly Kelly, Trinity, Torrie Wilson, Brooke, Michelle McCool and Mickie James surrounding the ring. 

JBL and Michael Cole got to call this one.  Melina had a fur covered hooded jacket as part of her ring gear.  Ashley hit some punches at the start and Melina rolled to the floor, and was tossed back in.  Ashley rolled her up for a two count.  Melina tripped Ashley into the ropes and choked her with her boot.  Ashley hit some forearms and punches and choked Melina.   Melina screamed "You think you are better than me?" and choked her against the ropes.  Melina gave Ashley a Giant Swing and got a two count.  Melina choked Ashley.  Melina put Ashley in a surfboard, and drove her face first into the mat.  Ashley grabbed a flying headscissors.  Ashley whipped Melina across the ring and did a monkeyflip.  Ashley missed a second rope elbow and Melina got a two count.  Melina picked up Ashley, but she got behind her and rolled her up.  Melina rolled through it into her own rollup, and got a Backlund Bridge for the pin at the four minute mark.

Winner: Melina.

Ashley sort of kicked Melina to the floor, and the babyface Divas threw her back in the ring.  There was a very brief all Diva catfight in the ring.  The heel Divas then left with Melina and the belt, and the babyface Divas were left standing in the ring.

They showed the results of another WWE Text message poll, which saw John Cena favored with 59% of the vote over Shawn Michaels.  A video package on the events leading to the main event were shown. 

WWE Champion John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels

Shawn Michaels entered to the DX music, and was not wearing his World Tag Team Title belt. They did a big video entrance for John Cena with him supposedly driving into the building in a Ford Mustang and going through a glass wall with the Wrestlemania logo on it. As they were about to lock up, a fan ran in the ring and was removed.  Shawn sat on the top turnbuckle and watched him being removed (they didn't show the fan on camera).

Shawn Michaels called Cena into center ring for a handshake.  Cena refused, so Michaels slapped him and then decked him with some right hands.  Michaels gave him a crotch chop.  Michaels applied a side headlock, then went into a hammerlock.  They traded reversals, then Michaels ducked Cena's punches and delivered his own punches and chops.  Cena slumped down in a corner, frustrated. They locked up again, and Michaels hit some short arm shoulderblocks.  Michaels took Cena down with a side mare. Cena rose up, and Michaels took him down with a side mare again.   Michaels worked Cena over with the side headlock, but Cena got to his feet and shoved it off.  Cena missed a clothesline and an elbow, but hit a second clothesline attempt to a chorus of boos.

Michaels sat in a corner and stared at Cena.  He got to his feet and Cena hit a shoulderblock, but Michaels came back with a Thesz press and a series of right hands.  Cena tossed Michaels to the apron, but Michaels hiptossed Cena from the apron to the floor.  Michaels chopped Cena on the floor and hit an enzugiri.  Michaels got on the apron and hit a second rope springboard moonsault onto a standing Cena on the floor.  They crashed into the announce table, which didn't break.  Michaels tossed Cena into the ring and hit a chop, then forearmed him in the corner.  Michaels hit some chops, then whopped Cena hard across the ring.  Cena tried to catch Michaels with a boot as he charged in, but Michaels caught the kick and pounded Cena's leg.   Michaels stomped the leg, then dragged it outside and whipped the leg into the ringpost.  In the ring, Michaels hit a kneedrop to the leg and chopblocked it. 

Michaels chopped Cena, then went back after the leg, wrapping it around the middle rope and yanking on it.  Michaels kicked at Cena's leg, then hit a chopblock.  Michaels got in Cena's face and said something, but it wasn't audible.  Michaels worked on the leg some more, then Cena fired off a few punches.  Michaels returned fire with chops, but Cena was getting more out of his punches, finally decking Michaels. Michaels got up and rammed Cena back into the corner with a shoulderblock.  Michaels kicked at Cena's leg, and they went returned to the punch-kick thing. Michaels went for a shoulderblock and Cena moved, and Michaels went head first into the ring post.  Michaels was busted open.

Cena hit a running clothesline and a series or right hands on the mat.  Cena hit a flying shoulderblock, then a second.  Cena gave him a back suplex into a powerbomb, then did the "You Can't See Me" to a mixed reaction of mostly boos.  Cena hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle fistdrop.  Cena went for the FU, but Michaels floated out and hit a chop.  Cena reversed a whip and Michaels went upside down in a corner. Michaels ducked a Cena punch, and Cena almost hit the referee.  Michaels went for a superkick, but Cena ducked and the referee got knocked out of the ring.  Cena went for the FU, but Michaels reversed it into a DDT.  Both men were down on the mat.

Michaels rolled to the floor and took apart the ring steps.  Michaels went took Cena outside the ring and gave him a piledriver on the bottom half of the ring steps.  Cena was bleeding from the back of the head.  Michaels rolled Cena into the ring, and a second referee eventually came out.    Michaels covered Cena, but he got his shoulder up at two. Michaels lifted up Cena, but Cena reversed his attempted whip.  Michaels rebounded off the ropes and hit a flying forearm.   Michaels kipped up, then hit a top rope elbowdrop.    Michaels started stomping in the corner, but Cena lunged at him and hit a clothesline.

Cena and Michaels got to their feet and exchanged punches.  Cena scooped up Michaels for an FU, but Michaels floated over into a sunset flip for a two count.  Michaels went for a Thesz Press again, but Cena caught it and hit the FU. Cena covered, but only got a two count.  Cena put Michaels on the top rope and set up for a second rope FU.  Michaels elbowed out of it, and punched Cena to the mat.  Michaels hit a flying bodypress, but Cena rolled through it, got to his feet holding Michaels and went for the FU.  Michaels flipped out of it and went for a superkick, but Cena ducked it and tripped Michaels.  Cena went for the STFU, but Michaels rolled over and Cena went for it again, but Michaels turned it into a cradle for a two count.

Michaels went for an enzugiri, but Cena ducked it and hooked in the STFU. Michaels made the ropes, and Cena finally broke the hold.  The referee warned Cena that he has to break on the ropes, and the momentary distraction allowed Michaels to nail Cena with the superkick as he turned around.  Michaels crawled onto Cena for a two count.  Both men were down, and slowly got up, leaning on each other.  Cena went to lift Michaels for the FU, but Michaels floated out and Cena went right into the STFU in the center ring.  Michaels struggled a bit, then tapped out at the twenty-eight minute mark.

Winner: John Cena.

Cena celebrated in the ring, then went in the aisle where Michaels was walking out.  He tried to turn Michaels around, but Michaels walked off. Michaels turned around halfway down the aisle, and Cena saluted him. Cena then went back in the ring to continue his post-match celebration.  Confetti dropped down as the show ended.

One final note, Vince McMahon and Donald Trump are scheduled to appear on The Today Show tomorrow morning.

NOTES: This show would be the final Mania appearance of Chris Benoit, who would go on to murder his family and himself the following June.  WWE has all but removed Benoit from their history in 99% of all materials that have been released since the tragedy....The PPV marked the first "ECW" appearance and the lone Mania appearance for Sabu and The Sandman, as well as Tommy Dreamer's Wrestlemania debut....Before the show, live in Detroit, they aired a music video on WWE's popularity worldwide putting over what looks to be a new company slogan, "WWE is Pop Culture".  It was the same video shown to the company's stockholders at the annual meeting recently....As he made his way to the ring for his Wrestlemania debut, ECW announcer Joey Styles jumped up and down as he walked to the ramp.  There was polite applause for everyone until Jim Ross came out.  Ross got a huge standing ovation.  Jerry Lawler followed, receiving another nice response....In a dark match Ric Flair & Carlito defeated Gregory Helms and WWE Cruiserweight champ Chavo Guerrero.  The lunberjacks were everyone from all three brands not booked, even Vito.  They had to have cracked a lumberjack record.  Chavo was dropkicked the apron by Carlito, caught by Snitsky and pressed and slammed into the ring.  Carlito pinned Helms.  Nothing of note....The fact Ric Flair was in a dark match prior to the PPV was met with a mixture of shock and disgust by many.  Steve Austin was said to have been so offended, he pitched the original idea that morphed into Flair's retirement angle for the following year's Wrestlemania...The lumberjacks in the dark match were Cryme Time, Paul London, Brian Kendrick, Val Venis, Snitsky, Johnny Nitro, The Highlanders, Eugene, Hacksaw Duggan, Vito, Daivari, Little Guido, Shelton Benjamin, Charlie Haas, Chris Masters, Lance Cade, Trevor Murdoch, Kenny Dykstra, Super Crazy, Viscera, Deuce, Domino, Funaki, Jimmy Wang Yang, Jamie Noble, Shannon Moore and Scotty Too Hotty.  Believe it or not, we may be missing a name or two and believe it or not, the lumberjacks didn't brawl at ringside....Aretha Franklin's introduction was audio of Vince McMahon introducing her at Wrestlemania 3.  Shane McMahon wanted to make the introduction as a "passing of the guard" deal from Vince doing it at Mania 3, but Stephanie McMahon put the kibosh on it.  WWE was upset when that word leaked the day of the PPV....Live the atmosphere was mostly quiet, reacting to big spots and kickouts in the WWE World and WWE championship matches.  It was hard to get a feel for many of the matches but the audience reacted for all the big moments in a major way.   It was a departure from the last few years with smaller venues and hotter crowds, partially because there's so much space to absorb the crowd noise.....The star of the show in many ways was the WWE production team as the pyro, staging, and lighting was amazing.  In many ways, the spectacle of the event overshadowed the substance of it live.  It absolutely reads like a show that was likely more impressive on TV then it was live, at least from my vantage point....The ECW match was met with indifference after the ring introductions with a lot of fans heading for the concession stands.  With the exception of Rob Van Dam, it was a Wrestlemania debut for everyone in the match....A fan hit the ring during the opening moments of John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels.  It wasn't clear who he was trying to challenge but it appeared he was trying to remove his clothes.  Referee Mike Cioda and security quickly pushed him against the ropes and removed him from the building.....There was nothing additional that took place live after the PPV ended.....Carlito was noticeably vocal at Thursday's THQ videogame challenge about being left off of WrestleMania.  Today, he said so publicly in an interview that he did with The Edmonton Sun.  He told The Sun, "I'm out of Wrestlemania.  Apparently, they had to make space for Kane vs. Khali and Melina vs. Ashley. How can I be at Wrestlemania? If I politic and kiss ass, I should make it."  He is also not happy in his current role in WWE saying, ""I absolutely hate being a babyface more than anything else.....The local Detroit media was out in full force and many of the evening telecasts featured stories on Wrestlemania, including footage of Donald Trump and Vince McMahon....Among the merchandise items sold were autographed copies of John Cena's the Marine, Wrestlemania 23 glow sticks, a bevy of Mania 23 T-shirts, a jacket, a teddy bear, a key chain, and a shot glass.  Merchandise for all of the major Raw and Smackdown stars were sold, as were ECW Originals shirts....A number of Bret Hart's children were in Detroit for Wrestlemania 23 and visited with the company.  Hart was not at the show....Former ROH star Colt Cabana was signed that week and was backstage at Wrestlemania,

Buck Woodward: Wrestlemania 23: This Money In The Bank was the first time where I could legitimately see any of the participants winning. I was stunned that Edge had his first Wrestlemania defeat in such a way, although that was later ignored. As for Kennedy, this win seems like a lifetime ago now. ... Khali-Kane. What were they thinking? ... Chris Benoit and MVP had much better bouts than the one here, but this was still great wrestling. Obviously, you can't look at it without seeing it as Benoit's last Mania bout. ... Undertaker vs. Batista was a great "big man's" match. Batista has never had better matches than he has had with Taker. ... The ECW Originals vs. New Breed bout was good, but the rematch they had two nights later, with Extreme Rules, was even better. ... Lashley vs. Umaga was okay, but this wasn't about having a great match, it was about creating a great photo op for the media. ... Melina vs. Ashley showed WWE had moved away from caring about the quality of the Divas match on the show. Like Hemme two year prior, Ashley had no business wrestling at this point. ... Whatever the original plans for Wrestlemania were, John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels was more than an adequate replacement. It wasn't just Shawn carrying the match, but Cena showing he could hang with one of the best wrestlers of all time.

Mike Johnson: Wrestlemania 23 had that cool throwback theme to the greatest Mania of them all (according to WWE lore), Mania 3...It's sort of funny that the reason Shawn Michaels ended up in this match was partially because of the DX stage entrance created for Triple H, who ended up injured with a quad tear. Michaels vs. Cena was nowhere the level of HHH vs Cena the year before but still a solid bout...Batista vs. Undertaker stole the show and really, should have gone on last. That match was incredible....How crazy is it looking back at Lashley and Umaga and how fargone they are today from any level of importance in the company...and in the case of Lashley, gone completely?....Vince shaved bald may be the first time the loser loses hair stip actually took place in the ring without some sort of malfunction....It was really something for me to watch Sandman, Sabu and Tommy Dreamer make their Mania debuts, especially as members of ECW....in Sabu's hometown. Wild. Too bad no one cared about the 8 Man tag and honestly, the rematch they had on ECW on Sci Fi was WORLDS better....They really missed a "can't miss" moment by not playing Enter Sandman for the ECW guys - imagine 70,000 strong singing that song?...CM Punk's Wrestlemania debut. He has been trapped in Money in the Bank since....Kennedy's win was the first of many planned pushes that ended up going nowhere due to circumstances outside of the ring....Ashley was soooo bad, it was ridiculous....Khali vs. Kane = UGH....Chris Benoit's last gift to wrestling before ending up one of its most infamous figures was getting MVP prepared and he did a great job in getting MVP to the next level here.

WWE SCREENS THE CONDEMNED

WWE held a special "premiere" screening of the Condemned on the Friday before Wrestlemania at the FOX Theater.  Of those who saw it at the time, they said it was easily the best of WWE Films' productions thus far.  The feeling coming out of the screening was that if you know what you are getting into and expect a popcorn action movie with a lot of violence, you will probably enjoy it for what it is but not to expect anything that's going to be honored by the Academy.   WWE was selling copies of the film's novelization signed by Steve Austin at the screening for $10, selling them out in rapid fashion. Expect a huge push over the next few weeks for the film, obviously. It later opened on 4/27, eventually becoming the company's biggest theatrical bomb to date.

DONALD TRUMP AND BALD VINCE MCMAHON ON TODAY TALK ABOUT BEING FRIENDS AGAIN, POSSIBILITY OF A REMATCH AND MORE
by Brian Richey 

All of the hosts of Today were standing outside Rockefeller Center where fans of the previous guest Beyoncé were waiting for a live concert. They showed the clip of Trump attacking Vince at ringside last night and then showed it again in slow motion. They then welcomed both Donald Trump and Vince McMahon, who was wearing a Wrestlemania 23 ballcap. Obviously, Trump still had his hair and the hosts promptly took the hat off to reveal Vince's clean shaven head.

They put up a before and after graphic and one of the hosts mentioned that Vince had a bit of a shiner, to which Vince replied, "Trump's got a hell of a right hand." Trump said that they were now friends again despite not liking each other for the past few weeks. They showed a clip of Vince being shaved and Trump remarked on how he issued the challenge and that his guy Bobby Lashley is 'great.' Vince said that the whole ordeal was somewhat humiliating and confirmed the host's inquiry that a new Ford Field record had been set with 80,000 fans. Vince went on to say that entertainment is the most important thing and that Trump is very entertaining.

The hosts started to feel Trump's hair to see if it was indeed real and Vince asked for some scissors to confirm it. They put up a graphic of what Trump would look like bald, which was a lot better than the photoshop version Vince has been looking at for weeks. The hosts asked about a rematch and Trump said that Vince probably wants one and that, "We'll see." One of the hosts seemed to think he could take Trump and they joked about the smackdown that could take place at Wrestlemania 24.

They finished up by congratulating Trump on keeping his hair and Vince on the show overall. Al Roker did a small weather update and they put him in the after section of the before and after graphic. He told Vince he would get used to the feeling and Vince gave him his Wrestlemania hat as the segment ended. 
 
Overall Vince seemed very happy and humble to be there and was very out of character. Trump seemed a little indifferent at the whole situation but then again when has he not in the past few weeks. 

LIVE THOUGHTS FROM WRESTLEMANIA

Thanks to Joe Martinez for the following: 

I was one of the 80,103 at Ford Field and thought I'd pass on my thoughts.  My feet hurt, I'm on like 3 hours sleep for the weekend and my voice is hoarse and quite frankly, I couldn't be happier.  Tonight coupled with the Hall of Fame ceremony last night, it was a great weekend.....I've been to tons of WWE & WCW shows over the years in Detroit and this was by far the best, the aura in the building was incredible.  The crowd was hot as hell all night and the only dull spots were really Kane/Khali and the Women's Title Match.....The crowd was pumped for Money in the Bank and there was no real crowd favorite, due to the 5 heels and how the Hardyz aren't exactly over with the male audience.  The anticipation for the Jeff Hardy/Edge spot was amazing and the crowd went NUTS for it.  More proof why Edge has been the MVP for the past 2 years.  The crowd seemed okay with Mr. Kennedy winning. ...Most people used Kane/Khali for a bathroom break....Benoit/MVP was a good match and I think MVP put forth his best effort to date in WWE.  The crowd was VERY into Benoit.....I was very surprised that the SmackDown! main event went on 4th but in hindsight, it was the right move.  I'd say Batista got the most heat tonight.  NOBODY wanted him to win.  Big Dave gets a lot of grief which is deserved but he deserves big props for his performance tonight, which was definitely his best performance since his trilogy with Triple H in 2005.  The crowd was really up for the false finishes and popped big time for The Undertaker winning the title.....Nobody really cared about the ECW match....The Battle of the Billionaire and Really Really Rich Guy from Greenwich, CT was pretty over.  Nobody was into the action and just was waiting for the big spots at the end and Austin getting involved.  Donald Trump got quite a bit of heat which is not all that amazing, considering he's a pompous ass and seemed to not care.  Does the guy ever take his overcoat off?  Vince getting his head shaved was the moment of the night and ya gotta give Vince credit for going chrome dome.....HBK/John Cena was an amazing match and I'd say is the match of the year at this point.  The heat for John Cena was pretty heavy but he had the kids and girls in his corner.  (There was a girl sobbing when Shawn was in control)  Great match to close a great night.

LIVE REPORT FROM THE STEVE AUSTIN MOVIE PREMIERE
by Nick Zablocki 

Hey, Elite member Nick here with a live report of The Condemned World Premiere at Fox Theatre.

Every WWE superstar was there including Stephanie, Shane, Linda, and Triple H, who seemed to be walking just fine by the way.  Mark Henry was there, he looked good as well.

There were about 5,000 people there to completely fill the place up.  It was a great experience live.

The movie itself was great in my opinion.  It had action, violence, sex and, of course, ass-whoopings.

Stone Cold does a great job of transitioning himself from a wrestler to a actor.  I thought he was great in this movie.

Some didn't think so though because the people sitting next to me left half way though due to how graphic the movie is in certain scenes. It is R rated.

Overall, I thought it was a great movie, and it was capped off with Stone Cold coming out to say a few words, to a great pop.

The premiere was great and so was the Fan Axxess. Overall, it was a great way to lead  up to Sunday's WM 23.

BACON, BAGELS AND BICEPS BRUNCH RECAP
by Lady J of Angrymarks.com

Here's the lowdown on the Wrestlemania morning  WWE Bacon, Bagels & Biceps Brunch!

Josh Matthews was our emcee. They did a brief pre-show before the festivities got underway. Josh spent about 15 minutes going through the crowd, asking where people were from and how they were doing.

Next, Josh introduces "The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart. The Mouth talks to the crowd for a bit. He recognizes a fan in the crowd from Ireland, who is dressed in a homemade Ric Flair robe. Another fan asks Hart how long it took him to recover after WrestleMania III. Hart says that he really enjoyed all three of his appearances, and that it was great to be a part of that special night. He also points out that Lawler did not mention his name during his Hall of Fame acceptance speech last night, even though they are both from Memphis.

At about 9:45, things officially get started. Josh Matthews comes out as the emcee. He introduces Sue, a WWE staffer who works with the WWE Circle of Champions, a group that brings Make-A-Wish kids to WrestleMania. Jimmy Hart comes out again, but this time he introduces Mick Foley to the crowd! Foley gets a huge pop, and there are multiple "FO-LEY, FO-LEY, FO-LEY" chants going on. Hart & Foley recognize each Make-A-Wish attendee to the crowd and give them a special plaque. 

Next, Josh Matthews introduces the Superstars attending today.
From RAW: Candice Michelle, Chris Masters, and Victoria
From Smackdown: Vickie Guerrero, Paul London, Brian Kendrick, and Mark Henry
From ECW: Marcus CorVon, Matt Striker, and Hardcore Holly

Josh asks each Superstar to share their favorite WrestleMania moment or memory with the fans. Some of the more notable ones were:

Kendrick: the Savage/Steamboat match from WrestleMania III
Vickie Guerrero: watching Eddie wrestle, the Chris/Eddie hug at WrestleMania XX
Victoria: Shaving Molly Holly's head at WrestleMania XX
Candice: meeting all the fans at WrestleMania

Striker: WrestleMania I at Madison Square Garden
CorVon: When the New Breed takes out the Originals tonight! There were lots of Monty chants while he was talking. (Note: Stryker did the RVD thumbs) 
Holly: Being able to entertain the fans - then he starts going after Henry, and the two of them trade barbs for a while.

Masters & Henry were very much in character - complaining about the fans and demanding respect.

Next, Josh Matthews opens it up to the fans to start asking questions. The best questions were:

To Bob Holly - How did it feel to beat Mantaur to qualify for King of the Ring in 1995?
Holly's Answer: "At least I'm in the WWE, what the heck are you doing?"

To All: How do you feel about all the disrespect from certain fans, especially at the Hall of Fame last night?
Henry's Answer: "You know what? I enjoy a good heckle. But it's really awful when it happens during an emotional moment. Parents - tell your kids to shut up! Wives, lean over and tell your husbands to shut up! Husbands, tell your wives (and I know you do) to shut up!"

To Chris Masters: How did you feel when Bobby Lashley broke your Master Lock?
Masters' Answer: "I had one bad night, and all of you are going to judge my whole career on that? As far as I'm concerned, the Master Lock still hasn't been broken by anyone!"

Jess: This answer sounds like it was ripped right from the pages of Pro Wrestling Illustrated.

To Striker (from a college professor): What's the biggest word you know? I am a professor and have a PhD, and I'm sure I know a bigger word than you do!
Striker's Answer: "The biggest word I know is Matt Striker, because I am the future of sports entertainment. My name is Matt Striker, and I am YOUR TEACHER!" London calls him a loser, but tries to blame it on Mark Henry.

To Marcus CorVon: I'm a big fan of your work, and watched you when you were in the 'other organization'. Who would you like to see come over from the 'other organization' and work with you?
CorVon's Answer: "It doesn't matter who it would be. It takes a big man to leave a comfortable environment and come to an uncertain one. Everyone has a dream, and if yours is to be a wrestler, then WWE is the place to be to make that happen."

The Q & A session lasted about 30-40 minutes.

Josh Matthews introduced the mayor of Alhambra, CA, who proclaimed today as WrestleMania Sunday. He also said that if Shawn Michaels defeats John Cena tonight, that tomorrow will be Shawn Michaels Day in his city.

Josh Matthews thanked everyone for coming and hopes everyone will enjoy the show tonight!

WWE TOUTS WRESTLEMANIA 23 BUSINESS

WrestleMania® Blows Away Attendance Record at Ford Field
DETROIT--(BUSINESS WIRE)--World Wrestling Entertainment® set an all-time attendance record at Ford Field tonight, as 80,103 ecstatic fans shared in the excitement of WrestleMania 23, WWE ®'s annual pop culture spectacular. Fans packed Ford Field from ringside to the rafters, including thousands with standing room only tickets.

Page # [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27]

If you enjoy PWInsider.com you can check out the AD-FREE PWInsider Elite section, which features exclusive audio updates, news, our critically acclaimed podcasts, interviews and more, right now for THREE DAYS free by clicking here!