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

By PWInsider.com Staff on 2011-04-03 09:13:00
WRESTLEMANIA 24 COVERAGE
by Buck Woodward

24-Man Battle Royale

The Battle Royale is being broadcast on WWE.com, but is not being shown as the pre-show for the PPV.  They had all the wrestlers come out to the same generic music, and had their names read off as they came down the aisle.  Joey Styles and Tazz called the action. I am sure I will miss a few eliminations, as they are using a pretty small screen on WWE.com to show the action.

As soon as the bell rang, Festus went nuts and attacked everyone.  Deuce was eliminated by a Festus kick, then Domino was tossed out by Festus with a hiptoss.  Great Khali tossed out Hacksaw Duggan, to a chorus of boos.  Stevie Richards was eliminated by a double jumping knee by Elijah Burke.  Kane grabbed Burke and tossed him over the top rope.  Miz was eliminated by a Jamie Noble head scissors. 

Mark Henry backdropped Shannon Moore and Jimmy Yang at the same time.  Trevor Murdoch eliminated Jesse  Festus tossed out Murdoch by dodging a charge.  Festus was eliminated by Lance Cade.  Brian Kendrick used a flying bodypress and took himself and Lance Cade over the top and out of the match. 

Mark Henry launched Kofi Kingston over the top rope to eliminate him.  Chuck Palumbo tossed out Jamie Noble, who stood on the bodies of wrestlers on the floor to avoid elimination, only to be kicked back down (and out) by Palumbo.  Khali then eliminated Palumbo.  Everyone remaining in the ring teamed up to eliminate Khali.

Snitsky tossed out Hardcore Holly, and I believe Mark Henry tossed out Tommy Dreamer, although it was hard to tell from the angle they were using.  It came down to Kane, Mark Henry and Snistky.  Henry eliminated Snitsky, and we were down to two.  Henry pressed Kane over his head, but Kane floated over and hit a kick to the head to send Henry over the top rope.  Kane is the winner.

Winner: Kane.

Wrestlemania 24 opened with a military flyover  John Legend sang "America, The Beautiful" While the upper decks don't look totally full, there are definitely a lot of people there.  It's also very cloudy, and when they used one of the wide shots, you could see water on the camera lens.

They showed a video package focusing on the events of the past year surrounding the WWE Title, the World Title, Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels and Big Show vs. Floyd Mayweather. Jim Ross welcomed us to the show, and they went to the ring for the first match.

Belfast Brawl: Fit Finlay vs. JBL.

Lilian Garcia is wearing a really great dress.  Sorry, I'll try to focus on wrestling.  As JBL made his entrance, a video package recapped the Vince McMahon-Hornswoggle storyline.  Finlay walked out on the stage, then waved out Hornswoggle, to a big pop.  Finlay sprinted to the ring and JBL kicked him as he tried to climb in.  They brawled on the floor, with JBL throwing right hands.  Finlay reversed a whip and sent JBL into the ring steps, then into the ring, and the bell ran to officially start the match.  Finlay hit a sit-down splash and a series of rights.  Finlay went under the ring and pulled out trash cans, lids and kendo sticks.  JBL grabbed a can and blasted Finlay with it.  JBL then used a trash can lid and a cookie sheet to blast Finlay.  JBL hit a short-arm clothesline, then threw a section of ring steps into the ring.  JBL kicked Finlay in the head, then went for a piledriver on the ring steps, but Finlay backdropped him off.

Finlay hit a kick to the head, then blasted JBL with the cookie sheet twice.  Finlay then held the metal pan against JBL's head and punched it.  Finlay went for the first cover of the match and got a two count.  Finlay hit a right hand, but JBL responded with a boot to the face, then stomped Finlay's hand.  JBL threw a series of punches in the corner, then kicked Finlay in the head.  JBL grabbed the shillelagh, but Hornswoggle ran in and hit JBL with a kendo stick.  JBL was distracted by the shot, and that allowed Finlay to pick up the shillelagh and blast JBL with it.  JBL fell to the floor, but Finlay rolled him back in.  Finlay put the trash can on JBL's head, then stomped it.  Finlay went under the ring and pulled out a table.  Finlay propped the table in a corner, then went to whip JBL into it.  JBL reversed the whip, and Finlay got thrown into a corner without a table.  Finlay charged out and blasted JBL with a clothesline.  JBL rolled to the floor, and grabbed Hornswoggle.  Finlay jumped out of the ring and bounced JBL's head off the Raw announce table over and over.  They went back into the ring, but JBL rolled out the other side. 


Finlay dove through the ropes for a tope, but JBL blasted him with a trash can lid.  JBL rolled Finlay into the ring for a two count.  JBL picked up a trash can and threw it out of the ring, nailing Hornswoggle on the floor with it.  JBL picked up another can and blasted Finlay with it. JBL went for a Clothesline From Hell, but Finlay picked up a can and blasted him with it.  Finlay hit a rolling Samoan Drop for a two count, then threw JBL into the table in the corner.  Finlay picked up the ringsteps to hit JBL, but JBL grabbed a kendo stick and blasted Finlay in the leg with it.  JBL then hit a Clothesline From Hell to get the win at the ten minute mark.


Winner: JBL

Kim Kardashian was backstage, telling us about the Money In The Bank Ladder match.  Kennedy interrupted, saying he would be the first man to win Money In The Bank two years in a row.  Her mic sounded low.


Money In The Bank: Ken Kennedy vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Chris Jericho vs. Carlito vs. MVP vs. CM Punk vs. John Morrison.

All announce teams are in on this one.  John Morrison entered first, then Carlito, then Shelton Benjamin, then CM Punk, then Ken Kennedy, then MVP, then Chris Jericho, with the last two getting big pyro displays.  Then again, I guess all pyro will be big tonight.  I will do my best to keep up with this one.


At the bell, everyone ran out of the ring for ladders, except MVP.  As guys tried to get back in with ladders, MVP would knock them out of the ring.  Finally, Jericho got in, and both men had ladders in their hands. Jericho and MVP jousted, with Jericho getting the better of it.  MVP rolled out, and Morrison came in and hit Jericho with it.  Morrison then took a ladder and moonsaulted off the top rope, hitting Punk, Carlito, MVP and Benjamin with the ladder on the floor.  Kennedy and Jericho squared off in the ring, and Jericho catapulted Kennedy into a ladder.  Kennedy jumped onto the ladder and climbed up for the briefcase.  Morrison came off the top rope onto the ladder, throwing another ladder at Jericho.  Morrison and Kennedy slugged it out on the ladder.  Benjamin set up another ladder and climbed up next to them, but was knocked down.  Kennedy went to superplex Morrison off the ladder, and Benjamin climbed up his ladder and gave Kennedy a sunset flip powerbomb, sending both men to the mat. 


Benjamin climbed the ladder, but Carlito tipped it over.  Benjamin landed on the top rope on his feet and tipped the ladder into Carlito. Benjamin then tried to jump onto the ladder, but it collapsed.  Punk climbed a ladder, but Kennedy pulled him down.  Punk knocked him out of the ring, then tried to climb again.  Benjamin tried to stop him, but Punk gave him a GTS.  Kennedy gave Punk a rolling Samoan Drop onto a ladder.  Carlito tried to climb up, but MVP knocked him down, then gave Kennedy a running kick.  MVP missed a running kick on Carlito, and Carlito hit MVP with a ladder shot to the leg.  Carlito went to climb a ladder, but Benjamin pulled him down.  Benjamin hit Carlito with a spinkick.  Benjamin went to climb the ladder, but Kennedy and Carlito tipped the ladder.  Benjamin went head over heels off the ladder, crashing through a ladder that was bridged at ringside.


Jericho, Carlito and Kennedy all climbed the ladder, but MVP knocked it over.  Morrison then blasted MVP out of the ring, then climbed a ladder.  Jericho climbed up to fight him, then applied a Walls Of Jericho across the top of the ladder.  Kennedy set up another ladder and climbed up.  Jericho dumped Morrison, then fought Kennedy on top of the ladders.  Punk and Carlito both springboarded from opposite sides of the ring and onto the ladders.  Punk and Kennedy came crashing off one ladder.  Carlito pulled Jericho off the other ladder with a Backstabber, and both men rolled to the floor.


MVP got into the ring and realized everyone was laid out by him.  MVP climbed up the ladder, and went for the briefcase.  Matt Hardy emerged from the crowd, to a monster pop.  Hardy climbed up the ladder and blasted MVP with punches.  Hardy gave MVP a Twist of Fate off the ladder to the mat.  The place as going nuts for Hardy.  Hardy ran back out through the crowd.  Jericho and Carlito started fighting, and two ladders got tangled together.  Morrison tried to climb the tangled ladder, but Jericho and Carlito tipped him off it and he fell to the floor. Jericho climbed the ladder, but Carlito sit apple in his face.  Kennedy knocked Carlito off the ladder and he landed back first on a ladder that was propped in a corner.   Kennedy went to climb up, but Punk knocked him down with a ladder.  Jericho gave Punk a Codebreaker with a ladder.
Jericho climbed the ladder, but Punk struggled up it, shaking the ladder.  Jericho kicked Punk in the head, yelling "stay down".  Punk climbed up and punched it out with Jericho.  Punk tripped Jericho and tied him in a Tree of Woe in the ladder.  Punk climbed up and grabbed the briefcase at the 15 minute mark.


Winner: CM Punk.


CM Punk now has a guaranteed WWE Title shot against the championship of his choice, good for one year.


They showed John Cena, Randy Orton and Triple H, backstage in their respective dressing rooms.


A video package on last night's WWE Hall Of Fame ceremony was shown.  Howard Finkel was introduced to bring out the WWE Hall Of Fame "Class of 2008".  Jack & Gerald Brisco, the children of Gordon Solie, Rocky Johnson (who got a nice pop), Peter Maivia's wife and daughter, Mike Graham (son of Eddie Graham), and Mae Young (to a huge pop) were introduced to the crowd.  Mae teased that she was going to take off her clothes, by Mike Graham stopped her.  Ric Flair was represented by his four children, Ashley, Megan, David and Reid.

Snoop Dogg was interviewed backstage.  Snoop said he was having "the time of his life".  Snoop said he found someone he sees "eye to eye with".  The camera panned over to Festus.  Snoop said they love the same music, movies and cars.  Santino interrupted, saying Snoop better not try any funny business during the Playboy Bunnymania match.  Snoop pulled out a bell, rang it, and Festus freaked out and chased off Santino.  Snoop was asked where he got the bell from, and he said he "knew someone".  Mick Foley entered, delivering a Snoppizzle version of "Bang, Bang" and "Have A Nice Day".  Snoop walked off, and Foley pulled out a Mr. Socko complete with "bling".


Batista vs. Umaga.


Smackdown Assistant General Manager Theodore R. Long introduced Batista, while Raw General Manager William Regal introduced Umaga.  The sun has set now in Florida, and the full effect of the entranceway and lights in the stadium is pretty cool.  Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler are calling this match.


They started slugging it out at the bell, and Umaga shoved Batista to the mat.  Umaga went for a charge in the corner, but Batista moved out of the way and knocked Umaga to the floor with a shoulderblock.  Batista hit some shots as Umaga got on the apron, but Umaga hit a thrust to the throat.  Umaga went for a backdrop, but Batista kicked it away.  Umaga returned fire with a spin kick.  Batista rolled to the apron and Umaga hit a front kick that knocked Batista to the floor.  Umaga rolled Batista back into the ring and hit a splash to the back for a two count.  Umaga whipped Batista hard into the turnbuckles twice.  Batista threw some punches, but Umaga took him down with another thrust into the throat.


Umaga applied a nervehold, then slammed Batista.  Umaga went to the second rope, but missed a diving headbutt. Batista lifted Umaga for a slam, but fell under the weight and Umaga got a two count.  Umaga hit a kick to the back, then went back to the nervehold.  Batista elbowed out, but Umaga hit a headbutt and a Samoan Drop for a two count.  There's fans in the front rows chanting "U-U-Umaga".  Batista blocked a whip and hit some punches.  Batista hit a boot to the face, and the crowd actually booed Batista.  Umaga grabbed Batista and went for the Samoan Spike, but Batista blocked it and threw Umaga into the corner.  Umaga went over the turnbuckles and hit the ringpost.  Batista hit a spinebuster, and there was a pop, so Batista still has his fans.  Batista hit a Batista Bomb, falling backwards as he delivered it due to Umaga's size, and got the pin at the eight minute mark.


Winner: Batista.


Floyd Mayweather was shown hanging out backstage with his posse.  They went over the Tale Of The Tape for his match with Big Show, noting how ridiculously lopsided it is.


They recapped the end of the Battle Royale from earlier today.  ECW General Manager Armando Estrada was introduced to the crowd, and handled ring introductions for the ECW Title match.


ECW Champion Chavo Guerrero vs. Kane.


Kane entered through the crowd and was standing behind Chavo as his music played.  Chavo turned around and saw Kane standing there.  The bell rang.  Kane hit a chokeslam and pinned Chavo.  The bell rang again.

Winner and New ECW Champion: Kane.

They showed the Wrestlemania commercial with Carlito, Maria and the seagull.  I guess we needed to be reminded what show we paid $55 to see tonight.

Raven Symone was introduced to the crowd.  She told the crowd that WWE has been granting wishes with the "Make-A-Wish Foundation" for 20 years, and today they granted their biggest wish ever, bringing in 50 Make-A-Wish Kids from 50 States.  They showed the kids, who were seated in a section called "The Circle Of Champions" and the crowd gave them a round of applause.


They showed a video package on the events leading to Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels.

Mike Adamle interviewed Ric Flair backstage.  He asked Flair what his gameplan is for tonight.  Flair simple responded, "My gameplan?  To be the Man. Whoo!"


Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels.  If Ric Flair loses, he must retire.

Shawn Michaels came out first, to a mixed reaction, although he had his supporters.  There was a long pause before Ric Flair's music hit.  Flair strutted out with a huge blue and silver robe.  Fireworks went off in the air for his entrance.  It was spectacular.  Charles Robinson is the referee, Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler are the announcers.


They reached to lock up, the Flair combed his hair back and let out a "Whoo"!  They locked up, then Flair shoved Michaels into the ropes and Michaels hit a shoulderblock.  Flair grabbed a headlock and switched into a hammerlock.  They traded reversals, then went into some mat wrestling.  Michaels elbowed out of a hammerlock, and Flair hit a hiptoss.  Flair strutted and let out a "Whoo!"  They stared each other down, then locked up again.  They went into a corner and Michels shoved Flair.  Flair shoved back and said "Old Yeller, huh?"  Michaels slapped Flair.  Flair had some blood come from his mouth.  Michaels said "You can leave now".  Flair said "First blood, brother".  They traded punches and chops in a corner, then Michaels went for a backdrop, but Flair kicked it away.  Flair hit a backdrop and delivered a kneedrop to Michaels' head.  Michaels came back with a back elbow as Flair charged in at him.


Michaels went to the top rope, but Flair slammed Michaels off the top rope.  There's a switch.  Flair went to the top rope, and Michaels went to slam him off, but Flair punched him away.  Flair hit a top rope bodypress for a two count.  Michaels grabbed a headlock, but Flair hit a shinbuster.  Flair went for a figure four, but Michaels kicked him away.  Flair fell through the ropes and to the floor.  Michaels hit a baseball slide kick.  Michaels went for an Asai moonsault, but Flair moved and Michaels crashed through the Raw announce table at ringside.


Michaels managed to crawl back into the ring, and Flair whipped him into a corner.  Flair whipped him into the opposite corner, then hit a back suplex.  Michaels kicked out at two.  Flair punched Michaels in his ribs, which Michaels was now favoring.  Flair hit a double underhook suplex for a two count.  Flair stomped the ribs.  Flair hit a few chops, and Michaels tried to punch back, but Flair hit a delayed vertical suplex, to a pop, for a two count.  Flair tried for another two count.  They traded punches and chops, and Michaels started to get the better of it.  Flair shoved Michaels into the ropes and went for a backdrop, but Michaels hit a neckbreaker.  Michaels backdropped Flair over the top rope and to the floor.  Michaels went to the top rope and barely moonsaulted a standing Flair on the floor.  Flair and Michaels crawled back into the ring at a nine count.


They traded chops, as JR noted that if Michaels had hit the bullseye with the moonsault, Flair wouldn't have been able to get back in the ring.  Michaels hit a flying forearm and kipped up.  Michaels hit a reverse atomic drop, then a second.  Flair did a reverse Flair flop.  Michaels slammed Flair, then went to the top rope and hit a flying elbowdrop.  Michaels set up for a superkick, stomping in the corner.  Michaels went for it, then stopped short and just stared at Flair.  Flair grabbed Michaels by the leg, tripped him to the mat and applied a figure four leglock.  Michaels struggled in the hold, then managed to reverse it.  Both men got to their feet, and Michaels chopped Flair.  They went to the mat, and Michaels tried for a bridge, but couldn't get it.  Flair backdropped Michaels, but Michaels turned it into a sunset flip for a two count.


Michaels chopped Flair, but Flair reversed a whip and sent Michaels into the corner.  Flair then hit a chopblock to the back of the leg.  Flair went for the figure four again, but Michaels grabbed a small package for a two count.  Michaels went for an enzugiri, but Flair ducked it and applied the figure four leglock.  Michaels tried to inch towards the ropes, but Flair inched them back into the center of the ring.  Michaels rolled the figure four, but Flair rolled it back.  Michaels finally made the ropes to break the hold.  Flair stomped Michaels' leg near the ropes.  Flair let out a "Whoo!", then walked into a superkick by Michaels.  Michaels crawled onto Flair, but Flair got a shoulder up at the two count, to a pop.


Michaels struggled to his feet, and measured for one more superkick.  Flair wasn't getting up off the mat.  Michaels screamed for him to get up, then prepared for the kick again, stomping in the corner.  Flair wasn't getting up.  Michaels went to pull Flair up off the mat, and Flair hit a low blow mule kick, out of view of the referee.  The crowd popped for it.  Flair covered Michaels for a two count.  Flair went to grab Michaels, but Michaels tripped Flair and applied his inverted figure four.  Flair screamed in pain, struggled and made the ropes.  Michaels pulled Flair back toward the center of the ring, and a turnbuckle cover came off in Flair's hand.  As the referee took the cover away, Flair poked Michaels in the eyes.  Flair rolled up Michaels with a handful of tights for a two count.


Flair and Michaels exchanged chops, with Flair getting the better of it.  Flair hit several shots, then Michels snapped off a superkick, decking Flair.  Michaels lined up for another superkick, and looked like he was going to cry.  Flair got to his feet, and gestured for Michaels to bring it on.  Michaels said "I'm sorry, I love you." and nailed Flair with a superkick for the pin at the twenty one minute mark.

Winner: Shawn Michaels.

Michaels rolled out of the ring and headed up the aisle.  Flair got to his knees in the ring, crying.  Michaels' music stopped.  Flair got to his feet, and the Citrus Bowl gave him a huge ovation.  Flair went to ringside and kissed members of his family.  He walked up the aisle, and the place kept exploding into ovation after ovation. Flair turned at one point and said "I love you" to the crowd. Flair stopped at the stage, turned and gave a final wave, tears coming from his eyes, and walked off.  Ric Flair's career has ended.


Backstage, Edge cut a promo about being a kid that went to Wrestlemania to see his hero, Hulk Hogan, and had his dream crushed when Hulk Hogan lost.  Edge said tonight, he would crush the dreams of those that believe in the Undertaker by ending his streak.


They set off a ton of pyro to kick off the "second half" of Wrestlemania.


Playboy Bunnymania Lumberjack Match: Maria & Ashley vs. Beth Phoenix & Melina.

The other Divas, dressed in street clothes, came out on the stage.  Snoop Dogg came out and drove a pimped out golf cart to the ring with the Divas following him on foot (or, in Cherry's case, on skates). Wow, you'd be surprised how many Divas can't dance.  I mean, Victoria is supposed to be awkward, what is up with the others?  Snoop got on the mic and lead the crowd in some "Whoo's" in honor of Ric Flair. Maria and Ashley were introduced first.  Maria looks like she belongs in a Sci-Fi movie with funky hair, makeup and outfit.  They grinded up against Snoop after entering the ring.  Santino Marella led in Maria and Beth Phoenix.  Maria had giant fans, like a old-style fan dancer.  There were giant inflatable Playboy Bunny logos on the stage.

Ashley started off with Phoenix, then tagged in Maria for a double hiptoss.  Melina tagged in and Maria tossed her to the floor.  Melina was shoved back in and Maria hit a reverse splash in the corner.  Maria gave Melina a Bronco Buster.  Maria pulled Melina out of the corner for a two count.  Ashley tagged in and did a headscissors and a clothesline.  Ashley, very slowly, set up and hit a facebuster.  Melina shoved Ashley into a punch by Phoenix.  Ashley was thrown to the floor and the heel Divas beat her up and tossed her in.  Phoenix tagged in and Melina catapulted Ashley into a bearhug by Phoenix.  Melina tagged back in and Phoenix tossed Melina into a moonsault onto Ashley.  Maria broke up the pin.  Maria got a tag as Beth Phoenix tagged in.  The lights went out in the stadium.  Unfortunately, they didn't stay off.  They got spotlights on the ring, and Maria was going at it with Phoenix.  Maria hit Phoenix with a bulldog.  There was a brawl at ringside, and Maria was left along with Phoenix in the ring.  Maria had a cover, but Santino reached in to break it up.  Jerry Lawler went over and decked Santino with a right hand.  In the ring, Phoenix hit Maria with a fisherman's buster to get the pin at the five minute mark.
Winners: Beth Phoenix & Melina.

Post-match, Santino stood over Maria, but Snoop came in and nailed Santino with a clothesline.  Snoop then started making out with Maria in the ring, to the dismay of Santino.

A video package on the WWE Title match was shown.

They appear to still be having some lighting issues, but the ring and entranceway is lit.  

WWE Champion Randy Orton vs. Triple H vs. John Cena.

A marching band played John Cena's music as he came to the ring first.  It was revealed that Cena won a WWE poll to predict the winner of this match.  Cena got 52%, Triple H got 40% and Randy Orton got 8%.  Cena was getting a mixed reaction.  Triple H had a more traditional entrance, as did Orton.

Orton grabbed the belt at the bell and hit Triple H with it, since it is a no DQ match.  Orton and Cena then went at it briefly, but Triple H got back in as Cena was tossed out. Triple H took Orton to the floor and bounced his head off an announce table.  Triple H applied a sleeper on Orton.  Cena came in and lifted both men for an FU, but Triple H slid off and hit Cena in the gut with a kick.  Orton gave Triple H a side backbreaker.  Orton went back and forth, stomping both opponents.  Orton hit Cena with a kneedrop for a two count, then gave Triple H a kneedrop for a two count.  Orton went to the top rope, but Cena met him there and went for a superplex.  Triple H pulled Cena off the ropes onto his shoulders and Orton gave Cena a flying bodypress.  Cena rolled through the bodypress, and put Orton in FU position.  Orton floated out of it and into a sunset flip for two.  Triple H nailed Cena with a clothesline, then Orton nailed Triple H with a clothesline.


Orton set up Triple H and Cena and hit a double DDT.  Orton covered Cena for a two count, then covered Triple H for a two count.  Looks like some of the lights are coming back on now.  Orton measured both men for RKO's.  Orton went for it on Cena, but Cena shoved Orton off, and Orton landed on Triple H.  Cena gave Orton the Throwback, then hit a top rope Rocker Dropper on him.  Cena went to put Orton in the STFU, but Orton crawled out of the ring.  Cena chased Orton around the ring, and Orton suckered Cena into a shove into the ringpost.  Orton got back into the ring, and Triple H ambushed him.  Triple H put Orton's leg across the middle rope and drove his knee into it.  Triple H yanked on Orton's leg.  Cena dove in, but Triple H dodged him.  Orton hit Triple H with an RKO, and Triple H rolled to the floor.  Cena grabbed an STFU on Orton.  Orton struggled towards the ropes and Triple H pulled Cena to the floor and threw him into the ringsteps.


Triple H got into the ring and put Orton in an Indian Deathlock.  Cena came in and hit Triple H to break up the hold.  Cena whipped Triple H across the ring and Triple H floated over the top rope and to the floor.  Cena put Orton in an STFU, but Triple H got in and kicked Cena.  Cena wouldn't break the hold, so Triple H had to pry his arms off.  Triple H put Cena in a Crippler Crossface.  Cena struggled to the ropes, finally making the bottom rope to force a break.  Cena and Triple H got up and exchanged punches.  Fans were solidly behind Triple H.  Cena hit a shoulderblock and a clothesline, then a back suplex into a powerbomb.  Cena did the "You Can't See Me" and hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle fistdrop.  Cena went for the FU, but Triple H floated out and set up for a Pedigree.  Cena tripped and went for an STFU, but Triple H rolled over and kicked Cena away.


Triple H hit a facebuster on the knee, a clothesline, and a spinebuster.  Triple H hit Orton in the leg with a chopblock as he got on the apron.  Triple H turned back to Cena, and Cena lifted him for an FU. Triple H blocked it and hit Cena with a Pedigree.  Orton ran in and kicked Triple H in the head, then covered Cena for the pin at the fourteen minute mark.

Winner: Randy Orton.

A commercial for Backlash aired.

Big Show was shown in the back getting ready for his match.  A video package on Show vs. Floyd Mayweather was shown.


Big Show vs. Floyd Mayweather. Anything Goes, match can end via pinfall, submission or knockout.


Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are calling this one.  Big Show came out alone, in his usual wrestling attire.  Floyd came out with his posse.  He was wearing fingerless gloves, but with more padding than UFC gloves.  Fireworks went off for his entrance, and fake (at least, I assume fake) money shot out from the stage.  Floyd had long, fur and leather pants on, and sneakers. 

 
At the bell, Floyd circled the ring and dodged Big Show as he came towards him.  Floyd hit a series of shots to Show's midsection while Show swung in the air two feet above Mayweather's head.  Floyd hit a jab to Show's head.  They repeated the sequence, with Show moving in and Floyd hitting some jabs to the face before Show backed up.  Floyd had one of his second's get on the apron and give him a large goblet to drink from.  Big Show knocked him off the apron, then grabbed the second, yanked him in the ring, and blasted him with a chop to the chest. 


Floyd went for a punch, Show caught it, put Floyd's hand on the mat and went to stomp it, but Mayweather pulled his hand away.  Show grabbed Floyd by the throat and lifted him up, but Mayweather hit him with a punch or two, then jumped on his back and tried to choke him down.  Show teased snap maring him over the top rope, but didn't.  Mayweather kept his choke on, and the fans booed as Show predictably went down on one knee.  Show got back to his feet and broke free.  Show put Floyd on the mat and stomped on the forearm of Mayweather.  Floyd sold it like he had his arm broken.  Floyd's posse protested what Show was doing. 


Show put Floyd in a corner and chopped him hard on the chest.  The crowd chanted "One More Time".  Show stood on Floyd's back.  Floyd tried kicking Show in the gut.  Show gave Mayweather a side slam, and the crowd popped.  Show legdropped Floyd's arm, then stood on his stomach.  Floyd tried to battle back with punches to the gut, but Show headbutted him down.  Show hit an elbowdrop.  Show called for one more, and the crowd was behind him.  Floyd's seconds pulled him out of the ring before Show could hit the move.  Floyd's posse took Mayweather up the aisle, but Show gave chase and started knocking everyone down.  Show grabbed Floyd and dragged him back to the ring by his throat.  Show hit a knee to the gut and threw Floyd back into the ring.


One of Mayweather's handlers came into the ring and Show decked him.  Show lifted Mayweather for a chokeslam, but another handler came in and hit Show with a chair.  Show no sold it, and gave the handler a chokeslam.  Mayweather picked up the chair and hit Show a few times with it.  Show got back up and grabbed Mayweather by the throat.  Mayweather hit a few more chairshots.  Mayweather went to one of his downed handlers and pulled a set of brass knucks from a chain around his neck.  Mayweather nailed Show with the brass knucks.  Show started to get up on the bottom rope a bit, but was unable to get up for the 10 count, ending the match at the twelve minute mark. The crowd groaned.


Winner via knockout: Floyd Mayweather.


Kim Kardashian announced that 74,635 fans were in attendance tonight, a Citrus Bowl record.


The excellent Undertaker-Edge video package from Smackdown was shown.


World Champion Edge vs. The Undertaker.

This will shock you.  Undertaker had an awesome entrance. Edge also had a big entrance, and came out alone.  Edge then waved out Vickie Guerrero, who was wheeled out by Theodore R. Long.  Edge kissed her, then Teddy wheeled her to the back while Edge walked down the aisle alone.  As Edge got halfway down the aisle, he stopped and there was a huge fireworks display.

They faced off at the bell, and Undertaker made a throat-slashing gesture.  Edge went right at him with punches, but Taker reversed a whip into the corner and hit a clothesline.  Taker clotheslined Edge over the top rope and to the floor. Undertaker chased him back into the ring, and Edge tried to stop him on the apron, but Taker yanked him throat first across the top rope.  Back in the ring, Undertaker hit a clothesline for a two count.  Taker hit a short-arm shoulderblock, then went to the top rope for the Old School ropewalk.  Edge yanked Taker down, but Taker held on and armdragged Edge.  Taker hit a headbutt in the corner and choked Edge.  Undertaker hit a jumping knee in the corner, but his momentum took him over the top rope and he fell to the floor.


Taker got on the ring apron, and Edge hit a shoulderblock that sent Taker off the apron and into the security wall.    Edge hit Taker with a baseball slide kick, then went after him and rammed him back first into the ring apron.  Edge took Undertaker up on the apron, then gave him a neckbreaker across the top rope.  Taker fell back to the floor and Edge posed in the ring.  Edge hit a headbutt to the back, then a series of shots in the corner before hitting a shoulderblock to the ribs.  Edge dropped a pair of elbows to the gut, then kicked Taker repeatedly.  Taker fire back with a punch and headbutt, then lifted Edge for a slam, but his back gave out and Edge fell on top for a two count.


Edge hit some punches and a standing dropkick.  Edge went to the top rope, but Undertaker shoved him off and sent Edge falling down hard to the floor.  Undertaker hit the ropes and launched over the top rope into a tope, blasting Edge on the floor.  Undertaker put Edge in the ring, he head hanging off the ring apron, and kicked him in the head. Undertaker dropped a legdrop across Edge's chest on the apron, then pulled him into the ring for a two count.  Undertaker set up for a Last Ride powerbomb, but his back gave on him and he couldn't lift Edge.  Edge hit a kick to the head for a two count.  Edge took Undertaker to the floor, then dropped him back first across the security wall.  Undertaker landed in the front row.


Edge rolled Undertaker into the ring for a two count.  Edge pounded Taker's back and applied a single leg crab.  Edge drove his knee into Undertaker's back.  Undertaker managed to turn the hold and roll up Edge for a two count, but Edge got back on top and tied up his legs, but Taker managed to kick him away.  Edge hit some shots to the back, but Taker returned fire with punches.  They traded shots, with the crowd cheering Taker's punches and booing Edge's.  They went back and forth, with Taker finally getting the better of it.  Taker hit two avalanches in the corner, then hit Snake-Eyes.  Undertaker set up for the running boot to the face, but Edge countered with a dropkick.

 
Edge went to the second rope, but jumped into an Undertaker choke.  Edge kicked Taker to escape it.  Edge went for a clothesline, Undertaker ducked and grabbed the chokeslam again, but Edge countered it mid-move and hit an Implant DDT for a two count.  Edge went for a spear, but Undertaker blocked it with a knee to the head.  Undertaker hit a chokeslam for a two count. Undertaker went for the Old School ropewalk, but Edge crotched Taker in the corner.  Edge delivered a superplex and crawled onto Undertaker for a two count.  Edge pounded Undertaker in a corner, but Taker pulled Edge out in position for the Last Ride powerbomb.  Edge floated out of it and hit a neckbreaker for a two count.


Edge went for a backdrop, but Undertaker kicked it away.  Undertaker picked up Edge and hit the

Last Ride powerbomb.  Undertaker covered Edge, but Edge kicked out at two.  Undertaker called for the Tombstone.  Undertaker lifted Edge, but Edge floated over and hit a reverse facebuster, driving Taker down on the back of his head, for a two count. Edge went for a whip, but Undertaker reversed it and hit a kick.  Undertaker went for Old School again, this time hitting the top rope forearm to the back of the head.  Undertaker went for a running kick, but Edge moved and Taker kicked the referee, knocking him down.  Edge gave Undertaker a reverse DDT, then punched him on the mat.  Edge yelled "It ends, Deadman".  Undertaker reached up from the mat and grabbed Edge by the throat.  Edge kicked Undertaker between the legs to block it.
Edge went to ringside and grabbed a television camera,  Edge got in the ring and blasted Undertaker with it. Edge went to revive the referee, who rolled off the apron and to the floor.  Undertaker sat up in the ring.  Edge called for a tombstone and picked up the Undertaker, but Undertaker reversed it and nailed Edge with the tombstone piledriver.  Referee Charles Robinson, who had a long way to run, came down the aisle and into the ring.  Edge kicked out at the two count.  Undertaker looked stunned.  Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins ran down.  Taker met them at the apron and knocked one off, then chokeslammed the other one on top of him at ringside.  Edge hit Undertaker with a spear, but Taker kicked out at two.  Edge went for another spear, but Undertaker caught him in the gogoplata (or, as I call it, the Bloody Shin Choke or, if you're Michael Cole "That submission maneuver").  Edge struggled, then tapped out at the twenty five minute mark.


Winner and new World Champion: The Undertaker.


Undertaker posed with the belt in the ring and a huge fireworks display went off to end the show.


FIREWORKS MISHAP MARS WRESTLEMANIA ENDING


During the closing pyrotecnics display of Wrestlemania XXIV, a line being used to shoot pyro towards the ring appeared to have snapped, sending spinning pyro bursts down into one of the upper sections of the Citrus Bowl. The fans in the area scattered as the pyro spun in the section. There have been no confirmed reports of any serious injuries coming from the incident as of this writing.


WFTV.com in Florida reported at least 35 people were injured when a "pyrotechnics malfunction sent fireworks and hot cables flying into crowded stands" at the end of Wrestlemania following Undertaker's WWE World title win.  While many of those injured left with ice packs on their minor burns, three fans were taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center.  According to the fire department, none of the burn victims were "seriously hurt".  At least one fan also complained about the slow reaction to the incident by firefighters, noting "We had to sit up in the bleachers and wait for a paramedic to come. They didn't really examine us. And we had to walk all the way down to first aid and had to ask for a bag of ice just to put on our head." You can read the article by clicking here.


World Wrestling Entertainment issued the following statement:


WrestleMania XXIV Fireworks Incident


ORLANDO, Fla., March 31, 2008- We're investigating the incident and doing everything we can to find out why it happened and to make sure it never happens again. While we apologize to anyone who was injured and/or alarmed by this occurrence, we take solace in the fact that the reported injuries were minor.


The Associated Press reported the following:

Dozens burned after fireworks malfunction at wrestling event

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Fire officials in Orlando, Florida say a fireworks malfunction at a Wrestlemania event caused minor burns to about 40 people.

They say at least three people were taken to a hospital for treatment, but that none of the injuries was serious.

It happened last night as the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium was packed for the wrestling event. A fire department spokesman says a cable holding the fireworks collapsed at the end of the show, sending hot embers from the fireworks into the crowd. He says there were burn injuries "up and down the stadium."


Newsday
reported that the firm that handled the Wrestlemania XXIV pyro display were the Deer Park, Long Island based Zenith Pyrotechnology.  They did not return requests for comment on the pyrotechnic incident towards the end of the PPV that left dozens of fans singed.

NOTES: Obviously, the highlight of the show was Ric Flair's retirement.  WWE brought JJ Dillon, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham and Arn Anderson together with Flair the next night on Raw for Flair's farewell address, the first time that Horsemen combination had been together since late 1988.  The farewell was an incredible moment...Highlander Robbie McAllister was sent home by WWE after attending a live TNA Impact the Thursday of Wrestlemania week and being shown (and pointed out) by TNA on camera.  He was later released by WWE....WWE had a barge in the lake behind the Citrus Bowl to be used to launch pyro during Wrestlemania....The company spent in the area of $30 thousand for Ric Flair's golden fireworks entrance....When Ric Flair returned to the back following his match with Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania tonight, just about every wrestler in the company was at the "Gorilla Position" behind the curtain waiting to give him a standing ovation....WWE officials were armed with a huge stack of comp tickets to the next night's Raw for any fans who complained about problems with seeing the ring due to the production structure used for the outdoor venue...WWE was instructing all talent making appearances to remain in camera during the promotion of Wrestlemania locally in Orlando....Attending Wrestlemania were Jimmy Snuka, Kevin Thorn, Diana Hart, Greg Valentine, Tony Atlas, The Hennig family, the Wild Samoans and Gene Okerlund, among others....The streets surrounding the Citrus Bowl were filled with residents selling parking spaces for $20-$25 in their backyards, behind churches, in the parking lots of private businesses, and everywhere else.... Rev Theory, the band that performed the WrestleMania theme this year, played a concert at the Fan Axxess across the street from the stadium a few hours before the show....Despite some speculation, TNA never flew a plane over the Citrus Bowl, although there were no shortage of annoying aircraft hovering above. One advertised a strip club and bore the suitable message, "Wooo!"....TNA set up a small area across the street from Citrus Bowl before the show where fans could take pictures with the X-Division title. There were also TNA flyers littered around the stadium.....WWE made the wise move of opening the doors to the stadium more than two hours before the show. In other years, they've cut it pretty close. This gave the fans plenty of time to file in....The weather in Orlando was questionable the weekend of the show.  As it turned out, the sun was shining almost to the minute that the show went on the air, and then became completely overcast and started raining. The showers were light and sporadic throughout the night, but never much of a problem. It did get quite chilly, though....The power outage during the women's match really affected the live fans' enjoyment of the WWE title three way. After the lights went, the giant screens over the ring soon followed, making it hard for many fans to follow the action in the ring...., There were actually people roaming the concourse inside the Citrus Bowl hawking bootleg Wrestlemania shirts during and after the PPV itself....Backstage, Floyd Mayweather Jr. was raving to everyone about how much fun he had wrestling Big Show last night and would love to come back.  The feeling backstage was that the bout was entertaining and both did a great job.....Actor Macaulay Culkin (of Home Alone fame) was at the Wrestlemania after-party.  He's been a fan for years as I can remember him being shown as a child at one of the earlier Wrestlemanias....WWE developmental talents from FCW were used as extras for Melina's paparazzi and the Undertaker's Druids.  I am pretty sure Colt Cabana and Matt Sydal were part of Melina's entrance....Big Daddy V missed the Wrestlemania festivities and was pulled from the ECW Battle Royal on the Wrestlemania pre-show as he's suffering from a bout with pneumonia.  He would later be released from the company....The consensus among everyone seems to be that Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels was the match of the night...There was a ton of advertising based around the Mayweather-Show match in Orlando over the weekend with ads in different hotels, the Orlando airport and lots of billboards.  I didn't see this when I arrived, but Leon Peters sent word that when he arrived, there was a couple wearing red boxing robes and holding up signs that said "WrestleMania XXIV Welcomes You To Orlando".  Unique marketing idea....The original plan for Money in the Bank was indeed to have Jeff Hardy go over, but his  WWE Wellness suspension obviously changed that.  The decision was made to move Punk to Raw once it was decided he would go over in the match.  Punk would win the WWE World title just weeks later, holding it for several months....Pretty much every WWE contracted talent was in Orlando over the weekend, with the two lone exceptions I am aware of being The Boogey Man and Johnny Jeter....Some of the WWE developmental talents in town for Wrestlemania weekend ended up getting chewed out by WWE management for disrespecting the main roster at the Hall of Fame.  Their crime?  Taking food and eating at catering before the main roster talents could arrive and eat.....The original plan for the Undertaker entrance was to feature 24 Druids, but they later cut them down to 10 as the PPV progressed....Former WWE developmental talent Teddy Hart was at Wrestlemania XXIV and was seen hanging out inside the arena.  He was filming a shoot interview he intended to release himself....Several names from past visited the company at the show, including Andrew "Test" Martin, The Warlord, Haku and Kendall Windham were also backstage visiting.  Kendall was also at the Hall of Fame ceremonies.

WWE 2008 HALL OF FAME COVERAGE

FULL WWE HALL OF FAME COVERAGE INCLUDING WHAT YOU DIDN'T SEE ON WWE.COM AND USA NETWORK
Welcome to our coverage of the 2008 WWE Hall Of Fame ceremony.  The first half of the Hall Of Fame is being presented in a webcast on WWE.com, while the balance of the show is being taped for tonight's broadcast on the USA Network and The Score. For those unable to follow the webcast, we will have a recap here following each induction and we will have live reports from the ceremony itself throughout the evening.

Mike Johnson, reporting live from the Hall Of Fame:

We are live from the Amway Arena.

WWE is selling several special Ric Flair shirts, one listing every star he defeated for a World title and the other reading "Thank you Ric."

The ceremony started 10 minutes late.

The Rock is up first.

After a video package, Todd Grisham introduced The Rock who received a monster standing ovation.  The crowd chanted "Please Come Back".  Rock seemed genuinely moved and thanked everyone humbly before whipping out his trademark "Finally the Rock has come back to Orlando."

Rock said he wanted to congratulate all the new Hall of Famers tonight and seeing everyone tonight, shouting out Steve Austin.  The crowd chanted "One More Match" at them.  Rock asked the crowd if they wanted to see them wrestle one more time.  Fans chanted "Austin-Rocky".  Rock said he loved Austin and they headlined three Wrestlemanias.  He told a story of them facing off in the ring at Wrestlemania and saying to Austin in the ring that they were going to make history ... so Austin punched him in the face and said "shut up".

Rock then pointed out a smiling Mick Foley.  He said Foley was the only man who can use a sweaty sock to make Rock a better man.  Foley whipped out a Socko drawn to wear a tuxedo.

Rock pointed out Coachman then said, "Awww no one cares about you".  Rock pointed out Chris Jericho and said he can't believe Jericho is still talking about the night he beat Rock and Austin but its better than talking about the haircut that makes him look 12 years old.

Rock asked where Triple H was.  He said HHH is so obsessed with winning the WWF...he corrected himself and said WWE title...then said somehow that makes Stephanie pregnant.  They showed her in the front row.


Rock then said that other than going to Iraq this is the most special night of the year.  He said that there's controversy because the military has a new torture technique...forcing insurgents to watch "The Marine".  John Cena laughed and Rock said "Hey, I made Doom."  He told Cena that he hasn't made it until a building chants "you suck" and Rock knows that better than anyone.

Rock then tricked Santino into trying to say his name and pulled out "it doesn't matter what your name is".

Buck Woodward, reporting from in front of his computer

WWE decided to do the Rock's induction of his father and grandfather first, taping it for television.  The webcast will then begin, and we will see the inductions of the Brisco Brothers, Mae Young, Eddie Graham and Gordon Solie.  The webcast will end, then Ric Flair's induction will close the show, with it being taped for television. So, while WWE said the webcast would begin "approximately" at 7:30pm, the truth is that the webcast won't begin until the Johnson and Maivia inductions are finished.
Mike Johnson, reporting live from the Hall Of Fame:

Rock closed out with "If you smell what the Rock is cooking" then said that was "The Rock part".  They were having audio problems with the upper deck being unable to hear him.  Rock joked it was a billion dollar company with no real mics.


Rock read a statement he said he wrote last night as a third generation star who loves the business.  Fans chanted "Please Come Back" while another catcalled for him to stay away.  There was a "No More Movies" chant.  He finally started using a handheld mic and the place popped.  Rock said he loves and misses the "interactive nature" of wresting.

Rock read a wonderful speech about the passion of being a wrestler and the learning experiences that come with being a wrestler.   He discussed his father and grandfather and they went to video features.

Rocky Johnson gave a nice speech saying if you would have told him he would make history and be part of a dynasty, he would have said you were crazy.  He talked about being one half of the first African American tag champs and put over the Wild Samoans.  He said he worked for the NWA and considers WWE his home.

Johnson then thanked Lia Maivia for all she did for the Samoans in the business and being the only Samoan promoter.  He thanked his wife for sticking with him for 35 years and thanked his children, including Dwayne.  He said he Rock resisted getting in the business and said he would only train him on the condition Rocky wouldn't go hard on him.

Rocky told a story of teaming with Rock in the Bahamas saying his son tried to tell him he was doing everything wrong, which led to the punchline of Rocky refusing to tag in because he wasn't doing it right.

He then praised Jimmy Snuka for breaking the door down for Islanders in the business.  He talked about the racial prejudices he dealt with while breaking in.  He told stories of wrestling Ric Flair in Charlotte and called him a class act who made him look like a million dollars.  He said Flair helped him become a black performer fans could believe in.  He told a story of wrestling in Memphis as the Southern Heavyweight champ.

Harley Race is in the house.

Rocky said he'd like to be remembered for paving the road for not just black athletes but all athletes.  He thanked Lia Maivia, Sika, Greg Valentine, Andre the Giant, Linda McMahon and more.

He then told a story of teaching the Rocky Johnson shuffle to Muhammad Ali and joked Shane McMahon stole it.

They tried to play music to cut him off and he then finally closed out.

WWE is playing a graphic that reads STANDING OVATION to lead the crowd.

Buck Woodward, reporting from in front of his computer:

t 8:10, they got rid of the "approximately 7:30" graphic and replaced it with "Coming Soon".

Mike Johnson, reporting live from the Hall Of Fame:

Rocky Johnson left.  Rock thanked the fans for supporting his dad.  He pointed out that three people he always wanted to wrestle are here....Rey Mysterio, John Cena and Shawn Michaels.  The crowd chanted for more Rock matches.

Rock then inducted Peter Maivia, discussing his importance on not just the business but everyone he knew.  He talked about Maivia's charisma as a face and as a heel.  He said that Maivia was known as not just the toughest but also the kindest.

They played a video for Peter Maivia.   Rock pointed out his grandmother then talked about how when he debuted he wanted to make his family proud.  He got very choked out and said that in everything he's done he hopes he's made his grandfather proud because he is so proud of his grandfather.

Rock introduced his mother, Ata Johnson, to accept for Peter.  She said she was worried about speaking about her father in public because she gets emotional talking about him privately.    She told stories of meeting Andre when he was young in France and Peter working for Steve Rickard in Europe.   She told a story of Peter breaking his big toe in the ring while wrestling barefoot against Pat Patterson, then setting it inside the ring and continuing.

She told stores of Dwayne as a child, calling her their pebble.  The crowd chanted pebble and Rock said to never do that again

Ata told stories of Peter's kindness and said he lived his life to the fullest and loved the business.  She said that's a trait among all wrestlers and she loves them for their passion.  She thanked the Monsoons, the Skaalands and the Strongbows for all they did for the Samoans in the wrestling business.  She said Peter would be so proud of his family for all they've done.

She said it is a proud moment and day for her family and her heart was pounding.  She told her father to take his final bow because tonight is the big finish.  She said as they say in the business, its time to go home.  The crowd gave a standing ovation.

Buck Woodward, reporting from in front of his computer:

At 8:30, the webcast finally began, with Lilian Garcia introducing Mean Gene Okerlund.  Okerlund gave a shout out to Bobby Heenan, which got a pop, then introduced a video package on Jack & Gerald Brisco. Gene then introduced JBL to induct them, and he was given a rousing ovation of boos. 

JBL came out wearing a cowboy hat with his tuxedo.  JBL said that the Rock had forgotten the two most important words in wrestling, "Go Home", saying he went on for so long, Ric Flair and the Briscos had sobered up backstage.  JBL said that Gerald was supposed to attend his wedding, but his son was in a wrestling championship that day.  JBL said Gerald promised to attend his next "two or three" weddings.  JBL talked about being a Texan inducting Oklahomans, but said they had a common Indian relative, they were derived from "Chief Slapaho".  JBL said that the Briscos were the greatest tag team of all time, mentioning they were better than even the Road Warriors, Dudleys, Steiners and APA.  JBL then talked about Jack Brisco's NCAA wrestling career.  JBL said if Jack hadn't turned to pro wrestling because he needed money, he would have been the greatest amateur wrestler ever.  JBL then pointed out Gerald's amateur success.  JBL then cut a promo about Christopher Columbus missing his mark and naming Native Americans "Indians".  JBL said the result was the Briscos being introduced to "fire water".  JBL then talked about the Briscos stretching wrestlers, including Vader, Steve Austin, Barry Windham and more.  JBL then delivered some humorous tales about the Briscos and their drunken antics.  JBL talked about how the Native Americans were screwed over in the sale of Manhattan.  JBL said in 1983, the "redman" got revenge, when the Briscos sold Georgia Championship Wrestling to Vince McMahon. JBL said as a result, the Briscos never need to work again, they work because they want to.  JBL then noted all the wrestlers the Briscos helped bring into the business, including Hulk, Kevin Nash, Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar and himself.

The Briscos were then escorted out by Kelly Kelly. Jack spoke first, said that his dream was to team with his brother in pro wrestling.  He said his inspiration in that dream were Lou Thesz and Danny Hodge. Jack listed a slew of wrestlers that he worked with during his career, saying he was grateful to these legends.  Jack then thanked his brother, and his wife for her support. 

Gerald joked that since he was on the stage, there was no one in the Gorilla Position to tell him to go home.  He then joked to Chris Jericho in the crowd that he only has "two minutes" for his match tomorrow.  Gerald thanked JBL, and noted that he had his feeling Bruce Pritchard helped him with that speech.  Gerald thanked his sons, calling them the "next Brisco Brothers" and thanked his family.  Gerald noted he has worked in wrestling for 40 years now, starting in Australia with Jim Barnett.  Brisco said Barnett taught them that "if you're going to get anywhere in this business, you need to speak up."  Gerald then thanked Jim Crockett Sr. for giving him his first chance as a singles wrestler.  Gerald thanked Eddie Graham for teaching them about the wrestling business from "the other side" of things, working in the office.  Gerald talked about the pride he and his brother take in their Native American heritage.  Gerald joked that he has stretched Brother Love 3,000 times, and JBL 3,000 times.  Gerald said Steve Austin told him this week that he "let him" stretch him.  Gerald joked that he believed him.  Gerald then said he hired JBL while he was in the shower, and said that "everything in Texas isn't bigger".  Gerald talked about working with the younger stars in WWE, and said that the pressures young talent go through today are more than he ever had to deal with.  He said he knew the business was in good shape with these young stars, and thanked them for their dedication.  Gerald talked about the long road his career has taken him, and said it has all been "worth the drive". 

Mike Johnson, reporting live from the Hall Of Fame:

Lilian Garcia filmed the opening and introduced Gene Okerlund.  They probably filmed Rock first because he's due to be on set tomorrow AM in California shooting Race To Witch Mountain for Disney.  Okerlund welcome everyone then made a mention of Bobby Heenan saying he hopes Heenan gets well soon.


They aired a video feature on the Brisco Brothers. JBL came out to induct them and said they were among the best tag teams of all times, mentioning The Dudleys, The Road Warriors, The Von Erichs and  Shaun and Steve Simpson(!).

He put over the Briscos and said he wasn't going to tell stories about the Briscos, then talked about their Native American heritage, stretching WWE stars in Dubai, selling Georgia Championship Wrestling to Vince McMahon, Gerald's partnership with Pat Patterson, and Briscos breaking Hulk Hogan, JBL and Kurt Angle into the business.

Jack Brisco ran down a huge list of names he worked with and thanked WWE for the honor. He thanked Gerald for always having his back.

Gerald joked he didn't know who was running gorilla and then said he thinks he wanted to thank JBL.  He thanked his sons and family.  He said he's worked for 40 years in the business.  He praised Jim Barnett for giving them a chance in Australia and for telling them to speak up.  Gerald thanked Jim Crockett Sr. For giving him a chance at breaking out on his own.  He said you give the people back what they give you and the people have given them so much.

Gerald put over a  bunch of wrestling personalities from Texas and joked that Oklahomans love to kick the crap out of Texans.  Gerald praised the passion of the young talents in the WWE and thanked them because they will keep the business in great shape the next 40 years.  He thanked one and all for their sacrifices in the business.  He said despite the bumpy road, its worth the drive.

Buck Woodward, reporting from in front of his computer:

After a Wrestlemania commercial, Gene Okerlund introduced a video package on Gordon Solie.  WWE Hall Of Famer Jim Ross was then introduced to induct Solie.  JR said that he has been thinking about Solie lately, because tomorrow he gets to call Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels, and said they will look to "raise the bar" tomorrow.  Ross said that Solie possessed the rarest of qualities, "when he talked, people listened".  Ross said that when he was 12 years old, he heard Gordon Solie calling wrestling in 1964.  Ross said if he hadn't heard Solie, he would not have become an announcer.  Ross joked about Solie's classic lines, like "wearing the crimson mask" and it's a "pier six brawl".  Ross said he thought a "vertical suplay" was a pie or cobbler.  Ross told a story about Solie, Bill Watts, Dusty Rhodes, and the Briscos driving around Atlanta trying to find promoter Jim Barnett's house.  When the drunken group arrived, they paid off the doorman to allow them into Barnett's penthouse.  Solie said he felt someone would be fired, and noted Watts was the booker, Rhodes was the top star and the Briscos were the top tag team.  Well, it turns out Solie wasn't fired, the doorman was.  Jim Ross talked about getting to call the famous Terry Funk vs. Ric Flair "I Quit" match with Gordon, saying it was a dream come true for him.  JR noted the late Gary Hart was working ringside for Funk at the match.  Ross noted Solie's classic line from the bout "Five letters, two words, I Quit".  Jim Ross talked about calling four hours of TV matches with Gordon for WCW once, and how they used orange juice and vodka to get through some of the most boring wrestling ever. Jim Ross talked about how the night Gordon Solie died, Ric Flair called him.  Ross noted that at the end of their conversation, the two men told each other they loved each other.  Jim Ross said there will always be one voice in wrestling that will live forever.  Ross said that Gordon Solie is the best wrestling announcer ever, and "all us other yayhoos" are fighting for number two.

Eve Torres escorted out the five children of Gordon Solie. On of his sons began to speak, and some "fan" decided to yell "speak up" and catcall him.  His son said that Solie was never the show, he just worked to make the show better.  Another son spoke about the other sports Gordon called, but noted his love was wrestling.  He made a joke that Gordon would have loved to call a match between the three presidential candidates this year.  He then told a story of how a blind man told him that he "watched" Florida Championship Wrestling through the words of Gordon Solie.  He ended the speech with Gordon's trademark farewell, "So long from the Sunshine State".

Mike Johnson, reporting live from the Hall Of Fame:

TNA's Rhaka Khan is at the Hall Of Fame, sitting with the with the FCW developmental wrestlers.

Buck Woodward, reporting from in front of his computer:

Mean Gene Okerlund introduced a video package on Mae Young.  Gene then introduced Pat Patterson to induct Mae into the Hall Of Fame. Pat said he had a lot of stories to tell tonight, but he was told to "cut it down", which got some boos. Pat pulled out a small piece of paper, but then read off a bar order and said it came from the previous night's party.  Pat said that Mae Young loves the business, and wants to wrestle a match when she turns 100.  Pat talked about meeting Mae Young when he was 16, and couldn't speak much English.  He was told by a promoter that he was going to be riding with Mae Young.  They were driving, and Mae told him he needs to smoke cigars if he wants to be a wrestler, so the two smoked cigars during the whole ride.  Patterson said he watched Mae wrestle that night, and decided he never wanted to wrestle her, because she beat the hell out of everyone in the match that night.  Patterson then told a story of how Mae, who lived across the street from him, showed up at his door one night in her underwear, a drink in her hand.  She told Patterson that they were going to drink, and Patterson wondered what was wrong.  He asked her, but the drunk Mae just kept waving her arms at him.  They fell asleep, but the next day, Mae was gone. When Patterson caught up with her, he asked what she was trying to say to him that night.  Mae said I was trying to do this (obscene gesture) but I was too drunk to do it.  Patterson then noted that Mae has been wrestling for 65 years, a record that will never be broken.  Patterson then sang part of "My Way" and introduced Mae Young.

Mae Young was escorted out by Kelly Kelly.  She was waving her arms and looked to be having a blast.  Mae thanked her fans, and she said that she was the first female wrestling champion in Florida, and that she won it in Orlando.  Mae said she planned on sticking around for a few more years, and that she would have that match when she was 100.  Mae said that she wrestled as an amateur, and when she heard about the women's wrestling champion Mildred Burke coming to Tulsa, Oklahoma, she had her brother take her there so she could fight her.  The promoter said "You've never had a match" and Mae said "But I can beat her".  Mae talked about her first wrestling training session, and how she would snatch her opponents (Elvira Snodgress and Gladys Gillam) and take her down in seconds.  Mae talked about going to Charlotte, North Carolina for training and meeting the Fabulous Moolah.  She talked about working with Moolah, and how the business is so much better now.  Mae said she met Ed "Strangler" Lewis.  Mae said that Lewis told her "I don't like girl wrestlers, women should be in the kitchen.  But after seeing you, you belong in the ring."  Mae then talked about her love for the fans, saying she did it all for them, and that she would wrestle for them on her 100th birthday.  Mae and Pat Patterson then started dancing, and Mae looked happier than anyone I think I've ever seen at one of these things.

Mike Johnson, reporting live from the Hall Of Fame:

Former Mean Street Posse member Pete Gas is in attendance at the Hall Of Fame.

Buck Woodward, reporting from in front of his computer:

Another Wrestlemania commercial aired. Mean Gene then introduced the video package on Eddie Graham.   Dusty Rhodes was introduced to induct Graham, and Dusty came out dancing to his old WWF theme music.  There was a "Dusty" chant from the fans.  Dusty said he was glad that "The People's Elbow left when the Bionic Elbow came out".  Dusty made a remark that Rock's speech will make for a "good two hour special" if they ever need it.  Dusty talked about Eddie Graham being his mentor, and that the only time Eddie got mad at him was when Dusty said "funky like a monkey", because Graham didn't know what that meant.  Dusty talked about the famous MSG match with Eddie & Jerry Graham vs. Miguel Perez & Antonino Rocca, which resulted in a riot in the crowd.  Dusty said the next day, the cleaning crew came in, and that because there were fans of both teams on the cleaning crew, they got into a fight too.  Dusty talked about how he would go up to Graham and ask how his match was, the way John Cena comes up and asks Dusty today, with Rhodes noting how good it makes him feel.  Dusty talked about working the old Florida circuit and "bringing home the bacon", then somehow turned it into a promo about Wrestlemania.  Dusty said he would not be "The American Dream" if Eddie Graham didn't believe in him.  Dusty said that Graham taught him that you cannot short change the fans of the wrestling industry.  Dusty said that Eddie Graham "gave me my wings to fly".  Dusty introduced Eddie's son, Mike Graham, noting that Mike is the godfather of Dusty's youngest daughter. 

Eve Torres escorted Mike Graham out, and he embraced Dusty.  Mike noted that he was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the event.  Some guy yelled out "Hogan" and Mike said "We'll talk about him later".  Mike talked about how Eddie learned how to wrestle because as a kid someone beat him up and took the money he earned on his paper route.  He noted that Eddie went to Texas and met Dory Funk Sr. and began to learn about professional wrestling.  Mike said Eddie wrestled under the name "Rip Rogers" there.  Mike noted that in Eddie beat up a politician in Texas who thought he knew about wrestling, and the result was Graham being banned in Texas.  Mike then talked about Eddie Graham going to New York to work for Vince McMahon Sr., and how he learned about the "big business" side of wrestling.  Mike noted how fans hated Eddie so much, they would try to turn his car over when he arrived at Wrestlemania.  Mike then spoke of how Eddie went to Florida and combined what he learned from Dory Funk Sr. and Vince McMahon Sr. and created a style of wrestling that swept over the world.  Mike noted that if Eddie Graham hadn't gone into a YMCA, he never would have gotten into wrestling, which is why Eddie always gave back to YMCA in Florida.  Mike then said he had something to give back.  He pulled out a framed black and white photo, and noted it was a picture from the first National Wrestling Alliance meeting in 1961 in Toronto, Canada.  He noted that this was the forefathers of the wrestling business as we know it, pointing out that Vince McMahon Sr., Eddie Graham, Gorilla Monsoon, Buddy Rogers, Pat O'Connor and others were in the picture. Mike said he was honored to accept his father's induction into the Hall Of Fame, and to give this picture for wrestlers and fans to see where wrestling came from.
As Graham walked off, the webcast ended at 9:55pm.

Mike Johnson, reporting live from the Hall Of Fame:

Lilian Garcia introduced John Cena, who was booed by the majority of the audience.  He said that based on the atmosphere tonight, everyone knows Wrestlemania is tomorrow.  He said its the greatest spectacle on Earth and we wouldn't have it without the Hall of Famers that came before.  He said that wrestlers often say they wouldn't exist without the fans, but the Hall Of Famers turned everyone into fans to begin with.  He asked everyone to rise and applaud not just the honorees tonight but everyone in the Hall.  It was a great speech.

Mike Johnson, reporting live from the Hall Of Fame:

Triple H was introduced.  He said that the fact the building is jampacked tonight to show love for the past of the business is awesome and thanked the fans.

Triple H said, "How do you talk about this guy?"  He said Flair deserves not to be in the Hall of Fame but to have his own wing.

They played a video feature on Flair's career.

HHH pointed out Michael Hayes and said he looked like a Stay Puft Marshmallow Pimp.

HHH said Flair inspired him to get in the business watching him on Saturdays on TBS.  He told a story of going to a gym convention in Columbus, Georgia and meeting Flair in a hotel where Flair was walking around naked except for a pair of dress shoes and socks and a balloon tied to his penis.  HHH saw Flair strut into the bar and thought that everything he heard about that man is true.  He said all the crazy Flair stories were true.

HHH said Flair was his idol and is one of his closest friends but he was terrified by the prospect of inducting the greatest pro wrestler in history.  He said that Flair inspired every single wrestler in the company in some way.  HHH said that when he saw Steve Austin this weekend, Austin said he didn't want to miss Flair being inducted.

HHH asked what made Flair the best and said he was one of the greatest stick man in the history of the business.  He said that he had the greatest phrases ever in the history of the wrestling.

HHH said Flair could go 60 minutes with a broomstick and get the broom over.  He pointed out Flair's classic matches with Bruiser Brody, Sting, Harley Race and Dusty Rhodes among others.

He said all those things helped Flair but it was his passion to be the best wrestler that was the key.  HHH noted that it's been said that Flair is "arguably" the best wrestler of all time.  HHH said he is still waiting to hear the argument against because he's the greatest of all time, period.

    HHH introduced Flair, who got the longest standing ovation I have ever seen.  Flair pulled out a photo of himself and Gordon Solie and said to Shawn Michaels that's who he had to fight.  Flair said he would never retire and let out a whoo.

He said in a moment like this, he realizes that for all he's done, he must have done something right.   He was crying a lot.
Flair said he's worried about not remembering enough people to thank. He started by thanking Kevin Dunn and the WWE production team for what they do every week and making him look good the last seven years.

Flair said he wanted to thank the legal department because some of the things he used to pull don't fly anymore.  He thanked a lot of WWE officials including Sue Aitchensen and Mark Carano.

Flair said he loves to talk to the young guys and praised all the WWE agents for working their ass off every week.  He thanked Mike Rotunda, Barry Windham, Finlay, Jamie Noble, Pat Patterson, Sgt Slaughter, Jerry Brisco, Arn Anderson and Rick Steamboat.

Flair then thanked the writing team, saying that although they sometimes argue about what they are asked to do, they are creative and talented.  He named many of them by name and apologized to Ed Koskey for all the times he scared him by saying things he wasn't supposed to be.

Flair thanked those who made his robes over the years and his boots. Flair said he figured out today he bought 582 pairs of boots over the years.

Flair began crying as he thanked his attorney John Taylor.  He said he was in a lawsuit with WCW and Taylor advised him he could sit back and get rich or go back to work.

Flair thanked Steve Lombardi for all his hard work in putting together the interviews we see all the time and Downtown Bruno for bringing him a 12-pack every night.

Flair joked that his family thought Chris Jericho was Bon Jovi.  Flair talked about Big Show, saying he knew Andre the Giant when he was first breaking in.  Flair said Big Show was the best big man he's ever been in the ring with.  Show began openly sobbing.

Flair praised Tony Garea and Tim White for all the draws they give him on the road.

Flair began praising Edge and said he's a special guy and a great champ.  He told the story of working a ladder match with him saying he did something with Edge he never did before and loved it.

Flair said now the speech would begin!!

He showed off NWA title cufflinks HHH gave Flair.

Flair began breaking down thanking Betty Skaaland and the late Arnold Skaaland for all their kindness.  Flair told a story of going out drinking all night and running up a bar tab of $30K during Summerslam 1992 weekend and Skaaland saving his rear end.

Flair said Ray Stevens once told him the day the goose bumps go away, his career should end and Flair said he has goose bumps tonight.  He said tonight was the end of a journey he's lived for so many years.

Flair put over the other members of this year's Hall of Fame class.  He said it was special to receive the honor while still active.  He said that he wants all of the talents to know how much he respects all of them and thanks them for their friendship and respect.  He said the last 7 years have been special to him and he's honored to be inducted in Orlando, "the second home of Space Mountain".

Flair talked about working in Florida as a territory and doing interviews with Gordon Solie.  Flair said he owes everything he had, has, and will be to the wrestling business.  He said he hopes that fans realize that Flair gave everyone the best he could.

Flair thanked those who helped him who are no longer with them.

Ric Flair talked about being laid up after his plane crash and George Scott suggesting he be modeled after Buddy Rogers.  He thanked Scott for seeing something in him.

Flair began talking about the toughness of Blackjack Mulligan and living next to him.  Flair told a story of Blackjack and Barry Windham against The Andersons and BJ not liking how it was going.  He sent Windham to the locker room, hit Ole and Gene, then told them if they wanted a piece of him, he'll be waiting in their locker room.  He said the Andersons still haven't entered.  He praised Blackjack's ability to show how special he is and told the young talents that is what they need to do... show how special they are.

Flair discussed winning the NWA title from Harley Race.

This is seriously beyond awesome.  If you ever loved Ric Flair, the NWA or WCW, you need to see this speech.

Flair talked for a long time about his friendship with Ken Patera and said Ken introduced Flair to Verne Gagne.

Gagne warned Flair there was no quitting if he started training.  He said the second day, he wanted to quit and talked a long time about training in Gagne's barn.   He quit and went home.  Gagne came to Flair's house and threw him down and told him to come back.  A week later Flair quit again and Gagne called and warned him to come back or he was coming over.  Flair returned and 2 months later he was in the business.

Flair began telling Wahoo McDaniel stories I couldn't do justice too.  He praised Wahoo for teaching him and showing him how to be the best.

Flair said Dusty Rhodes became one of his idols and wanted to be just like him.  He told stories about wanting to be Rambling Ricky Rhodes when he was breaking in and said Dusty's connection to the fans was as awesome as anything Flair has ever seen.  He talked about Dusty seeing something in him and naming the first Starrcade 'A Flair for the Gold'.  He said Dusty is the most charismatic person in the business.

Flair said his greatest opponent was Rick Steamboat, saying that was "as good as it got" and he's fortunate to have had Steamboat to work with to create a body of work that will stand the test of time.

Flair talked about working in St. Louis under Sam Muschnick, saying it was the crown jewel of the NWA and praised Sam for his integrity and honesty.  He said wrestling there was as big an honor as it was to wrestle in Madison Square Garden and anywhere in the Carolinas.

Flair praised the Crockett family for pushing him to be NWA champ. He said he wishes them nothing but the best.

Flair pointed out Carlos Colon in the crowd and talked about how Carlos and Vince McMahon Sr. were the deciding votes to make him NWA champ.   Flair told a story about sending in a heel promo about hating Trinidad that got him arrested when he arrived.  Flair told the story about the riot in the Dominican Republic and that Carlos paid off the airline for Flair to travel without a passport.

Flair said no one will understand how good the Four Horsemen were inside and outside the ring.  He praised Arn, Malenko, Mongo and Benoit (by name) and said they were the reason he came back to WCW.  Benoit's name got some boos but mostly cheers.

Flair began crying as he praised Arn Anderson as a friend and as a performer.  He told some great stories about partying with Arn and told him he loved him.

Flair praised Tommy Young and Charles Robinson for their great referee work.  Nora Greenwald was sitting with Robinson.

Flair praised Gordon Solie and Jim Ross provided the soundtrack of his career.  Flair said no one could ever replace Jim Ross and that he knew the business inside and out.

Flair said Bobby Heenan was the greatest manager and one of the greatest workers of all time.  He told some stories of Heenan managing the Blackjacks when a riot broke out.  He said Heenan is not in good health right now but he wants everyone to know he's one of the best friends Flair ever had.

Flair then told some stories about Gene Okerlund and said he wouldn't have made it through WCW without going drinking with him after the shows.  He said Okerlund is wrestling and is awesome.

Flair talked about his confidence issues and thanked Michael Hayes for being a close friend and for never letting Flair forget who he was.  He told a story about seeing Hayes with Cher and Greg Allman.

They just gave Flair a "go home" sign, which the crowd booed.  Flair said he knows his last match could be tomorrow and it could be in front of his family at ringside and told Shawn "to be the man you have to beat the man".  He thanked everyone for their love.

Flair praised Undertaker for being so great in the ring and that he loved their match at Wrestlemania 18.

Flair thanked the McMahons and said Vince has treated him with nothing but respect while Linda is one of the smartest women he's ever known.  Flair said when the time comes, WWE will be in equally good hands with Stephanie and Shane.

Flair praised John Cena's love and passion.  He said he's tireless and is the "go to guy" in the company.  Flair said his heart is in the business and he won't leave the business for Hollywood.  Flair said he corrupted Cena and told stories about making him drink.

Flair said he was tired of hearing Hulk Hogan was the greatest of all time in the WWF and WWE when it was really Steve Austin.  He said Austin was the best.

Another "go home" sign.  More boos.

Flair praised Batista and Randy Orton.  Flair said he lives his life vicariously thru Batista now.

They are rushing Flair since the Hall is actually on the air now and they need to edit something for an ending.

Flair praised HHH and said he wishes he could wrestle him back when Flair was good.  Flair then talked about Shawn Michaels saying he was way ahead of Flair a long time ago but tomorrow, Shawn has "The Man" to contend with.

Flair said he's so thankful to have a wonderful family.  He said his father was the bravest man he ever knew and his mom is amazing.  He said his wife is his best friend and inspires him every day.   Flair told his kids he loved them and thanked his first two wives for all their hard work as mothers.  His children were all crying.

The Wrestlemania DVD will be a "must buy" for anyone, simply due to Flair's induction speech.  It was almost like a shoot interview at points, with Flair discussing his incredible career.

The fans were very upset at the constant calls for Flair to wrap up, and at one point turned their wrath towards Triple H, who helplessly responded with a "It's not my call" expression.

WRESTLEMANIA DOES ALMOST SIX MILLION AT THE GATE, BREAKS CITRUS BOWL ATTENDANCE RECORD

WWE released the following on 3/30.

World Wrestling Entertainment(R) set both attendance and ticket sale records at WrestleMania XXIV tonight at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando. WWE grossed more than $5.85 million in ticket sales, making it the highest grossing live event in WWE history and in the history of the Citrus Bowl. WWE set an attendance record for the Citrus Bowl with 74,635 fans from all 50 states, five Canadian provinces and 21 countries attending WWE's annual pop culture spectacular.

"We would like to thank WWE Fans from around the globe for making this year's WrestleMania one for the record books," said Geof Rochester, Executive Vice President, Marketing. "We would also like to thank Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and John Saboor, President of the Central Florida Sports Commission, for all of their hospitality during WrestleMania week. It was a tremendous experience."

"This has been an incredible week here in Central Florida," said John Saboor, President of the Central Florida Sports Commission. "It was an honor to welcome the WWE and its fans from around the world. We can't wait to ask the McMahon family to come back for another WrestleMania."

Additional information on World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: WWE) can be found at wwe.com and corporate.wwe.com. For information on our global activities, go to http://www.wwe.com/worldwide/


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