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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 26

PPV REPORT by Buck Woodward

The show opened with a flyover, and Fantasia singing "America The Beautiful."  We then had a really cool opening video, spotlighting different matches on the card and ending with The Undertaker. 

Michael Cole welcomed us to the show, and said there were more then 70,000 fans in attendance.  Cole, Jerry Lawler and Matt Striker will be the announce team for the show.  The Spanish announcers, Carlos Cabrera and Hugo Savinovich are back at ringside for the show.

WWE Unified Tag Team Champions Miz & Big Show vs. R-Truth & John Morrison.

R-Truth did his full entrance, then Morrison did his, while Big Show and The Miz entered together.  They closed the roof again, so I guess they just opened it for the flyover.

Morrison and Miz started off, with Miz hitting a back elbow, but Morrison catching him with a dropkick for a two count.  Morrison slammed Miz and tagged in Truth.  Morrison legdropped Miz on the mat, while Truth followed with a top rope legdrop for two.  Truth hit a side kick, and Miz tagged out to Big Show.  Truth went for a bodyblock, but Show caught it and hit a fallaway slam.  Show hit a shot to the body, then shoved Morrison off the apron.  Show chopped Truth to the mat, then went to the second rope, but Morrison got back on the apron and kicked Show in the head.  Show crashed to the mat, then crawled over to tag Miz.  Morrison tagged in and hit Miz with a kick and a flapjack.  Miz went for a sunset flip, but Morrison rolled through it and hit a running knee to the head.  Morrison went for Starship Pain, but Show pulled Miz out of the way and to the floor.  Morrison crashed to the mat. 

R-Truth went for a pescado, but Show caught it and rammed him into the ringpost.  In the ring, Miz went for the Skull Crushing Finale on Morrison, but Morrison blocked it and and rolled up Miz for a two count.  Big Show made a blind tag off of Miz.  Morrison, not knowing it happened, ducked a Miz clothesline and went for the Flying Chuck kick.  As Morrison jumped on the ropes, Big Show caught him with a right hand from the apron.  Big Show got in the ring and pinned Morrison at the four minute mark. 

Winners: Big Show & The Miz. 

A video package on the different events that have taken place this weekend in Arizona was shown including the golf tournament, art auction, Axxess, and the reading challenge. 

Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Ted DiBiase in a Triple Threat match.

Ted DiBiase entered first, then Cody Rhodes, then Randy Orton. Rhodes and DiBiase stood together while Orton was making his way to the ring, discussing strategy. 

DiBiase and Rhodes tried to corner Orton, who tried to keep his space while throwing a forearm at DiBiase and a kick at Rhodes.  Orton went in and out of the ring, getting Cody to follow.  Orton hit DiBiase with a clothesline, then knocked Rhodes out of the ring as he got in.  Orton kicked DiBiase, then dropkicked Rhodes.  DiBiase caught Orton with a dropkick, and then the double team began with Rhodes and DiBiase stomping Orton down.  Rhodes and DiBiase trash talked Orton, then took turns holding him with the other punched him.  Orton tried to fight back, but was given a double vertical suplex.  

DiBiase and Rhodes taunted Orton, then kicked him down in a corner.  They whipped Orton into a corner, and Orton came out swinging, until DiBiase nailed him with a clothesline.  DiBiase hit Orton with another clothesline while Rhodes clipped Orton' leg.  Rhodes gave Orton a kneedrop, then went to climb the ropes.  While he did that, DiBiase tried to make a cover.  Rhodes broke it up, and the two argued.  Rhodes threw DiBiase out of the ring and hit the Alabama Slam.  Rhodes covered, and DiBiase broke it up.  They argued, and DiBiase slugged Rhodes.  Rhodes responded by tackling DiBiase, and they rolled to the floor and brawled.  

Rhodes and DiBiase rolled back in and kept punching.  They two realized Orton was getting up, so they stopped fighting and charged him.  Orton backdropped DiBiase, slugged Rhodes, then gave DiBiase and Rhodes each a powerslam.  DiBiase rolled out of the ring, and Orton gave Rhodes a side backbreaker.  The fans chanted for an "RKO" and Orton measured Rhodes for it, but DiBiase pulled him out of the ring.  DiBiase and Orton slugged it out on the floor, and Rhodes went for a pescado.  Orton moved, and Rhodes landed on DiBiase.  

Orton rolled back into the ring, and DiBiase got on the apron.  Orton kicked him and grabbed his head.  Rhodes got on the apron as well, and Orton kicked him.  Orton grabbed Rhodes and DiBiase and hit a double elevated DDT with both men hanging off the ropes.  Orton kicked DiBiase out of the ring, and began measuring Rhodes for an RKO.  Orton then changed his mind, and instead lined up for a punt.  Orton punted Rhodes in the head.  DiBiase got in the ring, grabbed Orton from behind and went for Dream Street.  Orton armdragged out of it, hit DiBiase with the RKO and got the pin on DiBiase at the nine minute mark. 

Winner: Randy Orton.

They aired a "Don't try this at home" promo.

Backstage, Josh Mathews interviewed Vickie Guerrero, who was accompanied by her partners.  Josh gave her a grandiose introduction, then asked her "Is that what you wanted?"  Vickie talked about it being her first Wrestlemania match, and how she would create a moment in history that would last forever.  She then brought in Jillian Hall, who sang "Simply The Best" which only Vickie seemed to enjoy.  Team Guerrero left, and Santino Marella walked in.  Santino plugged Slim Jim, and said "Anything is possible when you bite into a Slim Jim" and he bit into one.  Jillian "transformed" into Mae Young, who kissed Santino.  Santino bit again, and Mae turned into Mean Gene Okerlund... in a dress.  Santino bit one more time, and Gene turned into Melina.  Melina said "Well, anything is possible" and walked off with Santino. 

Money In The Bank with Christian vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kane vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Jack Swagger vs. MVP vs. Evan Bourne vs. Matt Hardy vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston.

Order of entry was Kofi Kingston, MVP, Evan Bourne, Jack Swagger, Shelton Benjamin, Matt Hardy, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Kane and finally Christian.  I'll do my best to cover the big spots here, obviously, there will be a lot going on.  There were some huge ladders (in terms of width, not just height) in the aisle. 

Everyone started brawling at the bell, with a lot of the combatants going to the floor almost immediately.  McIntyre was left alone in the ring, and as MVP tried to get a ladder in, McIntyre grabbed it and began climbing.  Matt Hardy stopped him, and along with Hardy and Bourne, knocked him out of the ring.  There was a race up the ladder, with several people trying to race up it.  Evan Bourne almost reached the case, but Kane pulled him down and tossed him from the ring onto Benjamin.  Hardy and Swagger climbed the ladder, but Kofi toppled it and sent them down.  Christian threw a ladder at Hardy and Swagger in a corner, then monkey flipped Kofi into the ladder.

Christian climbed a ladder, but Ziggler pulled him off with a Zig Zag.  Ziggler climbed a ladder, but MVP pulled him down.  MVP then climbed, but Kane stopped him and was setting for a chokeslam.  Benjamin and Kofi hit Kane with ladders.  MVP, Kofi and Benjamin worked on Kane, but Kane powerbombed Kofi into a ladder.  MVP kicked Kane from the ring.  Benjamin gave MVP Paydirt.  Shelton gave McIntyre a baseball slide kick as he tried to bring another ladder in the ring. Shelton climbed a ladder, but Swagger used another ladder to knock him down.  Swagger used a ladder to knock several people off the apron, until Bourne came off the top rope with a flying knee on Swagger.  

Bourne and Swagger fought under a ladder, while Matt Hardy and Christian got more ladders.  Swagger got sandwiched between ladders by Christian and Hardy.  Christian and Hardy bridged two ladders on the one that was standing and climbed up, where Bourne joined them.  Matt was knocked off, then Bourne kicked Christian off.  Bourne gave Christian Air Bourne off the ladder.  Bourne climbed up, but Matt met hum at the top,  Matt gave Bourne a hip toss off the top of the ladder. Swagger climbed up and shoved Hardy off the ladder onto the remaining ladder that was still bridged to the one that was set up. 

MVP and Benjamin cleared out the excess ladders, and both climbed the standing ladder.  Benjamin knocked MVP to the mat, but MVP got up and grabbed Benjamin for a powerbomb.  Benjamin turned it into a rana, and both men fell to the floor.  Kane wiped out MVP and Benjamin with a ladder on the floor.  Kane got in the ring and began climbing.  Dolph jumped in the ring and climbed over Kane to get ahead of him on the ladder.  Kane toppled the ladder to knock Dolph down, then threw a ladder at him, but Ziggler ducked it.  Kane punched Ziggler, then chokeslammed him on the ladder that Kofi was bringing in the ring.  Kane put Ziggler between the halves of a ladder and repeatedly slammed it closed on him.  Kane tore the ladder in half, but Kofi kicked him and sent him from the ring.  Kofi took the broken ladder, and used it like stilts to walk to the center of the ring.  Great spot. Kofi began climbing the halves, but McIntyre broke it up and sent Kofi from the ring. 

McIntyre grabbed a new ladder and climbed up.  Hardy got in and the two of them slugged it out near the top of the ladder.  McIntyre knocked him off, but Matt toppled the ladder and McIntyre got crotched on the top rope and fell to the floor.  Matt climbed the ladder, but Kane came in with another ladder. Matt kept kicked Kane back into the corner.  Christian got in, and rode one ladder out of the corner to land next to Hardy.  Christian and Hardy were now on top of two ladders, fighting it out.  Kane climbed up, but Hardy and Christian knocked him down.  Hardy teased a Twist Of Fate on Christian off the ladder, but Christian blocked it and gave Hardy a reverse DDT off the ladder.  Christian climbed the two ladders, with Jack Swagger toppling one of them, then climbing up the other to stop Christian.  Jack Swagger used the hanging briefcase to hit Christian and knocked Christian off the ladder.  Swagger, with a great deal of difficulty, unhooked the briefcase for the win at the 14-minute mark.

Winner: Jack Swagger.

Jerry Lawler noted that recently Swagger said if he won Money In The Bank, he might cash it in right here at Wrestlemania.

A video package on last night's Hall Of Fame ceremony was shown.  Howard Finkel was then shown in the ring, and introduced the Hall Of Fame Class of 2010, who all came out on the stage.  Stu Hart was represented by the Hart family, minus Bret.  Mad Dog Vachon mugged from his wheelchair, like he used to in his interviews.  He was accompanied by one Bella Twin, while the other escorted Gorgeous George's ex-wife, Betty Wagner.  Ted DiBiase was introduced last, to the biggest reaction. 

A video package on the events leading to Triple H vs. Sheamus was shown. When recapping Triple H's promo on Raw about how he was crushed at his first Wrestlemania, they showed clips of the Ultimate Warrior squashing him, followed by clips of Triple H's subsequent Wrestlemania matches. 

Triple H vs. Sheamus.

The announcers focused on this being Sheamus' first Wrestlemania during his entrance.  Triple H's entrance included a barrage of green laser lights. They opened the roof for Triple H's entrance, as he had pyro going off from the top of the lighting grid into the sky. 

They locked up at the bell, and Sheamus shoved Triple H in the corner and yelled "I'm the future" at Triple H.   They locked up again, and Triple H slapped Sheamus in a corner.  Triple H hit some right hands, then teased a Pedigree, but Sheamus crawled away quickly.  Triple H gestured that he almost had Sheamus.  Triple H hit a clothesline and a vertical suplex, then did a crotch chop before hitting a kneedrop.  Sheamus rolled from the ring, and Triple H followed, ramming him into the security wall.  Back in the ring, Triple H hit a chop block, then applied a figure four leglock, while the fans yelled "Whoo!" and Michael Cole mentioned Ric Flair being Triple H's mentor.  Sheamus made the ropes for a break, then rolled to the floor. 

Triple H went after him, and Sheamus managed to shove Triple H into the ringsteps.  Sheamus stretched out his leg, then went back after Triple H, ramming him into the security wall.  Back in the ring, Triple H threw a right hand, but Sheamus took it and came back with a uranage into a backbreaker.  Sheamus hit a second, then delivered a series of knees and kicks in the corner to a downed Triple H.  They slugged it out a bit, then Sheamus hit a double ax handle for a two count.  Sheamus delivered a knee to the back and an elbow to the head, then punched Triple H on the mat and got a two count.  Sheamus applied a crossface, and drove his knee into Triple H's back.  Sheamus hit an over-the-shoulder powerslam for a two count, then went into an armbar.  

Triple H got to his feet as Sheamus switched to a chinlock.  Triple H used a back suplex to escape, then booted Sheamus in the face twice as the latter charged at him.  Sheamus went for a slam, but Triple H floated over and hit a DDT.  They traded punches, with the crowd cheering for HHH's punches.  Triple H went for a backdrop, but Sheamus kicked it away.  Triple H responded with a jumping knee and a facebuster on the knee for a two count.  Triple H went for a Pedigree, but Sheamus tripped him.  Triple H kicked Sheamus away, and Sheamus slammed into a corner.  Triple H hit a reverse neckbreaker, then set up for a superplex.  Sheamus slid under it and went to pull Triple H off into a crucifix bomb.  Triple H slid out of it.  Sheamus went for a pump kick, but Triple H ducked it.  Triple H went for a Pedigree, but Sheamus backdropped out of it.  Sheamus hit the pump kick, but Triple H kicked out at two. 

There was a chant for Triple H.  Sheamus went for a powerbomb, but Triple H fought out of it and hit a spinebuster for a near fall.  Both men were slow to get up, and Sheamus went to the ring apron.  Sheamus punched Triple H as he went after him, and hit the pump kick while standing on the apron.  Sheamus collapsed into the ring, and was slow to get up.  Instead of going for a cover, Sheamus lifted up Triple H, who was dead weight.  Sheamus struggled, and as he pulled Triple H up, Triple H suddenly grabbed Sheamus and hit the Pedigree for the pin at the 12-minute mark.  Triple H was playing possum. 

Winner: Triple H.

A Slim Jim commercial was shown.  Well, they are the sponsor!

A video package on the events leading to CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio was shown. 

CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio.  If Mysterio loses, he has to join Punk's Straight Edge Society.

CM Punk came out first, accompanied by Serena and Luke Gallows.  Punk had a mic, and ragged on the crowd for being "so hopped up on hallucinogenic drugs, they think Rey Mysterio is a superhero."  Punk said he is seen as a monster, but he is a savior, and he will save Rey Mysterio.  Punk said after he beats Mysterio, all of the fans will choose him as their savior. CM Punk had trunks designed with a logo similar to the old G.I. Joe comic book logo with his name on it.  Mysterio had an Avatar outfit this year, complete with braided hair coming off his mask. 

Luke and Serena teased coming into the ring almost immediately, distracting Rey and allowing Punk to attack him.  Rey countered by giving Punk a drop toe hold into the turnbuckles.  Rey went to the ropes, but Punk grabbed him and put him in a Tree of Woe.  Serena choked Rey while the referee wasn't looking.  Punk went for a baseball slide, but Rey sat up and Punk crotched himself on the ringpost.  Rey tried to kick Punk from the ring apron while Punk was on the floor, but Punk grabbed him and slammed Rey face first into the ring steps.  Rey crawled into the ring at the count of nine and Punk mauled him with punches for a two count. 

Punk put Rey in a sleeperhold, but Rey elbowed out and kicked Punk's leg.  Punk blocked a Mysterio leapfrog and tossed him to the apron.  Rey kicked Punk then hit a springboard senton.  Rey then went for a springboard bodypress, but Punk twisted it into a belly to belly suplex for a two count.  Rey rolled through a sunset flip attempt, and went for a kick, but Punk ducked it.  Rey went for a rana, but Punk threw it away and hit a kick to Rey's head for a pair of two counts.  Punk got on top of Rey in a test of strength, but Rey got up, jumped onto the top rope, and flipped off into a nasty DDT for a two count.  Rey dropkicked Punk into 619, position, but Punk caught it and set up for the GTS.  Rey fought out of it, and went for a springboard moonsault, but Punk caught that and teased a GTS again.  Rey fought out of it and kicked Punk in the head.  Rey went to the top rope, and did the old Eddie Guerrero shimmy, but missed a frog splash.  Punk covered Rey for a two count. 

Punk hit a jumping knee in a corner, but Rey shoved off the attempted bulldog.  Punk kicked Rey and went for a powerbomb, but Rey armdragged out of it and set up Punk for a 619.  Serena covered Punk so Rey wouldn't do it, but Rey went to run the ropes anyway.  However, Gallows was standing on the opposite apron, so Rey stopped in his tracks.  Punk grabbed Rey from behind and went for a GTS, but Rey turned it into a rana, sending Punk into the midsection of Gallows, knocking him off the apron.  Rey nailed Punk with the 619 and then followed it with a springboard splash for the win at the seven minute mark. 

Winner: Rey Mysterio.

A video package on the events leading to Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon was shown. 

Vince McMahon vs. Bret Hart in a No Holds Barred match.

Bret Hart entered first, wearing jean shorts, a Hitman T-shirt, and his trademark leather jacket and sunglasses.  Vince McMahon then came out in his usual wrestling gear, with a microphone.  Vince said that Bret was in "his ring" and in "his greatest creation" and that Bret was about to get a huge "screwing" tonight.  Vince said he went to great expense to bring in a whole punch of lumberjacks and a special referee.  Vince said "Bret screwed Bret" and "Vince screwed Bret" and now "Bret's entire family screwed Bret."  Out came the Hart Dynasty, in their gear, and the rest of the Hart family.  The Hart family then accompanied Vince to the ring.  The announcers speculated that Vince brought off the entire Hart Family. 

The Hart family surrounded the ring, and Vince entered.  Bruce Hart got in the ring, and took off his jacket and shirt to reveal a referee's shirt.  Bruce then hugged Vince while the Harts at ringside applauded.  Bret got on the mic and said he couldn't believe the whole family agreed to this.  Bret said "What's done is done" but is sure that since they were Harts, they all got paid up front and already cashed the checks.  Bret then revealed that one thing he learned from Montreal is how to have a good double-cross.  Bret revealed that the family came to him with Vince's plan, and that the family was stronger than ever.  Bruce hugged Bret, and Vince realized he was now surrounded by Harts. Bret punched Vince and slugged him to the mat.  Bret then choked Vince against the bottom rope.Vince was sent to the floor, and the Harts beat up on him, punctuated by Natalya slapping him.  Vince stumbled up the aisle, where the Hart Dynasty stomped him.  They worked over Vince, and David Hart Smith lifted up Vince on the floor.  Tyson Kidd jumped off the top rope and dove to the floor, hitting Vince with a Hart Attack clothesline. 

Vince was rolled into the ring, and Bret went to work on Vince's leg, dropping his weight on it.  Bret dropped a pair of elbows.  Vince rolled out of the ring again, and tried to crawl under the ring.  The Harts pulled up back out, but Vince had a crowbar.  Vince used the crowbar to keep the Harts at bay, and got back into the ring.  Vince got in the ring and tried to hit Bret with it, but Bret ducked it and knocked Vince down.  Bruce tossed the crowbar out of the ring.  Bret hit Vince with some elbows, and Tyson Kidd handed Bret the crowbar.  Bret hit Vince in the shoulder and back with it.  Bret yelled for Vince to get up, and as Vince did, Bret blasted him in the back with it.  Bret hit Vince in the throat with it, then drove it into his throat again. 

Bret grabbed Vince's legs, and the crowd came alive.  Bret started to apply the sharpshooter, then stopped.  Bret picked up the crowbar and hit Vince in the back with it a few more times.  Bret again teased the Sharpshooter, and instead kicked Vince in the nads.  Bret stomped on Vince's crotch a second time, and then stomped him repeatedly.  Bret just kept stomping Vince, and David Hart Smith slid a chair into the ring.  Bret Hart sat down in the chair and watched Vince struggling to crawl on the mat.  Bret pretended to look at his watch.  Vince managed to get up, and Bret rose up and picked up the chair.  Bret slammed Vince with a chair shot across the back, then a second.  Fans at ringside asked for one more, and Bret obliged them with a series of chairshots to the back and side.  The chair got bent from all the shots.  Striker speculated that it was "13 chairshots for thirteen years of frustration".  Bret drove the chair into Vince's legs, then blasted him with more chairshots.  

Bret grabbed Vince's legs, and slowly, applied the Sharpshooter to an ovation.  Vince McMahon tapped out immediately, and Bruce called for the bell at the eleven minute mark to end the mauling, er, match. It was just Vince getting beat up the whole time. 

Winner: Bret Hart. 

Bret Hart kept the Sharpshooter on for a little longer, then after he let it go, he stood on Vince's back as he walked around the ring.  The Hart Family came into the ring to celebrate with Bret.

They announced that next year's Wrestlemania would be in Atlanta, Georgia. 

They announced tonight's crowd as 72,219 and set off fireworks on the roof of the stadium. 

A video package on the events leading to the World Title match were shown. 

World Champion Chris Jericho vs. Edge.

Jericho entered first, then Edge, then they did the "big match" style introductions. 

They locked up at the bell and traded reversals, with Jericho grabbing a side headlock.  Jericho hit a shoulderblock and raised his arm in victory.  Jericho dodged some clotheslines, but Edge hit a shoulderblock and worked over Jericho in a corner.  Jericho came back with shots of his own and slapped Edge across the back of the head before hitting forearms in the corner.  Edge reversed a whip into the corner and hit a flapjack.  Edge measured Jericho for a spear, but Jericho rolled to the floor.  Edge went out after him and slammed Jericho into the announcers table, then tossed him back into the ring.  As Edge went to get in, Jericho kicked him, then used a baseball slide kick to send Edge to the floor.  Jericho posed victoriously in the ring. 

Jericho attacked Edge as he crawled in and gave him a catapult into the bottom rope.  Jericho hit Edge with a back suplex and then applied a chinlock.  Edge fought to his feet, but Jericho threw him down to the mat by his hair.  Jericho stomped Edge, then slapped him across the head twice.  Jericho hit Edge with some shoulderblocks in a corner, then slapped him.  Jericho went for a charge, but Edge moved and Jericho went shoulder first into the ringpost.  Edge hit some right hands, then hit a spinkick.  Edge went for a backdrop, but Jericho blocked it and threw Edge gut first across the top rope. Jericho went for a springboard dropkick on Edge on the apron, but Edge moved.  Jericho landed on the apron, and Edge shoved him off to the floor.  Edge then dove off the apron onto Jericho with a clothesline on the floor. 

Edge tossed Jericho back in the ring and went to the top rope.  Jericho met him there, and they battled on the ropes.  Edge ended up pulling Jericho to the mat with a sitdown gourdbuster off the middle rope for a two count.  Jericho tripped Edge, but Edge kicked him away.  Edge slid out of the ring and tripped Jericho to the mat.  Edge went to the top rope for a flying bodypress, but Jericho rolled through it for a two count.  Jericho went for the Walls Of Jericho, but Edge twisted his legs and sent Jericho to the mat.  Edge hit a sunset flip off the ropes, and they traded reversals off it until Jericho rolled through and kicked Edge in the head.  Jericho measured Edge for a Codebreaker, but Edge caught it and tossed Jericho into the corner.  

Edge set up for the spear, but Jericho dove over it and hooked Edge's legs, rolling right into the Walls Of Jericho.  Edge managed to pull himself under Jericho and grab a small package for a two count.  Jericho hit a back elbow and went for a Lionsault.  Edge rolled out of the way, Jericho landed on his feet, and Edge pulled Jericho to the mat with a reverse facebuster for two.  Jericho hit an enzugiri for a two count.  Jericho set up for his bulldog, but Edge kicked Jericho in the gut and hit the Impaler DDT for a two count.  Jericho kicked a charging Edge, then hit a flying forearm to the back of Edge's head.  Jericho paused for a moment, then smiled.  Jericho measured Edge for a spear, and as he charged, Edge kicked him in the face.  Edge then measured Jericho for a spear, as the crowd chanted for it.  Edge went for the spear, but Jericho caught him with a Codebreaker.  

Jericho crawled onto Edge for a cover, but Edge kicked out at two.  Jericho went for another cover, but Edge kicked out again.  Jericho kicked Edge's bad ankle, then yelled at him to stay down.  Jericho stomped the ankle, then did it again.  Jericho missed a third stomp, and Edge tried to throw some punches, but Jericho tripped him and applied the Walls Of Jericho.  Edge struggled in the hold, and as he almost had the ropes, Jericho pulled him back into the middle of the ring.  Jericho switched to a single leg crab, focusing on the bad leg.  Edge struggled, and finally made the ropes for a break.  Jericho pulled Edge back toward him by the leg, and Edge managed a victory roll for a two count.  Edge then charged Jericho with a clothesline, and they tumbled over the top rope and to the floor.  

Jericho grabbed the title belt, but Edge hit him, and they made their way back to the apron.  Edge got in the ring, and Jericho hit him from the apron, sending Edge into the referee.  The ref was only down for a moment, but it allowed Jericho to scoop up the championship and hit Edge with the title belt.  Jericho covered Edge, and the referee counted, but Edge barely kicked out at two.  Jericho measured Edge, then hit the Codebreaker for the pin at the sixteen minute mark. 

Winner: Chris Jericho.

Post-match, Jericho went after Edge's leg, planning to ram it into the post, but Edge kicked him away.  Edge rammed Jericho into the announcers table.  Edge ripped the top off the announcers tables and put Jericho on one of them.  Edge ran across one table, leaped, and speared Jericho off the other table and through the ringside barricade.  Edge actually seemed to get a mixed reaction as he got back in the ring. 

The announcers discussed the battle royal that was held before the PPV went on the air.  They showed clips of Great Khali being eliminated by a group of men, Shad being tossed by William Regal, and then Regal being eliminated by Finlay.  They showed Zack Ryder eliminating Mike Knox and Finlay.  It came down to Yoshi Tatsu and Zack Ryder, with Tatsu getting the win. 

Eve Torres, Beth Phoenix, Kelly Kelly, Gail Kim & Mickie James vs. Alicia Fox, Vickie Guerrero, Maryse, Layla & Michelle McCool.

Both teams entered as a unit, no individual entrances.  Vickie has "Excuse Me" themed wrestling gear now. All the face divas charged the ring, and all the heels ran off, except Vickie, who was protected behind the referee.  Vickie bumped into Gail Kim and backed her up to start the match.  Vickie posed, while Beth Phoenix tagged in.  Vickie turned, saw Beth, and screamed.  The face divas then tagged in and out, taking turns pounding Vickie Guerrero in a corner.  Vickie screamed "Do you know who I am?" at Kelly Kelly, who responded with a kick and her legdrop finisher.  Michelle McCool ran in and gave Kelly the Faith Breaker.  This led to a sequences of each Diva coming in, one by one, and hitting their finisher, ending with Beth Phoenix giving Alicia Fox a Glam Slam.  Phoenix turned her attention to Vickie, who was cowering in the corner.  McCool saved Vickie by kicked Phoenix in the head.  McCool and Layla then convinced Vickie Guerrero to go to the top rope.  They helped her up there, and Vickie pointed to the heavens, then gave Kelly (who was still out from the Faith Breaker) a pretty bad frog splash.  Cole called it a "hog splash".  Vickie covered Kelly, but Kelly's shoulder rolled up off the mat.  Vickie dropped her weight on Kelly over and over with splashes, then got the pin at the four minute mark. Yes, Vickie scored the pin.  She celebrated by doing the old Eddie Guerrero shimmy. 

Winners: Alicia Fox, Vickie Guerrero, Maryse, Layla & Michelle McCool.

A video package on the events leading to the WWE Title match was shown. 

WWE Champion Batista vs. John Cena.

Batista came out first, and there were fans in the front row with "We Hate Cena" shirts.  WWE should start making those, then they'd be able to sell shirts to the people that love AND hate Cena at the same time!  The Air Force Armored Guard Drill Team was on the stage, and did a display, flipping rifles with bayonets on them.  This was followed by Cena making his entrance and he ran to the ring.  We then had the "big match" style introductions.  Mixed reaction for Cena, mostly boos for Batista.

Batista and Cena circled at the bell, and when they locked up, Batista grabbed a headlock.  Batista hit a shoulderblock, then Cena jumped up and grabbed an armbar, then switched to a side headlock. Cena hit a barrage of punches in a corner, but Batista responded by reversing a whip into the corner and hitting Cena with a clothesline to the back of the head.  Batista put Cena in a corner and pounded him down, then hit a kick to the head.  Batista got on the floor and pulled Cena's neck over the apron.  Batista hit an elbow, then kicked Cena in the head. 

Back in the ring, Batista went for a vertical suplex, but Cena reversed it and hit his own.  Cena hit a bulldog for a two count.  Cena went for an Attitude Adjustment, but Batista countered into a DDT for a two count.  Batista hit a running kick to a downed Cena for another two count, then applied a sleeper with a body scissors.  Cena got to his feet, carrying Batista on his back.  Cena pulled out of the hold, but Batista kneed him in the back.  Cena and Batista traded punches, then Batista kicked Cena in the gut and hit a neckbreaker for a two count.  Batista put Cena in a front facelock, but Cena broke out and kicked a charging Batista.  Batista missed another charge, and Cena hit a pair of shoulderblocks and a back suplex into a powerbomb.  Cena did the "You Can't See Me" and went for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Batista jumped up and hit a spinebuster. 

Batista called for the Batista Bomb, but Cena tripped him and put him in an STF.  Batista made the ropes to force the break.  Batista got to his feet, and immediately charged Cena with a spear for a two count.  Batista hit some shoulderblocks in the corner, then put Cena on the top rope.  They ended up in a test of strength on the ropes, and Cena hit some headbutts.  Cena knocked Batista to the mat, and Cena did the "You Can't See Me" and then delivered a top rope fistdrop.  Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment, but Batista grabbed the ropes.  Cena pulled Batista back, but lost the handle on his move.  Batista landed on his feet and hit Cena with a Batista Bomb.  Cena got a shoulder up at two.  Batista couldn't believe it, and said "Are you kidding me?" to the referee. 

Batista went for a Batista Bomb, but Cena floated out and went for an Attitude Adjustment.  Batista countered into a slam, then Cena countered back again and hit an Attitude Adjustment, pretty much flinging Batista through the air with it.  Batista kicked out at two.  Cena went to the top rope and went for the top rope Rocker Dropper, but Batista caught it and gave Cena a spinebuster.  It actually looked like Batista's leg got caught under Cena in an ugly way, but he got right back up.  Batista went for a Batista Bomb, but Cena floated over into a sunset flip and hooked an STF.  Batista reached for the ropes, but quickly faded and limply tapped out at the fourteen minute mark.

Winner and new WWE Champion: John Cena.

 

The events leading to the main event were shown. 

The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels in a no DQ, no countout match.  If Michaels loses, his career is over.

Shawn Michaels entered first wearing a new outfit, but it was his usual entrance. Undertaker came up through a lift on the stage floor, and was wearing a new sleeveless leather hooded robe. 

They stood face to face before the bell rang.  Shawn Michaels made a throat slashing gesture at Undertaker, angering him.  The bell rang and Undertaker charged.  Shawn dodged it and hit some chops.  Taker whipped Michaels into the corner and Michaels flipped upside down.  Undertaker hit Snake Eyes and a running boot to the face.  Undertaker hit an avalanche and went for the Old School rope walk, but Michaels kept blocking it.  Undertaker finally got to the top rope and hitting a shoulderblock, then hit the forearm.  Undertaker shook his leg, as if he had hurt it on the landing.  Undertaker went for a chokeslam, but Michaels kicked Taker's leg.  Undertaker was limping.  Undertaker threw some punches, then went for a tombstone, but Shawn wriggled out of it.

Shawn furiously punched Taker and tried for a crossface, but Taker fought it off.  Undertaker grabbed Shawn by the throat, but Shawn kicked his bad leg.  Shawn went for a superkick, but Underaker dodged it. Shawn, realizing Undertaker was favoring the leg, went after it, kicking it and putting Taker down in the corner.  Undertaker fought back with punches, but Shawn kicked at the leg again.  Undertaker clotheslines Shawn Michaels over the top rope and to the floor.  Undertaker teased a dive, but Shawn dove back into the ring and shoulderblocked Undertaker in the bad leg.  Michaels went for a spinning toe hold, but Undertaker kicked Shawn away and to the floor.  

Undertaker picked up Michaels and rammed him back first into the ringpost.  Undertaker put Shawn on the apron and delivered the apron legdrop.  Undertaker got back in the ring, still favoring the leg.  Shawn tripped Undertaker and quickly applied a figure four leglock.  Undertaker sat up in the hold, but Michaels increased the pressure.  Undertaker sat up again, and glared at Michaels, but Michaels kept the hold applied.  Undertaker was finally able to turn the hold over, and Michaels broke free from it.  

They got to their feet, and Michaels threw some chops, while Take responded with punches.  Michaels kicked at the leg and threw more chops, but Undertaker delivered some big punches.  Michaels hit a slew of chops, then a flying forearm.  Michaels did a kip up, and turned right into a chokeslam by the Undertaker.  Michaels kicked out at two.  Undertaker went for a tombstone, but Michaels wriggled free and grabbed Undertaker in an ankle lock.  Shawn added a leglace to the move,  Undertaker used his free leg to kick Michaels in the head twice and break the hold.  They got to their feet, and Michaels clotheslined Undertaker over the top rope and to the floor.  Michaels landed on the apron, and springboarded off the middle rope into a bodypress.  Undertaker caught Michaels and Michaels tried to escape his grip, but Undertaker turned him over and gave Michaels a tombstone piledriver on the floor. 

Shawn was down on the floor, and Undertaker slumped over the ring steps trying to recover.  A trainer came out to check on Michaels, and Taker threw him to the side.  Undertaker rolled Michaels into the ring and covered him, but Michaels kicked out at two.  Undertaker set up Shawn for a Last Ride, but Michaels turned it into a facebuster for a two count.  Michaels went to the top rope and went for the flying elbow, but Undertaker got his knees up, catching Shawn in the ribs.  Shawn and Undertaker were down, and as Shawn crawled towards Undertaker, Taker grabbed him in Hell's Gate.  Michaels flipped over it into a pinning position, forcing Undertaker to break the hold.  As they got up, Michaels hit Undertaker with a superkick.  Michaels covered Undertaker for a two count.  

Michaels got to his feet and began to stomp. He went for the superkick as Taker was on his knees, but Taker blocked it.  Undertaker grabbed Michaels leg, hit him in the gut, then planted him with the Last Ride powerbomb.  Undertaker covered Michaels, but HBK got his shoulder up just before the three count.  Undertaker threw Michaels to the floor, and pulled the cover off the announcers table and cleared if off.  Undertaker slapped his bad leg to get feeling back in it.  Undertaker set up Michaels for a powerbomb through the table, but Michaels floated over it and superkicked Undertaker, knocking Taker onto the cleared table. 

Shawn Michaels went to the top rope and moonsaulted to the floor, landing on Undertaker's legs and putting him through the table.  Undertaker grabbed his leg on the floor.  Michaels crawled over to the Undertaker and pushed him towards the ring.  Michaels managed to roll Undertaker into the ring.  Undertaker tried to stand up, but fell down.  Undertaker used the ropes and got to his feet, then turned and got blasted by another superkick.  

Michaels covered Undertaker, and Undertaker kicked out at 2.9999.

Michaels got to his feet, and measured Undertaker for one more superkick. Undertaker sidestepped it, and chokeslammed Michaels, then fell to the mat, clutching his leg. Undertaker lifted himself with the ropes, scooped Michaels off the mat and delivered a tombstone.  Undertaker crossed Michaels' arms over him... and Michaels kicked out. 

Undertaker shook his head in frustration.  Undertaker pulled himself up again, and moved towards Michaels.  Undertaker pulled the straps down and started to make the throat slashing gesture, then stopped.  Undertaker just looked down at Shawn, who was trying to pull himself up using Taker's body.  Undertaker told him to stay down.  Shawn looked up at Undertaker, made the throat slashing gesture at him and slapped him across the face.  Undertaker got enraged, grabbed Michaels and delivered a JUMPING TOMBSTONE.  Undertaker pinned Michaels at the 25-minute mark.  18-0. 

Winner: The Undertaker. 

They put up a graphic that said 18-0 and set off a ton of fireworks.  Undertaker posed in the ring, then they turned the lights back on.  Undertaker picked Shawn up off the mat, and offered him a handshake.  Undertaker and Shawn shook hands, then hugged.  Undertaker then rolled out of the ring, leaving Shawn alone.  The fans applauded and chanted "Thank You" at Shawn.  Shawn acknowledged the fans, then dropped to his knees in the middle of the ring and prayed.  Shawn then got up and headed down the aisle, shaking hands along the way.  Shawn said,"I'm gonna drive my kids nuts in 3 weeks" when someone asked him something.  The cameras followed Shawn all the way to the stage, where he acknowledged the fans again.  The announcers were quiet the whole time, until Jerry Lawler said "Shawn, it's over.  We'll miss you.  Goodbye." 

That ended the show.

 

WRESTLEMANIA 26 NOTES
 
Jack Swagger cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to win the World title at the first Smackdown taping following Wrestlemania....The stage was monstrous and looked like the old Tower of Doom structure in the NWA.  It's the biggest Titantron-type of system the company has ever used....They opened the show with a Wrestlemania 25 music video....Yoshi Tatsu won a 26 Man Battle Royal with Mark Henry, Cryme Tyme, Goldust, Santino Marella, Primo, Funaki, Jimmy Yang, Slam Master J, Chris Masters, Kozlov, Finlay, William Regal, Luke Gallows, Carlito, Tyler Reks, Zach Ryder, Vance Archer, Mike Knox, Croft and Baretta, The Hart Dynasty and the Great Khali. Hornswoggle made an appearance to make it 26.  The NXT rookies watched the match from the stage.  Shad Gaspard actually tossed out his own partner, JTG....There was a production issue during Rey Mysterio's entrance that wasn't seen on the PPV broadcast. Mysterio was going to be shot into the air via trap door but the entrance wouldn't work. Mysterio crawled out of the hole onto the stage, which wasn't seen on PPV....Former ECW World champion Jerry Lynn was at the PPV visiting....Ezekiel Jackson, who was initially planned as the winner of the Battle Royal, missed the show due to a death in the family...."Shawn Michaels" and "Thank You Shawn" were top trending topics worldwide on Twitter last night after the PPV.....Paul McCartney was playing a concert at the adjacent arena next to the Stadium.  A number of WWE stars went from the PPV to the concert...Actors Rob Corddry and Clark Duke from "Hot Tub Time" were sitting ringside.  Others in the crowd were Billy Corrgan, former WWE creative team member Freddie Prinze Jr., one time Raw Guest host Seth Green, actors Emma Green and Kieran Culkin, singer Jennifer Hudson and Manny Ramirez of the Los Angeles Dodgers were also both at Wrestlemania. Ramirez was sitting in the first row as he was in town for their Spring training. Hudson was with her fiance, NXT's David Otunga....Former TNA personality Scott D'Amore was at the show, as he came in out of respect for Stu Hart's Hall of fame induction......Hornswoggle made a cameo during the Battle Royal, helping Finlay by bringing him a shillelagh after coming out from under the ring. Finlay used it on Mike Knox. Hornswoggle was also the answer to a trivia question from the weekend, as he was the only WWE talent to appear at every AXXESS session over the weekend for autographs...Former WWE stars Shawn "Gavin" Spears, Luther Reigns, Albert (A Train) and Armando Estrada visited with the crew over the course of the weekend....Linda McMahon, in the midst of her failed Senate run, was in Phoenix, Arizona for Wrestlemania weekend and was at the PPV. I was told by one source she likely didn't appear on camera at the WWE Hall of Fame ceremonies out of concern for "equal time" violations, since she's in the midst of her run for the Connecticut Senate.
 
LIVE NOTES by Gregory Davis
 
The doors opened around 1:30 local time, two hours prior to the start time, and moved pretty quickly. The place was not sold out, but had reached 95% capacity at the very least.

The floor security was very strict. To get on the floor, your ticket had to be marked, and you were given a green wristband. And this was double checked at each section as you made your way across. And in order to leave with a chair, your ticket and wristband had to be marked at your seat, with both being checked at the aisle Very strict.

For the dark match, the video walls weren't activated. Everyone came out together in a near line to the "I Made It" theme. As noted, Yoshi Tatsu won.

The roof consistently opened and closed for the first 3/5ths of the show. It was opened for outdoor shots, fireworks, and to let smoke out, but stayed closed during the other parts, at least until sunset passed, where it opened for the rest of the show.

As for the show, it moved a long quickly, thanks to the short match times. The crowd was split for each main event. The biggest disappointment was the Bret/Vince match, as the crowd, after being into the entrances, was dead, basically waiting for the Sharpshooter.
 
WWE HALL OF FAME REPORT by Mike Johnson & Buck Woodward

Mike Johnson is live at this evening's WWE Hall Of Fame ceremony, and will be sending in live reports throughout the evening, so check back often for updates. 

We are live at the WWE Hall of Fame ceremonies.  WWE had signs posted warning fans not to catcall and also announcing video streaming was prohibited.  Todd Grisham welcomed everyone to the event, at which point the WWE talents began to take their seats.

Among those here are Gene Okerlund, Blackjack Lanza, Dusty Rhodes, Tony Garea, Nick Bockwinkel, Steve Keirn and Billy Kidman.  

As Batista entered he passed, and then stared down, John Cena.

Gorgeous George, Ted DIBiase and Bob Uecker will be inducted on the USA Network special.

Jerry Lawler was introduced as the host.  He said it is his favorite night of the year and he's honored to be hosting.  He introduced the "future Hall of Famers", the current WWE Superstars.

The first inductee is Mad Dog Vachon.

WWE is giving the inductees a five minute time limit for their speeches.

They aired a video feature on Mad Dog Vachon.

Lawler said that Vachon even struck fear into the hearts of his tag team partners and introduced the only man who has "jokes older than his", Pat Patterson.

Patterson said he was happy to be here but it was strange because tonight he's inducting a "mad dog" and two years ago he inducted an "old bag", Mae Young.

Patterson said when he broke into the business in Montreal, he was scared to death of Vachon.  Years later, he was making no money in Boston and got a letter from Vachon booking him in Portland and that's what set his career off.

He said Vachon always tried to help the careers of French Canadians.  Patterson made some jokes because he forgot what he was going to say.  He said he's excited for tomorrow and is pulling for Shawn Michaels, who in his book is the best he's ever seen.  He then said he was looking forward to seeing Vince McMahon get his ass kicked because "Bret got screwed."

Patterson said when he had his first Portland payday, he received $300 and thought it was too much.  Vachon told him that was his pay and the promoter probably screwed him anyway.

He told stories of Vachon coming to his house when Vachon got into domestic troubles and Patterson told Vachon he was going to "ruin my reputation" (by staying in his house).  Everyone laughed.

He said he was proud to induct Vachon and introduced him.

Mad Dog Vachon came out in his wheelchair. He started doing one of his old promos and finished with "I'm Mad Dog Vachon and I approve of this message."

Vachon said he believes he had 13,000 matches and became a wrestler because of his name.  He said growing up his nickname was 'Vachon the Pig.'  He said when he got into fights as a child, his dad told him it was okay, as long as he won.

Vachon told the story of getting the Mad Dog name, and he told the story of working for Don Owen in Portland Wrestling.  He was told to be wild because he would be feuding with Curtis Iaukea.  He said he attacked his first opponent, then attacked his referee.  A policeman tried to hit him with a stick and he threw him into the third row.  When he returned, Owen told him he 'looked like a Mad Dog' and it fit him perfect.

Patterson asked him to tell the story of the night he opened a plane in mid-air.  He had too many drinks while flying back to Minnesota and opened the door.  He could be feel himself being pulled out and said "Its a good night to die." He was charged $500 for opening the door, so he never did it again.

Vachon told some stories of starring in commercials in Montreal.  WWE cut his speech as he was going long and rambling a bit.

Jerry Lawler said that if had a dollar for every time he was asked where Jim Ross was, he's be a Million Dollar Man.  He then introduced Ross, who got a huge reaction.

The second inductee is Wendi Richter.

They showed a video feature on Wendi Richter.

Jerry Lawler noted that the Rock and Wrestling Connection began on a segment of Piper's Pit and introduced Roddy Piper.

Piper asked if anyone can believe tomorrow is Wrestlemania and quipped he was there when it 'didn't have a number.'

Piper said he lived with Mad Dog Vachon for two years.  "There's a reason I act like this."

Piper said the early 80s was a time of feminism, which he didn't appreciate until he had his daughters.  He said you had to do tough things back then, 'like date Moolah and live.'

Piper said it was an exciting time and he got to knock out Hulk Hogan and Mr. T.  He then saw something come under the ropes and he kicked it.  He said he ended up "kicking a girl who only wanted to have fun."

He told lots of 80s stories about celebrities being involved in the Rock and Wrestling era.  He said Wendi Richter came along and he always had a crush on her.  He said Wendi had a way to bring class to the NWA, where he first met her, and the WWF.

Piper mentioned he hated the Rock and Wrestling cartoon and said they once had a cartoon where Wendi Richter beat him in a knighting contest.  He said she was a fierce competitor who gave everything for the fans and was a classy lady outside of it.

Piper called Richter 'the Sandra Bullock of wrestling' and introduced her.

Wendi immediately joked that Piper had to repeat his introduction after the show and said he was 'the best mouth in the business.'

Richter said this was her dream and she was humbled to be here, but it "Was about damn time!"

She told the story of seeing wrestling for the first time live because her friend wanted to see it.  It was in Shreveport, Louisiana and the night was destiny as she saw The Fabulous Moolah and was mesmerized.  She told her friend 'I think I can do that' and beat Moolah and four years later, which she did in New York City.

Richter said she approached Sputnik Monroe about getting into wrestling and he tried to discourage her but she had to follow her dreams.  She talked about her best opponents, naming Velvet McIntyre, Joyce Grable, Leilani Kai, Princess Victoria and Judy Martin.  She said they were wonderful people and great wrestlers.

Wendi told a story of touring Japan and using what she learned there in the United States to become what was then described as a 'rough babyface.'

Richter thanked her fans for standing behind her for 25 years and thanked Cyndi Lauper for skyrocketing her career overnight.

Richter said that all she ever wanted was respect and feels that she has that tonight. She said a female wrestler has to work 'twice as hard for half the pay' and is honored to have paved the way for the stars of today.

Richter said 'there's a place where you can touch a woman and drive her crazy... her heart'... and everyone did tonight.  She finished off saying 'Girls Just Want to Have Fun.'

The third inductee is Stu Hart.  

They aired an awesome video on Hart's career.  They showed Natalya on the screens crying after the video.  Lawler introduced Bret Hart.

Hart came out, followed by all of Stu's children. Bret said he didn't know where to start, and didn't have enough time, but his father was a great wrestling promoter and was almost loved as much by the wrestlers as his own children.  He said Stu worked on a 'handshake deal' and that was rare.

Hart said the man he longs to be is the man he felt his father was.  He said there were wrestlers in his life from the day he was born and the family loved and misses that time.  He said there were so many things they loved about the wrestling business.

Hart said when he was a child, on a school night, he remembers one of the Cadillacs his dad used to transport wrestlers was stuck at the front gate of the property.  Bret said he saw it was stuck, then dozed back off to sleep.  His father went down to see who it was that was stuck.  It turned out it was a kid who tried to steal one of the cars because the keys were in it.  His father dragged the guy back up to the house.  Bret thought it was his brother Smith.  Stu began stretching the guy in the kitchen and suddenly the brothers realized they were all accounted for upstairs.

Stu stretched the guy for three or four hours, then instead of calling the police, he called the kid's parents to get him... and gave the kid a job as an usher.  Bret said for years he would see that kid and think it was amazing how quick things change.

Bret said its like that for a lot of wrestlers who got their starts in Calgary.  He said it was a great accomplishment to start there.

Hart said that Stu had a great sense of humor similar to Owen Hart.  There was a big "Owen" chant.  Hart said in the 70's Hart was famous for 'Mable Parties.'  He told a story of The Great Antonio being ribbed about a girl named Mable who liked him, and Antonio believing it was real.  When they went to see Mable while her husband was away, one of the wrestler's brothers would play her husband, show up with a gun and shoot blanks at them.  The 'shot' wrestler would tell Antonio to run.  Antonio found the police and, of course, when the cops arrived all they found were all the wrestlers laughing about the rib... and Antonio had to sit in the back of the police car worrying while the police enjoyed a few drinks with the wrestlers.

Bret said that Stu had a tough reputation but he was a funny and loving man.  He said they all missed Stu and life has never been the same without him.  He said that Calgary wrestling was something you had to see to believe and they gave everyone a truly special wrestling product.

He said that his father will live on forever now that he's in the WWE Hall of Fame and thanked everyone for that.

The next inductee was Antonio Inoki.

They played a video on Inoki's career.

Jerry Lawler introduced Stan Hansen.  Hansen said he 'spent the last few decades in Japan and never did one interview', so please bear with him if he stumbles a little.

He said he wrestled all the top competitors in Japan and they were hard ranks to climb.  He said Inoki stands alone in many respects.  "Inoki was a household name with everyone in Japan - that's how over he was."

Hansen said that Rikidozan learned of a pure Japanese athlete living in Brazil and brought him back as a young star to train under him.  He said the rest of the story is that Inoki became an icon in Japan.  Inoki was excited about promoting pro wrestling - Hansen emphasized PRO WRESTLING - and said he was lucky enough to be a part of that.

He talked of Inoki putting together a Boxer vs. Wrestler match and that launched MMA.  He said Inoki did it as a wrestler.  He said Inoki used pro wrestling to promote peace and Inoki used his power to go to North Korea and Iraq.  He said Inoki pushed the envelope and went to India and Pakistan before anyone else to try and broaden pro wrestling.

Hansen said that after the Shea Stadium show (where Hansen faced Bruno Sammartino), Vince McMahon Sr. got him booked for Inoki in Japan.  At the time, Hansen didn't know much about how over Inoki was.

One time, Hansen's back was bad.  He and Dynamite Kid got on an eight hour train that stopped every twenty minutes.  He said they went to the southern part of Japan and were sent to chiropractors.  They used flame and a cup to kill the pain in a vacuum.  The doctor told Hansen he could 'adjust him' to where he would be impotent, to which Hansen said "Whoa!"

He told a story about Inoki wrestling Jack Brisco in Japan.  Hansen, Chavo Guerrero and Steve Keirn are watching in the back.  Inoki goes over and starts tossing his winnings out of the ring to the fans.  Hansen said that it showed how much the promotion gave to the fans.

Hansen told a story of wrestling Inoki in Sapporo and having Inoki choked outside against a railing.  Hansen said he doesn't see very well without his glasses.  He sees someone winding up to hit him then the person tossed an egg on him.  Hansen said he hopped the rail and followed the fan around.  He said he knew the fan would trip over someone, and he did.  He 'taught the fan a lesson' and the next day, there's big trouble and he needed to go to a police station.  He spent the entire day being questioned.  He leaves to go to the show and there's the fan, all bandaged up, bowing and apologizing.  Inoki had told the fan about the trouble and the fan went on to become a great sponsor for Hansen.

Hansen said it was his honor to tell some stories and induct Inoki into the Hall of Fame.

Inoki said his English is bad, and that he started in Japan.  He thanked everyone for attending the ceremony.  He said it was an honor for him to receive such a prestigious honor and the timing was perfect, as his first match was 50 years ago this year. Inoki said he was proud to develop professional wrestling and martial arts.

Inoki then spoke in Japanese with a translator.  He said he wanted to thank his fans in Japan and those who came here for the ceremony.  He said this year is his 50th anniversary and he appreciates the fans and everyone who worked on inducting him.

He said he's been watching many of his matches recently and the most famous was the fight against Muhammad Ali.  He said after the match he was able to build a nice friendship with Ali, and via that friendship, he was able to attend an event in North Korea that drew 190,000 people twice.

He said with the skills he developed as a wrestler, he was able to promote a 'Sports for Peace' event in Iraq.

He thanked all his fans.  He said he's been working on unique events and would like to promote a card in Antarctica with WWE to promote Global Warming awareness.

Inoki did his traditional Japanese cheer after explaining it to the crowd and asking them to do it with them.  They all did.  A really nice speech.

Jerry Lawler talked about celebrities in wrestling and said the next man is just as important as any of them.  He brought out Dick Ebersol.

Ebersol said 25 years ago tonight he was producing one of his last Saturday Night Live episodes and had Hulk Hogan and Mr. T doing a sketch on the show.  He said Hogan got so carried away, he laughed and couldn't read his cue cards.

That was the night before Wrestlemania 1 and it led to the launch of Saturday Night's Main Event.  He said that he's never had more fun than he did when working to produce WWE programming for NBC.

Ebersol said that Bob Uecker has had the most extraordinary career of any sports personality.  He said Bob had a ten year career, only batted .200 and yet is still in the Cooperstown Hall of Fame.

Ebersol introduced a video on Uecker.

Ebersol told the story that brought Bob Uecker to Wrestlemania 3.  They had gone to Detroit six weeks before the PPV to survey the site and figure out how to get everyone into the building.

He said Vince McMahon was trying to get Uecker, who didn't "get it" to appear.  Ebersol said they would go visit Uecker to convince him.  Ebersol sent for Jesse Ventura to come help.

They arrived and called Uecker and told him they were at his hotel. They needed two hours and a "lot of beer" to get Uecker to agree.  He said Uecker had the time of his life but didn't know it was coming when Andre the Giant put his arms around him and he was scared to death.

He introduced Bob Uecker.

Bob Uecker said he had a lot to say but "Inoki stole his speech."  Uecker said he wasn't always a great player and his father didn't know a lot about sports but wanted him to do everything the other kids did.  His dad got him a football and they didn't know how to throw it, so they kicked it around until a nice neighbor filled it with air for him and "What a difference that made!"

Uecker said that he was interested in wrestling when he was 75 or 80 pounds.  He told a story about being so poor his mother made him an athletic supporter from a flour sack "and the flour would fall out."

He told some funny baseball stories and showed off his Hall of Fame ring.  He joked that "everyone else got a diamond," but he got a zircum.  He talked about dreaming of a world championship ring... and his was tossed into the field and he had to find it during the fifth inning.

Uecker said that he met Dick Ebersol years ago and mentioned some of the shows he was involved in.  When he was called to do Wrestlemania, he said he initially said no because it was during Spring Training but it turned out to be one of the best things he ever did in his life.

He told a story of Jake Roberts asking him to take a picture with Damian.  He asked who Damian was and Jake said, "He's in the bag."  Uecker said, "So am I. Pass me another beer."

When they got to Detroit, he got to meet everyone and was having the time of his life.  He said he had spent time with Andre the Giant but had no idea it was coming.  Uecker said if the camera had stayed on them we'd have seen him on top of Andre with Vince yelling for him to let Andre go because he had a match.

Uecker said when he was a kid, his grandma did wrestler's laundry and told a story of putting on Dick the Bruiser's tights.  He talked about watching Milwaukee wrestling in the Rendezvous Ballroom.

Uecker continued his self deprecating lines and joked a lot.  It was hilarious.

Uecker said that all of the things he's had the chance to do in his life, some of the best times he's had were with WWE.  He said he was amazed by how jam packed the place is tonight and is amazed by the body punishment the wrestlers put themselves through.

He thanked everyone for their time and laughter.

Jerry Lawler introduced a video of Gorgeous George.

Lawler then introduced 'the only man here who can say he wrestled George three times' - The Destroyer Dick Beyer - who came out wearing his mask.

Destroyer said he is extremely excited and pleased to honor Gorgeous George with the WWE Hall of Fame.  He said in college he watched George when George was big, made money and brought entertainment to pro wrestling.

Destroyer talked about George's Bobby Pins and wishes he had 2,000 to sell on Ebay.  He told the story of wrestling George for the first time and learned that George could indeed wrestle. 

Going forward, a Los Angeles promoter wanted to put a mask on Destroyer and he thought he was crazy.  16 months later the promoter wanted to take it off and Destroyer said 'not tonight'.  This led to Destroyer's next story.

George owned a bar in the area and invited Destroyer to visit.  The bar would have been the equivalent of the best sports bar today and had tons of photos of celebrities, but the bar was empty.  George said he needed a payday and pitched Destroyer's mask against George's hair.  Destroyer didn't want to lose his mask.  George said not to worry and wanted to do all the pomp and circumstance.  The promoter, Jules Strongow, agreed to do it and George submitted to a figure four. As they cut George's hair, Destroyer felt bad that he helped ruin the first image that brought entertainment to pro wrestling.

Destroyer said George was 'the living orchid' and had a mask for George's widow Betty.  He said he was proud to have inducted George into the Hall of Fame.

Jerry Lawler introduced Betty Wagner, Gorgeous George's former wife, to accept on his behalf.

She said George was gorgeous. Her mother told George he was gorgeous, and they decided that was it for his name.  Betty said she made all of George's robes.  She told stories of her kids running around in the wrestling robes.

Betty was asked if there was anything else she wanted to say about George and she said she didn't want to 'tell everything' and thinks it was time she should go.

A short but funny and sweet induction.

Jerry Lawler asked for everyone to stand and applaud all the inductees since the crowd ignored the "Applause" signs.

Jerry Lawler said their final inductee once wrote a check so big, his bank bounced.  He sent us to a great Ted DiBiase career video.

Lawler introduced Ted and Brett DiBiase to induct their father.

Brett said his father was getting inducted and Ted was getting his first Wrestlemania match tomorrow, so tonight he was going to talk about him.  He and Ted did a comedy bit about playing with wrestling buddies and Ted dressing like Scary Sherri as kids.

Ted said they were honored to induct not just one of the greatest villains WWE ever produced, but a good man.  Brett told a story that his father once told him how he only despises three things...a liar, a cheater and a thief.  His father taught them a man is only as good as his word.

Ted said that the success and talent his father had as an in-ring performer is undeniable and the Million Dollar Man character will forever be cherished by those who love the business.

Ted said his father has more passion than anyone he's ever known and is proud to carry on his name in this business.  He said that they are so proud of their father and for the level of character and integrity he brings.

Jerry Lawler introduced Ted DiBiase, who came out with the Million Dollar Belt.  DiBiase said that like an American Express card, he never leaves home without it.

He says that it is an amazing night.  There are moments in life that you can't put a price tag on and for him, tonight is that "priceless" night. He said to be in the Hall of Fame means he's been honored by his colleagues and he's very honored and humbled to join a very long line of legends in the business.

DiBiase said he had some many things and stories that went through his mind.  He said there are some stories that are too good to be true.  He told a story about 1987.  For the last 12 years before that he had worked hard and wrestled in no-name towns and one day the WWE calls.  The next day, he's in first class heading to New York.  A limo takes him to Stamford and he meets with the brain trust.

They tell him they have an idea for a new character that would be 'truly evil.'  For this character he would fly the best airlines, stay at the best hotels and have a limo take him everywhere he goes.  He joked it was a hard job.

They told Ted they wanted to make him one of the best villains and he thought the fans and the wrestlers would hate him.  They handed him several thousand dollars and sent Ted and his wife to New York City to spend it while staying at the best hotel.  He told his wife that 'their ship had come in.'

DiBiase thanked Harley Race, Terry Funk, The Briscoes, Dick Murdoch and Killer Karl Kox.  He thanked Harley for trying to save Iron Mike DiBiase's life the night he had a heart attack in the ring.  Ted said ten years later he was in the ring against Harley in his first world title match.

DiBiase pointed out his wife Melanie and praised her for giving him a second chance and for being his rock.  DiBiase thanked God and Jesus Christ for his mercy.

DiBiase said you can't talk about the Million Dollar Man without talking about Virgil.   He told a story about Virgil picking up their bags and then realizing they didn't have the Million Dollar Belt.  He raced back to the Atlanta airport and there's no briefcase at the carousel.  He went to the baggage officer who had it.  The baggage officer told him he had no idea how lucky DiBiase was that they had the briefcase.  DiBiase said, "No, you don't know how lucky I am"... and opened the case to reveal the belt.

DiBiase praised Arn Anderson before addressing the younger stars.  DiBiase said his father told him not to go out for anything he isn't passionate about.  He told them to be passionate about what you do, live your life with integrity and work hard.  He said the person with the biggest heart and the person who is the most dependable will get the job.

DiBiase said this was a moment where he wishes his father was here and believed his dad would say "Job well done."

DiBiase thanked the fans for the night and this moment.  He then said that just in case anyone doubts that "you don't have a price and can't be bought"...he went into a Million Dollar promo and they dropped a ton of money down on the crowd.

They brought out all the inductees and ended the ceremony.  

WRESTLEMANIART REPORT by Greg Davis

This was my first time attending WrestleMania Art, and I left very impressed.

Among the stars here were Bret Hart, Jerry Lawler, the Bella Twins, Cryme Tyme, the Miz, Rosa Mendes, Santino Marella, Jimmy Wang Yang, Slam Master J, Hornswoggle, Layla, the Hart Dynasty, Funaki, Tony Atlas, Alicia Fox, Beth Phoenix, Tiffany, and Vickie Guerrero. I believe Teddy Hart was there as well, primarily hanging around Bret.

The event began around 5:15. We were allowed in a roped area about 30 feet from the photo spot. The stars would walk down the line for various photo ops and interviews. Many of them did come to us for photos and autographs.

VIPs were let in first for a private meet and greet, and then around 6, those with GA tickets were let in. The first thing we saw were eight drawings by Tony Atlas.

We then went to the main outdoor area, where all the art was out for display, with bidding being conducted by silent auctions. It was a wide range, from a painted piggy bank by Layla, which she said was based on her Mickie feud, to amazing art from Beth, Bret, and others. My absolute favorite was Santino's: several Mona Lisas, with his face on it. Other notable displays were signed photos of the top stars, former clothing of Layla and Michelle McCool, and an Eddie Guerrero display. All art items started at least at $100, with a few starting even higher.

Matt Striker was the MC. After about an hour, everyone was brought up to the presentation area. Each were personally introduced, and we had several short speeches from folks from WWE, Make a Wish, and the city.

The auctions then resumed, and several were spotlighted in order to get more bids. Santino's went over $350, and JTG was in a bidding war over a framed portrait of various wrestlers by Bret.

Many have said that Fan Axxess isn't that interactive with the stars because you don't know who'll be there, or for how long. This was so much better than that. Everyone was walking around, chatting, taking photos, signing autographs, and having a great time. For $50, and going to a great cause, this should be a must-attend for fans who want to meet wrestlers.

The session ended with two live auctions. Jerry and Bret were doing live art during the whole thing. Jerry had a cartoon of Bret sitting on Vince, with a "Bret Screwed Vince" sign. Bret had a drawing of a WrestleMania poster. The art sold for $3,000 each. It was also announced that the McMahons would match all donations that night. They might have had a final amount announced, but I think they raised about $20,000 in art donations, before counting ticket sales.

WRESTLEMANIA SETS ATTENDANCE RECORD

 

WWE issued the following press release after Wrestlemania's completion:

WrestleMania(R) XXVI Breaks Record
 
GLENDALE, Ariz., Mar 28, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- World Wrestling Entertainment(R) made history tonight at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ, as WrestleMania XXVI grossed $5.8 million, becoming the highest grossing and attended entertainment event ever held at the stadium. The previous record was a U2 concert on October 20, 2009 that attracted 50,775 fans and grossed $4.9 million. 72,219 fans from all 50 states and 26 countries attended the sold out event, outdrawing Super Bowl XLII (71,101 attendance) in the same building.

WWE's annual pop-culture extravaganza was broadcast around the world on pay-per-view in more than 100 countries and 20 languages.

"WrestleMania XXVI was a tremendous success, and we thank the public and private sectors of Glendale and Phoenix for rolling out the red carpet to WWE(R) and our fans during WrestleMania Week," said John P. Saboor, Senior Vice President of Special Events, World Wrestling Entertainment. "WrestleMania is an important rite of passage for WWE fans each year, bringing with them a tremendous economic impact to the community."

WrestleMania XXVII will take place on Sunday, April 3, 2011 from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA. Ticket information will be announced later this year.

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., a publicly traded company /quotes/comstock/13*!wwe/quotes/nls/wwe (WWE 17.60, +0.04, +0.23%) , is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family-friendly, PG content across all of its platforms including television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing. WWE programming is broadcast in more than 145 countries and 30 languages and reaches more than 500 million homes worldwide. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, London, Shanghai, Sydney, Tokyo and Toronto. Additional information on World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!wwe/quotes/nls/wwe (WWE 17.60, +0.04, +0.23%) can be found at wwe.com and corporate.wwe.com.

DAVE SCHERER'S WRESTLEMANIA BLOG

I am a little late starting due to watching the end of the Duke-Baylor game.  I will catch up, trust me.  

The flyover was really cool.  I love those big planes and what they mean.  

I am glad that they opened the roof.  I also feel for the people sitting there because it will get hotter as the day progresses.  70,000 people and the desert has that effect.

I am glad I don't watch American Idol because Fantasia was really painful at times.

They had a cool opening montage.  The visual of the building was awesome.  Say what you want about WWE but they sold out a huge stadium, with over 70,000 people, and that is really cool.

R Truth got things up and running by popping the crowd.

Blind squirrel found a nut, I called the announce team correctly.

Wow, the tag match was way too short.  I wanted to see the champs retain and got sucked in by the possibility of Daniel Bryan getting involved.  When I didn't see him I had a feeling this would be quick.  It was basically a popcorn match at a time when you didn't need it.  I wish this would have gotten more time.

YES, we are getting the only match I didn't care about out of the way early.  

King thinks that Legacy turned their backs on Orton?  Really?  Does he even watch WWE TV?

Randy is well on his way to being the bad ass face.  The fans are totally behind him.  Every time Orton did anything, the fans were totally behind him.

Teddy went for the pin by Coyote didn't like it.  Now it will get interesting as Ted just got the receipt on the son of the son of the plumber.  Good comment from Striker, saying that Rhodes vs. DiBiase could be a future WrestleMania main event.

Orton came back and damn the crowd is in to him.  It's time to get him out of this feud and make him a face already.

The double DDT spot was predictable but totally right to do.

Orton's facial before the punt on Coyote was tremendous.  Teddy tried to steal the win.  Not happening.  Orton with the RKO, game over. Remember that blind squirrel I mentioned earlier?  Even he knew how this match would end.

Good, solid bout.  They took it the way it needed to go.  Now let's see what Orton can do as a face.

Vickie is a heat machine.  Good for her.  I am happy she is making a payday.  Jillian is hideous.  But at least Santino got to come out and push Slim Jim.  

Wow, Mae Young and Gene Okerlund in dresses.  Scary.  But then Santino got Melina.  Where do I get Slim Jims again?

MITB, the show should start for real here.

Damn, huge spot on the floor and the camera missed it.

Thank God they closed the roof (which I can see now).  People that spend all that money should not be hot.

Poor Kofi, he misjudged the ladder spot.  Ouch.

Nice dropkick on the ladder by Shelton on McIntyre.  Cool kick by Bourne on Swagger.  Ladders rule.

Ladder sandwiches may not be filling but they are cool.

Why would Bourne do the Air Bourne when he could get the Briefcase?

Here comes Matt Hardy, Bourne won't get it.  Matt won't either either though.  If you want a push stop begging for it on the web.

I love the ladder spot by Kane.  The fans were psyched for him but we can't let him get the Briefcase.

Nice face mash spots by Kane on Ziggler.  Damn!

I love MITB.

Kofi doing stilts with the ladder was tremendous.  It made no logical sense but it was cool.

Come on Drew, I picked you.  Get it!  Damn, Matt cost him.  You won't get it Matt.  Come on Kane, break Matt's internet fingers.  Or you Christian.  Whoever!

Nice Twist of Christain off of the ladders.

Cool spot by Swagger to use the briefcase waste Christian.  It took him long enough to get the case, but he did and it was a cool finish because the guy has deserved more than they have given him.  I hope he gets a push out of this and isn't the first MITB guy to not win the win the title.

The match was really good, with lots of cool spots.  I liked the finish too.

The Hall of Fame stuff was cool, as always.

Wow, there are a lot of Harts.  Why does not Bruce Hart need to wear sunglasses.  Get over yourself.

My wife popped big when Ted DiBiase was announced.  We always loved Teddy in this house.  Congrats Ted, you deserve it.

The roof is back open.  It's all about the pyro I guess.

Sheamus kicks.  I hope this is a good night for him.

Trips is way over and his pyro got the roof opened up.  He has earned it.

Did Trips get overly tan to make Sheamus look whiter or did he just have fun in the desert this week?

Wow, Cole mentioned HHH's mention, Ric Flair.  That blew my mind because one, Flair works for TNA.  Two, HHH was a star before Flair came into his life.

OK, Sheamus has this match in hand.  That scares me, looks like he may lose this one.

Cole has used the verb "scoot" a few times now.  Where does he do his prep work anyway?

Yeah, Sheamus is way too in control of this.  He looks good, I hope when HHH wins it's by a fluke.

I have never seen HHH so tan. I think I would get a full exam from a skin doctor if I were him.

Why does Matt Striker want to tie his mother down?  What kind of weird stuff goes on in his world?

Sheamus got out of the Pedigree.  Even if he loses, at least he got out of that.  HHH kicked out of the big boot too.

Yes, Sheamus got out of the Gourdbuster.  This is good stuff.

Damn, Pedigree.  HHH wins.  My wife is happy, I am not.  But Sheamus got enough in that it didn't hurt him at all.  I liked this match a lot.  HHH wishes Sheamus was at last year's Mania.

Someone needs to tell Punk we take a drink to get a buzz, not to make anything go away.  I am just saying.

Serena has a great presence around the ring (and I am not talking about her look but rather how she carries herself....the look works too).

Damn, that kick to Rey's head looked and sounded stiff.  STIFF.

Punk is getting a lot of covers early, that could bode poorly for Punk down the road.

Damn, what a cool spit by Rey off the topes.  The guy is flying.  Oops, the Frog Splash didn't work out so well.

Rey finally gets the 619 and the win.  I figured they would do it but I would have rather seen them do Rey joining SES.  Oh well, fine for what it was.  Solid but short.

Time for Bret vs. Vince.  This should be good.

Damn, that stage and entrance is fricking impressive.  The full camera shot was awesome.

Vince has a mic, color me shocked. Vince has lumberjacks.  They are Harts.  Bruce still has sunglasses on, so I guess he is still cool.  Color me shocked again.  Nice twist, but we all know who will get screwed in the end.  I can't wait until they turn on Vince.

Damn, Cole got the whole contract stuff wrong.  I hope he was fed that and didn't F it up on his own.

As soon as Bret said that the Harts go their money up front, we all knew where this one was going.

If they don't have Vince get payback on The Hart Dynasty, i can live with that.  A good story supersedes logic, as long as it's good.

Hart Attack on Vince,  Tremendous!

It was so cool to see Bret being able to move around in the ring.  Great stuff.

Vince has a crowbar.  I don't think it will help.  It didn't, he is getting wasted with it now.

The pop for the set up for the Sharpshooter was great.  Take your time asking Vince Bruce.

Damn, Bret trashed that chair on Vince.  That sucker was bent up!  

Bruce called for the bell too quickly.  They could have had fun asking Vince if he was sure he gave up, just to make it fun.

Vince got in nothing so it went a little long.  There was no suspense to it.  It was a squash.  But Bret got what he needed to get done.

At this point, MITB and HHH vs. Sheamus were really good.  If they hit home runs with the three big matches left, it will all work out well.

It's weird, this has not been a blow away show at all to this point but I am enjoying it, because I like the build that they have done.  There is a message there and that is that if things are booked to make you want to see the show, you don't mind parting with the money if they deliver on what you want to see.

The announce team could have used Jim Ross, of course, but it's been solid so far.  Striker has pushed Lawler out of the top color spot.  Cole has been solid.

Other than Sheamus, all of these guys seemed to have gotten a good tan in Phoenix.  I wonder if Mike Johnson did while he was there.

Wow, they had Jericho win.  I didn't see that one coming.  Cole tried to sell it like Edge came off like a champ, but no, I didn't see it like that.  The finish protected Edge but Jericho got the win.  Now, what Edge did after the match made him seem like a champ.  I have no problem that Edge didn't get the belt tonight as long as he does down the road.  Edge looked strong at the end.

They could have gotten a better shot of the spear off of the table.  The second and third shots showed how nasty it was.

As expected, a very good match between the two.

Yoshi won the Battle Royal that didn't make it on the PPV.  I hope he got a PPV bonus for it.

The divas match was a bit of action and bad work by Vickie.  Her messing up the finish was bad.  But, she isn't a wrestler.  This was a popcorn match and it actually came at the right time.

Good entrance by Big Dave.  Cena got the honor guard or whatever were.  Uh, the guy PRETENDS to be a marine WWE he isn't really one.  What they did was impressive.  I wouldn't walk through bayonets.  Some people booed Cena but most didn't.

It looked like that DDT by Big Dave might have hurt Cena.  John didn't get up right away but he shook it off if it did hurt him.  If not, good sell job.

Buck was right, Batista vs. Cena was way better than I thought it would be. 

The crowd was totally into this and all the near falls.  These guys earned their spot on the show.

Batista kicked out of the Attitude Adjustment.  I am popping for this big time. Go figure.

I didn't even care that Cena won.  This was a great match and both guys can stand tall after this one.  Best match on the show so far.  Yes, I really did just type that.

Taker vs. Shawn next.

Cool HBK gimmick over the ring when Michaels entered.

Shawn did the throat slash before the match, cool.

Taker looked good early on.  That bodes well.

I think Cole said "Vintage" for the first time during the main event.  No wonder I didn't want to slap him all night.

This is good stuff.  I don't even want to type.

Ok, I have to put over the counter to the Hell's Gate.  Very cool.

Nearfall mania is running wild, and I like it.

Last Ride, NO!  The match continues.  This is great stuff.

I always wondered, if a guy is trying to kill his opponent, why would he clear off the announce table before he throws a guy through it?  Would you want the TV monitor to trash you opponent?

F.....in A, Moonsault on the leg though the table.  This just keeps getting better.

I heard a This Is Awesome chant.  Those fans were right.

Shawn kicked out of the tombstone, after the chokeslam.  Damn!  These guys can never retire.  I won't allow it.

Nice bit at the end where Taker showed some remorse, but Shawn didn't.  Tombstone, finish, Shawn is done (for now at least) and once again these two had an amazing match.  By the end, I was actually hoping the streak would end because we would have the rubber match next year. 

Wow, amazing stuff.  Match of the year just may be theirs again in 2010.

The post match was great as well.  A handshake can mean so much and it did last night.

Shawn seemed moved by the crowd reaction.  Thank God this is wrestling and he can actually come back.  We will all be waiting for him.

LOOKING AT SHAWN MICHAELS' RETIREMENT

By Dave Scherer on 2010-03-30 14:45:24

Given the amount of audio we have up on the site the last few days, I figured that I would do a column today with thoughts from last night's shows instead of doing the usual hotline.  Also, since I know that some people don't always get to listen to audio, I wanted to make sure to write about last night's Raw here to let everyone who didn't watch it know that you absolutely must watch the Shawn Michaels retirement segment.  It was one of the best things that I have ever seen on a wrestling show.  Hell, it was one of the best things that I have ever seen on any show.

Do whatever you have to do to see his retirement speech.  Catch the replay on the Universal HD channel this weekend.  Watch it online if you can find it.  Catch the Spanish feed on Mun2 if they still air it.  Whatever you do though, watch it because it was just amazing.

Having followed Michaels for all of his years in this business, I can tell you that last night was truly the end of an era.  Going into WrestleMania I, like most people, assumed that if he lost to The Undertaker it would be to give him some time off before making another return down the road.  Sure, the stipulation was that he would have to retire if he lost, but this is wrestling.  No way it would actually happen, right? 

Well, over the weekend, more and more people started telling me that they were hearing that Shawn really would hang up the boots "if he lost".  He wasn't saying to the masses what he would do, but the vibe was starting to change with people who had assumed he would just take a break.  Then after Mania, he was already saying goodbyes to people.  Suddenly, this situation took on a totally different feeling.

I have been around long enough to know that retirements in wrestling almost never stick, but last night's segment did not feel like I was hearing from a guy who will start to miss the business in a few months and need to do a 180 and come back.  It sounded like I was listening to the guy who last year talked about walking away, only to come back for a last run.  With every word that Michaels spoke while saying goodbye, it started to feel more and more legitimate, more real, more final.

He's 44 years old.  He has a wife and family that he adores.  He has come back from a back injury that could have ended his career, and had another great run, a second act that cemented his already Hall of Fame career as being one that will compare favorable against anyone who ever stepped into that right. 

He had also just wrestled a match that was an all-time classic the night before.  For 2010 version of Mr. WrestleMania, it has never been about winning and losing, but rather the quality of the work, and he certainly delivered that on Sunday night.  Given that wrestling is a worked business, an analogy can be made that if Shawn hangs it up for good, it's like he did so after winning the World Series or The Super Bowl.  He left when he was still at the very top of his game, with a match that will go down as one of the best in the history of wrestling's biggest show.

If it turns out as it feels like it just might, Shawn got to walk away on his own terms, as one of the greatest of all time, while he is still the best there is, and he gets to do so a man who has grown in every possibly way from the petulant kid that he was when he entered into the business.  When you look at every aspect of his time in wrestling, from his body of work to the way he evolved as a person, friend, father, husband, co-worker and man, I would be hard pressed to think of a better ending to the "boyhood dream".

Last night Shawn Michaels said goodbye and thanked us, his fans.  Today, I want to return the favor.  Thank you Shawn for everything you do, for every match you had, every bump you took, every day you spend away from your family.  Thanks for all of the entertainment you gave me over the years.  Enjoy whatever you choose to do from here on out.  You have earned the right to do it.  You will be missed.

 


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