4/5 Powell's WWE WrestleMania 25 PPV Live Coverage: Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, Triple H vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Title, Edge vs. John Cena vs. Big Show for the World Hvt. Championship
Apr 5, 2009 - 10:00 PM
By Jason Powell
Aired live on pay-per-view
Houston, Texas at Reliant Stadium
1. Primo and Carlito defeated John Morrison and The Miz in a lumberjack match to capture the WWE and World Tag Titles. After a few great near falls, Primo reversed Morrison into a Backstabber to win the match.
The show opened with video that featured Vince McMahon welcoming viewers to the first WrestleMania event. It also featured the current WWE stars discussing the biggest WrestleMania events in history...
Powell's POV: Great video. They really should have aired this on the weekly television shows because it captured the nostalgic vibe you'd expect for a WrestleMania 25 event.
New WWE Hall of Famer Howard Finkel welcomed viewers to the "25th Anniversary" of WrestleMania. He introduced Nicole Scherzinger, who sang a tremendous version of "American the Beautiful"...
Powell's POV: Well, she botched the final note, but otherwise it was a really nice rendition. The guys at my pay-per-view party are mocking her. "That was bad," said nine year-old Holden Mitchell, who is watching the show at my pad with his father.
1. C.M. Punk defeated Christian, Shelton Benjamin, MVP, Kofi Kingston, Finlay (w/Hornswoggle), Mark Henry (w/Tony Atlas), and Kane in the Money in the Bank ladder match in 14:25. Michael Cole introduced himself along with Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler from ringside. Technically, J.R. introduced the show earlier. The Spanish announce Team also checked in from ringside.
Powell's POV: The Spanish announce team? Nice! Get ready for a broken announcers' table at some point during the show.
There was a fun spot early with Christian and Shelton holding separate ends of a ladder and then ramming it into their opponents. They targeted Kofi, who leapt over it and dropkicked the ladder into them. Later, Punk and Kofi teamed up for a simultaneous suicide dive onto several opponents outside.
Moments later, Shelton climbed onto one of the big ladders at ringside and performed a flip dive onto the heap at ringside, which drew the first "Holy shit" chant from the crowd. Scary spot. Hornswoggle pulled a small ladder from underneath the ring and then scaled it to perform his own dive onto the wrestlers at ringside. Cute. Finlay used the small ladder to bash the other wrestlers.
Finlay set up a big ladder and made a play for the briefcase, but Kofi hit a spinning kick that knocked him down. Later, Henry held a ladder in front of him that was not set up in a standing position. Nevertheless, Kofi tried to climb the ladder in a great spot, but Henry shook him free, caught him, and slammed him.
They set up the teeter totter ladders with one in the middle of the ring and another one leaning on the middle of the ladder and the top rope. Punk and Christian both went for the briefcase. They ended up fighting on the ladder that was stuck between the standing ladder and Christian hit the Unprettier on Punk off the ladder.
Later, Shelton tried to powerbomb MVP off the ladder, but they botched the spot. They quickly recovered and Shelton powerbombed MVP onto a couple of wrestlers at ringside.
At 13:15, Christian and Shelton were on top of the same ladder. Their momentum tipped the ladder and Shelton took a big bump over the ropes and onto the floor, while Christian managed to balance on the top rope and push the ladder back into a standing position. He was chokeslammed off the ladder by Kane a short time later. Punk and Kane ended up fighting at the top of the ladder. Punk caught Kane with a kick and knocked him off the ladder and pulled down the briefcase to win the match...
Powell's POV: Wow! Nonstop action. A really fun match and a great opener. Punk was booed a couple of times during the match, but the crowd seemed cool with the finish. Christian came across like the crowd favorite. Shelton and Kofi delivered standout performances.
Jerry Lawler thanked Slim Jim for being the "official meat snack of WrestleMania." No, really... A Fan Axxess video aired...
Kid Rock performed some of his songs on the stage. A bunch of Divas came out and danced with Kid Rock as he finished his medley and headed to the ring to start their match...
Powell's POV: I enjoy Kid Rock's music and his performance was solid, but I would have preferred to see the tag title match. No introductions for the battle royal. They all just headed to the ring.
2. Santino Marella won the 25-Diva Battle Royal in 6:05. Mae Young is at ringside as the guest time keeper. Santino is dressed up as a woman. Funny. Middle rope elimination rules. No big surprise entrants. Molly Holly, Torrie Wilson, Victoria, Jackie Gayda, and the previously mentioned announced Divas. Rapid fire eliminations that were nearly impossible to follow.
The match came down to Santino, Michelle McCool, Mickie James, Beth Phoenix, and Melina. Mickie and McCool battled on the ropes and tumbled over for a simultaneous elimination. Beth and Melina battled near the ropes. Santino dumped them both over the top rope.
After the match, Justin Roberts and Candice Michelle entered the ring and presented "Santina" with a crown and a sash. He pretended to cry in a fun celebration that included another dance routine and was much more entertaining that the match.
Powell's POV: What a waste. I thought they would at least introduce the Divas, but they just headed to the ring during Kid Rock's performance. I didn't expect a classic, but it would have been nice to have quick introductions that would have provided viewers a chance to see the returning Divas.
The announcers hyped that the Chris Jericho vs. the legends match was coming up next... A Mickey Rourke video aired with a big plug for The Wrestler. It also included his red carpet challenge...
3. Chris Jericho defeated Ricky Steamboat, Roddy Piper, and Jimmy Snuka (w/Ric Flair) in an elimination match in 9:00. A shot aired of Mickey Rourke taking a seat at ringside for the match. It appeared that Rourke is seated next to MMA fighter Frank Shamrock and possibly another MMA fighter that I didn't recognize.
Piper started the match against Jericho and got his arm unintentionally caught in the ropes. He also threw a weak drop kick at Jericho. Piper tagged Snuka into the match at the 2:00 mark. Snuka tagged in Steamboat for the first time a few seconds later. Steamboat delivered his trademark armdrags for a nice pop. Snuka tagged back into the match and tapped out to the Walls of Jericho at 3:45.
The match continued with Piper brawling with Jericho. At 4:45, Jericho hit a running enziguri and pinned Piper. Steamboat reentered the match with his classic cross body block off the top rope. At 6:20, Steamboat skinned the cat. Flair jumped onto the ring apron and was knocked down by Jericho.
Steamboat hit some of his signature spots including a top rope chop. He rolled up Jericho for a good near fall. Jericho missed a Lionsault. He ran at Steamboat, who powerslammed him for another near fall. At 8:30, Jericho locked in the Walls of Jericho, but Steamboat used an inside cradle for the best near fall of the match. A short time later, Jericho hit the Codebreaker and scored the clean pin.
After the match, Jericho took off his jacket and stormed the ring. He attacked Jericho with a series of chops that delighted the crowd. However, Jericho gained control with a backdrop and followed up with a Codebreaker. Jericho cleared Flair from the ring and then called for the mic.
Jericho paced around the ring and soaked up the boos. "I am the best in the world at what I do," he said. He said he eliminated the legends and Hall of Fame washouts forever. "There's one more piece of business with the man who started all this," he said. "I'm talking to you, Mickey Rourke." Jericho told Rourke to enter the ring and apologize. "Get in this ring right now or I will jump the rail and punch you in the face," Jericho added.
Rourke stood up bumped fists with Shamrock and the other MMA fighter who were seated with him. Rourke removed his jacket. He was wearing a sleeveless leather jacket when he climbed onto the ring apron. He took off his hat, placed it on the ring post, and played to the live crowd before finally entering the ring.
Rourke struck a fighter's pose and then mocked Jericho, who stood in the other corner. They met in the center of the ring and Rourke threw a couple of punches that missed, yet backed Jericho into a corner. Jericho threw a punch back at Rourke and missed. Rourke caught him with a punch to the body and a left hook to the head that dropped Jericho. The crowd cheered as Flair raised Rourke's hand...
Powell's POV: Rourke did more than I expected. It was fun to see Steamboat again, but the match itself was about the level you'd expect given that Piper and Snuka were involved. No disrespect, they're just older and unable to go like they used to.
A National Guard commercial aired... The announcers discussed the Hardy vs. Hardy feud while Ric Flair and Mickey Rourke were still celebrating on the stage... A Hardy vs. Hardy video aired...
4. Matt Hardy defeated Jeff Hardy in an Extreme Rules match in 13:15. Matt debuted long tights. Good look. Jeff wore purple and white face paint. Jeff was all over Matt to start the match. He slammed a cardboard WrestleMania sign over his head and then used a trash can as a weapon.
Jeff went for the Whisper in the Wind a couple minutes into the match, but Matt nailed him with a chair in mid-air. Matt pulled some type of wet-dry vacuum out from under the ring and slammed in on his brother. Matt hit the Side Effect on a chair for the first near fall of the match. Matt set up a chair at ringside five minutes in, but it didn't come into play immediately.
Jeff regained control of the offense while fighting his brother at ringside. Matt suffered a small cut on his head while slamming into the ring steps. A doctor or a ringside attendant examined the back of his head briefly. Back inside the ring, Matt hit the Twist of Fate for a near fall that the live crowd didn't buy into.
At 8:30, Jeff slammed a chair onto his brother's head. At ringside, Jeff placed Matt on the table that was set up earlier. He placed a chair on top of Matt and then pulled a second table out from underneath the ring and placed that on top of the table that Matt was lying on. Jeff went to the top rope and did a big splash through the table that drew a small "holy shit" chant from the live crowd. "How much more extreme can this match become?" Ross asked on commentary.
Jeff dragged two ladders out from underneath the ring and slid them inside the ring. He set the two ladders (one was bigger than the other) up next to each other in the ring while Matt was lying on the mat. Jeff jumped off the smaller ladder and spread his legs to scale the top ladder, but missed the attempted senton. Matt placed Jeff's head inside a chair and hit the Twist of Fate to score the clean pin...
Powell's POV: Cool finish with the chair. The match was a train wreck with some big stunts. However, they didn't really hold up compared to the big spots in the MITB match. Looks like the feud will continue since Matt got the win. Great effort. The big spots would have stood out more on other shows.
A backstage shot aired of Randy Orton preparing for his match while Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase sat by with concerned looks on their faces...
JBL walked out and cut a heel promo about being a returning hometown hero. He said he'd win his match and then return to the greatest city in the world - New York City - and still be the hero of the Texas fans...
Powell's POV: Funny promo and it got the crowd booing, but it's not like they were giving him a hometown welcome when he walked through the curtain.
5. Rey Mysterio defeated JBL to win the Intercontinental Title in 0:21. Mysterio came out wearing a Joker mask and outfit. Strange look. Mysterio's look included neon green High Energy wannabe suspenders. The referee had both wrestlers in the ring giving them instructions when JBL nailed Rey with a big boot to the head out of nowhere.
JBL begged the ref to call for the bell. Once the referee complied, Rey avoided the Clothesline From Hell. Rey hit the 619 and followed up with a splash off the middle of the top rope and scored the clean pin.
Rey celebrated and headed backstage. JBL was still sitting in the ring with a dejected look on his face. He pulled a mic out from between his legs and said, "I've got something to say." He looked to the crowd with a pouty look on his face. JBL stammered and then announced, "I quit!" The live crowd cheered.
JBL dropped the mic and looked to the crowd, which was waving and taunting. Lawler said it sounded like JBL couldn't even believe what he just said. "Pretty historic," Ross said. "Are we seeing JBL leave the ring for the last time?" Lawler said JBL made history, just not the type they expected.
Powell's POV: I reported weeks ago that JBL was talking about hanging up the boots. The question now is whether he intends to replace Tazz as a color commentator. Looks like Undertaker vs. HBK is coming up next.
A video recapped the Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker feud...
6. Undertaker defeated Shawn Michaels in 30:42. Cool entrance from Shawn, who wore the all white outfit and was lowered in a fireman-like basket. Once he was lowered to the floor, his standard entrance music played and he performed his usual routine. Taker made his standard entrance.
Shawn used the stick and move approach early. He climbed to the second rope and did the DX chop. Taker ran at him and Shawn jumped over him. He came up holding his groin and then dove at Taker to show he was faking him out. Shawn controlled the first five minutes of the match and applied a leg lock on Taker. Ross said he's never seen Taker submit once.
Shawn continued to work over Taker's left knee as the live crowd traded dueling "HBK" and "Undertaker" chants. Taker caught Shawn when he was going for a move and took over on offense. He eventually hit Snake Eyes and scored his first near fall. Taker signaled for the chokeslam, but Shawn countered with the STF. Cool counter.
At 11:00, Shawn jumped off the top rope and Taker caught him by the throat. Shawn broke free and set up for the superkick, but Taker dropped on his back. Shawn went for a leg lock, but Taker turned it into the Hell's Gate. Shawn struggled and eventually reached the ropes with his legs to break the hold.
At 13:30, Shawn went to the top rope while Taker was on the floor. Shawn went for a moonsault, but Taker just swatted him away, causing Shawn to crash hard on the floor. Taker rolled back inside the ring while the referee checked on Shawn at ringside. Taker sat up in Dead Man style. Taker ran the ropes and dove over the top rope at HBK, but Shawn pulled a cameraman in front of him to take the blow.
Both wrestlers, the cameraman, and the referee were all lying at ringside. The replay showed that Taker absorbed most of the blow and that the camera man didn't do much to brace his fall. The replay also showed that Shawn threw the referee into the guardrail.
Shawn recovered and pulled the referee back inside the ring. A second referee ran out to check on Taker. The referee started to count out Taker while Shawn sat in the corner praying that Taker wouldn't get back inside the ring. Taker made it back inside the ring at the nine count.
Shawn went for Sweet Chin Music, but Taker avoided it and chokeslammed him. Taker went for the cover and got a great near fall. The announcers put over the chokeslam in a big way. Taker and Shawn jockeyed for position as they both went for big moves. Shawn won the exchange by hitting Sweet Chin Music. He covered Taker, who kicked out at the last possible moment.
At 21:00, Taker went for the Last Ride, but Shawn slipped out. Taker caught him with a second attempt and hit the Last Ride for a great near fall that popped the live crowd in a major way.
At 23:25, Taker whipped Shawn toward the ropes. Shawn skinned the cat. Taker caught him in the Tombstone position as he tried to get back in the ring. Taker hit the Tombstone and covered Shawn with his arms folded on his chest, but Shawn kicked out again. Taker flashed a look of shock.
Taker pulled down the straps of his tights and gave the throat slashing gesture. Taker picked up Shawn and went for what appeared to be another Tombstone, but Shawn countered with a sloppy DDT. No one cared that the move was off. Shawn struggled to his feet and eventually climbed to the top rope. He nailed a top rope elbow drop.
Shawn struggled to his feet and set up in the corner for Sweet Chin Music. Shawn nailed the move and 27:25. Shawn went for the cover, but Taker kicked out again at the last possible moment.
Both men eventually got back on their feet and exchanged a series of chops, which were greeted with "Whoooos" from the crowd. Taker ended the exchange with a big boot. He scooped up Shawn for a Tombstone, but Shawn fought his way out with elbows to Taker's head.
At 30:30, Shawn went for a moonsault off the top rope, but Taker caught him in Tombstone position. Taker hit the Tombstone and scored the 1-2-3. The live crowd gave them a standing ovation while both men were still lying on the mat.
Powell's POV: Absolutely amazing match. Great near falls that the fans really bought into. The match exceeded my expectations in a big way, and that's saying a lot because I expected great things. That would have been a great way to close the show.
A WWE Draft commercial aired... A shot aired of Evander Holyfield sitting in the crowd... A video hyped the Edge vs. Big Show vs. John Cena match...
Chavo Guerrero wheeled Vickie Guerrero to ringside in a wheelchair...
Edge did the Mr. Perfect gun spit and swat while walking to the ring. Big Show was out next. Cena's old music played and dozens of guys dressed like Cena walked down the entrance ramp. The posers stopped and spread apart in two lines along the barriers for the entrance ramp. They started doing the "You can't see me" hand gesture. Cena's usual music played and he made his entrance as they kept doing the hand gesture...
Powell's POV: Lamest entrance since Hunter dressed up as Conan The Barbarian. Seriously, that was weak. On the flip side, there's a fan sign that read, "Cena Sucks - I fell asleep after one round." Funny even though the movie wasn't so bad.
7. John Cena defeated Edge and Big Show in a Triple Threat match to win the World Hvt. Championship in 14:40. Edge was cleared from the ring early and sold an injury while Show and Cena fought. Chavo wheeled Vickie over to check on Edge. Cena dumped Show to ringside and hit a legdrop off the top rope onto the back of Show's neck. Cool move. The crowd responded, but they're clearly drained from the Taker vs. HBK match.
At 4:40, Chavo hooked Cena's leg from ringside. Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment on Chavo on the floor. Back in the ring, Show got caught in the top and middle rope. Edge ran in for the first time in a while. Cena worked over Edge while Show helplessly watched.
Vickie stood on the ring apron. Edge threw Cena toward the ropes. Cena stopped short of Vickie, but moved when Edge tried to spear him. Edge accidentally speared Vickie instead. Chavo was standing right behind Vickie on the floor to brace her fall. The referee finally freed Show from the ropes and he worked over both men.
Show went for a double chokeslam, but Cena escaped. Cena went for the FU, but Show was too heavy. Show struck Cena with a big punch that knocked him down. Meanwhile, WWE officials helped Vickie backstage. At ringside, Edge did a running jump off the steps and blocked Show through the guardrail at ringside. It wasn't as impressive as it might read.
At 10:15, Edge tried to spear Cena, who moved and locked in the STF. Big Show, who had been on the floor, reached in and broke the STF by grabbing Cena by the throat and dragging him outside the ring. Show went for a splash off the second rope, but Edge moved. Cena recovered and reentered the ring. He and Edge teamed up to suplex Show.
Cena and Edge sat up and looked at one another. For a second it looked like they might kiss, but instead they teamed up for an awful double clothesline that sent Show to ringside. Edge immediately attacked Cena and scored a near fall. At 13:15, Cena went to the top rope, but Show pushed him off into a spear from Edge. Cool move.
At 14:30, Edge had Show locked in a sleeper in the corner. Cena scooped up both men in the Attitude Adjustment position. Edge fell off, but Cena hit the move on Show. Cena stood up and hit the move on Edge, who landed on Show. Edge rolled off Show. Cena covered Show and scored the pin. After the match, Cena entered the crowd and shook hands with NASCAR driver Carl Edwards...
Powell's POV: Nothing special. It had the unenviable task of following the Taker vs. HBK match. The live crowd got up for the last few minutes. Cena winning the belt didn't feel like a major WrestleMania moment. The build was lousy and he's won the belt so many times before that it didn't feel special.
The Hall of Fame Class of 2009 walked onto the stage wearing tuxes. Steve Austin was the last man out and he received a big pop. The inductees were introduced one by one. Austin was the last person introduced and he received a big ovation. He immediately left the stage while the other members stood there.
The glass shattered and Austin came out to the ring on a four-wheeler. He'd already ditched the suit jacket and shirt and was wearing an Austin 3:16 shirt. Austin drove around the ring and up the ramp. He backed down the ramp.
Austin entered the ring and had had a beer celebration. Austin was still wearing the tux pants. George Zimmer of Men's Wearhouse is really gonna be pissed when Austin returns that tux soaked in beer with the missing button. Austin headed to ringside and gave Jim Ross a beer. He took off Ross's hat and put it on before giving it back to Ross. They toasted and swigged. Lawler said the rest of the broadcast will be interesting. Funny. Austin's celebrating continued as he drove the top of the stage and had a couple more beers...
A Backlash pay-per-view commercial aired...
Lillian Garcia announced that the attendance for the show was 72,744...
A Randy Orton and Triple H video aired...
A shot aired of Triple H walking backstage with the WWE Title belt over his shoulder. He stopped and the cameras showed Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon walking toward him. They stood face to face and never said a word. Hunter slapped Vince on the shoulder and headed down the hall for his match...
During Randy Orton's entrance, Ross spoke about how the WWE Championship has been the centerpiece of the organization going back four generations. Lawler said the belt is synonymous. Hunter's music played and he had his sledgehammer in his hand. There was a piece of glass in front of him. He threw the sledgehammer through the glass and made his entrance...
Powell's POV: DQ! They said Hunter would be disqualified if he came out with the sledgehammer. Ring the bell. New champ! OK, so he didn't actually come to the ring with it. I tried, Randy.
8. Triple H beat Randy Orton to retain the WWE Title in 23:32. The rules are that Hunter will lose the belt if he's counted out or DQ'd. Lillian Garcia handled the in-ring introductions. Scott Armstrong is the referee. More boos than cheers for Orton. No noticeable boos for Hunter.
At 1:15, Orton hit the RKO on Hunter. Orton backed into the corer and went for the punt kick, but he went Charlie Brown on the bit when Hunter moved. Hunter came back and hit the Pedigree. Hunter was still reeling from the RKO and couldn't go for the cover.
Powell's POV: Fun way to start the match. You don't see both finishers within the first two minutes of big matches very often.
Hunter took control of the offense. It was slow paced and the live crowd wasn't very responsive even when Orton reversed Hunter and whipped him into the steps at ringside. Orton tossed Hunter over the guardrail. The camera man could be heard saying that Hunter was on his cord.
The announcers played up the stip that Hunter could lose the belt if he's counted out. The live crowd didn't buy in, as they sat silently while Hunter struggled and made his way back inside the ring.
At 9:25, Orton applied a chin lock inside the ring. The live crowd clapped briefly to rally Hunter. The wrestlers picked up the pace about a minute later. An audible "RKO" chant broke out briefly.
At 13:00, Hunter hit a spinebuster. He followed up with a kick to the gut and went for the Pedigree, but Randy slipped out and hit an inverted backbreaker. A short time later, Hunter jumped off the ropes and Orton caught him with a dropkick. Randy woke up the crowd just by flashing them a sinister look. Orton backed into the corner and went for the big kick again, but Hunter caught his foot.
Hunter stood up with Orton's leg still in his hand and flipped him backwards over the top rope. Hunter followed him to ringside and picked up a monitor from the announcers' table, but the referee threatened to disqualify him so he dropped it. Hunter set up to Pedigree Orton on the main announce table, but Orton backdropped him onto the Spanish announce table. The damn thing didn't break.
Orton caught Hunter on the table and DDT'd him onto the floor at ringside. Back inside the ring, Orton kicked Hunter repeatedly. At 20:40, Orton whipped Hunter into the referee. With the ref down, Orton hit the RKO on Hunter.
Orton slid to ringside and pulled a sledgehammer out from underneath the ring. He stuck his head back inside the ring while climbing in, but Hunter greeted him with a big punt kick to the head. With the referee still down, Hunter picked up the sledgehammer and bashed Orton with it. Hunter slid the sledgehammer out of the ring. Hunter mounted Orton and punched him repeatedly. The referee finally got up. Hunter stood up and Pedigreed Orton and scored the pin. Hunter posed and pyro exploded.
A WM25 recap video aired...
Powell's POV: Wow, was that a flat main event. The live crowd barely reacted to the finish. WWE officials will be second guessing themselves about the match order. A disappointing main event that didn't live up to the hype. I'll have a lot more to say about Dot Net Audio tonight with former WWE creative team member Seth Mates, and later tonight with Rich Twilling. You can access both audio updates by becoming a Dot Net Member. See below for more details. Thanks for spending your WrestleMania Sunday at Dot Net.
Dot Net Members will be listening to two WrestleMania audio recaps after the show tonight. Former WWE creative team member Seth Mates will check in from Houston with his thoughts on the show, and then Rich Twilling and I will be recording a second audio update later tonight. You can gain instant access all Dot Net Audio for only $5 per month by visiting the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.