The big selling point of WrestleMania 27 was that the Rock would return as host of the show. Now, what did host really mean? I figured he’d have several backstage vignettes and be with a lot of the guys, but after the show was over, it really didn’t mean anything. He was just there.
What it led to was coming back to main event WrestleMania 28 as an actual wrestler, but not knowing that beforehand, his promise of WrestleMania 27 being the most electric WrestleMania of all time didn’t come through. Overall, the show was disappointing as a four hour show, but because of two matches, you can’t say it wasn’t great in parts.
The Undertaker’s career as an active wrestler is nearly over. But when put in the ring with the right guy, he is one of the best big match wrestlers of all-time. Coming on the heels of a really good match with Batista at WrestleMania 23, and the best matches at WrestleMania 24 (Edge), 25, and 26 (Shawn Michaels for both matches), the expectation level was huge for his match at WrestleMania 27 with Triple H. The key to every Undertaker match at WrestleMania is simple. He’s undefeated on the WWE’s big show historically. Thus, his WrestleMania matches have predictable outcomes, but the way they get there becomes more and more important. In this match with Triple H, it started out slowly and then picked up after Triple H hit him with a couple of pedigrees. Triple H grew visibly frustrated as the Dead Man kicked out of his signature move. He then decided to use the Undertaker’s move against him, the Tombstone, and the crowd and people at home actually thought the streak was over. It was one of the greatest moments in WrestleMania history. Then, Taker kicked out and after withstanding a hellacious beating, put Triple H in his Hell’s Gate submission move, which is really just a sloppy gogoplata. Triple H struggled before submitting, making Undertaker 19-0 at WrestleMania.
It wasn’t the best match in WrestleMania history, or even in the top 7 or 8 probably, but it was the best moment of the night, and stole the show.
The other great match featured the guy who would become the hottest wrestler in the summer of 2011, CM Punk, against Randy Orton. Their match, had it been at the top of the card, rather than in the middle, really had a chance to be excellent, but it ended around the 15 minute mark. In the 15 minutes though, it was fantastic psychology by both men, with Orton selling his injured leg, and Punk making sure he wasn’t caught in either the RKO, or in punting distance. Punk, as the heel, controlled nearly the entire match, until the end, when Orton pulled up lame, giving Punk confidence that Orton was nearly done. Punk went to the top rop for a cross body and out of nowhere (well, not out of nowhere as we all predicted it was going to happen), Orton hit the RKO for the win.
The main event featured John Cena facing off against The Miz in an unfulfilling match. It had to follow Triple H and Undertaker and didn’t have a chance. The Miz’s character was too cartoony to matter and the fans never really bought him as a guy who could handle himself. And they really had no reason as Miz was booked as one of the most pansy champions of all time. They were just off their games and the crowd never really got into it. Miz concussed himself for real after hitting his head on the concrete floor taking a bump. Both wrestlers were counted out until The Rock came out to overrule the decision and then gave John Cena the Rock Bottom so Miz could pin him and keep the belt.
Cena and Rock were playing up a feud in the weeks before the match which overshadowed the Miz completely, and on the next day at Raw, they announced their main event match for WrestleMania 28.
Edge opened up the show beating Alberto Del Rio to keep his World Title. It was expected that Del Rio would be given the proverbial ball to run with, but Edge went over in a good, but slightly underwhelming match. After the match, Edge and Christian destroyed Del Rio’s Rolls Royce. It came out after that Edge was going to retire because of his badly damaged neck, so it was a retirement match of sorts, though not many knew at the time. Del Rio would get the ball for a short while, but wasn’t really allowed to run with it.
Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler had a match that was given a lot of build up, even though the payoff was expected to be very minimal. Lawler, even being with the company for over 15 years, had never had a wrestling match at WrestleMania. Unfortunately for Lawler, that match was with Michael Cole, who had become the single most annoying announcer in a very long time. Stone Cold Steve Austin was the referee, and the most likable thing about the match, but throughout the entire thing, it just seemed like a waste. Lawler made Cole tap, but the decision was reversed simply so that Cole could continue to agonize Lawler.
Cody Rhodes and Rey Mysterio had an interesting feud that culiminated at WrestleMania in a match. Usually, Rey Mysterio is the most reliable performer, but on this night, he looked hurt and slow. Rhodes has come into his own as a performer, but the match just didn’t work for the most part. Rhodes was wearing a face mask in a story line that wouldn’t end and he used it to beat Mysterio. It was fine for a second match on the card, but uninspiring for a Mysterio match.
There were two multi-person tag matches to round out the card. Snooki, of Jersey Shore fame (as if there’s anyone else named Snooki) was the celebrity of the night and tagged with a returning Trish Stratus and John Morrison to face Michelle McCool, Layla, and Dolph Ziggler. Snooki was much more athletic than you’d expect, supposedly stemming from a cheerleading background, and won the match for her team. Trish Stratus looked amazing in her first match in nearly 5 years.
In the biggest throwaway match on the card, Kane, Big Show, Kofi Kingston, and Santino beat The Corre, who were at one point, a big part of the future of the company as the Nexxus.
As a standalone show, it was underwhelming, but if you piece meal two or three matches from this show (throw in Edge vs. Del Rio), you’ll fine something to cheer about.