Wrestlemania 23’s biggest flaw is the misplacement in the booking and the over exposure of one celebrity placed for one match that overshadowed the rest of the card. Wrestlemania 24, did the same thing all over again. This time, they’ve got Floyd “Money” Mayweather as the main highlight and he’s facing the Big Show in a no disqualification match… oh boy! Wrestling has a huge problem of dealing to boxing because they don’t ever go well. However, this Wrestlemania did pick itself up from a bunch of horrid booking decisions from the previous show, however this card still has a some back booking involved that needs to be discussed. So is this Wrestlemania bad or good with a lot of things going for it?
John “Bradshaw” Layfield vs. Finlay (with Hornswoggle) – Belfast Brawl – This is an old fashion no DQ match that had very little story involved coming and nothing at all exciting. I’m still not a fan of either of these men (Hornswoggle is still the worst of all of them) and this was a very uninteresting opening match. Even despite the fact that they’ve put weapons involved, there was nothing new here on the table. The only part that I liked in this match was that Hornswoggle got a trash can tossed to him. Fortunately the right guy won by giving Finlay the “Closeline from Hell” (lousy finisher) after Finlay fell on the steel steps. They’ve tried their best to make two of the slowest, middle aged to do something, but overall it could never worked well.
Match Score: 2/5
CM Punk vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Chris Jericho vs. Carlito vs. Montel Vontavious Porter vs. Mr. Kennedy vs. John Morrison – Money in the Bank ladder match – Every single person had some very exciting moments in this one and it is sad to think about that fact that five of the seven participants are no longer with the company. I was surprised at how much I liked this match when I went back and watched all of the old MITB matches. On paper it looks pretty average but these guys went far beyond anything I expected going into the match. It did get a little spot-crazy at times but that is to be expected in such a match. Shelton Benjamin (four consecutive Wrestlemanias in the same match) really stepped it up here and John Morrison was in his element, delivering a moonsault with a ladder in his hand at one point. Matt Hardy’s spectacular 20-foot Twist of Fate remains the highlight of this match for me. But of course the one thing that made this match for me was that the right guy won! WrestleMania 24 was the first time CM Punk won the briefcase only to successfully cash it in and become champion. He was able to fend off Shelton Benjamin, Carlito, Chris Jericho, Mr. Kennedy, John Morrison and MVP to win the match. It’s honestly one of the best match on the card because the right guys where made for this match and CM Punk deserved that victorious Wrestlemania moment!
Match Score: 5/5
Batista (representing SmackDown) vs. Umaga (representing Raw) – This is where Batista was going downhill in terms of his popularity. He had an awesome feud last year with Undertaker that went one after Wrestlemania. For some dumb reason the bookers had to put him in a stipulation of a Raw vs Smackdown star that had no purpose when you think about. At this point in time, Raw and Smackdown brands weren’t as important as it was in 2003 when there was a HUGE separation between the two. Now it’s just a gimmick coming to this Wrestlemania and the match here was boring as all hell. It’s not Batista’s fault, it’s Umaga. Umaga to me was a rip-off of Samoa Joe from TNA and none of his moves were at all that inspiring. What we’re watching here are a muscle facing a slop and all Umaga did in the corse of this match was putting Batista in a submission hold to test the audience’s patients. The audience was so bored that they ironically chant for Umaga just to entertain themselves. Hell, even Batista couldn’t handle this type of guy because he REALLY botched up that Batista-bomb by slipping off as Umaga fell. It was an awkward moment that needed to be moved on.
Match Score: 1/5
Kane vs. Chavo Guerrero (c) – ECW Championship – If they’re going to give me an under 10 second match, then I’m not even going to give any effort to this waist of time! The ECW brand is meaningless to the WWE and it doesn’t help that only one chokeslam to the biggest, no-talent mid-card is unimpressive. But at least it was short unlike the Kahli-Kane match from last year.
Match Score: 1/5
Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair – To me it a great sin that this match is not main event. Everyone who paid tickets and PPV orders wanted to only see this match because Ric Flair is a legend and this was his last match. It’s a true shame that Flair never main evented a Wrestlemania and if WWE didn’t do it for him in Wrestlemania 8, how in the hell did they miss that opportunity again over a decade later? Coming into this show, we all knew that Ric Flair was going to lose and it didn’t matter how, but we all just needed to see him one more time before he says good bye… and then he’d wrestle more in TNA Wrestling. Oops! The fact that it’s not really his “last match” shows how really insignificant the stipulation is in this match, but that’s not why this match is good to watch. It was good old Ric Flair doing what he does best and despite the fact that this match is nearly the same as his other, it was just magic to see everyone in the whole stadium shouting ‘Wooo” in honor of Ric Flair. Shawn Michaels actually did carry out this match by doing all of these flying moves and crashing into the announcer’s tables, but he had to take that punishment instead of Flair who is in serious pain right now. You can see Michaels telling Flair to stay down to catch his breath and restore his stamina just to keep the pace from going to fast. Again, we know Flair was going to loose, but the fact that there was so much effort in storytelling here is what makes this match so special. These two came in pumped up to really wrestle each other, then took it more seriously after they slapped each other in the face, to finally getting emotional because the inevitable has come. You can see everyone tearing up because we’ll never see Ric Flair like this again (except in TNA) wrestling like he always did. Shawn didn’t want to give Flair the Sweet Chin Music, but he had to because if Flair was in his shoes, he would have done the same. After the pin, it really was an end of an era. Flair’s family at ringside were crying and everyone in the stadium got their money’s worth to see something as special like this match. To me, it’s just robbery to place this as a mid-card instead of a main event because no other match in this card was more important or as well told as this one! It’s just like the Hogan-Rock, Flair-Savage, and Batista-Undertaker match that had people paying to see them happen and then place them in the mid-card. The bookers should be ashamed of themselves.
Match Score: 5/5
Beth Phoenix and Melina (with Santino Marella) vs. Maria and Ashley – I’m still pissed off that this match is placed ahead of Flair-Michaels match, but out of all the stupid Divas tag matches that we had to endure before and after this Wrestlemania, this one was surprisingly decent. I’m still not a fan of seeing Beth Phoenix selling to these damn models who look like they’ve never lifted weights in their lives, but thankfully Beth and Melina carried out this match and showed their dominance against these two playboy cover girls. Again I’m still not a fan of Maria and Ashley (two awful female Wrestlers) that delivered shots that didn’t even look like it would hurt, but it was sweet to see the right women win this match, despite the fact that Santino interfered that pinfall. Other than that I just didn’t care for Snoop Dog coming in the ring and kissing Maria on front of a live crowd because it didn’t matter, she and Ashley both lost and nobody remembers them.
Match Score: 3/5
Randy Orton (c) vs. John Cena vs. Triple H – WWE Championship – Once again, HHH has to have a match ahead of what should have been main event (Flair-Michaels match) just like he did in Wrestlemania X8 when Rock-Hogan should have main evented instead of the HHH-Jericho main event. Just like the HHH-Jericho main event, nobody even remembers this forgotten WWE Championship match. We have three of the breakfast club member wrestling in a triple threat and none of them could ever deliver anything new besides what we’ve already seen before! If you seen John Cena’s match you know he uses the five moves of doom and over-sells his match. If you seen Randy Orton you know all he does is takes his damn time and give you the backbreaker, RKO, dropkick, headlock, and DDTs. If you seen Triple H… well you already know what his match is are like. Even worse, this triple threat is nowhere as good as the Benoit-HHH-Michaels triple threat, and it’s not even close because this match was so dried, the storytelling is too over dramatic, and like every triple threat match that I’ve seen, it’s always two guys wrestle each other while the third one is out of the way until a near fall is happening. This is what this match did and nothing at all was surprising. What’s even worst is that these three had MANY MORE matches together after this wrestlemania which really pisses me off that this feud never wants to die!! Hell, not that many people even remembers that Randy Orton won this match. Yeah, really! If anything HHH (God of Wrestling politics) should had won the match. This match was bottom of the barrel basic, no surprises, and it was just a stupid booking decision to place this ahead of Flair-Michaels match because everyone wanted to see this match and barely anyone cared for this one. Barely any effort was made and you can actually see a match exactly like this in an episode of RAW and many more like it later in the future, sadly…
Match Score: 1/5
Floyd Mayweather vs. Big Show – No Disqualification Match – Okay, if you didn’t buy the Flair-Michaels match, odds are you weren’t a Wrestling fan to begin with and you just wanted to see a small-sized boxer take on the biggest athlete in the world. I can’t stress enough that boxing and wrestling NEVER mixed well! Go ahead and see Piper vs. Mr. T in Wrestlemania 2 and the Brawl for All finals with Bart Gun and Butterbean in Wrestlemania XV. And out of all the Wrestlemanias that dealt with boxing and wrestling together… this one is the worst! Yes! It’s worse than those two matches that I’ve mentioned. The rivalry between these two are incredibly ridiculous, the storytelling is nowhere as believable as Stone Cold and Mike Tyson, and the match quality is distasteful! Sure, this was the match that everyone talks about because a current boxing star is in a wrestling match, but I really was disgusted with what this match represents. It represents selling out to a celebrity that doesn’t give a fuck about the company and pour millions of dollars for him just to get attention. This does not feel at all like Wrestling because there’s no soul and it was messy because Floyd was never trained to perform. He oversold many of the shots big show was giving and Big Show probably oversold it even more because as logic puts it, Celebrities are “more powerful” than the wrestlers… stupid! Even worse, Floyd’s bodyguards had to interfere in this match just to draw many drama into the match, but because Big Show had to be so monstrous everyone of his bodyguards sold his shots. Even when they had to throw in weapons like the chairshots that was interesting to see Floyd do, it was still filth and uninteresting to me. The one this that I still dislike about this match is Floyd’s arrogance and ego and you can see it with the finish of this match when he KO’d the Big Show with brassknucks. It’s like he was so great and full of himself that even cheating (despite the fact that it’s a no disqualification match) had to show how “great” he is. I still consider him an average boxer (especially in his division) and this match was so overhyped and it didn’t deliver anything special. However, I’ll give this match more credit for giving more effort than the McMahon-Trump match from last year’s Wrestlemania.
Match Score: 1/5
The Undertaker vs. Edge (c) – World Heavyweight Championship – I know that I stated that the Michaels-Flair match should have been main event, but if there was another match that deserved to main event, it would have to be this one. The “Deadman’s” win at WrestleMania 23 was supposed to be the launching point of a title reign that would anchor the SmackDown brand. Undertaker had been, throughout this career, the consummate utility man. With all the build up (most of it unintentional) behind it, this match was given the green light to main event WrestleMania 24. Edge promised to end the Undertaker’s winning streak (15-0) and put his own WrestleMania record (5-0) on the line to do so. Even though Edge’s undefeated steak wasn’t as icon as Taker’s, but he did had matches that were some of the best that Wrestlemania has ever had like the Triangle Ladder Match, TLC 2, Hardcore Match with Foley… but there’s one Wrestlmania match that he actually did not win and that’s Money in the Bank at Wrestlemania 23… so he was defeated! Oops! But still, Taker did face guys that were as big if not bigger than him to maintain that undefeated streak. Both guys were at the top of their game with Undertaker doing his best in-ring work and Edge now solidified as a main event heel. I know it’s a favorite for many, but there were a few things about it that just never clicked with me. Feel free to disagree! For one, the outcome was never in doubt. That’s not a huge knock against it since at WrestleMania, the main event outcome isn’t supposed to be in doubt. But when you add to that the “streak” gimmick, then it becomes doubly obvious who will win. Also, this match was only maybe the third most-hyped match on the card, after Ric Flair’s retirement and the infamous Floyd Mayweather vs. Big Show bout. But this is not the best work either of these men had or had together. The entire bout dragged a bit too much and never really got into second or third gear. You know that feeling, about 15 minutes in, when (in a great match) both guys are just “in the zone” and you stop and think “how much time is left before they take it home?” I didn’t get that feeling here. It went a little over 20 minutes but might have been better served going only 17 or 18. But if you do that you’re better off putting the match lower on the card. That’s probably the easiest way to improve the main event. I think it would have helped the match but hurt the main event to limit the bell to bell action to 18 minutes. If you switch this bout with Flair vs. Michaels then I think you end this WrestleMania a little stronger. The obviousness of the Taker win is lessened when placed lower on the card, and even though everyone knew who would win the Flair vs. Michaels match, it was certainly the emotional highlight of the night. Though it’s not a title match there’s certainly a precedent for doing retirement matches last. This isn’t a bad main event, and I understand why they went with this match as the final bout. It was the longest running feud in the promotion, a proper “thank you” to two guys who helped save SmackDown from sinking into the abyss (after this the brand would come to mean less and less until it finally just integrated into the three hour Raw), and there really wasn’t one standout match at this show that absolutely HAD to go last. The match was just kind of a letdown from other matches these two have had (with others, together and at WrestleMania) and the length of the contest, in my opinion, slowed things down a bit too much for it to meet its expectations. But for what it was, it was some of the best Main Events sine Wrestlemania 20 and that was like 4 years back.
Match Score: 4/5
I’ll give credit where credit is due, this card was a better than Wrestlemania 23. The celebrity involvement with Floyd Mayweather, despite how infamous and garbage it really was, had much more effort than the stupid Donald Trump vs. Vince McMahon Hair vs. Hair match. I’m still incredibly pissed that Ric Flair never had a main event and his match with Shawn Michaels deserved that main event spot because it was the match that everyone (who paid to see this show) wanted to see. Everything else after the the Flair-HBK match went incredibly downhill except for the Undertaker vs. Edge Match. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a good main event and even though ‘Taker-Edge match was left to be desired, it certainly was a good finish, but would have had a better finish with Flair-HBK match. I know that there are a lot of fans of this Wrestlemania, but it’s just the booking decision, heavily reliance of the celebrity involvement, and the miss opportunities of this card is what made me think differently about this Wrestlemania. I mean, it’s certainly impressive to see all of these things come together, but I still believe that the card structure from Wrestlemania 18 through 27 were some of the horrid years of booking decisions for Wrestlemania. This was an okay Wrestlemania where there where two 5 out of 5 match scores, a 4 out of 5 main event (a main event hasn’t had a score that high in a while), and everything else was just mediocre. I still think that this show is the middle of the road for me that could have been an all time best if only Wrestlemania 24 was structured properly.
The Top Lister’s score for Wrestlemania 24
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