Welcome to In Your Head! Wrestling podcast, news and community!
Welcome to In Your Head! Wrestling podcast, news and community!
WrestleMania 22, the biggest, and most important show of the year. It?s time is near, and it loom in the distance just out of site. Tonight we have the final PPV before the big show; one last chance for the WWE to remind it?s fans why they should pay to watch it?s product, one last chance to give us a taste of what WWE PPVs are all about, one last chance to make us say ?I must see what happens next.?. Can all this be achieved in 3 hours? It?s been done in the past, we shall see if it can be done tonight.
Match 1 ? Cruiserweight Championship Match Gregory Helms vs. Scotty 2 Hotty vs. Paul London vs. Brian Kendrick vs. Funaki vs. Psicosis vs. Super Crazy vs. Nunzio vs. Kid Kash. I?m normally not very enthralled with the WWE?s cruiserweight matches, but tonight these guys came out with both guns blazing. They worked a fast pace, keeping 4 or 5 men in the ring at once, while the others brawled or laid low on the outside. As one might expect, there were hightspots galore, as well as an ?everybody gang up on Helms? spot. This match held my interest from start to finish, and because of the format, I wasn?t quite sure who was going to win. In the end, Helms managed to sneak in a pin to retain his title, and give the show a great start.
We then go backstage where Booker T. tries one last time to talk his way out of his title match due to his ?injured? groin. Unfortunately for Booker, Teddy Long will hear none of it, (I can?t blame him considering Booker and Sharmell?s bad acting), and tells Booker that he either wrestles tonight, or forfeits his title. Next we go to the start of segment with Kristal, which is quickly ended when Finlay arrives on the scene, picks her up, throws her over his shoulder, and carries her to the ring. Apparently since Finlay was not scheduled for a ?fight?, he decided to start one with Kristal. Fortunately for her, Lashley comes to her rescue and begins to mix it up with Finlay.
Match 2 ? JBL vs. Lashley
This match had an interesting start, as Lashley was in the ring fighting with Finlay when JBL made his entrance. Seeing an opportunity before him, JBL ran to ring side, perhaps hoping for a little double team action against his opponent. Much to his dismay however, by the time he made it to the ring, Lashley had disposed of Finlay and was ready for the start of the bout. Though the start of this match was somewhat unique, the match itself was not. It quickly became a standard Friday night affair, with very little in the way of excitement. In fact the only thing that stood out in the entire match was Lashley?s ability to use pure power to save a ?suplex gone wrong?. JBL seemed to be calling the entire match, in fact it looked as if he was telling Lashley what was coming before every single move; this occurred so much that it became somewhat districting. Although JBL seemed to call every move, he apparently forgot to tell Lashley not to elbow him in the eye, resulting in a nasty cut, and what looked to be a partially swollen shut eye. JBL was rewarded for his hard work and suffering however, as a vengeful Finlay returned to the ring and took out Lashley with his shelaylee, allowing JBL to get the pin. This match seemed slow and plodding, and Lashley?s limited move set made it seem repetitive as well. So much for the show?s momentum.
Next up was an appearance by Batista who announced that his injury had healed, and that he would be returning to reclaim his title in the near future. This was followed by a backstage run in between Randy Orton and Kurt Angle, in which Orton predicted that he would be main eventing WrestleMania and taking Kurt?s title.
Match 3 MNM vs. Matt Hardy and Tatanka
If you know anyone who is upset with the Washington Redskins or Atlanta Braves, because of their inappropriate use/portrayal of Native American symbolism, please do not let them watch this match! Tatanka made sure to pay homage to every single Native American stereotype in the book, including: an Indian chiefs ceremonial headdress, a tomahawk, ( no not the tomahawk chop, which he did as well, but he carried an actual tomahawk to the ring), a rain dance, and last but not least, the war cry. The match itself was just average, with all participants working at a moderate pace. Tatanka performed well as did all the others, and in the end the power of his mullet was to much for MNM to overcome. This match wasn?t bad, but it?s not the sort of thing you want to pay to see either.
We then go to a video package detailing the Booker T. Benoit feud, before being sent back to ring side.
Match 4 Booker T. vs. Chris Benoit
This match almost didn?t happen as Booker T. called Teddy Long into the ring before the start of the bout, announced that he couldn?t wrestle due to his ?groin injury?, and relinquished this title. However, once Benoit turned his back to Booker, Booker had a miraculous recovery, and attacked Benoit from behind to start the match. Though this match started off with a fast pace, it quickly slowed down and deteriorated into yet another ?Booker vs. Benoit? match. Both competitors were technically sound and on their game, but they did nothing new, and made no attempt to differentiate this match from any of the others they have had. As a result my mind wandered, and I became more fascinated with a man in the stands who seemed to be taking away, and eating the food of the child seated next to him. The match ended with Benoit getting the win byway of the Crippler Crossface, of more interest to me however, was the fact that the kid in the stands got his food back.
Following Benoit?s win, we are taken to the back for Benoit?s celebratory walk past the other wrestlers. After being congratulated, several times, he comes across Rey Mysterio , Chavo Guerrero, and Eddie?s widow, and we are treated to yet another ?Doing it for Eddie? moment.
Match 5 Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton
In a match who?s ending everyone can see coming from a mile away, I guess there is no need to go out of ones way to make it special. Though both Rey and Randy performed well here, considering this match guaranteed the winner a shot at the Heavyweight title in the main event of WrestleMania, you would think that this would have been a ?let it all hang out? type of match. Sadly, what we got was a solid, but definitely Friday night SmackDown performances from both men. The finish itself was good however, as Orton ducked the 619, got behind Rey and with the help of the ropes, rolled him up for the three count.
The cameras follow a defeated Mysterio to the back where he apologizes to Chavo and Eddie?s wife for losing the match. Though he is told he has nothing to apologize for, a very upset and emotional Mysterio does the ?walk of shame? until he is out of range of the camera and we are once again returned to ringside.
Match 6 ? Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker
I had very low expectations for this match due entirely to the Undertakers participation in the contest. I expected to see a typical performance out of The Undertaker, with Kurt having to over-perform to keep things interesting. I could not have been more wrong. From the very start of the match, the Undertaker abandoned his usual punch and pound game, and instead went for wrestling holds. By changing his approach, he completely changed the style and dynamic of the match. Additionally, both men wrestled as if this match meant something special, rather than being just another title match. All of this, combined with a number of well executed false finishes made this a good match, with a great finish. Your winner Kurt Angle.
This show was the lead-in PPV to WrestleMania, and as such I expected a lot to happen here, both inside and outside of the ring. I expected great matches with open ended finishes, as well as major new storyline developments. It seems as though only the cruiserweights, Angle, and The Undertaker share this opinion about in-ring work, and that none of the writers share it from a storyline perspective. As such, I say save your money and rent this one when in comes out on DVD. Better still let a friend rent it, and watch it at their house.
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