I normally post DVD Reviews on my other blog (http://wrestlingdvdreview.blogspot.com), but if you read the site news and announcements, you saw that March will be WrestleMania Rewind month here on Pro Wrestling Truth. This means I will be reviewing a WrestleMania each week until WrestleMania 30 and posting it to the site. This edition features WrestleMania 22!
The show starts with Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child singing the national anthem. She did a great job. This is followed by a phenomenal video package highlighting moments from all the past WrestleMania's. "I Dare You" by Shinedown was used for the package and it fit so well with it. After this a video package airs highlighting all the major feuds going into the show. Those being Undertaker/Henry, HBK/McMahon, Angle/Mysterio/Orton, and Cena/Triple H. Another wonderful video package that reminded why I loved this event so much.
1) Kane & Big Show vs. Carlito & Chris Masters - WWE Tag Team Championship Match
A Tag Team Title match opens the show! Carlito & Masters come out to a decent reaction. Next out were the champions, Big Show & Kane. I forgot how awesome Big Show & Kane's morphed theme song was. Loved their entrance. The match gets started and the crowd was mainly behind Show/Kane, although a "Carlito" chant broke out at one point in the match. Carlito was one of my favorite wrestlers to watch at this time and he put in a solid performance here. The match started off kind of slow, but picked up after a bit. Big Show picked up Carlito over his head and threw him to the outside onto Masters which gave Kane the opportunity to ascend to the top turnbuckle and jump off onto both Master and Carlito. Cool spot. Another good move in this match was when Chris Masters countered Kane's attempt to jump on him off the top turnbuckle into a MasterLock. Overall it was a fun match. Nothing special, but it was enjoyable and started the show off on a good note.
Match rating - 7/10
2) Matt Hardy vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Ric Flair vs. Finlay vs. Bobby Lashley - Money In The Bank Ladder Match
Money in the Bank matches are always fun and this was no exception. On paper, Shelton Benjamin and Rob Van Dam look to be the guys that will be doing some crazy stuff in a match like this and that certainly was the case.
Benjamin showcased his amazing ability on numerous occasions including leaning the ladder against the ropes, running up it, and jumping/bouncing off the tip of it into the air where he cut a backflip and landed outside the ring on several of the other competitors. Rob Van Dam had a ton of crazy moments such as hitting rolling thunder on a chair, hitting a five star frog splash from the top of the ladder and several other cool moments. Van Dam and Benjamin weren't the only workhorses however. Every man in this match put in their best effort. Even old Ric Flair gave it all he had as he took a sick suplex off the top of a ladder from Matt Hardy. These are just a few of the great moments in this awesome match. The crowd goes crazy when Van Dam wins!
Match rating - 9/10
3) Chris Benoit vs JBL - United States Championship Match
These guys have two completely different styles. Benoit is a technical master and JBL is a smash mouth brawler. They are also very different in size. Benoit is around 5'10 while JBL is around 6'6. There are alot of differences between JBL and Benoit, but one thing they have in common is how physical they are in the ring. That was showcased here in the early stages of the match as JBL took control with alot of ground and pound on Benoit, but Benoit fought back with three consecutive german suplexes. It was pretty back and forth after that point. Really cool moment in this match was seeing Benoit paying tribute to Eddie Guerrero by hitting the three amigos on JBL. This was a solid match, but the cheap, abrupt ending kept it from being anything more than just a decent match. It was entertaining none the less and the crowd was pretty into it.
Match rating - 6/10
4) Edge (w/Lita) vs. Mick Foley - Hardcore Match
The video package before this battle reminded of how awesome the build up for this match was. Edge and Foley are both phenomenal storytellers and they told a great story here. In the video package, Edge says that Foley has never had that one awesome career defining match at WrestleMania, well I think that changed here. While it wasn't necessarily career defining, it was awesome and showed that Foley can still go with the best of em. Every weapon you could think of was used in this match from tables to chairs to thumbtacks to barbwire. Everybody in this match took some big bumps and beatings including Lita! She got clotheslined out the ring and landed super hard on the floor. Foley then put socko rapped in barbwire in her mouth busting her lip open. Edge & Foley took so many bumps. By the end both men are bleeding a ton, Edge has thumbtacks in his back, and they go through a flaming table. Really great match. In the words of Joey Styles, "this is exactly what hardcore is about right here!" Definitely a match of the year candidate for 2006.
Match rating - 10/10
5) Booker T & Sharmell vs Boogeyman
After that insane hardcore battle between Edge and Foley, a cool down match was needed and that's just what this was. Not gonna give this one a rating because it was one of those matches that was purely for entertainment and to give the crowd some light hearted fun after a night full of intense match ups until this point.
6) Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James - Women's Championship Match
This was actually a really good match. There are actually two Divas matches on this card. This one is more focused on the wrestling. The other was more focused on eyecandy. Anyway, this match was suprisingly good. Mickie was the heel and Trish was the face, but boy was Mickie over with the Chicago crowd. "Lets go Mickie" chants throughout the match and everytime Stratus would hit a move the crowd would boo. Both women delivered a solid performance and produced a great match. Mickie and Trish always worked well together.
Rating - 7.5/10
7) Undertaker vs Mark Henry - Casket Match
This match started off slow, but gradually picked up when both men fell into the casket. After that point the match finally got onto a good pace. Several great spots by Taker here. Taker gave Henry a last ride out of the corner then dove out of the ring over the top rope and over the casket taking Henry out. That was the best moment of the match. Henry is hard to work with as he can't move that well in the ring because of his size. None the less, Taker brought his A game and made the best out of this match that he could. Nothing special, but not a bad match either per say. Decent and enjoyable.
Match rating - 6/10
8) Shawn Michaels vs. Mr. McMahon - No Holds Barred Match
This was another outstanding match with alot of great spots. Spirit Squad and Shane McMahon both interfere in the match. Shane joins Vince's kiss ass my club courtesy of Shawn Michaels. J.R.'s commentary during this match was so great and funny. "Keep your britches on, Vince. Nobody wants to see your ass. Oh wait, Shane just got his ass buried in his daddy's crack!" Ladders, chairs, tables and several other things were used throughout the match. By the end, Vince is busted open and HBK jumps off a HUGE ladder putting him through a table. Phenomenal match, great storytelling. Jim Ross delivered one of his best commentary performances ever here as well. All around awesome stuff, very enjoyable.
Match rating - 9.5/10
9) Kurt Angle vs Rey Mysterio vs Randy Orton - World Heavyweight Title Match
This match started off in high gear with Orton nailing Angle with the championship belt. It was a very fast paced match with alot of good exchanges. Angle was suplexing everyone including Mysterio and Orton at the same time. There were many innovative combination moves here as well. Very entertaining, action packed three way match.
Match rating - 8.5/10
10) Torrie Wilson vs. Candice Michelle in a Playboy Pillow Fight
Can we even call this a match? It's nothing different than what everyone expected. As I mentioned before, this match was more about eye candy and entertainent while the other Divas match was about the wrestling. None the less, these two women did their job of giving everyone something hot to look at. We needed a less intense match/segment like this after the previous two action packed matches.
11) John Cena vs. Triple H - WWE Championship Match
People always say that Cena can't put on good matches, but this one match I'd pull out to contest that theory. This was such a great match and it told an awesome story. The crowd combined with the outstanding commentary pushed this one over the top for me. The near falls, the expressions, the timing of the manuevers - everything was on point. Some people diss this match just because it has Cena in it, but if you put your pre-conceived opinion about Cena aside and watch this match, I think you will enjoy it. In fact, the ending is something that I challenge any one to watch and not say it was great. There were so many times that I thought the match was over, but each man kept fighting. Cena and Triple H do need to give the crowd alot of credit though, because if not for them, this match might not have came off as great as it did. The crowd was super into it and hung on every move. After every near fall, the camera would cut to the crowd and the expressions on their faces told the whole story. Great match.
Match rating - 9/10
Overall thoughts: This is one of my personal favorite WrestleMania's of all time. It's an event that can be enjoyed by just about anyone. There was a good mix of match styles on the card and they were placed in a good order. Edge & Foley had the match of the night with their insane hardcore match. HBK vs. Mr McMahon and Cena vs. Triple H were both great matches as well. The Money In The Bank match and the triple threat were both fun and very entertaining. There isn't anything on this card that didn't serve a purpose and that's always a good thing. Overall, awesome show. If you haven't seen it - I recommend picking it up as it's one of the best WrestleMania's ever. I got it back in 2006 when it first came out and I've watched it many times since. Speaking of the DVD, it's PACKED with awesome bonus features. Disc 2 features Saturday Night's Main Event which featured an epic street fight between Shane McMahon and Shawn Michaels, a hilarious beer drinking contest between Stone Cold Steve Austin and JBL, a show down between Edge & Foley, and an action packed 3-on-2 handicap match which pitted John Cena & Triple H against Kurt Angle, Randy Orton, & Rey Mysterio. On top of that you get backstage specials/interviews with Mick Foley and Rey Mysterio as well as the full WrestleMania post show. Disc 3 features the 2006 Hall of Fame Ceremony in it's entirety which includes the inductions of Bret Hart, Eddie Guerrero, Mean Gene Okerlund, and several others. It's a great set that is definitely worth the money.
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