WWE WrestleMania 25 Review
The 25th WrestleMania was a big one because it was the Silver Anniversary of the “granddaddy of them all.” The event was held in Houston’s Reliant Stadium.
If you’ll recall, Houston’s Astrodome held WM17, but that historic venue was no more. Reliant Stadium was a state-of-the-art NFL stadium that saw 72,744 fans in attendance for this historic event.
There is one match that people remember the most on this show: The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels. It wasn’t the main event, however. That was Triple H vs. Randy Orton in yet another match in their neverending feud.
For this WrestleMania recap, I didn’t write a play-by-play review of everything on the show. However, I did the usual analysis and star ratings, so I think it should be fine. I’ve also added some new 2022 thoughts in blue font as well.
WWE WrestleMania XXV
April 5, 2009
From Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas
The show started with the video package welcoming us to WrestleMania that they did every year. They are always awesome videos. I think that goes without saying by this point.
Howard Finkel welcomed us to the show and threw it over to Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls. She did well.
The announcers for the show were Jim Ross, Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler.
CM Punk, who won Money in the Bank the previous year, entered to a good pop. Mark Henry was accompanied by Tony Atlas and Henry was booed. Montel Vontavious Porter got a solid ovation as the United States Champion. Finlay was next with his “son” Hornswoggle joining him. Shelton Benjamin was in the MITB match for the fourth time in the five-year history of the ladder match. Kofi Kingston was next in his first WrestleMania. Christian got a good pop as a veteran of ladder matches. Kane was the last man to enter and this was when he was without a mask.
Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Kofi Kingston vs. Kane vs. MVP vs. CM Punk vs. Christian vs. Finlay vs. Mark Henry vs. Shelton Benjamin
Kane and Mark Henry used their power advantage to clear the ring at the start of the match. Henry hit a splash on Kane against the turnbuckle. Benjamin and Christian worked together to hit Kane and Henry with the ladder. Kingston dropkicked the ladder into them followed by a boom drop leg drop on the ladder. Finlay tossed Kingston out of the ring. Kane with a boot to knock down Finlay. Kane and Henry tried to climb, but the other guys brought them down. The big guys were both kicked out of the ring. Two ladders were set up, four guys climbed and Kane and Henry went back in to knock them all down. Kane knocked down Henry with a boot to the face. Kane tried to climb a ladder, but Henry sent Kane crashing into the top rope. Finlay with a drop toe hold on Henry followed by a low dropkick. Finlay with a suicide dive on Kane and Benjamin. Christian hit a springboard cross body block on Kane and Finlay. MVP hit a somersault dive off the apron on Kane, Christian and Finlay on the floor. Kingston and Punk each hit suicide dives on the guys on the floor. That set up Benjamin to climb a 15 foot high ladder and he hit a somersault dive off the ladder onto the four wrestlers on the floor below. That was huge! Very impressive move by Benjamin that led to a big ovation from the crowd. There were “holy shit” chants as well. Benjamin landed on five of the superstars. Even though Kane wasn’t hit by it, he sold it anyway. What a nice guy, Kane.
Mark Henry climbed the ropes to tease an attack, but Finlay hit Henry in the head with a shillelagh. Hornswoggle brought a step ladder into the ring. Finlay grabbed Hornswoggle, put him on Henry’s back and Hornswoggle hit a Tadpole Splash on the wrestlers on the floor. That was funny. Finlay hit Henry with the step ladder to knock him down. Finlay battled with Kingston, who connected with a dropkick (by going in between the standing ladder) to knock Finlay down followed by Kingston sending a ladder face first into Finlay. When Kingston charged, Finlay hit him with the step ladder. Finlay knocked Christian and Kane down thanks to using the step ladder as a weapon. Finlay tried to climb, so Kofi hit him with a Trouble in Paradise kick. When Kofi tried a climb, Henry pushed the ladder over. Henry tried setting up the ladder, Kingston climbed it and Henry caught Kingston leading to the World’s Strongest Slam on a ladder. Ouch. MVP used a ladder to hit Henry in the ribs to slow the big man down. MVP set up a bridge between a ladder and the ropes. Benjamin jumped off the ladder bridge and MVP caught Benjamin with a Powerbomb. MVP tried to climb the ladder, but CM Punk went after him. Christian pulled MVP down and hit a clothesline. Christian went up the ladder bridge to stop Punk’s climb. Christian hit the Unprettier on Punk b jumping off the ladder bridge and they went crashing to the mat. Benjamin with a spin kick on Kane. MVP climbed the ladder, Benjamin climbed a ladder on the floor, onto the bridge and he quickly got to MVP on the ladder. That was a nice spot. Benjamin went for a sunset flip off the ladder, but he lost his grip of MVP and they went down at the same time. Neither guy was hurt, but it was a botched spot. They followed up with Benjamin picking up MVP and tossing him over the top onto Henry, Atlas and Kingston on the floor, so that’s the spot they intended to do off the ladder. Henry did a great job of catching MVP. Benjamin and Finlay climbed up on opposite of ladders with Benjamin punching Finlay down. Christian and Benjamin each climbed ladders, then Shelton went tumbling down while Christian kept his balance on the ladder after bouncing off the ropes. The crowd really wanted Christian to win. Punk stopped Christian briefly until Punk’s leg was caught against a ladder. Kane went up with Christian and dropped him with a Chokeslam. Punk kicked Kane, so Kane grabbed him by the choke and Punk kicked Kane down. Punk reached up and grabbed the Money in the Bank briefcase for the win at 14:32.
Winner: CM Punk
Analysis: ***1/2 It was a good match like most MITB matches although they lacked the big spots to make it stand out. There weren’t as many crazy bumps aside from Benjamin’s insane dive off the ladder. Kofi Kingston had some cool moments too. Instead of guys doing wild bumps onto ladders, most of the bigger spots involved guys doing dives and then being caught by other wrestlers. That’s a lot safer. I had forgotten how much the crowd wanted Christian to win until I watched it again. When Punk won, I was surprised because he did it the year before, but as it turned out it was the right call.
(A very good match as usual. Punk winning it again was a surprise to me, but it’s not like I hated it since Punk was one of my favorite wrestlers at the time. I just didn’t expect a repeat winner.)
Kid Rock sang a medley of his songs. The divas danced while he sang. Then they went to the ring for their match.
25 Diva Battle Royal
Terrible match. They had all the current divas in the match, plus they brought back some former divas like Sunny, Torrie Wilson, Molly Holly and Jackie Gayda to name a few. Trish Stratus was asked to go, but she declined. Smart move by her. It wasn’t really funny either although I’m Vince sure loves seeing men dressed up like women, which is why Santino was booked to win this as his Santina character. The final three were Santina, Beth & Melina. Santina dumped them out to win at the 5:57 mark. Six minutes of my life I’ll never have back…twice now since I re-watched this.
Analysis: -** One of the worst matches ever. I don’t see how anybody in the company thought this was a good idea. It did nothing for any of the people involved.
(It was so bad. It really is one of the worst battle royals that you could ever watch. I remember Trish Stratus declining to be part of it and when you see how bad this was, I have to say it was such a smart decision by her.)
Chris Jericho vs. Jimmy Snuka, Roddy Piper & Ricky Steamboat w/Ric Flair
It was an elimination handicap match. It happened because they wanted to do Jericho vs. Mickey Rourke, star of the movie The Wrestler, but Rourke’s people didn’t want that to happen. Rourke was at ringside watching the match along with MMA fighter Frank Shamrock among others. Instead of wrestling Rourke, Jericho faced off against three legends. The legends had Ric Flair in their career. I’m sure Flair would have liked to have been in the match. Too bad he retired the year before. Jericho finished off Snuka with the Walls of Jericho and shortly after that he eliminated Piper with an enziguiri. When Steamboat wrestled Jericho for the final four minutes it was fun. Ricky still had a lot of athleticism even though he hadn’t wrestled in 15 years and the crowd was popping for a lot of his offense. He got an inside cradle that nearly got his team the win. Jericho finished him off with the Codebreaker at 8:57.
Winner by pinfall: Chris Jericho
Analysis: ** It wasn’t a bad match. Steamboat showed incredible athleticism for a guy that was 56 years old, but Piper & Snuka had no business being in the ring at their age. I also thought Jericho should have been in a bigger match considering he was the best wrestler in 2008. The Rourke stuff was okay as a celebrity moment, but could have been done better.
Post match, Jericho beat up Flair just for fun. That led to the showdown with Mickey Rourke. Jericho called him a coward. Rourke went into the ring. The crowd liked that. They had an impromptu boxing match. Rourke knocked him down with a left hook. Flair raised his hand and Flair’s music played, so the babyfaces were triumphant even though Jericho dominated the match.
(The original plan was to have Jericho face Rourke in a wrestling match, but Rourke’s management team thought it would hurt his chances at winning an Oscar for “The Wrestler.” Rourke didn’t win it anyway.)
Extreme Rules Match: Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy
This match came as a result of Matt Hardy costing Jeff Hardy the title match against Edge at the 2009 Royal Rumble. It was originally supposed to be Christian, but the internet got wind of it and it got changed. Allegedly. Believe what you want, I guess. I’m still mad that they changed the Edge/Christian reunion. Because of that, we had heel Matt against brother Jeff, who actually made it to this WrestleMania without getting suspended for drugs like he did the year before. They used a lot of weapons, had a good array of counter holds because they were brothers that knew the other’s moves and all of those things were incorporated into the match very well. The big bump saw Matt on a table, a chair on his chest and then a table was on top of that. Then Jeff went to the top and gave him a splash through all of that. It was a bit of a contrived spot to have Matt lying there for so long, but I still liked it. After that, Jeff pulled out two giant ladders. He did a legdrop off one of the ladders. Matt moved. Painful bump for Jeff there. Matt capitalized by using a folding chair, putting it around Jeff’s neck and giving him a Twist of Fate. Ouch. Matt covered for the win at 13:16.
Winner by pinfall: Matt Hardy
Analysis: ***1/2 I had high hopes for the match. It was good, but not great. I liked a lot of the big spots they did. The problem was that some of them took so long to set up. The ending was very well done with Jeff missing the big leg drop and Matt capitalizing with the Twist of Fate for the win. Jeff got his win back at Backlash a month later. Then he went on to have great main event feuds with Edge and later CM Punk, which my personal favorite feud of 2009.
(It’s a good match, but not a great one. I remember thinking Jeff would win here to end the rivalry, but it continued with Backlash a month later with Jeff picking up the win there. Even though Matt and Jeff are both very talented, I don’t know fans loved seeing them fight eachother)
Prior to the IC title match, the champion JBL said he was a proud Texan that loved living in New York City. Instant heat.
Intercontinental Title: JBL vs. Rey Mysterio
I’ll even do play by play for this. Rey was rocking the joker look. JBL attacked with a boot to the face before the match even started. The bell rang and Rey hit him with an enziguiri right off the bat. Dropkick to the ribs, 619 and then a top rope splash finished it at 0:22.
Winner by pinfall and New Intercontinental Champion: Rey Mysterio
Post match, JBL got on the microphone: “I’ve got something to say. I quit!” This was his retirement match. The crowd wasn’t sad to see him go.
Analysis: NR More of an angle than a match. A memorable moment because of JBL’s quitting.
The video package for Undertaker/Michaels was next. The match was set up after Shawn Michaels ended his feud with JBL. He was very happy, so he decided to challenge Undertaker at WrestleMania and try to be the first person to get a win after Undertaker was 16-0. It was the man with The Streak versus the man known as Mr. WrestleMania. Since it was the 25th WrestleMania, it was fitting that this was the matchup. They mixed religion with the match a bit as Michaels talked about having eternal life and Undertaker telling him that sometimes it was hell trying to get to heaven.
Michaels made his entrance in a white coat, descending on a platform. When he reached the stage, his music started up. He said a prayer and walked to the ring with a purpose. The crowd gave him a big ovation. Michaels looked towards the entrance as Undertaker arrived on the scene.
The Undertaker rose from under the stage. I guess he rose from hell while Michaels descended from heaven? The announcers put over the light vs. dark idea too. What’s cool is that they were both guys from Texas and this match took place in their home state, so it likely meant a lot for them to have this match in Texas. Four minutes after Taker’s music started, he entered the ring.
The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels
The story was that Michaels wasn’t intimidated by Undertaker. He was ready for him. Michaels used his speed to get some shots in early, hitting in a few hard chops to the chest. Undertaker overpowered him in the corner, Michaels faked a knee injury and then recovered quickly to attack Undertaker with punches to the head. Undertaker hit him in the head with punches of his own. Michaels was whipped into the corner, which flipped him upside down and then Undertaker gave him a back body drop. Undertaker gave him a Gorilla Press Slam followed by an elbow drop. Undertaker hit the Old School clothesline to a standing ovation. A running boot in the corner by Undertaker was avoided in the corner. Undertaker sold the right knee so Michaels focused on it with an attack to the back of the knee. Michaels put Undertaker in his inverted Figure Four Leg Lock submission. Undertaker fought out of it with punches to the head. Michaels dropkicked the knee. Undertaker was able to catch him and drove Michaels back to the corner. Running clothesline for Undertaker in the corner. Two of them. Snake Eyes into the corner turnbuckle followed by the big boot to the face and a leg drop to Michaels. That was an Undertaker sequence of moves that we would get used to over the years. Undertaker went for the Chokeslam, but Michaels countered it with a Crossface. That was an awesome counter. Undertaker countered it into a side slam for two. Crowd was popping for that. They were loud for much of the match, chanting the name of each man at various times. Michaels hit Undertaker with a flying forearm to the face. Kip up. Michaels hit two inverted atomic drops and then a clothesline. Michaels went to the top, Undertaker caught him with a Chokeslam, Michaels countered that, went for the Superkick, Undertaker dropped to his back to avoid that and Michaels went for the Figure Four. Undertaker countered that with Hell’s Gate to a huge ovation! Michaels was able to get his feet on the ropes. Ref made Undertaker break it. That was an outstanding sequence of moves right there. With Michaels body hanging off the apron, Undertaker hit a boot to the face and then his leg drop on the apron missed because Michaels was able to avoid it. Baseball slide dropkick by Michaels. Michaels went to the top rope and he jumped off the top with a moonsault. Undertaker moved out of the way. Michaels went crashing to the floor. His knee went smashing into the floor. The ref Marty Elias was checking on him. Undertaker got to his feet. He ran the ropes, he jumped over the top rope and Michaels put a camera man in front of him. JR: “Oh my God!” The camera man was Deuce from the Deuce & Domino tag team aka Sim Snuka, the son of Jimmy Snuka. He failed to get in the right spot to catch Undertaker for that spot. Soon after, he was released from his contract. It was a very scary landing for Undertaker. I remember thinking he was legit hurt because he dove all the way over the top rope and landed right on his head. What a tough man he is to be able to continue. The ref was also down because Michaels pushed him out of the way, so everybody was out on the floor. On the replay, you could see that Deuce should have been up about a foot to break Undertaker’s fall.
Back in the ring, Michaels was the first one to recover as he pulled himself into the ring. He grabbed the ref while another ref Chad Patton checked on Undertaker. Then Chad ran to the back. That was likely done to check on Undertaker’s health. Michaels stood the ref up in the corner, telling the ref to count Undertaker out. The crowd wasn’t a fan of the countout win, but Michaels was hoping it would be good enough. Undertaker got back to his knees and then rolled in after a count of nine to a standing ovation from the crowd. How many times do you see a standing ovation from a guy getting back into the ring to break a countout? Special match. Michaels went for the Sweet Chin Music. Undertaker caught him, gave him a Chokeslam and Michaels kicked out at two. It wasn’t just a Chokeslam, but it was one of the most impressive ones you will ever see because of how Michaels took the move. Great nearfall. Undertaker went for Tombstone, Michaels slipped out, Taker choked him, Michaels broke it and hit Sweet Chin Music out nowhere. Michaels was slow to cover, so Undertaker got his shoulder up at two with the crowd cheering loudly. Michaels kipped up again. Undertaker choked him and went for the Last Ride powerbomb. Michaels slipped out, attempting to get a sunset flip. Undertaker countered that, booted him in the gut and hit the Last Ride powerbomb for one…two…no. Another amazing nearfall. Crowd popped HUGE for that. Undertaker sold it great by selling his frustration at the move. Undertaker went to the top rope. He went for a Michaels-like Flying Elbow out of desperation. Michaels moved. Undertaker whipped him in the ropes, Michaels did his skin the cat move, Undertaker caught him off of that and gave him a Tombstone in the center of the ring. Wow that was such a great spot to do. Undertaker folded his hands on his chest for the one…two…no. Michaels got his shoulder up. Best nearfall ever? Everybody thought that was it. Crowd was popping loud for everything in this match as they should have been. The camera shot immediately after the move was perfect because it focused on Undertaker’s “what the hell?” face because he was shocked that Michaels had kicked out. The replay showed how great Michaels was at selling that sequence because he was shaking trying to get out of the hold. Undertaker did his throat slash gesture. He tried to pick Michaels up for another Tombstone, but Michaels countered it into a DDT, which was a very unique counter. It didn’t connect perfectly. It got the job done, though. Michaels found the strength to get to his feet and he climbed to the top rope. Flying Elbow for Michaels. He pulled himself to the corner where he tuned up the band for the Sweet Chin Music. Michaels connected with Sweet Chin Music right on the jaw to a huge pop. One…two…no! JR: “Good God almighty the match continues! This classic is continuing! The world is watching a classic!” If the Tombstone spot was the best nearfall in wrestling history, that one might have been the second best. Amazing. They were on their knees, then made it to their feet as Michaels threw chops while Undertaker threw punches. The crowd responded to every blow. Then Undertaker decided that was enough, so he just booted him in the face. Michaels slipped out of a Tombstone attempt. Undertaker’s charge into the corner was countered with a Michaels boot to the face. Michaels went to the top. Moonsault is caught by Undertaker. Tombstone. One…two…three. The match ended at 30:44. The Undertaker is 17-0 at WrestleMania. JR: “Seventeen and zero!”
Winner by pinfall: The Undertaker
Post match, both guys were lying on their back. Ross said he was honored to sit at ringside to see a match like this. The crowd was still cheering minutes after the match was over. They showed replays of all the big moments too. Michaels left. Undertaker posed in the ring as his music played. I would have loved to see them shake hands or something to allow the crowd to give them a standing ovation, but I understand why it wasn’t done.
Analysis: ***** Wow, what a match. They definitely followed the Austin/Rock formula for the WrestleMania match by having each guy kick out of the big spots. I never thought Michaels was going to win at any point, but those nearfalls were as believable as any Undertaker Mania match I’ve ever seen up to this point. Even when Taker went for covers and didn’t get them his facial expressions were great. I loved some of the spots in there and there’s no point in going over the big ones because everybody knows why they work. To me, the things that stand out were moments like when they were slugging it out at the end and Undertaker just booted him down forcing Shawn to collapse in a heap. That’s great. That’s how you properly do big man/little man spots. I thought Undertaker broke his neck when he jumped over the top rope and landed violently on the floor. I’m not sure what others felt when they saw it, but I thought he was done. I loved the story of the match being about Michaels’s heart and ability to never gave up. He took everything Undertaker had, yet he kept on fighting. He also nearly beat Undertaker multiple times and each time he didn’t he sold that frustration. That’s what I loved so much about this time. It was about the win. It was about who the better man was. After all, that’s what wrestling should be about.
The big question following it was where does it rank amongst the greatest matches ever? It’s hard to say. My number one was always Hart vs. Austin at WrestleMania 13. I’ve since watched this match many times. I think I like this one more. It was everything I like about professional wrestling. I think Jim Ross said it best as they were going through the replays: “As a wrestling fan how can you ask for anything more?”
I wrote way more about the match in a detailed review of it on TJRWrestling right here. I’ll share some what I wrote below.
(That Undertaker’s leap over the top rope that ended poorly still makes me cringe. We had seen him jump over the top rope like that many times in his career, but for him to land hard on his head/neck like that was scary. Sim Snuka (Deuce) was the cameraman there and he was supposed to be there to help with the fall. The Undertaker appeared to be fine, though. He got through the rest of the match without a problem, so kudos to him for being such a tough guy.
The final third of the match was so good. Listen to the crowd after Taker got back in the ring following the dive on the floor. There were so many incredible nearfalls that the crowd bought into. An Undertaker Chokeslam nearly did it, but Michaels kicked. Michaels came back with a Superkick for just two. Undertaker nailed the Last Ride Powerbomb for two and he was so frustrated that Michaels kicked out of it. Selling emotion on his face has always been a strength of The Undertaker. Undertaker came back with a Tombstone, Michaels kicked out and Undertaker had the greatest shocked look expression he’s ever done in his life. Perfect. Michaels countered another Tombstone attempt into a DDT that didn’t connect perfectly, but it got the job done. That set up the top rope elbow and Superkick from Michaels for a dramatic nearfall that drew a standing ovation when Undertaker kicked out. The finish was brilliant. Michaels went for a moonsault, Undertaker caught him in his arms, Michaels tried to break free and Undertaker hit another Tombstone to end. What a finish.)
What a perfect way to end the show, right? Nope. Instead, we had two matches left. I think if they could do it again they would have ended the show there. It was an incredible match that could not be topped.
World Heavyweight Title: Edge vs. John Cena vs. Big Show
Edge was now married to Vickie Guerrero. The story was that Vickie was in love with Big Show and Edge, so they were fighting for her love. I guess. It was a weak angle. There were about 100 Cena clones standing in the aisle as he made his entrance. They were all doing the “you can’t see me” hand gesture. The match wasn’t very memorable no matter what they tried. Maybe it would have been more memorable if they went on before Michaels/Undertaker. This was your typical three-way match with each guy getting in their usual array of nearfalls. The big spot was when Edge went to spear Cena, but he moved and then Vickie ended up taking it while she was standing on the apron. At least Chavo Guerrero was there to catch her. They could have used him in the Undertaker match for that. Show recovered from being tied in the ropes to give a chokeslam to Edge and then he knocked out Cena, but both guys fell out of the ring. In another memorable spot, Edge gave Show a spear through the security wall, which broke it and they were in the crowd. Later on, Cena went to the top, Show shoved him off and Edge gave Cena a Spear for two because Show prevented the pin. For the finish, Cena gave Big Show an Attitude Adjustment while Edge was on Show’s shoulders giving him a sleeper. The move was no longer known as the FU since WWE went PG in 2008. Then Cena gave Edge an AA onto Show. He covered Show for the win at 14:45.
Winner by pinfall and New World Heavyweight Champion: John Cena
Analysis: **3/4 The titles got passed around so much in 2009. Cena had the title at No Way Out, Edge snuck his way into the Elimination Chamber match and then Cena won it back here. Three weeks after this, Cena lost it back to Edge because Show gave Cena a chokeslam into a lighting structure. I would have preferred Cena vs. Edge here because they had better singles matches, but they had a lot of them too. It’s just that triple threat matches were overdone at WrestleMania by this point. The finish was pretty damn good, at least.
(That’s a pretty good rating for the match. Cena and Edge were always awesome together while they were able to incorporate Show when needed. It was the second straight year where Cena was in a triple threat match for a major World Title and this time he walked out with some gold.)
They introduced the Hall of Fame class of 2009: Steve Austin, Ricky Steamboat, Bill Watts, Howard Finkel & Koko B. Ware. All deserving except Koko, who was barely above jobber status his whole career. Austin took off his suit and went to the ring for a beer celebration, much to the delight of the crowd.
The build for the Triple H/Orton feud was up next. I always thought this was a silly feud. Hunter was the WWE Champion. Orton went after Hunter’s family, which led to moments like Orton giving the punt to Vince & Shane McMahon, giving Stephanie McMahon an RKO and also a DDT off the ropes followed by a kiss while she was unconscious. There was also Vince and Shane McMahon, who showed up in support of Triple H, to counter Rhodes & Dibiase as allies of Orton. It was another WrestleMania that was all about the McMahons except this time they actually acknowledged that Hunter was really married to Stephanie.
WWE Title: Triple H vs. Randy Orton
The stipulation was that if Hunter got disqualified or counted out he would lose his title. The fans didn’t care for this match. It was too long. The babyface was already the champion and he was married to the daughter of the boss, so why would the fans feel sympathetic for him? I understand that’s why they did the bit with Orton attacking Hunter’s family, but these two feuded for way too long and by the time the match took place people were sick of it. It was a dead crowd for the majority of it. It was a boring match. The crowd really only popped for the signature moves. It wasn’t a match that won over the fans or brought them into the match. It was worked at such a slow pace. There were some nearfalls in the match that drew absolutely no reaction. A big moment near the end was when Orton went for the punt, but Hunter blocked it and flipped him over the top to the floor. Hunter went for a Pedigree on the English announce table, but Orton countered with a back drop that sent Hunter crashing onto the Spanish Announce Table. The table didn’t break, much to the surprise of everybody involved. Orton gave him a DDT on the floor, which was a really good spot that I liked. Orton threw Hunter into the ribs of the referee Scott Armstrong in the corner of the ring. It was intentional. Then he gave Hunter the RKO. He grabbed the sledgehammer, which was the weapon of choice in this feud of course. As Orton went back into the ring, Hunter booted him in the head with a punt. The crowd barely popped for it. They should have reacted to it louder, but they were tired of the match. Hunter hit him in the head with the sledgehammer, which was okay because the ref didn’t see it. Hunter finished him off with the Pedigree for the win at 23:35.
Winner by pinfall: Triple H
Analysis: **1/2 It was a letdown. A match that gets over 20 minutes featuring wrestlers as good as these two should have been better. It wasn’t constructed well. The fans didn’t care too much. There were moments when a lot of them were cheering for Orton, which could have been why he went babyface a year after this. At the Backlash PPV after this, Orton won back the WWE Title in a six-man tag match. I hated that idea. It was the feud ender, though, because he beat Hunter with a punt to the face.
(The feud bored me and Hunter/Orton had many matches better than this. Going nearly 25 minutes was a bad idea because the fans weren’t invested in it.)
Hunter celebrated to end the show. The video package with highlights of the event brought it home.
This event had a runtime of 3:57:29 on WWE Network.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
– I’ve run out of superlatives to use regarding the Undertaker/Michaels match. I really think it’s the best match. If they could do it again they likely would have finished the show off with Undertaker vs. Michaels because it was tough for anything to follow that. They would correct that mistake next year.
– The WWE and World Title matches weren’t the epics that they should be at an event like WrestleMania. I’m not sure what the popular opinion was of the Hunter/Orton feud in 2009. Personally, I found it to be very boring. Hunter wasn’t much of a sympathetic character. His family was mostly heels, yet all of a sudden we had to feel sorry for a guy married to the daughter of the boss? It didn’t work.
– When it happened, I was surprised that CM Punk won Money in the Bank for the second year in a row. What we didn’t know was that they planned on turning him heel and when they did that he really took off as a performer. His angle with Jeff Hardy in the summer was phenomenal, so in hindsight, I was absolutely fine with the Punk win.
– As previously mentioned, Chris Jericho deserved to be in a bigger match. If they couldn’t get Mickey Rourke to do the match, they should have put him against younger wrestlers so he could have a classic. Instead, he was forced to work with the legends that were limited in what they could do.
-The JBL angle was funny. I didn’t miss him in the ring.
Best Match: The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels – Easy choice for the best match.
Worst Match: Divas Battle Royal – What a mess.
Most Memorable Moment: Undertaker’s face when Michaels kicked out of a Tombstone – I could have picked many moments. That one stands out the most.
1. Shawn Michaels
2. The Undertaker
3. Jeff Hardy
4. Matt Hardy
5. Shelton Benjamin
Show rating (out of 10): 7
The 25th WrestleMania featured the match that is, in my opinion, the best match in WWE history. Undertaker and Michaels gave us a classic that will live on forever. I thought the Hardy/Hardy match was a lot of fun and Money in the Bank was pretty good. The two major title matches weren’t great, but they had their good moments too. The Cena/Edge/Show match was definitely better than Triple H/Orton, which went on last. I wish Jericho was in a bigger match. He deserved that.
That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Thanks for reading.
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