Monday, 17 February 2014

WrestleMania CountDown: WrestleMania 23: All Grown Up

AYO! What's popping everybody? We are less than 7 weeks away from WrestleMania and the momentum is building fast! This past week on Monday Night RAW, The Shield and the Wyatts went face to face in a stare down of epic proportions - THIS is why we love wrestling. Even with no words exchanged between the two groups, a story was told, that the 'Hounds of Justice' and 'The Goats of War' are spoiling for a fight. One of the best matches of the night on RAW in my opinion was the tag team match between the Real Americans who took on Christian and Sheamus. Although the Real Americans were on the losing end of that bout, Antonio Cesaro would roll on to SmackDown to face off against the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Randy Orton. By this time, WWE had dropped his first name and Orton and Cesaro would put on a quality match on Friday night! I've always said Cesaro has a bright future and there's a reason he's the longest reigning major champion in my WWE 2K14 Universe mode. You can imagine the mark out moment in my living room when I saw him drop into a European Uppercut, and finish Orton off with a Neutralizer and get the clean 1-2-3. He told you so. SmackDown Moment right there! #WeThePeople

The Road to WrestleMania XXX rolls on as this weekend we took a look back at WrestleMania 23, from Ford Field in 2007!


Date: 1st April, 2007
Venue: Ford Field
City: Detroit, Michigan

The Money in the Bank ladder match. I will never forget this opening bout. Maybe not the match itself, but the situation we were in when this match actually took place. I remember it like it was a lot less than 7 years ago. A major WrestleMania botch occurred that night, and very appropriately it was April 1st. We'd thought that we'd ordered the PPV, and we were all ready in front of the tv when 5 minutes into the show, we lost signal. WTF moment if I've ever been in one. So as fast as we could, I rang Sky Box Office through the phone and ordered the event again. By the time we'd received the signal again, Mr. Kennedy was being interviewed in the backstage area with the Money in the Bank briefcase in his possession. For that reason, I'll never forget that it was Mr. Kennedy that was the MITB winner in 2007. Strange but true. HOWEVER, watching the match this weekend we realised how awesome this match truly was! Anuj and I were discussing the fact that the number of quality superstars in this match doesn't even exist on the current WWE roster, no offense if you're on the current roster and reading this /-) This match had Edge, Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, CM Punk, Mr. Kennedy, Finlay, Booker T, Randy Orton. WHAT A LINE-UP! And in the opening match at WrestleMania. The WWE does not have that same star power 7 years later, which intrigues me on what direction The Road to WrestleMania XXX will take and how it will shape up. By the way, props to Hornswoggle for taking a Rolling Fireman's Carry from Mr. Kennedy from the ladder, that spot looks like it must have hurt the little man! Bottom line, although he went on to lose the briefcase to Edge at a later date, the winner of the 3rd Money in the Bank ladder match was Mr. Kennedy. Kennedy.

Now way back in 2007, before the Great Khali was the 'Punjabi Playboy' he was the black tight wearing, intimidating giant who used the two handed chokeslam as a finisher, and pin his opponents with one foot over them. The only thing that seems like it hasn't changed much since then is his in-ring ability. Kane worked really well for Khali in this match and seems like he did a lot of the work, but my favourite spot in this match was when Kane scoop slams the Great Khali! 20 years after Hogan slammed Andre the Giant at WrestleMania 3 - very nice WrestleMania Moment indeed. In the end it was Khali who would emerge victorious, making use of his two-handed chokeslam.

There was a backstage segment where Cryme Tyme were trying to cheer Eugene up after he'd had his head shaved bald earlier in the week, by having Layla, Kelly Kelly and Brooke (Tessmacher) dance with them! Eugene didn't seem interested in dancing, until Mae Young and The Fabulous Moolah turned up /-) They were joined by legends, Sgt. Slaughter, Dusty Rhodes, Jimmy Hart and even Ricky Steamboat! Enter Ron Simmons. DAMN!

The following contests is another one of those gems that have been forgotten within the Mania of all the WrestleManias. MVP would make his way out to the ring, with a special WrestleMania style entrance with cheerleaders. A nice little touch for WrestleMania that has been missing in recent years. MVP was about to square off against Chris Benoit, challenging Benoit for the United States championship. Go back and watch this one. There was a lot of impressive technical chain wrestling at the get-go and I remember JBL mentioning that there are very few people that could do that with Benoit, Bret Hart and Eddie Guerrero being two of them. I think it was a huge compliment to MVP at the time - because they most definitely were delivering the goods in this match. Benoit would launch himself with a diving headbutt at a downed MVP and that was enough for the Rabid Wolverine to retain the United States championship. Definitely a match of the night candidate considering what they put together, with the amount of time given. Hats off to this match!

The 'Donald' was in a backstage segment where he seemed that he was hungry. Who should turn up? The Boogeyman. The two cut a deal where Trump wanted a sandwich, and in return offered the Boogeyman some worms. Trump can do business with almost anyone by the looks of this.

Lilian Garcia would inform the crowd in attendance and the millions watching all over the world that the WWE had now set a new attendance record for Ford Field in Detroit Michigan. The reported attendance was 80,103. She then passed things over to the Legendary ring announcer, Howard Finkel. He would introduce the Hall of Fame class of 2007. Man, was Curtis Axel looking young back then...

The following contest was set for one fall, and it was for the World Heavyweight Championship. Batista would make his way down to the ring, wearing the championship around his waist - and then would wait for the arrival of the man who'd won the 2007 Royal Rumble and earned his spot at WrestleMania - The Undertaker. I believe that this is the only match (that I can remember) where The Undertaker was taking a beating from very early on, which I guess helped get Batista over as the hulking beast of a World Champion. Undertaker was thrown into steel steps and the Animal continued to take the fight to the Deadman. The Batista Bomb wasn't enough to keep the Dead Man down, but then again the Last Ride couldn't subdue the Animal. Taker would hit a chokeslam, and again it wasn't enough. Batista would end up power slamming Undertaker through the commentators table, but in the end it was the Tombstone Piledriver from the Undertaker which would dethrone the champion. No false finishes there. The Undertaker was 15-0, a decade and a half of destruction milestone achieved.

There was a funny backstage segment with Mr. McMahon as Stephanie brings her stroller with her daughter in the pram, into the room. Vince talks to the baby, and mentions all the nasty things he planned to do to Donald Trump. The last thing that happens is the baby poops, and Vince says, "I think she just took a Trump!" - How amazing is that, Vince's granddaughter wasn't even a year old before she was put into an angle XD

The next match was a New School vs. Old School 8-Man tag team match between the ECW Originals and the ECW New Breed. Rob Van Dam, Sabu, Sandman and Tommy Dreamer were taking on Marcus Cor Von, Kevin Thorne, Elijah Burke and Matt Striker. Rob Van Dam would hit the 5-Star Frog Splash on Striker, picking up the win for his team.

Throughout the show, there had been these "All Grown Up" style WrestleMania promos that had been running, and by far, Stone Cold had the best and funniest one. If you have a minute, try and look it up on Youtube, I thought it was pretty sick, and definitely the best of all the "All Grown Up" superstar promos for WrestleMania 23.

The Battle of the Billionaires was up next and we all know how that ended. The match between Bobby Lashley and Umaga was pretty standard, although I think Umaga was a much better talent than Lashley in Pro-Wrestling. That guy could have been a great heel WWE Champion. Rest in Peace Umanga, as William Regal used to say. About those little touches I mentioned earlier in wrestling entrances that have been missing in recent years - The Barber's chair had it's own entrance music as it glided/rolled it's way towards ringside. That's pretty awesome XD What was also awesome was the distance Shane McMahon could still cover when hitting Bobby Lashley with a Coast to Coast! Donald Trump didn't look half bad either when he hit Mr. McMahon with a clothesline on the outside. After those shenanigans were dealt with and Austin, who was officiating the match had been hit with one Samoan Spike too many, finally got a Stunner on Umaga - Lashley would follow up with a spear and Austin would count Umaga down and out for the count. Vince McMahon is hilarious! The way he tried to sneak away as though no one had noticed was comical. Almost like a cartoon villain. Dick Dastardly style. Lashley would retrieve McMahon as he and Trump would shave Vince McMahon's head bald! Austin would share a beer with Trump right before hitting him with the Stone Cold Stunner. Worst Stunner selling ever. Made me laugh though /-)

Now I don't know why Ashley Massaro had been pushed to the point where she was about to take on Melina for the WWE Womens Championship. I honestly didn't think she was anything special, I could be wrong, but from what I'd seen nothing stood out about her. Yet here she was in a short championship match whilst some really awesome Divas like Mickie James were on the outside being Lumberjills for the match. Melina would retain, and I suppose the good thing about having so many divas on the outside was that they got into a little scrap after the match. But was that best for business? I think this may have been the point going forward where the tide had turned on the Divas division, and the WWE were more interested in Diva search than they were in women who could wrestle. I could be completely wrong, but it is what it is and I'll call it like I see it.

The main event was next. Shawn Michaels would challenge his tag team partner John Cena for the WWE Championship. John Cena would race a Ford Mustang into Ford Field and shatter some glass, making his grand entrance for WrestleMania. The crowd were heavily with Shawn Michaels for this one, but they seemed pretty burnt out at the start of this one. I'm not taking anything away from Cena, but I believe that because he was working with Shawn Michaels, the match was able to pick up steam in the way that it did. It's just what he does, the Showstoppper, the headliner, the main event - Shawn Michaels. It was a good half hour, and it was worthy of being in the main event slot for that year's WrestleMania. The finish would come as John Cena would lock in the STF on Shawn Michaels, with Michaels eventually tapping out. You could feel that the crowd were majorly in HBK's corner, as they made their voices heard. The Champ was still here.

WrestleMania Moment: Vince McMahon being shaved bald

Move of the Night: Jeff Hardy's legdrop off the ladder, putting Edge through the ladder on the outside

Match of the Night: Money in the Bank Ladder Match


If you watched WrestleMania 23, let us know what you thought and fill us in on your favorite moments! Do you think it was the greatest WrestleMania of all time? Join the blog next weekend as we take a look back at WrestleMania XXIV from 2008 as a part of the 'WrestleMania CountDown'! You can also tweet to us from anywhere! Whether you're in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, India, Germany, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, the Maldives, Italy, Belgium, Japan, the Philippines, or your name is Neo and you're in Sri Lanka, send us a shout via our Twitter:

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Thanks for taking the time to read,
There's plenty more to come! /-) #Hope2EntertainU
Mau (17/02/14) 23:00

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