WrestleMania 23: All Grown Up comes from Ford Field, Detroit. Michigan, home of the Detroit Lions. Join us on another journey through Pay Per View’s of the past in our series ‘In Review’, this month we are looking at WrestleMania’s gone by.
WrestleMania 23: All Grown Up in Detroit
The opening match is an absolute barn burner seeing Matt Hardy, Randy Orton, Mr. Kennedy, CM Punk, Jeff Hardy, King Booker, Edge and Finlay compete in this year’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match. This is one of my favourites but I really am missing Shelton Benjamin in this one, but we do still have Finlay and he is just giving everyone mean-looking clotheslines. There is a wonderful moment where Matt Hardy threatens to hurt Queen Sharmell to get King Booker down from the top of the ladder, it works and it’s a marvellous piece of storytelling.
Finlay is a ‘hard Irish bastard’ as Tazz says as he is still going despite his hair slowly turning crimson red. Tonight is Mr. Kennedy’s night and he deserves it. [5/5]
The Great Khali faces off against Kane in a hoss fight. It’s ok and might be one of the few good matches in Khali’s career in the WWE, but it’s not my cup of tea [1.5/5]
Chris Benoit defends his United States Championship against MVP. Last year he lost the championship to JBL in a great match but can he keep a hold of it this year? This match is very good and solid, Benoit is one of the best the industry has produced and what happens after this is what will always haunt the industry. He retains the championship against MVP but it’s not up to the standard of his previous WrestleMania bouts. [4/5]
The Undertaker Vs Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship is up next, will Batista be able to defeat the Undertaker, retain his championship and end the streak? This is the second year in a row that the winner of the Royal Rumble match will not be headlining the event. This is a great match and it feels like one of The Undertaker’s best at WrestleMania, when he is in the ring with someone good who he has chemistry with it will be a great time. And this most definitely is, the big power moves, the brutality and the need to be World Champion are what powers this match along. [4.75/5]
The ECW originals [Rob Van Dam, Tommy Dreamer, Sabu and The Sandman] face off against The New Breed [Elijah Burke, Marcus Cor Von, Matt Striker and Kevin Thorn] in an eight-man tag team match. After that high-stakes match it’s really nice to get something lighthearted and fun. I think my favourite thing about this match is showing that the ECW Originals can wrestle and aren’t just all violence. My little ECW heart was really thrilled with this.[4.5/5]
Now we have the battle of the billionaires in a Hair Vs Hair match, for Donald Trump we have Bobby Lashley while Mr. McMahon has Umaga as his representative. To add to everything Stone Cold Steve Austin is the special guest referee tonight. This is absolutely ridiculous and I dislike both men, so would have loved to see them both have their heads shaved. It would have been funnier to rip that toupee off of Trump’s head, but that’s just me. I am just thankful that this match is between two great wrestlers and not McMahon and Trump. It’s the little things. [3.25/5]
Melina faces off against Ashley in a Lumberjill match for the Women’s Championship which is less than four minutes. After last years 5-star match this one is a disappointment. It is dire, I feel bad for them cause Ashley is there for her Playboy cover and not her in-ring skill, she is green as hell and needed more time. This should have been Mickie James Vs Malina, they would have got a lot more out of those four minutes. [1/5]
John Cena Vs Shawn Michaels is our main event at WrestleMania 23 and it is for the WWE Championship. Michaels last year got a great match out of Mr. McMahon, which was a surprise for everyone, but now he is facing Big Match John. I’m not sure if he was known as that at this point of his career but Cena has delivered at every Mania so far.
This match is just a straight-up classic wrestling at its best as both mean work each other body parts, Michaels gives special focus to Cena’s knees here. There is a ref bump, completely accidental, moonsault’s, and both men bleeding. Michaels goes headfirst into the ring post while Cena’s is from a Piledriver on the steel steps. This match has everything and they are exhausted yet still keep fighting, exactly what you want from your main event. The counter sequence in the closing moments of this match is beautiful. You need to watch this match. [5/5]
Match of the Night: Shawn Michaels Vs John Cena
Match To Avoid: The Great Khali Vs Kane | Ashley Vs Malina
You can find our look at WrestleMania 2000, Mania 21 and Mania 22 as well as more of our great WrestleMania content below.