OSR: WWE WrestleMania 21 Review
The show opened with Lillian Garcia singing “America the Beautiful” as a montage of the troops and various superstars was shown. The opening promo looked at various movie moments depicted by WWE superstars.
The venue for WrestleMania 21 was the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The tag line for the event was “WrestleMania goes Hollywood”. The commentary team for the event was JR and The King for RAW with Michael Cole and Tazz for SmackDown.
1. [SmackDown] Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio
There was no history package shown, but was alluded to. Both men made their way to the ring, were both men received cracking reactions. The match began as a very traditional, fast paced wrestling match.Eddie became the dominant competitor in the match, using his power advantage over Rey.
Eddie used a variety of submission based holds to maintain the control. Rey gained brief momentum, but the match was generally dictated through the efforts of Eddie. Rey was able to fight back after Eddie missed his signature frog splash.
Eventually, Rey was able to pick up the win with a surprise roll-up. That was a pretty decent opening match, where both men’s styles clicked really well with one another.
Winner: Rey Mysterio
Match Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars
2. [RAW] Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Edge vs. Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Christian (w/ Tyson Tomko) vs. Kane.
Each of the competitors made their way to the ring, where it got rapidly for underway. From the outset, there were various moments and spots from each of the competitors. Shelton Benjamin looked impressive from the start as he launched himself around the ring.
Another notable mention was the performance of Chris Benoit, who showed great determination to be victorious. His exchange with Kane was brilliantly but scarily amazing. Eventually, Edge captured the briefcase this jaw dropping match to become the inaugural MITB winner.
Match Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars
A brief interim segment saw Eugene make his way to the ring, revealing his favourite WrestleMania moment was when King Kong Bundy slammed The Haiti Kid at WrestleMania III. Muhammed Hassan made an appearance, and locked Eugene in the camel clutch.
This prompted an appearance from Hulk Hogan who lit up the crowd as he took him out. Hogan then posed for the crowd, which ultimately laid the foundation for their match the next month at Backlash.
3. Inter-promotional Match: Randy Orton [RAW] vs. The Undertaker [SmackDown]
The history package showed the determination of Randy to be successful over Taker, even bringing in his father “Cowboy” Bob Orton. Both men made their way to the ring, where Taker received his usual WrestleMania weird entrance.
The match got underway with Taker in control of Orton. Orton was able to regain the control control, and continued to attack The Undertaker for several minutes. Throughout the match, the announcers were very anti Orton but Tazz to his credit did a credible job of getting Orton over.
Orton was able to use his speed to maintain the level of control, until Taker was ultimately able to regain some momentum. As Taker looked set to be victiorious, Cowboy Bob Orton interfered. He nailed Taker with his trademark cast for a near finish for Randy.
This lead to an impressive spot where Randy countered a chokeslam into an RKO. As Randy started getting cocky, Taker was able to nail a Tombstone for the victory. That was a good match, but nothing massively special which would stand out in memory.
Winner: The Undertaker
Match Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0 Stars
4. [RAW] WWE Women’s Championship: Trish Stratus (c) vs. Christy Hemme (w/ Lita)
The history package looked at the jealousy between the pair, which stemmed from Christy’s appearance of Playboy (frantic Google searching required). Both women then made their way to the ring for the match to begin.
Trish was fairly dominant throughout the match, albeit some brief spots by Christy. The match was pretty abysmal, as Christy was certainly not ready for the position she’d been placed in. Trish was ultimately successful following a Chick Kick, in a truly horrendous match.
Winner: Trish Stratus, to retain the WWE Women’s Championship
Match Rating: 0.5 out of 5.0 Stars
5. Inter-promotional Match: Shawn Michaels [RAW] vs. Kurt Angle [SmackDown]
The history package was shown, which looks at the feud which had being established between both men but also the rivalry they had established since the Royal Rumble 2005. Afterwards, both men made their way to the ring for the match to begin, where you could feel the electricity.
The match got itself underway in a very traditional, mat wrestling style where Shawn was the clear domineer. After this continued for several minutes, Kurt was able to dominate the match until Shawn was able to nail a flying cross body onto the announce table.
Both men later entered a rapid exchange where they attempt their finishers on one another, with a series of near finishes. As Shawn became distracted in the drama of it all, Angle locked in the Ankle Lock for the victory in an incredible match which should have gone for an hour.
This match shown what great drama and wrestling can achieve in a match, whilst still massively entertaining the audience. That was an incredibly well fought match, with the only niggle being it should have gone longer.
Winner: Kurt Angle
Match Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars
Pipers Pit with Special Guest Stone Cold Steve Austin
The great Rowdy Roddy Piper made his way to the ring, where he got straight onto the microphone. After Stone Cold joined him in the ring, they introduced themselves by slapping one another. After they talked nonsense, Carlito then made his way to the ring.
Carlito insulted both men, Piper spat an apple in his face. After a brief attack from Carlito to Piper, Carlito is then taken out with a poke to the eyes and a stunner before Roddy and Stone Cold celebrated with a beer. Stone Cold then nailed Piper with a stunner before leaving.
6. [SmackDown] Sumo Match: The Big Show vs. Akebono
Both men made their way to the ring, where it was revealed that both men were effectively were thongs. The point of this “match” wasn’t clear and no history package was shown. In whatever you called it, Akebono picked up the win after tossing out The Big Show in whatever this way.
Match Rating: This wasn’t a match, it was a publicity stunt
7. [SmackDown] WWE Championship: John “Bradshaw” Layfield (c) vs. John Cena
The history package looked at the lengthy reign of JBL as champion, and how he cannot be compared to John Cena. After he was cost the US Championship, this brought out another side of Cena in the lead up to WrestleMania including an attack on Theodore Long.
Both men then made their way to the ring, where JBL received a police escort. As he made his entrance, $100 JBL bills fell from the ceiling in what was a great cockiness display. He was then soon joined by Cena as the match soon got underway, where JBL was quickly in control.
JBL continued to be dominant for several minutes into the match, until Cena was able to fight back and easily nailed JBL with the FU for the win. This, was in honesty a very unconvincing match because it seemed like both me phoned it in.
Winner: John Cena,. to capture the WWE Championship
Match Rating: 1.0 out of 5.0 Stars
At this point, Mean Gene Okerlund was in the ring. He proceeded to introduce the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2005. The inductees were Nikolai Volkoff, The Iron Sheik, Paul Orndorff, Cowboy Bob Orton, Jimmy Hart, Rowdy Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan.
8. [RAW] World Heavyweight Championship: Triple H (c) (w/ Ric Flair) vs. Batista
The history package looked at the downfall of Evolution, which was down to the selfishness of Triple H. Following his win at Royal Rumble 2005, Batista opted to remain on RAW to challenge for the title. Triple H made his way out first, whilst Motörhead performed followed by Batista.
The match began very slowly, where both competitors tested the strength of one another. Batista soon gained the control, until Triple H used his ring presence to gain the control along with the distraction from Ric Flair. This continued for several minutes, with frequent attacks from Flair.
However, Triple H was soon busted open when a pedigree attempt backfired into a slingshot into the turnbuckle pole. This drastically slowed down the performance of Triple H. This allowed some dominance by Batista for a few moments, in which time he took out Ric Flair.
Ultimately, Batista was able to power out of a pedigree attempt. This allowed him to nail Triple H with a dramatic Batista Bomb for the victory. That was an average match, which didn’t show off both men and came across in some way as rather dull.
Winner: Batista, to capture the World Heavyweight Championship
Match Rating: 1.5 out of 5.0 Stars
WWE WrestleMania 21 Conclusions
When you are able to look at it objectively, there was a very stark contrast between the 2004 and 2005 editions of WrestleMania. The main thing which can be taken away from this is the development of new stars. By having John Cena and Batista walk out as the champions, this opened up a multitude of possibilities for the WWE throughout the summer. But aside from that, the way the show was booked was very credible and it actually felt very much like a special event. The show featured some very dull matches, which were actually watchable due to the storyline and characterization booked into the match.
However, the main talking points from the show was the first Money in the Bank match which broke numerous boundaries. It set the standard for the match over the coming years, and in some ways has set a standard which has yet to be matched. However, the other talking point was Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle. Both men displayed great athleticism in this match and were truly able to put forward a five star match. They truly set the standard for WrestleMania matches and is still something which is struggled to be matched even now. But it is totally worth watching, because it is a much glossier and smoother show than the previous years.