If you're looking for the column on the career of Shawn Michaels it's not coming before WrestleMania 26. Sorry. It was going to be Thursday. I had about an hour or two of work on it to do and then I woke up to find out a bunch of my email addresses had been hacked into. I spent the whole day trying to recover and figure things out. I'm not really in the mood to write about my favorite wrestler ever while I'm pissed off and angry. Maybe next week. It could work out better this way. I want to see what happens at WrestleMania as well as the next night on Raw. For now, here's another retro WM recap. We're going back three years for this one. It's the WrestleMania that is actually the most watched WM of all time based on PPV buys
at nearly 1.2 million. A lot of the credit for that goes to Donald Trump, who they brought in to shoot the hair angle with Vince McMahon. I will be adding new comments to the recap, which is not play by play, in blue font. The stuff in the black font was what I originally wrote a couple days after seeing the show. Blue font means new comments. Got it? Good. Let's go. <!--more-->WWE WrestleMania 23Ford Field in Detroit, MichiganApril 1, 2007The visual of that building with 80,000+ people was awesome. That's why you have WrestleMania's in domes or big stadiums like next year in Orlando. If you can sell that many tickets you do it. It's just good business.Every WrestleMania since this one has been in a dome while the next two are scheduled to be in them too. WM26 is in Phoenix's dome, WM27 will be in Atlanta's Georgia Dome and WM28 will likely be in Toronto's Rogers Centre or Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium most likely. I'd expect Dallas to get one soon too.Kennedy Wins Money In The BankThis was what a lot of us expected it to be, I'm sure. We've seen a couple of them in the past and the addition of two more people this year meant more of the same. Some cool spots here of course with a shocking one coming early as Finlay came off the top to splash on everybody on the floor. That had us laughing. I'm glad how good CM Punk ended up looking in the match. It's just a shame he's being wasted away on the crappy ECW brand. The two most memorable spots were of course the crazy Jeff Hardy splash on Edge off a ladder onto another one. It boggles my mind why they would have an already injured top guy like Edge take that sort of bump. They say he's okay, but don't be shocked if he's got a back injury sooner or later. The other cool spot was of course Kennedy hitting Hornswoggle (or Little Bastard) with the Green Bay Plunge off the ladder. That ruled. I feel bad about complaining with regards to this match just because they do so much to put their bodies on the line and you can't really blame them for certain things. The only thing I would have liked would have been a better final chase at the end. People like that sort of drama. Kennedy winning is a fine decision, however. I like him and I think he'll do good as Mr. Money in the Bank. Rating: **** - I don't think it was as good as WM21's MITB match (****1/2), but better than last year's (***1/2). The Hardy splash through Edge was pretty sick. The finish wasn't great, but it was still a good match with plenty of memorable spots. And that Plunge on Hornswoggle is even better three years later.The Great Khali defeats KaneI don't know who this match appeals to. The spot where Kane bodyslammed him was pretty cool. Other than that it was completely forgettable. I'm so glad they kept off people like London, Kendrick and Nitro so they could fit these two on the show. Rating: 1/4* - It's only above DUD level because of the bodyslam spot. Brutal. And I'm being generous with the star rating, I think.The dance off thing made me laugh, I have to admit. I marked out huge for Steamboat in the ninja gear, doing all the motions and then smiling at the camera. And of course Slick! I love that guy. Why didn't they have Ron Simmons do the "Damn!" line when he was actually wrestling? I know he said it once in a while, but that word is getting over huge these days. It was decent. I miss Ron Simmons!Chris Benoit defeats MVPLike I expected they only gave this match about ten minutes. (Insert complaint about shitty Kane vs. Khali match here) I was hoping for more because I wanted to see more out of MVP. What we got was very good for the most part, though, so I'm not too upset. I was surprised that Benoit won with the headbutt even. Can't remember the last time he got a pin with that. I liked JBL's attempts to put Benoit over huge, but the truth is he hasn't had any kind of solid push in three years and that's just wrong. I think MVP wins this title soon. Rating: **1/4 - With another 5 minutes it could have been a lot better. Seems like they rushed to get it done. I liked Benoit/MVP matches although they never reached the heights that I had hoped. They would have better matches than this, though.The Trump/Boogeyman thing was what you'd call a bad wrestling segment. When Trump tries to be funny he usually isn't. The only thing Trump does that's funny is calling Rosie O'Donnell names. Other than that he's pretty wooden. I'm fine with Boogeyman as long as he never wrestles and his TV time is limited to like two minutes. I don't miss the Boogeyman. At all.The Hall of Fame thing is always cool. It's also good to hear Howard Finkel. That dude should still be ring announcing. He's the best they've got. The Fink rules. I wonder if he can announce at my wedding.Undertaker defeats Batista to win the World Heavyweight TitleIn my preview I wrote that I didn't know how this one would go because Batista's been having some poor matches on a regular basis since coming back from injury. Well, he sure shut me up. Hats off to him as well as Undertaker because they really put together a very strong big man match. Remember in my preview also when I said don't finish the match on the tired "Last Ride out of the corner" spot? Well, they did that spot, but Batista kicked out of it thankfully. The Batista powerslam through the announce table was an awesome visual. I guess ECW replaces the Spanish table as the one that just doesn't belong and can afford to be broken. The finishing sequence was predictable, yet still awesome with Batista kicking out of the chokeslam, Taker kicking out the Batista Bomb and then Taker ultimately hitting the Tombstone to win. Nobody kicks out of that. They went about 16 minutes, they didn't have any slow down spots and they delivered a match about as well as they could. Huge respect to both guys for that. I hope Batista goes full heel and they have a falls count anywhere type of match because that could be better than this. If Undertaker's healthy he should have a three or four month title run that will be pretty good as long as he's on the show regularly. Benoit vs. Undertaker for 20 minutes, please? Rating: **** - Very satisfying match that went above my personal expectations for it. I don't think they could have done much better than this. Nothing more you can ask of wrestlers than to give it their all and see them deliver. This is an underrated, quality big man match. They are hard to find because some big guys don't work well together, but I liked their chemistry. They would have future matches of equal quality to this one as well. I had no problem with Undertaker/Batista matches.The Vince/Stephanie/Baby segment was horrible. I laughed because it was bad. I hope "baby cam" doesn't become a regular thing. Painfully bad segment.ECW Originals defeat The New BreedLike I said in the preview, just a bunch of quick tags and attempted big spots for about ten minutes. Why couldn't they actually do something that ECW is about, which is using weapons in matches? This just felt like filler to get a bunch of guys on the card more than anything.Rating: *1/2 - It was a ten minute TV match basically. Ah, back when I had SOME hope for the ECW brand. That didn't last long.Lashley defeats Umaga - Vince McMahon is BaldGeez, how long did it take for the very long video package to roll and for all five people to get out there after entrances? Felt like twenty minutes, but was probably closer to ten. The match here was secondary of course and they treated it that way by making it very overbooked. That's okay, I guess, because other matches on the card really weren't that way. It was fun to see Shane McMahon come out to do the Van Terminator that he stole from RVD (I'm sure Rob loves that) and for Austin to get physical because I think that's what fans want to see. Lashley winning was obvious. They did it in a way that didn't hurt Umaga much at all, so that's a good thing because he's a strong character right now. Post match the shaving incident was cool although felt long by the end of it. Where's Brutus Beefcake when you need him? Oh yeah, probably selling drugs on a street. Forget that idea. A lot of people bought this show based on this match and I think they left satisfied. Rating: *1/2 - Fine for what it was. Nobody will remember the actual match. Fun angle. The match is pretty brutal, though. RIP Umaga.Melina defeats AshleyThey should have done less camera shots of the women in the ring and more of the women outside it. Damn, the girls dressed up on this night! The match was bad as expected and apparently Ashley cried after it was over because she was disappointed in her performance. I like Ashley, she seems like a really good person that wants to succeed in the business, but I think they're asking way too much by putting her in a match at a show like WrestleMania. It's just too much pressure. You want to put the women on WrestleMania? Fine, do a lingerie contest or something. There's no need to have an embarrassing wrestling match for the sake of getting the Playboy chick of the year on the card. Hopefully they learn from this, as they should have when Christy Hemme was in the ring, next year when the next girl poses for Playboy.Rating: DUD - They were asking too much to expect even five minutes from them. They didn't learn their lesson at all since they stuck Ashley in a Mania match again with Maria (the 2008 Playboy model) in a brutal tag contest against Melina and Beth. The divas haven't been used properly at WrestleMania very often.Cena defeats Michaels to retain the WWE TitleI touched on it in my preview, so I'll only say it one more time for now: John Cena should have earned your respect by now if you're a hater. No, not because he "drives" on an empty road on the way to Ford Field. I wonder when they filmed that. Probably like 3am during the week or something. That was cheesy. The match was not. I liked the action although I'm sure some are going to complain that it was slow to start. They went nearly 30 minutes without leaving the ring a lot, so that's to be expected. When the pace picked up they really delivered a main event worthy performance with a lot of back and forth drama ensuing. I liked the way they built to the finishers with Michaels hitting the superkick only for Cena to kick out because Shawn was too slow on the cover. This came after Shawn kicked out of the FU in a similar manner. I don't mind Cena winning at all because he's the top guy and he's going to be the top guy heading into the next decade. As a Michaels fan I'd love to see another title win for him and we may still get that, but I think Cena winning here was the right thing. It would have been nice if they mentioned Cena beat both DX guys in back to back years with the STFU because then you'd give that move even more credibility than it already has. Rating: ****1/4 - I liked it more upon second viewing. Originally I had it at ***3/4, but after watching it once more I enjoyed I thought it was better. The most noticeable thing is Cena could have done a better job of selling the knee. He's still young, so he'll learn. Get him to watch some Bret Hart tapes. Nobody sold leg injuries like Bret Hart. Michaels never did go on to win the title again although he was very close several time. The no selling of the leg still pisses me off, too. Also, they had a better match in England (my 2007 match of the year at ****1/2) a couple weeks after this that went nearly an hour that I highly recommend watching in case you haven't seen it.Final ThoughtsThere's not much to complain about when you've got three matches right around the four star range. There was nothing on this show that was an all-time great match or moment (although Hardy killing Edge and the midget squashing might be), but there was a lot of good on the show. It was predictable in a lot of ways too, which is fine because it ended up being a solid show. The matches we thought would be good were, the entertainment match (hair vs. hair) was entertaining and everything else was either okay (Benoit vs. MVP) or the below average filler that we thought it would be. I think this was a top ten WrestleMania. It wouldn't make my top five although it would be in my top ten for sure. I don't know what memory I'll take from this show. It was the culmination of a very good three months of WWE programming that I hope continues into the spring. Was it anything more than that? I don't know. Time will tell. 6 out of 10I didn't write the three stars of the night for some reason, but if I did they'd be Michaels, Cena and Undertaker. Batista deserves props too. That match with Undertaker is very underrated. As for the show, three matches at the four star level? Can't complain too much about that.Two more days until WrestleMania 26. Bring it on. Other retro WrestleMania recaps:* WrestleMania X-7
- To me, the best ever.* WrestleMania 19 with new commentary added
* WrestleMania 21 with new commentary added
- To me, the 2nd best WM ever.* WrestleMania 22 with new commentary added
- Includes a comment from Mickie James.If you're wondering why I only have those ones it's because those are the ones I wrote about live or the day after that are in my archive.