After writing countless Headlies for WrestleCrap, providing numerous one liners for the Headlie Trolla, calling in a few times to WrestleCrap Radio (my favorite instance was playing “Zombie Stu Hart”), and giving feedback to Uncle Deal himself, the time has come to check off another box on my WrestleCrap Bucket List.
I’m writing an actual, authentic, will-one-day-be-archived-with-the-others-on-a-CD-ROM WrestleCrap induction.
Since the site has provided me with over a decade of laughs, and I’ve reciprocated with barely a year of contributions (thus making R.D. Ricky Morton and myself Robert Gibson on the output scale), I thought it would be wonderful to make a big impression on the site’s twelve-year anniversary by writing my first ever induction. Not to mention that the anniversary coincides with WrestleMania weekend; an event that I have VHS or DVD copies of for all twenty-seven shows. If anyone is qualified to go back in time and apply to Comedy Central’s ‘Beat the Geeks’ game show as the WrestleMania nerd, you’re looking at him.
Well, after I knock out Howard Finkel with a wrench and pull him from the time machine, of course.
So, for my first ever written induction, what could I do? WrestleMania IX? Ooops, R.D. has already done it. Oh, what about the Blindfold Match with Jake Roberts and Rick Martel? Damn it, Deal’s got that covered as well. I got it! I’ll opine about Big Show and Akebono’s sumo challenge! Oh, right, that’s been written already, too.
And so, a few weeks ago, in a spur of the moment blurting (blurtation?) that my inner-wrestling fan wishes it could have back, this is what ensued:
Me: “Hey Randy, I would be happy to write an induction about WrestleMania XXVII!”
Deal: “Really, you would induct the entire show?”
Me (happy to do something more than six people will read): “Yes!”
Deal: “Awesome, have it for me before the anniversary induction! I’m looking forward to reading it!”
(Note from RD: For the record, I also thought, ‘SUCKER!’)
Yeah, he’s looking forward to reading it, and I assume you are too (which is why you clicked this link, dingus), but I’m certainly not looking forward to writing it.
Moreso, since I sat through the show when it aired live on April 3, 2011, I’m looking even LESS forward to having to rewatch it.
I mean, how could WrestleMania XXVII be bad? WWE got THE ROCK to return, and perform as guest host for the night! You remember Rock, right? He was the company’s most entertaining performer from 1999 through 2003, electrifying audiences with his one-of-a-kind verbal talents. Combined with the fact that Dwayne Johnson was equally gifted in marquee main events, not to mention his magnetism to Hollywood and the mainstream press, and you can see why The Rock is considered one of the biggest stars in wrestling history.
Of course, Dwayne hadn’t set foot in a WWE ring in seven years, preferring to embrace the bright lights and glamour of Sunset Boulevard.
And, by “embrace the bright lights and glamour of Sunset Boulevard”, we mean star in such epics like Doom, The Gameplan, Tooth Fairy, and Fast Five.
Didn’t know that dressing in a tutu was preferable to making dick-related puns in front of Lilian Garcia, but when you compare the salaries afforded to each activity….
But who cares about what Rocky’s done for seven years: he’s back NOW! And he’s going to electrify the capacity crowd here in Atlanta!
And electrify he did, because unless you were in the Georgia Dome, sitting through Rock’s promo in your living room was equivalent to a taser to the yambag (credit: Taz)
Seriously, over ten minutes were wasted on Rock making “Fruity Pebbles” jokes at Cena, and running through his catchphrases.
Nope, can’t figure out why people stream PPV’s instead of dropping $55 on them.
It should be noted that the scheduled United States Championship bout between Sheamus and Daniel Bryan was bumped to the pre-show due to time constraints. Remember this little tidbit later on, when you and I explore the segments that were given ample amounts of time to play out.
As I’m holding up Dave Chappelle’s “Wrap It Up” box, hoping Dwayne can see me through the TV screen, he drops only one line that has any kind of merit, and it’s in the form of a guarantee.
“The Rock PROMISES that this will be the most memorable WrestleMania of ALL TIME!”
Yeah, especially those of you from Ireland, or you ROH fans, or you vegans out there that particularly love potatoes: you will NEVER forget spending $55 to not seeing your heroes on the biggest wrestling show of the year!
Speaking of wrestling, let’s just get to some.
See this pyro exploding right here? Anyone who’s watched a wrestling PPV, as well as possesses an IQ above swimming pool-water temperature, knows that the pyrotechnic display takes place at the start of the event.
*checks watch as the pyro explodes*
What time is it? 7:02? 7:03? Hell, it’s WrestleMania, so there was probably a well-done video package to open the show. It’s PROBABLY 7:06 or so.
SEVEN. SIX. TEEN.
If Sheamus and D-Bry fans didn’t get free copies of the DVD upon its release, then there’s something wrong with this world.
Finally, some wrestling! Oh, and it looks like it’s going to be a good one, too, as Edge defends the World Heavyweight Championship against Alberto Del Rio, so you—
Wait, wait, waitwaitwaitwaitWAIT!
The World Heavyweight Title is being defended in the opening match?
Alberto Del Rio won the 40 Man Royal Rumble, just so he could jerk the curtain at the biggest show of the year? I don’t recall “opening WrestleMania” being a part of his braggadocios “Destiny” speeches, do you?
Eh, well, it could be worse, I suppose. Del Rio and Edge could have been pushed to the pre-show like Bryan and Sheamus were. Can you imagine WWE relegating a World Heavyweight Title match to being a dark match at WrestleMania? (Wait, that might happen this year. Justin, do NOT give them ideas)
Edge wins a pretty good match with his spear, and celebrates. Little did we all know that this would be Adam Copeland’s final match, as he would be forced to retire a week later, due to a wealth of spinal injuries incurred during his career. He’s a genuinely amazing performer, and it’s still sad to see him no more on Raw or Smackdown.
Betcha WWE would have given this match better placement, had they known it was Edge’s curtain call.
In his last hurrah, Edge, along with brother/best friend/hockey teammate/partner-in-crime Christian, destroys Del Rio’s car up on the entrance ramp, using crowbars.
Personally, since WrestleMania is all about nostalgia, I’d have had Repo Man come out and steal it. It makes about as much sense as everything else that’s happened so far.
Look at poor Del Rio in tears, kneeling before his smashed whip. What could he be thinking?
Could it be, “My destiny is in ruins; I have been shamed before the entire world!”?
Or maybe it’s, “Opening World Title match? US Title match bumped? Rock rambling for an eternity? What were they THINKING booking this crap?!”
Yeah, I don’t know either, dude.
(Justin’s note to R.D.: I told you I’d make ya proud!)
Things were starting to look up a bit for WrestleMania, as we were treated to a very solid match between Cody Rhodes and Rey Mysterio, which was precipitated by Mysterio injuring Rhodes’ face with his kneebrace-assisted 619 back in January. As a result, Rhodes’ self-esteem took a downturn, as he began to wear a Richard Hamilton-inspired face shield.
If that wasn’t enough, Rhodes added that SWANK black hood to his ensemble, making him a doppelganger of the fisherman from I Know What You Did Last Summer.
C’mon, look at the photo to the left. Doesn’t Cody look like he’d be perfect embedding a hook into Kelly Kelly’s chin?
I thought so.
Anywho, Rhodes wins a really good match, using his face shield as a weapon (while Bob Orton no doubt smiles somewhere). The match was tremendous, except for a rather unusual line from Jerry Lawler, in which he stated, regarding Cody’s looks, “This guy could scare a hotdog off a bun.”
Yeah, I think I know somebody else Cody can introduce to that giant fish hook.
Hey, remember when I mentioned Sheamus and Bryan getting pre-empted? I know I’ve mentioned it forty times thus far, but it bears repeating, because while that was scrapped, you know what made it onto the PPV telecast?
A SINGING CONTEST HOSTED BY SNOOP DOGG!
My cable bill at the end of the month should have just had a shiny sticker of a middle finger on it.
So while we had precious minutes eaten away by the song stylings of William Regal (who actually showed some mad skillz, because he’s WILLIAM REGAL), Beth Phoenix, Great Khali, Zack Ryder (who had the balls to sing Rebecca Black’s “Friday”, thus earning my respect, before getting whacked with a coconut by Rowdy Roddy Piper), Chris Masters, and Yoshi Tatsu, you had to wonder, “How could this possibly get any worse?”
And then Hornswoggle showed up to rap, removing any doubts you may have had.
The Edge-Del Rio and Mysterio-Rhodes matches were earnest attempts to build a human pyramid on already shaky ground, and this entire segment was akin to Hornswoggle driving a go-kart into the bottom of the pile.
Who booked this crap, Zombie Herb Abrams?
Back to wrestling.
All ninety seconds of it.
Yep, apparently, because we’re so pressed for time, what with Rock’s prattling on and Hornswoggle’s rapping, that an eight man tag featuring Big Show, Kane, Kofi Kingston, and Santino Marella vs. The Corre (hey, remember them?) had to be severely abbreviated.
They say you never forget your first WrestleMania. And I’m sure Wade Barrett (then Intercontinental Champion), Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel (then Tag Team Champions), and Ezekiel Jackson (then…..keeper of the defunct ECW Championship, as well as the gnarliest ‘wrinklehead’ I’ve ever seen) will never forget this priceless memory.
Boy, if I’d known what was next, I don’t think I’d have been in such a rush to get there.
In another segment that was of the utmost importance to WWE, The Rock meets up with Eve Torres (the current Divas Champion, so you can see why she had the night off), and vows to electrify the next person who walks into the room.
That person would be Mae Young.
*cue slide whistle effects*
I won’t lie; Rock calling Mae a “Divasaurus” was pretty funny, but everything else? Er, not so much.
The ha-ha-larity led to Rock having a face to face with his greatest rival, Stone Cold Steve Austin, in a genuinely cool moment. It was the first time both men had been seen in the same vicinity in WWE since 2003, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get goosebumps seeing the two go eye to eye once more.
Of course, there was no match between the two. Just a thirty second reminder of past eras that didn’t need rap contests, guest hosts, and hashtags to put on a great show.
WWE, you naughty tease, you.
Then there was a glimmer of hope, as CM Punk and Randy Orton put on a damn fine match, one worthy of a **** rating if you ask me. The ending was quite insane, as Orton bombed Punk with the RKO, when the “Straight Edge Superstar” springboarded into the ring.
I include this only because the majority of people seem to have forgotten this match when, on a show with less clutter, it would have been heralded as an all time classic.
Sorry, guys. At least you’d both have better luck and better days..
Then we were treated to The Rock dressing down Pee-Wee Herman, as my patience really begins to wear thread-thin.
You know, I couldn’t find a word to describe the people who wrote, produced, and directed this pile of dung, but Pee-Wee being there just inspired me to think of one.
Here’s a hint: it starts with a J, and it’s what Pee-Wee got busted for twenty years ago.
We’re just lucky WWE didn’t debut Kharma a month earlier as “Reba the Mail Lady.”
An annual WrestleMania tradition is, of course, The Hall of Fame inductees being introduced. It was a pretty good class, headed by Shawn Michaels, alongside Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Sunny, The Road Warriors, Paul Ellering, Abdullah the Butcher, and Bullet Bob Armstrong.
Oh, can’t forget, Drew Carey, who made a two minute cameo in the 2001 Royal Rumble. Drew’s a nice guy, and I like him, but man did he get booed out of the building twice (at the Hall of Fame the night before, and during his acknowledgement here).
Poor Drew; first, he was a second-rate Clive Anderson, then a second-rate Bob Barker, and now he’s given a spot that could easily have gone to Macho Man Randy Savage before his death six weeks later.
Maybe he can lead Ryan and Colin and the gang through the “Undeserving Hall of Famer” hoedown!
After Drew Carey finished his stint as “Boo Carey”, it was onto the Michael Cole-Jerry Lawler debacle, which RD has helpfully covered in his 2011 Gooker Award induction, even if it was against the best interests of his sanity.
You already know the story about Cole’s descent into becoming the most obnoxious announcer of all time. If Pete “Duke of Dorchester” Doherty had spoken with a kazoo in his mouth through a bullhorn, Cole would still be Douche-o Numero Uno. So since the background for this announcer vs. announcer feud is established, let’s move on.
As an aside, how weird was it that you had Cole and Lawler doing commentary together, albeit with the occasional verbal swipe at the other, through four matches? Can you imagine WrestleMania 8 if Flair and Savage joined Monsoon and Heenan in the booth?
Actually, I can.
And it’s preferable to this.
For those of you keeping score, this would be the debut of Cole’s “Rick Steiner-with-a-tapeworm” look.
Good aspects of this match: Jim Ross and Booker “AWWWWWW HERE WE GO” T were on commentary.
Bad aspects of this match: everything else.
What started out as a promising menagerie of overbooked mayhem helped grind an already erratic show to a halt, as Cole ended up on offense for what seemed like thirty years. Cole would be fine as a manager, perhaps this generation’s Jimmy Hart, but as someone that had to work the bulk of a fifteen minute match (while Kofi Kingston and Wade Barrett got 90 seconds, mind you), he’s clearly out of his game.
Lawler ultimately won with his own ankle lock, so at least we had a happy ending, right?
But we didn’t.
The Anonymous Raw GM, via Josh Mathews, reversed the decision, due to Steve Austin (he was the referee, by the way) physically interjecting himself into the proceedings, and deemed Cole the winner by disqualification.
So Austin beats up Mathews.
You know what would have saved this show? Austin grabbing the GM laptop and giving it the Stunner.
At least we’d have a plausible explanation as to why the GM’s been MIA.
Then came the match that nearly saved the show: Undertaker and Triple H’s dramatic no holds barred match, in which Undertaker staved off near fall after near fall, before finally forcing The COO-bral Assassin to succumb to Hell’s Gate.
You can’t possibly complain about this match. It was intense, it was heart-stopping, and it belonged at WrestleMania.
I will note, however, that the DVD version edited off Triple H’s use of “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Metallica as his entrance theme, using an in-house knockoff instead. As a Metallica diehard who once wrote a 9,000 word column on their fifty greatest songs, naming “Tolls” number one, I guess it’d still be petty of me to kvetch about one little aspect of a match of the year candidate.
At least they’re making up for it by using “The Memory Remains” for their match this year. Should they edit THAT masterpiece off of this year’s DVD, I’ll look forward to crowning Vince McMahon “King Nothing” once and for all.
Time for some WWE stargazing! And what better way to do so than to drag the lovely Trish Stratus back and have her team with rising star John Morrison, along with Snooki.
Yep, the living, breathing Troll doll from Jersey Shore herself.
In a quickie (something Snooki’s probably used to), the trio defeated Dolph Ziggler, Michelle McCool, and Layla (be still your heart, Real Deal), after Snooki busted out a Great Muta Handspring on Michelle.
Except I think Muta used his elbow to punctuate the move, and not an oversized, dance-club friendly pair of glutes at his opponents.
The most notable part of the aftermath was Morrison completely giving Trish the cold shoulder, allegedly as a protest for his girlfriend, Melina, not getting a match at WrestleMania.
So to recap, Morrison took his frustrations out on the most popular and respected Women’s Champion in WWE history, and not the vodka-scented Oompa Loompa that got a bigger check than most of the performers on the show combined?
Melina would have been proud of the stand he took for her, if she wasn’t too busy occupying a broom closet with three muscular FCW trainees at the time.
Finally, it’s on to the main event, where The Miz will defend the WWE Championship against John Cena. Thankfully, Cena didn’t win the Royal Rumble, or else this may have opened the show.
Since it’s the main event, both men got special introductions. Miz’s included a wonderfully done video set to Nas’ “Hate Me Now” (which is intact on the WWE, while Metallica isn’t. Grrrrr), and Cena’s was, well, considerably less auspicious.
Borrowing a page from Blake Griffin’s overrated and overglitzed winning slam in the 2011 NBA Dunk Contest, Cena had a CHURCH CHOIR singing his entrance theme.
If they can do the Fabulous Rougeau Brothers theme, they need to release it as a single, STAT.
So the match begins, and it’s both rushed and generic. Either Miz isn’t the main event level performer everyone hoped he’d be, or the timing issues on the show really screwed things up, because Miz and Cena were on different pages in different books trying to make this one work.
Originally, the match ended in a DOUBLE COUNT OUT after both men were knocked through the railing!
Had that been the actual ending to the show, I’d have applauded it for the sheer gall that would have taken to do that.
But no, The Rock runs in, because he’s the guest host, and he restarts the match! Good, because WrestleMania can’t end without a clean winner.
So, of course, Rock uses the reboot to give Cena the Rock Bottom, allowing Miz to retain his title.
Then Rock gives Miz a Rock Bottom as well.
Then Rock stands tall to close the show, because he’s better than everyone and everything, and to Hell with build-up and tradition and making new stars and yada yada yada.
At least Alex Riley (remember him?) didn’t accidentally throw salt into Miz’s eyes, allowing Rock to beat Miz and become champion in an impromptu match.
Actually, that may have improved the show.
So there you have it. Four good to great matches, three of them that are hardly remembered. You had one match omitted from the body of the main show, due to timing issues. Of course, they still had time for horrid backstage skits, Rock’s unending intro, and a Cole/Lawler debacle that lasted a half hour from the first promo video to the last sight of Austin.
WrestleMania XXVII got lackluster reviews at the time, and it still holds up (or down) a year later as a complete misfire from a company that usually delivers in the clutch.
My first foray into writing an authentic WrestleCrap induction, and it mostly lived up to its name.
WrestleMania XXVII had a little bit of wrestling, and a whole lotta crap.