WrestleMania 21: Dawn of a new era
Hello everyone, and welcome to yet another edition of WrestleMania Rewind. We’re nearing the end of the series, as we get into the last half. We’re also inching closer to WrestleMania 29, which is just about a week away. A lot of high profile matches have been declared, but the hype surrounding the event is lackluster to say the least. It doesn’t give the vibe of a WrestleMania, but that of a house show or a low grade PPV. The last WrestleMania we covered, which was WrestleMania 20, is my personal favorite, and one of the best WrestleManias of all time. The return of the Undertaker, Eddie Guerrero retaining the WWE title and Chris Benoit winning the World Heavyweight championship made it the most memorable WrestleMania of all time, and when the night ended, the two amigos, who had traveled all over the world together, embraced each other with the two most prestigious titles on their shoulders. When WrestleMania 20 went off the air, Eddie was celebrating with Chris Benoit, and J.R’s passion and involvement in the moment made it that much special.
Lillian Garcia opened the show by singing America The Beautiful.
Rey Mysterio defeated Eddie Guerrero
The tag champs make their way out, and I love both of these performers, and it was a great way to open the show. These two guys have faced each other so many times in the past, and I personally love their Halloween Havoc match back in ’97 in WCW. I urge all the Eddie – Rey fans to watch it if they hadn’t already. Anyway, the match was given about 13 minutes, which is pretty decent, and gave these phenomenal performers a chance to put on a solid opening match. The crowd was firmly behind Eddie, because they loved him. Eddie tried to put Rey away, but Rey didn’t quit. Eddie wanted to prove he was the better man, and this eventually led to his heel turn later on. The match came to an end when Rey gave Eddie a 619, and then after a series of counters, a West Coast Pop for the pin and the win. After the match, both the guys shook hands. This would be Eddie’s final WrestleMania, as he passed away in November that year. Thank you for the memories, Eddie.
Edge defeated Chris Jericho, Shelton Benjamin, Chris Benoit, Christian (With Tyson Tomko) and Kane in the Money In The Bank ladder match
The first ever MITB ladder match happened at WrestleMania 21. The talent involved in the match was simply amazing. You had Jericho, Benoit and Christian who were three of the best wrestlers in professional wrestling history, and you had Edge and Kane who were two of the best workers, and you had Benjamin, who was the best pure athlete in the WWE. The match was given about 16 minutes, and saw some amazing spots and sick bumps. Benoit sold excellently throughout the match, and the finish saw Edge taking advantage of an injured Benoit, hitting his arm with a chair, and grabbing the suitcase, thus making him the ‘Ultimate Opportunist’. This is my 2nd favorite MITB match in history, with the first being Smackdown!’s MITB match in ’11 which Daniel Bryan won. I’m a Daniel Bryan guy.
The Undertaker defeated Randy Orton (With “Cowboy” Bob Orton)
The third match of the evening saw Randy Orton challenging The Undertaker, with Undertaker’s streak on the line. Randy’s feud with Taker was in full swing, and he wanted to confirm his name as the ‘Legend Killer’, and do the unthinkable by beating The Undertaker at WrestleMania. The match went for about 15 minutes, and saw some good near falls and great counters. Bob Orton interfered by hitting Taker with his cast, but Taker kicked out. There was a great spot when Orton countered Taker’s chokeslam into an RKO! Great reversal right there. Orton went for the Tombstone on Taker, but Taker reversed it with a Tombstone of his own for the pin and the win. One of Taker’s better matches at WrestleMania till then. After this, Taker had just more average match at WrestleMania against Henry, but after that, he has been putting great matches at the mega event. This meant that Taker was 13 – 0 at WrestleMania.
Lita is the best women’s wrestler in the history of the WWE, but she was injured here, and they made her the trainer of Christy, who was the first ever winner of Divas’ search. Trish was a heel at this point of time, so she challenged Hemme for a match. The match was given just 5 minutes, considering Christy wasn’t even a professionally trained performer. A quick match that I did not care about, as I wanted a Trish – Lita match. That would have been awesome. The end came when Trish connected with a Chick Kick for the pin and the win. An okay match that got less time (Thank Goodness!)
Kurt Angle defeated Shawn Michaels
The next match was between two of the greatest performers in the history of the business. Their rivalry started at RR ’05 when Shawn eliminated Kurt. Kurt then snapped and assaulted Shawn. This transpired into a full blown feud when Shawn challenged Kurt for a match at WrestleMania. In one of the more infamous moments, Kurt made Sherri sing his version of Shawn’s theme song, calling it ‘Sexy Kurt’, and proceeded to give her the ankle lock! Anyway, people expected a classic from these two wonderful athletes, and they weren’t disappointed. They put on one of the best WrestleMania matches of all time, with counter after counter, and reversal after reversal. The match went for about 28 minutes, and was a masterpiece with the crowd getting into it right from the beginning. Near falls and the story told during the match was amazing! The end came when Kurt trapped Shawn in the ankle lock, and even though Shawn tried to hang on, he finally gave up and tapped out to give Kurt the victory. Post match, the crowd gave both the men a standing ovation which they utterly deserved.
Akebono defeated The Big Show in a Sumo match
I had to close my eyes while seeing Show in that gear. It went for about 90 seconds, and Akebono won by throwing Show out of the circle. I really don’t want to say anything more.
John Cena defeated John “Bradshaw” Layfield for the WWE Championship
Cena finished second in the Royal Rumble, and earned his spot at WrestleMania. He came out to a massive pop (Something you cannot see now), and JBL entered to a lot of boos from the crowd. The match went on for 12 minutes, and Cena was the babyface on the rise, so everyone knew he’d win this match. It was an average match, and was a way to put over Cena. The match came to an end when Cena delivered the F – U to JBL for the pin and to win the WWE title! Post match, Cena celebrated with the crowd, which was nice to see.
Batista defeated Triple H (With Ric Flair) to win the World Heavyweight championship
This was the most hyped, and best played out feud at that point. It was 2 years in the making, as Batista got tired of Triple H and turned face, as he challenged Hunter for the World title at WrestleMania. The crowd was firmly behind Batista, and it was his time to be the top guy. The match received about 22 minutes, and saw good in – ring action between the two. Flair tried to get involved but gets sent to the back. Batista overcomes the fight back by Triple H to deliver the Batista bomb for the pin and to win the World Heavyweight title. An average match, but good work by both the performers. The night ended with Batista holding the World Heavyweight title as the show went off the air.
Another strong show, and a memorable one at that. Of course, not as memorable for me as the WrestleMania before, but the show delivered in every aspect, and the crowd was hot for the entire thing. The Angle – Shawn match was absolutely breath taking, and was a 5 star classic without a shadow of a doubt. The MITB match was a great concept, and it picked up from this WrestleMania. Cena and Batista went on to become the faces of WWE on their respective brands, and the rest is history. Well, that does it from me for now. Join us again as we continue our journey towards WrestleMania 29, which is just days away.
Read the rest of the WrestleMania rewind series here