- « *Update* Breaking News: Andrew “Test” Martin found Dead
- Smackdown Commentator leaves WWE, and Vince to induct Austin »
WRESTLEMANIA 25 Countdown: 11 days
I thought Raw was an incredible show last night with amazing promos and confrontations that led to a positive build to all the main WrestleMania programs. Specifically the Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, Jericho vs. Legends, and Triple H vs. Randy Orton feuds were especially well done.
Michaels standing in the grave yard to play mind games with The Undertaker took me back to those classic style vignettes from the ’80s. HBK smoothly described The Dead Man’s past Mania victims and how he would do the impossible…end Undertaker’s 16-0 WrestleMania winning streak. Michael’s borderlined on cheesy, but played it just right as he kept the tone serious and epic. That vignette alone would make me want to buy Mania on April 5.
After what I thought was a bit of a disappointing revelation last week of Chris Jericho taking on Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka, and Ricky Steamboat at Mania, the storyline kicked right back into gear. Ric Flair was out to address Jericho and was being typical Nature Boy when Y2J sucker punched him. The ferocious beatdown included Flair gushing blood, being smacked with a TV camera, having his clothes torn off, and his gold watch given to him by Shawn Michaels last year stomped to pieces. Jerry Lawler challenged Jericho to a match next week later on Raw. The emotion of seeing the legendary Flair pummeled to a bloody pulp made Jericho even more hated and The Nature Boy’s prescence in the 3 legends corner at Mania that much more important. Mickey Rourke is still being rumoured to be in the crowd and I’m positive we’ll see him in the ring in one way or another at WrestleMania.
Switching to pure hate and psychoticness is Randy Orton and Triple H. This feud has had one of the best builds in the past 2 years. Last night took it to a whole new level and if I was on the fence about purchasing Mania, I would definitely be buying it now. Last week Triple H demolished Cody Rhodes in a steel cage where his Legacy teammates could not help him. This Monday the match was to be Orton and DiBiase against Triple H in a handicap battle. When The Game went to go for his sledgehammer under the ring, out popped Rhodes and the three men subdued Triple H enough to handcuff him to the ropes. With Orton teasing that he was going to use the sledgehammer on the world champion’s skull, Stephanie McMahon ran down to try and save her husband. Pleading with the trio did not work and Randy got her in a head lock with her feet dangling on the second rope. With a sinister grin he delivered a vicious DDT to Stephanie (and kudos to her for selling it so well). Triple H was outraged but helpless, and the best was yet to come. Orton rolled over the unconcious Stephanie and kissed her on the lips right infront of her husband while glaring defiantely. If you did not see this segment it is worth going out of your way to see. This emotional build has made this title match arguably the hottest contest on the entire Mania card.
With only 11 days to go till WrestleMania 25, this “grand daddy of ‘em all” could be the greatest Mania since #20.
Also, congratulations are in order to Smackdown for reaching its 500th episode this past Friday. The show has certainly had its ups and definite downs, but has secured a spot in the hearts of fans as the solid #2 program behind its older brother Raw.
If you remember way way back Smackdown was originally supposed to be a one off to try and counter WCW’s Thursday program, Thunder. The ratings for Smackdown were great and with TV station UPN they were up and running. Not too long after Smackdown overtook Thunder in ratings, and the Thursday (now Friday) night wrestling tradition was under way.
Andy McNamara is a SLAM! Wrestling writer, and play-by-play broadcaster for Toronto Maple Leafs inter-county league baseball, along with hockey, basketball, and volleyball on Rogers Television in Toronto. He is also the Host of Oakville Blades hockey on TV Cogeco. Contact Andy at email@example.com