Why You Should Care About Wrestlemania XXV (Preview)
WWE Champion Triple H vs. Randy Orton
How We Got Here: Well, it all started with a slap and a kick ironically enough. Six days before the Royal Rumble in January, Randy Orton got slapped by Stephanie McMahon for disrespecting her. He then demanded an apology from her dad, who returned after a freak "accident" during the fiasco that was "Million Dollar Mania" last Summer. He didn't get it and didn't give one to Vince, when Vince demanded it for his disrespect of Stephanie. After more or less berating Randy's dad, Randy proceeded to put his pimp hand on display, smacking Vince across the face. After booting him in the face, he proceeded to kick Vince in the head. For the uninitated, Randy's "punt" to the head has concussed many a superstar over the past year and change. So you figure, it's all over, right? Nobody kicks the owner in the head (let alone Vincent Kennedy McMahon) and lives, right?
Wrong. Orton proceeded to go on to the Rumble, amidst murmurs that he'd be fired for his actions and won it. Guaranteeing himself a title shot at this year's Wrestlemania against whatever champion he chose. But that's not where it ends. The night after, he was attacked by Shane McMahon, Vince's son. This would lead to Shane and Randy going at it at No Way Out last month in a No Holds Barred match. Which Randy won, of course. So the next night, even in spite of the damage he took the night before, Shane challenged Randy to an unsanctioned fight which would only end when one man didn't move. Randy took the fight and was on the verge of being knocked out cold by Shane, when Randy's buddies Cody Rhodes (yes, Dusty's seed if ya weel) and Ted DiBiase Jr. (yes, the Million Dollar Kid) came down to make the save. Cody hit his little finisher allowing Orton to get to his feet and kick Shane right in the skull. Stephanie came running down to her brother's aide and as she looked in on him, Randy slithered closer which got her attention. Stephanie then proceeded to plead with Orton to leave which got a three letter response from Randy.
R. K. O. (Otherwise known in most circles, as a Diamond Cutter)
Randy's patented finisher dropped Stephanie to the mat and a stunned silence filled the arena. That is until Triple H came sprinting out and that's when the game, so to speak, changed. Kayfabe speaking, Triple H and Stephanie split back in February of 2002 when Trips found out Steph lied to him about a kid she never had. HOWEVER...the "worst kept secret in wrestling" as Trips himself stated last week, is that they very much are still married. So you go and put your hands on the wife of one of the modern day's most vicious men, ya gotta know things would get bloody. Bloody quickly in fact, as one week later, Triple H showed up circa 2001. 2001 meaning, leather jacket and a sledgehammer, looking to maim someone. He basically chased Orton and DiBiase through the arena with said hammer, until they got away. A week after this, Orton was going to press charges on HHH for his assault until Triple H went back in time a bit for Randy. Took him back to 2004, when Randy became the youngest World Champion in wrestling history. The night after, Randy was left bloody by Triple H as Evolution turned on him at Triple H's behest. This is the one black cloud that has hung over Orton's head, FOR YEARS. No matter what he has done, no matter what he's won, the one obstacle he has not overcome is Triple H. Which brings me to...
Why Should You Care: Because this is hands down, the most personal feud to EVER headline Wrestlemania. This is about one man's quest to end the career of a man that has systematically targeted and brought down his family. (Even Stone Cold can't claim what Orton's done, even back when Stone Cold and Vince were mortal enemies.) It's about something far greater than a title for Hunter, because for the first time in his career (second if you count the time Kurt Angle made a play on his wife nine years ago), someone's hit Trips where he lives. Home. For HHH, the title he carries (which for those who have followed Trips throughout this decade, knows it's what he lives and dies for), something has transcended the belt he carries. This is about the honor of his family and exacting revenge on the man who has dared to target them.
For Orton, it's about closure and cement. Closure, for what happened to him five years ago at the hands of Triple H. The greatest moment of his life was derailed by Trips and to this point, Orton has failed miserably to exact a most fitting revenge for that night. Lifetime against Triple H, Orton has only won ONCE head to head and that came a year and change ago in October of 2007. Randy Orton beat Triple H in a Last Man Standing match, but only after Triple H competed twice beforehand. Once against Orton, to win the WWE Title that Vince awarded to Orton as Cena was out with an injury. Orton has yet to beat HHH one on one, in what you'd call a "fair fight". But make no bones about it, Orton's no slouch in spite of this. Orton is as sociopathic a man as you'll find. You could venture to say he's a throwback to Jake The Snake, but with what went down Monday night, one dare say Randy's hit a level none save Satan know exists. Orton has made it clear, he plans on cementing his legacy at the expense of the McMahons.
- He has already concussed Vince and Shane with vicious punts to the head.
- He has already dropped Stephanie on her head twice, first time with an RKO and the second time came Monday night when Orton DDT'd Stephanie and then kissed her while unconcious.
Triple H is the only McMahon left standing. Keep in mind, Orton studied under Triple H and Flair, two of the dirtiest players in this game's history while in Evolution. Orton has more than shown over the past year and change, he has learned VERY VERY well. Don't expect this to be scientific like Angle/Lesnar which headlined Wrestlemania XIX. This is going to be vicious, it's going to be absolutely brutal to watch if you've got a weak stomach. But the catch is, while everyone expects the good guy to win and exact revenge...
I don't think it's going to happen. Randy's the next great heel that I fully believe, will be a major draw. The Age Of Orton had a trial run through the first half of last year and as good as it was, this verison will be even greater. Every so often, a heel comes along that you want to pay to see get his ass beat. In the 80s it was Flair, 90s was a bit different for this reason. You had war between two different promotions and while one could make the case it was Hogan from 1996 up to 1999, can anyone really point to what made Hollywood Hogan any different than Hulk Hogan circa Hulkamania? I'm talking beyond the change in color scheme and subbing out "Real American" for "Voodoo Child". Anyway, with how one sided this has been, Orton HAS to win. There's no ifs, ands or buts about it here. Orton must win the WWE Title next Sunday and he most likely will. Which brings me to the 'cement' portion of this. It's about cementing his legacy as being GREATER than his daddy (Cowboy Bob Orton Junior) and his grandpappy (Bob Sr.). Whether you like him or not, Randy's hands down, the best in the game right now. He's the guy who for the better part of this year, you're going to shell out money to see get his ass kicked as I stated above.
Neither of the men I mentioned, had that allure. Even Vince himself said, his dad wasn't that great until he came along. While Cowboy Bob may have main evented the first Mania, his son has headlined three of the last four Manias. All three have been title matches and he headlined last year's as WWE Champion. This year, I think he'll win the WWE Championship and will do something that we haven't seen close a Wrestlemania in quite some time.
Give us a great heel moment that will have us go 'HOLY S**T!'. The last time Mania was in Texas, we got Austin and McMahon shaking hands after leaving The Rock a bloodied mess as Austin regained the WWE Title. Granted reviews of Austin going heel are mixed, I think it was well done. But that's another story for another time. But I do believe that we'll get a major shocker to close out Mania, which will set up Orton/HHH II nicely for Backlash. Or even still, DX reforming (because Trips will NEED the help) going against...well, play Smackdown vs. Raw 2009's Road to Wrestlemania mode with Triple H. You'll see what I'm thinking will happen here. Seriously.
World Heavyweight Championship/Triple Threat
World Heavyweight Champion Edge vs. Big Show vs. John Cena
How We Got Here: Edge beat John Cena in an Elimination Chamber match last month to go on to become World Champion. He got there, despite losing the WWE Title earlier that same night in a similar match by taking out Kofi Kingston who was supposed to be in said World Title match. Follow so far? In any case, Edge is married to Vickie Guerrero, as in Eddie's widow. She just so happens to be the GM of Smackdown and for the better part of the past two years give or take, Edge has run wild with his woman making things as easy as possible for her hubby to succeed. Last August, after Edge was basically put through the ring after a Hell In A Cell match against The Undertaker, Big Show was pegged to "protect" Vickie and help maintain order as it were. Edge came back last November after Jeff was taken out in a stairwell and regained the WWE Title. Nobody had any real reason to doubt Vickie's loyalty, UNTIL a few weeks ago when Show was named the #1 contender to Edge's title at Wrestlemania after Edge retained said title by DQ over Cena in Boston.
Turns out, Cena has some peoples in Boston that was watching that night. Even a few who were working the security cameras, which exposed Vickie's tryst with the Big Show. Cena basically used a bit of blackmail to get his way back into the mix, when it was previously thought that his DQ win knocked him out entirely.
Why Should You Care: Because unlike previous three ways, this is actually a fairly good one. Or at least it has been built up fairly well in any regard. Cena's focused on regaining the World Championship. Show's set on proving to Vickie that Edge isn't man enough for her and he'd be a better man slash champ. Edge is merely set on proving that he's the champion for a reason, not to mention Vickie's husband. This should be better than most think.
Mister Wrestlemania vs. "The Streak"
Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker
How We Got Here: Last month, JBL had an epiphany after he lost to Shawn Michaels. Basically, he thought since he won't be going into Mania in his homestate of Texas as champion, he'd do something historic. He'd be the guy to beat The Undertaker at Wrestlemania. Shawn, begged to differ. As did Vladimir Kozlov, Smackdown's Russian Rambler who was undefeated until Shawn beat him just days after beating JBL for the right to face The Undertaker at Wrestlemania. So while the manner by which we got to this point, was hokey and three halves, everything since has NOT.
Why You Should Care: Because for all intents and purposes, this is probably the Match of the Night. Over the years, since debuting close to a decade and change ago, The Undertaker has stunted royally at Wrestlemania. His resume of victims reads like a who's who of wrestling. From Jimmy Snuka to Jake 'The Snake' Roberts to Klique members Diesel and Triple H, you name him, Taker's beaten him at Wrestlemania. HOWEVER...throughout his career, while Taker's beaten every name that there is to beat, one has constantly beaten him time and time again.
Shawn Michaels. He's the one guy Taker's never beaten, in two tries at that. Shawn beat Taker in 1997 in the first ever Hell In A Cell match. One could make the case that if not for Kane's fiery debut and Tombstone Piledriver, maybe this ain't so. But alas, it was and Shawn despite being beaten from pillar to post, won. Just months later, at January's Royal Rumble in a Casket Match, Shawn emerged victorious once again. Granted, Kane turned on his brother and set up Kane/Taker at Wrestlemania XIV, but the facts remain. Shawn's never lost to Taker in his career. The other thing of note is this.
For years, Taker's made a living off of taking up space in his opponent's head. Taker's been the master of mind games, because foes don't know how to block it out. All however, except for the Heartbreak Kid. Unlike most who have said they're not afraid of The Undertaker and been proven wrong, Shawn's not. Shawn's stolen the show at Mania, year after year almost without fail. Perhaps his win-loss total isn't anywhere near Taker's, nobody can deny that Shawn definitely gives you something to watch though, win, lose or draw. Taker conversely, simply wants to beat you. The roles in this thing have been as clearly defined as any match you'll see on this card. Shawn's about ending the streak and putting on a show. Taker's simply about adding Shawn's name to a long list of foes who dared challenge him on the industry's biggest stage. If this doesn't wet your whistle, nothing will.
The Brothers Battle
Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy/Extreme Rules
How We Got Here: In January, Matt turned on his brother Jeff, costing him the WWE Title. Ever since then, Matt's all but claimed responsiblity for everything that's gone down to Jeff over the past year and change. From his house burning down to attacking him last November in a stairwell, to damn near toasting him with pyrotechnics. Why? Jealousy. Matt's career to this point in time, has paled in comparison to that of Jeff's. While Matt has a heavyweight title on his resume, it's nothing compared to Jeff's rise as WWE Champion which he finally achieved in December of last year. Ever since, Jeff has had to come to grips with the fact that his older brother, wants him out for good.
Why You Should Care: This isn't going to be Bret/Owen from Wrestlemania X in terms of a wrestling classic. It won't be anything like Taker/Kane, which at WM XIV was underrated and was merely an afterthought at XX. This is going to be a good brawl, with the rulebook tossed out the window. I think Matt's a better bad guy anyway and this is the dissention of one of the greatest tag teams in WWE history. If not one of its most popular. Money In The Bank Ladder Match (Winner gets a title shot anytime in the next 365 days)
Kane vs. Mark Henry vs. United States Champion Montel Vontavious Porter vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. CM Punk vs. Finlay vs. Christian Cage vs. Kofi Kingston
How We Got Here: Well, all of these guys won qualifying matches to get into this match. Yup. Just that simple.
Why You Should Care: Because if history truly dictates, the winner of this match will become World Heavyweight Champion or WWE Champion within the next 365 days. Essentially, it's King of the Ring condensed down into one night and one suitcase, as opposed to a long tourney that the WWE used to use in order to create stars. CM Punk won this match last year and went on to win the title last June on Edge, after Edge was beat down by Batista. Edge has won this suitcase twice, Punk's won it once. Mr. Kennedy has won it once, but he lost the case to Edge in a match two years ago.
This is essentially, your "Spotfest" of the Night. Every "oooh" and "aaah" moment involving a weapon, or every major leap off of something (or someone) will come from this match. Shelton Benjamin has been in this match almost as a fixture since its inception at Wrestlemania XXI and he's going to produce a few of them. Same for Punk and feasibly MVP as well as Cage...possibly. I'm not seriously expecting Henry to win this, Kane could POSSIBLY win this thing and maybe they give him a legitimate push. Those who have been watching, don't rule this out. He got a good push in 1998 and ended up winning the title, even if for only 24 hours (Austin won the belt back the night after). I definitely can see MVP winning this thing, as he has something of a "Rock Lite" going for him now that he's over with the fans after a 20 something match losing streak. This will be a fun match to watch, so just enjoy it.
Intercontinental Champion JBL vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
How We Got Here: JBL asked Vickie for a favor a few weeks ago, namely to get an IC title match against then champion CM Punk. He got it and proceeded to win, however what's unknown is what the favor is that JBL has to do for her. JBL has proclaimed that he will do something "historic" at Wrestlemania this year, but hasn't mentioned at all what this is. Rey challenged JBL and well, he has a fairly good win-loss record against JBL.
Why Should You Care: Here's why I THINK you should care. If this match kicks off Wrestlemania, please believe by the end of the night, JBL will be a World Champion of some sort. Most likely, he'll be World Heavyweight Champion as I can see Cena winning the title and getting clotheslined out of his jean shorts by JBL and beat for the title. JBL has promised a decisive title win over Rey and eh, I dunno. If Rey wins, I riot. With a real machete and a pack of rabid pit bulls.
25 Diva Battle Royal/Winner Is Miss Wrestlemania
How We Got Here: I really can't tell you, I really can't.
Why Should You Care: I really...really couldn't tell ya. I love women as much as the next man (or woman) and honestly, this just screams HOKEY to me.
Unified Tag Team Championship Match/Lumberjack Match
WWE Tag Team Champions Carlito and Primo Nikki Bella vs. World Tag Team Champions Miz & John Morrison w/Brie Bella
How We Got Here: Initially, this started over the Bella Twins. Yes, they're twins. Miz and Morrison won a date with the two, which the Colons (yes, they're Carlos Colon's kids I believe) crashed and proceeded to pieface the Bellas. These two teams have gone back and forth over the past few weeks, until most recently when the twins split. Carlito and Primo laid down the challenge on a recent edition of the Miz and Morrison's widely popular show, The Dirt Sheet. So for the first time since Wrestlemania XVIII, we're going to have a Title vs. Title match with the winner becoming Unified Tag Team Champions.
Why Should You Care: Because I think this might actually jumpstart the tag team division in the WWE. I think having one set of tag champs, jumping back and forth between both shows will be great for the WWE. There are more than enough quality teams on the roster and I think we'll see the division get more interesting after the fact. Well, I think they will anyway.
Roddy Piper/Jimmy Snuka/Ricky Steamboat w/Ric Flair vs. Chris Jericho
How We Got Here: This all started when Jericho started badmouthing the movie, The Wrestler. He basically went on a tirade about how that movie with Mickey Rourke accurately spoke on the legends of this sport that just won't go away. Jericho has proceeded to over the last few weeks, to basically badmouth and attack Piper, Snuka, Steamboat and most recently last Monday, Flair. Two weeks ago, after Flair screwed Jericho out of a spot in the Money In The Bank match, Jericho called out Flair for a one on one match. Flair said he was retired but found three guys who were more than willing to fight him instead. Enter Piper, Snuka and Steamboat. Jericho was run off by the foursome and then challenged them to a match at Wrestlemania, which they accepted through Flair last Monday night.
Why You Should Care: Sadly, you shouldn't. If you can go to Youtube, go back through the last month or so of Raw shows. Listen to what Jericho says and you can see he's right. The direction this thing should've taken, especially given where Wrestlemania's taking place, should've given us Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Chris Jericho. Jericho for the way he has brutalized and disrespected these legends deserves to have his ass kicked. Unfortunately, for whatever the reason, the WWE after weeks of great build and promos by Jericho...have wasted it all. They're giving us a three on one handicap match that realistically, you know Jericho SHOULD win. Easily. Mickey Rourke will most likely appear at Wrestlemania and originally, before it got leaked everywhere sans Hell, it was supposed to have been Rourke vs. Jericho. But unfortunately, we've got this. Three guys who are past their prime and halfway into the grave, against Jericho. Who for those who remember Chris from the past, is anything BUT what you remember him as. If not for Orton, he would probably be THE heel on Raw right now. With the Draft next month, I would not be shocked if Jericho is moved to Smackdown. Seriously, he's that good on the mic. Jericho's probably the best talking heel with Orton as 1B. In terms of overall heelness, Orton's 1A, Jericho's 1B. Edge is 2...but by a very SLIM margin.
But overall, this is probably the best Wrestlemania card since Wrestlemania X-Seven in 2001. ORDER IT I SAY!!! ORDER ITTTTTTT!!!