Their challengers at this event were Michaels & The Undertaker, both of whom were considered legends by this point in their glorious careers. I remember that really pissed me off about this show. Finlay hit the Celtic Cross onto Hardy onto a ladder. Time flies when you’re falling off a ladder, I guess. Kane It was an interpromotional match with Khali representing Raw as a new heel and Kane representing Smackdown as the babyface. Khali applied a vice grip and then a choke in the corner. It’s the Andre the Giant move where he gets tied up so the opponent can attack him. Khali was put over huge whether we liked it or not. It was Layla, Brooke & Kelly without the other Kelly on her name.
While the Raw & Smackdown brands remained, the brand extension had also extended to ECW. If Ric Flair is active, as he was here, he should be on the main show. This event was about two hours away from where I live. From July 2007 to December 2007 I barely watched the product. Finlay was selling injuries, so he couldn’t climb right away. They showed a clip of a movie premiere of Steve Austin’s movie The Condemned. Backstage, Todd “The Nerd” Grisham interviewed Ken Kennedy. He said he was going to cash in the briefcase any time and any place. Of course he’d get hurt, Edge would beat him in a match for the briefcase and he’d be the one to cash in the briefcase for a World Title win. Kane came back with punches in the corner followed by a clothesline. Kane went under the ring and grabbed a chain while the ref freed Khali. The ref was cleaning the turnbuckle padding, so Kane used the chain to hit Khali in the nuts. Then Moolah & Mae were there to dance with Eugene as well.
It was their way of saying that they have evolved from the beginnings of Wrestle Mania. Edge and Matt paired off, then Orton and Finlay paired off. The Hardy brothers took Booker out with a ladder and then went to double team Edge. The EMTs came out to put them on stretchers so they were out of the match. Punk used a ladder to the back of Orton to knock him down.
A voiceover clip of Vince Mc Mahon from WM3 threw it to Aretha Franklin to sing “America The Beautiful” just as she did at WM3 in Detroit. He fought out of it thanks to Finlay shoving Jeff off the top rope and Edge gave Matt a suplex onto a ladder. Jim Ross was wondering if they were broken in half. Back in the ring, Orton hit a huge RKO on Hardy and then a RKO on Finlay.
MVP countered a German Suplex by throwing Benoit out to the floor. MVP fought out of it, but Benoit hit three more German Suplexes. Benoit went to the top rope and hit the Flying Headbutt. JBL did an awesome job of putting over the idea that MVP could hang with Benoit, which was a good reason to have the match in the first place. Of course as I’m sure most are aware Benoit committed a double murder on his wife and son before taking his own life as well. Backstage, Donald Trump is on the phone sitting beside the former Miss USA that was with him. I like how Dusty busted out his line about how he had wined and dined with kings and queens. Undertaker went for a clothesline that didn’t connect very well. I always wondered if Trump ever watched WWE because he was so awkward in every one of his appearances, but the hype for the match was surprisingly pretty good. Donald Trump made his entrance along with a former Miss USA.
Either that or it made you realize why the ECW brand didn’t last too long. That’s what happens when one of your favorites commits murder, I guess. —————- A video package started it off as it always does. Booker hit a Book End on Orton off the top of the ladder. Queen Sharmell went in, grabbed Matt’s leg and then he was about to give her a Twist of Fate, so Booker jumped back down to fight Matt. They put shaving cream on Vince’s hair and used razors to finish the job for him. It was one of the most entertaining head shaving incidents you’ll ever see because of how well Vince sold it. Vince was the star of the match with the way he was celebrating the good parts and then did an even better job when it came time to the head shaving. There was a triple threat match between Michaels, Randy Orton and Edge. He had finished second in the Rumble, yet here he was in the main event of Wrestle Mania. Hunter tore his quad in January, so he was out for this Wrestle Mania. Cena went for a FU, but Michaels was able to counter with a rollup for two. I forgot to mention that Cena was bleeding on the top of the head. Michaels landed on his feet, went for superkick, Cena ducked, grabbed his foot for the STFU and Michaels kicked away multiple times. That allowed Michaels to get to his feet and he connected with the Sweet Chin Music. Nobody’s better than HBK in terms of building up key moments in the match. Batista’s not as tall of course, but he is a 300 pounder and better than most guys at that size. Some of the midcard matches could have been booked better, though. Shawn Michaels – One of the better matches in Cena’s career to this point. It was amazing that neither guy wasn’t seriously hurt from that one. They played the song “Bald Headed Blues” just for fun. The additions of Austin and Shane made it work really well. Winner: Melina Post match, all the girls started brawling in the ring. JBL made fun of Cole for saying: “Lumberjill pandemonium.” Analysis: DUD Awful match. Ashley had no business being in the ring when there were better women on the outside, especially Mickie and Victoria. Ross pointed out that Cena had been the WWE Champion for 20 of the previous 24 months while Michaels was looking to win the title one more time. He used the Degeneration X music because in 2006 he and Triple H reunited the DX group. Cena put Michaels on the top rope and he wanted to give Michaels the FU off the top rope. Michaels hit a cross body, Cena caught him and went for the FU again. Back to their feet, Michaels missed with an enziguiri, which led to Cena putting him in the STFU. The ref told Cena to break the hold when he reaches the ropes. Watching the match again today reminded me of how awesome it was. They worked so hard, they hit their big spots and they had very good chemistry. Most Memorable Moment: Jeff Hardy putting Edge through a ladder – Crazy spot. Edge won it two years before and they pointed out that he was 5-0 at Wrestle Mania. Montel Vontavious Porter was the cocky heel challenging the babyface Chris Benoit. The action picked up in the ring with Benoit going for a superplex, but MVP fought out of it and draped Benoit’s left arm on the top rope. He was complaining that Vince didn’t make things nice for him. Lilian Garcia announced the attendance at 80,103 people. The stipulation for the match was that one of the billionaires would have their head shaved bald. The “Battle of the Billionaires” was arguably the biggest match at Wrestle Mania 23, which we’ll get to later in this review. The most memorable part was when Jeff Hardy destroyed Edge by leaping off that 12 foot ladder and driving him through a ladder that was set up outside the ring. Kennedy destroying Punk with the ladder to the face was a smart way to end it. It put Kennedy over by having him outsmart Punk in the end. Khali gave him the double choke Tree Slam and covered with his foot on Kane’s chest for the victory at . It was backstage comedy time as Cryme Tyme was hanging out with Eugene backstage.