As the final bell has tolled at Wrestlemania XXVI, the reviews are in! Let’s take a look at the event and grade every match.
Unified Tag Team Titles Match
ShowMiz vs. John Morrison and R-Truth
On paper, it was a solid choice to start off the program. Both teams entered with a strong, determined spirit, and made it an enjoyable match.
Overall though, there was little spectacular about it. Though the faces came off strong in the beginning, the entire second-half was dominated completely by the heels. It would have seemed appropriate for a strong finish, but instead we get a 15-inch KO punch to the face by The Big Show. The heels retain.
Out of a possible 10 stars: 6.5
Ted DiBiase vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Randy Orton
This was one of the matches where I was really hoping for one of the youngsters to get put over. Unfortunately, this was not the case, but it was still a very enjoyable match.
DiBiase and Rhodes teamed up from the start and put a pretty tough beating on Orton. When it seemed clear that they were going to get the win, their own selfish attitudes (which they acquired from Randy in the first place) got the best of them, and they began to go at it.
In short, Randy took advantage of the situation, and exterminated them with his two finishers. Not a great match, but an enjoyable one by many standards.
Out of a possible 10 stars: 7.0
Money in the Bank Ladder Match
This was definitely the most “shocking” match of the night if you will. By no means did it compare to some of the MITB matches of the past, but it was still a solid outing.
Of course, Shelton Benjamin again was barely utilized, and it seemed pretty clear that one of the big names was going to walk away with the brief case.
After some excellent spots however (including one in which Evan Bourne literally climbed between two ladders to reach the top), it was Jack Swagger who came down with the contract.
Swagger to me does not seem like a main-eventer just yet, but it would seem logical for WWE to work him into the program and possibly propel him to that status. Interesting choice in a decent match.
Out of a possible 10 stars: 7.5
Sheamus vs. Triple H
I will admit. I was very disappointed that HHH did not put over Sheamus in this one. If the WWE wanted people to actually take him seriously, this needed to happen.
Still though, it was a very enjoyable match, and Casper (er, Sheamus) put up a strong showing. His anger came off strongly and made him seem like a legitimate heel, which worked nicely with Triple H’s sudden outbursts of life.
Yet through it all, Sheamus’ own inexperience got the best of him in the end, and Hunter walks away with another ‘Mania victory.
Out of a possible 10 stars: 7.0
CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio
Honestly, I tried to get into this match. As someone who mainly keeps in touch with the backstage news, I never really got an opportunity to get into the storyline either. Maybe this influenced my thoughts?
I still consider Punk a great heel. He came out doing his whole monologue about being straight edged, so forth. Mysterio came out as if he was from Pandora. Shameless plug?
As for the match, it was average. Some nice athleticism from both competitors, but nothing in particular that was surprising. Maybe the second-most predictable match of the night. Mysterio comes out with the win.
Out of a possible 10 stars: 6.0
Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon
All eyes were on. I was excited. The 72,000+ were excited. Did it live up to its hype?
It all began with Vince coming out claiming that he paid off the Hart family to screw over Bret. Yada Yada Yada. We all knew where this would be going…
But instead of letting the match play out with them as lumberjacks and having them turn at the end, they immediately attacked Vince from the start. The entire “match” consisted of Hart performing one actual wrestling move, and bashing Vince repeatedly with a steel chair. And yes that move was the Sharpshooter, as predicted.
Should the expectations have been high heading into it? Probably not. We knew the injuries got to Bret over the years, and could not have anticipated a slug-fest. In place though, we get no back-and-forth action, and a one-sided bashing.
Out of a possible 10 stars: 5.0
World Heavyweight Title Match
Chris Jericho (c) vs. Edge
Now we’re talking.
This bout was filled with tease finishes (as predicted earlier), and they were spectacular. Be it through superb reversals, near-submissions, and pin-falls that need instant replay to prove their legitimacy, the match was one of the best on the card.
Edge came out selling his Achilles injury early, and made it seem very believable. Jericho worked hard on it, and used it to his ultimate advantage.
There were some great spots in this one, and I was even a little surprised that Jericho walked away with the title. What made this match excellent though took place after the bell.
Following a crushing loss, Edge returned to his feet, brutally attacked Jericho, and speared him through the barricade. My mouth was left hanging at the sheer force from it.
Out of a possible 10 stars: 8.5
10-Diva Tag Match
Remind me again why this was even on the card? Even with a semi-comical promo earlier in the show, this match seemed completely unnecessary.
All of the Divas got a spot to do their own finisher, and Vickie Guerrero pouted around before paying homage to her late husband with her version of the Frog Splash. Heels win.
Out of a possible 10 stars: 3.0
WWE Championship Match
Batista (c) vs. John Cena
What can be said about this one?
I made it clear earlier I am no supporter of John Cena. Far from it. He is the reason I stopped watching the shows, and it is still difficult for me to accept him as a champion. Nonetheless, a nine-time champion.
The match started off a little slow, with some sub-par teases early on. It began to pick up steam when Cena attempted a Five Knuckle Shuffle off of the top rope, which Michael Cole made clear several times was the first time it was ever attempted. From here on out, there were some very impressive reversals and teases, which began to let me earn some respect for Cena. At some points, I was even fooled at the potential finish.
Still, I firmly felt Cena would win, just because, well, he’s Cena. He’s The Rock that the WWE is missing, but comes off in a more agitating way. As he went up to the top rope once more, Batista countered with arguably the most forceful powerbomb I have ever seen. What happens next?
Cena gets right up, counters the pin, and turns it into the STF. New world champion. Same pissed writer.
Out of a possible 10 stars: 7.5
Streak vs. Career Match
The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels
When I learned today this indeed would be the main event, I was pleased. This had to be it, there was no way any other match could have possibly closed the show. While those who remain outside of the news department wondered which side would prevail, I pondered a different question: Could it live up to last year’s match?
To say that it did is an understatement. By far.
Being 100% unbiased and detached from the situation, this may have been the greatest match I have ever seen. Ever.
I lived through the Attitude Era. I lived through Rock vs. Hogan. Now I can say I lived through Michaels/Taker II.
From the gun, one could tell it was Shawn’s last match. He was slinging like there was no tomorrow, and the two traded punches more times in the first five minutes than they have in their whole careers.
There were tons of tease finishes, some which even against my own knowledge of the outcome made me firmly believe that HBK was going to win. The reactions were believable, and Taker did a great job at selling his injured leg.
Yet the highlight of the match was a backwards moonsault (which we almost missed because of a camera screw-up) onto the announce table by Shawn which sent both men crashing. Taker could barely stagger back into the ring, and Shawn suffered a similar fate.
Ultimately, the match ended with a resilient Michaels asking for a somewhat remorseful Undertaker to let him have it. After a final slap to the face from Michaels, Taker finished the Heartbreak Kid off for the final time with a thunderous Tombstone Piledriver.
Upon the conclusion, Shawn laid in the ring as Taker’s insane pyros went off. In a predictable, yet fitting, display of respect, the two men shook hands and Michaels was left in the ring alone for the final time.
The career of Shawn Michaels is over, and even if WWE does bring him back sometime, he can go out knowing he put on arguably the greatest performance of his career.
Out of a possible 10 stars: 10.
As a whole, Wrestlemania XXVI had its ups and downs. It featured some exciting bouts, alongside some mediocre ones. It also happened to have arguably the greatest main event brawl of all-time.
Still, it will go down in history as a notable, but not spectacular ‘Mania, and the one that saw the end of maybe the greatest superstar in the history of the business.
Out of a possible 10 stars, Wrestlemania XXVI gets 7.5.