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KELLER'S WWE WRESTLEMANIA 24 REPORT: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of pay-per-view event

Mar 30, 2008 - 10:48:04 PM
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO BOOKMARK US & VISIT US DAILY


By Wade Keller, Torch editor

KELLER'S WWE WRESTLEMANIA 24 REPORT
MARCH 30, 2008
LIVE FROM ORLANDO, FLA. AT THE CITRUS BOWL


Thanks for joining PWTorch.com tonight for our WrestleMania coverage! I will be updating this report throughout the night. Hit refresh to see the latest update every 5-10 minutes. To go ad-free right now and become VIP on a free four day trial with instant VIP access, click here. We want to hear from you after the show, so send your score, picks for best and worst matches, and a paragraph of thoughts to pwtorch@gmail.com afterward. We also will be inviting readers to send us "WrestleMania Awards" - a list of five original awards and the winners with a brief sentence or two explaining why (such as "Bump of the Night," "Lousy Finish of the Night," "Ring Entrance of the Night," etc. Pick your best five self-created awards and send 'em in after the show separately from your regular PPV Reax feature...

PRE-SHOW WEB EXCLUSIVE

(A) Kane won a 24 man battle royal to earn an ECW Title shot against Chavo Guerrero on the main PPV event. It came down to Kane, Snitsky, and Mark Henry. Snitsky was the next out, followed by Kane clotheslining Henry to the floor to win. It lasted just over six minutes. Not a lot of thought was put into it; just in and out - almost a formality of a match. Brian Kendrick gets the craziest elimination bump of the night award, if there were such a thing.

LIVE EVENT COVERAGE

-Four military jets flew over the Citrus Bowl as the camera showed the packed outdoor stadiu. It's completely overcast with raindrops on the camera lens.

-Lilian Garcia is handling ring intros. She introduced John Legend, who sat at a grand piano on the stage, without cover from the sprinkles of rain, and sang "America the Beautiful."

-A video feature aired with a theme that "a lot can change in a year." That phrase was repeated several times with comments from the various wrestlers on the show.

-Jim Ross introduced the show and said he wishes everyone could be there live to be part of the "pageantry" that is WrestleMania. Jerry Lawler joined in.

1 -- JBL vs. FINLAY (w/Finlay)

JBL came out of retirement to work the opening match at WrestleMania? Not a bad way to kick off the show, though. Hornswoggle made a surprise return to be with Finlay. Ross and Lawler narrated video recaps and went further than usual to reset the backstory of the match compared to the typical WWE PPV event, with the idea being that many people watching haven't been following the storylines on TV.Finlay threw some junk into the ring in the opening minute. JBL joined in by throwing the base of the ringside steps into the ring. Hornswoggle stood at ringside and patted on the mat in support of Finlay. JBL set up a move on top of the steps, but Finlay backdropped out of it. At 4:00 Hornswoggle ran into the ring and hit JBL from behind with a stick. Finlay then hit JBL with his shilelagh, knocking him to the floor. Finlay shoved JBL into the ring. He appeared completely knocked out from the shot to the skull. Finlay put a trash can over JBL's head and stomped on it. At 6:00 JBL showed signs of life. He went after Hornswoggle at ringside, so Finlay chased after him and rammed him head-first into the announce table repeatedly. Finlay dove through the ropes toward JBL on the floor, but JBL bashed him mid-flight with a trash can lid at 7:00. JBL threw a trash can hard and fast at Hornswoggle on the floor. Finlay fired back with repeated trash can lid shots and then threw JBL head-first into a table propped in the corner. The table broke in half. Finlay made the cover. JBL kicked out to "ohhs" and "ahhs" from the fans. Finlay lifted the steps to drop onto JBL, but JBL knocked Finlay off balance with a kendo stick. He followed with a sudden Clothesline from Hell for the clean win. They showed Hornswoggle crying at ringside.

WINNER: JBL in 9:00.

STAR RATING: ** -- Served its purpose well enough without overstaying its welcome. Enough weapon shots to get the crowd amped up without overkill to burn them out.

-They showed a beautiful overhead air shot of the stadium.

-They went to Kim Kardashian, a guest hostess, reading lines about the Money in the Bank match. In walked Mr. Kennedy who said he'd become the only WWE Superstar in history to win two consecutive Money in the Bank titles. He shouted "Mr. Kennedy!" in her ear. She smiled, but forgot to hold the mic near her mouth as she threw to the ring.

2 -- MVP vs. CARLITO vs. C.M. PUNK vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN vs. MR. KENNEDY vs. CHRIS JERICHO - Money in the Bank Ladder Match

Viewers are going to get to hear more of the wrestlers' ring entrances than usual as the walk to the ring is a long one. The ladder was hanging above the ring from a massive canopy structure build mainly to protect the ring from rain and provide lighting, but high enough to avoid blocking anyone's view from the upper desk. It's also completely out of sight from the basic hard camera view of the ring. All of the announcers took turns talking in this match. When the bell rang, almost everyone went to the floor to brawl and try to grab a ladder. At 1:00 Morrison moonsaulted off the top rope with a ladder in hand and tried to take out Shelton, Punk, MVP, and Carlito. It wasn't a clean landing, but the effect was good enough. Kennedy was fresh and alone, so he set up a ladder mid-ring. Jericho cut him off before he could climb it. He went for a sudden Walls of Jericho, but Kennedy was able to resist. Jericho catapulted Kennedy into the ladder. Dummy. Kennedy just used the opportunity to cling to the ladder and climb it. Jericho got up and tried to slow him down. Shelton and Morrison began climbing one of two mid-ring ladders. Kennedy set up a superplex on Morrison on the top. Shelton then jumped over them and sunset flipped Kennedy and Morrison to the mat. Great "holy sh--" spot. Shelton climbed a ladder. Carlito tipped him over, but he landed on his feet on the top rope. He shoved Carlito over, but then fell over awkwardly to the mat, prompting a ref to move in to check on his well-being. He slowly rolled to the floor as Kennedy and Punk brawled mid-ring.

Shelton returned to the ring looking just fine, yanking Punk off the ladder. Pynk lifted him for a GTS, but it ended up looking lousy in execution. Kennedy gave Punk a rolling tumble slam onto the flat ladder. Ouch! Punk cried out in agony and rolled out of the ring. Carlito rammed MVP with a ladder in the ring with everyone else at ringside recovering. Carlito climbed a ladder and was the first to get a good grip on the briefcase. Shelton yanked him to the floor first. Carlito blocked a Shelton superkick, but Shelton improvised with a spinning kick to knock Carlito down. Shelton then climbed the ladder. Kennedy slithered into the ring and tipped the ladder over with Carlito's help. Shelton actually flipped onto a ladder bridged over the ring apron and ringside railing. Another crazy spot. Carlito and Kennedy paused for a minute to look at the carnage in astonishment. Jericho, Carlito, and Kennedy climbed the ladder at once. MVP tipped them all over. Morrison knocked MVP over with a ladder. Morrison climbed the ladder. Jericho met him on top anmd then locked him in a cool submission stretch, arcing his back awkwardly. Kennedy then climbed the ladder and reached for the briefcase. Jericho let Morrison go and fought Kennedy from another ladder. A plane flew over the stadium with a banner. Could have been the TNA message. The director cut away from it quickly as soon as it was in view. Punk and Carlito leaped from the top rope to the ladders to fight Kennedy and Jericho. Kennedy gave Punk a Mic Check off the ladder as Carlito and Jericho continued to fight on the ladder. Carlito gave Jericho the Back Stabber off the ladder. MVP stood in the ring and looked around smiling, realizing nobody else was even conscious at that moment. He climbed a ladder and began to pull it down, but Matt Hardy snuck out from under the ring and attacked him. The crowd popped. Hardy gave MVP a Twist of Fate off the ladder. Cole said MVP cost Hardy five months of his career, but Hardy just cost MVP the Money in the Bank.

Ross said that reset the match with no clear-cut favorite. Morrison was knocked off the ladder for a nasty looking crotch on the top rope. Jericho set up a ladder mid-ring and groggily climbed it. Carlito met him at the top and spit apple in his face. Carlito then reached for the briefcase. Kennedy knocked him off the ladder onto a ladder propped in the corner. Kennedy reached for the briefcase. Punk jabbed him off with a ladder. Jericho then gave Punk a Code Breaker with a ladder. "What more can these seven athletes do to each other to capture this briefcase," said Tazz. Jericho climbed the ladder. Punk climbed the other side. Jericho tried to fight him off. Punk persisted to the top. He knocked Jericho down a step. The two grabbed the ladder at the same time. It ended up swinging away from them. Jericho hit Punk in the face with the ladder. Punk then yanked Jericho off the ladder. He hung from one leg upside down. Punk reached for and grabbed the briefcase to win.

WINNER: Punk in 14:00.

STAR RATING: **** -- Good version of that match. They really went all-out with risky and innovative spots with the ladders. Maybe too risky at times. Surprise winner with punk getting the prestigious ladder storyline to work with for a while. It also pretty much eliminates the slim chance of the winner cashing in the briefcase after tonight's main event. Lawler suggested Punk might cash it in tonight, but it's less likely than if Kennedy, for instance, had won again. In any case, it was unlikely.

-They went to locker room shots of John Cena, Randy Orton, and Triple H warming up for their title match later.

-Ross and Lawler were shown on camera. They threw to a highlight package from the Hall of Fame ceremony.

-Back live, Howard Finkle stood mid-ring and introduced the Class of 2008 WWE Hall of Fame members.

-Todd Grisham interviewed Snoop Dogg backstage. Snoop said so far so good on the show. He said he found somebody he shares a lot in common with. The camera panned right to Festus. Then in walked Santino Marella, who called Snoop "Snoopy the Dog." He said to Festus, "You have brain damage, Charlie Brown." Then he told Snoop he'll be at the Playboy match and he better not try any funny business. Snoop picked up a bell and rang it. Festus snapped and chased after Marella. Grisham asked Snoop where he got the bell. In walked his friend, Mick Foley, who showed off a sock all bling-blinged out.

-Ross plugged a text messaging poll to predict the winner of the three-way WWE Title match. They showed Freddie Prinze Jr. in the crowd.

3 -- BATISTA vs. UMAGA

Lilian Garcia stood mid-ring and first introduced the G.M. of Raw, William Regal, and Assistant G.M. of Raw, Theodore Long - thus they earned their WrestleMania appearance paycheck. Then out came Batista and Umaga. After a wide shot of the Citrus Bowl, Lawler touted over 70,000 fans jam-packed the stadium. It was dark out at this time, 8 p.m. local time. One hour into the show, two matches down. At 3:00 Umaga applied a nerve hold in mid-ring. There were some cheers and chants for Umaga and some boos of Batista in the opening minutes. Umaga bodyslammed Batista and went for a diving headbutt off the second rope. Batista lifted Umaga for a bodyslam, but Batista fell backward and Umaga scored a two count. After a kick to the back, Umaga went back to a nerve hold. There were boos when Batista broke free from the nerve hold and cheers when Umaga grabbed his by the throat again. Batista avoided a Samoan Spike and Umaga sailed into the corner. Batista then a spinebuster to Umaga. He grabbed the top rope, shook it, stomped the mat, and set up a Batista Bomb. It didn't work out well, though, as he fell backwards as he did it. Cole sold it as if it was a normal Batista Bomb. Batista winced and held his back, but made the cover and scored the clean pin.

WINNER: Batista in 7:00.

STAR RATING: 3/4* -- Forgettable filler. Neither seemed inspired after a promising opening two minutes. But at least that settles it - Smackdown is superior to Raw, right?

-Ross and Lawler were shown on camera talking about the Big Show vs. Floyd Mayweather match, noting that the rules were just announced. They cut backstage to Mayweather with his posse. The crowd erupted into boos. Ross noted Mayweather was smiling, and he may know something they don't. They put a "Tale of the Tape" up on the screen. Ross said it had been published in the USA Today sports section.

-They went to Styles and Tazz. They threw to video highlights of Kane winning the battle royal earlier tonight to earn an ECW Title shot against Chavo Guerrero.

4 -- CHAVO GUERRERO vs. KANE -- ECW Hvt. Title match

ECW G.M. Armando Estrada introduced the match - thus earning his WrestleMania paycheck. Chavo had no idea that Kane showed up behind him. Kane immediately chokeslammed Chavo as soon as he turned around and scored an instant three count. Styles said history was made. He wondered if the match length set a new record.

WINNER: Kane in 0:05 to capture the ECW Hvt. Title.

STAR RATING: n/a - Poor Chavo. What a WrestleMania memory.

-The Carlito/Maria WrestleMania commercial aired. WWE sure is proud of that.

-Raven Symone stood mid-ring. She got excited - a little too excited - as she talked about WWE working with Make-a-Wish. She pointed to 50 kids from 50 states being brought to WrestleMania. The camera panned the group of kids who waved for the camera.

-A video package aired on Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels. Backstage, Flair gave what might be his final pre-match promo. When asked what his gameplan is by Mike Adamle, he said his gameplan is "to be the man, wooo!"

5 -- RIC FLAIR vs. SHAWN MICHAELS - Career Threatening match

Michaels came out first. When Michaels entered the ring, he let out a big deep breath and smiled while nervously moving around the ring. Then Flair's ring intro began. A fireworks show blasted above and behind Flair as he walked to the ring with a robe for the ages. Lots of lines of W's and O's were held up in the crowd. His family were shown at ringside. David beat Reid to the full face of tears tonight. Ross called it a "larger than life spectacle." Flair was crying as he entered the ring. He's not exactly poker-faced. Referee Charles Robinson got the honors of refereeing the match. He's going to be in tears by the end of this; it's going to be hard for him to slap that mat a third time if that's the finish. After a test of strength mid-ring and some hammer lock exchanges, Flair let out a "Wooo!" Flair took Michaels to the mat with a drop toe hold. Michaels spun out of it and applied a hammerlock. Flair reversed that. Michaels elbowed out of it. Ross said if Flair is the best ever, how do you not conclude Michaels is "1-A."

Flair shoved Michaels into the corner, chopped him hard in the chest, and shouted, "Old Yeller, huh? Old Yeller, huh?" Michaels slapped him stiffly across the face. Flair bled from the lip. Flair said, "First blood, brother." He chopped Michaels twice hard. Michaels tried to punch out of it." They switched places in the corner and chopped each other as 70,000 "wooo'd" each time. Flair whipped Michaels into the ropes and elbowed him to the mat, then hit his kneedrop at 3:00. Michaels fired back with an elbow, knocking Flair down. Some boos could be heard, although for the most part fans were into the match, but not booing either wrestler. Michaels climbed to the top rope. Flair press slammed him to the mat. Flair then went to the top rope. Michaels met him there. Flair hit a crossbody for a two count, popping the crowd. "It worked!" said Lawler. "This is a historic match!" Michaels kicked Flair off of him and to the floor as soon as he went for the first figure-four. When Flair tried to get back into the ring, Michaels slidekicked him to the floor.

Michaels went for a moonsault on Flair off the ring apron, but Flair moved and Michaels landed hard on the announce table. The edge of the table didn't give and Michaels clutched his ribs in seriously pain. Man, that looked bad. They replayed it several times. Lawler said he may have cracked ribs. Michaels slowly struggled to return to the ring as the ref counted toward ten. Flair whipped Michaels into the corner. Michaels hit the turnbuckles, then fell to the mat. He kept clitching his ribs. Flair gave him a back suplex and scored a two count at 6:00. Ross noted that Robinson was a Flair fan his entire life. Flair gave Michaels a double underhook suplex for another two count. Flair gave Michaels a delayed vertical suplex for another two count. They went back to a chopfest in the corner. Michaels gave Flair a neckbreaker. Flair charged at Michaels; Michaels backdropped him to the floor. Michaels climbed to the top rope again and moonsaulted onto Flair at ringside. He grazed Flair before landing with a thud on the mat at ringside. The ref began counting both men out.

Back in the ring, after a few more chips, Michaels hit Flair with a flying forearm and a nip upbip. He followed with an inverted atomic drop. Michaels hit a top rope elbow, then stomped the mat and signalled for the Sweet Chin Music superkick. Flair stood up, Michaels moved in toward him with his foot raised, but then he stopped in his tracks. Flair yanked Michaels to the mat and applied a figure-four mid-ring. The crowd popped huge. Lawler said, "He who hesitates is lost!" Michaels reversed it. The crowd booed. Flair released his grip and limped toward Michaels. They exchanged chops. Flair took Michaels down with a headlock takeover. They attempted the bridge out spin-around sequence made famous in numerous Flair-Steamboat encounters, but couldn't quite to it. They had to give up on it and go to plan-B, which took the wind out of the sails of the fans for a minute. Michaels went for a sunset flip for a two count. Flair whipped Michaels into the corner. He did the Flair flip. Flair then clipped Michaels's legs from behind. Ross said there was the dirtiest player in the game making his appearance. Flair went for a figure-four again. Michaels countered with a small package for a near fall at 14:00. Michaels went for an enzuigiri. Flair ducked and applied the figure-four mid-ring again. Michaels flailed in agony, fell back, and was almost pinned. He struggled to get to the bottom rope. Flair dragged Michaels back to mid-ring. Michaels flipped over. Flair rolled through and held on. Michaels grabbed the ropes. Loud boos from the crowd erupted.

Flair took a deep breath, and even strutted for a second. Michaels surprised Flair with a superkick flush to his chin. Flair went down like he was shot. Michaels draped his arm over Flair. Flair lifted his shoulder just as Ross asked, "Is this it?" The crowd erupted with cheers. Ross said, "Flair's wrestling life is continuing." Michaels tried to stand, but his left leg gave out on him. Michaels stomped the mat and waited for Flair to get up. Flair stayed down. Michaels shouted at him to stand up. He stomped the mat again. Flair this time began to stand up, but slowly. Michaels showed frustration. He walked over to Flair and lifted him. Flair then mule kicked Michaels. The crowd popped. Flair made the cover and scored a near fall. Ross called it an "amazing wrestling match." Flair stood up and shook off the pain. Michaels dropped Flair suddenly and applied his leglock mid-ring. Flair dragged himself backward toward the bottom rope. He yelled out in pain, but eventually grabbed the ropes. Flair poked Michaels in the eye when the ref wasn't looking. Flair schoolboyed Michaels for a near fall at 19:00.

They had another mid-ring chopfest. Michaels, out of nowhere, kicked Flair upward into his chin, dropping him again. Michaels sat up, looked over at Flair, and backed up into the corner to help himself up by the ropes. He waited for Flair stand up and was going to stomp the mat. He broke down emotionally and looked down. Flair stood up and asked Michaels to kick him. Michaels did. Flair went down. Michaels covered him. One-two-three. Michaels then immediately wrapped his arm around Flair and had some words for him. Flair lay on his back crying. Michaels then quickly rolled out of the ring, sat on the apron, and walked to the back to let Flair have the post-match spotlight. Michaels's music played for another minute. Flair sat up balling. They cut to his kids in the front row who were bawling. Flair stood up and was given a standing ovation as he walked to the back.

WINNER: Shawn Michaels in 20:00.

STAR RATING: ***** -- That couldn't have been done better. Twenty minutes of history. A mistimed flip or a failed bridge up didn't matter here. This was just tremendously executed.

-Todd Grisham interviewed Edge backstage. He said he will crush the dreams of kids who want to see Undertaker win.

6 -- MELINA & "GLAMAZON" BETH PHOENIX (w/Santino Marella) vs. ASHLEY & CANDICE MICHELLE -- Lumberjack Bunnymania match

Snoop Dogg handled ring intros. Lawler tried to talk Ross into getting excited during ring intros. Ross pretty much no-sold Lawler. Four minutes into the match, the lights went out. Back in the Monday Night War era, we'd all be wondering where Eric Bischoff and the NWO were at this moment. Emegency spotlights came on and shined on the women so they could see what they were doing. Santino yanked Maria off of a pin attempt. Lawler said he had enough and he got up and walked over to Santino. He punched him for a bhig pop. Glamazon hit Maria from behind with a double sledgehammer, then fisherman suplexed her for the win. They cut to a shot of Snoop watching from his throne at ringside. Santino walked into the ring to raise the arm of Melina and hug his team. Melina trash talked Maria, then bailed out of the ring. Santino stayed in the ring to gloat. Snoop clotheslined Santino, then kissed Maria to wake her up. Santino protested at ringside.

WINNERS: Glamazon & Melina in 5:00.

STAR RATING: 3/4* -- Fine for what it was. Good use of Snoop Dogg. It was just a chance to catch your breath after the emotions of Flair vs. Michaels.

-A video packaged aired on Orton, Cena, and Triple H.

7 - JOHN CENA vs. TRIPLE H vs. RANDY ORTON

The lights were back on over the ring for this match. A band walked out onto the stage to perform. Cena then made his ring introduction as the band played. It took the pop away from Cena's entrance. He was wearing jean shorts as usual and a football jersey. In online voting, 52 percent predicted a Cena win, 40 percent a Triple H win, and 8 percent an Orton win. Triple H came out to his actual ring intro music. Garcia introduced Cena first. He got mostly boos, but the kids and women came on strong after a few seconds. As Cena and Triple H yapped in each other's face at the start, Orton charged at Hunter with the belt in hand. Cena came back and drove Orton's face into the mat. This match began at 9:28 p.m. ET. Surprising placement, suggesting strongly that Big Show vs. Mayweather may be the final match after all. Hunter beat up Orton at ringside. He pounded on him on the announce table. Back in the ring Cena went for a double FU on both Hunter and Orton, but Hunter dropped off and kneed Cena in the gut. At 3:00 Cena and Orton battled on the top rope. Hunter lifted Cena onto his shoulders. Orton leaped at Cena with a crossbody block. Cena rolled through for a near fall. Cena lifted Orton for an FU. Orton fought out of it into a sunset flip for a near fall. Hunter charged Orton, but Orton ducked and Hunter clotheslined Cena. Orton then nailed Hunter with a clothesline. Orton DDT'd both Cena and Hunter off the second rope. He covered Cena for a two count. He immediately covered Hunter for a two count. At 5:00 Orton went for an RKO on Cena, but Cena threw Orton off onto Hunter's arm. Cena drove Orton's head into the mat, then hit him with a legdrop across the back of his neck off the second rope. Orton scurried out of the ring to catch his breath. Cena followed.

Cena chased Orton around the ring. Orton sidestepped Cena and rammed him into the ringpost. Hunter caught Orton when he returned to the ring and began working over Orton's leg. Hunter rammed Orton's knee into the mat. Cena charged into the ring. Hunter met him with a clothesline at 7:00. Orton, out of nowhere, surprised Hunter with an RKO. Cena surprised Orton with a drop toe hold into an STFU in mid-ring. Orton dramatically crawled to the bottom rope, but couldn't quite reach. Hunter pulled on Orton's arm to get it to the bottom rope to force a break, then he punched Cena. At ringside, Hunter threw Cena into the ringside steps. Back in the ring, Hunter applied an Indian Deathlock at 9:00. Ross said he hadn't seen that hold in years. Cena broke it. Then he whipped Hunter into the corner. Hunter flew over the top rope to the floor. Cena then locked Orton into an STFU again in mid-ring at 10:00. Hunter re-entered the ring and stomped Cena in the head. Cena held on, though. Hunter powered Cena's arm off of Orton, then applied a crossface on Cena. Cena teased a tapout, then reached for the bottom rope. He carwled over and grabbed the rope to force a break. The girls and kids cheered; the guys booed.

Hunter pounded away at Cena. Cena fought back with clotheslines and a side slam. He played to the crowd and absorbed their cheers and boos. As the camera went wide, he went into the five-knuckle shuffle routine followed by an FU attempt. Hunter slipped out and went for a Pedigree. Cena slipped out. Hunter kicked him into the corner turnbuckle. Hunter gave Cena a facebuster and clothesline, then a spinebuster. Ross asked if we were on the cusp of a new WWE Champion. Hunter clipped Orton from behind as he began to make his way back into the ring. Cena snuck up on Hunter for an FU. Hunter escaped again and hit the Pedigree. The ref made the cover, but Orton gave punted Hunter to break up the pin. Orton then covered Cena for the three count. Well, people who gambled on this match and thought they "knew" the outcome are out a few bucks. Surprise finish, and it also explains this match's placement on the show third-from-the-top.

WINNER: Orton in 14:00.

STAR RATING: **** -- Another really good match. Non-stop action, tough to keep up with at times. Well-timed and really well-executed with some inventive spots. Surprise finish helped, even if it disappointed a lot of fans cheering for Hunter or Cena. Another five minutes and it's four-stars-plus.

-A video preview aired of the Mayweather vs. Show match. That means Edge and Undertaker get the finale. A good night for Smackdown prestige. The video included mainstream media clips from ESPN and CNN.

8 -- THE BIG SHOW vs. FLOYD MAYWEATHER

Not too much of a response either way for Show. Fans still aren't sure how to react to him. Once he got into the ring, he paced in anticipation for Mayweather. Money confetti (real or not?) was shot into the crowd as Mayweather made his way to the ring. Lawler asked how much longer Mayweather will be a cash cow. Ross said we're looking for a pinfall, submission, or knockout. He said there must be a winner. This match began at 9:56 p.m. Mayweather showed his speed and agility, ducking under and running around Show in the opening seconds. Show backed him into a corner. Mayweather ducked and began throwing a barrage of body punches. Show looked upset, but Ross said they didn't seem to have an adverse effect on Show. Mayweather took a shot at Show and connected on his jaw. Show kept his distance from that point on. Show looked more irritated than hurt. Mayweather smiled cockily at his early punches landed and the fact that Show couldn't get to him. His corner handed him a chalice to drink out of. Show charged at the cornerman and knocked him to the floor. He then yanked him into the ring and pulled off his shirt. Mayweather stood back and watched as Show chopped him in the chest, then dropped him to the mat. At 2:00 they returned to center-ring.

Show caught a Mayweather punch, powered him to the mat, and stomped toward his hand. Mayweather moved his hand. Show caught Mayweather again seconds later and lifted him in the air. Mayweather threw three roundhouse punches to stagger show. He then jumped on Show from behind and choked him. They've kept this reasonable real looking thus far. It helps that Show can take a punch. Show tried to dump Mayweather over his shoulder and over the top rope to the floor. Mayweather held on. After a minute of a sleeper hold, the crowd booed a little and Show dropped to one knee. Show's face went blue, but he eventually powered his way out of it, then he flipped him to the mat and stomped on his left forearm. Mayweather grabbed his arm in pain. His cornermen stood up and protested. The ref ordered them to back off. Show held Mayweather in the corner, told the crowd to quiet down, and then slapped Mayweather hard across the chest. Mayweather went down and winced and gasped for breath. Show smiled. Show then stood on his back as the crowd chanted and cheered for Show. Mayweather's cornermen again surrounded Mayweather at ringside and protested. Show looked confident. Mayweather kicked Show in the gut twice. Show lifted him and dropped him with a sideslam. The crowd stood and cheered. Show legdropped Mayweather's left arm. Show walked over Mayweather. Matweather got up and gave Show some body punches. Show returned fire with a headbutt. Ross said Mayweather is showing the courage that made him the greatest fighter in the world. Show gave Mayweather an elbow drop on the mat. He looked to the crowd, which cheered him on. As he went for another move, Mayweather's cornermen yanked Mayweather out of the ring by his legs. The leader said the fight is over. His men began carrying him away. Show pursued then up the aisle. He knocked over Mayweather's cornermen and caught up to Mayweather. He grabbed Mayweather and dragged him back toward the ring. He facelocked him and forearmed him. Lawler said, "The rules are there are no rules. Anything goes here." Show punched Mayweather. Mayweather tried to punch back. Show tossed him back into the ring like a little kid.

Mayweather was nearly dead weight. Another cornerman charged into the ring. Show punched him. Show then lifted Mayweather with one arm by the throat. Another cornerman hit Show with a chair. Show chokeslammed him. Mayweather then swung a chair into Show's gut as Show turned around. He bashed him across the back. When he went for another chairshot, Show grabbed him by the throat. Mayweather escaped with a low kick. He picked up the chair and hit Show over the head with it three times, the last two completely unprotected. Mayweather took off his boxing gloves and pulled out brass knuckles. He then punched Show in the jaw and dropped him out cold. Show tried to beat the ten count, but couldn't. Mayweather was declared the winner. Ross said Mayweather went 40-0. As Mayweather celebrated his way backstage, Show got up and stared him down from the ring.

WINNER: Mayweather in 12:00.

STAR RATING: ***1/4 -- You know what, that wasn't bad at all. I suspect there will be wide spectrum of opinions, but Show looked tougher overall based on how it played out. Mayweather, though, won based on the no-DQ rules. For expectations being set low, Mayweather did his part well.

-They cut a plug for WrestleMania's silver anniversary at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Tex.

-Kim Kardashian announced a record crowd of 74,635 for the Citrus Bowl. Cole said the stadium has been around since 1936 - 72 year - and WrestleMania just set the attendance record. A massive fireworks show was set off.

-A video package aired hyping Undertaker vs. Edge.

9 -- EDGE vs. UNDERTAKER -- World Hvt. Title match

This match began at 10:24 p.m. ET. This show was timed out really well, and has gone by quickly. Everything they said on Larry King Live has come true about how quickly the four hours goes by and what a spectacle the event is. Undertaker opened by knocking Edge to the floor with a clothesline. He followed right behind. Edge fought back. Taker yanked him neck-first over the top rope. Edge gained control shortly thereafter. At 3:00 he charged at Taker with a knee and knocked him off the ring apron to the floor. When Taker moved back toward the ring apron, Edge slidekicked him to the security wall. Edge got sustained, methodical offense until 7:00 when Taker knocked Edge off the top rope to the floor. Taker followed up with a running dive that cleared the top rope and hit Edge flush at ringside. Taker worked over Edge in the ring. At 9:00 he set up a Last Ride. Edge blocked it when Taker's back gave out, then hit Taker with a boot to the face. Edge punished Taker at ringside, then scored a near fall back in the ring at 11:00. Edge settled into a modified half Boston crab mid-ring. He held on for about two minutes. Taker powered out and rolled up Edge for a near fall. Edge went back to worked over Taker's legs.

Taker battled out and to his feet. He and Edge exchanged blows mid-ring. Taker eventually got the better of it and lifted Edge, then dropped him over the top rope with snake eyes. Edge countered with a surprise dropkick to Taker's face leading to a near fall at 14:00. Edge leaped off the top rope. Taker caught him by the throat. Edge kicked him in the gut. Taker grabbed Edge's throat. He went for a chokeslam, but Edge countered with a DDT. Taker kicked out just as Cole declared the streak over. Taker came back with a chokeslam for a near fall that popped the crowd big at 15:00. Taker climbed to the top rope, but Edge knocked him off balance. He climbed to the top and set up a superplex. He pulled it off, taking Taker hard to the mat. Both men were slow to get up. Edge rolled onto Taker. Taker kicked out. Edge mounted Taker in the corner and punched away. Taker stood up and walked to center ring. He set up a Last Ride. Edge leaped out of it and gave Taker a neckbreaker. Cole exclaimed disbelief that Edge countered again. Both were slow to get up again. Edge whipped Taker into the ropes. Taker stopped short and forearmed Edge. He then gave Edge a Last Ride - finally without a counter by Edge. He made the cover. Edge kicked out at the last possible split-second. Taker sat up and appeared on the brink of frustration, but determined to continue. I know Taker feels his age these days, but he doesn't look it. Taker lifted Edge for a Tombstone. Edge flipped out of it and drove Taker to the mat. Edge made the cover and scored another near fall.

Taker caught Edge coming off the ropes with boot to the face. Taker fell to the mat afterward, then went to the top rope again, this time successfully walking the top rope and coming off with a forearm to the back of Edge's neck. Edge ducked a Taker big boot, and the boot hit the ref instead. Edge then gave Taker a reverse DDT. He caught his breath while sitting on his knees. He stood over Taker and trash talked him. Taker reached up and grabbed his throat. Edge low-blowed out of it, then rolled to the floor. Edge knocked a cameraman down and stole his camera. He unplugged it and brought it into the ring. He charged at Taker and KO'd him with a camera. Edge tried to check on the ref, but as he shoved him, the ref fell to the floor. Edge looked over at Taker, who sat up. Edge did the throat slice signal with his thumb, then lifted Taker for a Tombstone. Taker countered with a Tombstone. He covered Edge, but there was no ref. Charles Robinson sprinted to the ring. That was a long run. He slid into the ring and counted to nearly three, but Edge kicked out. Cool sequence. The long run to the ring was a nice touch. Zach Ryder and Curt Hawkins ran to the ring. Taker fought them off. Taker actually chokeslammed one of the off the ring apron onto the other on the floor. Edge recovered and speared Taker. Coach declared the streak over, giving away that Taker was going to kick out because there's no way he'd be allowed to call the real finish ahead of time. Sure enough, Taker kicked out at 23:00. Edge hit another spear. Taker, though, surprised Edge with his new figure-four headlock sleeper. Edge struggled to reach the ropes with his leg, but couldn't quite get there, then he tapped out. The crowd exploded. They got their happy ending. A massive fireworks show played out as Taker held his newly won title. Cole thanked everyone for watching WrestleMania.

WINNER: Undertaker in 24:00.

STAR RATING: ****1/2 -- A bit slow early, but for good reason, as they went long. A WrestleMania-main-event-worthy performance from both with really dramatic near falls at the end.

-The traditional WrestleMania music video recap aired. As usual, top notch work from the production crew.

--We want to hear from you after the show, so send your score, picks for best and worst matches, and a paragraph of thoughts to pwtorch@gmail.com afterward. We also are inviting readers to send us "WrestleMania Awards" - a list of five original awards and the winners with, if needed, a brief sentence or two explaining why (such as "Bump of the Night," "Lousy Finish of the Night," "Ring Entrance of the Night," etc. Pick your best five self-created awards and send 'em in after the show separately from your regular PPV Reax feature.

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--For another perspective, check out Jason Powell's WrestleMania 24 report at our co-affiliate prowrestling.NET.



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