Wrestlemania Challenge Day 27

In 2011, Wrestlemania 27 went to The Georgia Dome, where nearly 72,000 fans were in attendance to witness “The Showcase of The Immortals” and the start of what became a year-long build to the next WM main event. Unfortunately, the big draw to the venue was based on the Wrestlemania brand as the selling point, not the actual card. Furthermore, this event would be the start of a trend in the modern era of WM shows that were either lackluster or simply didn’t live up to the hype. One of the reasons for this was The Rock’s role as the guest host of the broadcast and his opening promo. I’m not sure if this was the planned segment or not, but The Rock went 25 minutes on the mic and with the addition of the opening video package, it was 30 minutes into the show before the opening bell to start the action. The entire segment dragged on too long and wasn’t a good way to start the event because any momentum that could’ve been built from the stellar video package was halted after such an extended promo segment.

The Edge/Alberto Del Rio bout was decent, but nothing too spectacular. As we know, Edge won the bout so that he was able to retire as champion, but even today, I still completely disagree with this call. Yes, it’s a nice moment for Edge to be able to retire with the belt, especially given the abrupt way he had to hang up his boot with just getting through the WM match, but this was a critical booking decision that ultimately had a major impact on Del Rio’s career. Alberto won the Royal Rumble that year and had the charisma and the in-ring ability to be a major star. The guy suited to be tailor made to be a main event talent, especially with his mic skills and the overall heel presentation for the character. Sure, it’s nice to allow Edge to retire as champion, but the smart business move would’ve been to solidify the star for the future. If Del Rio would’ve won, it could’ve solidified his push and establish him as a main event guy during this period. Instead, the argument could be made that he never really regained the momentum he had prior to this defeat and management missed the opportunity to truly boost him to the next level.

The Rey Mysterio/Cody Rhodes match was solid, but the angle never quite made sense since it was based on Rey’s knee brace injuring Cody’s face after a 619, but Rhodes’ clear face mask that he wore during this feud showed that he didn’t actually have any injuries. Cody won with the crossroads, which made sense because it helped give him some shine at the time, but as we know, management ultimately never fully followed up with it, making Cody a Goldust clone a few years later. It’s puzzling why WWE brass never seemed to let Cody run with a top angle as opposed to the half-hearted pushes throughout his WWE run. Granted, the office’s lack of a plan for Cody Rhodes is what eventually led to the formation of All Elite Wrestling so perhaps it worked out for the best for everyone involved.

The Core lost an eight man tag match that was about sixty seconds so there’s not much to discuss and it was a rather pointless contest on the card. However, this bout does summarize one of the big misses the writing team had during this era. The previous year, The Nexus had one of the most memorable segments in Raw history when they stormed the ring and tore it apart. Despite the impactful introduction, the stable was more or less finishes a few months later because there were more or less just used as opponents for John Cena. Once Cena beat them all, there wasn’t anything left for them to do since the villains were conquered, specifically when Wade Barrett lost a WWE title match to Cena, there wasn’t really anywhere else to go from a storyline perspective. CM Punk being switched to the leader of the Nexus was just to give him something to do, but it’s obvious that the beaten stable didn’t have a level of importance within the company. The Core was more or less a thrown together group because the writing team had nothing for the members to do after they were introduced on TV beyond the original Nexus angle. If Barrett won the championship at the time then maybe the initial stable would’ve had some type of longevity, but the sum total of the Nexus was to be opponents for John Cena while The Core was nothing more than a temporary stable on TV.

Speaking of The Nexus, the leader at the time, CM Punk squared off against Randy Orton. Ironically, the build up to this WM contest was more or less the conclusion of the stable that Punk was the leader of because it was booked to have Orton punt kick each remaining member of the stable in the weeks before Wrestlemania 27. The match itself was decent, nothing too great, but nothing terrible either. Considering that The Nexus stable was going nowhere, the fact that Orton won was basically the point where Punk had no direction after it, which is probably another reason for the pipe bomb promo a few months later.

I’m not going to waste time discussing the Jerry Lawler/Micheal Cole match, other than to say that the heel character that Cole was given at the time was overbearing and a distraction for the product.

The Undertaker vs. Triple H was a great match and it helped boost the show. As I’ve said before, the key to any match that involved the streak at this time was to create a moment that put the undefeated run in jeopardy. If there was a point that set up for a believable false finish then it was mission accomplished. While there were too many finishers, the counters throughout the match provided some good drama. Plus, the narrative that many fans wondered was would Triple H, who put himself over a lot during his career because he’s a member of the McMahon family, be the one to finally beat The Undertaker at Wrestlemania as a way to put himself on a different level at the trademark event? The spot where Triple H hit the tombstone on The Undertaker was the moment when the streak appeared to be in jeopardy and it was the signature moment of the match. Thankfully, The Undertaker kicked out and eventually won with a submission. As mentioned, without this match, Wrestlemania 27 might’ve been in competition with WM 9 as possibly the worst WM event in history.

The six person tag match that saw John Morrison, Snooki, and Trish beat Dolph Ziggler, Layla, and Michelle McCool was roughly two minutes so there’s nothing to say about it other than it was a way to pace the card before the main event.

The John Cena vs. The Miz match for the WWE championship was subpar and that’s also the way to describe The Miz’s reign as champion. I know the argument at the time was that Miz got heat, but I will still say that there’s a different between heel heat and heat because people just don’t want to watch something. This was the latter because quite simply, The Miz isn’t a main event level talent and he hasn’t been at any point in his WWE career. That’s not meant as a personal jab against Mike Mizanin the person because he’s been able to keep a job in WWE for over 15 years so good for him, but the lack of any main event run after this is proof that his stint as champion in 2011 was a total flop. Granted, the booking of this entire feud didn’t do him any favors because the focus was on the conflict between The Rock and Cena. The Rock cost Cena the match and then floored The Miz before the show went off air with The Rock posing, even though he wasn’t an actual participant in the championship match. Obviously, this was done to set up the main event for the following year, but the opportunity cost was not only the main event for WM 27, but the chance to push anyone else for the main event of Wrestlemania 28 since the Cena/Rock match was announced a year before it.

What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.

Until next week
-Jim LaMotta

E mail drwrestlingallpro@yahoo.com | You can follow me on Twitter @jimlamotta