Now that the show's over, the post will start with the quick and dirty results:
Dark Match: Sheamus vs Daniel Bryan for Sheamus's US Title in a lumberjack back turned into a non-title battle royal won by The Great Khali.
1. World Heavyweight Championship: Edge (w/ Christian) defeated Alberto Del Rio (w/ Brodus Clay) to retain the title after a spear.
2. Cody Rhodes defeated Rey Mysterio after hitting him with his own knee brace and using the Cross Rhodes.
3. Kane, The Big Show, Santino Marella, & Kofi Kingston defeated The Corre when Show pinned Heath Slater after the giant knockout punch, which was preceded by the Cobra.
4. Randy Orton defeated CM Punk by countering the springboard clothesline into an RKO in mid-air.
5. Special Referee "Stone Cold" Steve Austin: Michael Cole defeated Jerry Lawler by a reversed decision disqualification for Austin shoving Cole after the original decision of Lawler winning by submission with the ankle lock.
6. The Undertaker defeated Triple H by submission with Hell's Gate after stopping him from using the sledgehammer.
7. Trish Stratus, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, & John Morrison defeated LayCool & Dolph Ziggler (w/ Vickie Guerrero) when Snooki pinned McCool with a handspring splash.
8. The Miz defeated John Cena by pinfall after The Rock hit Cena with the Rock Bottom. The original decision was a double countout after Cena speared Miz from one barricade to the other to the floor, but Rock reversed it. He attacked Miz after the match. The show ended with The Rock posing on the second rope while they had barely a minute or so of satellite time left.
After the jump, you can check out my liveblog of the show written as it happened with a lot more details about every match.
It's time for the biggest show of the year!
America The Beautiful starts the show.
The Rock is out after a goofy opening montage styled after awards shows. Crowd looks MASSIVE. Set is great too.
Rock promo so far is what you'd expect. Catchphrases, "Fruity Pebbles," etc.
Crowd is now going nuts with a "Fruity Pebbles" chant.
After doing his hype man routine, we go to another video package. Then pyro (and a great shot of the lit up Wrestlemania sign) and we're off to:
1. World Heavyweight Championship: Edge (c) vs Alberto Del Rio
Yes, this is on first. Del Rio's entrance is awesome, with the the screens on the huge WM set turning into a mansion for Del Rio to drive out of. Announcers are Cole/Lawler/Matthews as we had heard.
Meanwhile, Sheamus-Bryan was moved to the dark match slot as a lumberjack match that turned into the "payoff for everyone" battle royal, which was won by The Great Khali. U.S. Title wasn't on the line.
Christian and Edge had separate entrances. Spanish announcers are present on the opposite side of the Cole Mine.
And here we go!
Good action so far with a fast pace. Del Rio has been working the arm, even doing a top rope armdrag. Edge counters the flying cross armbreaker with the Edge O Matic for a nearfall.
Edge wins with a spear to retain. WHA?!?!?! He had Del Rio in the cloverleaf thing, Clay helped Del Rio get to the ropes, Christian hit a spinning DDT on Clay off the apron, Edge pulled Del Rio back, Del Rio rolled out of the hold, and got speared for the pin.
Edge is now attacking Del Rio's car. He just elbow dropped it! Now E&C have tire irons and are menacing Del Rio? Aren't they faces? Oh, they're scratching and bashing in the car.
Now Del Rio is mourning the car. Cue a Tough Enough promo.
Weird finish. I'm guessing Vince was on an kick about changing predictable finishes and that Del Rio will get the belt sooner or later. Or he did something to get in trouble with management.
Cole-Lawler bickering bridges the gap to...
2. Cody Rhodes vs Rey Mysterio
Awesome screen background for Cody, with newspaper headlines about how he was tragically disfigured. Rey is dressed as Captain America this year.
A Cole-Lawler argument about whether Rey injured Cody on purpose ends with Cole screaming "YOU DON'T EVEN WATCH SMACKDOWN!" Awesome.
Good match so far aside from Cody using a nervehold. Awesome spot with Cody using a delayed superplex. He had Rey up for a good 20+ seconds.
SNOWPLEX~! by Cody was nice to see. Rey hit a great turning springboard headscissors and tried the 619, but Cody caught him, and went back to working the knee. KNEE BRACE IS GONE! Moonsault bodyblock gets two. Great series of counters and Cody loses the mask. Rey puts it on and hits a bunch of Santo-style flying headbutts. Rey tries a tope but Cody nails him with the kneebrace! Back in the ring, CrossRhodes gets the easy pin. Really good match and exactly what Cody needed to get built up at this point.
Backstage, Snoop Dogg and Teddy Long evaluate various wrestlers' singing ability. Highlighters were Zack Ryder singing Rebecca Black's "Friday" until Roddy Piper decked him and a Chris Masters/Yoshi Tatsu performance of "We Will Rock You" with Masters doing a pec dance to the beat. Then Hornswoggle came in and wanted to rap, but Teddy and Snoop left because he can't speak. Then he rapped in perfect English after they left. Yeah.
3. The Corre vs Kane/The Big Show/Santino Marella/Kofi Kingston
Great entrance for Kofi with nice looking new gear and a cool logo on the giant set.
Team ShowKane wins a very short match that was fun while it lasted. Highlight was Kofi's dive off the apron. Slater took the Cobra and giant knockout punch and got pinned by Show. They must be really paranoid about time management tonight.
Rock and Eve are talking backstage and are joined by Mae Young, who wants The People's Strudel. Rock says Mae should be craving other people's strudel, like Moses. BUT SERIOUSLY FOLKS...he introduced her to Eve "like your friends Adam and Eve!" She ends up slapping his ass as Eve starts walking her to her seat. Then Austin stops by and has a tense but polite short conversation with Rock about how it was nice to see each other.
4. CM Punk vs Randy Orton
We get our first buildup video package of the night for this match.
Both get awesome entrances thanks to the deluxe set.
Punk is using some creative moves to work the injured knee after kicking the steps into it. Punks facial expressions are awesome as usual.
Great stuff so far with Punk using a bombs away kneedrop, on Orton in the Tree of Woe, a ringpost figure four a la Bret Hart, and an Indian Deathlock, which Orton headbutted out of to set up a comeback. Orton has the advantage but is selling the knee heavily.
Orton goes for the punt but his leg gives out. Punk goes in for the kill and Orton tries the RKO but Punk somehow jumps out in mid-move. He goes to the apron for the springboard clothesline and I think you can guess what happened next: Orton hit an incredible looking RKO in mid-air for the pin. Excellent match that lived up to the strong buildup.
Okerlund and Rock backstage now. Okerlund introduces Cena's biggest fan: PEE WEE HERMAN! He jumps over to Team Bring It pretty quickly, though. Entertaining skit.
True Story of Wrestlemania ad now. FWIW, the documentary is worth watching on Netflix but if you have the matches, it's not at all worth buying.
HOF CLASS OUT NOW! Abdullah is walking with a cane. Sunny, Road Warriors, and Duggan got the biggest pops. The fans didn't seem to familiar with Abby and Bullet Bob. Michaels gets a separate entrance with some great visuals on the screens.
Plug for WWE Night on USA tomorrow night, and after a Wrestlemania Recall to Monday for the Lawler-Swagger/Cole angle, it's time for...
5. Special Referee "Stone Cold" Steve Austin: Jerry "The King" Lawler vs Michael Cole (w/ trainer Jack Swagger)
Booker T and Jim Ross have come out to replace Cole and Lawler.
Cole is out in a bright orange singlet, amateur headgear, and hoodie. He's cutting a promo on Ross calling him fat and overrated. Now he's calling Lawler old. Basically everything you'd expect for him to try to get heat. I hope they change Lawler's music back...
Swagger gets his own entrance, which is interrupted by the glass breaking and Austin on his old "sheriff" ATV. He tries to run over Swagger, who dives out of the way in a funny spot. Then he chases Cole, who retreats to the Cole mine, which was tremendous.
And here's Lawler, thankfully with his old music. That was quick. He's wearing the old robe that you may have seen in the shots of him hosting one of his home video releases.
Lawler quickly disposes of Swagger and confronts Cole, who's begging off in the Cole Mine. Fake handshake through an opening -> pulling Cole into the glass over and over with a great shot of his face being distorted. Lawler beats the hell out of him and throws Cole into the ring, but Swagger attacks him and uses the ankle lock on him. Cole hit a baseball slide of all things and is now getting the heat by working the ankle as the crowd chants...something.
Slow pace with Cole getting the heat for way too long. Amusing spot where he did the worst possible Swagger-style Vader Bomb, though. He pulls his strap down to mock Lawler and applies the Ank-cole Lock, but Lawler rolls out of it and kicks him into the corner. Lawler's back on offense and stomps a mudhole in Cole in the corner but...Swagger throws in the towel? Austin wipes his brow with towel and Swagger's in, argues with Austin, and gets stunned out of the ring. Cole argues with Austin and gets shoved into a Lawler punch. Lawler is beating the hell out of Cole now.
Lawler dropkicks Cole right in the face and walks over him to the corner. Second rope fistdrop after pulling down the strap, which gets the Memphis style "OOH!" from the Georgia Dome crowd. He picks up Cole at two and applies the ankle lock for the submission. Cole tapped right away but Austin waited forever before calling the bell, constantly asking "DO YOU GIVE UP!" So yes, Lawler wins by submission. Austin calls for beer, they celebrate, Booker joins in, does a Spinaroonie, and gets stunned. Austin gives a "hey, why not?" gesture.
But wait, it's the iPhone new message sound and the lights blink! The anonymous GM disqualified Lawler because Austin overstepped his boundries by shoving Cole (who touched him first), so Michael Cole wins by DQ. Yes. Austin stunned Josh Matthews in frustration. I suspected them to find Cole fiddling with his phone sending emails and revealing he's the GM, but it didn't happen. Well, that was weird and lame. Too long and they didn't give Lawler a chance to show his stuff and carry a non-wrestler the way he knows how.
Wrestlemania week festivities video now, followed by Lawler rejoining the booth and props being given to National Guard members in attendance (something something Fit Finlay). Looks like the announcing team is Ross and Lawler from here on.
6. No Holds Barred, loser presumably retires or goes on a long hiatus but not by virtue of an actual stipulation: The Undertaker vs Triple H
Recap video set to a country song I don't recognize is on now.
Triple H's entrance starts with cloaked gladiators assembling around Triple H who's Thor or Conan or something again or something as Metallica's "For Whom The Bell Tolls" plays. Then, it's time to play the game and he does his regular entrance in his regular gear. Lots of great lighting and screen effects.
Gong -> "Ain't No Grave." Taker's entrance is limited to the weird screen effects and fiery pyro before he walked o...ok, I spoke too soon, now there's fire coming out of the entrance set, like Tito Ortiz's entrance to "Break Stuff" years ago in UFC before they cut the budget and went back to boxing style entrances.
I hope they have a good match, especially with how much time they're getting, but given the shape Taker's in and how Triple H at Wrestlemania isn't exactly Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania, I'm not so sure.
Quick start with HHH punching the hell out of Taker only to get chucked out of the ring in a big bump. More brawling on the floor and HHH tackles Taker through the Cole Mine, which collapses. He sits up, though, and more brawling back in the ring leading to the high flipping clothesline by Taker. He tries Old School but gets pulled off and then HHH knocks him to the floor. Taker takes a huge bump into the barricade. HHH takes him to one of the desks and a series of counters leads to HHH taking a backdrop off the desk too the floor. After some selling, Taker hits the once a year tope perfectly. Both guys are bumping like they're done after tonight and it's a hell of a match so far.
They exchanges blows on half of the steps. Undertaker gets the better of it, charges, dives, and gets spinebustered through the Spanish table. Damn. After selling for a while they're back in the ring and Taker gets a chokeslam for 2. HHH doing corner punches now. Gee I wonder what's next...Last Ride but HHH counters, leading to a series of attempted finishers ending in a HHH spinebuster for another nearfall.
HHH gets a chair and tries a running shot but gets booted in the face. Taker gets the chair and nails him across the back with it. He tries another shot but HHH ducks and hits the pedigree for two. Selling, and then HHH seats Taker on the top turnbuckle and tries...something, but Taker counters with the Last Ride for two.
Throat slit gesture -> Tombstone gets two. More selling and contemplation. Taker has the chair again. He's gonna Tombstone HHH on it., but HHH slips out and DDTs him on it. Both guys are down.
They take a while to pull themselves up and HHH is the first to strike with a kick to the gut and a pedigree...for two! Crowd is heating up more and more. They get up, we get a THIRD pedigree and Taker STILL kicks out. They're both down and HHH turtles up before nailing Taker with the chair. He screams at Taker to stay down and readies the chair as Taker gets up. Running chair to the head and it doesn't look like Taker got a hand up. Announcers are somber. HHH is screaming at Taker: "STAY DOWN! STAY DOWN! JUST DIE! WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU!?!?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?!" Taker looks out of it and gets up. HHH does the throat cut and Tombstones Taker while acting all heelish...for TWO. WOW. And now, he gets the sledgehammer from under the ring as the fans scream "NO!" He goes to nail Taker...who catches him in Hell's Gate! HHH drops the sledgehammer and fights for a LONG time. Big pop when he gets the hammer back, but his arm gets limp, he drops it, and soon after that, he used his last ounce of strength to tap out on Taker's thigh. The Undertaker wins an incredible match of the year candidate by submission. Huge pyro display on the stage/set after the finish. Taker hasn't moved since the finish and the trainer is checking on him. Not sure if this is a work or the result of the chairshot but the announcers are very quiet. HHH is up and leaving the ring while Taker can barely move. He looks like hell.
They try to roll taker out of the ring and get him sitting on the apron, but he fell off it to the floor and is barely moving again. The trainers are picking him up and putting him on a stretcher on a motorized cart as the fans start an "UN-DER-TA-KER" chant. The cart goes up the ramp and they cut to a "Don't try this at home" video followed by a Miami-themed Wrestlemania 28 video. Not sure if the timing was intentional on that first clip. Anyway, given how hard the chairshot was, how unwell he looked, and how the post-match betrayed the gimmick, it seems like he might be legitimately badly hurt.
And now the heatkiller match.
7. Mixed Tag Match: LayCool & Dolph Ziggler vs Trish Stratus, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, & John Morrison
Vickie got to introduce her team before they came out. McCool was playing to the crowd but not entirely into it. Kids, DON'T DO UNPROTECTED CHAIRSHOTS TO THE HEAD. Especially when you have to be wheeled past your wife looking half dead right before she has to work a match.
Good guys win after Snooki pinned McCool. Short but good while it lasted. Was mostly Stratus and McCool working together and they had great chemistry. Lots of cool spots. Morrison hit a Starship Pain to the floor on Ziggler. Snooki was being booed, but won the crowd over when she hit McCool with a double handspring elbow. She followed it with a handspring into a splash for the pin.
71,617 announced as the attendance after an Extreme Rules promo.
9. WWE Championship Match: The Miz (c) vs John Cena
Great pre-match video hyping Miz, showing him watching a video wall where clips from The Real World and Tough Enough were cross-cut with famous wrestling moments, leading to a music video.
Great entrance for Miz with lots of pyro.
Cena has a HUGE church choir harmonizing to start his entrance, leading to a great Cena video set to some kind of inspirational spoken word track. The video mixed childhood photos of Cena with clips of him in WWE. Now the choir is singing. This starting to get as weird as the Cena-HHH entrances from several years ago. Cue Cena's regular music. New red shirt for him. Does that mean he gets killed? He runs to the ring as we get a fisheye shot of the stadium.
With the amount of time they have left they're pushing it if The Rock is doing anything of note.
Solid back and forth match with some finisher kick-outs and a ref bump. They end up on the floor and Cena clotheslines Miz over the barricade. Miz tries to climb the second barricade to leave but Cena hits a huge spear and they're both out. Ref...counts to 10? Double count out? The match is a draw and The Miz retains. WHAT!?!!?
Then The Rock's music hits and he comes out...and then the GM dings. Rock heads to the laptop...
"And I quote...'As the Raw general manager, I think...'
IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOU THINK!"
The Rock is restarting it as a no DQ, no count out match. Yes, with about 5 minutes left.
Cena tries the Atittude Adjustment, Miz grabs the ropes and stops it. Cena turns around and walks right into the Rock Bottom! Miz gets the easy pin to win the match and retain the WWE Championship.
Rock is staring down Miz from the aisle...
Rock runs in, beats the hell out of Miz. Miz tries something, Rock counters, spinebuster, People's Elbow. Rock poses on the second turnbuckle as his music plays, and the show ends at the last minute.
Weird ending to a pretty good Wrestlemania. Yeah, a lot of stuff was too short, Lawler-Cole was disappointing, one of the potential best matches was cancelled, and the ending was weird, but there were two great matches, one of which was a potentially legendary match of the year candidate, and a really strong undercard match in Rhodes-Mysterio. Much better overall show than last year.
Raw should be VERY interesting tomorrow. After all the teases, there's no way Rock's not doing more over the next year. Rock vs Miz at Summerslam? Rock doing something at Survivor Series since it's at the Garden? Rock vs Cena at Wrestlemania 28 in Miami?