Thursday, March 21, 2024

Ramblemania Rewind 26 - WWE Wrestlemania XXVI (2010)

Date: March 28th, 2010
Venue: State Farm Stadium - Glensdale, AZ
Attendance: 72,219

This was the show where Shawn Michaels had his last match, the show where Bret Hart had his first match in WWE since 1997, and this was also the show where... well, that's all I remember from this show. I recall this being a good B-level show and honestly, I'd say that opinion holds up... but yeah, let's get into it.

WWE Unified Tag Team Champion Big Show & The Miz defeated John Morrison & R-Truth to retain the titles in a fairly short match... 

Randy Orton defeated Ted DiBiase (this would be Ted Jr., son of the Million Dollar Man) and Cody Rhodes in a three-way match. So these guys formed a group called Legacy and then they broke up and decided to fight each other... okay, cool. This was basically a glorified squash for Randy, as poor Ted and Cody were treated like absolute jobbers who eventually lost and went nowhere. Cody would eventually recover while Ted Jr. would end up finding another line of work... which opens up another can of worms that I'm not going to get into here.

Jack Swagger defeated Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne, Shelton Benjamin, Matt Hardy, Dolph Ziggler, MVP, Drew McIntyre, Kane, and Christian in a Money In The Bank ladder match to win the briefcase... yes, out of all the talent that they could have booked to win this match, they went with JACK SWAGGER. This is "All-American American" Jack Swagger with the goofy smile and not "Bad-Ass MMA Fighter" and "Hat Aficionado" Jake Hager that you see every once in a while on AEW. If it were the latter guy, yeah, maybe, but JACK SWAGGER with the goofy smile and the speech impediment? That's the guy you're going with? Yeah, okay... well, he's clearly going to be another Mr. Kennedy, right? He's going to lose the briefcase to...

What do you mean he won the Big Gold Belt?



Oh... okay... so, yeah, that was certainly a choice.

Triple H defeated Sheamus in a relatively hard-hitting match. Nothing I would consider a classic, but it was a fun little hoss fight.

Rey Mysterio defeated CM Punk w/ Luke Gallows & Serena... see, because this was when CM Punk had that Straight Edge Society and was doing what I feel was his best work. The preceding video package hyping this match was rather nice - surprised to see Eddie's kid Dominick make another appearance - but the match itself was... just okay.

Bret "Hitman" Hart defeated Vince McMahon in a No Holds Barred match that saw the entire Hart family (or at least the ones that could be flown) beating the ever loving piss out of Vince while Bret sat in a corner. And then once they were gone, Bret started wailing on this bastard with a steel chair in what seemed like forever. And then we got Bret locking Vince in the Sharpshooter for the win and... look, Bret Hart made his big return to WWE in 2010, he and Shawn hugged to put the past behind them, and they decided to build towards a match with Vince at Mania. The build to the match was stupid - Bret hurt his leg, but then it turns out it didn't, Vince hired the Harts to screw Bret, but then they decided to screw Vince after taking the money. I knew that Bret couldn't do much because of his concussion and stroke issues, so who knew what anyone were expecting out of this whole deal... but yeah, this was quite dreadful. Bret Hart's first match in WWE in years... and THIS is what you book.

I mention this match needing to be in CANADA if you wanted the nuclear heat that you didn't get in Phoenix, but if THIS were the match you'd give that Canadian crowd, I'd imagine they'd be chanting for HBK instead... or maybe even TNA. Hell, let's toss in a Goldberg chant and really annoy Bret. We'll get that long-awaited Bret Hart Turns On Canada heel turn that nobody wanted or something... I don't know. What am I even doing here? This match blew. End of story.

Oh well... if there was a bright side to all this, it's that Bret got another US title reign, beating the Miz for the title in another mess of a match, but fuck it, I'll take it. I got video fodder out of that at the time.

World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho defeated EDGE via belt shot to retain the title in a pretty good match... and then Edge goes crazy and beats up Jericho for a bit. Well, that's not quite sportsmanlike. On the bright side, however, this is the first Wrestlemania match that Chris Jericho has won since 2001. Good for you, Chris. I'd offer some bubbly, but you don't ship that stuff to Canada and also you don't make it anymore. Fail.

Women's Champion Michelle McCool, Divas Champion Maryse, Layla, Alicia Fox & Vickie Guerrero defeated Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, Eve, Gail Kim & Beth Phoenix in a 10-Diva Tag Match that saw Vickie do a frog splash (I refuse to call it a "hog splash" or whatever the fuck it is) on Kelly Kelly. Yes, they had the largest woman in the match literally squash the tiniest woman in the match. Not much to say about the match other than... well, at least they all got paid.

John Cena defeated WWE Champion Batista via submission to win the title. I had forgotten how good this match was and how much made chemistry these two had with each other. This was Big Leaguing Batista who was on his way out and would headline another PPV or two before leaving to do some serious acting in movies... which would be a har-har thing to say if someone like, say, DWAYNE was leaving for Hollywood... except Dave Bautista actually took this acting thing seriously and probably has a better body of work under his credit than most of his contemporaries who made the jump from squared circle to tinsel town. Truth be told, even though I knew he'd be leaving, I was rooting for Big Dave to win this one and put Cena (whom I'd refer to back in the day with such names as "John Useless" or "John Worthless" - truly some creative energies floating in those names) out of his misery... but alas, that was not the case.

I originally said that this was not as good as Jericho/Edge, but with the recent rewatch, I felt like this was the better match... probably because I don't have the annoyance of John Cena's continued push to color my perception of things. This was a hell of a match between two top-tier talents and if this were any other show, it'd be a good note to end the show on... except we had one more match.

The Undertaker defeated Shawn Michaels in a Streak-Vs-Career match that... wasn't quite as epic as the match that they had the year before, but I'd attribute that to diminishing returns more than anything. You're always expecting the sequel to bring the goods and thensome and it doesn't quite reach that level. That pretty much sums up Taker/Shawn II, but this was still pretty good. And hey, they're actually ending the show with this match instead of an underwhelming title match... even then both World title matches this year were actually really, REALLY good. Still this had the bigger stakes, which makes it the bigger deal, and to his credit, Shawn would stay retire for a good long while... but sadly, even the Heartbreak Kid would fall under the allure of headline a Saudi Blood Money show in what I hear is a pretty awful match that puts the Hogan/Piper Age In The Cage match to utter shame. I wouldn't know, because I haven't seen that match.

Wrestlemania 26 is a weird show and one that I'm not sure how to properly classify because it's one of those cases where the good stuff was really good and the bad stuff was really bad... but the good stuff is almost so good that it lifts the entire show out of the gutter by sheer willpower alone. I don't know... that Cena/Batista match was pretty good and Taker/Shawn II was pretty good... hell, I'd give a nod to Jericho/Edge as a distant third, but the rest of it was just kinda, sorta... "meh." Definitely a show that was better when it happened and hasn't aged well since.

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