WWE // 2011 // 240 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis // May 28th, 2011
The biggest Wrestlemania ever!
Not really, but that's WWE's tagline for their latest installment of the most important pay-per-view of the year. It's more like the most bloated Wrestlemania ever; it looked like it on paper, so I declined to order the show for the first time in nearly a decade, and I'm glad I did. It's worse in reality than it was on paper, and Wrestlemania XXVII is genuinely one of the worst Wrestlemanias the company has ever aired. Looking at the contents of the show, it's pretty easy to see why.
WWE opens their event with none other than The Rock talking and talking and talking. While we listen to him recycle a 15-year-old series of catch phrases, I wondered why he couldn't have had some stupid comedy to promote instead of appearing at Wrestlemania. Worse yet, he's the special guest something-or-other for the night, so we can expect to see him ruin a lot more segments.
Match 1: Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio
I have to question the logic of opening the show with the first of a mere two title matches (ridiculous on its own for a show of this size; we aren't talking about No Way Out here). A fundamental rule of ring sports: champions do not jerk the curtain. Nonetheless, the match is pretty good with a funny finish; I think Del Rio is going places. A sad corollary to this match: the following night on WWE Raw, Edge would announce his (legit) retirement from wrestling; his neck just couldn't handle it anymore. I was never the guy's biggest fan, but I hate to see him go out this way.
Match 2: Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes
Another good match from two solid performers, but the reason for the match is so incredibly stupid. A few weeks previous, apparently, Mysterio hit the 619, his signature move, on Rhodes, smacking him with his knee brace and causing massive facial injuries. That's fine until you consider how many wrestlers wear these exact braces and how often people get hit in the face with them. A great angle for two skilled wrestlers is to have them fight for professional competition. People actually like seeing good wrestling; silly gimmicks about deadly knee braces are never necessary.
Match 3: Kane, Big Show, Santino Marella, and Kofi Kingston vs. The
The show really lost me with this match, and I only occasionally could get back into it afterward. This match, entrances included, lasts for under five minutes. It's a typical squash match, which is very problematic for WWE when they demand so much money for their product. A terrible match.
Match 4: Randy Orton vs. CM Punk
Orton vs. Punk is the only really good match on the card, which is extremely sad. It's relatively short compared to what I had expected to see, but it's a sharply-wrestled contest with a great finish. Both workers are more than solid; they're two of the best WWE has in their stable. Apparently, this match was cut short because of time restraints. More minutes needed to be reserved for Pee Wee Herman and 90-year-old Mae Young sexually harassing The Rock; it is clear that wrestling fans like this stuff more than wrestling.
Match 5: Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole
The less said about this match, the better. I was surprised to learn that this is the legendary Lawler's first Wrestlemania match, so I'm glad they gave him some time in the ring, old and ineffective as he may be today. Put him in there with a wrestler, though, or at least a manager. No, Michael Freaking Cole, an announcer, and not a very good one at that. Stone Cold Steve Austin plays special guest referee for the match, so you know how the whole thing pans out. This is garbage.
Match 6: Triple H vs. The Undertaker
The first of two main events, Undertaker tries to lengthen his 18-Wrestlemania winning streak, while Triple H tries to do the one thing he's never done in the wrestling business, beat the Dead Man at Mania. It's a good match for two men who have been at it for what seems like forever. I was interested to see it, but here's the rub. I was even more interested in this match when I saw it in Houston at Wrestlemania in 2001. It has been a decade of same old, same old, and I don't see it getting better anytime soon.
Match 7: Trish Stratus, John Morrison, Snooki vs. LayCool and Dolph
Part of me wants to complain about this match, but part of me was so beaten down by the show, in general, that I just accepted it. This was my first experience with Snooki, and I don't hope for a second. In all honesty, however, she did a handspring elbow into the corner against her opponent that was surprisingly clean. What she pulls off is far more skillful than anything many long-time women's champions have been (Candace Michelle, especially, but almost every one for the last five years). Yes, that's how seriously this company takes women's wrestling today; some weird girl on a reality show outstrips the skills of her seasoned competitors.
Match 8: The Miz vs. John Cena
Finally, the main event, and by finally I mean that I'm glad there's only half an hour left in this debacle. John Cena is very earnest, very irritating, and a deeply sub-standard wrestler. The Miz has some charisma and comic timing, but he's mostly a fool out there. Together, their questionable talents make up the biggest match of the year in professional wrestling. Vince should be ashamed of himself to think this is the way to go. Considering the way the match ends, it's the perfect cap to a completely forgettable night.
Featuring only eight matches on a four hour card may make unwitting fans believe that there are some great long matches on the show. Sadly, there's only one match that's of any decent length. Two matches combine for about five total minutes of ring action. The announcers match is one of the worst segments in Wrestlemania history and also one of the longer matches on the card. Even the good matches are kept under twenty minutes. This Wrestlemania will not be known for its technically sound bouts or high flying spectaculars; it will be known for its horrendous skits and interminable ring entrances.
Production-wise, the DVD for Wrestlemania XXVII is up to their usual high standard, but I have a big beef with one aspect. The anamorphic image looks great and the sound design is basically identical to their pay-per-view broadcast, so that's all fine. Again, I didn't see the show myself until now, but I read a number of recaps. In the main event, the crowd turns on long-time babyface John Cena, with prodigious boos raining down from his entrance to his final spots in the match. This happens; wrestling fans have the right to cheer who they please. You would never know this, though, if the DVD was the only impression of the show, because WWE has changed the audio to reflect how they believe fans should react to Cena. It's far from the first time they've done this, but I still hate it. It's just another case of Vince McMahon thinking he knows the fans better than they know themselves and making wrestling worse every year. I thought that I was to receive the Collector's Edition of the event, with a third disc of extras, but we were sent the regular, cheaper edition. In the end, I'm happy about that, because that third disc only has the complete WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony and some clips from Raw to help explain the angles, none of which I wanted to watch anyway.
The combined ring entrances for the Undertaker/Triple H and Cena/Miz bouts are longer than most of the matches on the card. The main event alone is nearly seventeen minutes of garbage while they get to the ring. I'm so happy I didn't waste seventy bucks on this show; if it's not the worst Wrestlemania in history, it's certainly the biggest ripoff. From subpar ring work to some of the worst skits since the '80s, I can't see any self-respecting wrestling fan agreeing to lay down cash for this.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 240 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site