FearlessRiOT Retro Review: WWE WrestleMania XXVII

I spent money on this. And this was three years before the WWE Network, so it wasn’t $9.99 I had to fork up either. I could’ve just sat back and watched the ACM Awards that night. But nope, for some reason, I decided to order WrestleMania XXVII. After it was over, I tried to convince myself that what I had just watched was amazing; but that’s what happens when you waste a ton of money on something underwhelming. You spend time looking for a silver lining anywhere you can, and granted, there were some good things about WrestleMania XXVII, but not only are they few and far between, but they don’t help the event enough to rank it into even the realm of “average”. I was not looking forward to doing this one, but I said I’d do every WrestleMania after X-Seven, so I bought this on myself. Let’s look at this mess.

OK, first of all, a little fun fact: I attended the final go-home WWE tapings before WrestleMania XXVII. It was the first time I’d ever attended a WWE show (yes, nine years after joining the fandom), and I loved it. Shawn Michaels had a surprise cameo in the HHH/Undertaker segment, I got to see The Rock hit a Rock Bottom in person, I got to see CM Punk work his magic on the mic, and I got so excited to see Queen Eve Torres compete on the Superstars portion  of the taping, I dropped my camera. Then again, I did have a fan sign (which you can see here) in my other hand at the same time. Also, this was back when the bad competition version of NXT existed; they taped a match for that and the crowd absolutely hated it. Those who weren’t expressing how bored they were just hurled insults at the ring. It wasn’t pretty. Thank God NXT Digivolved into being good eventually.

Anyway, I wanted to get that out of the way because that was a personal achievement in my life. Now, I have to review a personal disappointment.
American The BeautifulKeri
“America The Beautiful” was performed by Keri Hilson this year; you may recognize her from all the times Beyoncé’s fans claimed her career was dead after Keri allegedly had some not-so-nice things to say about Queen B. But if you’re not a follower of Twitter beefs, you maybe remember her hits “Turnin’ Me On”, “Knock You Down”, and “Pretty Girl Rock”. She hasn’t had a hit in years and this performance was pretty much the last relevant thing she did. And even this barely counts because up until I decided to cover the “America The Beautiful” portion, I forgot she even did it. Nonetheless, she did very well vocally, proving that she is talented and was pretty much thrown under the bus by the music-listening public for no real reason. But like I said, it was really easy to forget her performance happened because the opening that people really remember featured someone the WWE Universe had dearly missed.

The Rock’s Introduction
WrestleMania XXVII kicked off with The Rock, who was confirmed as the host of the show in one of the greatest moments of 2011. In his first WWE appearance in seven years, he made it clear that he has no love for John Cena and that apparently, that we were led to believe that would impact the show somewhat. I’ll get to how it did later, but in this segment, he basically just ran through his own catchphrases, got the fans to chant Fred Flintstone‘s catchphrase, took a sip of “The People’s Water”, and welcomed us to the show. It was clear The Rock would be more of a host than Kim Kardashian was three years earlier. Also, there was a crowd sign that appeared here that spelled “WrestleMania” wrong; whoever made that chose the wrong televised even to hold up an ad for Hooked on Phonics.

Edge vs. Alberto Del RioWM27_Photo_45
The first actual match of the show is for the World Heavyweight Championship match, because reasons. This is the first of two years they did this and I still don’t understand why; I know they need a good match to kick off and get the fans into things, but putting the World Title on the line first just seems weird to me. Anyway, Edge defended against Alberto Del Rio, the winner of the largest Royal Rumble of all-time; a 40-man experiment that went so well, they haven’t done it again since. With WWE hungry to launch another big Latino star, they pushed Del Rio immediately whether the fans took a liking to him or not. It’s like Roman Reign now, but at least the fans cared about Reigns once upon a time when he was paired with two Indy darlings.

To be fair, there’s really nothing wrong with this match. It was fine, but the only memorable part about it in my opinion is that it was Edge’s swan song. Due to life-threatening injuries, he announced his retirement the following week on RAW and as an EdgeHead myself, it was devastating news to hear. Originally, I was kind of skeptical that this was part of a storyline, but when it turned out to be real, I knew it would be hard to get used to WWE television without him. But at least he went out on a high note by successfully defending the World Title at one final WrestleMania…and by defacing one of Del Rio’s fancy rides. Why doesn’t he drive those things anymore, anyway? WWE Network eating THAT big a hole in their pocket?

Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterioreyjumping
There was once a time I dubbed Cody Rhodes a “future World Champion”. I would still love to see him win a World Title. He’s come a long way from the Era or Legacy; he’s upped his mic skills and charisma-level significantly and has become quite the ring worker. And in 2013, it looked like he was on the verge of becoming a breakout main eventer. But then, he became the wacky Stardust and has seemed to reach the point of no return. But before all the comic book nonsense, his hilarious ‘Dashing’ gimmick is what made me see potential in him beyond ring skill; him getting his face ‘shattered’ by Rey Mysterio and converting into the twisted mindset of seeing himself as ‘Undashing’ was even more entertaining. So when he decided to get retribution on the now-Lucha Underground star, decked out here as Captain America, he was successful in a match that though not well remembered is still a decent match I think you’ll sit through fine if you ever find yourself turning this show on. Really, I enjoyed the rise of Cody Rhodes so much, and even though he’s still young and could bounce back one day, maybe even with his beautiful wife by his side as a valet, we seem to be in his ‘fall’ period these days and that’s a shame.

Snoop Idol
Next up, we have a backstage sketch where celebrity guest star Snoop Dogg and then Smackdown General Manager Tag Team Teddy judge wrestlers singing talent, because…..I don’t know. I guess it was a little funny, but I can’t tell. Basically, we just learned The Great Khali, Beth Phoenix, and Zack Ryder aren’t cut out to be pop stars. But we also got further confirmation of some things we already knew, namely that Chris Masters has weird pecsHornswoggle should never be given a mic on TV, and that a William Regal rap album is the novelty record the world has been waiting for. For the record, this is the year The Voice launched and the year one of my favorite current singers broke out on American Idol, so reality singing shows were still very much a thing. I don’t know if that makes this skit justifiably funny. Also, fun fact: Snoop Dogg now has more WrestleMania main-show appearances than The Usos.

 

Eight-Man Tag Team MatchWM27_Photo_096
OK, time for the eight-person tag team nothing match. This was the “get a ton of people on the show” match of the night and it might as well have not taken place because in an era where the Divas were always getting the shortest matches on the show, this was somehow shorter than the match with the women’s. Big Show, Kane, Kofi Kingston, and Santino Marella fought off Nexus spin-off The Corre in the amount of time it takes to warm up Pop Tarts. No wonder these guys are looked back upon as one of the worst stables of all time. I understand it was useless to throw in a Money in a Bank match since they established the Money in the Bank pay-per-view this year, but this was a lame substitute.

The Rock, Eve Torres, Mae Young, & Steve Austin Backstage

Time for another backstage sketch, this time actually including The Rock. But Dwayne is not alone here and he’s joined by then Divas Champion Eve Torres, the late legend that is Mae Young, and perhaps his greatest all-time rival, Stone Cold Steve Austin. It is pointless filler, completely and totally. But hey, The Rock is a host; he needs something to do. And if that includes facing off with his greatest rival for nostalgia, being hit on by a horny geriatric, and conversing with a champion who SHOULD be competing on the show instead of just hanging out backstage, then so be it! Really, why was Queen Eve not booked to wrestle on this show; they didn’t even have her carry her title in the segment? Add that to the list of things wrong with this event; we could have used a WrestleMania Eve-Sault!

Randy Orton vs. CM Punk
WM27_Photo_117
So now we have CM Punk vs. Randy Orton, a match between two supremely talented athletes that could totally work on paper. And since Orton had disposed of all CM Punk’s New Nexus cronies (including David Otunga and Bray Wyatt‘s ‘Before’ photo), it was gonna be one-on-one for real. At the RAW I attended before this, CM Punk tried to hinder Orton by assaulting him in front of one of his many TV wives; but even taking out one of Randy’s legs wouldn’t earn CM Punk his first one-on-one WrestleMania victory. After an amazing springboard clothesline reversed into an RKO, Randy got the win. And to their credit, they did put on a decent match. The one problem is the same problem that plagued every other good thing about this show: it was kind of forgettable. Honestly, I’m gonna assume the only reason you remember this match is that great RKO that ended it, and even in that case, it went on to get topped at a future WrestleMania and was even topped the year before on an episode of RAW.

Pee-Wee Herman Joins Team Bring-It
You know, I could have kept a counter on the celebrities who took part in this show too; we already have Keri Hilson and Snoop Dogg, so why not throw Pee-Wee Herman in there too. This is one of three Pee-Wee appearances on WWE television, which automatially qualifies him for the Celebrity Wing of the Hall of Fame at this point. His other two appearances came with a brief surprise Lita cameo and some choice words for The Miz. In this appearance, The Rock officially inducts him into Team Bring It. It’s a silly segment, but this is comedy on par with Parks & Recreation compared to what’s to come later in the show.

Hall of Fame Segment
This was a weird Hall of Fame; they inducted a narcissist, a bigot, a hypocrite and someone who is overrated beyond all belief. And that was just Sunny; seriously, have you seen her recent slate of reprehensible actions? I know most of that came after the induction, but it’s all still enough to be one of the many things wrong with this show upon reflection. Aside from her, they also inducted Drew Carrey into the Celebrity Wing, which is like inducting Varsity Fanclub into the Boy Band Wing of the Music Hall of Fame. Also, Abdullah the Butcher, The Legion of Doom, Jim Duggan, and HBK himself, Shawn Michaels all got in and were actually deserving.

Now…we get into the REALLY embarrassing part of the show. So far, we’ve seen a ton of stuff that ranged between good-yet-unmemorable and completely-freaking-pointless. Well, with the exception of one match and a video package, the rest of this show completely sits in the jacuzzi of Hell; just the drizzling pits. You have been warned, and if you haven’t turned back now, you might at the sound of the next match:

Michael Cole vs. Jerry “The King” LawlerWM27_Photo_154
You know, it was admirable that WWE was finally giving Jerry Lawler a long overdue WrestleMania match. Too bad everything else about it wasn’t admirable in the slightest. For a year, we had to put up with play-by-play guy Michael Cole playing the role of an insufferable jerk, antagonizing Jerry Lawler – a mostly funny color commentator – in the process. After he mentioned Lawler’s recently-deceased mother, the gloves were off, contracts were signed, rattlesnakes and All-American Americans were inserted, and VOILA!, a crappy WrestleMania match was born!

This match was so bad, I turned to the ACM Awards during a large chunk of it. Luckily for me, this match was on at the same time Taylor Swift was performing one of her best, most country songs to date, so I’m glad she saved me from a bit of it. In fact, why the match was longer than her performance, I have no idea. This whole program had the makings of a short, blowoff comedy match. But nope, they got 13 damn minutes. Throw in the entrances and the post-match stuff, they got maybe 20 or 30 minutes for a match that resulted in a non-wrestler beating a former wrestler on a technicality. And Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus got bumped to the preshow and changed to a Battle Royal for this; I didn’t even discuss that earlier for the sole purpose of using it as a point of reference here.

Triple H vs. UndertakerWM27_Photo_176
When WWE started airing 2/21/11 vignettes, fans knew it could only be one of two people: Undertaker or the rumored-to-finally-be-leaving-TNA Sting. Once news broke that Sting would indeed stay with Dixieland for some reason, we knew it couldn’t be anyone but Undertaker, so it became predictable. But what we didn’t predict – along with him now using an awesomely haunting Johnny Cash song – was that Triple H would return after months on the shelf the same night and stare down with Undertaker in a suspenseful, wordless segment that booked their WrestleMania match. It also granted me the opportunity to see Undertaker, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels in the ring in-person; even the guy sitting behind me yelling rude things at Undertaker couldn’t ruin that awesomeness.

So when the match came on, I was legitimately excited for it. And during the match, I legitimately feared that Triple H would be the one to end the streak; I think that fear is justified because Triple H was on the offensive for a large amount of it. A match that started as a straight-up fight with a ton of property damage eventually became into the infinite finisher fest we’ve come to expect out of these kinds of matches. Triple H looked to be legitimately close to ending the streak in some points, by Undertaker managed to notch the win in one of the few high points of the show. And even then, this is really the weakest of their three WrestleMania matches; I’ll get into their third encounter tomorrow, but just know that even though Undertaker wouldn’t leave the arena of his own power on this night, you can’t keep the Deadman down for long.

Trish Stratus, Snooki, & John Morrison vs. LayCool & Dolph ZigglerWM27_Photo_191
And in the cool-down spot, LayCool team up with Dolph Ziggler to take on the returning Trish Stratus, successful midcarder John Morrison, and…..an annoying MTV reality star who’s barely taller than the second ring rope. OK, I admit, my disdain for Snooki isn’t as strong as it used to be; it’s not like she continues to be a show business nuisance like The Kardashians or any of the Real Housewives. Yeah, she’s still doing reality shows, but she seems to have chilled down a bit and hasn’t gotten on my nerves in years. But the fact that she has a pinfall victory at WrestleMania still gets on my nerves to this day. The one silver lining of this match was the portion where Trish and Michelle wrestled each other. I swear, if these two ever faced off one-on-one, it would be a match for the ages. As for everything else, let’s just be happy that shortly after their WWE and TNA cameos, the Jersey Shore fad started to fade; if it didn’t, I would have gone absolute Sophie.

The Miz vs. John CenaWM27_Photo_210b
But now, we come to the big one, the main event. And if there was ever a match that deserves the label “all downhill from here”, it’s this one. Literally the best part about this match, and maybe even this whole show honestly, was the Miz video they aired pre-show using the Nas hit “Hate Me Now”. It was very well put together, made The Miz’s rise to the main event seem like one of the most respectable rags-to-riches story in all of wrestling, and is still amazing to watch to this day, even if the Miz is now seen as a joke again. Not to be outdone, John Cena bought a choir and the rough, commanding voice of DMX with him. He had the power of both God and Darkman X on his side…or so he might have thought.

According to many, this match disappointed. The funny thing is that I actually think this match as it is does in fact work…as a #1 contenders match on RAW being used to set up a Triple Threat match or something for WrestleMania. But yes, as a legit WrestleMania headlining main event, this does not at all work. The Rock comes out after the double-countout to restart the match, but that as just to screw Cena over and set the wheels in motion for next year’s WrestleMania main event.

Overall, WrestleMania XXVII was not a WrestleMania you need to watch. I still want a refund for the money I spent on it. I could have used that to go to SHIMMER that year instead; hell, Paige and her mom debuted there that year. This is the worst WrestleMania I’ve had to review so far and might be the worst WrestleMania of this series. If WrestleMania 32 is this bad on Sunday, the ACM and iHeartRadio Music Awards may have to share Twitter’s trending topics board with #CancelWWENetwork on. But luckily, when you book a show this bad, there’s no way you could do worse the following year. WM28 had to be better than this.

Coming tomorrow: WrestleMania XXVIII.

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