I had a very interesting and fun experience attending Wrestlemania 25 in Houston. It was my first Wrestlemania event, so I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. We made the 3+ hour drive from Austin, and made a stop at Lockhart for some delicious BBQ from Smittys Market. That really helped energized us for the remainder of the long drive.
We got to Reliant Stadium at around 5 PM and parked on the west side of the stadium in the Westridge lot. Parking was $20, which was probably a reason why we saw quite a few people park much further west on Westridge. On the ticket it said Wrestlemania started at 5:30, so we scampered to find the proper entrance for our seats. It took a while to get inside and we started running because it was already 5:30 and were still on the concourse. Peeking down the stairs we saw the grandeur of the setup- the entire stadium was lit up in a combination of a blue and white light, and an imposing facade in the shape of a star above the wrestler's entrance ramp read Wrestlemania, 25th Anniversary.
We had floor seats (Riser Section 130) so we had to go down the stairs to reach them. Unfortunately we were in the last row, and it was disappointing to see all the people in front of us. The description "risers" is really misleading- everyone in the riser sections were on an even level, so if anyone stood up it would block the view of the people behind the row.
By the time we got to our seats it was around 5:33, and pretty soon the contestants fo the unified tag team championship match was being introduced.Carlito & Primo vs. John Morrison & The Miz
First the lumberjacks came out- I don't believe that they were introduced. There were lots of high flying top rope action. After about 10 minutes, Carltio and Primo came out on top. Interestingly the Bella sisters were not around the entire match.
Lilian Garcia came out and got a big ovation from the crowd.Countdown to Wrestlemania/Nicole Scherzinger
So a couple minutes before 6 PM, a countdown clock started. Lilian then announced that Wrestlemania is staring in less than 4 minutes. So apparently Wrestlemania hadn't officially started yet? The countdown was fun, though instead of huge fireworks to end it we were shown clips of wrestlers talking about their various Wrestlemania experiences and memories.
Nicole Scherzinger then came out and performed a nice rendition of America the Beautiful. Then came the huge fireworks that went off around the ramp and the above the facade- that was cool.Money in the Bank Ladder Match
This was a nice, fast-paced ladder match. Some of the more memorable moves I thought were Mark Henry slamming Kofi on the prostrate ladder (OUCH) and Christian hitting the "unprettier" on CM Punk in a similar fashion. It was funny when Hornswaggle brought in the mini ladder. When Christian was about to get the briefcase everyone was going nuts, but ultimately CM Punk got it and he got a nice pop too.Kid Rock Performance
Kid Rock got a big reaction from the crowd when he was introduced. Not being big fans of his music, I went up to the concourse to get some food and drink. When I came back Kid Rock was still going at it, so it must have lasted a good 15 to 20 minutes.25 Diva Battle Royal
I thought it was unfortunate that they didn't introduce each Diva. I had heard rumors that some former WWE Divas like Molly Holly and Torrie Wilson were going to appear, and apparently they did, but I didn't even see them. Santino (er I mean Santina) Morella won. Very predictable but still funny at the same time.Chris Jericho vs. Legends 3 on 1 Handicap Elimination Match
The legends got off to a good start but predictably two of them Jimmy Snuka and Rowdy Piper got eliminated quickly after that. Ricky Steamboat performed like a 25 year old out there and got some near-falls on Jericho, but ultimately got pinned. Rick Flair went into the ring but was also beaten down. Jericho was able to get Micky Rourk to come into the ring in the boxing stance. That look on Jericho's face was hilarious. Rourke then socked Jericho in the head and celebrated in the ring with Flair.Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy, Extreme Rules Match
Call me crazy but I expected a little more from this match, but it had its memorable moments. The table-on-top-of-a-table move on everyone gasping. The other ones were Jeff going butt first from the top of the ladder and the vicious twist-of-fate on the steel chair by Matt. I was surprised that Matt won- I think most people thought Jeff would prevail.JBL vs. Rey Mysterio for the Intercontinental Championship
JBL came out to run his mouth about how he is a hero, blah blah- a sure foreshadowing of an impending loss. Rey Mysterio comes out and JBL kicks him in the head to gain an advantage. But almost as quickly JBL gets the 619, proceeded by a frog-splash to end it. I don't think the entire match lasted one minute. A shocked JBL then announced that he "quit", much to the delight of the crowd. Apparently JBL really is leaving the WWE, and I feel badly that this is the way he is being sent off.Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker
Lights go out and white smoke appeared around the stage and then surprise- it's Shawn Michaels, not the Undertaker being introduced. The it was a switch his regular music- this was probably the most elaborate intro of the Wrestlemania. Taker then comes out to an equally big ovation. The two then locked horns in by far the best match of the night. The timing and execution were terrific- there were so many near-falls and a near count-out. I certainly don't remember anyone kicking out of the tombstone piledriver, but HBK did. The expression on Undertaker's face said it all. But he couldn't kick out of a second one. The crowd was thoroughly into the match and everyone was alternating an "Undertaker, HBK!" chant.Big show vs. John Cena vs. Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship
Edge came out to a big ovation from a crowd. Big Show got a nice pop but John Cena actually got some boos when he came out. This match wasn't anything special- the most memorable part being Cena doing the FU on the Big Show. Too bad Vicki Guerrero didn't get to talk on the mike.Hall of Famers, including Steve Austin
The newly inducted WWE Hall of Famers were introduced to the crowd. Stone Cold got the biggest pop of course, and the crowd went wild when his music broke and he came back out in an ATV, went into the ring, and drank a whole lotta beers.Randy Orton vs. Triple H for the WWE Championship
Randy Orton got a lot of cheers actually when he was introduced. Triple H came out and had a big ovation. The match was pretty solid, and for a second there it appeared that Orton might win from a disqualification but the crafty Triple H hid the sledgehammer before the ref could see it. It was cool that Triple H stuck around for a little bit to celebrate.
And with that, Wrestlemania 25 was over!Wrestlemania 25 Complaints
I hate to keep harping on this but the the views from our "riser" seats were terrible. Two guys sitting next to us even said that if they had known about the view they would've just stayed home and ordered the pay-per-view. What made it much worse was how some annoying fans kept standing on their chairs. And while the signs are cool and interesting when you see them on TV- they are a huge nuisance when you're sitting behind people holding up signs- BIG signs.... Our view of the stage was obstructed 80% off the time, and most of the time we had to resort to watching the action on the jumbotrons. It's not what you'd expect for $155 tickets.
Also I was disappointed that Vince McMahon didn't come out. I'm not quite sure why- he readily came out the next night no RAW. It would've been cool to see him strut down the ramp in person.
And what was up with the JBL vs Mysterio match? Since JBL was really leaving, you'd think a better match would've been in store.
I was also looking for a "twist" or surprise of some sort- but that never happened.Verdict
Despite my issues we had a good time. The atmosphere was electric at times, and the Undertaker HBK match was incredibly well done. Just a huge kudos to those two veteran stars for pulling off a great performance. Would I go to another Wrestlemania- most certainly but only for better seats for much cheaper tickets. If you plan on going- I say no to riser seats! You're better off in the upper levels and paying way less for the same views.
Compared to other Wrestlemanias I've seen I'd give Wrestlemana 3 out of 4 stars. It was an exciting show, but not quite perfect.