In the build-up to WrestleMania 32, the Flickering Myth writers look back at previous installments of the ‘Showcase of the Immortals’.
World Tag Title Match: Big Show & Kane vs. Carlito & Chris Masters
Rob Van Dam vs. Ric Flair vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Finlay vs. Matt Hardy (Money in the Bank Ladder Match)
United States title Match: JBL w/Jillian Hall vs. Chris Benoit
Edge w/Lita vs. Mick Foley (Hardcore Match)
The Boogeyman vs. Booker T & Sharmell (Handicap Match)
WWE Women’s Title Match: Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James
Mark Henry vs. Undertaker (Casket Match)
Shawn Michaels vs. Vince McMahon (No Holds Barred Match)
World Heavyweight Title Match: Kurt Angle vs. Randy Orton vs. Rey Mysterio (Triple Threat Match)
Torrie Wilson vs. Candice Michelle (Playboy Pillow Fight)
WWE Title Match: John Cena vs. Triple H
Sometimes it proves a little bit difficult to single out the low-points of a WrestleMania show. Luckily though, that is not the case here, as the worst match of WrestleMania 22 sticks out like a sore thumb.
The Boogeyman was a fairly ‘out there’ gimmick from the start, but it afforded the WWE writers a number of interesting directions to go in. Unfortunately they went in the silly, child-friendly, worm-eating direction. The character was just the latest in a long-line of strange, unfunny comic-relief acts that WWE has shoved down fans throats.
The real victim of this match though, was Booker T. Here is a talent that had already proven that he belonged in the main event scene (see WrestleMania XIX), and he’s being forced into the silliest of feuds with a sideshow gimmick. To be fair to Booker, he proved what a total professional he is, diving headfirst into the unenviable programme with Boogeyman and selling his ‘fear’ magnificently (jumping at his the sound of his own pyro was a masterful touch). Booker was obviously noticed paying his dues, as he was rewarded with a World Title run shortly after this.
The WrestleMania 22 card is full of great matches, but the stand-out match offers fans a taste of unprecedented brutality.
The highlight of the show is a Hardcore Match between two men who would later be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame: Edge and Mick Foley. Now, Foley is obviously no stranger to this vicious match type, seemingly building his entire legendary career on the foundation that he could administer (and receive) an unprecedented amount of violence. What tends to be forgotten though, is that Edge was no slacker in the Hardcore department, putting himself through gruelling TLC matches in the past.
This one was a total war from the opening bell, with Foley taking an early advantage before interference from Lita put Edge back in control. Then came the vast array of weapons: a Caution Sign, barbed wire, baseball bats, steel steps, more barbed wire, tables, chair, thumb tacks, and yes, even more barbed wire.
Everyone is bleeding profusely (including Lita who took a barbed-wire-wrapped-Mr Socko to the mouth), and just when you think things can’t any more brutal, they begin to build to an unforgettable finish. Foley saturates a table in lighter fluid and begins to return to the ring when Lita smashes him in the groin with a bat. The fiery redhead (no pun intended) then ignites the table, sending a huge blaze up in the air. Edge suddenly reappears and charges at Foley, Spearing him off the apron and into the inferno. It’s still a breath-taking spot to watch to this day.
Edge picks up the win and both men sell their wounds (though I can’t imagine that takes much effort, given what’s just happened to them). Mick Foley gets his long-overdue ‘WrestleMania Moment’, Edge is a validated as a top singles star, and the WWE Universe are treated to an unforgettable match.
Overall, WrestleMania 22 is an excellent edition of the WWE’s flagship event. There are a few boring segments here and there (as there almost always is at ‘Mania), but there are enough outstanding matches here to leave the fans extremely satisfied.
If the ‘magic’ of WrestleMania can be measure by the memorable moments that we take away from the event, then this one is certainly a magical affair. The Money in the Bank spot-fest, the flaming table bump, HBK leaping from the ladder onto the Chairman of the WWE, and Rey Mysterio emotionally lifting the World Heavyweight Championship in Eddie Guerrero’s honour; these are all moments that live long in the memory of wrestling fans, and are all reasons to revisit WrestleMania 22.
Jackson Ball – Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn