– The entranceway for the wrestlers is made to resemble the Chicago skyline, with a giant Titantron above it.
– There are huge portraits of wrestlers hung throughout the arena. In addition to the current stars, there are portraits of Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Steve Austin, Rock and Hardcore Holly. Yes, Hardcore Holly.
– There are already chants of “Cena Sucks” from the fans in the arena. Later, there were “Eddie” chants.
– The Wrestlemania 22 program has a review of classic title matches that have taken place in Chicago.
– A Wrestlemania video was shown on the screens, and the crowd popped when an image of Hulk Hogan appeared.
– Smackdown’s Tony Chimmel came out to the ring, then introduced Raw’s Lilian Garcia. Tazz & Michel Cole then entered, with Tazz receiving an “ECW” chant from the crowd. Jim Ross then entered to a huge pop and ovation from the crowd. Jerry Lawler came out, but no Jonathan Coachman next.
– They are holding an Inter-brand 18-Man Battle Royale for the fans in the building (and probably the DVD again). Participants included: Eugene, Viscera, Goldust, Gene Snitsky, Sylvan, Tyson Tomko, Lance Cade, Trevor Murdoch, Matt Striker, Super Crazy, Psicosis, Sho Funaki, Steven Richards, Johnny Nitro, Joey Mercury, Road Warrior Animal, William Regal, and Simon Dean. The wrestlers had T-shirts on representing their brand, similar to last year. Simon Dean grabbed the mic and tried to speak, but was immediately thrown out.
– Viscera won the battle royale, last eliminating Gene Snitsky. Viscera also eliminated MNM near the end. Viscera grabbed Lilian Garcia and went to kiss her. She started to protest, but then let him, and the crowd popped for it.
– The crowd went back to chanting “Cena Sucks” and “Eddie” waiting for the show to begin. Every shot of Cena in the opening video was booed.
– The heat from Kane’s fire set off a pyro burst on the stage by accident.
– Kane & Show vs. Masters & Carlito – It was an OK opener. That pyro is insanely hot. Crowd liked it but wasn’t insanely behind either team. They were behind Carlito big time during the dissension with Masters.
– Money in the Bank – RVD and Benjamin both made their best Mania showings to date here. Flair was good as Terry Funk, doing things he’s far too old to do with the crowd loving him for it. Good showings by all involved. You have to love the huge ECW chant for the 5 star frog splash off the ladder. Far too many great spots to recap but an amazing match. Kudos to all involved.
– JBL vs. Benoit – An OK match. I was hoping for something more based on the house show reports. The crowd had this “Are you kidding me?” reaction to the finish but it was a good idea to give Benoit the chase. Scattered Chants for Eddie Guerrero during the match but nothing very loud live, so I doubt they were picked up. Lots of applause for Benoit as they left.
– Booker T & Sharmell vs. Boogeyman – Next!
– Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James – Surprise of the night so far was a good part of the crowd chanting and cheering for James. One person near me said its because Trish is from Canada so I guess there’s a Chicago vs. Canada war I’m unaware of. This was probably the best Women’s bout in Mania history until the point Stratus appeared to blow out her knee as it fell apart from there on. The crowd popped every time James kicked out and booing Stratus. James avoiding the Stratusfaction was classic. They lost some momentum with the finish but that couldn’t be helped. Stratus was limping badly as the referee walked her to the back after.
– Undertaker vs. Mark Henry – Well, the entrance was nice. Why in the world did Henry go for the pin at one point. This was getting Boogeyman bad as the crowd started with the boring chants. Taker hitting the dive was insanely scary especially since it didn’t look like Henry was going to catch him, which gave me flashbacks to a Henry vs. Terry Funk Raw match I had blocked from memory. The crowd popped for the tombstone.
– They mis-shot the streamers for Shawn Michaels and a ton are stuck hanging from the staging sections above the ramp, like a ridiculous amount. There’s no way not to see them.
– Michaels vs. McMahon – It took about 10 seconds for the Bret Hart chants. McMahon was great mocking Michaels. Ken Doane of Spirit Squad was awesome in the Squad’s sequence. Everyone was looking for Bret during the Kiss my Ass tease. McMahon is insane for taking that chair shot at his age. Ditto the trash can shots. They lost the crowd a bit during the set up take down and set up another ladder sequence. That elbow was awesome, though. The crowd popped for the old school DX crotch chops too. I guess if they turn HHH tonight they can have a DX Reunion run.
– The crowd booed the Detroit announcement for Wrestlemania 23. I thought that was funny.
– World title – The pyro was out of this world. One thing that never gets its just due is the WWE Production Team. They started off awesome in the ring too. No Eddie chants for Rey early in a surprise. Pat Patterson was out watching the match. There was so much smoke sitting in the Arena, a portion of the upper deck was chanting, “We can’t see you.” Crowd booed Rey breaking up a submission by Angle on Orton. Crowd wants Angle to win. The Eddie chants started a little as Orton got some 2 counts on Rey but they died out as soon as Angle returned. Crowd popped huge for the win by Rey. Fun match but not an all time classic. As someone who’s been watching Rey since I stumbled across Lucha on Galavision in 1993, I really loved this. It was a nice touch to send Vicki and Chavo Guerrero out.
– Pillowfight – Next!
– Al Capone got a huge pop from the crowd when he appeared on the screen. Pat Patterson and Johnny Ace could be seen watching the match near the stage.
– After the PPV ended, Cena celebrated in the ring and cried. The crowd was 50/50 for him, with lots of people walking out as soon as the match was over. Triple H got up on his knees in the ring after Cena left, and there was some applause, but a lot of boos. Triple H picked up the sledgehammer and walked to the back. There was a “Triple H” chant as he got to the stage and exited.
– They did not show the highlight video that closed the PPV in the arena.
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