WWE WrestleMania 27 Revisited Submitted by Justin Watry on 03/31/2020 at 12:36 AM
A few months ago, I took a look at Invasion 2001 and Great American Bash 2004 and asked "Was it really that bad?" Today, I am back with a WrestleMania version of that very column. A little background: I watched this event with my uncle and younger sister in front of a big screen television set and a big delicious pizza. The reception after this event ended was that it stunk. Well, my 'party' had a good time and enjoyed ourselves, so let's rewind nine years and go back to Atlanta, Georgia...
WrestleMania 27: Was It Really That Bad?
The Rock's Opening Promo - The Rock returned to the WWE scene on February 14th, 2011. The company had been teasing a "WrestleMania Host" since the previous Raw, which just so happened to be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was at that taping and immediately told my buddy it was going to be The Rock. That was also the infamous R-Truth/Green Bay incident, as well as the fun CM Punk/John Cena off air rap. Good show, despite the horrendous winter weather. Tangent aside, The Rock was officially back in the fold and clearly on a collision course with John Cena. When? Well, we didn't quite know when, but television ratings immediately jumped and FINALLY there was buzz surrounding WM27, which had been lacking thus far in the build. Here though, meh. The Rock came out, yapped, did a bunch of smiling and wasted the first 15 minutes of the show. Totally unnecessary if you ask me. I get it though. He is The Rock and the host...
World Title Match - Ah yes, this one. Edge was the World Champion about to battle Royal Rumble winner Alberto Del Rio. Logic said ADR would win the belt because it was his destiny, as he was the new star the company was behind...but no. Edge retained, and we found out a week later he was due to retire because of a million injuries piled up. Del Rio would have to wait another four months and a brand change in order to reach the top of the mountain. The hype was fine, but this starting out the event was weird. Del Rio got his cool entrance with Brodus Clay and Ricardo Rodriguez cheering him on, while Christian was there for Edge at ringside. Yeah, no WM match for Captain Charisma. The whole thing was weird and felt like a set up to something more. it never happened though. Edge simply won clean after a solid bout, the two good guys destroyed Alberto's sweet ride, and we all moved on. So much for crowning the new guy over a veteran on the grand stage! This was during a bad stretch for the Rumble winners, as the 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 winners came up short at Mania. Plus, this was a World Title opener at WrestleMania; the same thing would happen a year later. This time, the Rumble winner would be victorious as Sheamus defeated Daniel Bryan in less than 30 seconds - the exact outcome I had written about two weeks beforehand...
Cody Rhodes VS Rey Mysterio - Now, we are talking! Let's get back on track here. The story line with Cody Rhodes and Rey Mysterio was great. Planned or not, the broken nose aspect of this feud did wonders for them leading to Mania. From Dashing to Grotesque. Awesome. Cody Rhodes NEEDED this matchup on the grand stage. Him and Ted DiBiase being humiliated by Randy Orton is not a high profile spot or anything memorable. THIS is something memorable. This was exactly what the young star deserved, and him facing off against the legend of the mask was perfect. Even better, Mysterio was there to do business and laid down for the three count. I, and others, had high hopes for Cody Rhodes in WWE. He was the popular Money in the Bank winner for years, but it just never came. For this one night though, he was an absolute star. In Atlanta no less. Elite.
The Corre VS Big Show, Kane, Santino Marella, & Kofi Kingston - The Corre was an off shoot from the Nexus. Remember them? Ezekiel Jackson, Wade Barrett, Heath Slater, and Justin Gabriel were the four men here. Also, do you remember the World Title run by a dominant heel Kane? That was pretty much thrown out the window as well, as he was back to being a face and back to his usual underutilized role. Here is the negative of this eight man tag team match - it killed the heel stable DEAD. I have long defended the Nexus story line and thought it got as much juice out of it as humanly possible. Don't even start crying about the Summerslam 2010 ending. As for the The Corre though, they were a disaster. Here is the positive of this eight man tag team match - it was over with in a hurry. Barely two minutes. Exactly what it should have been. The popular faces defeat the annoying heels and send them all packing. Ironically, the following year would feature a lot of drama around the Big Show's 'embarrassing' WM moments, yet he scored the decisive pinfall victory here.
The Rock/Stone Cold After The Rock has some fun with Eve and Mae Young, he turns around to come face to face with Stone Cold Steve Austin! The live crowd goes bonkers for this cool backstage moment. The Texas Rattlesnake was advertised for the show also (more on that later), so it was very wise of WWE to give us this staredown. Very intense, very serious but ended on a respectful note. Great moment.
CM Punk VS Randy Orton - Another highlight. Very nice video package, fun feud, fresh matchup and one of those new vs. old styles. Similar to the Cody Rhodes versus Rey Mysterio. I remember going into the event thinking one veteran would win, while one veteran would lose. Since Mr. 619 lost earlier, I assumed Mr. RKO would get the nod here. He did indeed after a good back and forth match and a classic RKO outta nowhere! The rematch was probably a tad bit better with a gimmick; it didn't matter though. All of this was under the premise that CM Punk was soon to be exiting the company. Obviously, Orton SHOULD get the wins then, especially with him being pegged as the man to lead the blue brand as World Champion during the summer. As we saw though, sometimes plans change.
The Rock/PeeWee Herman - Funny backstage segment, with Rocky making fun of PeeWee Herman for being John Cena's number one fan.
WWE Hall Of Fame Inductees - Shawn Michaels was the star. First year inducted after retirement. Edge would have the same honor happen 12 months later.
Jerry Lawler VS Michael Cole - This had been brewing for months. Jack Swagger was brought in to train Michael Cole, and Jerry Lawler had Stone Cold Steve Austin in his back pocket as the special guest referee. He was really back to promote the upcoming Tough Enough season on USA Network but whatever. In year's past, I have defended this feud and said it was a major selling point of WrestleMania 27 and key reason why the pay-per-view topped one million buys. You can laugh at that statement all you want, but this story line had MAJOR crowd heat. Add in all the real elements to this, and you had the makings of a great showdown. Put Stone Cold out there for a few stunners and boom! What could go wrong? Just like Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon - in and out within 5 minutes and soak in the cheers...or not. Drag it out 15 minutes and let the fans slowly but surely lose interest. Ugh. After all the pomp and circumstances, Lawler won but was later disqualified by the Raw Anonymous General Manager. Yeah, that was still a thing. Thus, Cole got the win over Jerry Lawler in his first WM match ever. Horrible. Stone Cold handed out some stunners afterwards to the 'lesser' commentators to clear the way for Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross to finish the show (no complaint there). From start to finish, this took 29 minutes. Unreal.
The Undertaker VS Triple H - Amazing build, amazing star power, amazing video packages, amazing showdown, amazing all around. You may not believe me, but up until the infamous 2-21-11 Raw, the rumor was WrestleMania 27 would feature The Undertaker returning to get revenge on Wade Barrett in a single's match and Triple H returning from hiatus to continue his feud with Sheamus. Yep. Like I said, The Rock 100% SAVED WrestleMania 27 when he came back to the company on February 14th. We needed that spark so badly. Audible or not, who cares? Taker and HHH sold their entire WM clash without saying a single word in an epic ten minute segment that fans still talk about to this day. That greatness carried over to WrestleMania 27 and then finished off a year later in Miami inside Heck on a Deck at WrestleMania 28. A two year story that actually felt like a four year story with Shawn Michaels in 2009 and 2010 too. So cool. The Undertaker eventually won (as he should) via tap out, but Triple H was the man who left standing and able to walk out on his own two feet. I loved this. The entrances alone were worth the price of the pay-per-view. Best part of the entire show with the crowd losing their minds for the kick outs, facial reactions and all around spectacle.
John Morrison, Trish Stratus, & Snooki VS Dolph Ziggler & LayCool - Here is your celebrity involvement, assuming Stone Cold and The Rock don't count. Vickie Guerrero was at ringside here and looked great rooting on the heels. Snooki was a part of the popular Jersey Shore MTV series. I didn't watch it, so I didn't particularly care for her getting involved. However, for a fun one off, it was 'no harm, no foul' to me. Trish had a mini run and was also there to promote Tough Enough coming back. Always nice to see the greatest women's wrestler ever back on the big stage. Snooki did just fine and played her part well. You can't get upset with her; she was all over the place in 2011, and this lasted only four minutes at WrestleMania 27. Just riding the Jersey Shore fifteen minutes of fame fad. I can't fault her. What this bout will be remembered most for is the post-match celebration. You can clearly see it. The three faces go to pose for the fans, and Morrison purposely brushes off Trish, apparently in a sign of protest to Melina (Morrison's girl) not getting the spotlight. First off, the spot was never Melina's to begin with. I say that as a fan of hers. Without Trish, this thing was not making the WM card. Secondly, it is WrestleMania. If Trish wants to come back, she gets to come back. No questions asked. Thirdly, Tough Enough. Easy tie in there for USA Network. A no brainer. Fourthly, John Morrison already had one foot out the door. Everybody knew he was riding out his contract for the rest of 2011 and leaving. No like he had any stroke to begin with but if he did, that left him without a leg to stand on. Fifthly, get over it. Behind the scenes, you can bicker and argue with a well respected legend all day long. Pulling that stunt in front of a worldwide audience and at the biggest event of the year was beyond stupid. Whether you agree with his stance or not, it was unprofessional. Much like Gail Kim going off script in her 2011 Raw battle royal and quitting. She can claim it was done for the "right" reasons all she wants; it was BS and highly unprofessional. Long story short, this was a fine six person tag match to buffer fans before the main event after an incredible HHH/Taker brawl.
The Miz VS John Cena - This was for the WWE Championship and our main event of the evening. Quick refresher: The Miz cashed in his MITB briefcase in November 2010 and won the WWE Title, shocking the world and especially his long-time 'haters' who never saw the talent. He took that personality and passion all the way to the main event of WrestleMania. His entrance and video package put all of that into an epic introduction. One of the best ever. If you have not seen, do so. Still in its' full on the WWE Network. Not to be overshadowed, John Cen had a great entrance as well, with a full blown choir. Long before people over rated Chris Jericho's grand entrance, Cena already had the choir trick down pat. The hype was mostly about The Rock returning and getting involved, but hey, let's be real: The Rock vs. John Cena at the following year's WM was a million times more important. It just was. The Miz can be upset. Fans can be upset. CM Punk can be upset. It doesn't matter. If you can promote Rock/Cena for the first time ever, that gets the billing over everything else. Personally, I would have liked to see Alex Riley get involved more (The Miz's personal assistant at ringside) but nope. We got a cheap double count out draw which fans rightfully booed. The Rock walked down the ramp, re-started the match, made it no disqualification, gave a Rock Bottom to John Cena, and the rest is history. The Miz walked into WrestleMania as WWE Champion and walked out the same. A stunning upset but one that made sense with Cena getting the better of The Rock on the final Raw before WM27. A month later, Cena would take the title from Miz before dropping it to Punk, allowing Cena to start hyping up his Rocky story line. Somehow, it all made sense in hindsight but not so much at the time. A pretty forgettable main event honestly but again, you have The Rock on standby. Sorry, his involvement means most.
SUMMARY: If you loved The Rock being back in the fold, this was your show. He opened up with a promo, was shown backstage multiple times and even ended the night posing, despite not even having a match. As for the under card, it was strong. The multi-person tags did their part (and kept short), Cody/Rey was good stuff, Orton/Punk was fun, HHH/Taker was special, and the World title bout between Edge and ADR was solid as well. Where folks like to bash this WM is the dud of a main event, which I understand. The Miz did get a nasty looking concussion, but that was near the ending, so you can't really blame that. There was just a lot of focus on The Rock and not the actual WWE Championship. Again though, I get it.
What say you - The Rock back at WrestleMania, a very good under card, a classic brawl, epic entrances and a whole lot of Stunners - was it really THAT bad?