The X-Factor: WrestleMania (2006-2009) – Hustle, Loyalty, and disrespect

ECW One Night Stand – June 11, 2006.


The sign was so inspiring. “IF ROMAN REIGNS WINS WE REMAIN APATHETIC” is my favorite.

I was legit worried the rabid fans would riot if Rob Van Dam lost. If anything that night made me resent New York crowds. They have a right to cheer who they want but throwing back Cena’s shirt several times? Uh-uh. There’s not many men who could’ve marched into that room without getting eaten alive. Cena won some respect going in there and putting on one of the better matches of his life. 

To be honest, I jumped on the bandwagon because I was rankled at the push Edge was getting as a result of the Matt Hardy BS. Not embarrassed to say it. I jumped up and down like a kid at Unforgiven ‘06 three months later.

Looking back, it’s funny how haters kept on hating and lying to themselves. They refused to admit his matches weren’t carry-jobs by his opponents. Some of the jabs were making a good point or two, but otherwise it was blind hate. Just angry throwing at the dartboard not even trying to hit the bulls-eye.

You know he’s a decent guy if he granted over 650 wishes people. I vaguely remember a promo where Cena expressed that people who don’t like him have thanked him for being a hero to their kids. 

The world can really suck. It needs heroes.

WrestleMania 22

“I want you, to watch this! I’m gonna knock your teeth, DOWN, YOUR, THROAT!” 

Shawn took his sweet time setting it up that elbow spot. Pick a ladder genius! Went on about 7 minutes too long.

For me it was the commentary. Jim Ross having the time of his life calling the match. The things he said when the Spirit Squad hit the ring? Priceless! 

Mickie James vs. Trish Stratus was a damn fine women’s match, even with that horrible botch at the end. If you’ve only watched it on Peacock, here’s what else they cut out: right after Mickie grabs Trish crotch, she forms a ‘V’ with her hand and licks it. Probably lives as a clip on YouTube.

The match of the night was Mick Foley vs. Edge. A barbed-wire bat, thumbtacks, a spear through a flaming table, and this all happened AFTER the Attitude Era.

I marked out big time when Rey Mysterio got the World title, but so did Michael Cole. Every time I watch it I still get emotional. Apart from X-Seven, it’s my favorite ‘Mania ever.

WrestleMania 23

I was in the arena in Phoenix on March 5 when Stone Cold Steve Austin hit the ring as the guest referee. That was the first Raw I ever attended.

The rest of the card was ok. The Money in the Bank match was one of my favorites with its unique spots. Undertaker vs. Batista was a surprise hit and one of the best big-man matches ever.

This was the year he became “Big match John”. The WWE title match had one of the best vignettes ever.  

A piledriver? Wow! The match was arguably bettered by their hour-long bout in London weeks later.

WrestleMania XXIV

“I’m sorry. I love you.” 

In that moment, he really was the Heartbreak Kid.

No amount of time could prepare us for it. When Shawn raised his leg to “tune up the band”, he stopped.

There’s no shortage of emotional moments at WrestleMania. He went down fighting, living up to his rep as a dirty player to the end.

Another great MITB ladder match, and this time it was CM Punk taking the briefcase. The triple threat with John Cena, Triple H and Randy Orton was also good. Floyd Mayweather’s match with Big Show went a little better than people thought it would.

WrestleMania 25

“I just had an out of body experience!!!” 

Did anyone ever expect this!?

The Undertaker damn near broke his neck! I still have trouble believing it.

It’s almost as if we watched two separate bouts back to back. The chokeslam, then Sweet Chin Music, the Last Ride, and then the Tombstone. Michaels kicked out. Priceless look on ‘Taker’s face. Another superkick, and Taker kicks out!! Then comes the moonsault. Taker catches him perfectly, then a Tombstone, and it’s 17-0!! 

Oh, did anything else happen?

Ricky Steamboat still had it. It was magnanimous giving Mickey Rourke a role. 

Don’t mess with the X.