Sunday, April 5, 2009

WrestleMania 25 liveblogging Part VIII

By Rick Morris

The traditional Mania announcement about next year's location -- University of Phoenix Stadium -- was followed by the traditional Mania celebration of this year's Hall of Fame inductees. It seemed a bit strange when Steve Austin ducked backstage a bit before everyone else, but then he (after a quick wardrobe change), came flying out on a four-wheeler in his Stone Cold T-shirt. He sped down to the ring, did his beer-drinking routine, then came outside the ring to have one with JR. As he returned to the back, the announcers were playing up the farewell aspect of Austin's appearance tonight.

Lillian Garcia then announced a sellout crowd tonight of 72,744.

A video package led into the WWE Title match. Notably, there have been no backstage interviews tonight. We did see one backstage moment, though, as HHH patted Vince on the arm before walking away from he and Shane on his way to ringside.

After some brief back and forth action at the start, Randy Orton hit the RKO, then went for the Legend Punt and missed. HHH then hit the Pedigree, but was unable to make a cover.

The two then brawled inside and outside the ring for awhile. The action has been decent (at least prior to a "Vintage" Randy Orton headlock/resthold), but not really grabbing in the aftermath of Taker HBK, shades of HHH/Jericho at Mania 18 having to follow Hogan/Rock.

One of the cooler spots in this long sequence was Orton dropkicking HHH in the face coming off the top rope. HHH then blocked another Legend Punt attempt.

Outside the ring, HHH held a television monitor over Orton's head before being reminded by the ref that the title would change hands on a DQ tonight. Orton then reversed a Pedigree attempt on a table by backdropping HHH -- and the table did not break. After that, Orton dragged him to the edge of the table and DDT'd him on the floor. HHH barely beat the 10-count back into the ring.

The first ref bump of the night preceeded an RKO on HHH, but HHH then got a sledgehammer away from Orton and used it on the challenger. As the ref got up, HHH hit the Pedigree and got the pinfall in fairly anticlimactic fashion.

STN President Paul Belfi praised the PPV big-time, but actually left during the last match! I thought it was a good show, probably somewhere in the top half of WrestleManias, but nowhere near last year's one -- which was one of the very best. Thumbs up, but not wildly so.

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