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WWE WrestleMania XXII
by SamoaRowe

April 2nd 2006

-I couldn't help but notice that this is the only Wrestlemania that hasn't been recapped for our beloved Da Wrestling Site, so here it is!

-From Chicago, IL. Our hosts are Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, and Tazz.

World Tag Team Championship:
Big Show and Kane © vs. Carlito and Chris Masters

After a full year of being shoved down our throats, Masters still isn’t over. He squares off with Kane, who quickly nails a drop-kick. Big Show dismantles Masters with his open hand slaps. Masters rakes the face to force a tag to Carlito. Show crotches Carlito on the ropes and press slams Masters. Show tosses Carlito over the ropes onto Masters. Kane delivers a flying clothesline onto both challengers on the floor. Carlito comes back with a drop-kick to the knee of Big Show. Masters and Carlito nail a flapjack on Show to take control. Show reverses a double suplex and takes in a fresh Kane. Kane plows through the challengers as if they were a couple of jobbers. Masters sneaks in the Masterlock but Show breaks it with his boot. Backstabber on Kane and Masters saves Carlito from a choke slam. Kane builds some momentum and finishes Carlito with a choke slam at 6:40. This was more or less a squash, *¼.
Winners and still World Tag Team Champions: Big Show and Kane

-Carlito and Masters argue over who sucks less.

-Jonathan Coachman interviews Shawn Michaels backstage. Michaels does not regret speaking the truth to Mr. McMahon, despite all the hell he’s been through since. HBK doesn’t expect to put on a ***** wrestling match tonight, but promises plenty of violence.

Money in the Bank Ladder match:
Matt Hardy vs. Finlay vs. Rob Van Dam vs. vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Ric Flair

Lashley emerges victorious in an early six-man brawl. RVD baseball slides a ladder into Hardy and follows up with a flying cross body onto Hardy and the ladder. Benjamin places a ladder against the ropes for a running senton onto the pack! Flair reaches the top but Hardy superplexes him off! Flair sells the spot like death and is carried out. Meanwhile, RVD misses a Rolling Thunder and lands on a ladder. Benjamin goes for a sunset flip power bomb on Lashley off the ladder, and Finlay and Hardy have to help him. Finlay tosses some ladders around to clear the ring. Flair hobbles back out to prevent a Finlay victory. Flair grabs the case but Finlay knocks him down with the shillelagh. Lashley knocks the ladder over by swinging a second ladder. Lashley climbs but gets caught with a Van Daminator off the top rope! I honestly forgot RVD was in the match. Hardy nails a leg drop off the ladder onto Lashley. Hardy continues with a Side Effect on Finlay! RVD nails a Five Star Frog Splash off the top of a ladder onto Finlay. RVD reaches for the ladder, but Benjamin springboards to meet him. Hardy sneaks up a second ladder to try and steal it. RVD tips Hardy and Benjamin over and they crash to the floor. RVD retrieves the ladder at 12:12! This holds up pretty well, I like the mix of ladder match veterans and unusual suspects, ***¾.
Winner: Rob Van Dam

-Josh Mathews interviews Mean Gene Okerland backstage. Mean Gene became the first announcer to enter the Hall of Fame last night. He’s interrupted by Randy Orton, who scoffs at the notion that Mean Gene was inducted for holding a microphone. Gene storms off, leaving Orton to boast about all the history he’s going to make tonight. He’s interrupted by Batista, who is still out on injury. Batista says it doesn’t matter who wins the World title because they’ll only hold it until he’s back.

-Howard Finkel introduces the Hall of Fame class of 2006, minus Bret Hart, who felt “uncomfortable” about appearing. Chavo and Vickie Guerrero get a huge reaction as they represent the late Eddie Guerrero. It’s funny to think that within a couple of years, Vickie would be one of the most hated characters on the show.

United States Championship:
Chris Benoit © vs. JBL (with Jillian Hall)

JBL was pretty proud of this match for a year or so before tragedy struck. I don’t review many Benoit matches, but here we go. They trade punches in the early going. Benoit looks for an early crossface but JBL counters with a headlock. Benoit counters and goes after the head. Benoit looks for a sharpshooter but it’s blocked. JBL uses Jillian as a shield and thumbs the eyes to take control. Benoit surprises with the rolling German suplexes. JBL trips Benoit on the ropes and hits a superplex. JBL mocks the late Eddie Guerrero by delivering the Three Amigos. Benoit blocks the third suplex but runs into a big boot. Cue the chinlock! Benoit counters with a back suplex. Benoit pays tribute with the Three Amigos. The Flying Headbutt connects but JBL kicks out. JBL grabs the referee and ropes to save himself from a German suplex. Benoit counters with the crossface. JBL counters with a pinning predicament and grabs the ropes for leverage to win at 9:43. The match was fine, it’s just that the closer to 2007 a Benoit match is, the less I enjoy it, **½.
Winner and new U.S. Champion: JBL

Hardcore match:
Edge (with Lita) vs. Mick Foley

Joey Styles joins commentary for the match. Edge immediately swings and misses a baseball bat. Foley nails a bulldog and puts Edge in a tree of woe. Running elbow drop by Foley! Edge bounces back with a big boot. Lita fills the ring with weapons, allowing Edge to punish the head of Foley. Spear by Edge, but it seems to hurt Edge more than anything. Foley reveals that he’d wrapped himself with barbed wire under his jacket. Foley continues to use the barbed wire to cut up Edge. Foley pulls “Barbie” out from the ring steps but Lita jumps on his back. Foley clotheslines Edge anyway and all three of them tumble to the floor. Swinging neck breaker on the floor by Foley gets 2. Edge takes control of the ringside brawl. Edge sets up a table but Foley is too alert to be driven through it. Edge sprays lighter fluid all over Foley, which only angers the mad man. Piledriver by Foley gets 2! Lita distracts Foley from his planned con-chair-to and Edge rebounds with a DDT. Edge connects with a series of Barbie shots and a bulldog for 2. Edge dumps thumb tacks all over the ring. Foley scores with a back suplex onto the thumb tacks! Foley wraps barbed wire around Mr. Socko and delivers the Mandible Claw to both Edge and Lita! More Barbie shots by Foley and Edge is bleeding profusely. Foley sprays lighter fluid over the ringside table but Lita nails him with Barbie. Lita sets the table on fire, allowing Edge to spear Foley through it! Edge crawls to make the cover for the win at 14:34! This was bell to bell sickening, nasty action. Foley delivers another hardcore classic, ****¼.
Winner: Edge

-Edge, the winner of the match, looks as if he’s about to go into shock. Foley stays behind to fish for a standing ovation (which he gets).

-Eugene is about to win a bet against Ted Dibiase Sr. by dribbling a basket ball, but Dibiase kicks it away to win it. Booker T and Sharmell are shocked by this and sight and take off. They stumble onto Gene Snitsky licking Mae Young’s foot. They are disgusted and move on, only to meet Goldust dressed in drag. Goldust lectures Booker and Sharmell for looking down on Boogeyman for being different. All the weirdos in the hallway surround them as Goldust gives some unwanted advice. Booker calls Goldust a freak and storms off. Snitsky says this isn’t his fault. Okay, then.

-Todd Grisham interviews some contest winners. Whoo hoo!

Booker T and Sharmell vs. The Boogeyman

Booker bravely forces Sharmell to start the match. It proves to be a set up so Booker can ambush Boogeyman from behind. Booker takes control by punching and kicking. Cue the boring chants. The Bookend gets a 2 count. Boogeyman delivers some pathetic looking shots and dodges a scissors kick. Boogeyman pulls out a pocket full of worms and has a snack. Sharmell tries to attack with Boogeyman’s own staff and gets a wormy kiss for her troubles. Boogeyman’s double choke power slam finishes this at 3:52. I have absolutely nothing nice to say about this one, DUD.
Winner: The Boogeyman

Women’s Championship:
Trish Stratus © vs. Mickie James

They start with an aggressive lock up. Trish throws some wild shots and stomps a mud hole. Trish blocks a kick and dumps Mickie into a painful looking split position. Trish accidentally kicks the ring post, giving Mickie an opening to go after the newly injured leg. The crowd gets behind Mickie as she wears down Trish. Mickie plays to the crowd a bit too much and suffers a head scissors takedown. The crowd boos as Trish mounts a comeback. A hard spinebuster only gets 2 for Trish. Mickie counters on the ropes and drives Trish’ leg into the ropes. Running power bomb by Trish gets a near fall! Mickie misses a leg lariat and blocks by grabbing the crotch. James kicks the face a couple of times to gain the win at 8:30. Mickie botched the finish, but it was clipped out of the DVD. Finish aside, everything about this one just worked, as it was a worthy culmination to a month’s long build, ***.
Winner and new Women’s Champion: Mickie James

-Mr. McMahon flexes his pecs backstage while his family fawns over him. Vince decides to mock Shawn Michaels’ Christianity by leading his family in prayer. Vince’s frank talk with God is actually pretty funny. Vince vows to send God’s favorite wrestler, Shawn Michaels, straight to hell. Awesome.

Casket match:
Mark Henry vs. The Undertaker

Henry sets the tone by ambushing Taker while he takes his coat off. Undertaker is on defense from the get-go and can’t manage to knock Henry off his feet. Henry dominates a brawl and blocks “old school.” Undertaker builds some momentum working over Henry’s arm. Both men find themselves brawling in the open casket. Back to the ring, Henry counters with the World’s Strongest Slam. Henry rolls Taker into the casket but can’t get the lid shut. Undertaker counters with a Last Ride out of the corner (in a spot you could see coming from a mile away). Taker throws Henry onto the closed casket and delivers his annual dive to the floor. Undertaker nails the Tombstone and rolls Henry into the casket for the win at 9:25. This was a serviceable brawl, **.
Winner: The Undertaker

No Holds Barred:
Shawn Michaels vs. Mr. McMahon

Vince poses next to his Muscle and Fitness cover and Michaels loses it and attacks. HBK breaks the magazine cover over McMahon’s skull. It’s worth noting that Jim Ross is hilarious on commentary so far, wishing that Michaels would shove the picture up Vince’s ass. The Spirit Squad runs in and puts the boots to Michaels. They launch HBK into the air but Kenny misses his flying leg drop. Michaels steals their mega phone and beats them up like the jobbers they are. Vince takes advantage with a hard clothesline. Vince gets carried away mocking HBK’s mannerisms and his Sweet Chin Music is blocked. HBK gains control and delivers an extended beat down until Shane McMahon ambushes with a kendo stick. Vince drops his pants so HBK can join the “Kiss My Ass” club, but Michaels turns it around and Shane is inducted instead. Shawn handcuffs Shane to the ropes and unloads with a series of kendo shots. Michaels takes permanent control of the match at this point and decides to keep punishing Vince rather than end the match quickly. Michaels puts Vince (wrapped in a trash can) through a table with a flying elbow drop off the top of a giant ladder. A medical team rushes in to help Vince but Michaels fends them off. The SCM ends the massacre at 18:21. This was a lot of overbooked nonsense, down time, a HOLY SH!T spot, and more down time. Pro Wrestling Illustrated hilariously named this Match of the Year for 2006, but I say it’s **¼.
Winner: Shawn Michaels

-Vince is carried out on a stretcher and has just enough life left to flip the bird at Michaels. Vince was beyond awesome tonight.

-P.O.D. performs live as Rey Mysterio makes his entrance. Rey joins them on stage decked out in tribal war gear.

World Heavyweight Championship:
Kurt Angle © vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton

Orton pulls the World title from the referee’s hands and clocks Angle in the head before the bell rings. Orton counters Rey with a drop-kick but gets caught in Angle’s German suplex. Angle nails a double German on both challengers! The action continues to roll with Angle tossing Mysterio into a hurricanrana off the top on Orton. The crowd favors Angle during an exchange against Rey. Angle counters 619 with the ankle lock. Rey taps but the ref was preoccupied with a chair-wielding Orton. Angle goes on a suplex spree and Angle Slams Rey over the ropes. Rey pulls the referee out while Orton taps to the ankle lock. Mysterio earns more boos as he breaks the ankle lock with a flying leg drop. Angle tosses Rey but Orton surprises him with an RKO. Angle kicks out! Angle rebounds with a belly to belly superplex! Sadly, Rey slips while attempting a 619 around the ring post. Rey saves face with a seated senton for 2. Gut wrench neck breaker by Orton gets 2 on Rey. Angle sneaks in for an Angle Slam on Orton. Mysterio counters Angle and nails 619 on Orton. The West Coast Pop finishes Orton at 9:16. This was basically a really good 20 minute match squeezed into 9 minutes. Some botches, questionable booking, and an uncooperative crowd hurt this one too, **½.
Winner and new World Heavyweight Champion: Rey Mysterio

-Mysterio’s celebration is drawn out for a while as the Guerrero family joins him on the stage.

-We see clips of John Cena and Triple H getting ready in their locker rooms.

Playboy Pillow Fight:
Candice Michelle vs. Torrie Wilson

There is a bed furnished with Playboy pillows and sheets set up in the ring. The bell rings and they immediately initiate a catfight on the bed. I have nothing nice to say about this. Torrie back drops Candice onto the bed and turns it over on her. Torrie wipes her puppy’s butt on Candice’s face and this is heading into negative star territory. Torrie strips Candice down to her lingerie but gets caught in a head scissors over the ropes. Candice cuts Torrie’s gown off to even further sleaze this up. Torrie scores a roll-up for the win at 3:55. This was embarrassing to watch, I’m really glad WWE abandoned this sort of match in the PG era, -*.
Winner: Torrie Wilson

-Triple H comes to the ring dressed up like Conan the Barbarian. John Cena is accompanied by CM Punk, Colt Cabana, and a host of others dressed up like Prohibition era gangsters. Cena fires a fake gun but the crowd still hates him.

WWE Championship:
John Cena © vs. Triple H

The smark crowd seems firmly convinced that Triple H is taking the title and thus ending the Cena experiment here. They lock up and trade hammerlocks. HHH gains a takedown to throw Cena off his game. HHH outwrestles Cena again. Pretty much the entire building is chanting “Fuck you, Cena” at this point. Cena gets tossed and takes the fight to Triple H, nailing a fisherman suplex. Cue the chinlock (and “You can’t wrestle” chants). A hard Irish whip sends HHH crashing to ringside. Cena counters with a back drop onto the steel ramp. Back to the ring, Triple H takes control with his methodical offense. Cena finally escapes a sleeper and lands a hard standing clothesline. Cena wins a slugfest and builds momentum with a power slam. Cena plants Triple H but the Five Knuckle Shuffle is countered with a spinebuster. Cena delivers some shoulder blocks and a side suplex. HHH eats the FKS and gets caught in the STFU. The F-U is blocked and Triple H nails a blind low blow on Cena and the referee. Triple H fetches his sledgehammer and nails Cena in the head. The ref is awake to count but Cena kicks out! The Pedigree is countered and Cena hits the F-U for only 2! Cena misses a flying cross body, but counters the Pedigree with the STFU. Triple H is trapped for several seconds before tapping out at 21:57. There are a lot of bewildered faces in the crowd. This match was clunkier than I remember it, but it still builds to a satisfying crescendo. In my opinion, it was this match that forever established Cena was a permanent main event fixture in WWE, ***¾.
Winner and still WWE Champion: John Cena

Final Thoughts: In general, I think this is a very good Wrestlemania. It nicely represents the WWE roster of the era and created a lot of memorable moments. I daresay this is also the most violent Wrestlemania of all time, with a lot of high risk spots and blood. I remember this getting lukewarm reviews at the time, but I think Wrestlemania 22 holds up as an entertaining piece of history. Thumbs up!

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