Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mania Memories: Have a Hart

Revenge (WWE)
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

Wrestlemania 26 provided two big stories in my opinion.  It was the end of the road for Shawn Michaels and it was a new beginning of sorts for Bret Hart.  Chad and I were on hand in Phoenix for this Mania too. Again, the crowd is always buzzing and Wrestlemania, so the atmosphere helps to make it a great night no matter how lackluster some of the matches may seem.

Hart family celebrates (WWE)
I'll start with Bret Hart.  After several years of a strained relationship, Bret returned to in ring action at Wrestlemania 26, facing the boss, Vince McMahon.  Vince has done a good job over the years of making himself the punching bag of some of the top stars in the company, and even extending the olive branch in a few cases (Hulk Hogan comes to mind immediately)  The Hart-McMahon Street Fight was not pretty by any means, and let's face it, almost 13 years overdue, but it was good seeing the Hitman back under the WWE banner and not harboring any resentment towards the company.  Truth be told, one of my favorite aspects of this match was the sudden development and push for the Hart Dynasty.  Tyson Kidd, David Hart Smith, and Natalya had toiled for a while without getting a whole lot of attention.  Soon after their appearance at 26 and helping in the McMahon beatdown, the duo won the WWE tag team titles.  As you've seen in past posts, their reign was way too short and they should have never split these two superstars up, but for the time that it lasted, I enjoyed the Hart Dynasty and their official launch into superstardom came that night in Phoenix.

Bye, bye Shawn (WWE)
The other story of the night was of course the retirement of Shawn Michaels.  He had been obsessed with beating the Undertaker after going down in defeat to the Deadman a year earlier.  Shawn vowed that if he didn't win, he would hang it up forever.  By this point in his career, Shawn really had nothing to prove.  He had come back from back surgery and quite honestly, I think he deserved a break.  He may have lost the match that night, but he gained a bit more respect from me showing that he's not letting ego keep him in the game past his prime.  I didn't think this match was as good as the first Wrestlemania encounter between the two, but it was still a good contest.  It was actually the last match on the show, the first time they've done a non-championship match last on a Wrestlemania in many years.  (Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it was the LT-Bam Bam Bigelow match from WM 11)

Other quick tidbits, John Cena won the WWE title (again) against Batista.  In what may have been the shocker of the night, Chris Jericho beat Edge to retain the world title, only to drop it a short time later to Jack Swagger (who won that year's Money in the Bank match)  I'm still scratching my head on that one...  Randy Orton overcame the odds and beat his former Legacy buddies, Triple H humbled Sheamus, and CM Punk did the job for Rey Mysterio (probably the biggest disappointment of the night for me)

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