Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mania Memories: Popping My Cherry

Me at Mania.  Awesome time!
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

I'll admit the title is probably a bit crude, but I'm reverting to the Attitude Era, what can I say?  Wrestlemania 22 will always hold a special place in my memory.  Why you ask?  Because of the Boogie Man vs. Booker T match of course.  Just kidding.  Wrestlemania 22 was the first mania I ever attended.  After watching the event 21 times before I always promised myself I'd make it to one.

Twenty-two was in Chicago and within driving distance from my home in southern Illinois.  My friends Chad and Jeremy headed up for a weekend of fun and male bonding.  I thought if this is the only one I ever make it to, I'm good with that, but luckily I've been to every Mania since (except for 23).

We got spirit, yes we do
We dressed like the Spirit Squad and popped like crazy when they made an appearance in the Mr. McMahon-Shawn Michaels match.  Strange that one of those guys went on to become Dolph Ziggler.  Who knew?  It was also funny because prior to the show, people in the parking lot waiting to get in actually thought we were members of the Spirit Squad.

The card itself was a bit weak in my opinion.  Back then, did anyone think that Mark Henry really posed a threat to the Undertaker's streak?  I also thought Money in the Bank was a big disappointment compared to what it had been a year earlier.  It just felt like they had a bunch of guys they wanted on the show so they threw them into this match.  And I don't think I really have to say much about the before mentioned Booker T-Boogie Man fiasco.

There were some strong points on the card too though.  Edge and Mick Foley had a pretty good outing.  Edge spearing Mick through the flaming table will forever be burned in my brain (pun intended)  We were on the floor on the other side of the ring though so it was tough to see the spot from our vantage point.  This was another good example though of Foley putting someone else over. He'd done the same thing two years earlier this Randy Orton.  Look at the success both Edge and Orton have enjoyed.  I'd like to think it's due in part Foley's willingness to help get them over.

Rey wins the gold
As much as I hate to admit it, I enjoyed the special entrance that John Cena got that night.  Because the event was in Chicago, there was a mob feel to it.  You may remember Cena talking about CM Punk being an extra for that.  I don't know if that's really true, but it does make sense.  I was pleasantly surprised that Triple H didn't win the title that night and tapped out.  This marked the third consecutive loss for the Game and the fifth consecutive title match at a Wrestlemania.  Rey Mysterio did the unthinkable and broke the "little man" stereotype by beating both Randy Orton and Kurt Angle for the world heavyweight title.  Rey won the Royal Rumble and vowed to win the title in honor of Eddie Guerrero who had died a few months earlier.  While the match was good, Rey's title reign was less than stellar.

Mickie James wins!
The Women's Title match may have been the most memorable for me that night though.  Probably one of the best Divas matches at a Wrestlemania, especially up to that point.  Trish Stratus walked into the match a face, taking on the friend-turned stalker Mickie James.  Honestly from what I can remember, the crowd was more into that match than any other.  But again, this was six years ago and maybe I don't remember it correctly.  Of course part of that is probably due to the lesbian innuendo that was made during the match, and I'm fairly certain that the WWE edited that out of the DVD.

Overall it was a great night, I think mostly in part because it was my first time being there.  What are your thoughts of 22?  Post your comments here or on Facebook.

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