WWE - WrestleMania XXI (21)
World Wrestling Entertainment // Unrated // $29.98 // May 10, 2005
Review by John Crichton | posted May 30, 2005
Highly Recommended
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WrestleMania is the event that set the standard for all other wrestling shows. It's a place where the matches are outrageous, the surprises will knock you on your ass and there's always guaranteed to be an "oh [email protected]%!" moment.

Sunday, April 3rd, 2005, Vince and co. trekked over to the Staples Center to layeth the smackdown on Los Angeles, California. Thanks to the movie spoofs, I thought the buildup to this event was the best of any other WrestleMania. Since they were going to be near Hollyweird, Vince decided to promote WMXXI by putting together some parodies of past Hollywood flicks, with WWE wrestlers in starring roles. Most, like the Basic Instinct and Taxi Driver parodies, are pretty damn funny. Thankfully, they're all included here.

Besides the parodies, the WWE has also included some career highlight promos, outtakes & bloopers, a never-before-broadcast match and, most importantly, this year's WWE Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony on this three disc set. Let's start off with the card on disc one:

  • Lilian Sings "America the Beautiful"

  • Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero - Even though they're tag team champs, Eddie challenged Rey to this match. Both wrestlers put on a good show [which is to be expected from these two], and though i'm not a SmackDown! viewer, it made me want to follow this storyline to the weekly show.

  • JBL, Basham Brothers, Orlando Backstage - As the guys are walking around backstage, they have a run-in with Ric Flair and Triple H.

  • First-Ever Money In the Bank Ladder Match [Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Edge vs. Christian vs. Kane] - A briefcase, which contains a contract guaranteeing the winner a championship match whenever they so desire, is suspended above the middle of the ring. There are no disqualifications, no countouts and no pins and the only way the match ends is when a superstar climbs a ladder to grab the briefcase. No doubt about it, this was the best match of the entire event. Every participant brought their "A" game [even Kane!], which made for a highly entertaining match that was way too short.

  • Eugene In the Ring - Making his first ring appearance since he was injured at New Year's Revolution in January, Eugene comes to the ring and is quickly squashed by Muhammad Hussan and Davairi. That is, at least until a Legend intervenes...

  • Legend vs. Legend Killer [Undertaker vs. Randy Orton] - Hmm...let's see. Undertaker has a 12-0 record at Wrestlemania and is not known for putting guys over. Jeez, I wonder who'll win?

  • WWE Women's Championship Match [Trish Stratus vs. Christy Hemme] - Yes, you read that right - Christy "Diva Search" Hemme. In a Championship match. And, yes, it was as bad as you think it might be. But with Victoria who-knows-where and Lita in her continual state of injury, I guess that's what you're stuck with when you fire any/all of the divas that come anywhere close to being able to pretend they're wrestling.

  • Inter-Promotional Match [Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle] - Continuing a feud that got its start at this year's Royal Rumble, Shawn takes on Kurt and both wrestlers put on a pretty good match. Kurt is one of my favorite wrestlers [he didn't win a gold medal for nothing!] and Shawn...well, I wouldn't say I was a fan of Shawn's, but I can tolerate him longer than the Undertaker. Regardless, i'd say this match rates as a close second behind the "Money In the Bank Ladder Match".

  • Wrestlemania 21 Movie Trailer - Basic Instinct Parody

  • Piper's Pit with Stone Cold - Fresh from the previous night's Hall Of Fame ceremony, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper makes his triumphant return to the WWE and brings along Stone Cold Steve Austin for the ride. After a little back and forth regarding who's the badder badass, they're interrupted by Carlito "Caribbean" Cool. Bedlam ensues.

  • Wrestlemania 21 Movie Trailer - Taxi Driver Parody

  • Sumo Match [Big Show vs. Akebono] - Yes, you read that right - a Sumo Match. And, yes, it was as bad as you think it might be. I like Show a lot, in and out of the ring (he always brings the funny on Conan O'Brien), but I never, ever, ever, ever want to see his naked ass again.

Disc two contains:

  • WWE Championship Match [JBL vs. John Cena] - As i've mentioned countless times in my other WWE reviews, i'm not that much of a big SmackDown! fan, so I wasn't really concerned with the outcome. However, i'm amazed that Vince thought a championship match should only last eleven minutes and twenty-five seconds. Guess that gives talented wrestlers like Christy Hemme more ring time.

  • WWE Hall Of Fame Class Of 2005 - After a short recap of last night's event, each inductee was escorted out by Raw & SmackDown! "divas". Paul Orndorff's reaction to Miss Jackie's recently acquired implants was funny. Thankfully we didn't have to sit through another thirty minutes of Hogan posing.

  • Wrestlemania XXII Announcement - Mark your calendars. April 2nd, 2006 in Chicago, Illinois.

  • World Heavyweight Championship Match [Triple H vs. Batista] - Twice as long as the SmackDown! championship match, this one has something that one didn't - Triple H. So, of course it's longer, silly! I have to give it to Triple H though, he does put on a good show in the ring [wrestling, that is] and he's definitely not afraid to bleed. However, while he can be the one of the show's strengths, he's also its weakness.

  • Wrestlemania 21 Highlight Video - A five minute recap of the night's events.

In addition to the matches above, the following extras are also included:

  • Match Promotional Spots - Four promos ranging in length from thirty seconds to fifty-four seconds [guess which one is the longest]
    • Main Events
    • JBL vs. John Cena
    • Triple H vs. Batista
    • Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels
  • Wrestlemania 21 Parody Trailers
    • Forrest Gump Parody
    • Basic Instinct Parody
    • Braveheart Parody
    • Pulp Fiction Parody
    • A Few Good Men Parody
    • Dirty Harry Parody
    • Taxi Driver Parody
    • When Harry Met Sally Parody
    • Gladiator Parody
  • Outtakes & Bloopers Of the Parody Trailers [3m 13s]

  • Career Highlights

    • Shawn Michaels [2m 32s]
    • Kurt Angle [2m 10s]
    • Undertaker - This is the 1m 41s "Countdown" promo that ran during the weekly shows, showing all the wrestlers the Undertaker has squashed at WrestleMania. And while I might not like him, it's a damn cool promo.
  • Wrestlemania Week Activities - This is yet another instance where the WWE boggles my mind. Apparently, the WWE set up a ring on Hollywood Boulevard. Yet, we only get a paltry 4 minute and 45 second recap?

    • Hollywood Boulevard Event [2m 51s]
    • Superstar Appearances [1m 47s]
    • Battle Royal [14m 45s] - A Raw/SmackDown! match that kicked off WMXXI. Every possible wrestler that was not involved in a "main" match, threw on a shirt featuring their respective brand logo and jumped into the ring.
    • Motörhead Unplugged with Triple H [4m 10s] - Lemmy and the boys are backstage with Triple H rehearsing their performance. While Lemmy and Phil play guitar, Mikkey slaps his knees as Hunter pantomimes his entrance.

The night before Wrestlemania XXI, seven wrestling legends were inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame. If you were one of the fans who tuned in to Spike TV's broadcast of this event and was pissed because only Piper and Hogan got airtime, well, this'll make your day. Disc three of this set contains the WWE Hall Of Fame ceremony in its entirety. It runs two hours and 12 seconds long and breaks down thusly:

  • Previous Inductees Video

  • "Cowboy" Bob Orton - Randy Orton inducts his dad into the Hall Of Fame. I read somewhere that Undertaker didn't bother attending this event to preserve his "character". It's a shame Randy didn't do the same thing. Since his whole gimmick is being a "Legend Killer", what better way to get some MAJOR heat than to "RKO" your own father at this induction ceremony. Then again, the entire show was legit and not a work, so perhaps the Undertaker wasn't preserving his "character".

  • Nikolai Volkoff - Jim "J.R." Ross inducts Nikolai Volkoff. I thought it was interesting to hear that Nikolai detested communism and didn't think he could even act as a communist. Yet he did, and at the end he went out a "face".

  • the Iron Sheik - Sgt. Slaughter inducts his greatest rival over the years, the Iron Sheik.

  • "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff - Bobby 'the Brain" Heenan inducts Paul Orndoff.

  • Jimmy Hart - Jerry "the King" Lawler inducts Jimmy Hart. Hands down, Jimmy gives the greatest of all the speeches tonight.

  • "Rowdy" Roddy Piper - After "the Nature Boy" Ric Flair tells some amusing anecdotes, Piper keeps it going with a very heartfelt speech.

  • Hulk Hogan - Sylvester Stallone inducts Hogan. And then promptly disappears. Anyways...Hogan gives an alright speech puntuated with gratuitous shots of his "pop star" daughter and family. Oh yeah, there's the hour long chanting by the audience too. Okay, so it's not an hour long. But, it drags on for an eternity. Well, at least Hogan didn't rip off his tux and start posing.

  • Video: This set is slightly different than other WWE discs. It's still presented in the full frame 1.33:1 ratio and the colors are bright, but there were more instances of compression artifacts than other WWE DVDs i've reviewed. Perhaps it was all the flash-photography and/or pyrotechnics? All in all, when the audience settled down and there were no explosions, this was a pretty attractive transfer.

    Audio: The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound was crystal clear and enveloped my living room while I was watching it. There's also an option of watching the disc in Spanish.

    Conclusion: If this were a run of the mill pay-per-view, it would be a pretty damn good one. However, this being WrestleMania, there's a higher standard that it didn't live up to. The matches weren't anything you couldn't see during the weekly shows for free, yet there's the matter of the "Money In the Bank Ladder Match", the Angle/Michaels match and the Trish Stratus/Christy Hemme match. Okay, so I kid about that last one [though I will never complain about the privilege of being able to see the lovely Ms. Stratus]. The strength of these two matches, combined with all the extras and the Hall Of Fame Ceremony make this a Highly Recommended set.

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