WWE - WrestleMania 22
World Video // Unrated // $34.95 // May 23, 2006
Review by John Crichton | posted July 15, 2006
Highly Recommended
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Besides showers and flowers, about the only other thing we can count on during the month of April is another WrestleMania event. This time, the show took place on April 2, 2006 at the Allstate Arena in Chicago. While I am a fan of Peter Gabriel, I was curious why Vince opted to dust off Pete's '86 hit "Big Time" for the theme of the event, since I grew so accustomed to against his usual practice of picking some anonymous nu-metal band's "song".

Also, unlike WrestleMania 21's comical film parodies, WrestleMania 22 didn't benefit from any sort of creative promotion. In fact, I don't even recall what promotional push this even received. My minor annoyances aside, I was actually looking forward to a few matches on the card, so let's see if it lives up to my slight expectations. 

  • Michelle Williams Sings "America the Beautiful" - One can't help but notice that Michelle looks very happy to be here. Guess it's WWE events and Bar Mitzvahs since Beyonce broke up Destiny's Child.

  • World Tag Team Championship Match [Big Show & Kane v. Carlito & Chris Masters] - This wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, but it was a pretty weak start for WrestleMania. I've already commented on what I think about the WWE's idea of "tag teams" in past PPV reviews, so i'll spare you from those comments.

  • Jonathan Coachman Interviews Shawn Michaels

  • Money In the Bank Ladder Match [Ric Flair vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Matt Hardy vs. Finlay vs. Bobby Lashley] - THIS is the match that should've kicked off this year's WrestleMania. Even though Ric Flair and Finlay seemed out of place with "high flyers" like Benjamin, Hardy or Van Dam, this was still a great freakin' match. Since I only watch Raw on a weekly basis, I guess i'm an easy mark for matches which feature wrestlers from both brands. Well, as long as the SmackDown! guys are actually good.

  • Josh Matthews Interviews "Mean" Gene Okerlund

  • Hall Of Fame Introduction - It's good to see the old guys again. However, it was slightly disappointing that Bret decided not to show. I'm sure he avoided the place just in case Vince thought of another way to screw him.

  • United States Championship Match [Chris Benoit vs. JBL] - I thank GOD that Benoit is not wrestling Booker T. anymore. I don't even watch SmackDown! and it seemed like whenever I saw Chris wrestling, he was wrestling Booker T. This match was merely adequate and I was far from pleased with the ending.

  • Hardcore Match [Mick Foley vs. Edge] - Tables on fire. Barbed wire covered baseball bats. Thumbtacks. I might not have been the biggest fan of Edge's, and I missed the whole Foley "era", but this match showed that Edge could bring it and that I should really go back to check out some of Foley's matches when he was in his "prime". Both guys put on a really great show, and it was probably everything you would want from a "hardcore" match. If I had to rate who was the baddest of the two, Edge gets the nod since he was wrestling shirtless - thereby taking the full brunt of the barbed wire and thumbtacks.

  • Booker T. Walking With A Panicked Sharmell - Yes, we get it. The Boogeyman's scary...

  • Todd Grisham Interviews the Winners Of the WrestleMania Sweepstakes - I was hoping this would have a chapter stop!

  • Boogeyman vs. Booker T. & Sharmell - Since he's currently out rehabbing a left bicep tear, this is the last time you'll see the Boogeyman at a WWE PPV, so enjoy it while this match lasts. Me? I don't have a problem with Boogey and his worms, but I haven't liked much of what Booker's done since he was teamed with Golddust.

  • WWE Women's Championship Match [Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James] - I love seeing these two in the ring. During the match, my mind wanders to seeing them perform in other locales too. There were a few botched spots during this match, but I didn't mind much. I thought it was interesting that the audience

  • Mr. McMahon In His Dressing Room With His Family

  • Casket Match [Undertaker vs. Mark Henry] - I really, really, really didn't want to have to sit through this match. Unfortunately, I did.

  • No-Holds-Barred Match [Shawn Michaels vs. Mr. McMahon] - Frankly, I thought Shawn's match against Shane during Saturday Night's Main Event was much better. However, that match didn't have a guest appearance by the Spirit Squad! And say what you will about the old man, but Vince is in damn good shape and can still take a bump or two.

  • WrestleMania 23 Announcement

  • Triple Threat Match For the World Heavyweight Championship [Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton] - This was a great freakin' match. All three seemed to be on top of their game and they put on a great show. Particularly the surprising ending. However, what was up with that headdress that Rey came out with? Was there a Burger King cross promotion that I was unaware of? Oh, and P.O.D. performs Rey's entrance theme. Personally, I liked his previous one a lot better.

  • Triple H & John Cena Warming Up - Totally unnecessary looks at Trips and Cena warming up as they get the ring ready for the next totally unnecessary "match".

  • Playboy Pillow Fight [Torrie Wilson vs. Candice Michelle] - It's weird that they'd choose to kill the momentum with this "match", but that's what they do. And let me tell you - it's definitely boring.

  • WWE Championship Match [John Cena vs. Triple H] - As much as I might not like either wrestler (though I am slightly warming up to Hunter), I have to admit this was a pretty good match that saw Hunter do his damnedest to make it look like Cena could actually wrestle (you and I know this is far from true). Hunter's 

  • WrestleMania Recap Music Video - In case you decided to skip the previous three hour event (or have ADD), the WWE has wrapped it up in one tight two minute video package.

In addition to all of those matches, we're also treated to these extras from this year's WrestleMania:

  • 18-Man Interpromotional Battle Royal - I admit that i'm a sucker for these battle royal matches. Especially the ones that are interpromotional.

  • Mick Foley Getting Stitches - That pretty much says it all.

  • Rey Mysterio Celebration - Some footage of Rey celebrating with Chavo, Eddie's wife and some other wrestlers backstage.

  • WrestleMania Post Show - WWE.com exclusive

  • John Cena Addresses the Chicago Fans On Raw 04/03/2006 - And i'm sure the Chicago fans were hanging on his every word...

Now, if all of that wasn't enough, Vince has decided to include the return of Saturday Night's Main Event from March 18, 2006 on the second disc.

  • Raw Main Event vs. Smackdown Main Event [HHH & John Cena vs. Kurt Angle/Rey Mysterio/Randy Orton - The WWE chose to open the first Saturday Night's Main Event with a bang. This was a pretty good match that did a good job furthering the feuds between the men and, perhaps, piquing the curiosity of potential WrestleMania viewers.

  • the Cutting Edge [Edge & Lita With Special Guest Mick Foley] - Had I seen this when it was broadcast on NBC, it would've meant an extended bathroom break. Not that I think Edge or Foley aren't great on the mic or cutting a promo, but this really wasn't one of the things I was looking forward to.

  • Beer Drinking Contest [Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. JBL] - It's pretty funny when JBL attempts to insult the crowd by bad mouthing their mayor, only to hear the fans cheering after his comments. After that, Austin shows up to make a brief, but entertaining, appearance.

  • Trish Stratus & Mickie James vs. Victoria & Candice Michelle - After you finished singing that old Sesame Street song "Which one of these things doesn't belong?" (the answer's Candice), you realized that they finally had Mickie turn heel. It was a long, painful journey, but i'm glad she's finally there.

  • Mark Henry/Undertaker Confrontation - Hey, look! Another extended bathroom break.

  • Street Fight [Shawn Michaels vs. Shane McMahon] - I have nothing against Shane O'Mac, but after watching Shawn wrestle for close to five years now, I realize he could make Goldberg look like a legitimate champion. Shawn's that good. That said, the ladder spot was excellent.

If all of the previous material isn't enough, disc three features the 2006 WWE Hall Of Fame! Though it was originally broadcast on the USA network the night before WrestleMania, that version was heavily edited and they didn't even feature all of the honorees. Out of all of the honorees, I was most looking forward to Eddie & Bret. It's a damn shame Eddie's in the Hall already. Not because he doesn't deserve it, but because he should still here wrestling. He should've had a career as long as Flair's or Hogan's. I understand they chose to have Benoit, Mysterio and Chavo present, but I felt the podium was cluttered and there really should've only been one presenter - Chavo. That aside, if you didn't get a slight lump in your throat as Vicki was reading her speech, you might want to check for a pulse. As for Hart's induction speech, it was unedited (as opposed to the original broadcast on USA) and quite entertaining. If you've seen (or own) Bret's DVD, you'll hear some of the same stories, but it's just amazing when you stop and realize that Bret is actually at a WWE function! This year's inductees are:

  • the Blackjacks

  • Verne Gagne

  • William "the Refrigerator" Perry

  • Sensational Sherri

  • Tony Atlas

  • Gene Okerlund

  • Eddie Guerrero

  • Bret "Hit Man" Hart

Video: WrestleMania 22's picture, like most WWE discs, was colorful and vibrant. There were some slight compression issues due to all pyro and graphic elements, but they were few and far between. It's presented in the WWE's standard full frame 1.33:1 ratio.

Audio: The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound was crystal clear and enveloped my living room while I was watching it. Viewers are also given the option of watching the disc in Spanish.

Conclusion: WrestleMania continues to be the most impressive of all the WWE pay-per-views, as well it should be. I found myself entertained by practically the entire event (which is a rarity in so many past instances for me). However, the inclusion of Saturday Night's Main Event and the unedited WWE Hall Of Fame ceremony really impressed me - particularly since i'm sure the WWE could've made more money selling each event separately. In the end, I was highly impressed by the majority of the content and all of the presentation. While the enjoyment of each match and/or performer is subjective to each viewer, all of the bells and whistles on this release shouldn't be. There's no doubt about it - this is a Highly Recommended set.

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