WrestleMania Restrospective – WrestleMania XXIV (2008)
Here’s Part 24 of our WrestleMania Retrospective series, looking back at past WrestleMania events as we march towards WrestleMania 29 on April 7th
WrestleMania 24 (2008)
Tagline: “The Biggest WrestleMania Under the Sun”
Date: March 30, 2008
Venue: Citrus Bowl, Orlando, FL
America the Beautiful: John Legend
The Undertaker’s Streak: 16-0 (Def. Edge for the WHC)
WrestleMania XXIV was the twenty-fourth annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). The event took place on March 30, 2008, at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida and was the first WrestleMania to be held in the state of Florida. WrestleMania XXIV was also the second WrestleMania to be held outdoors, with the first being WrestleMania IX, held in Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the third being WrestleMania XXVIII in Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida.
Nine professional wrestling matches were scheduled for the event, which featured a supercard, a scheduling of more than one main bout. The first of these matches was a Singles match from the SmackDown brand that featured The Undertaker defeating World Heavyweight Champion Edge to win the title. The second was a Triple Threat match from the Raw brand, in which WWE Champion Randy Orton defeated challengers Triple H and John Cena to retain the championship. The other was a singles match from the ECW brand, in which Kane defeated ECW Champion Chavo Guerrero to win the ECW title. From the six scheduled bouts on the undercard, three received more promotion than the others. In a No Disqualification match, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. defeated The Big Show. The second match involved wrestlers from all three brands fighting in a Money in the Bank ladder match, which CM Punk won. The other match was a retirement match in which Shawn Michaels defeated Ric Flair, leading to Flair’s departure from the WWE and a period of retirement from active wrestling.
Tickets for the event commenced sale to the public on November 3, 2007. WWE and the City of Orlando hosted festivities that spanned a five-day period within the central Florida region. For the second consecutive year, WrestleMania broke the record for the highest-grossing pay-per-view in WWE history, as well as for the Citrus Bowl, grossing US$5.85 million in ticket sales. According to a study by Enigma Research Corporation of Sydney, the Citrus Bowl’s record-breaking attendance pumped an estimated $51.5 million – surpassing the projected $25 million – into the local economy and generated $1.8 million in local juice stop. The Central Florida Sports Commission reported that the event created jobs and brought approximately 60,000 visitors to the city. Over one million people ordered the event on pay-per-view, grossing $23.8 million in revenue.
Money In the Bank
In the fourth-annual Money in the Bank ladder match, in which there were no disqualifications or countouts, and the only way to win the match was to climb a ladder in the ring and retrieve a contract briefcase hanging above. The match featured Chris Jericho, Mr. Kennedy, and Carlito from the Raw brand; CM Punk, Shelton Benjamin and John Morrison from the ECW brand; and Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP) from the SmackDown brand. Early in the match, Morrison climbed a turnbuckle and performed a moonsault onto other competitors outside the ring while holding a ladder against his chest. Later, while Kennedy and Morrison were battling on top of a ladder, Benjamin climbed another ladder placed adjacent to the first one and performed a sunset flip powerbomb on Kennedy, who in turn superplexed Morrison from the top of the ladder. Later, Carlito and Kennedy flipped Benjamin off a ladder in the ring, sending him crashing through another ladder set-up between the barricade and the ring apron. When MVP was close to retrieving the contract briefcase, Matt Hardy (returning to action after suffering a legitimate injury), entered the ring from the crowd, climbed the ladder, and delivered a Twist of Fate to MVP off that ladder. As soon as Morrison started to climb a ladder, see-sawing with another ladder, Jericho flipped the other one and Morrison landed on the ring-ropes groin-first. Jericho even performed a Codebreaker on Punk using a ladder. In the end, Jericho and Punk fought each other on a ladder, but Punk trapped Jericho’s one leg in the ladder’s steps and retrieved the briefcase to win the match. This was an interpromotional match.
Ric Flair vs HBK
Ric Flair’s “Career Threatening” match against Shawn Michaels was next, which stipulated that Flair would have to retire from wrestling if he had lost. At the start of the match, both superstars engaged in a series of counters, and then Flair shoved Michaels in a corner, making “Old Yeller” comments to him. In retaliation, Michaels slapped Flair in the face, which caused him to start bleeding from the mouth. Later, Michaels tried to go for his Sweet Chin Music, but stopped in the process and Flair capitalized by trapping him in his figure four leglock. Afterward, Michaels finally delivered the Sweet Chin Music to Flair, but the latter kicked out to the pinfall attempt. Michaels then trapped Flair in his modified figure four leglock, but Flair delivered a thumb to the eye to Michaels to break the submission. As Flair was delivering chops to Michaels’ chest, Michaels hit a second Sweet Chin Music. After getting up on his feet with a worried face, Michaels said to Flair “I’m sorry, I love you,” before nailing a final Sweet Chin Music and thus pinning Flair to end his 35-year long wrestling career. After the match, Michaels left quickly and Flair got a standing ovation from the crowd. An emotional Flair embraced his family at ringside and then, as he proceeded to go backstage, he thanked the crowd for their support.
Playboy BunnyMania Lumberjack match
Maria and Ashley faced Beth Phoenix and Melina, who were accompanied to the ring by Santino Marella. Rapper Snoop Dogg served as the official “Master of Ceremonies” for the match. In the match, several WWE Divas surrounded the ring and were able to interfere in the match without disqualifications. Due to some technical difficulties, the lights at Citrus Bowl temporarily went out during the match. Near the end, a pin attempt by Maria was prevented when Marella pulled Maria’s leg. In response, Raw commentator Jerry Lawler approached and knocked Marella down with a punch. Phoenix hooked Maria’s leg and vertically lifted and slammed her to the mat and pinned Maria to win the match. After the match, Snoop Dogg hit Marella with his forearm in the ring and kissed Maria, before leaving with her and Ashley.
The first of the 3 main events was, Randy Orton defending his WWE Championship against Triple H and John Cena in a Triple Threat match, which is a standard match involving three wrestlers with no disqualifications. For his entrance, Cena had the Jones High School Marching Tigers marching band perform an instrumental version of his theme song “The Time Is Now” live. During the match, when Triple H had held Orton in a sleeper hold, Cena picked up both Orton and Triple H for an FU, but Triple H dropped down and low blowed him. Orton then dominated the match for some time; one highlight of the match featured Orton performing a crossbody from the top rope on Cena, while the latter was held on Triple H’s shoulders in a seating position. Orton also performed DDT from the second rope to both Cena and Triple H simultaneously. Orton then tried to perform an RKO on Cena, but he countered and threw Orton onto Triple H. Triple H then started targeting Orton’s legs and using some submissions on him. The match came to an end when Cena had Triple H on his shoulders for the FU, but was countered into a Pedigree. As Triple H was in the pin, Orton come across and punted Triple H in the head and pinned Cena to win the match and retain the WWE Championship.
Big Show Vs Floyd Mayweather
The next match was the No Disqualification match between The Big Show and Floyd Mayweather, Jr.. Early in the match, Mayweather repeatedly escaped Big Show’s grasp and delivered body shots to him. Mayweather and his accomplices tried to “walk out” of the match, but Big Show walked up the ramp and brought Mayweather back in the ring. As Big Show was about to chokeslam Mayweather, one of Mayweather’s accomplices struck a steel chair on Big Show’s back, and the latter chokeslammed him in retaliation. Capitalizing from this distraction, Mayweather grabbed that chair and hit Big Show multiple times on the head with it. Finally, Mayweather removed his right glove and put on a pair of brass knuckles to hit Big Show in the face. As a result, Big Show was knocked out as he could not answer the referee’s ten count, and Mayweather was declared the winner.
The main event of the night saw Edge putting his World Heavyweight Championship on the line against The Undertaker. The early going of the match was slow-paced, in which both superstars countered each other’s maneuvers. During the match, Undertaker ran and lept over the top rope from the ring onto Edge on the outside. Then throughout the match, Edge was able to counter Undertaker’s numerous signature moves, including the Chokeslam, Old School and the Last Ride, a variation of the powerbomb. Near the end, Edge hit Undertaker with a television camera while the referee was knocked down. When he proceeded to deliver a Tombstone Piledriver to Undertaker, the latter countered it into his own version and successfully delivered it to Edge for a two-count. Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder came to the ring for Edge’s aid, but Undertaker took them out. Because of their distraction, Edge was able to hit a spear on Undertaker, but was unable to pin him. When Edge delivered another spear to Undertaker, the latter caught him in his Hell’s Gate submission hold and forced Edge to tap out to become the new World Heavyweight Champion and improve his WrestleMania record to 16–0.
WrestleMania XXVII Results
Pre-Show Kane won by last eliminating Mark Henry. 24-man interpromotional battle royal, with the winner receiving an ECW Championship match later on in the night. 06:50
• John “Bradshaw” Layfield defeated Finlay (with Hornswoggle) Belfast Brawl 08:35
• CM Punk defeated Shelton Benjamin, Chris Jericho, Carlito, Montel Vontavious Porter, Mr. Kennedy, and John Morrison Money in the Bank ladder match 13:55
• Batista (representing Smackdown) defeated Umaga (representing Raw) Battle for Brand Supremacy 07:06
• Kane defeated Chavo Guerrero (c) Singles match for the ECW Championship 0:08
• Shawn Michaels defeated Ric Flair Career Threatening Match 25:14
• Beth Phoenix and Melina (with Santino Marella) defeated Maria and Ashley. Playboy BunnyMania Lumberjill match
• Randy Orton (c) defeated John Cena and Triple H Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship 14:09
• Floyd Mayweather defeated The Big Show by knockout No Disqualification match; decided by either knockout or submission 11:36
• The Undertaker defeated Edge (c) (with Vickie Guerrero, Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder) by submission Singles match for the World Heavyweight Championship 23:50