31 Manias in 31 Days: Rewriting Wrestlemania XXIII
In 2007, WrestleMania returned to a stadium to host over 80,000 fans in Detroit's Ford Field. It wasn't far off of the Pontiac Silverdome's indoor attendance record 20 years earlier. But the card that WWE created for their enormous audience was extremely disappointing in my view. Would you agree? Here's the results of WrestleMania XXIII, today's installment of my "Rewriting WrestleMania" series.
April 1, 2007
Ford Field (Detroit, MI)
1. (Dark) Lumberjack Tag Team Match:
Ric Flair and Carlito def. Gregory Helms and Carlito
2. Money in the Bank Ladder Match:
Mr. Kennedy def. CM Punk, Edge, Randy Orton, Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, King Booker, and Finlay
3. The Great Khali def. Kane
4. United States Championship:
Chris Benoit (c) def. MVP to retain.
5. World Heavyweight Championship:
The Undertaker def. Batista (c) to become new champion.
6. 8-Man Tag Team Match:
The ECW Originals: RVD, Sabu, Tommy Dreamer, and The Sandman def. The New Breed: Elijah Burke, Marcus Cor Von, Matt Striker, and Kevin Thor w/ Ariel
7. Hair vs Hair Match (w/ Stone Cold Steve Austin as special guest referee):
Bobby Lashley w/ Donald Trump def. Umaga w/ Mr. McMahon and Armando Alejandro Estrada
8. Women's Championship Lumberjill Match:
Melina (c) def. Ashley to retain.
1. WWE Championship:
John Cena (c) def. Shawn Michaels to retain.
*Rewriting WrestleMania XXIII*
1. Intercontinental Championship: CM Punk def. Johnny Nitro (c)
One of the many mistakes of booking WM23 was not putting the IC Title on the line. Umaga was the champion at the time and was involved in the hair match with Lashley. I'd have Johnny Nitro aka John Morrison (who was the last heel besides Umaga to hold the title) go into Mania as champ and drop it to CM Punk in both men's first WrestleMania debut.
2. Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Jeff Hardy def. Kennedy, Matt Hardy, Shelton Benjamin, Carlito, MVP, Finlay, and Kane
Mr. Kennedy was such a bad choice to win the briefcase in hindsight. It wasn't long before Jeff Hardy went on to compete for the World Title anyway, so why not have him win here? He was always a fan favorite and I'm sure it would've gotten a great pop. I'd change quite a few of the participants. Benjamin wasn't involved in WM23 at all, except as a lumberjack in the dark match. Randy Orton and Edge were already well established and didn't need the briefcase. Kane was in an awful match with The Great Khali. Carlito? In the dark match. The match was entertaining, it always is no matter who's in it, but it could have been so much better.
3. WWE Tag Team Championship Triple Threat: London & Kendrick (c) def. Deuce & Domino and Cryme Tyme
I don't have much to say except this would be better than not putting the titles on the line at all. The WWE tag champions at the time were...Cena and Michaels?
4. United States Championship: RVD def. Chris Benoit (c)
I think this could have been a great match in Benoit's final WrestleMania. His match against MVP was a bit of a letdown in my opinion. I think RVD in an 8-man tag was definitely the wrong way to go. I certainly wasn't interested in "The New Breed" one bit.
5. Hair vs. Hair Match: (Stone Cold Steve Austin as special referee) Bobby Lashley w/ Donald Trump def. Umaga w/ Mr. McMahon
I'd keep the result the same, but the match should have been shorter to get right to what everyone wanted to see: Vince McMahon getting his head shaved.
6. World Heavyweight Championship: Edge def. Batista (c)
Taker and Batista wasn't the worst call in the world, but Taker didn't need the World Title. Besides, I had him beat Kurt Angle for it in my WM22 rewrite. I'd have Edge win it instead of competing in the MITB match.
7. The Undertaker def. Randy Orton
I'm simply moving their WM20 match back 3 years, since I've had different opponents for them due to the timing of careers and contracts. Orton was still the legend killer and the timing would have still been perfect. Maybe even better with Orton having been established as a former World Champion.
8. King Booker w/ Queen Sharmell def. Ric Flair
Putting Ric Flair in the dark match is a disgrace if you ask me. If anything, I'd put the tag title match as the dark match/pre-show match. Flair loses due to cheating tactics by Booker and Sharmell, outdirty-ing the dirtiest player in the game in a battle of WCW greats.
9. Women's Championship: Melina (c) def. Mickie James
2 of the best women wrestlers WWE had to offer at the time. I don't even remember Ashley, other than she was a cookie-cutter diva.
10. WWE Championship: Shawn Michaels def. John Cena (c)
I don't necessarily disagree with the main event, but definitely disagree with the outcome. It was the wrong call and they should have crowned Shawn WWE champ for the first time in 9 years. Yes, he had been World Champion recently, but even then he didn't wear the gold at Mania. You could really feel the wind be let out of the crowd's sails in another disappointing match. Having Shawn tap out was what really got me. I could understand if he was a heel at the time, but he wasn't. An overall card that lacked in substance had an equally disappointing finish. 80,000 fans and this is the best they could do for them? Embarrassing.
Feel free to comment and/or post your WMXXIII rewrite.
For me 2007 was the year I stopped watching wrestling and didn't really get back into it until 2010. This was just a terrible year. 2006 as well. The new ECW, the spirit squad, Donald Trump, Great Khali, and the state of the tag team division. Ugh. What an utterly forgettable period in wrestling. Yet this was still one of the most successful wrestlemania buyrates of all time. Proving their's no accounting for taste.
The Undertaker def John Cena
(Undertaker won the Royal Rumble that year and could face any champion of his choosing. Why not go after Cena's title instead of Batista? Cena was at his apex at this point, so if there was ever a time to have Cena vs Taker this was it. The streak and the WWE title both on the line. And I think, unlike with Batista, a lot of people really would have believed that Cena would go over.)
The Animal vs The Rabid Wolverine
Batista def Chris Benoit
I just think these two would have worked well together. Batista/Taker was definitely the match of the night at this ppv, but I would have preferred to see Taker/Cena. Also, Benoit never should have been regulated back to midcard status like he was. He's a proven main eventer and can help make Batista look that much better.
Money In The Bank
Shawn Michaels def Edge, Randy Orton, Mr.Kennedy, Benjamin, MVP, RVD, Booker T
He's Mr.wrestlemania, so why not add Mr.money in the bank to his resume? Edge and Orton are my previous MITB winners from the past two years, and they'd been involved in a feud with Michaels and Triple H up until Trips got injured so it makes sense to have them in the match as well. I have them have a falling out leading up to mania where both have the same goal of getting back the briefcase they once carried. Mr.Kennedy won this match that year and I definitely include him in my version, but I wouldn't have him win. I like the inclusion of Benjamin as it allows for he and Shawn to recreate that epic moment from a match on RAW where Shawn caught him on the chin with a superkick out of mid-air, only this time they could incorporate a ladder.
WWE Tag Team Titles
MNM def The Hardy Boys
This happened at the royal rumble, but I would have saved it for wrestlemania. And if all was well between them again, maybe we even see a Lita/Hardy's reunion after the match when Lita attacks an interfering Melina.
CM Punk def Umaga
David vs Goliath. Probably the top two up and coming wrestlers of that year. Just from a visual standpoint I think they match up well together. They had similar stomach tattoos and both wore the same white wrist tape. I just like the way they match up on screen. I think this match cements Punk as a likeable underdog. Too soon for him to be included in a MITB match for a shot at the world title. But the IC title would have suited him perfectly. I have Umaga go in as champ with Punk getting the shocking upset win. Similar to Bret/Yoko in 94.
Bobby Lashley def Great Khali
(If someone was going to take Khali off his feet for the first time, should it not have been an up and coming star like Lashley as opposed to an old timer like Kane?)
Kevin Thorn w/Ariel def Kane
Speak of the devil, I have Kane turn back to a face shortly before Mania to begin a feud with, what I felt anyway, was one of the few bright spots of the otherwise forgettable and regrettable wwe version of ECW, that being Thorn and Ariel. I have Kane return to his roots after regaining his mask and old ring attire from the imposter Kane a few months earlier in 2006. And, as always, the old blood puts the new blood over. Thorn wins, albeit with a distraction or interference from Ariel.
Melina def Mickie James
Agree with the op on this one
And finally, seeing Ric Flair in a slapped together tag team with Carlito in a dark match was just odd. If there was nothing for Ric to do at this event, then just put him on commentary. He should be reserved as a special attraction at this point, not a regular performer. The Nature Boy is one of the greatest promo guys of all time, putting him on commentary could only improve the presentation of the show.
If I were to put him in a match it would be as a replacement for Triple H in a tag match where he teams with Shawn Michaels to take on Edge and Orton.
Last edited by MMK : 03-22-2015 at 12:03 AM.
This is a funny one, as Id make changes to the undercard but on the whole they got a lot right
World tag team championship
The Hardys def rated RKO (c)
Wasted in mitb, this'd be a great upper catd feud and worthy of being on mania unlike most teams
Money in the bank
Kennedy def king Booker, cm punk, Shelton Benjamin Finlay, regal, Burke ,rvd
I preferred the 6 man variations but the story here is king Booker as the former champion using his court (regal and Finlay) to try and keep the young guard (benjamin punk Kennedy) in their place, rvd is a decent name to be in there and Burke was the most promising Ecw guy to me
MVP def benoit (c)
Loved the feud, just switching result
Khali def Kane
It recreated the slam... 5 min filler is bareable
Hair vs hair
Ecw championship vs intercontinental championship
Lashley def umaga
Exactly the same, McMahon and trump gave the young guys spotlight theyd never get on their own, I'd just end with lashley having both belts as then when he's drafted to raw he'll have an instant start and the Ecw tournament can happen earlier
Flair def carlito
Great feud they built, and it deserved to not get dropped
World heavyweight championship
Undertaker def Batista (c)
The idea of the 2 veterans facing the 2 young hot names was perfect, the only change is I'm putting them later in the show
Melina (c) def mickie james
Ashley is an embarrassment, these are the top 2 divas
Cena (c) def michaels
Great feud, great main event, doesn't need changing
This was an underrated Wrestlemania. There are a couple of changes I would make though. Randy Orton VS Edge would have a singles match against each other due to the disbanding of the Rated RKO stable. It would be the 3rd match of the night, following Money In The Bank and Kane VS Khali. Orton and Edge's replacements in the Money In The Bank match are Carlito and Shelton Benjamin. Kennedy still wins the match and still loses the briefcase to Edge that summer. The only other thing I would change is the Womens Championship match. Melina would not be on my Wrestlemania 23 card whatsoever, Mickie James would have retained against her in their feud meaning the match here would be Mickie James against Ashley. Mickie retains. The rest of the show remains as it was in the actual version.
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I have to disagree with one particular earlier comment: this being the first Wrestlemania I attended live, I still have vivid memories from it, and the main event was an excellent match, which the crowd were HOT for. Certainly not a let down.
On to changes:
The most obvious change would be to make the ECW Originals v New Breed match a hardcore match, which they ended up making the rematch a few weeks later on ECW tv. Accounting for this, I would shorten the hair v hair match a bit and also reduce the Khali/Kane time.
I think MNM were deserving of a spot on the card, if only in the dark match instead of the two thrown-together teams.
Other than those, there is very little I would change. Ashley got the title shot as she was that year's Playboy centrefold, and to be honest her photos were amazing so I'm not disappointed; plus the divas matches were at this time in particular largely filler, 'cool down' matches.
I would perhaps switch the title match positioning around, as I'm one who feels the Royal Rumble winner should be in the main event, but other than that I feel they did a good job with a lacklustre card
MITB Ladder Match- Carlito vs Matt Hardy vs Jeff Hardy vs Kane vs Mr Kennedy vs Chavo Guerrero vs Johnny Nitro vs Ric Flair
Kennedy still wins the match and I threw in Chavo because he deserved a spot after the solid year he had in '06. Flair and Carlito deserved more than to be on the pre show.
Grudge Match- King Booker vs Finlay
Finlay was apart of King Booker's brief staple (along with Regal) they began teasing dissension between the two but for some reason they backed off and they never resolved the issue. I would've built their feud up leading to this match at WM.
Grudge Match- Edge vs Randy Orton
They were a great team but they started teasing dissension between these two, they eventually had a match on Raw 3 weeks later but I would've done that match here at WM.
ECW Title Match- Bobby Lashley (c) vs CM Punk
Much better use of both men at this show imo.
ECW vs Raw- RVD vs Umaga
Interpromotional match because I'm scrapping that awful ECW/Originals match. RVD deserved better.
Vince McMahon/Donald Trump/Steve Austin segment
Instead of the Battle of the Billionaires they just do a quick segment. Vince has been calling out Trump for weeks leading up to this meeting. With Austin being the "meditator" between the two. Shenanigans ensue and it ends with a stunner to Vince, Great Khali and Shane as Austin celebrates with Trump.
Everything else remains the same.
Batista vs Undertaker and Cena vs HBK are two of the biggest matches to ever happen at Wrestlemania. The buyrate of that event (1.2-1.3 million prove it). Both matches were spectacular, so I wouldn't change a thing.
The only change: I'd have Orton vs Edge in a singles match.
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