My mother and I went to International Buffet at Centerville and Kempsville in Virginia Beach for lunch around 12:30. On our way out we saw a marquee saying that the nearby Baker Street cafe would be showing WrestleMania. Immediately I got excited, and when I got home I called them. No cover charge, but they were asking a minimum $10 purchase per customer, which was more than reasonable when you consider that they're broadcasting a $50 pay-per-view.
Figuring it'd be much better to pay $10 and be around people who enjoy wrestling than pay $50 and watch it at home by myself, I biked there.
So I watched the show at Baker Street Cafe, a couple miles from my house. The place was packed.
When I first got there there were four people heading out,
and when I asked them they said they hadn't been able to find seats. I immediately started worrying that neither would I.
Good thing I came alone. The lady behind the front counter said yes, I could come in, but they only had room for me in the bar area-- and there were no open seats. As it turned out, I'd arrived just in time to see Rey Mysterio make his entrance.
A few minutes into Mysterio/Guerrero, a seat opened up, and I snatched it immediately. And for the next four hours, I had the most fun watching a wrestling show that I ever have,
short of actually being at the event itself.
Made quick friends with four other guys, and we shared predictions and thoughts on the matches as the night rolled on. And I'll tell you, the people in this restaurant were wrestling fans,
guys. They popped hardest for Hogan's appearance, Undertaker's win and Batista's title victory, but they popped for everybody
in some way, shape or form-- even Carlito was well-received by this audience. I'm not saying that to denigrate Carlito (far from it, I assure you), I'm simply saying that casual fans would've been like, "Who the fuck's this
I ended up getting about a bazillion Cokes (thank God for free refills, 'cuz when I got home I had to use the restroom, seriously, five times in the next three hours), bacon and cheddar skins, and I got a plate of french fries during the main event. Grand total came to $10.78, plus a five-dollar tip for the hard work our bartender had put in. I'm telling you, some people were treating her like shit, but I made it a point not to do that. Guess I have a better understanding than some assholes that customer service ain't easy.
The atmosphere of the place made every match seem important and awesome, so keeping that in mind (and keeping in mind that other than the live broadcast, I haven't seen WM21 since, and won't until I get the DVD), here are my thoughts on the event:Rey Mysterio/Eddie Guerrero:
I actually didn't notice Rey's continuing wardrobe malfunctions, because I was simply too excited about "Hey, this is WRESTLEMANIA, BABY!" to notice. I don't think the match was all that flat, though. I loved when they brought the technical wrestling, and when Eddie reversed the West Coast Pop into a powerbomb. I fully expected Eddie to turn heel and attack Rey after the match, but I imagine they're probably gonna do that when their titles change hands.
I'd predicted Rey in the other thread, although I didn't get a chance to share that prediction with my new friends, but that's 1 for 1.Money in the Bank Ladder Match:
Holy shit. Shelton Benjamin is absolutely out of his fucking mind. But bless him for really
stepping it up (even above and beyond his current level of brilliance) at the Grandest Stage of Them All. It's been well-documented, but that running-up-the-ladder clothesline made me, and everyone else in the restaurant go, "HOLY SHIT!"
The only person whose victory would've pissed me off would've been Kane, so I'm glad he didn't. Edge's win really adds intrigue to the coming days, weeks and months ahead, though, because theoretically he could demand his title shot at any time,
so if Batista's ever laid out, he'd better watch it!
My new friends were split between Benjamin and Kane in terms of predicting a winner. I personally had predicted Chris Benoit or Chris Jericho to my friends, "but I'd love to see Shelton win", which was what I predicted in the thread. I said Kane might
win, and Christian wouldn't
win, because he never wins anything, it seems. But Edge's victory makes me 1 for 2 thus far.Eugene, Hassan, Daivari, Hogan segment
People in the bar were kinda pleased to see Eugene, I guess, but the booing started in earnest when Hassan and Daivari came out. I heard all of what Eugene said, but the only thing I can remember Hassan saying was that he was going to "make his own WrestleMania moment," which was when he attacked Eugene. While Eugene was being attacked, people around me were asking for either Austin or Hogan, and the Hulkster rose to the occasion. Hogan making the save got a tremendous
pop from the audience, and from me as well. Hell, I sang "Real American", so if anybody wants to take my smark card, you're welcome to it.Undertaker vs. Randy Orton
Wow, what a great match. It exceeded my expectations in a big
way. Of course 'Taker's entrance was awesome. I laughed at Orton trying to play it safe and stay away from 'Taker at the start-- and when he slapped 'Taker, I said, "Shouldna done that, Randy!" There were several occasions in which it looked like Orton would win-- from Cowboy Bob hitting 'Taker with the cast to Orton reversing the chokeslam into an RKO in a brilliant spot-- but when Orton made the ill-advised attempt to tombstone 'Taker, we all knew it'd be reversed, and of course it was.
13-0, 'Taker, and thank God
they didn't allow the legendary streak to come to an end at the hands of that idiot Orton. Two of my friends predicted (and wanted to see) Orton win the thing, but one of my friends predicted a 'Taker victory and the fourth guy hadn't arrived yet.
I predicted 'Taker both in the restaurant and in the thread, so I'm 2 for 3 thus far.Women's Title: Trish Stratus vs. Christy Hemme
Oh, Trish was acting like such a bitch, but she was being so cute about it! I don't remember much about the match itself, but definitely the right woman went over here. I'm still upset that Christy got this opportunity and Molly Holly or Victoria didn't (and don't even get me started on Gail Kim, Jazz or Nidia), but Christy had some spunk. She just needs to keep her feet on the ground, reach for the stars, and in three or four years she might be as good as Trish.
One of my friends predicted Christy Hemme would win, no shenanigans. The other one I asked predicted a Trish victory, after which Christy would turn on Lita, which would've been shocking, no question. I personally predicted a Christy win after the typical cheating Lita shenanigans (and predicted her to win in the thread as well), so I'm relieved that this match lowered my percentage to 50%, 2 of 4.Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels
Those two put on a match that will be talked about for a looooong time to come. I smiled and joined in when the restaurant did the "YOU SUCK!" chant for Angle, later explaining to one of my compadrés that I was doing it becuase I liked
Kurt. He actually seemed to understand.
Brilliant contest. Can't wait to see it again on DVD, especially considering the fact that, well... I actually missed the tap-out. One of my buddies, see, started talking to this girl I was sitting next to (to whom I'd paid zero attention the entire time-- not that I'm that great with the ladies even when I'm not
watching an exciting WrestleMania). So I tapped him on the shoulder and told him I'd be more than happy to switch seats with him, which he was quite grateful for later on. Don't know if he got the girl's number, though. Mumbled something later about "her baby daddy" showing up. Eh.
So while this was going on, Shawn was tapping out, and if there was a replay, I didn't see that,
either. But I knew what'd happened, because the place erupted with cheers and applause as Kurt Angle's music played. I'm telling you, dudes, this was the greatest place I could've been tonight.
My friends both predicted an HBK victory (in fact, one of them was so adamant about it that he was willing to put $20 on both an HBK victory and
a HHH victory-- which, unfortunately, I declined), but I predicted Angle would win. Did so in the thread, too, so that makes me 3 for 5.Piper's Pit Featuring Stone Cold Steve Austin
Wow, I guess the atmosphere must've added a lot
to the show. That, or none of you know what the heck you're talking about, because everyone in that restaurant, including me, were hanging on Piper and Austin's every word. Piper made me crack up at least ten times. "What, are you deaf?" "You can't understand him,
Also loved Piper's reaction to being slapped (after he started it by slapping Austin). He kinda laughed, smiled that famous smile and said, "Well, now that we've got that
out of the way..." Hahaha!
I loved when Carlito came out. He's very
entertaining, and I'm glad WWE's catching onto that by allowing him in there with a Hall of Famer and a future Hall of Famer. Another big laugh for Piper spitting half the apple into Carlito's face.
We all knew Carlito was gonna eat a Stunner, and knew that after they drank some beer, Piper'd be next. Yup. Actually kinda glad Austin knocked him out, 'cuz Piper looked like he'd had three or four too many. Roddy's nuts enough without running around drunk on the streets of Hollywood. Sumo Match: Akebono vs. Big Show
Having seen a few sumo wrestling matches during a slow night on ESPN a year or so back, I knew that odds were the entrances would take longer than the match itself. Yup. I guess the match was OK for what it was, but are you telling me WWE couldn't find a way to squeeze the battle royal onto it-- or even onto Heat?
All of my friends, and I, predicted that Akebono would win the match. But everyone other than me was expecting Show to chokeslam Akebono through the ring-- although God knew how long it'd take to get that
repaired. In any event, that makes me 4 for 6 thus far. And yup, Big Show's still the anti-Taker when it comes to WrestleMania, where he's still winless.WWE Championship Match: JBL (C) vs. John Cena
I guess I can live with Cena winning the championship, especially since I don't watch SmackDown! regularly anyway, but if they bling up the WWE Championship belt, I'm gonna scream bloody murder. Hell, even my friends (all
of whom wanted Cena to win) said that they'd turn on Cena instantly if he got a spinner title belt.
The match was boring as hell, and the atmosphere of the restaurant finally
got a bit subdued. Hell, I took a restroom braek just as the match was getting underway. People were happy to see Cena win, but they weren't screaming
about it or anything.
I predicted JBL, and frankly wanted JBL to retain, but Cena's victory made me 4 for 7.Hall of Fame Introductions
Nice that unlike last year, each man got their own entrance music played as they came out. The crowd didn't seem to care for it much, but the restaurant patrons appreciated each man.World Heavyweight Championship Match: Triple H (C) vs. Batista
The match was very exciting to me, especially when Batista started kicking the hell out of HHH, which I've been wanting to see for a loooong time. Trips got me worried when he had that Pedigree cinched in and even began the motion of delivering it, but I was shocked when, well... nothing happened.
Even though the match was pretty one-sided in favor of Batista (I even commented during the match that this was the way Sting/Hogan at Starrcade '97 should
have been), the right guy went over, and the match was still very exciting. One of my buddies predicted that HHH would win, even though he was wearing a Batista T-shirt and wanted
Batista to win.
I came into the night favoring Batista in terms of an actual prediction (which was reflected in the thread), but when Cena won the WWE Championship I figured they wouldn't want both titles to change hands on the same night. I was wrong, and I'm glad I was wrong... because Batista's victory produced the biggest mark-out moment of the match.
I finished 5-3 overall, which I thought was pretty good, as unpredictable as the night ended up being.
And I'm definitely going to Baker Street Cafe for the next WWE pay-per-view they show. Whether that'll be Backlash 2005 or WrestleMania XXII, I don't know yet. (And thanks for returning to the Roman numerals-- just make up your fucking minds, WWE! Oh, and you can do better than just re-using the WM21 logo, can't you?)
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