So, this is for the title. One of the two. Not sure which one.
Jeff Hardy is over like hell. Edge is the champ. Pretty good starting sequence, despite neither being particulary smooth. Interesting bit of booking here as Edge loses immediately in a small package spot. Another proof we need more of this as opposed to kicking out of finishers. More on that later. The guys in the pods grinning at Edge losing was a nice touch.
Kozlov. Whatever happened to this guy ? He definitely had potential in a Goldbergian way. Looks green but also menacing. Good beating up sequence on Hardy, who's being thrown around like a rag doll. More beating up incoming with the Big Show. Again, nice booking with the two monsters playing oneupmanshpip with Hardy as a crash test dummie, before getting to it themselves. Not the smoothest work, but efficient enough and it's a simple and logic story to tell.
HHH is next. He pretty much clears the ring because he can. Looks good doing it too. At this point he really knows the deal, and although there won't be any blood (anymore ?), he takes his share of usual brutal bumps.
Taker gets out. House of fire. MMA punches. Taker gets a whole lot of pass for a lot of stuff that actually don't look good. Same thing here. He's old, he looks that way, his stuff looks sloppy (awful snake eyes). He does beat the undefeated Kozlov too. Odd to finally beat Kozlov that way in that context.
Big spot of the match, Taker doing a superplex on Big Show and Hardy going swanton off a pod on the big guy. Crowd is CRAZY for the guy, who is having a really good night from my perspective (of someone who haven't seen much of his vaunted "great main event stint"). Clear MVP of the match and... fuck. He loses to Trip. The crowd deflates big time. They wanted to have Hardy win the thing. Tone deaf booking.
So, it's Taker vs HHH, "the two biggest stars in the WWE" says JR. What, in 2009 ? John Cena says hello. And so they have this "ending Mania stretch" match, which means reversals, kicking out of finishers (or almost in case of the tombstone, feet on the rope will do) and self-cousciousepicery, which doesn't fit the format to me. Twice now Taker has delivered this kind of stuff here. And really, it's annoying because neither guy is really selling the finishers per say. They sell the *exhaustion*, but after a fucking tombstone and a pedigree, you should have your neck all fucked up. But they never sell that way. To me this is way more "video game pro-wrestling" than doing a tons of move actually, because the hugest move really don't matter that much, the damage is not localized, if you will. Anyway, Trips wins the title. Fuck me. His work was good, but this is 2009. How many did this guy win already ?
Overall, very good match (could have clearly been better with a non self-conscious epic finishing stretch) with some interesting twists, but the ending stretch is clearly not of my taste at all and the booking was totally tone deaf and turned toward the past when you had the crowd hot for a newer star. Yeah, patterns...