With energetic, memorable matches, Wrestlemania 24 lived up to its hype in grand fashion. In the outdoor setting at the Citrus Bowl, the WWE set up a superb stage and fireworks show to highlight some of the amazing spots achieved by the wrestlers. This ranks as one of the better pay-per-views of the modern WWE era.
A fun, no holds barred brawl between Finlay and JBL started the night off right. A couple of heavy shots got the crowd energized for the action to follow.
The highlight of the night was almost unquestionably the money in the bank ladder match, a six-man, cross-promotional brawl with some amazing spots. In fact, Shelton Benjamin had the spot of the night, diving off a ladder, through another set at ringside and down onto the floor.
While Batista versus Umaga was a bust, along with the ECW Championship bout (setting a Wrestlmania record for shortest match ever), and the Diva’s match was marred by a technical problem with the lights, Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair more than made up for it. Their intense, story-driven battle was unforgettable, and the emotion shown by Ric Flair in what has proven to be his final match was tough to watch for any wrestling fan.
The triple main events all performed admirably, starting with a three-way battle for the WWE Championship. While the flash finish was disappointing, the actual match between Cena, Orton, and HHH was not. Fast, hard hitting, and loaded with high spots, the match never had a dull moment. The supposedly $20 million match (completely false for the record and purely a promotional number) between Big Show and boxer Floyd Mayweather offered more than expected.
Finally, Egde and the Undertaker fought it out for the World Championship. Although it started slow, the back and forth brawl was mesmerizing up until a surprise finish. The WWE nailed this year's Wrestlemania without question.
For their first ever Blu-ray, the WWE has released a decent, if flawed, HD presentation. Compression artifacts are evident throughout, especially when smoke fills the stage. Detail is mostly flat and dull. Color is excellent. Long shots of the ring have a muddy, bland quality to them. Note this is a 1080i transfer.
While the event was broadcast in stereo, this 5.1 mix is excellent. The lively crowd is active in all channels while the ring entrances deliver bass and surround work. Commentary is never lost in the energy of the sound.
As per recent tradition, the extras include the entire Hall of Fame induction ceremony, done the night before Wrestlemania. Even if you watched this on TV when it aired, a lot of footage was cut out and it’s worth revisiting. Note that this is also presented in HD. The only extra aside from that was a Battle Royal that took place before the event went live to determine who faced Kane for the ECW Championship.
During the Undertaker’s elaborate fireworks celebration, one of the cables carrying the pyrotechnic display from the ring to the set at the end of the ramp snapped. Multiple people were burned severely, and some were taken away in ambulances. You can just see the fireworks dipping down into the crowd from an aerial shot when watching the show.