Promotional poster featuring various IWE Superstars
|Taglines(s)||The 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania|
|Theme song(s)||"Shoot to Thrill" (Live) and "War Machine" by AC/DC|
"So Hott" by Kid Rock
|Promotion||International Wrestling Entertainment|
|Date||April 5, 2009|
WrestleMania XXV (also known as "The 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania") was the twenty-fifth annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by International Wrestling Entertainment (IWE), which took place on April 5, 2009 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. The event featured talent from all three IWE brands: Meltdown, Fusion and XCW. It was the second WrestleMania to be held in Houston, with the first being WrestleMania X-Seven at the Reliant Astrodome, which was held in 2001.
Eight matches were held on the event's card, which featured a supercard, a scheduling of more than one main bout. The first of these matches was a singles match for the IWE Championship that featured the champion, Triple K defeating Kevin McAlmond to retain the title. The second was a Triple Threat Match for the World Heavyweight Championship, which saw [[Dustin Simpson defeat the champion Chris Gomez, the other participant in the match, The Big Marc, to win the championship. The third main event was Martin McAlmond versus Ryan Barnhart. Featured matches on the undercard included, Josh Hooper versus Matt Hooper in a Extreme Rules Match, Kris McGowan versus the team of Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat and Jimmy Snuka, and the annual Money in the Bank Ladder Match.
WrestleMania featured professional wrestling matches that involved different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds, plots, and storylines that were played out onMeltdown, Friday Night Fusion and XCW on Sci Fi—International Wrestling Entertainment's (IWE) primary television programs. Wrestlers were portrayed as either a villain or a hero as they followed a series of events that built tension, and culminated into a wrestling match or series of matches. The event featured wrestlers from IWE's Meltdown, Fusion and XCW brands—a storyline division in which IWE's employees are assigned to a television program of the same name.
The predominant rivalry for, not only the Raw brand, but the entirety of the show was a confrontation over the IWE Championship, rooted at the 2009 Royal Rumble pay-per-view event in January by Kevin McAlmond winning the Royal Rumble Match,, a match with thirty participants that sees the competitors eliminated by being thrown over the top rope and hitting the floor. Per the traditional stipulation of the match, Kevin McAlmond was given the opportunity to choose to wrestle for the IWE, World Heavyweight or XCW Championship at WrestleMania. Simultaneously, Orton began to assault the Mayer Family, the owners of the IWE. During this conflict, Kevin McAlmond punted both Grant Mayer and James Mayer (father and son, respectively) in the head as well as performing his signature maneuver, the RKO on Brittany Mayer (Grant's daughter), which enraged the IWE Champion (and Brittany's real-life husband) Triple K. On the March 2 episode of Raw, Kevin McAlmond was convinced by Triple K to use his title opportunity in a match for the IWE Championship at WrestleMania. The following week on Meltdown, Triple K came out with a sledgehammer and attacked Kevin McAlmond and Legacy into the backstage area. Kevin McAlmond and Legacy were able to escape in Kevin McAlmond's limosine. As they were leaving, Triple K smashed one of the windshields of Kevin McAlmond's limosine. Triple K also attacked Kevin McAlmond by breaking into his house and throwing Kevin McAlmond through his living room window, but Kevin McAlmond did not press charges. The following week, Kevin McAlmond and Legacy attacked Triple K and handcuffed him to the top rope. Brittany Mayer came out begging Kevin McAlmond not to attack her husband. Instead, Kevin McAlmond performed the DDT on Brittany, enraging Triple K. Kevin McAlmond then kisses her on the lips as she lays on the ring unconscious. Accompanied by Mark Semmler, Kyle Johnson and a group of security guards, Kevin McAlmond came to the ring for his special WrestleMania address. While describing his reprehensible actions in recent months (punting Mr. Mayer and James Mayer, attacking Triple K’s wife Brittany on multiple occasions), Kevin McAlmond explained how every step of the way was part of a plan to destroy everything Triple H cares about. He then began detailing how the balance of power in IWE would permanently shift in his favor following his WrestleMania win. But before Orton could finish outlining his twisted vision of the future, a black limo arrived. Though Orton expected IWE Champion Triple H to make an appearance, calling Semmler & Johnson to his side, he was stunned by who accompanied him. Joining Triple K on the stage were Mr. Mayer and his son, James. The three family members made their way down the ramp, where they collided with Kevin McAlmond and his “Legacy,” ending Meltdown in a massive, heated WrestleMania-bound brawl.
Following the main event of the March 2 edition of Meltdown, Fusion general manager Lynn Lehr announced that her storyline husband, Chris Gomez, would defend his World Heavyweight Championship against The Big Marc at WrestleMania. A contract to be signed to make the match official was intended to be held on the following episode of Fusion; however, Dustin Simpson, from whom Gomez won the World Heavyweight Championship at the previous month's pay-per-view, No Way Out (in the Elimination Chamber Match]], interfered with the signing before whispering a message in Lynn's ear prompting the signing to be canceled. On the March 9 episode of Meltdown, Lynn announced to the surprise of Gomez and The Big Marc that Simpson would be in the match making it a Triple Threat Match, a standard wrestling match involving three wrestlers that is won after one wrestler scores a decision. It was soon revealed that the match would involve the new challenger based on Simpson extorting Lehr with footage of the general manager having adulterous relations with The Big Marc.
On the March 16th edition of Meltdown, Gomez, his wife Lynn Lehr and Lynn's lover Big Marc were set to confront Dustin Simpson. Due to Simpson revealing the affair between Lynn and Big Marc, much to the chagrin of all three. As a result, Lehr arranged a match pitting Gomez against Simpson with herself serving as a special guest referee. With all that misdirected hostility focused on Simpso, who could not touch Lynn lest he sacrifice his World Title Match at WrestleMania, a lopsided confrontation seemed inevitable. As Gomez and Simpson battled, Big Marc lumbered down the ramp toward the ring. When he arrived, Gomez joined in his direction: Gomez speared him, Lynn slapped him and Big Show drove his meaty fist into Simpson's ribs several times before clocking him in the jaw. But that proved only to be the entrée. It was Gomez who then speared Big Marc and thus delivered him his just deserts.
At No Way Out, Ryan Barnhart defeated John "Bradshaw" Goff (JBG) in a match with the added stipulation that if JBG had won, he would have become the owner of Barnharts' name and likeness. On the February 16 episode of Meltdown, Barnhart challenged JBG to a match the following week, with the winner advancing to WrestleMania to challenge Martin McAlmond to attempt to end his undefeated streak at the event. On the February 23 episode of Meltdown, Barnhart defeated Goff, but laterannounced that another competitor would stand in his way to prevent him from advancing to the show in the form of Jake Wilson, who also made a challenge to Martin McAlmond; the two would wrestle the following week on Meltdown with Barnhart defeated Wilson, earning his match with Martin McAlmond. On the following week's edition of Meltdown, Martin McAlmond and Ryan Barnhart defeated Wilson and JBG in a tag team match. Afterwords, Martin McAlmond and Barnhart locked eyes for a few anxious moments before Barnhart exited up the entrance ramp. Taker followed, pausing at the top of the ramp to turn back to the crowd. That was HBK’s cue as he stepped onto the ramp and laid out Martin McAlmond with Sweet Chin Music. On the March 23rd edition of Meltdown, Martin McAlmond emerged on Meltdown to warn Barnharts of what’s in store for him come WrestleMania. He noted that while it’s true that he has never defeated HBK, the last time they faced (which was in January of '98 at the Royal Rumble), Barnharts’ body was so broken that he spent the next four years recovering. Not one to be outdone, Barnhart appeared, addressing Undertaker from a graveyard. HBK made it known that he isn’t afraid of his match with Martin McAlmond, and won’t be intimidated. Barnhart went on to promise that Martin McAlmond would be the one to rest in peace. On the March 30th edition of Meltdown, when Barnhart came to the ring, it became clear that the “funeral” announced earlier in the night was not for HBK, but rather for the undefeated WrestleMania streak of his opponent, Martin McAlmond. It was also the 3rd year that a funeral/burial for the Martin McAlmond's WrestleMania steak has been set up before the event, the first being the last edition Fusion before WrestleMania 22. At that event, Martin McAlmond extended his streak to 14-0 by defeating Steven Larson. It was also held before WrestleMania XXIV, but at that event, Martin McAlmond became 16-0 by defeating Chris Gomez. Complete with a casket, roses and images of Barnahrt defeating The Deadman in their past encounters, the service saw HBK boast of his actions during recent weeks: Kicking Martin McAlmond in the face and trespassing on his hollowed cemetery. Barnhart announced that he had done all of this without enduring any retribution, and promised that the most memorable moment of the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania would be his victory over Martin McAlmond. Just then, the arena darkened and a gong rang out, heralding the arrival of Martin McAlmond. When the lights came back up, Martin McAlmond stood in the ring, but Barnhart was nowhere to be seen. As Martin McAlmond searched, HBK emerged from under the casket and once again laid Martin McAlmond out with a superkick.
The fifth annual Money in the Bank Ladder Match was announced for WrestleMania XXV on the February 23 episode of Meltdown. In this match, a certain amount of participants (eight for this year with differing amounts from other years) from all three IWE brands compete to retrieve a briefcase that is suspended above the ring with a cable by climbing a ladder. The briefcase holds a symbolic contract which the holder would be able to exchange for a IWE, World Heavyweight, or XCW Championship match at any time or location of his choosing up until one year. To participate in the match, a wrestler had to first qualify for it by winning a match; this process began on the February 23 episode of Meltdown, in which Justin Eldridge qualified by defeating Joe Smith and Joe Linderman in a Triple Threat Match. The following week of Meltdown saw Chris LeGreca defeated Scott Wright and [[Alex Knox] in another Triple Threat match. The following night on XCW, Steven Larson qualified for the match by defeating Justin Black. Both Mikhail Schmalzried and Junior Remeriz qualified for the match on the March 6 edition of SmackDown by defeating Matt Hooper and Josh Hooper in respective singles matches. On the March 9 edition of Meltdown, Jose Serrano qualified by defeating Kris McGowan. Jared Hunt qualified the following night on XCW by winning a battle royal when he last eliminated Josh Nuss. Dan Hooper was the final wrestler to qualify for the match when he defeated The Brian Woods on the March 13 edition of Fusion. On the March 23rd edition of Meltdown, Giving the eight participants a chance to size one another up prior to the Money in the Bank Ladder Match at WrestleMania, Justin Eldridge, Jose Serrano, Jared Hunt and IWE United States Champion Mikhail Schmalzried took on the team of Chris LeGreca, Steven Larson, Dan Hooper & Junior Remeriz in a 8-Man Tag Team Match. Sending a clear message to the other ring warriors, Jared Hunt pinned Junior Remeriz to lead his team to victory. But his celebration was cut short as another XCW Superstar, Dan Hooper, clearing the ring with a ladder. Later that week on Fusion, Chris LeGreca, Dan Hooper, Jared Hunt and Junior Remeriz defeated Mikhail Schmalzried, Justin Eldridge, Jose Serrano and Steven Larson in another 8 men tag team match when Chris LeGreca delivered a devastating chokeslam to Justin Eldridge. But once the final bell rang - in a WrestleMania prelude - a free-for-all between the eight Superstars ensued. When Jared Hunt tried to make his own WrestleMania statement by producing a ladder and climbing it high to the Money in the Bank briefcase, Dan Hooper tipped over the 20-foot ladder. Jared Hunt took a freefall onto his six other WrestleMaia opponents outside the ring, while Dan Hooper made a climb of his own to touch the briefcase he soon hopes to make his. On the last edition of Meltdown, the match’s participants competed in an Eight-Man Over the Top Rope battle royal with Chris LeGreca coming out on top, enabling him to taste victory. Following the match, Chris LeGreca climbed a ladder in the center of the ring to symbolically grab the briefcase suspended above the ring.
The buildup to WrestleMania XXV also included a rivalry between brothers Matt and Josh Hooper. During Josh's match against Chris Gomez at the Royal Rumble for the IWE Championship, Matt came down to the ring, appearing to help his brother. Instead, Matt turned on Josh by hitting him with a steel chair, costing Josh the match and his IWE title. After losing his Money in the Bank qualifying match to Mikhail on the March 6 edition of Fusion, Matt interfered in Josh's qualifying match later that night by punching Josh's opponent, Junior Remeriz, disqualifying Josh from the match. A week later, Matt provoked Josh even further by referring to Josh's recent accidents, including Josh's incident at the night of Survivor Series where he was found unconscious in a hotel stairwell (which caused him to be removed of the IWE title match and being replaced by Chris Gomez at that event), the recent account of a someone driving Josh off the road, and the misfiring of the pyrotechnics in his entrance. Matt then talked about the real-life fire to Josh's house a year prior, causing the death of his dog, Jack. This led to Josh ultimately retaliating against his brother after weeks of passive resistance. Later that night, it was announced that Matt and Josh would wrestle each other at WrestleMania with a subsequent announcement a week later declaring the match to be held under Extreme Rules, which would allow for the combatants to use weapons without being disqualified.
On the January 23 edition of SmackDown, IWE Tag Team Championship The Ferrys—(David) and (Michael)—defeated World Tag Team Championship, Joe Linderman and Joe Smith in a tag team match. After their loss, Smith and Linderman proceeded to harass their defeaters on their weekly Internet show, the Dirt Sheet, as well as profess the brothers' impotence towards their associates, The Gozelanski Twins. The two teams wrestled again on the February 13 edition of Fusion, with the winning team earning a date with the Bellas. Smith and Linderman won the rematch and the date. The two teams continued their feud in the coming weeks, and while the initial focus of the feud was the competition for the Gozelanski Twins, the feud took on a dual purpose as each team successfully defended their respective titles in subsequent matches with both teams retaining their respective belts; it was announced on the March 17 edition of XCW that the IWE and World Tag Team titles would be unified at WrestleMania into what would be called the "Unified IWE Tag Team Championship".
At the 15th Screen Actors Guild Awards, actor Mickey Rourke, who gained critical acclaim at the time for his role in the film The Wrestler, had announced he would be competing at WrestleMania, specifically targeting Kris McGowan. The announcement led to a storyline confrontation between the two on Larry King Live, which showed signs of second thoughts from Rourke. On January 28, it was announced Rourke's spokesperson that the actor would not compete at the event, but would still be in attendance. McGowan's narrative subsequently evolved towards one of the themes from The Wrestler, which was the respect for older wrestlers after their careers start to decline, of which McGowan disapproved. On the February 9 edition of Meltdown, Ric Flair appeared to protest McGowan's tirades, professing that the wrestlers should be respected, as they had paved the way for the future generations to make a living, leading to a heated exchange between the two. Over the coming weeks, Jericho would be confronted by a number of legends including: Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat and Jimmy Snuka on a episode of Piper's Pit hosted by McGowan himself. Each confrontation resulted in McGowan viciously attacking each respective wrestler. The following week, McGowan challenged Flair to a match. Although Flair declined (honoring his retirement from active competition), he offered to be in the corner of Piper, Steamboat, and Snuka for their challenge against McGowan in a handicap match. McGowan accepted the challenge, but subsequently attacked and bloodied Flair.
As the second WrestleMania to be held in Houston and the state of Texas, IWE mainly promoted WrestleMania XXV under the tagline "Everything Is Bigger in Texas, Especially WrestleMania" since its announcement at WrestleMania XXIV in April 2008. IWE later began using "The 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania" name in late-2008 to primarily promote the event. Tickets for WrestleMania XXV were originally scheduled to go on sale September 20, 2008, but had to be postponed out of concern for the residents near the Gulf of Mexico due to Hurricane Ike and the disaster area declaration by Texas Governor Rick Perry. Following another postponement due to the effect of Ike on the state of Texas, IWE announced that ticket sales would be postponed until November 8, 2008.
The official theme songs for the event were AC/DC's "War Machine" and their live version of "Shoot to Thrill", as wells as "So Hot" by Kid Rock. Other songs used at the event include "Crush" by Decyfer Down and "Touched by VAST.
According to IWE's executive vice president, Michelle Wilson, WrestleMania XXV featured the most extensive promotional campaign in WrestleMania history. Promotion for the event included a merchandise deal with Kmart enabling discounts on the pay-per-view's retail price, as well as deals with DirecTV and Dish Network to promote through interactive television. The campaign also saw IWE mail to previous purchasers of WrestleMania, professional boxing and mixed martial arts pay-per-views to order their show. IWE spent US$10 million for cross-channel spots on television networks such as ESPN, MTV and USA Network. The Army National Guard were the primary sponsor for the event, using the event to help enhance their recruitment. To commemorate the event, THQ and Yuke's produced a video game, IWE Legends of WrestleMania, that was released a few weeks prior to the event and featured past competitors from the company.
As with previous WrestleMania events, a series of events were held in the week preceding WrestleMania XXV. For the second consecutive year, WrestleManiArt, an art exhibition and auction featuring work by IWE superstars and local artists, was held at the Julia Ideson Building on April 1, with the proceeds going to Houston Public Library Foundation. WrestleMania's annual fan convention, WrestleMania Axxess, was held from April 2 through April 5 at Reliant Center. On April 4, IWE hosted its annual IWE Hall of Fame ceremony at the Toyota Center, where the Class of 2009 were inducted.
Main Event MatchesEdit
WrestleMania 25th Anniversary MatchesEdit
|Dark||The Ferrys (Michael Ferry and David Ferry) defeated Joe Linderman and Joe Smith||Lumberjack Match for the Unified Tag Team Championship|
|1||Justin Eldridge defeated Chris LeGreca, Steven Larson (with Tony Atlas), Mikhail, Junior Remeriz, Jose Serrano, Khristian and Danlay (with Hornswoggle)||Money in the Bank Ladder Match|
|2||Justina Black won by last eliminating Chandra Denney and Denise Lynn||25-Diva battle royal to crown Miss WrestleMania|
|3||Kris McGowan defeated Ricky Steamboat, Jimmy Snuka and Roddy Piper||Handicap elimination match|
|4||Matt Hooper defeated Josh Hooper||Extreme rules match|
|5||Scott Wright defeated John Goff (c)||Singles match for the IWE Intercontinental Championship|
|6||Martin McAlmond defeated Ryan Barnhart||Singles match|
|7||Dustin Simpson defeated Chris Gomez (c) and Big Marc||Triple threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship|
|8||Triple K (c) defeated Kevin McAlmond||Singles Match for the IWE Championship|
- In the Main Event Match of WrestleMania 25th Anniversary had stipulations on it If Triple K had gotten Disqualified or Count-out he would loss the IWE Championship.
Diva Battle Royal EliminationsEdit
|Diva||Brand||Order of Elimination||Eliminated by|
|Kassi Austin||XCW||4||Gozelanski Twins|
|Chandra Denney||Meltdown||24||Justina Black|
|Tierney Gozelanski||Fusion||19||Chandra Denney|
|Nicole Bergman||Fusion||11||Chandra Denney|
|Lauren Ireland||Fusion||9||Dixie Hooper|
|Dixie Hooper||Meltdown||10||Lauren Ireland|
|Shaina Dargan||Past||2||Nicole Bergman & Gozelanski Twins|
|Katie Kapphan||XCW||16||Chandra Denney|
|Katie Barnhart||Meltdown||13||Chandra Denney|
|Angela Lee||Meltdown||1||Gozelanski Twins|
|Ali Richards||Fusion||8||Cassie Plumb|
|Ashley Martin||Fusion||15||Chandra Denney|
|Denise Lynn||Meltdown||23||Chandra Denney|
|Amanda Johnson||Fusion||22||Victoria Lehr|
|Victoria Lehr||Meltdown||21||Amanda Johnson|
|Alyssa Driver||Past||7||Gozelanski Twins|
|Nichole Dunnam||Past||14||Chandra Denney|
|Ashley Gomez||Fusion||17||Chandra Denney|
|Crystal Gozelanski||Fusion||20||Chandra Denney|
|Rosa Speranza||Meltdown||3||Rosa Speranza|
|Allison Haunthausen||Past||5||Chandra Denney|
|Tiffany Bachmeier||XCW||12||Chandra Denney|
|Britney Harris||Past||6||Chandra Denney|
|Cassie Plumb||Past||18||Gozelanski Twins|