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 World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), which took place on April 5, 2009 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. The event featured talent from all three WWE brands: Raw, SmackDown, and ECW. 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 WWE Championship that featured the champion, Triple H, defeating Randy Orton to retain the title. The second was a Triple Threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship, which saw John Cena defeat the champion, Edge, the other participant in the match, The Big Show, to win the championship. The third main event was The Undertaker versus Shawn Michaels. Featured matches on the undercard included, Jeff Hardy versus Matt Hardy in an Extreme Rules match, Chris Jericho versus the team of Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat and Jimmy Snuka, and the annual Money in the Bank ladder match.
Tickets for the event commenced sale to the public on November 8, 2008. For the third consecutive year, WrestleMania broke the record for the highest-grossing pay-per-view in WWE history, grossing US$6.9 million in ticket sales, which included fans from all 50 U.S. states, 24 countries, and seven Canadian provinces. Approximately 960,000 people ordered WrestleMania XXV, grossing $21.0 million in revenue. This amount was less than the 1,058,000 buys that WrestleMania XXIV achieved. The event pumped an estimated $49.8 million into the local economy and generated $5.7 million in local tax revenue, equating to 600 full time jobs for the area.
WrestleMania featured professional wrestling matches that involved different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds, plots, and storylines that were played out on Raw, Friday Night SmackDown, and ECW on Sci Fi—World Wrestling Entertainment's (WWE) 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 WWE's Raw, SmackDown, and ECW brands—a storyline division in which WWE'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 WWE Championship, rooted at the 2009 Royal Rumble pay-per-view event in January by Randy Orton 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, Orton was given the opportunity to choose to wrestle for the WWE, World Heavyweight, or ECW Championship at WrestleMania. Simultaneously, Orton began to assault the McMahon family, the owners of the WWE. During this conflict, Orton punted both Vince and Shane McMahon (father and son, respectively) in the head as well as performing his signature maneuver, the RKO on Stephanie McMahon (Vince's daughter), which enraged the WWE Champion (and Stephanie's real-life husband) Triple H. On the March 2 episode of Raw, Orton was convinced by Triple H to use his title opportunity in a match for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. The following week on Raw, Triple H came out with a sledgehammer and attacked Orton and Legacy into the backstage area. Orton and Legacy were able to escape in Orton's limosine. As they were leaving, Triple H smashed one of the windshields of Orton's limosine. Triple H also attacked Orton by breaking into his house and throwing Orton through his living room window, but Orton did not press charges. The following week, Orton and Legacy attacked Triple H and handcuffed him to the top rope. Stephanie McMahon came out begging Orton not to attack her husband. Instead, Orton performed the DDT on Stephanie, enraging Triple H. Orton then kisses her on the lips as she lies on the ring unconscious. Accompanied by Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase and a group of security guards, Randy Orton came to the ring for his special WrestleMania address. While describing his reprehensible actions in recent months (punting Mr. McMahon and Shane McMahon, attacking Triple H’s wife Stephanie on multiple occasions), Orton 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 WWE 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 WWE Champion Triple H to make an appearance, calling Rhodes & DiBiase to his side, he was stunned by who accompanied him. Joining Triple H on the stage were Mr. McMahon and his son, Shane. The three family members made their way down the ramp, where they collided with Orton and his “Legacy,” ending Raw in a massive, heated WrestleMania-bound brawl.
Following the main event of the March 2 edition of Raw, SmackDown general manager Vickie Guerrero announced that her storyline husband, Edge, would defend his World Heavyweight Championship against The Big Show (Paul Wight) at WrestleMania. A contract to be signed to make the match official was intended to be held on the following episode of SmackDown; however, John Cena, from whom Edge 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 Vickie's ear prompting the signing to be canceled. On the March 9 episode of Raw, Vickie announced to the surprise of Edge and The Big Show that Cena 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 Cena extorting Guerrero with footage of the general manager having adulterous relations with The Big Show. On the March 16th edition of Raw, Edge, his wife Vickie Guerrero and Vickie’s lover Big Show were set to confront John Cena. Due to Cena revealing the affair between Vickie and Big Show, much to the chagrin of all three. As a result, Guerrero arranged a match pitting Edge against Cena with herself serving as a special guest referee. With all that misdirected hostility focused on Cena, who could not touch Vickie lest he sacrifice his World Title Match at WrestleMania, a lopsided confrontation seemed inevitable. As Edge and Cena battled, Big Show lumbered down the ramp toward the ring. When he arrived, Edge joined him in tying Cena up within the ring ropes. Fittingly, each drove their anger in his direction: Edge speared him, Vickie slapped him and Big Show drove his meaty fist into Cena’s ribs several times before clocking him in the jaw. But that proved only to be the entrée. It was Edge who then speared Big Show and thus delivered him his just deserts.
At No Way Out, Shawn Michaels defeated John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL) in a match with the added stipulation that if JBL had won, he would have become the owner of Michaels' name and likeness. On the February 16 episode of Raw, Michaels challenged JBL to a match the following week, with the winner advancing to WrestleMania to challenge The Undertaker to attempt to end his undefeated streak at the event. On the February 23 episode of Raw, Michaels defeated Layfield, but it was later announced that another competitor would stand in his way to prevent him from advancing to the show in the form of Vladimir Kozlov, who also made a challenge to The Undertaker; the two would wrestle the following week on Raw with Michaels defeating Kozlov, earning his match with The Undertaker. On the following week's edition of Raw, Undertaker and Shawn Michaels defeated Kozlov and JBL in a tag match. Afterwords, Taker and Michaels locked eyes for a few anxious moments before Michaels 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 Undertaker with Sweet Chin Music. On the March 23rd edition of Raw, The Undertaker emerged on Raw to warn Michaels 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), Michaels’ body was so broken that he spent the next four years recovering. Not one to be outdone, Michaels appeared, addressing Undertaker from a graveyard. HBK made it known that he isn’t afraid of his match with Undertaker, and won’t be intimidated. Michaels went on to promise that Undertaker would be the one to rest in peace. On the March 30th edition of Raw, when Michaels 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, Undertaker. It was also the 3rd year that a funeral/burial for the Undertaker's WrestleMania streak has been set up before the event, the first being the last edition SmackDown before WrestleMania 22. At that event, Undertaker extended his steak to 14-0 by defeating Mark Henry. It was also held before WrestleMania XXIV, but at that event, the Undertaker became 16-0 by defeating Edge. Complete with a casket, roses and images of Michaels defeating The Deadman in their past encounters, the service saw HBK boast of his actions during recent weeks: Kicking Undertaker in the face and trespassing on his hollowed cemetery. Michaels 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 The Undertaker. Just then, the arena darkened and a gong rang out, heralding the arrival of Undertaker. When the lights came back up, Taker stood in the ring, but Michaels was nowhere to be seen. As Taker searched, HBK emerged from under the casket and once again laid Undertaker out with a superkick.
The fifth annual Money in the Bank ladder match was announced for WrestleMania XXV on the February 23 episode of Raw. In this match, a certain amount of participants (eight for this year with differing amounts from other years) from all three WWE 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 WWE, World Heavyweight, or ECW 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 Raw, in which CM Punk qualified by defeating The Miz and John Morrison in a Triple Threat match. The following week of Raw saw Kane defeat Rey Mysterio and Mike Knox in another Triple Threat match. The following night on ECW, Mark Henry qualified for the match by defeating Santino Marella. Both Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP) and Shelton Benjamin qualified for the match on the March 6 edition of SmackDown by defeating Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy in respective singles matches. On the March 9 edition of Raw, Kofi Kingston qualified by defeating Chris Jericho. Christian qualified the following night on ECW by winning a battle royal when he last eliminated Chavo Guerrero. Finlay was the final wrestler to qualify for the match when he defeated The Brian Kendrick on the March 13 edition of SmackDown. On the March 23rd edition of Raw, Giving the eight participants a chance to size one another up prior to the Money in the Bank Ladder Match at WrestleMania, CM Punk, Kofi Kingston, Christian & WWE United States Champion, MVP took on the team of Kane, Mark Henry, Finlay & Shelton Benjamin in an 8-man tag team match. Sending a clear message to the other ring warriors, Christian pinned Shelton Benjamin to lead his team to victory. But his celebration was cut short as another ECW Superstar, Finlay attacked, clearing the ring with a ladder. Later that week on SmackDown, Kane, Finlay, Christian and Shelton Benjamin defeated MVP, CM Punk, Kofi Kingston, and Mark Henry in another 8 men tag team match when Kane delivered a devastating chokeslam to CM Punk. But once the final bell rang - in a WrestleMania prelude - a free-for-all between the eight Superstars ensued. When Christian tried to make his own WrestleMania statement by producing a ladder and climbing it high to the Money in the Bank briefcase, Finlay tipped over the 20-foot ladder. Christian took a freefall onto his six other WrestleMaia opponents outside the ring, while Finlay made a climb of his own to touch the briefcase he soon hopes to make his. On the last edition of Raw, the match’s participants competed in an Eight-Man Over the Top Rope battle royal with Kane coming out on top, enabling him to taste victory. Following the match, Kane 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 Jeff Hardy. During Jeff's match against Edge at the Royal Rumble for the WWE Championship, Matt came down to the ring, appearing to help his brother. Instead, Matt turned on Jeff by hitting him with a steel chair, costing Jeff the match and his WWE title. After losing his Money in the Bank qualifying match to MVP on the March 6 edition of SmackDown, Matt interfered in Jeff's qualifying match later that night by punching Jeff's opponent, Shelton Benjamin, disqualifying Jeff from the match. A week later, Matt provoked Jeff even further by referring to Jeff's recent accidents, including Jeff'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 WWE title match and being replaced by Edge at that event), the recent account of a someone driving Jeff off the road, and the misfiring of the pyrotechnics in his entrance. Matt then talked about the real-life fire to Jeff's house a year prior, causing the death of his dog, Jack. This led to Jeff ultimately retaliating against his brother after weeks of passive resistance. Later that night, it was announced that Matt and Jeff 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, WWE Tag Team Champions The Colóns—(Primo) and (Carlito)—defeated World Tag Team Champions, John Morrison and The Miz in a tag team match. After their loss, Miz and Morrison proceeded to harass their defeaters on their weekly Internet show, the Dirt Sheet, as well as profess the brothers' impotence towards their associates, The Bella Twins. The two teams wrestled again on the February 13 edition of SmackDown, with the winning team earning a date with the Bellas. Miz and Morrison 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 Bella 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 ECW that the WWE and World Tag Team titles would be unified at WrestleMania into what would be called the "Unified WWE 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 Chris Jericho. 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. Jericho'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 Jericho disapproved. On the February 9 edition of Raw, Ric Flair appeared to protest Jericho'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 an episode of Piper's Pit hosted by Jericho himself. Each confrontation resulted in Jericho viciously attacking each respective wrestler. The following week, Jericho 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 Jericho in a handicap match. Jericho accepted the challenge, but subsequently attacked and bloodied Flair.
As the second WrestleMania to be held in Houston and the state of Texas after WrestleMania 17 at the Astrodome, WWE mainly promoted WrestleMania XXV under the tagline "Everything Is Bigger in Texas, Especially WrestleMania" since its announcement at WrestleMania XXIV in March 2008. WWE later began using "The 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania" name in late-2008 to primarily promote the event. This branding was technically incorrect, as Wrestlemania XXV (2009) was actually the 24th anniversary of the first Wrestlemania. WWE made the same error in 2011 with referring to the 25th Suvivor Series as the 25th anniversary, although that phrase was not used in branding or the logo for 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, WWE 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 well as "So Hott" by Kid Rock. Other songs used at the event include "Crash" by Decyfer Down and "Touched" by VAST.
According to WWE'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 WWE mail to previous purchasers of WrestleMania, professional boxing and mixed martial arts pay-per-views to order their show. WWE spent US$10 million for cross-channel spots on television networks such as ESPN, MTV and the 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, WWE 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 WWE 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, WWE hosted its annual WWE Hall of Fame ceremony at the Toyota Center, where the Class of 2009 were inducted.
Before the event was aired live, the crowd in attendance were shown a match that would be exclusively aired on the company's Web site which featured the WWE Tag Team Champions The Colóns (Carlito and Primo) compete against the World Tag Team Champions John Morrison and The Miz in a Lumberjack match, which has a number of wrestlers surround the ring in order to keep any competitor from avoiding the match, to unify the World Tag Team Championship and WWE Tag Team Championship. The Colóns won the encounter after Primo executed the Backstabber on Morrison.
As the event went live on pay-per-view, Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls sang "America the Beautiful".
The Money in the Bank ladder match was the start of the event as the participants: CM Punk, Kane, Mark Henry, MVP, Shelton Benjamin, Kofi Kingston, Christian, and Finlay, fought for the briefcase that was suspended. The match was littered with many notable moments, including a series of the match's combatants performing dives onto the floor of the arena onto each other, as well as Benjamin diving off of the top of a ladder with a senton bomb onto his opponents. The ladder was also used as a weapon by the competitors, which saw it being thrown at each other or, in the case of Kingston, to be used as extra force dropped on their chest as Kofi would incapacitate them, draping the collapsed ladder over their bodies and Leg drops onto the ladder. The finish came with Punk and Kane on top of the ladder, which saw Punk hit Kane with a series of kicks from atop the ladder, knocking him off. Punk went on to win the match after he grabbed the hanging briefcase. Punk's victory marks the second time he has won the match and his second consecutive victory, having won the first at the previous year's event.
Following the match, Kid Rock performed a live medley of songs: "Bawitdaba", "Rock N Roll Jesus", "Cowboy", "All Summer Long", and "So Hott". During the last song, the female competitors of the WWE would come to the ring to compete in a 25-Diva battle royal, to crown a "Miss WrestleMania". The match featured Divas that were employed by WWE at the time and Divas that had worked for WWE in the past. Santino Marella, who portrayed a diva called "Santina," his twin sister, won the match and was crowned "Miss WrestleMania." For a list of participants see below. Mae Young acted as the special guest time keeper of the match while Candice Michelle was the one who gave the sash and crown to Santina.
The following match featured Chris Jericho facing Ricky Steamboat, Jimmy Snuka, and Roddy Piper (who were accompanied to the ring by Ric Flair) in a three-on-one handicap elimination match. Before long, Jericho had caused Snuka to submit the Walls of Jericho. He then pinned Piper after an enzuigiri. Steamboat, however, would outlast his partners as he was able to execute a number of his signature moves including arm drags, chops, and a plancha. Jericho was able to regain control of the match by connecting with the Codebreaker. After the match, Jericho challenged Mickey Rourke, sitting at ringside, to come into the ring. Rourke finally entered the ring and knocked Jericho onto the canvas with a punch before being commended by Ric Flair.
The fourth bout was the Extreme Rules match between brothers Jeff and Matt Hardy. This featured a multitude of moments that saw the Hardys assault each other with many different weapon-based attacks, which included assaults with numerous objects under the ring and Jeff splash from the top turnbuckle through a pair of tables, with Matt sandwiched between the two and a chair. Jeff, seeking to end the match, attempted to set up a ladder for him to ascend while he would perform a maneuver similar to a leap frog over the hurdle, and diving down in a seated position known as a leapfrog leg drop, ultimately missing his target, due to Matt's last-minute dodge, which resulted in Matt gaining the advantage over his brother. He then forced Jeff's head in between the seat and back of a steel chair, then executed the Twist of Fate with Jeff's head in the chair to win the match via pinfall.
A singles match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship was next, in which Rey Mysterio faced defending champion John "Bradshaw" Layfield. Before the match started, JBL kicked Mysterio and punched him down to the ground for a few seconds. But once the referee started the match, Mysterio surprised JBL by quickly hitting the 619 before pinning him for a win via pinfall in twenty-one seconds. Following the match, a frustrated JBL grabbed a microphone and proclaimed, "I quit!". JBL would announce his legitimate retirement the following day. The match marked the first time since WrestleMania X8 that the Intercontinental Championship has been defended at a WrestleMania event.
Main event matches
The next match pitted The Undertaker against Shawn Michaels. Michaels made his entrance descending on a platform to symbolize the light; in sharp contrast, The Undertaker entered second ascending from the floor with fire shooting up from the stage. The match started out with a fast pace by both men going for strikes to have them countered before Michaels feigned a knee injury to gain the advantage, and the pace slowed. This led to an exchange of signature moves and submission holds, which saw Michaels able to escape The Undertaker's Hell's Gate and dodge multiple attempts at the chokeslam while his adversary blocked attempts at Michaels' Sweet Chin Music. The action went to the outside of the ring with Michaels attempting a moonsault, only to have The Undertaker stop the attempt this was followed by The Undertaker doing a suicide dive over the top rope, only to have Michaels dodge the attack and pull the nearby cameraman into harms way with The Undertaker hitting the cameraman and nearly landing on his own head. He remained on the floor of the arena with the referee checking to see if he was alright before he headed into the ring and proceeded to count; if The Undertaker were to have not gotten in the ring by the referee's count of ten, he would have lost the match (referred to as a countout), but he managed to return to the ring by a count of nine. The match continued with both men performing all of their respective finishing moves. The Undertaker hit The Last Ride and Chokeslam, and Michaels hit the Sweet Chin Music at two points in the match. Both men were unable to win through these moves. The Undertaker even hit Michaels with a massive Tombstone Piledriver, but Shawn kicked out. Undertaker finally won the match after Michaels ascended the top rope, attempting to perform another moonsault only to be caught in mid-air by The Undertaker and hit another Tombstone Piledriver and pinning him. As a result of this victory, The Undertaker remained undefeated at WrestleMania, extending his record to 17-0. Throughout the match, fans were split, chanting for both Undertaker and Michaels, and at one point chanted "This is awesome", referring to the match itself. This match won the Match of the Year Award at the 2009 WWE Slammy Awards which took place live on WWE Raw. It also won the Match of the Year award from Pro Wrestling Illustrated and Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
The World Heavyweight Championship was contested for in a Triple Threat match between the champion, Edge, The Big Show, and John Cena, who entered through an aisle of look-alikes to get the match underway; Vickie Guerrero was brought out to ringside in a wheelchair by Chavo Guerrero due to her emotional investment in both Edge and Big Show. The action started with some brawling and some early teamwork from Big Show and Edge before their alliance crumbled. The match spilled to the outside seeing Edge tackling Big Show through the guardrail with a Spear. Cena returned Edge to the ring before applying the STF before Big Show came to his senses, and broke up the action, leading to Cena and Edge teaming up to remove Big Show from the equation before turning on each other. Cena won the match by lifting The Big Show and set up the Attitude Adjustment, then dropping Edge onto Big Show with the same move before pinning The Big Show to win his second World Heavyweight Championship.
The last match of the event was for the WWE Championship; the match was contested between the champion, Triple H, and Randy Orton. As per a pre-match stipulation by Vickie Guerrero, if Triple H had been disqualified or had been counted out during the match, he would have lost the title to Orton. The champion had his signature weapon, the sledgehammer, in hand only to relinquish it prior to entering the ring by throwing it through a glass wall. Once the match officially started, it quickly dissented into a wild brawl with both men hitting their respective finishers to try and end the match quickly with both leading to only two-counts; the action continued immediately between the two with Triple H doing everything in his power to hurt Orton without being disqualified in the process. Some highlights of the match would include the challenger delivering a suplex to the champion on the English announce table onto the Spanish announce table that did not break at all from Triple H landing on it. At a point, Orton threw Triple H to a turnbuckle where the referee was standing, causing him to collide, and knocked out the referee. Orton tried to gain more advantage went out of the ring to pick up Triple H's signature weapon, the sledgehammer. As Orton made his way back to the ring, Triple H ran to Orton, and delivered a punt kick across Orton's face similar to how the latter performs the move, possibly as revenge for Orton's similar attacks on both Triple H's brother-in-law and father-in-law. The champion would defeat Orton after he took his sledgehammer from Orton, hit him with it and the Pedigree to retain the WWE Championship.
The rivalry between Triple H and Randy Orton continued after WrestleMania when both men would meet in a six-man tag team match at Backlash on the following episode of Raw. The match would pit Triple H, Shane McMahon and Vince McMahon against The Legacy (Orton with his protégés, Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes). Vince's part in the match was later replaced by a returning Batista. At Backlash Randy Orton and The Legacy defeated Triple H, Shane, and Batista for the WWE Championship. Triple H was put out of action after being punted by Orton after the events of the PPV, while Shane was attacked by Legacy and was taken out on a stretcher. Two months later, Batista later suffered the same fate and was taken out of the building by security, while Triple H made his return and continued his feud with Randy Orton. They would later battle in a Last Man Standing Match on Raw for the WWE Championship which went to a no contest, then at The Bash, Randy Orton defeated Triple H in a Three Stages of Hell, and would later end their feud in a Triple Threat Match at Night of Champions, with Randy Orton retaining his title against both Triple H and John Cena. Orton would then begin a feud with Cena while Triple H would go out to re-unite DX.
On the same episode of Raw, it was announced that Vickie Guerrero would vacate her role as SmackDown general manager to become the new permanent Raw general manager. As her first act, Guerrero announced that John Cena would defend his World Heavyweight Championship at Backlash against Edge in a Last Man Standing match.
The animosity between Matt and Jeff Hardy continued on the edition of SmackDown following WrestleMania, leading to continued assaults between the two; newly-appointed SmackDown general manager, Theodore Long would announce one last match between the two at Backlash, an "I Quit" match. Which would have Jeff winning the match.
CM Punk would be drafted to SmackDown brand, which would see him try on multiple occasions to invoke his contractually-guaranteed title match from winning the Money in the Bank ladder match; Punk would be able to get his match at Extreme Rules in June by defeating Jeff Hardy to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Prior to CM Punk defeating Jeff Hardy, Hardy was involved in a World Heavyweight Championship ladder match with Edge. Hardy had managed to trap Edge between the ladder, climb it, and retrieve the hanging belt. It was at this point that CM Punk cashed in his "Money in the Bank" briefcase. As the briefcase guaranteed a title shot, CM Punk capitalised from an exhausted Jeff Hardy. CM Punk had hit the "GTS" (Go to Sleep) yet remarkably Hardy kicked out. CM Punk then hit the second to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
After the events of WrestleMania, both Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker took a four month hiatus from the WWE. Shawn came back to reform D-Generation X with Triple H so that they came face to face with The Legacy at SummerSlam. The Undertaker also returned at SummerSlam and attacked the then-World Heavyweight Champion, CM Punk. At the Slammy Awards, the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels won the Best Match of the Year, with Shawn expressing that he was glad that he had created history at WrestleMania, but just when he was about to leave, he challenged the Undertaker to a rematch at the next WrestleMania. The Undertaker later denied the challenge, saying he had nothing more to prove to Michaels, and told Shawn that he would have to earn the spot. Michaels later entered the Royal Rumble 2010, but would be eliminated by Batista. He later tried to enter the Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Championship, but he was defeated by Randy Orton to earn the spot. Then at the Elimination Chamber PPV, Shawn cost The Undertaker his World Heavyweight Championship. The next night on Raw, the Undertaker accepted the rematch, but only on the condition that Michaels would retire from WWE if he lost. At WrestleMania XXVI The Undertaker defeated Shawn Michaels in a Streak vs Career Match, thus ending Michaels' career. The next night on Raw, Shawn said farewell to WWE, with his best friend and D-X member Triple H right next to him as they spent their last time, together before Shawn finally left the building.
WrestleMania XXV received mixed reviews from various sources. Gordon Holmes of Comcast criticized the mini-concert by Kid Rock, stating that "Kid Rock gets ten minutes and The Miz and Morrison don’t? Blashemy! [sic]" He also criticized the 25-Divas Battle Royal which "was a bit of a mess, we didn’t even get proper introductions for returning Divas like Sunny, Molly Holly, and Torrie Wilson." Dale Plummer of Canadian Online Explorer's Slam! Sports - Wrestling stated that "the top of this year’s card looked an awful lot like last year's. Just swap out Floyd Mayweather for Shawn Michaels and everyone else was the same." However, he praised the Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels match by rating it a ten out of ten, his highest rated match. The main event received a 7 out of ten. Overall, he rated the event 7.5 out of ten. Wade Keller of the Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter also criticized Kid Rock's performance, but praised the Undertaker vs. Michaels match. He rated it five out of five, and stated that "the match that deserved to end this show was Taker-Michaels." IGN offered their own review of WrestleMania XXV, with IGN TV writer Dan Iverson praising Kofi Kingston, Shawn Michaels, and Ricky Steamboat for their performances, but also criticizing WWE for not showing the Tag Team unification match during the event itself. He finished off the review by stating: "It was just too bad that the potential of the card wasn't lived up to," also giving it an overall rating of 7 out of 10. Arash Markazi of Sports Illustrated wrote that Mickey Rourke's appearance "may have been one of the worst executed in WrestleMania history."
The Randy Orton vs. Triple H main event was generally regarded by critics as a disappointing ending to the show. Holmes of Comcast.net believes that the match "never seemed to click" and Kevin Eck of The Baltimore Sun stated that he was "disappointed that it didn’t feel more special after some great angles on TV." Nick Tywalk of Slam! Wrestling wrote that it was "solid and had its share of drama, but the lack of outside interference or plot twists of any kind failed to spark the same feeling of energy Reliant Stadium had in it a few hours before. It was almost a "That’s it?" reaction that first came to mind." Wade Keller gave the match 3.75 out of 5. He called the match "good, both well-plotted and well-executed, appropriate to the storyline and feud," but added that "it just wasn't able to follow the classic two matches earlier." Randy Orton later attributed the reaction to the match to the stipulation that if Triple H was disqualified, he lost the championship, stating that the storyline called for Triple H to get retribution, but he wasn't able to get it because "We weren't able to go to the extreme. If anything hurt us, it was that."
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: Carlito and Primo defeated John Morrison and The Miz in a Lumberjack Match to unify the WWE Tag Team Championship and World Tag Team Championship (8:20)
- CM Punk defeated Kane, Mark Henry (w/ Tony Atlas), Montel Vontavious Porter, Shelton Benjamin, Kofi Kingston, Christian and Finlay (w/ Hornswoggle) in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match (14:24)
- Santina Marella won a 25 Diva Battle Royal to win the title of Miss WrestleMania by last eliminating Beth Phoenix and Melina (9:26)
- Chris Jericho defeated Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat and Jimmy Snuka (w/ Ric Flair) in a 3-on-1 Handicap Elimination Match (8:53)
- Jericho forced Snuka to submit with the Walls of Jericho
- Jericho pinned Piper after an Enzuigiri
- Jericho pinned Steamboat after a Codebreaker
- Matt Hardy defeated Jeff Hardy in an Extreme Rules Match (13:13)
- Rey Mysterio defeated John Bradshaw Layfield (c) to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship (0:21)
- The Undertaker defeated Shawn Michaels (30:41)
- John Cena defeated Edge (c) and The Big Show in a Triple Threat Match to win the World Heavyweight Championship (14:42)
- Triple H (c) defeated Randy Orton to retain the WWE Championship (23:34)
Other on-screen talent
- WrestleMania 25 Offical Website
- WrestleMania 25 on CAGEMATCH.net
- WrestleMania 25 at Online World of Wrestling
- WrestleMania XXV on WWE Network
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|2009 World Wrestling Entertainment pay-per-views|
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