I watched Wrestlemania earlier today. I missed it last night because of a lack of Wi-Fi. I can’t describe how big a sacrifice it was to give up watching the show live for the first time in about ten years or so. Even when I wasn’t following wrestling, I still didn’t miss the biggest show of the year. Everyone and his Mum watched it last night. It’s like the Grand National. People who show no interest all year round jump straight on board the bandwagon, and I’m fine like that. It just sucked to not be one of them.
Nonetheless, it ended up pretty good. I downloaded the show this morning at the pub and watched it throughout the day, piece by piece, when I got the chance. This is my review. I’ve decided to go more in-depth and look at each match individually. Forgive me if this comes out a little play-by-play. I will try and avoid boring you like that. Please feel free to leave me some comments and let me know what you think.
The Miz v Wade Barrett (c) for the Intercontinental Championship
I find it both staggering and depressing that the IC title has been relegated to not even getting on the card. From the days of Savage, Steamboat and Hart, to not even making the cut for opening match. The value of this championship has been completely pissed away by WWE. The mid-card titles are almost pointless at this point. I know the card was stacked with huge matches and big name superstars, but that’s no excuse. As for the match, it was what I expected. Short, solid and standard. Sadly Wade Barrett dropped the belt, but hopefully this can mean a push into the bigger leagues, where he belongs. Perhaps a feud for the World Heavyweight Championship could be imminent?
Randy Orton, Sheamus & The Big Show v The Shield
This was a pretty average match. To be honest, I expected more from these guys. It didn’t really come close to the match at TLC. The Shield got the win, which I was very happy about. Sadly, the Orton heel turn which seemed so obviously on the cards didn’t take place. Some kind of frustration between him and Big Show caused the loss but that wasn’t really explained properly. It continues the intrigue between these three but I was gutted about the lack of heel turn.
Mark Henry v Ryback
This was never going to be a clinic. I was shocked to the core that Ryback did the job in this one. I can’t really explain that. I love Mark Henry but as far as building to the future and the current scheme of things, I just don’t get it. It was both startling and confusing. Any time Ryback builds momentum, he is buried. It’s so strange.
Daniel Bryan & Kane (c) v Dolph Ziggler & Big. E Langston for the Tag-Team Championships
This was very decent indeed. When you put two guys the calibre of Bryan and Ziggler in a match in front of so many people, you know you’re going to see excellence. Last night was no exception. Kane also pulled out one of his best performances for a long time, and showed some great athleticism. I fully expected Team Hell No to retain the titles, and I’m glad they did. Ziggler needs to be focusing on Money in the Bank and this match was nothing more than an excuse for him to be on the card.
Chris Jericho v Fandango
This was one of the best matches of the night by far, without a doubt. Trust me, that is a big compliment to these guys. I knew Curtis had some moves, but his new character Fandango doesn’t just dance. He can really work in the ring. His raw talent and potential alongside a typically sublime performance from the six time former World Champion Chris Jericho made for poetry in motion. The two of them did some excellent work. I wasn’t surprised to see Y2J do the job again, and I have to say that’s clearly the right thing to do in this situation.
Jack Swagger v Alberto Del Rio (c) for the World Heavyweight Championship
I was a bit disappointed with this match. With all the great build up and hype, there was a real intensity about this feud. It came to a close in a match which could have been a lot longer and far better. Del Rio went out the expected victor.
Now for the three absolutely excellent main events
The Undertaker v CM Punk
Going into the show, I said I’d be disappointed if this weren’t the main event, and I was even more disappointed after the match was over. I know wrestling fans are fickle and have a habit of overreacting at times, but this has to be one of the best matches I’ve ever seen. I thought it was absolutely mind-blowing.
The Undertaker in particular put in an absolutely stellar performance, for a man of his age. How he is still able to move with such grace and agility in the ring is beyond me. He was as intelligent and able bodied as always.His opposite number CM Punk took his game to a new level with extreme levels of athleticism, and perfect use of ring psychology.
The two of them were able to have a match which was historic, captivating and emotional. I was so into it I actually found myself almost shouting down Costa’s when I thought Taker might miss the referees ten count. That is all the proof you should need that the match was of the highest order. The back and forth between the two of them was incredible. They brawled in the centre of the ring. They made reversal after reversal. The storytelling was just so compelling. I can’t quite put it into words. Even the commentary was excellent. The crowd were absolutely on fire for it. Everything about this match came together at once and made for something pretty much perfect.
Triple H v Brock Lesnar (No Holds Barred with Triple H’s career on the line)
This match was the brutal war that we all expected. In the early going, Lesnar dominated the match like a bear freed from a cage. Cole said he had been “untamed” and JBL described him as “out of control” – He brutally beat down the old lion and showed absolutely no mercy. Eventually Triple H got more of a foothold on the match and after many multiple spots between the two of them, he won the match by hitting Brock with the pedigree onto a set of steel steps.
These guys really pulled out all the stops to steal the show with this match. Unfortunately for them, I just don’t know if there is any way they could have topped the previous match. There were so many brutal spots involving the announce tables, sledgehammer and steel steps. Don’t get me wrong. This wasn’t an Attitude Era hardcore title match. There was some great technical wrestling also on display here. Lesnar pulled off several impressive suplexes, and Triple H’s selling was as good as ever. I expected Hunter to win and I’m mildly pleased about it, but I just don’t really get what WWE are thinking with Brock. He has a serious case of the Jericho Syndrome. He is their big money contract player, yet they have him do jobs far too often.
The Rock v John Cena for the WWE Championship
As expected, John Cena was booed to hell and The Rock was adored during the entrances and announcements. John Cena told a great story with his face all night long, and started there straight away. He hinted at a possible heel turn from the first moment with his reaction to the crowd. The earlier exchanges in the match featured lots of the usual posturing and knockdowns. This was followed by a lot of standard grappling, and at this point the crowd were very dead. I was worried that the crowd had just been too worn out by the incredible two matches they had just witnessed.
Then the two of them wasted more time by slowing the tempo even further with a very boring sleeper hold. At this point, I’m furious that Punk and Taker weren’t told to go out last. However, once the match started to warm up, it was very decent. A lot of submissions and reversals followed, but the crowd were still extremely dead. This is where things are going to get very play-by-play. Cena hit The Rock with the ridiculous 5 knuckle shuffle, to a chorus of boos. Theories of the heel turn must be doing the rounds all over the world at this point.
As the match starts to heat up, we are presented with our first finishing move of the night as The Rock hits the Rock Bottom on Cena, which he kicks out of. The Rock reacts the same way to the Attitude Adjustment, and the crowd are starting to get really into this match. The two exchange punches in the centre of the ring, which the crowd eat up. John Cena kicks out of a second Rock Bottom. The Rock does the same after his second AA. It’s simple, but incredibly effective storytelling.
The match progresses even further as John Cena catches him with a fucking EVIL Rock Bottom. Somehow Rocky kicks out yet again. The crowd are going absolutely insane. Will this match ever end? Cena continues his brilliant facial expressions and contemplates going for the move which cost him last year. He makes a cocky smirk and then hits the first rope ready to hit The Rock with his own move, The People’s Elbow. He catches himself on the second rope, suckers The Great One in, and gets him up on his shoulders for another AA. The Rock slips off and counters into the Rock Bottom, which Cena kicks out of for the third time. At this point, the crowd actually seem to be with John Cena.
John Cena (and I can’t believe I’m going to say this) then finally won the match clean with the Attitude Adjustment. Going in I didn’t see how they could possibly get away with ending it like this, but the match was so good that it didn’t matter. I was praying for the heel turn throughout the entire match. Every look at the crowd, the smirk on the ropes, and even after the match was over, but no. The two of them had quite the sickly embrace on the ramp and now I don’t know where they go from here. It doesn’t matter.
If you watched Wrestlemania, and you now don’t want to watch Raw tonight, there is something wrong with you. We all need to accept reality: John Cena is never going to turn heel. However, he showed tonight that he can have an amazing match. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Please let me know what you think…