Now that WrestleMania 28 is done, and the obligatory post pay-per-view RAW recap has been served, it’s time for a look back at this years grand spectacle from a fan’s point of view (if you just want to read how exciting and great every match was, then go to the WWE site). I’ll do this in a sort of timeline format to give you the closest representation I can to actually being able to watch it if you weren’t able to.
First off, there was a “Pre-show triple threat tag-team mach” which I guess the $65 I shelled out to Vince McMahon didn’t cover. I understand the tag-team champions Primo and Epico successfully retained their championship belts against the Justin Gabriel-Tyson Kidd team, and the Usos. (don’t worry if you don’t recognize any of those names, most people who watch every week couldn’t pick them out of a lineup either)
Then once the TV coverage began we had the national anthem…and the fly-by….and the malfunctioning pyro and fireworks. Seemed like they hired the Marlins ground crew to run all the effects…lots of confusion and not a lot of sizzle. But, I digress.
The opening “Main Event No.1″ match was to decide the world heavyweight championship. (Deep breath) It was over in the time it took you to read that last sentence. No, seriously. It really was. Champion Daniel Bryan got a good luck smooch from his ring valet and part-time WWE Diva, AJ Lee. As he turned to move inside the ring, he walked into a bro kick to the face from challenger Sheamus. 1…2…3. Match over. Mike Tyson – who was in attendance as a WWE Hall of Fame inductee – was overheard saying, “Damn, that was a fast fight.”
Next up was a singles grudge match between Randy Orton and Kane. Orton, who usually puts on a great show, looked particularly disinterested in this match. Truth be told, they both mailed it in. But what do you expect when you take two former champions and main event guys, and relegate them to what is essentially a filler role at WrestleMania? Kane defeats Orton with a choke slam applied after a blocked RKO attempt. Yawn.
Cut to some nonsense on the big screen with Mick Foley (oh Mick, I hardly know you and Socko any more), Santino and …oh, nevermind. They were smashing crab legs and reading script badly. Onward.
We then had our next title match, featuring The Big Slow…errr…I mean Show, against Cody Rhodes, for the Intercontinental Title. Rhodes had been trying to torture Big Show for weeks by showing video clips of some of his more embarrassing WrestleMania moments. In truth, the only ones truly tortured were the fans that had to see Big Show in a sumo mawashi over and over again. Rhodes was predictably psychotic, and Big Show was predictably slow and dumbfounded looking. In the end, the giant flattened the smaller Rhodes, and became new Intercontinental Champion.
Ahead to the Divas match. Skinny brunette and blonde with small boobs defeat muscular brunette and blonde with big boobs. No costume malfunctions, so consider this paragraph closed.
On to “Main Event No.2″, and really one of the only reasons I was willing to pay for it this year. A Hell-in-a-Cell “End of an Era” match pitting the legendary Undertaker, against “The Game” – Triple H. And, with an added attraction, Triple-H’s best friend, Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, as the special guest referee. This had all the makings of an epic battle, with who knows how many twists and turns. Last year, Undertaker and Triple-H battled in one of the greatest matches in wrestling history, to the point that Undertaker had to be carried off (literally, in reality) on a stretcher. The cage was dropped, and the match began. I honestly hadn’t realized how much Triple-H’s amazing pecs had turned into the sagging beginnings of man-boobs until seeing him in that ring. It’s kind of sad, you know. The match went pretty much as expected. A couple of good whacks to bring a fierce “OOOOOOOHHH!!!” from the folks in the stadium and watching at my house. Michaels did nothing to really interfere or sway the match in Triple-H’s favor…which was kind of lame. In the end, Undertaker laid out Triple-H with his famed tombstone piledriver, and kept his perfect WrestleMania record intact.
Ok..moving along to the battle of the mid-carders, with the position of general manager for both the SmackDown and RAW shows at stake. Team Johnny (representing John Laurinaitis), against Team Teddy (representing Teddy Long). In typical mid-card style there was a lot of missed timing, some choreographed leaps over the top rope, and a victory by the heels. Team Johnny prevailed, as The Miz planted fan favorite Zack Ryder with is “Skull Crushing Finale”…along with a little distraction help from Ryder’s “Hoe-ski” girlfriend, Eve Torres. (Cue boos and hisses)
And now…for “Main Event No.3″, the WWE Championship match. A rivalry that had been building for…oh…I guess a month, maybe? Chris Jericho vs WWE Champion C.M. Punk. The “best in the world at what I do” against the “best in the world”. I’m still trying to figure out what the angle was on this one, the match itself was laced with ill-timed kicks, and lots of mat time in submission holds. Not what we typically get from either of these guys. Lots of good close-up shots of Punk’s lip ring, and a near-wardrobe malfunction when Jericho attempted to suplex Punk from the top rope by grabbing the waistband of his tights. Finally Punk forced Jericho to submit in the clutches of the anaconda vice. No Jericho tantrum…disappointed.
Cue bad music. REALLY bad music. Oh my god, such horrible, unbearably bad music. My dogs are still howling 24 hours later.
Final match. The “once in a lifetime, never before, never again” (until next year) Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson vs John Cena. Two of the biggest WWE Superstars of all time meeting at WrestleMania for the first time ever. 15 years ago this match would have been epic rather than gimmick. They started the build up for it over a year ago, and they essentially spent that year just talking about it…singing about it…and doing vignettes about it, instead of actually developing a story to sell it. So essentially you had no heel, no face, and no drama. Just two guys that are pretty much liked by the fans – with the Rock having the upper hand in his hometown of Miami – beating up on each other. They spent far too much time embracing each other on the mat, and not enough time mocking each other’s moves and schtick. The Rock prevailed with a “rock bottom” and the 1-2-3. The crowd cheered…and then looked stunned that it was over.
That pretty much summed up the entire event. No really bad matches, and nothing completely unwatchable. But no surprises, nothing to make you say “Oh crap!…that just happened!!”. The night lacked drama…it lacked story…it lacked…yeah. It just lacked. And it may have been the last one I watch. They’ve got a year to convince me otherwise.