Wrestlemania 28, the biggest wrestling event of the year is finally over. After watching the PPV twice, here are my thoughts on the matches and the event as a whole. But first, random thoughts on the set and the crowd. (Photo credits go to WWE.com)
- The Wrestlemania setup was gorgeous, probably one of the best stadium setups I’ve seen on TV.
- Boxing and MMA can learn a thing or two from WWE with their over the top and grandiose screens, lights and pyro.
- The crowd of 78,363 fans is a sight to behold. This is what Wrestlemania is all about.
Sheamus defeats Daniel Bryan to become the new World Heavyweight Champion in 18 seconds
From a casual fan’s perspective (or marks), this might seem enjoyable. Bryan was the cocky heel who gets out of high profile matches by “squeaking” in the victory while Sheamus is the badass who is more than capable of beating the shit out of most of the roster. Sheamus winning the title easily from Bryan was more than justified. However, from a smark’s POV, this has to be one of the craziest booking decisions ever. Having the World Heavyweight Title open the show is already seen as taboo but ending the match in just 18 seconds? Dumb, dumb, dumb. Sheamus and Bryan could have torn the house down with a show stealing performance if they were given the chance, but no, the WWE only cared for the match to break some time record no one cares about. Not a very good start to the show as the crowd was noticeably pissed. Daniel Bryan was very over with the Miami crowd as evidence by the audible Daniel Bryan chants throughout the show.
Kane defeats Randy Orton
The buildup to this match has been pretty mild. WWE didn’t invest too much time and emotion on this match and understandably so, since promoting the 3 top matches (more on that later) were more than burdensome. This was nothing but a throw-away match to give Orton and Kane a Wrestlemania match. However, both men actually gave solid performances, given the lame feud they were given. Kane and Orton were both stiff with their offense and surprisingly had good enough chemistry with each other in the ring. It wasn’t a classic match by any means but solid nonetheless. I was a bit surprised that Orton jobbed to Kane but I guess the feud is going to continue until Extreme Rules. By the way, cool spot also goes to the second rope chokeslam.
Big Show defeats Cody Rhodes to become the new Intercontinental Champion
This feud has been very entertaining since being booked. Cody Rhodes’ video promos on Big Shows embarrassing Wrestlemania moments was very hilarious and really was the focal point of the feud (step aside Intercontinental Title). I thought their match was entertaining (read: short and funny) and told a story of Big Show wanting to embarrass Rhodes for all the humiliation he has given him throughout the buildup of the match (the stink face to Rhodes was a funny spot). Congratulations also to the Big Show for finally winning a singles match at Wrestlemania and becoming a first-time Intercontinental Champion. Big Show getting emotional after winning the match felt genuine and for all the humiliating video packages in the past, I think his win is fairly justified as he’s a very good company man.
Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos defeat Divas Champion Beth Phoenix and Eve
Standard divas match (read: barely watchable). I know WWE likes to give feel good wins to celebrities but they didn’t have to let Beth Phoenix get the pin. What credibility would that bring to the Divas Title if some random “celebrity host” can pin the champion 1-2-3? Another thing, the roll-up must be the most effective finisher in the Women’s division.
Undertaker defeated Triple H inside Hell in a Cell with Shawn Michaels as guest referee (20-0)
The match itself has overbooking issues. From the Hell-in-a-Cell gimmick to HBK being the guest referee, added to the fact that Triple H and Undertaker had already faced each other at Wrestlemania twice, the last one being at last year’s event, overbooking seems like a huge understatement. And yet they delivered. The match didn’t showcase technical wrestling but the match stipulation doesn’t need it either. The match was a back and forth brawl filled with nasty bumps and false finishes. Undertaker played the monster-out-for-redemption character very well against Triple H’s I-can-end-you swagger. Shawn Michaels also elevated the drama with his referee duties dilemma. Watching through the match, you could really feel that the streak is in jeopardy and that meant that the men in the cell were doing the right thing. Cool spots of the match were the spinebuster to the steel steps, Undertaker getting Arona’d to the canvass and the Sweet Chin Music-Pedigree combo again to the Undertaker. For an old man, Taker can sure take huge bumps. It was story-telling at its finest and I congratulate the 3 legends for that.
This match isn’t perfect, however. There were times where the pace has been slowed for us to hear them talk (which, to be fair, added to the drama of the match) and there were spots were I think HBK overdid his facial expressions. Having said that, the match was still great and a fitting end to the Triple H-Undertaker-HBK Wrestlemania troika.
Team John Laurinaitis defeats Team Teddy Long for control over both Raw and Smackdown
I didn’t really invest into this matchup particularly because throughout the buildup of the match, it screamed a secured victory for Team Johnny. Though the match was fast-paced and fun while it lasted, this was nothing more than a filler match to get the midcarders a Wrestlemania exposure. That said, the right man/team won. Johnny Ace has developed a credible authority figure character that would be interesting to play out once he rules over both Raw and Smackdown. That and because I was never a fan of Teddy Long’s TAG TEAM main event match-makings. Holla, holla, holla! Ya feel me?
CM Punk defeats Chris Jericho to retain the WWE Championship
I admit, I had very high hopes going into this match as I know Punk and Jericho can definitely “go” in the ring, With the “Best in the World” moniker up for grabs, the personal attack incorporated by Jericho to Punk’s family and the WWE Title, the match had the recipe to be something great. True enough, it was the best wrestling match of the night. I said wrestling match because it didn’t match the drama of the Hell in a Cell match nor did it have the same energy and fan enthusiasm as the Rock-Cena match (more on that later).
The wrestling moves these guys gave were very solid and crisp, going through with the move transitions, reversals and submissions but somehow, I had the feeling that they could have done it better. As I said, I had high expectations for this match that’s why while this encounter was a great technical wrestling match, it left me wanting more from them. Iron Man match at Extreme Rules, please? As for the outcome, the right guy won as Punk needed that big rub from Jericho on the grandest stage to solidify his main event status and he did it in a fashionable anaconda vise submission statement too. As for Jericho, he’s a very smart guy and I know he can give more life and drama to this feud as I expect it to continue at Extreme Rules. It would be fresh to see Jericho winning the WWE Title sometime in the future but for now, the CM Punk star is shining as bright as ever.
The Rock defeats John Cena
First things first, can WWE do away with the live performances? Thanks. Now for the main event, the match was kinda in the middle for me. The Rock looked to have more ring rust compared to his Survivor Series stint while Cena was well, being Cena. The match also brought back vintage wrestling trademarks. Battle of strength? Check. Trading submission holds? Check. Finisher kickouts? Check. In short, this wasn’t a special match in terms of in-ring performance. But with The Rock and John Cena as participants? This changes the ball game quickly. The energy and intensity made the match, not the armdrags, restholds, submissions and finishers. Though not as intense as Rock-Hogan, this match felt special even though the wrestling was generic. With the live crowd eating up the moves inside the ring, it wasn’t difficult for The Rock and Cena to work with the match, despite their average in-ring abilities. Cool spots of the match was the cross-body-roll through-to-Attitude Adjustment combo and the final moment of the match where Cena taunts the Rock by going with the Peoples’ Elbow only to be greeted by a Rock Bottom out of nowhere.
Rock going over Cena was a shock to many as the majority were picking Cena to defeat Rock, even at the expense of a rowdy Miami crowd. Though I also expected Cena to win, I still rooted for The Rock and damn it, I marked out when Rock pinned Cena 1-2-3 as the Miami crowd erupted with sheer jubilance. For a booking standpoint, Cena losing actually made sense. This will tweak Cena’s character a bit and will be an inch closer to the Cena heel turn that the IWC has always salivated for. Time will tell if WWE will finally let Cena loose to heeldom. Until then, I’ll enjoy Rock’s victory at Wrestlemania, as the millions of Rock fans across the world enjoys it. If you smell? -rod-