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Wrestlemania is in the books, and while it may not have been the greatest show ever, it was at least interesting. Here is the normal breakdown, with match ratings and thoughts.
Daniel Bryan vs Triple H- *** (3 stars)
We will start off with this match and then go into the main event, as they are obviously intertwined. Leading up to this match, fans were nervous about the potential of Triple H burying Bryan and crowning himself champion. Thankfully, we didn't have to sit through that disaster, and WWE followed through and gave the fans something to cheer about.
The build-up to this match was really brilliant now that we see the results of it. Triple H really embraced the role that the educated wrestling fans thrust upon him, and basically spent the last few months trolling those fans. I was worried about this, because if HHH ended up justifying those stereotypes by beating Bryan, than perhaps irreparable damage could be done to the product that would alienate some fans. However, now that it is all said and done and Daniel Bryan is king, things have worked out nicely. Triple H got the most heat possible on himself, and it worked in a way that got Daniel Bryan even more over. I give Triple H a hard time sometimes, but I tip my hat to his work in this feud.
The match itself was merely passable. Triple H's ring work has really taken a big hit over the last several years, and he can no longer be counted on to always have a good match when the bright lights come on. The match was really slow, and followed a very traditional storyline that is no longer that exciting in 2014. Triple H worked Bryan's leg, then he worked the arm, only to have Bryan rally back and win the match. However, the match had some okay dramatic moments, and it did its job by getting Daniel Bryan into a good position for the main event.
Sometimes the simplest moves are the correct moves, and making Bryan overcome the odds and slay everybody in his path may have been predictable, but it was the smartest move to make for WWE. Bryan's in-ring ability and charisma served him very well tonight, and his victory was met with a tremendous response from the crowd, which was probably still reeling from the previous matches.
Randy Orton, for his part, was as good as he has ever been in arguably the biggest match of his career. Orton was on point and every bit the heel that WWE needed him to be for this match. Batista, for all his faults, was not awful and outside of a botched spear, was fairly dependable. The only thing that could this match into a disaster was Batista blowing his moves, but overall he did an acceptable job.
The match itself was decent. It wasn't as good as it could have been, but it also could have been a lot worse. Bringing in Scott Armstrong, who is supposedly in Triple H's pocket (even though he previously rewarded Bryan the title on a fast count) back was kind of over-booking, and in the end he ended up having zero impact on the match. The Batista Bomb/neckbreaker combo was pretty sick and a unique move, and having the hated Batista submit for the title was nice.
If there was one complaint that I could have with this match was that it probably shouldn't have been the main event. Don't get me wrong, I love that Bryan won the title and everything, but the fans were obviously still in shock for most of the match, and it wasn't until Bryan actually won the title did they come alive. If the WWE had planned to have The Undertaker lose, they should have had him on last and close the show with him looking at the fans. If they did that, I doubt anyone would complain.
The Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar- ***1/2 (3.5 stars)
And here we arrive at arguably the biggest shock in Wrestlemania history. A problem with WWE recently is that they had produced some Wrestlemanias that failed to have anything truly memorable in it. What set Wrestlemania 29 apart from Wrestlemania 28? Honestly, not a whole lot. With the streak finally coming to an end, and Daniel Bryan reaching the top of the mountain, Wrestlemania 30 will surely not have that problem.
On July 17th, 1941, Joe DiMaggio failed to get a hit against the Cleveland Indians. All streaks must come to an end, otherwise, they might not as well be streaks. On Thursday, I predicted that there was a chance that the streak could end Sunday, and amazingly, I was right. The Undertaker, and this match is a good example of it, just doesn't have the athleticism anymore to live up to his own lofty standards, and the streak is over only because The Undertaker's career is soon to be over. The streak had to end, and although having a younger guy needing a stabilizing accomplishment on their resume would have been a better fit, losing to Brock Lesnar is not necessarily being jobbed on.
I will have a lot more on this Thursday in my usual column, but I will say that I agree with the choice to end the streak. It took some cojones to decide to end the streak, and it will be a moment that every single wrestling fan will remember for the rest of their lives. I suppose that The Undertaker will be on Raw tomorrow, and confront Lesnar, and they could even meet at Extreme Rules, where The Undertaker wins and he retires from wrestling. And we will all love it.
John Cena vs Bray Wyatt-*3/4 (1.75 stars)
This match stands out as the biggest disappointment on the card, because my expectations were very high for this match, and they completely blew it tonight. What did John Cena accomplish by beating Wyatt tonight? That he stayed true to himself? How lame is that? It was disgraceful to see Cena not only beat Wyatt, but destroy his character and overcome every attempt at outside interference in the process. What happened to Bray was tonight was an absolute disgrace.
Wyatt is a young guy, with a dynamite character and a truckload of talent. He was lacking a really significant victory that would propel him into the main event, and a win over Cena would have been exactly what he needed. Wyatt not only would have pushed his way further up the card, and he would have had a much more exciting rematch with Cena if he beat him the first time.
Instead we got Super-Cena overcoming the odds AGAIN on the biggest stage in wrestling. I don't mind Cena getting the better of the feud, as long as Wyatt had established himself. I wouldn't have even really minded Cena winning the match, as long as Wyatt looked like the better man and lost on a fluke. But instead, we got Cena taking out the entire group by himself and no-selling Wyatt's character, not even embracing the him for a moment and coming up like the stand-up guy he has always been. Someone get me a vomit pouch. Bray could pick up a win on Raw, or even at Extreme Rules, but Wrestlemania is the most watched, most talked about wrestling event of the year, and a win on Raw does not even compare on the level of impact it could have had on his career.
Andre the Giant Battle Royal-**3/4 (2.75 stars)
This was more entertaining than I thought it was going to be. It started off really bad, as there were way too many people in the ring at once and nobody had any idea what the hell was going on. When things cleared out though, WWE did the right thing. First, they let guys like Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler and Cesaro doing amazing athletic maneuvers, which is never fails to amaze. Also, going away from predictability and making Cesaro look amazing on the big stage was 100% the right move to make.
Kane and The New Age Outlaws vs The Shield- DUD (0 stars)
I said this match was going to be a joke, and it was actually was worse than I anticipated. The Shield could have had an epic triple threat match against each other that would have tore the house down, but instead we got a crappy match that was shorter than Triple H's entrance. A huge mistake by WWE.
Vickie Guerrero Invitational- * (1 star)
This is a match that could have been awful, but the girls worked hard and turned it into a passable match by Diva's standards. There were some botches, but there also were some decent spots, and AJ Lee tricking the referee into thinking Naomi tapped was a really clever idea. One thing that makes no sense is AJ's feud with Vickie Guerrero. Vickie is supposed to be this reprehensible person, someone that organically gets so much heat from the crowd, yet we are now supposed to be rooting for her? What kind of logic is that?
Finally some quick hits:
- I didn't watch the tag team title match because 5 hours is just too much to ask from me WWE, I hope you can understand
- Paul Orndorff's mustache was probably one of the five best things about that show. Holy smokes, that was something deserving of the title "Wonderful."
- Backstage segments overall, were pretty good. Wrestlemania always is a good opportunity to see some classic bits.
- The opening promo was a nice touch. Sure, Hogan was god awful on the mic and it was weird to have the first 30 minutes of Wrestlemania devoid of wrestling, but it was a nice way to honor three of the top guys in Wrestlemania history and emphasize the 30th anniversary aspect of Wrestlemania. It was cool to have them point out Bruno, Backlund, Bret and the other major players as well.
To wrap things up, I believe WWE did a pretty solid job tonight. Wrestlemania 29 was a disappointment as far as quality went, but WWE delivered tonight. Bryan going over and The Undertaker losing are two tremendous, Wrestlemania worthy moments that we will all remember, which is what makes Wrestlemania special.
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