Monday Night Raw – April 7, 2003

Monday Night Raw
Date: April 7, 2003
Location: Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

We’re in a new era now as last week saw Goldberg debut to attack the Rock, likely setting up the main event of the upcoming Backlash. Other than that we have a big tag match this week between Booker T./Shawn Michaels vs. HHH/Chris Jericho. Other than that we need to see what else is in the cards for the pay per view. Let’s get to it.

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Wrestlemania XXXII

Wrestlemania XXXII
Date: April 3, 2016
Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Attendance: 101,763
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Byron Saxton
America the Beautiful: Fifth Harmony

We’ve finally arrived at what might be the biggest show of all time. The attendance record is going to be set tonight (it just is) and the card is……well did I mention that attendance? Yeah the build to this one hasn’t been all that great with a double main event of Roman Reigns challenging HHH for the WWE World Title and Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon inside the Cell with Undertaker’s future at Wrestlemania vs. Shane controlling Raw on the line in a story that stops making sense as soon as you start thinking about it too much. Let’s get to it.

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Bret Hart: The Best There Is DVD Review (Disc 1 and 2)

Bret “Hitman” Hart – The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will Be


Documentary:

Analogous to the Stone Cold DVD I reviewed, this was an exhaustive look at Bret Hart’s decorative career. Hart articulated the stories exactly how he witnessed them. Whether you agreed with his viewpoints or not, he narrated his story in a lucid manner. Hart added in a lot of little details, creating a detailed envision for the viewers. However, his egocentric attitudes on some things becomes somewhat annoying. He was one of the best wrestlers ever, but he can come off  a little condescending at times. I am sure almost everyone reading has somehow heard all of these stories before, but this was still an informative documentary in its time.
Disc Two: 

Bret Hart (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Ricky Steamboat (3/8/86)
This was booked to be on the Wrestlemania II PPV card, but it was bumped off at the last minute. WWF believed Hercules was going to be a bigger star than Hart, so they wanted him on the 2 card. On the other hand, Steamboat believed Bret had a lot of potential and wanted to give him some credibility and exposure. Bret attacks Steamboat when the referee is checking him for weapons. Bret keeps attacking Steamboat, who hasn’t even had time to take his jacket off. Steamboat fights back and takes his jacket off. It’s on! Bret comes back and hits a neckbreaker. Bret punches Steamboat, who spills to the outside. Bret hits a suplex that picks up a two. Steamboat picks him up for a press slam, but Steamboat’s legs cave from under him. That picks up a two for Bret. Bret hits a powerslam for another near-fall. Steamboat fights back with some hard chops and a backdrop suplex that get a two. Bret reverses an Irish Whip, sending Steamboat right into the referee. Bret delivers the Hart Attack, but the referee is still out cold. Bret dodges a clothesline from Steamboat, and hits a crossbody block from the other side. Steamboat rolls through, though, and picks up the victory @ 15:09.

Analysis: Steamboat and Hart’s selling capabilities were exceedingly off the charts. Their reaction time to move was seamlessly on point, and their head movements from selling a punch or strike were great as well. These two just demonstrated why selling is so imperative, and how it can draw in the fans into something in spite of having no importance or build around it. Selling can help make moves more evocative, a babyface garner sympathy from the crowd, a heel acquire more heat, and make it tremendously easier for the fans to become fervently invested into the action. All those things were demonstrated in this.

This was booked in a position where it was not supposed to be much of anything, but the acute components and realistic psychology made this an overachieving exhibition match. This could have been better if Bret Hart were more established and the contest was treated more like a big deal, though. *** ¾

Ted DiBiase (w/Virgil) vs. Bret Hart (3/8/89)
DiBiase was getting the Million Dollar Man gimmick over. Bret was coming off a botched push attempt, although he was still having good matches. No commentary for whatever reason. Ted spends too much time taunting the crowd, allowing Bret to attack him from behind. Bret hits a Russian Legsweep for two. DiBiase goes for a haymaker, but Bret ducks and delivers an atomic drop. Bret follows up with a crossbody. Ted decides to take a breather outside. Back in, Bret tries a reverse rollup, but Ted counters it into a small packaged for two. DiBiase fights back and viciously stomps on Bret’s chest. Ted hits a smashing clothesline and then a suplex that picks up a two. Ted argues with the referee over the pin. Ted goes for a another suplex, but Bret reverses it with a small package for two. Ted attacks Bret before he can get back up, expressing his frustration from his failure to finish him off. Bret catches Ted with a few small package rollups, causing Ted to throw Bret to the outside.

Back in, DiBiase locks in a chinlock. Bret fights back and hits the Hart Attack clothesline. Both men are now knocked out. Ted goes up to the top rope, but Bret catches and slams him. They trade some punches, causing DiBiase to back off and begs for mercy. Bret beats the hell out of him. Bret over-zealously charges the corner. Ted moves out of the way, and it messes up Bret’s knee. DiBiase attacks the knee with a Spinning Toehold. Bret pushes him out of the ring. They keep brawling outside and are finally counted out @ 15:59.

Analysis: DiBiase’s best work came before WWE, but this reveals how excellent he could be in the ring. He dictated the pace in the midst of the heat segments at a superlative level. Even though he methodically worked over Bret for a long time,  it never became boring.

That was mostly because he made sure not everything was not about him. After all, the story was not all about him dominating when he was on offense. It was also about Hart enduring a calculating beating, and DiBiase used physical responses to subtly articulate that. For example, he expressed anger when Hart kicked out of his pin-falls, and he did that by pounding the mat, yelling at the referee, and yelling at the crowd. In addition to that, Ted conveyed his anger by grunting about not being able to put Hart away. At last, he made it clear he was becoming tired from using gassed facial expressions, slowing down his movements, and grimacing in pain from using his back too much. The crowd picked it and were eager for Hart’s comeback, because of  Ted selling it so effectively. 

Unfortunately, Hart’s comeback was only momentary because this had  rushed finish attached to it. It didn’t allow Bret to dish out needed comeuppance on DiBiase, causing the story they were developing not culminate properly.

I get that they needed to protect both wrestlers, but the finish was way too lazy and cut off the entire “boom- boom-boom” portion of the match. Nonetheless, this had some of the best “pusillanimous/arrogant heel vs. the resilient/sympathetic babyface” work that I have ever seen. **** ¼

The Hart Foundation vs. The Rockers (4/28/90)
This was a number one contender’s match for Summerslam.  At this point, both teams were over. The Harts had more main event credibility, though. Bret and Marty have a few fantastic sequences together. Shawn tags in and hits a crossbody on Bret for two. The Rockers double team Bret. Anvil comes and clotheslines the hell out of both of them. HBK goes for a bodyslam, but Anvil counters it. Anvil tries to pick up HBK, but Shawn dropkicks him in the face. Both Shawn and Bret are the legal men. Bret hits Shawn with an atomic drop and then a clothesline. The Hart Foundation corner Shawn and go to work on him.

Anvil hits shoulderblock on Shawn that gets a two. Shawn hits a sunset flip on Bret for two. The Demolition comes down to watch. Bret yells at Demolition, allowing Shawn to dropkick him over the top rope. Back from commercial, Bret is working over Shawn. Bret goes for an elbow, but he misses. Shawn is able to make the tag to a fired up Janetty, who comes and nails Bret with a reverse elbow and then powerslams him. Marty hits the Superkick, but it only gets a two. Bret counter an Irish whip, but Marty sunset flips him for two. Bret fights back with a neckbreaker Anvil comes in and shoulderblock Shawn, sending him flying in the air. Anvil throws Shawn to the outside; the Demolition tries to help him back in. Marty doesn’t like that, so he starts a fight with them. This triggers a three-team brawl, causing a disqualification @ 9:17.


Analysis: This had an accelerating pace to it, in addition to some fluently executed back-and-forth exchanges and sequences. They were on the same page throughout and did not miss a beat while doing some really athletic and onerous sequences. Above all, they stayed true to their characters and did not sacrifice psychology or stop selling in order to have a rapid-fired pace. It is refreshing to see a match where you do not have the slightest clue of what is going to happen next. The wrestlers involved made sure they would give the fans their money’s worth regardless only having a condensed amount of time and an undeceive finish. *** ¾

IC Championship: Mr. Perfect (c) vs. Bret Hart (Summerslam ’91)
After about three years of stop-and-go pushes, the WWF finally gave Bret the push he deserved. Mr. Perfect was in poor shape here. His back was bothering him, and it caused him took an entire year off after this match. Bret delivers a crucifix for two. Bret delivers a sunset flip for two and then yanks Perfect down with a headlock. Bret catches Perfect’s leg and then stomps him in the midsection. They trade some moves, ending with Bret clotheslining Perfect over the top. Perfect tries to run away, but Bret chases him and rips his tights in half. Perfect takes over with a forearm and kicks Bret in the midsection, sending him to the outside. Outside, Perfect throws Bret into the railing. Perfect brings him back in and tosses him into the corner. They fight on the turnbuckle. Bret falls into the ring and then Perfect falls on top of him for two count. Perfect throws Bret across the ring by his hair. Bret fights out of a sleeper hold. Bret goes for a suplex, but Perfect counters it with a Samoan Drop for two. Bret takes his vintage bump in the corner. Perfect hits a Perfect Plex, but Bret kicks out just in time! Bret delivers Perfect a few atomic drops and hits a Vertical Suplex that gets two. He small packages Perfect, but it only picks up a two. Bret hit a Russian Legsweep for two. Bret hits the second-rope elbowdrop for another two. Bret and the ref argue about the count, allowing Perfect to execute a reverse rollup for two. Perfect starts dropping some legdrops to Bret’s midsection. Bret catches one of them and reverses to the Sharpshooter for the submission victory @ 18:02.

Analysis: This started with an interesting “anything you can do, I can do better” story,  and it allowed them to show off their technical proficiencies. Hart, as a babyface should, came off looking superior in the exchanges, which caused Perfect to resort to using cheap maneuvers to gain the advantage. The story continued to escalate because of their usage of transitions. 

Both wrestlers also kept tricking the fans by using cliché moments to their advantage. For example, they’d do a spot where a babyface typically makes a full-comeback, but they instead had the heel cut-off the comeback and remain in control. Hart portrayed a nice display of psychology on offense, as every big move he delivered was done to weaken Perfect’s back for the Sharpshooter. And most of all, he did them at realistic times. (in contrast to so many wrestlers who shoehorn them in, no matter the situation). This could have been better with a more dramatic finish, but all in all, this is some great stuff. **** 1/4

WWF Tag Team Championship: Hart Foundation (c) vs. Nasty Boys (w/ Jimmy Hart) (Wrestlemania 7)
The Nasties were feuding with the Steiners over in the NWA for the US tag straps. Six months later, and they are in a big WWF tag title match at WrestleMania. Jimmy Hart is wearing a motorcycle helmet out to the ring. Bret and Sags kick things off. Sags gets in a cheap shot in the corner, but Bret comes back with a Thesz press and punches. Bret goes to town on Knobs and then stomps Sags in the abdominal area. Both men tag out. Neidhart sends Knobs to the floor with a shoulderblock. Back in, Neidhart locks in an armbar, but he gets attacked in the Nasties corner. Bret tags in and hits some ten-count corner punches followed by a Russian legsweep. He delivers a flying vertical elbow drop for two. Knobs sneaks in and attacks Bret from behind. Sags clotheslines him out to the floor. Neidhart runs after Jimmy Hart around the ring. Knobs sends Bret into the guardrail. Back in, the Nasties take turns working over Bret’s back. Bret tries to escape, but  Knobs stops the tag to Neidhart. The Nasties go for a double-swing splash into the corner. Bret avoids and clotheslines Sags. Bret makes a tag to Neidhart, but the referee doesn’t see it. Jimmy Hart throws in his megaphone, but Sags ends up taking the megaphone to the face. Bret gets the hot tag to Neidhart, who nails the Nasties with clotheslines and delivers the Standing Powerslam on Knobs for two. They hit the Hart Attack on Knobs. Neidhart goes for the cover, but the ref is trying to get Bret out of the ring. Jimmy Hart throws in the motorcycle helmet. Sags nails Neidhart with it and Knobs rolls over on top for the win. New tag championship @ 12:05

Analysis: This was one of the better Nasty Boy non-gimmick matches. They kept it simple by using the standard tag-team formula. They also threw in some curve balls along the way, which was enough to bump this to ***.

IC Championship: Bret Hart (c) vs. Davey Boy Smith (Summerslam ’92)
This was the hardest recap I’ve ever done. There were too many tears in my eyes, making it hard to see the action. Davey Boy Smith smoked a lot crack before this, and he didn’t even remember this match the next day. They get into a shoving match, ending with Davey winning the exchange. Bret puts Davey in a headlock. Davey sends him into the ropes, but Bret slips out of a slam and rolls him up for two. Davey escapes into a hammerlock, but Bret elbows out and locks in a wristlock. Davey Boy cartwheels out and locks in an armbar. Davey Boy catches Bret off a leapfrog and then tosses him into the corner. Davey goes back to the armbar and then hits Bret with a crucifix. DBS locks in armbar again, but Bret throws him off into the ropes and delivers a knee into the gut. That crowd boos Bret. Bret stomps his mid-section and then delivers a legdrop. Bret puts back in a chinlock. Davey elbows his way out, but he runs into a right elbow from Bret. Bret nails an inverted atomic drop and throws Davey into the ropes. Davey tries the crucifix, but Bret slams him to the mat for two. Bret goes back to the chinlock. Davey shoves him off and delivers a monkey-flip. Smith throw Bret from corner-to-corner, but he runs into a boot. Bret hits the running bulldog on the Bulldog. Bret goes up top, but Davey slams him off the canvas. Davey heads up top for a diving headbutt, but Bret moves out of the way. DBS fights out of a slam. He goes to roll Bret up off the ropes, but Bret ducks and it sends DBS flying out to the floor.

Bret does a pescado to the outside. Davey is in the wrong place, so Bret just snaps him down by the head. Bret posts Davey and brings him back in the ring. Bret hits a Russian Legsweep that picks up a two. Bret hit some European uppercuts and then follows up with a backdrop for two. Bret locks in the chinlock again. Davey tries to stand up, but Bret maneuvers over into a front headlock to set up for a suplex. He then goes back to the chinlock. Psychology! Davey fights up again and gets a backslide for two. Bret fights back with the backbreaker and the vertical elbow drop for two. He locks in the sleeper, but Davey Boy fights to get to the ropes. Bret throws him into the ropes and reapplies the hold. Davey stands up out of it and sends Bret into the corner for a rope break. Bret is right back on top of him with the sleeper, though. Davey backs Bret into the corner and mounts a comeback. He lifts Bret up for a press slam, but ends dropping him awkwardly in the ropes. Davey looks like he is out to lunch. Davey delivers a few clotheslines that all pick up a two. He hits a Press Slam for another two. He nails a stalling suplex, but only gets a two! Davey Boy throws Bret into the corner for a chest-first bump for another near-fall. He delivers the Running Powerslam. New champion. No, Bret kicks out at two!

Davey knocks Bret outside and then tries to give him a suplex back in. Bret flips out, though, and hits a German suplex for only a two! Bret goes for a suplex, but Davey blocks it. He places Bret up in the corner and hits the Top-Rope Superplex, but Bret kicks out! They do a double knock clothesline spot, but Bret still manages to apply the Sharpshooter! The crowd is begging for Davey to reach the ropes. Davey fights through and makes it to the ropes. Davey reverses an Irish Whip. Davey ducks under a clothesline. Bret attempts a sunset flip, but Davey Boy sits down and hooks Bret’s legs for the win @ 25:14! The crowd goes crazy. Diana comes into the ring to celebrate with her husband. Bret looks like he is going to turn heel, but he instead hugs Davey Boy. They all celebrate in the ring.

Analysis: Bret used his technical aptitudes to try and win, but Bulldog fought back by using his power game. Hart also teased a  heel turn, as he resorted to cheap and uncharacteristic tactics. Hart’s execution and positioning were incredibly on point, although Davey botched a few spots and was out of position a couple of times. 

If Davey Boy was not drugged out of his mind here, this could have been even better. That’s scary to think about. The genuine emotion in this created intense drama and had all 80,000 fans in the arena on the edge of their seats throughout. In fact, this was one of the most monumental atmospheres ever.  It was also one of the biggest feel-good moments as well. **** ¾

Bret Hart vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (4/24/93)
This is from the WWF’s European Tour. Bigelow slugs away onto Bret, but Bret locks in an armbar. Bam Bam tries to press slam him, but Bret falls on top for two. Bret throws an elbow that sends him to the outside. He tries to jump on Bam Bam, but Bam Bam smashes him into the ringpost. Back in, Bigelow works over Bret’s back. He hits a backdrop suplex that gets two. Bigelow keeps headbutting. Bret fights back and hits a backdrop suplex. Bigelow fights back and hits a Butterfly Backbreaker. Bigelow goes for the Diving Headbutt, but Bret moves out of the way. Bret goes for the Sharpshooter, but Bigelow pushes him away and locks in a bearhug. Bret attempts to backdrop suplex him, but Bigelow shifts his weight and lands on top. Bret blocks a charge and pins Bigelow’s shoulders with a Victory Roll @ 11:55.

Analysis: That was really fun. Hart was a master at adjusting his style based on who he was wrestling. Here, he played an opportunist, using his speed and agility to counter Bam Bam’s power game. Bam Bam was one of the better big wrestlers ever. I wish he had more opportunities to show it. *** 1/4

Mr. Perfect vs. Bret Hart (King of the Ring 1993)
Bret is selling an injury done earlier by Razor, as his left hand is taped up. This one picks up quickly after Perfect escapes a headlock. They trade some slams and then Bret hits Perfect with a crucifix for two. Perfect foreshadows a heel turn by placing a knee in Bret’s gut to break away from the headlock. Perfect hits a standing dropkick, sending Bret to the floor. Perfect holds the ropes to help Bret back in, but he kicks the ropes and the ropes hit Bret where the sun doesn’t shine. Perfect delivers a knee lift that gets a two. Perfect throws Bret out to ringside. Bret makes it on the apron, but Perfect shoves him off into the guardrail. Ouch. Perfect hits another knee lift and then hits a missile dropkick. Perfect tosses Bret into the corner for the chest-first bump for a two. Perfect heads up to the top rope, but Bret superplexes him for two. Bret kicks Perfect in the back of the knee, causing him to flip all over the ropes. Hart locks in the figure-four, but Perfect makes the ropes. Perfect fights back and throws Bret in the corner. He tosses Bret across the ring by his hair and then locks in the sleeper.

Bret makes it the ropes, but Perfect holds on  the hold just until before five. He reapplies the sleeper in the middle of the ring and uses the ropes for leverage. Bret escapes by throwing Perfect’s face into the turnbuckle. Bret deliver a European forearm that almost takes Perfect’s head off. Bret throws Perfect across the ring by his hair. Bret hits an atomic drop and then Russian legsweep for two. He hits a backbreaker and then hits the vertical elbow drop connects for another two. Bret goes for the Sharpshooter, but Perfect grabs and twists the taped up hand to counter it. Perfect goes for the Perfectplex, but Bret counters by giving Perfect a suplex over the top rope to the floor. They just make it back in before the countout. Perfect cradles Bret, but Bret reverses it for the one-two-three @ 19:05.

Analysis: This was a classical and competitive scientific match. The main story that was being told was Bret Hart was the better in-ring technician, but in order to try to win, Mr. Perfect had to stoop down to an unheroic level by cheating. This whole match was extremely crisp and smooth. All of the moves, holds, spots, and sequences were flawlessly executed. Last, but not least, they performed all of the moves in logical places, and that made this feel very realistic and a believable contest. This also coherently integrated and told an extremely lucid story about them trying to find strategic ways to win. These two were just the masters of in-ring psychology. **** ½

Brother vs. Brother: Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart (Wrestlemania 10)
Bret Hart wrestled twice this night; he faced Owen Hart in the opener and then Yokozuna for the WWF Championship in the main event. Owen gets out of a head scissors and brags about it. Bret tries a waistlock takedown, but Owen gets to the ropes. Owen grabs a waistlock, but Bret sends Owen flying to the floor. Owen climbs back in the ring and slaps Bret. Bret doesn’t do anything, but Owen sneaks under the ropes. They exchange some hammerlocks. Owen pulls Bret down by his hair. Bret flips over Owen and rolls him up for two. Bret goes to work on the arm. Owen fights out of a hammerlock, but runs into a monkey flip. Bret clotheslines him to the floor. They push each other, and then Bret slaps Owen and rolls him up for two. Bret goes back to work on the arm. Owen breaks out of the hold and hits a spinning heel kick. Owen pushes him out to the floor and throws Bret’s back into the ringpost. They head back into the ring. Owen throws Bret into the corner. Owen delivers a backbreaker and locks in a camel clutch. Bret elbows out, but runs right into a Belly-to-Belly Suplex for two. Owen hits a crossbody from the corner, but Bret rolls through for two. Owen tries a slam, but Bret falls on him for two. Bret gets out of a suplex, but Owen hits a bridging German suplex for two. Bret reverses a suplex into a small package for two. Owen delivers the Tombstone Piledriver. He heads up top for the Swandive Headbutt, but he misses. Bret fights back with an inverted atomic drop and a clothesline for two. He hits the Legsweep for two. He delivers the Backbreaker and flying elbow drop that gets a two. Owen fights back with an enziguri and tries to lock in the Sharpshooter. Bret stops him from locking in the hold. Bret tries to lock it in, but Owen just rolls him away. Owen picks up a two off a rollup.

The momentum from the kick-out puts Owen on the floor, though. Bret hits the pescado and jams his knee on the floor. Back in, Owen kicks away at the injured knee. Owen locks in the Indian deathlock. Owen delivers a dragon screw leg whip and that sets up the figure-four. Bret counters the hold by getting to the ropes. Owen goes after Bret in the corner, but Bret hits Owen with an enziguri. Bret throws Owen chest-first into the corner. Bret delivers a legdrop that gets two. Bret nails a running bulldog for two. Bret hits a piledriver, but Owen kicks out. Bret locks in a sleeper, but Owen walks over to the ropes and low-blows Bret. Owen applies the Sharpshooter, but Bret gets out of it. Owen charges into Bret’s right boot in the corner. Bret goes for a victory roll, but Owen puts on the counters and picks up the huge upset victory @ 20:05.


Analysis: This was a technical masterpiece and arguably the best ever. The timing of the spots, the smooth transitions, the unparalleled chemistry, and both wrestlers being able to progressively build the match all the way to its crescendo solidifies this as the blueprint on how to correctly carry out a wrestling magnum opus.

On top of that, the match told a great story. Owen Hart was fed up being overshadowed by his older brother, so in order to exercise his demons, he decided to prove once and for all that he was better than big brother Bret. The contest illustrated that Bret was definitely the superior wrestler, as he was always one step ahead of his young brother. But Owen cheated and was able to pull off a key reversal that allowed him to pull off a major upset. Owen treated his fluky win as though it had been a dominant performance, which helped him develop into an even more exaggerated, overemotional heel.

And after Bret Hart finally conquered his long-lasting quest to become WWF Champion, Owen came out with a look on his face that said, “Did you forget something? You didn’t beat me.” What was supposed to be a beautiful moment for Bret ended up as a bittersweet moment, because Bret knew that even though he finally won the title, his loss to Owen earlier in the night cast a shadow over what should have been the biggest night of his career. Like I said, there is a case for this match as the greatest of all time, thanks to phenomenal booking and superb work rate. *****

Final Thoughts on Disc Two: This was an awesome disc from top to bottom. Aside from his Flair and HBK matches, everything that should be on here is. I’ll talk about everything more on the next review, where I look at disc three and both the extras and extra matches, in the final analysis. Thumbs Way Up for Disc Two. 

The Kyle Report: Wrestlemania 29 Review

Wrestlemania 29 was the 29th annual “Grand Daddy of Them All”,
held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford New Jersey on April 7th, 2013. It
drew 80,676 fans according to WWE, becoming the second highest attended WWE
event ever, and about 1,048,000 ordered it worldwide. 

The initial video package
talked about Hurricane Sandy, and it focused on the strong people that assisted
those affected by it. Chris Christie, the Governor of New Jersey, narrated
the entire thing and then welcomed us to WrestleMania 29.
The wide-shot camera
angles showed the jammed-packed crowd in attendance. An enthused Michael Cole
said there were over 80,000 people there, and the event was sold out. Then, a
video package was shown of some of the classic moments in WrestleMania’s history
and slides of the wrestlers involved in this show.
Your Hosts Are Michael
Cole, Jerry Lawler, and John Bradshaw Layfield.
Opening
Match: Randy Orton, Sheamus, and Big Show vs. The Shield (Seth Rollins,  Roman Reigns, and Dean Abmrose)
As usual, the Shield arrived
through the crowd while Big Show, Sheamus and Randy Orton entered separately.
Their entrances foreshadowed the story of the match. The Shield worked
together as a cohesive team, while Big Show, Sheamus, and Randy Orton were
fragmented. The Shield went to hit the three-man powerbomb on Sheamus, but the Big
Show saved Sheamus by spearing Reigns. The problems between Team Sheamus started to happen
when Sheamus tried to tag in The Big Show, but Orton selfishly tagged himself
to be the legal man. Orton cleaned house, while the camera showed Big Show
visibly pissed off. Orton set up for the RKO on Dean Ambrose, but wound up
RKO’ing Rollins, who jumped off the turnbuckle, in mid-air. Out of nowhere,
Reigns speared Orton, allowing Ambrose to pick up the win by pinning Orton. JBL
speculated that the Shield might be the greatest team ever. After the match,
Big Show ended up punching both Sheamus and Orton in the face and then walked away in disgust.
Winners:
The Shield in 10:37
Thoughts: An adequate, inoffensive opening tag
match. The story of the match was that the Shield worked as a cohesive unit,
while team Sheamus, Big Show, and Randy Orton could not put their differences aside.
People speculated whether or not Randy Orton would finally turn heel, but WWE ended
up not pull the trigger on the turn. Like I said, it was solid, but the Shield
have had much better matches on free TV. ** 1/2
A video package was
shown hyping up the John Cena vs The Rock match
Ryback
vs. Mark Henry
Henry took control early
on by delivering a powerslam and then a clothesline. Ryback went for Shell
Shock, but Henry pushed him into the turnbuckle. Henry then applied a bear hug. The
crowd then started to chant “Sexual Chocolate”, illustrating how little the
crowd cared about this match. Henry applied another bear hug, only for Ryback to drive
Henry into the corner where he delivered a couple of clotheslines. The crowd
came alive when Ryback executed the “Feed Me More” clothesline. The crowd then popped
huge when Ryback got Henry up for Shell Shock, but Henry countered by grabbing
the ropes and landing on Ryback’s back. Henry proceeded to pick up the win by
pinning him in a very anti-climactic finish. After the match, Ryback hit Shell
Shock, which made Henry’s win rather pointless.
Winner:
Mark Henry in 8:20
Thoughts: The match was tedious, and the crowd only popped
for the big spots, but it was not as bad as it could have been. They did not try to do more than they could, so neither Henry nor Ryback were exposed
for being less than stellar workers. I still do not understand why Ryback lost
this match because he ended up becoming the number one contender the next
night. I also wonder if WWE has a long-term plan for Ryback losing every big
match on PPV in his WWE career. * 1/4
Tag
Team Championship: Team Hell No (Kane and Daniel Bryan) © vs. Dolph Ziggler and
Big E Langston w/AJ Lee
AJ kissed Ziggler at the
start of the match. Ziggler turned around only to be kicked in the head by
Daniel Bryan (in what was a convincing near-fall that played off how Bryan lost
to Sheamus last year). Ziggler tagged in Langston and Bryan tagged in Kane. Boo!.
Langston delivered Kane three backbreakers in a row, and then hit a running
body attack. He’s pretty strong, to be honest. The heels made some quick tags and worked over Kane, but Kane fought
back by hitting a sick-looking DDT on Langston. Ziggler pulled Bryan off the
apron, but Kane ended up hitting a sidewalk slam on Ziggler. The pace is really picking up. Kane went for a
top-rope clothesline, but Ziggler moved
out of the way. Ziggler botched a Fameasser and got a two count out of it. Afterwards,
Kane tossed Langston outside the ring, and Bryan nailed Langston in the head
with a stiff knee. Ziggler nailed the Zig Zag and got a close near-fall out of
it. AJ Lee preoccupied the ref, as Kane dodged a briefcase shot and then gave
Ziggler a Chokelsam. Kane tagged in Bryan, and he hit the Flying Headbutt on
Ziggler. It was good enough to pick up the win.
Winners:
Team Hell No in 8:22
Analysis: The de ja vu spot was a nice play off of last
year’s Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan match, and it was actually very believable
near-fall. All four men worked hard, and thus got the rather silent crowd
engaged into it. Overall, it was a rock-solid, energetic match, with all four
men playing their specific roles well. I just wish they had more time and that Bryan
and Ziggler wrestled together longer. ** ¾
John Cena discussed Make-A-Wish and told us that we can donate $10 by texting 80088.

Chris
Jericho vs. Fandango
Fan-dan-go! started by
doing a little dancing, only to get suplexed by Jericho. Bret Hart thought his dancing was more entertaining than a HHH match. Out of
nowhere, Jericho Codebreaker. (By the way, every time I say out of nowhere, Don West screaming on top of his lungs comes to my mind. God, I miss that guy.) Fan-dan-go! fell out of the ring, though.
Jericho then followed up by giving him a dropkick. Back in the ring, Fan-dan-go! started to control the match, but Jericho came back by hitting a double
axehandle and then a Thesz Press. Bah, gawd. Jericho then nailed a cross body block to
pick up a two count. Fandango, however, threw Jericho shoulder first into the ring
post. Fan-dan-go! hit a neckbreaker, and then proceeded to hit his unique Leg Drop
off the top rope, getting a close near-fall. Jericho attempted the Walls of
Jericho, but Fan-dan-go! reversed it and then executed a clothesline. Fan-dan-go! went to the top again, but it was Jericho grabbed the top rope. Jericho went for a
superplex, but Fan-dan-go! countered by hitting a headbutt. Fan-dan-go! went for his top-leg drop, but Jericho moved out of the way. Things got messy when it appeared
Jericho was supposed to hit the Liontamer, but Fan-dan-go! was too close to the
ropes. Jericho tried to cover the botch up by going for the Walls of Jericho,
but Fan-dan-go! countered with a sloppy inside cradle to pick up the win.
Winner:
Fan….dan….go! in 9:11
Thoughts:  I forgot to breathe in the A’s, I think. Anyway, another decent match. There was a good amount of
back-and-forth action and counter-for-counter wrestling exchanges. Jericho’s
mission was to make Fandango look good, and he did a good job of doing so. Aside
from the sloppy finish, Fandango appeared to have some wrestling ability.
Jericho is so good at being able to adapt with anyone and have a watchable match
with them, though. 

The next night, Fandango received a huge babyface reaction,
but the WWE failed to capitalize on it. The thing is the character never really
pissed people off and people never took him seriously. It was just a whacky,
cheesy, goofy, but rather entertaining character. The fans told WWE this, but they did not want to listen. Now, he is receiving
little-to-no reaction at all. ** ½

Diddy performed, which made me hit
the fast-forward button. I like it when they use a music performer to sing
someone’s theme, but to give them their own mini-concert would be equal to
Diddy allowing wrestlers to wrestle at his concerts. I mean people order WM to see
wrestling, not an eight-minute concert. The time wasted here should have been used for the mid-carders that were short-changed.
World
Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio w/Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Jack Swagger
w/Zeb Colter
Zeb Colter cut a promo
on just about every nationality to get cheap heat. Del Rio started aggressively
at the start until Zeb Colter sidetracked him, which allowed Swagger get the
upper hand by throwing Rio into the post. Del Rio got a hope spot in by rolling
up Swagger for a two count but then got a big boot to the face from Swagger. Del
Rio made his comeback by using clotheslines, a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and
then a side kick for a two count. Swagger came back with a shoulder block to the
knee of Del Rio. Del Rio attempted an enziguiri, but Swagger ducked it. Swagger went
for the Swagger Bomb, but Del Rio countered and then hit a Backstabber for a
two. Del Rio tried to end it, but Swagger reversed it with a Gutwrench
Powerbomb for two. The work is solid but the crowd does not care. Swagger locked in the Patriot Lock, but Del Rio reversed it with
his Cross Armbreaker submission. Swagger countered back with the Patriot Lock. We Da People! Del
Rio managed to break the hold by kicking Swagger in the head. Colter put Swagger’s leg on the ropes
while Del Rio was pinning him. Rodriguez chased after Colter on his crutches, but Colter
ended kicking one of his crutches, which made Rodriguez fall to the ground. Honestly, I think Rodriguez and Cotler wrestling would have created more heat than this match. Del Rio was looking at what was going on outside the ring, which
allowed Swagger to attack him from behind. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Del Rio put in the
Cross Armbreaker, which made Swagger tap.
 Winner: Alberto Del Rio in 10:23
Analysis: Solid work, but
nothing remarkable. They had a rather decent scientific match that displayed some
quality mat-work, but the issue was that it just lacked emotion and intensity.
It  honestly felt like they were having an ordinary match, as it just lacked a sense of urgency and desperation and had no heat whatsoever. That could have been because the
feud was too complex for the fans to understand what it was all about. Or, because Del Rio and Jack Swagger’s characters are uninteresting. Or, because they
lacked a great deal of charisma in their particular roles. ** ½
 The
Undertaker vs. CM Punk w/Paul Heyman
Living Colour played Cult
of Personality” and received a big pop from the crowd. The Undertaker’s
entrance was somewhat weird. These goblins were trying to grab his feet but could not. Punk bitch slapped Undertaker in the face early on, only for Undertaker
to come back with a huge boot to the face. Outside the ring, Undertaker tossed
Punk into the security wall. He then threw Punk’s head right onto the announce
table and then into ring post. Undertaker executed a leg drop on the apron on
Punk’s throat. After, Punk took Taker down with an arm drag when Taker went for
Old School. Punk then hit the Old School Clothesline, and Punk dodged the Undertaker’s big boot, sending him knee first into the top turnbuckle. With Taker outside, Punk nailed a
double axehandle off the top to the floor and then inside the ring, he hit a
neckbreaker to get a two count. Undertaker attempted to mount a comeback via
punches, but Punk countered with a swinging neckbreaker for two. Punk went for
the top-rope Old School clothesline, but he was crotched on the top rope. Undertaker
punched Punk in the face, knocking him outside the ring. Undertaker tried
to dive outside the ring, but Heyman got on the apron, which allowed Punk to
attack with a top-rope clothesline.
Later, Punk went to the
top rope and hit the Flying Elbow, although the table did not break. Taker sneaked
into the ring before being counted out. Taker locked in the Hell’s Gate
submission, but Punk answered by rolling him up for two count. Punk locked in the
Anaconda Vice submission Undertaker, which led to a great visual when Undertaker
looked Punk sadistically into his eyes. Punk got out of the way of a Chokeslam
and hit the GTS. Undertaker bounced off the ropes and then hit a Tombstone,
only for two. Great spot. Punk hit a running knee in the corner, but  Undertaker caught him and went  for the Last Ride. Heyman gave Punk the urn,
and Punk nailed Taker in the back of the head. Punk only got a two, though.
Just an awesome exchange there. Punk went for the GTS, Undertaker countered and
hit the Tombstone Piledriver to for win. After the match, Taker walked off the urn that held Paul Bearer’s ashes.
Winner:
The Undertaker in 22:30
Thoughts:
This match was a perfect example of “it is not what you do, it is when and
why you do it”. Everything they did fit the context of the story they were
telling. Both men also had great body language, facial expressions, and
mannerisms, which helped elevate the match’s  drama and also helped transition the match to each different stage. They
also built the match off the audience’s reactions, had them in the palms of
their hands and sent them on a roller coaster ride.
Basically, CM Punk tried to defeat the Undertaker by using a
well-developed strategic plan. He did certain tactics to attempt to play mind games with the Undertaker (which is something that few little people have been able to pull off). Even though it
worked for a good portion of the match, it was not enough to defeat the
immortal Undertaker. 
Also, despite CM Punk going into the match with not a lot of momentum due to him losing four out of the five previous matches, both the Undertaker and CM Punk were able to fool a lot of people by making them believe that Punk had several chances of ending the streak. Just a terrific match. **** ½
No
Holds Barred: Brock Lesnar w/Paul Heyman vs. Triple H w/Shawn Michaels
They brawled right off
the bat, as HHH threw Lesnar into the security wall and then slammed him into the announce table. After, Lesnar
went after Triple H on the floor, but Hunter drilled Lesnar with a stiff
clothesline, which literally knocked Lesnar out. Lesnar had a chair in his
hands, but Triple H drilled him in the face with a knee. Outside, Lesnar drilled
a belly-to-belly suplex, and then Lesnar hit vertical suplex into a slam that
broke the Spanish announce table. After that, a lot of boring stuff happened. Brock Lesnar dominated Triple H forever. HBK tried to save his friend, but Brock Lesnar was having none of that, so he F-5’d HBK. Later
on, Lesnar drove HHH into the steps that were in the ring,but HHH applied the
Kimura Lock. He picked up HHH again and drilled him into steps. This time, Triple
H hung onto his head and drilled his head into the steps. Hunter hit Lesnar with a sledgehammer and then a Pedrigree onto the steps, picking up the win.
Winner: Triple H in 23:30 minutes
Thoughts:
They worked hard. They really did. The problem was nobody cared. The reason the fans did not care was because: (A) Not many people care about Triple H anymore. (B) They never believed he had a chance of losing. Or (C), the Undertaker and CM Punk match
burnt them out. Whatever the case may have been, the match just lacked that
“career on the line” atmosphere. The match also failed to top their brawl on
Raw, which was way more of a intense and bloody back-and-forth brawl, and most of all, I didn’t know who was going get the upper hand.
In my opinion, though, the biggest problem
with the match were the dynamics. Ass-kicker vs ass-kicker matches are
difficult to pull off, especially with WWE’s violence restrictions. I mean Lesnar is a good big man worker, but it is obvious that his
matches with bigger guys aren’t that impressive. His best matches come with
people who can bump like a fish in the water and take a beating (or at
least give off the illusion that they are taking a bad one). Triple H has been known to
take a good beating in the past, but due how fragile his body has become, he can hardly bump
anymore. So, basically, he was not the right size, character, and he could not take enough sick bumps in order to mesh with Lesnar. ** 3/4
A commercial for The
Rock’s next movie, Pain & Gain, is shown. There were clips from the Hall of
Fame ceremony too. Then Hall of Famers were on the stage.
.
WWE
Championship: The Rock vs. John Cena
Rock avoided a  Five Knuckle Shuffle and then hit a DDT. The Rock went for a Rock Bottom, but Cena countered with a Crossface. Rock countered it with a pinfall
attempt but only got two. Cena hits the spinning slam and then the Five Knuckle
Shuffle. Rock wiggled his way out of the Attitude Adjustment and then delivered a
Spinebuster. Cena locked in a the STF, but the Rock got out of it. Rock then hit a
Rock Bottom in for two. Then Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment for a count. Selling, no? Okay.
Cena went to the top
rope but missed a leg drop. The Rock connected with  Spinebuster and then the People’s
Elbow for a two count. Cena caught Rock in his arms and then went for the
Attitude Adjustment, but Rock hit the Rock Bottom for another two count. Again, really? Rock
wanted another People’s Elbow, but Cena reversed it with an Attitude Adjustment
for two. This is becoming stupid. They exchanged punches, and then Cena hit a Rock Bottom for a two
count. This is like a Davery Richards match on crack. Cena went for the People’s elbow; you
know, the same move that made him lose their previous match. Nice psychology….not. He then went
for the Attitude Adjustment, but Rock countered into Rock Bottom for two. Do they even have finishers anymore? Jesus. They
exchanged finishing move attempts again a few times, but neither guy could hit.
Rock hit a DDT. Rock went for a Rock Bottom, Cena slipped out, and hit the Attitude
Adjustment, which was enough to win the WWE Championship. It’s finally over! After the match,
they shook hands. Respect is earned! 
Winner
and new WWE Champion: John Cena in 20:23 minutes
Thoughts:
This match lacked psychology, any sort of strategy by either man, a story to follow, and rarely did either John Cena or the Rock played off their previous match at all. There
was no transitional period that elevated the match into the finisher galore stage of the match either. During the beginning, they should have worked over a body part or told some
sort of story. Instead, they used a cheap method to get the fans invested into the match. Trading finisher after finisher just devalued the credibility of their finishers, and it was a very lazy way to put together the supposed biggest match of the year. And, unlike CM Punk and Undertaker, Cena’s victory was never in doubt. I might get some heat for this rating, but I do not care. I
did not enjoy this match at all. * ½
Final
Thoughts:
The mid-carders on the show were evidently held down, so their matches would not
overshadow the main events. That would have been fine had the main events
delivered. However, a show should never rely on one or two matches, because this is what could happen. 

In addition, the crowd
was ready to go home after Undertaker’s epic match yet again. I’ve always believed that a title match should go on last, but I think the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania matches have become an exception to the rule. If Taker loses, the streak is
over, whereas wrestlers lose and then win back the title all the time.

Thumbs
in the middle, leaning down.

The SmarK Rant for WWE Wrestlemania XXVIII

The SmarK Rant for WWE Wrestlemania XXVIII Live from Miami, FL Your hosts are Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler Opening match, World title: Daniel Bryan v. Sheamus Well we knew that one of the World titles would be opening the show. Kind of a heel reaction for Sheamus for some reason. And then he hits Bryan with the Brogue Kick and pins him to win the title at 0:15. What the FUCK? The crowd is not terribly pleased about that. I was looking forward to seeing that match. Why even bother having it on the show? Unless they think that this was Bryan’s Honky Tonk Man moment where the heel finally gets his comeuppance, but people LIKE Bryan. Meanwhile, Team Johnny and their dorky t-shirts rally around Johnny Ace, in his Col Robert Parker suit. Kane v. Randy Orton Orton hammers away in the corner, but Kane EMBRACES THE HATE and fires back. Orton stomps him down and tries the draping DDT, but Kane drops him on the top rope and boots him down to take over. Seated dropkick gets two. Chinlock, but Orton slugs out until Kane boots him down for two. Sideslam gets two and Kane goes back to the chinlock. Orton with a neckbreaker for two and the crowd is dead silent. Can’t blame them. Delayed suplex gets two. And it’s ANOTHER chinlock. They couldn’t have made this one the 15 second win by the babyface? Orton flips out of the chinlock and gets the backbreaker, and the powerslam. Draping DDT (which Cole calls a bulldog, faceplant and DDT in succession) sets up the RKO, but Kane counters with a boot for two. Kane to the top, but Orton catches him with a dropkick coming down. Kane dodges the punt and chokeslams him for two. Kane gets upset and pounds away in the corner, but Orton dropkicks the knee and they fight to the top. Kane brings him down with a chokeslam and pins him at 11:00. Seriously? What is the point of Kane going over here? So that we’re gonna have to watch this shitty match AGAIN, but with stipulations? I mean, I’m no Randy Orton booster, but he’s been doing WAY too many jobs. This was slow and plodding and just never got going, and Randy didn’t even get to do the RKO so you KNOW they have to have a million rematches until he does. *1/2 And Kane has been on a rampage of sucky matches since his return. EMBRACE THE CRAP! Meanwhile, Santino and Mick Foley help plug the Deadliest Catch and eat crab. Shouldn’t Santino be getting ready for his match? Intercontinental title: Cody Rhodes v. Big Show Cody runs away to start and tries a dive, but Show catches him and tosses him back in. Show pounds away and gives him a stinkface in the corner, but Cody dropkicks the knee and elbows him down for two. Cody goes to work on the knee, but Show swats him down and makes the comeback. Cody goes up to escape and Show sends him to the floor, but Cody comes back in with the disaster kick. Another one is countered with a badly timed spear, and Show knocks him out and pins him at 5:18 to win the title. Another nothing match. ** Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos v. Beth Phoenix & Eve Kelly gets a rana on Eve for two, but a handspring elbow hits knee. Eve goes up and Kelly brings her down, giving us a double stinkface from the babyfaces. Maria’s makeup actually rubs off on Maria’s white pants, which prompts my wife to exclaim “What the hell is that on her ass?” and thus I have to stop and explain the mechanics of the stinkface to someone who doesn’t watch wrestling. That whole conversation is much more interesting than the match, as Maria plays celebrity-in-peril through a series of bearhugs by the heels, but Maria kicks Eve out of the ring to block the rumpshaking moonsault. Yeah, I can’t believe what I’m forced to type some days either. Kelly gets the hot tag and does her spinning headscissors on Beth, into a somersault senton for two. Huh. Beth comes back with the Glam Slam, but Kelly reverses it into a bulldog. Maria tags in again despite her injuries, and Beth collides with Eve and gets pinned at 6:50. Best match of the show thus far. Not really a compliment to the show, but whatever. **1/4 Hell In A Cell: Undertaker v. HHH Rather subdued entrance for COOHHH tonight, although the cell gets its own entrance music. Seriously. I’m surprised Undertaker’s new Mohawk didn’t get its own entrance, too. By the way, despite the pictures circulating before the show that made it look like a big black cage or something, it’s just the standard mesh cell. JR joins us for commentary, thank god. They throw hands in the corner and head to the floor, and HHH meets the stairs as Michael Cole brings up Jimmy Snuka as the first victim of the streak. Well, since he brought it up, how can I not mention that Snuka has a daughter named Tamina Snuka? They slug it out on the floor as the announcers keep talking about how it’s the END OF AN ERA, an era that we’ll never return to. What are they talking about? Anyway, back in the ring, Taker works the arm and goes old school. Back to the floor, and the stairs get pulled apart, leading to the guillotine on the apron by UT. HHH responds with a DDT and rams Undertaker into the stairs a few times, but can’t get a Pedigree on them, as Taker backdrops him off. HHH comes back with a spinebuster onto the stairs, and THAT had to hurt. He stupidly comes in blind, though, and Taker catches him in the gogoplata again. HHH quickly counters out with a slam for two. And now the chairs get involved, as HHH pummels him with one and runs him into the stairs. HHH lays in another beating with the chair, just destroying the back until even Shawn is offended. The crowd gets pretty uncomfortable as HHH just keeps pounding him with the chair, but of course Undertaker won’t quit. Finally HHH covers and gets two. More from the chair and Undertaker still won’t stay down, so HHH retrieves his trusty sledgehammer while he tells Shawn to stop the match or else. Undertaker won’t quit, so HHH levels him with the hammer for two. He goes to BASH UNDERTAKER’S SKULL IN, but Shawn finally grabs it from Hunter to save. Shawn is once again tempted to ring the bell, but Undertaker grabs him and puts him out with the gogoplata to prevent it. Well that’s one way. HHH breaks it up with the sledgehammer, but Undertaker kicks him in the nuts and locks in the gogoplata. HHH grabs the hammer like last year, but Taker chokes him out completely with Shawn Michaels also out cold. This brings Charles Robinson running out like a madman, because Shawn is ONE OF HIS PEOPLE now, and the chokeslam gets two. It’s ingrained into referees to run down whenever another striped shirt is in jeopardy. Taker takes out his problems on Robinson, chokeslamming him, but Shawn superkicks Undertaker, and KICK WHAM PEDIGREE gets two. THE SECRET PLAN! What an awesome near fall. The crowd agrees and chants about how awesome it is. HHH gets rid of Shawn again, but Undertaker sits up and he’s FUCKING PISSED. He beats the shit out of HHH and hits Snake Eyes and the big boot and legdrop, but the tombstone only gets two. Also an awesome near-fall. Shawn is nearly rocking in the corner like an emotional wreck. You have to love that. They slug it out from the mat and just keep firing away, but HHH gets another Pedigree for two. Undertaker recovers first while HHH crawls for the hammer, but Undertaker gets the chair. And steps on the hammer. Uh oh. HHH gets MAULED by the chair until Shawn finally steps in as the voice of reason, but Undertaker gives HHH one more shot and gets two. Well the chair was broken anyway. HHH gets the hammer again but he’s not really in much condition to use it, and now Undertaker is the one telling him to stay down. HHH takes one last swing, and Undertaker shrugs him off and takes the hammer like it’s a toy. HHH crotch chops him in response, so Undertaker lays him out with the hammer, pulls him up, and the tombstone finishes at 30:45. And there’s your second ***** match for the weekend. Just an amazing performance from both, as they just beat the shit out of each other and let it all hang out. I literally don’t think they could have produced a more perfect match given the guys involved, unless there had been blood or something. Shawn and Undertaker mend their fences afterwards, and everyone goes out together, because they’re real men who settled their differences like men, and now they respect each other again. That is what wrestling is supposed to be. Just fantastic. The Hall of Fame group is introduced, and yeah, Ric Flair is there. Edge with short hair is just wrong. Meanwhile, Heath Slater bugs Flo Rida and gets beat up as a result. Team Johnny (The Miz, Mark Henry, Drew McIntyre, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, David Otunga) v. Team Teddy (Kofi Kingston, The Great Khali, R-Truth, Zack Ryder, Booker T, Santino) As feared, everyone is wearing t-shirts and they don’t even get separate entrances, as each side uses the theme song of the GM. It just makes everyone look like such nerds. Kofi with a crossbody on Dolph for two, and Truth comes in for the double-team for two. Drew is in and he gets dominated by the faces and chopped down by Khali. Booker chops him in the corner and gets a sideslam for two, and he goes after the heels on the apron and gets laid out as a result. Swagger (who has new, non-American themed tights) comes in with a chinlock, and clotheslines Booker for two. Over to Henry, who pounds Booker down as the crowd is DEAD. Miz continues the beating to dead silence and Dolph drops an elbow for two. Miz comes in with his own chinlock as it just gets deader and deader and the crowd is literally silent. Finally Khali comes in with the big chop and they start randomly doing the wacky finisher spots, leading up to the babyfaces doing a triple dive onto the heels. The chicks get into a random catfight and we’ve got Santino and Miz left in the ring. Flying headbutt sets up the Cobra for two. Over to Zack and Dolph takes a crazy bump off a monkey flip. And of course Eve comes in and screws him over, allowing Miz to hit the stroke at 10:44 to give Johnny Ace both shows. Really, eleven minutes for that finish? Ryder’s getting pinned by Miz now, he might as well hang up his tights. And Eve turns on him formally afterwards and kicks him in the junk, as I guess we’re supposed to be shocked that heel Eve would do something bad to Zack. What a boring load of shit this whole thing was. You’d think it would be a bunch of comedy spots or crazy brawling or something, but no, just a super-dull tag match with the heat on Booker the whole time. DUD So yeah, to recap, Zack gets no revenge, gets pinned by Miz to lose the match, and Eve kicks him in the nuts to dump him. Great night for him. Meanwhile, Big Johnny waives the DQ rule in the WWE title match, just to mess with CM Punk. WWE title: CM Punk v. Chris Jericho They’ve certainly got a lot of time to save this show. They take it to the mat to start and Punk hits him with crossfaces and stomps him in the corner. They’re basically wearing matching outfits tonight, which is either a fashion faux pas or Jericho trying to play mindgames. Punk keeps pounding him in the corner and flirting with a DQ, so Jericho eggs him on with a comment about his dad and Punk pounds him with elbows. To the top, but Jericho rolls out to escape, so Punk hits him with a flying clothesline to the floor instead. Jericho: “How’s your SISTER?” So Punk grabs a chair and Jericho flings insults, hoping for the DQ, but Punk just spinkicks him instead, and Jericho regroups with a dropkick to take over. They head to the apron and Jericho clotheslines him back into the ring and then suplexes him to the floor. Now there’s a spot you don’t see often, for good reason. Back in, Jericho gets two. Backbreaker gets two. We hit the chinlock, and another backbreaker gets two. Senton gets two. Punk fights back and goes up, but Jericho yanks him down hard on the back of his head and gets two. Jericho goes to the surfboard and Punk escapes with the mule kick. This thing just isn’t clicking at all and the crowd, as usual tonight, is dead silent. Punk comes back with the leg lariat and neckbreaker for two. Jericho blocks the bulldog and tries the Lionsault, but Punk gets the knees up, so Jericho goes for the Walls, and Punk escapes that. High kick gets two. Punk goes up with the flying elbow, but he takes forever and Jericho gets his knees up and then hits the Codebreaker. Punk flies out of the ring on the sell, but he waits for Jericho to throw him back in and then hits a GTS out of nowhere. That gets two. Punk comes back with a powerslam for two. They trade back elbows and Jericho suplexes Punk onto the top rope and hits the Lionsault for two. “Not often you see someone kick out of the Lionsault” notes Cole. Except for every opponent of Chris Jericho, ever. They head up and Punk tries a rana, but Jericho hangs on and gets the Walls off that. Cool spot there. Punk quickly makes the ropes, and dumps a charging Jericho. This leads to Punk hitting a high knee that rams Jericho’s head into the post, and they head back in…where Punk springboards right into a Codebreaker. That gets two. Jericho stops to talk some trash and Punk tries the GTS, but Jericho elbows out and goes to the top, so Punk brings him down with a GTS…that Jericho counters into the Walls. Or rather, the Liontamer, but Punk fights out and cradles for two. Jericho reverses for two, so Punk turns THAT into the Anaconda Vice. Jericho rolls him over for two, but Punk hangs on until Jericho knees him in the head repeatedly to break. Back to the Walls, but Punk kicks him in the face and hooks the Vice again, moves out of the way of the knees, and Jericho taps at 22:18. Man, they took their sweet time getting into gear, but it ended up a near-classic with crazy drama and submission reversals. Unfortunately that beginning just dragged it down too far to fully recover from. ***1/2 Brodus Clay comes out and calls his mama. This leads to a big group dance number with dancers dressed as Brodus Clay’s mama. And this leads to nothing, as I guess they had too much time to use up and just needed the stupidest fucking thing possible. John Cena v. The Rock And after all those weeks of trying for the 50/50 reaction, John Cena gets booed out of the building. Team Edward and Team Jacob indeed. Although Twilight is so 2 years ago; kids killing each other in dystopian arenas is what all the pre-teens are into these days. Even with MGK doing his pre-entrance musical interlude. My god, who would boo Machine Gun Kelly? No friend of mine, that’s who. The Rock is looking JACKED tonight. Cena wins the epic lockup battle to start, but Rock wins the second try. Rock with the headlock and armdrags, into the majastral cradle for two. No ring rust there. Cena gets his own headlock, but Rock slugs him down and tries the Sharpshooter, so Cena bails. Back in, Cena hits a shoulderblock in the corner and lays Rock out with a clothesline, but it only gets one. Rock slugs away, but Cena dumps him and sends him into the table. Back in, Cena gets two and starts to wrestle quite heelish, stomping the ribs to set up a belly to belly suplex for two. Cena with the bearhug, but Rock slugs out of it and gets the DDT for two. Cena pounds the ribs in the corner, but Rock comes back with a clothesline and spinebuster…but Cena breaks up the People’s Elbow with an STF attempt. Rock escapes, so Cena gets the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM, with a smile on his face during the Five Knuckle Shuffle. FU is escaped and they clothesline each other, but Rock is up first and it’s the slugfest. Rock stops to talk the trash, and Cena hits the FU for two. Rock pops up with Rock Bottom for two. Rock lays the smackdown in the corner, but Cena gets a sideslam for two. He goes up and gets the guillotine for two, as Rock took forever getting into position. Another FU is blocked, and Rock takes him down with the Scorpion King Deathlock, and he still can’t do it properly. Cena makes the ropes regardless, so Rock pulls him back and applies it again, and Cena gets the ropes again and bails to the apron. They brawl on the floor and Cena meets the stairs. Back in, Cena suddenly gets the STF and pulls Rock into the center to thunderous boos. Rock is the most awesome actor in the world because he actually makes it look like the move is painful and causing him to block out. That’s Oscar-caliber right there. And we go OLD SCHOOL, as the ref checks the arm, but Rock is up on the third drop. And he makes the ropes. Cena charges and walks into a samoan drop, and it’s the double KO spot. Rock is up first and slugs away, but Cena fires back into the ribs…and it’s SPINEBUSTER AND PEOPLE’S ELBOW. For two. Cena with a small package for two. The crowd goes crazy with duelling chants and Cena catapults Rock into the corner for two. Cena puts him on the top, but Rock sends him down again and goes AERIAL with the high cross, but Cena rolls through with the FU for two. Cena’s at a loss now and does a People’s Elbow for the hell of it, and ROCK BOTTOM finishes his ass at 30:38. Thank god they changed the finish. ****1/2 Rock was a bit gassed, but he just went 30 minutes after being retired for years, can you blame him? Other than that, tremendously epic stuff that delivered exactly what was promised. The Pulse I’m pretty sure 90% of the people buying this show were doing it for Rock/Cena and HHH/Undertaker, and both matches delivered tremendously, so that’s a thumbs up show from me. I just wish that something else had turned into a show-stealing classic to really elevate this thing to the upper tier of Wrestlemanias, but sadly nothing did and in fact a couple were really horrible from a quality and booking standpoint. Still, HHH v. Undertaker is well worth your $65 and I left happy that I bought the show.

Wrestlemania XXVIII

Wrestlemania XXVIII
Date: April 1, 2012
Location: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida
Attendance: 78,363
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler
America the Beautiful: Lillian Garcia

As I wrote out that title, I almost started shaking. Today is Wrestlemania Sunday. In less than two and a half hours, the show is going to begin. This is the day that we as fans wait for all year long. Everything ends tonight and at the same time, everything begins. You all know the card by now, but for those who might forget, the main event is John Cena vs. The Rock, Once In A Lifetime (until ratings go down and we need a rematch). Let’s get to it.

First up we’ve got a pre-show match as a bonus.

Tag Titles: Justin Gabriel/Tyson Kidd vs. Primo/Epico vs. Usos

Primo/Epico have the titles and have beaten the Usos about five times already. Kidd and Gabriel are teaming for the first time after Kidd asked Gabriel if he wanted to be a team. Gabriel said yes, and apparently that qualifies you as deserving a title match. New tights for the Usos here. Josh and Striker are doing commentary for this match. This is under WCW rules as in three in the ring at once, but in a twist you can only tag your own partner.

Jey, Tyson and Primo start things off. Primo is sent to the floor and Tyson gets two off a sunset flip. Primo comes back in with a missile dropkick as Jey gets beaten down. Kidd makes the save but gets DDTed for two. Primo loads up a superplex on Jey but Tyson springboards up to make it a Tower of Doom in a cool twist on the traditional spot there. Tags bring in Epico and Jimmy but I think Kidd is still legal for his team.

Jimmy comes out of the corner with a spinning cross body and a Bubba Bomb for two. Tag to Gabriel who jumps over Jimmy but walks into a Samoan attack. Back to Jey who hits an assisted Samoan Drop. Jimmy tags in quickly for a double Rikishi attack to Epico and Gabriel. Epico gets dropped onto Primo so Jey can hit a HUGE dive onto both of them.

Kidd pops up on the apron but Jimmy launches him to Jey for a Samoan Drop. Gabriel sets for a top rope Asai Moonsault and hits it on his second attempt. Better safe than sorry on that spot. He tries the springboard 450 but (mostly) hits knees. Backstabber by Epico pins Jey at 5:05.

Rating: B-. Really fun opener here with the six smaller guys being thrown out there to fire up the crowd. That’s what cruiserweights and hot Latin women that can shake their hips were made for so you can’t ask for much more than that. I’m a big Uso fan so seeing them on Wrestlemania was a cool thing to see. Very good start to the night.

Lillian opens us with America the Beautiful. She even sings the second verse.

The opening video is about how this is the beginning, which includes a set of clips of the beginning of a lot of guys’ careers, including some shots of Cena in OVW. We also get some shots of the main guys’ careers. It’s the four in the main events only, which makes sense.

Smackdown World Title: Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan

Makes sense. Might as well make this the most worthless world title match in company history given the build for it so far. Cole and Lawler are calling this alone. Bryan has his robe here and AJ is looking GREAT. We get the kiss to start and Brogue Kick and it’s over in 8 seconds. I kid you not it was that fast.

We have 7 matches left and almost four hours to go. Each match could conceivably get 20 minutes each.

Miz fires up Team Johnny in the back. They don’t seem to care until Otunga comes in to introduce Johnny in a white suit. He says this is going to be a night in the ranks of Hogan slamming Andre and Austin refusing to submit to Bret.

Win a trip to Wrestlemania 29.

Kane vs. Randy Orton

This is over Kane shaking Randy’s hand last year and hating himself for it. I can’t imagine this feud isn’t going to continue after this. Seeing Kane in daylight in the welder’s mask makes him look pretty ridiculous. Kane takes him into the corner to start as I think the fans are chanting for Orton. Well it’s longer than the previous match at least. Orton escapes a chokeslam and stomps on the foot/ankle.

Elevated DDT (called a bulldog by that idiot Cole) is countered and Kane drapes him over the top rope for a big boot. This is Kane’s 14th Mania which has to be up there on the all time list. Kane takes him down and it’s off to a chinlock. Orton fights up with punches but runs into the uppercut for two. Side slam gets two. Kane again stops Orton’s comeback and hits a vertical suplex for two.

A headbutt slows Kane down and Orton spins out of another side slam via a backflip. Orton’s backbreaker puts Kane down but his clotheslines don’t do much. There’s the powerslam and Kane’s shoulder goes into the post. Kane comes back and goes up but his clothesline is countered by a dropkick in a cool spot. Orton loads up the Punt but runs into the chokeslam for two. Kane is frustrated so he does an Undertaker situp.

He pounds Orton down in the corner but Randy comes back with a right of his own. RKO is countered but Orton kicks the knee out again. Randy charges into an elbow and Kane goes up but there’s Orton again. Orton pounds him down on the ropes and goes up with him. He loads up something but Kane grabs him by the throat and gets the pin with a super chokeslam at 10:55.

Rating: B-. This was my upset pick and I wasn’t disappointed. That ending was pretty cool too as it looked great. Orton usually brings it at Wrestlemania and this was no exception as he got a decent match out of Kane. I’m likely overrating it but this is a match I’ve wanted to see for years.

Santino is with a captain from the show Deadliest Catch. They’re having I think king crabs and Mick Foley is with them. He puts on a yellow hat and talks like a pirate but the captain tells him no one talks like that. There are Socko and The Cobra and they attack the crabs. Ron Simmons comes in and you know the rest.

The National Guard is awesome.

Intercontinental Title: Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes

The idea here is that Big Show can’t win at Wrestlemania and Cody has made fun of him for it. Cody immediately bails to the floor and Show goes after him. Cody has red trunks tonight. He dives onto Show on the floor and is tossed back in via a SCARY show of strength. Show destroys Cody with chops and gives him a Stink Face. Cody goes after the knee to get Big Show down which is smart.

Show is down on the mat now as Cody shouts about how this is his moment. He hooks a standing leg lock and Show is in some trouble. He starts to get up but Cody drapes the arm across the top rope to slow him down. Disaster Kick (I guess it’s no longer Beautiful) staggers Show but a second attempt results in a spear. WMD gives Show the title at 5:23.

Rating: D+. I wasn’t wild on this but it’s a good way to get the title off Rhodes. That being said, I don’t buy the whole “Show gets his moment” deal at all. He was in the main event before, so how exactly is winning the IC Title in about 5 minutes a bigger deal? Doesn’t work for me at all, but this should be enough for Cody to move up the ladder.

Show cries post match and kisses I’m assuming his wife.

Video on what it means to be a Diva. This would be better used with the sound off.

Maria Menounos/Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix/Eve Torres

This is a REALLY risky move as the other four matches are Punk vs. Jericho, the Cell, the main event and the Battle of the GM’s. That’s a stacked final four matches and I’d be worried about them overcrowding the second half of the show. We get the video of the evil ones invading Extra. Maria arguing back at them is still horribly bad. She has a legit case of bad ribs due to Dancing With The Stars, plus stress fractures in her feet.

The sun has gone down now and the stadium looks awesome. Eve and Kelly start things off. Kelly charges into a boot in the corner but the moonsault results in her getting crotched. Here’s Maria and it’s a double Stink Face. Beth kicks her in the bad ribs and Eve goes with a bodyscissors. Maria fires off some decent elbows as the fans chant for her to tap. Beth comes in with a modified bearhug but Maria fights out and tags Kelly.

The annoying screaming blonde does her usual stuff but adds a Molly Go Round for two as Eve saves. Glam Slam is countered into a bulldog and there’s the tag to Maria. She….goes up and this isn’t going to end well. Beth drills her and sets for a gorilla press, but Kelly gets her down and shoves Beth into Eve so Maria can get the rollup pin at 6:54.

Rating: C+. You know, given the amount of injuries to Maria, this was really impressive. That girl legit tries out there every time and you can’t ask for more than anything than that. Decent match and the Kelly flip dive wasn’t bad. When Kelly is the worst worker in a match that involves a celebrity, you know there’s a problem.

Shawn says this match is the end of an era. If HHH loses, it’s the end of the Game. Shawn thinks it’s ironic that he can end an era.

New attendance record: 78,363.

JR is here to call the rest of the show. Is that a beard on him?

The Undertaker vs. HHH

Well this is quite the first hour main event. It’s 8:03 and we’ve got four matches left, which means this and Rock vs. Cena are going to need to be about 35 minutes each. They can do it but that would be a lot. This is billed as The End of an Era, but I don’t know what HHH is exactly putting up. If he loses, it’s the same thing as last year. This is inside Hell in a Cell and Shawn Michaels is guest referee.

No buildup package so I’ll help you out here. Taker beat HHH last year but had to be carried out, so he asked for a rematch. HHH didn’t want to do it so Taker played the “Shawn is better than you” card to get him to say yes. The rest of it was a lot of ego stroking and here we are. HHH’s big entrance this year is him coming out of something that looks like Vader’s old helmet with spikes on it.

Shawn’s shirt isn’t tucked in. It’s Wrestlemania and he’s that sloppy? I think we need a new icon. Taker’s robe looks like it has muscles painted onto it. Or does it look Japanese? These entrances still give me chills, even if he’s bald under there. We get lightning, thunder and smoke as always. His head isn’t completely bald but it’s close enough. It’s almost a mowhawk with hair on the side of it if that makes sense. That look kind of works on him actually.

The Cell is lowered to Memory Remains by Metallica. Slugout to start and JR calls Taker’s punches carcinogenic. HHH comes back so Taker throws him into the corner. The haircut is attributed to HHH not giving him a rematch immediately. Ok then. Out to the floor and Taker goes into the Cell. Now HHH goes into it and is backdropped. This appears to be the taller model with the very little space between the cage and the ring.

Taker pounds on him and chokes on the floor. Shawn tries to break up the choking but Taker knocks him away. Into the cage again as Taker has controlled so far. HHH goes into the steps and we go back inside. The Facebuster is no sold and Taker clotheslines him down. Old School connects and HHH is down. Back to the floor and Taker rams the steps into the Game’s face.

The steps are placed in the ring and Taker this the legdrop (loathsome according to JR) on the apron. Back in HHH grabs a DDT from out of nowhere to put both guys down. HHH rams Taker’s head into the steps three times and tries a Pedigree on the steps which is countered into a backdrop. Taker charges into a spinebuster onto the steps but he manages to grab the Hell’s Gate which won the match last year. In a REALLY impressive counter, HHH picks him up into a powerbomb for two.

We’re ten minutes into this and it feels like we’re only in the beginning. Here are two chairs from HHH and one goes into Taker’s ribs and back. The steps are set up in the corner and Taker gets whipped into them. HHH throws them out of the ring and there’s another chair to the back of Undertaker. The Game goes Stone Cold with the chair and Shawn tries to stop him but can’t.

Shawn finally throws the chair out and HHH says if Shawn wants it to end, then end it. HHH grabs the other chair and shoves Shawn down to beat on Taker some more. That must be about 20 shots with it so far. Taker specifically says not to stop it when Shawn asks. Taker gets up and a shot to the ribs and back puts him right back down, getting two. HHH heads to the floor and there’s the sledgehammer.

HHH says he doesn’t care as he’s basically turning heel mid match. He keeps telling Shawn to end it but Taker keeps saying no when Shawn asks to end it. Sledgehammer to the face gets two. There appears to be some blood over HHH’s eye and oh yes there is. It’s not bad but it’s certainly there. HHH sets for a BIG shot to Taker’s prone head but Shawn stops it and throws the hammer to the floor.

HHH keeps shouting at Shawn to end it because Taker is done. Shawn pulls his finger up to end it but can’t do it. He looks at Taker and thinks about doing it again but still can’t do it. Now he looks at Taker again…and Taker puts Shawn in the Hell’s Gate! HHH hits Taker in the head with the hammer but Shawn is down now. HHH sets for a big hammer shot but Taker kicks him low and puts the Hell’s Gate on again.

There’s no Shawn and HHH drops the hammer. HHH tries the powerbomb counter but can’t do it. He grabs the hammer again but passes out. No wait he’s back up. Taker’s face is a meme in waiting. Shawn is still down and Taker has to let the hold go due to exhaustion. Both guys are out. Here’s Charles Robinson who unlocks the cage to a ton of booing. Chokeslam to HHH gets two. Robinson gets a chokeslam for the count. Eh you knew it was going to be Shawn to count the fall so that’s no shock.

The fans think this is awesome and they would be correct. Shawn kicks Taker into the Pedigree but it gets a VERY close two. I really thought that was it. That didn’t happen at all last year which makes this even better than last year. Shawn is distraught that he almost counted the fall after interfering. HHH has the hammer again and he throws Shawn to the floor. The Game goes after Taker with the hammer but Taker sits up, making HHH fall down in fear.

Here’s the Big Dead Comeback with all of his old favorites. Snake Eyes into the big boot is followed by a legdrop. Tombstone plants HHH but only gets two. Not even a close two either. Shawn looks like he’s about to cry in the corner. They slug it out from their knees to their feet and HHH Pedigrees him out of nowhere for two. It wasn’t a great one so it’s a bit more believable. Taker sits up again and grabs a chair. HHH has the hammer but Taker steps on it. Now HHH takes the beating with the chair and the chair is bent. All of the shots only get two though.

Shawn yells at both of them to let it end already. HHH tries to grab Shawn to pull himself up and gets the hammer. Taker can’t follow up and HHH is in agony. He tries a hammer shot but Taker blocks it due to HHH’s exhaustion. Now Taker has the hammer and HHH shoves him away. There’s a crotch chop so Taker hits him in the face with the hammer. Shawn turns his back on the match and the hammer is thrown to the floor. There go the straps and the throat slit sets up the tombstone for the pin at 30:53.

Rating: A+. I liked this a lot better than last year’s. Of the four matches these three have combined for, I’d put this at second best after HBK vs. Taker I, which is pretty high praise. Great match with some great drama and there were actual moments here where I thought the Streak was over, namely the DX Special finisher. Shawn added something here, but I don’t think it was as epic as they were shooting for. The Cell wasn’t a huge factor but it did add something to it as far as a visual goes. Great match and I loved it.

Shawn pulls Taker to his feet post match. Both of them help HHH to the back in a cool visual.

Hall of Fame video. It’s cool to see Flair up there.

Here are the Hall of Fame inductees. The Fink does the intros which is good. That man belongs at Wrestlemania. Tyson does a crotch chop of course. Edge is on the stage and gets his theme music played. No one says anything but it’s cool to see Flair there. Note that I said there and not in the ring.

Win a trip to Wrestlemania 29!

Josh is about to talk to Flo Rida when Heath freaking Slater says interview him instead. Flo Rida comes out and Slater asks about a duet. That gets a no so Slater wants to be a DJ or backup dancer. Those both get a no. Flo Rida says Slater can hold his mic. Slater gets in his face and Flo Rida shoves him into a wall. Hawkins and Reks come in to laugh at Slater. Ok then.

Team Johnny vs. Team Teddy

Johnny: The Miz, Mark Henry, Drew McIntyre, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, David Otunga (captain)
Teddy: Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Booker T, Great Khali, Zack Ryder, Santino Marella (captain)

Otunga has his coffee cup with him too which is awesome. Vickie and Horny are flagbearers. The winning GM controls both shows. Eve is with Ryder. Aksana looks good in the Teddy shirt. Dolph and Kofi start things off and Dolph takes over. Kofi comes back with a top rope cross body for two and here’s Truth. Spinning legdrop gets two but Ziggler dropkicks him down.

Off to Drew who gets caught by the Lie Detector. Khali comes in and chops a bit before Booker gets the tag. Side slam gets two. JR is gone now. Otunga gets in a shot to Booker and Drew’s big boot allows him to tag Swagger. Why is swagger in aquamarine? He’s an ALL AMERICAN AMERICAN. Swagger takes him down and it’s time for Henry. He does absolutely nothing so it’s time for Miz.

Running knee lift gets two and it’s off to a chinlock. Back to Ziggy for a knee drop and then back to Miz. Booker finally gets some breathing room but Henry comes in for the World’s Strongest Slam. Khali chops Henry down and everything breaks down. Kofi/Truth hit double dropkicks to send the heels to the floor. For some reason they throw Horny onto Henry and then along with Ryder hit stereo dives to the floor. Aksana spears Vickie as the match is a mess.

Booker and Miz are down in the ring at the moment but there’s the tag to Santino. Santino does his usual stuff and the saluting headbutt from the top. Cobra is loaded up but he stops to go after Johnny. Cobra to Miz gets two as Dolph makes a VERY close save. Tag to Ryder who monkey flips Dolph and a neckbreaker takes down Miz. He loads up the Rough Ryder but Miz throws him onto Ziggler. He loads up the Broski Boot but Eve comes in for no apparent reason. The distraction lets Miz hit the Finale on Ryder for the pin at 10:42.

Rating: C. Was Otunga ever in the match? This was pretty much exactly what was expected with Eve screwing over the team “by mistake” and Johnny’s team winning. I don’t think anyone ever thought Team Teddy had a chance and even further ends the Brand Split, which is more or less dead already. No issues here for the most part.

Eve kicks Ryder in the balls post match and walks off with her hand on her hip.

Extreme Rules is in four weeks.

Alex Rodriguez and Torrie Wilson are here.

Video on what WWE has done for Miami.

Ace brags to Punk a bit about the win. If Punk gets disqualified, he loses the title. That sounds like the perfect setup for a rematch where Punk can’t get disqualified at Extreme Rules.

Raw World Title: Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk

If Punk, the champion, gets DQ’ed, he loses the title. We get a quick video recapping Punk’s rise up the roster and Jericho saying that Punk has addiction in his blood. They go to the mat quickly and Punk stomps away on him in the corner. Jericho slaps him as he’s trying to get disqualified. Punk stomps to four and then stops each time which is a nice touch. Jericho slaps him two more times and then hides. Punk dropkicks him in the corner and pounds on him to four again.

Jericho shouts about Punk’s father, earning him more elbows to the head. Punk loads up the Macho Elbow but Jericho rolls to the floor. Punk is cool with that and hits a top rope clothesline for two. Jericho asks about Punk’s sister which draws a chair from Punk but he won’t swing. A line about Punk’s sister being a drug addict doesn’t do it so Punk kicks him in the ribs instead. Punk throws the chair away and walks into a bottom rope dropkick (yes a bottom rope dropkick) to take the champion down.

Back elbow puts Punk on the outside. They go to the apron and Punk tries a GTS but the Canadian escapes and clotheslines Punk back in. Jericho suplexes him to the floor and it almost looked like a Jackhammer. Back inside that gets two. Butterfly backbreaker gets the same. Jericho is working on the back to set up the Walls. Off to a chinlock and then a kick to the back. Surfboard submission goes on so Punk jumps up into a dropkick to the gut in a nice counter.

Punk counters the bulldog by sending Jericho into the corner crotch first. CM makes his comeback with kicks and chops, plus a neckbreaker for two. Punk hits the knee in the corner but the bulldog is countered. Lionsault gets knees but Jericho counters into the Walls but that gets countered. Sweet sequence. High kick gets two and Chris is down. The Macho Elbow looks awkward as it looked like it hit but I think Jericho put his knees up, which doesn’t do much good for an elbow. That looked weird.

Codebreaker hits but Punk rolls out. Jericho throws him back in but walks into the GTS. Punk can’t cover immediately though and Jericho gets his foot on the rope. Another high kick misses but a powerslam gets two. We get a series of standing switches resulting in Jericho draping him over the top and hitting the Lionsault for two. Chris goes up and Punk tries a rana, but Jericho counters into the Walls in a sweet counter that I’ve seen him use before. Punk of course gets the rope but getting there was cool.

Jericho charges at him but Punk backdrops him to the floor. Punk is holding his back and Jericho stands in perfect position for the suicide dive from Punk. The fans are a little dead for some reason. I don’t get why as this has been a good match. In a SICK spot, Punk hits the running knee to the head of Jericho while it’s against the post.

Punk tries the springboard clothesline but jumps into the Codebreaker for two. That would have been back to back losses at Mania due to the springboard for Punk. Two GTS’s are countered and Jericho is getting frustrated. He goes up but Punk kicks him in the back. GTS is countered AGAIN, this time into the Liontamer and then the Walls. Punk crawls for the rope but Jericho drags him back into the middle.

The champ crawls through the legs into a small package and they reverse it a few times but Punk counters into the Vice which Jericho counters into a rollup for two but he can’t break the hold. Now Jericho knees him in the back of the head and FINALLY breaks the hold, countering into a Walls attempt. Punk counters THAT into the Vice and this time he leans his head forward so Jericho can’t knee him. Jericho is forced to tap at 22:23.

Rating: A. ANOTHER awesome match here. That finishing sequence was absolutely awesome with some SICK counters. I’m not sure if I’d call it a masterpiece or anything, but these two nailed it and it looked like Punk outsmarted Jericho using psychology he gained throughout the match, which is great stuff. Loved this and it’s another great match on a GREAT show so far.

Mania 29 will be in New Jersey.

FUNKASAURUS!!! AND HE’S TALKING!!! I don’t think most people care about him. He asks people to pull out their phones because they’re going to call their mamas. Brodus calls his mama and says he wishes she was there. His mama is here with the bridge club apparently. She was in the back….and he didn’t know it? She’s a woman with really weird hair and what has to be……oh my goodness the bridge club is all here to dance with her. There must be 20 old women out there dancing. I think I need a minute.

Go see G.I. Joe 2.

Clips of the Once in a Lifetime special to hype up the main event. If you don’t get the story here, go look it up.

Diddy introduces some rapper to sing one of the theme songs. The rapper defines an underdog who apparently is Cena in this. Uh….not quite but ok.

John Cena vs. The Rock

Writing that gave me a chill. Cena is booed but it’s not horrible. We get his traditional shot from the back as he runs to the ring. There’s a new green shirt too. Ok now he’s getting booed. There’s nothing really special to Cena’s entrance this year. Once Cena is in the ring Flo Rida does the other theme song to the show with a full set of backup dancers. Now some chick comes out to sing another song with him. Could the timing on this be worse?

Rock’s entrance really could have done without the dance troupe behind him and it made things look a bit less epic than they were going for. He looked like he was going in for a big fight though and that’s the important thing. We get a shot from above the stadium and it looks AWESOME. We get big match intros. This is really happening. Oh THERE are the boos for Cena. There are some cheers and it’s nowhere near MITB but it’s up there. Big pop for Rock as expected.

The bell rings at 10:24:42 after about a minute of staring. My heart is beating out of my chest as I can’t believe it’s finally here. They lock up and Cena shoves him off. He looks like he lost five pounds of air with the exhale after that. The dueling chants begin and it’s certainly not a one sided crowd. Rock shoves Cena off. That’s so Hogan (in a good way). They lock up again and Rock grabs a headlock.

They fight over a wristlock and Rock does Owen’s counter into a pair of armdrags and La Majistral for two. He did that at Survivor Series and Cena still looks stunned. Cena whips him in and gets perhaps the highest leapfrog I’ve ever seen into a headlock takeover. No one has an advantage of note after about four minutes. Rock lowers his head for Cena to kick him and Rock pops him with a right.

Cena charges and Rock tries a Sharpshooter, but John rolls to the floor. Rock catches Cena coming in but Cena sends him into the corner and hits some shoulders. Clothesline gets one and Rock gets to the rope. You know it occurs to me: Cena has an experience advantage here and a big one at that. He’s been in WWE going on ten years, whereas Rock was around less than seven in total, and that’s stretching A LOT.

Rock fires off some punches but misses a charge to send him to the floor. They’re starting slow but we have almost half an hour for the slow build. Rock gets dropped on the barricade and they go to the floor. Cena drops the ribs into the announce table and sits in the ring. Back in the ring and Cena is in control. Belly to belly gets two as he keeps working on the ribs. Now a bearhug which is a smart move. Cena’s power is often forgotten until the end of the match so this makes sense.

Rock fights out of it with punches and a DDT, but Cena fights back. Now Rock comes back with punches and the jumping clothesline. Spinebuster looks to set up the elbow but Cena picks the leg for an STF attempt. That gets countered so Cena comes back with the shoulders and ProtoBomb. The Shuffle hits but the AA is countered and they clothesline (kind of) each other.

They slug it out and Rock takes over with faster punches. He tries to do You Can’t See Me but Cena grabs the AA for two. NOW this is getting good, almost fifteen minutes into it. That’s not a bad thing mind you as it’s about what happens in every main event match. Cena might have a cut next to his nose but it’s not bad. Cena goes after Rock and gets caught in the Rock Bottom for two. Rock hammers him in the corner but walks into a side slam for two.

Cena goes up and takes forever, but manages to hit the top rope Fameasser for two. Out of nowhere Rock grabs the Sharpshooter and somehow it’s gotten even worse. We’re over twenty minutes into this and Rock is getting frustrated. Sharpshooter goes on again and he’s just pulling on the feet instead of wrapping his arm around them. They go to the floor as we’re over 20 minutes into this.

Cena goes into the steps and Rock is in full control so far. John goes into the steps again but as they come back in he sunset flips Rock (that boy can JUMP) but instead of covering he hooks the STF. The leg is bent in a freaky way. Rock almost gets the rope so Cena lets go and pulls back to the middle of the ring. Rock is starting to fade and he’s not very close to the rope. The referee takes forever to check the arm and it drops once. It drops twice, but on the third try Rock continues to channel Hogan (again awesome) to raise the arm. He FINALLY makes the rope and we’re not done yet.

We’re 24 minutes into this so it’s got to be running short on time. It’s 10:49 now so it can’t break forty minutes. Cena is tired but he walks into a Samoan Drop to put both guys down. They slug it out and both finishers are countered. Spinebuster puts Cena down and there goes the elbow pad. The People’s Elbow hits for two. Cena grabs a small package (easy big fella) for two. John grabs a slingshot to send Rock into the buckle and a rollup gets two.

Cena drives him to the corner and puts Rock up on the second rope. He looks like he’s setting for a superplex but Rock shoves him off. Rock looks very tired and I can’t blame him. It’s his first singles match in about 9 years and he’s going half an hour. Rock goes up top (huh?) and tries a cross body but Cena rolls throug and flips him onto his shoulders for the AA for TWO. I thought that might have been it. It’s 10:54 and they’ve gone thirty minutes now. John looks at his hand, takes off the wristband, and sets for the People’s Elbow but walks into the Rock Bottom for the pin at 30:40. WOW.

Rating: B+. I have no idea what the point of that is, but they did it. The match was never going to be able to live up to the hype and I don’t think it was going to ever be able to do so. I really don’t agree with the ending as there’s no incentive for a rematch now, Cena looks like he can’t beat a guy that’s been retired almost longer than he was active, and it does nothing for the guys sticking around. I don’t get it at all. Good match, close to great, not a masterpiece.

Rock poses to end the show.

Overall Rating: A+. This was an incredible show and one of the best Wrestlemanias I’ve ever seen. I was really worried about the pacing of the show for awhile but they pulled it off really well and it never dragged. There were multiple classics and that’s exactly what Wrestlemania is supposed to be. When the worst match is probably the Divas, that’s definitely a good sign.

As for the main event, it was indeed very good but I didn’t like the ending. Granted that’s two minutes after it so maybe that’ll change. I don’t hate it, but I don’t like it that well at the moment. Still though, it’s a very good match to end an amazing show and we’ll have to see where things go from here. Absolutely worth seeing though.

Results
Sheamus b. Daniel Bryan – Brogue Kick
Kane b. Randy Orton – Middle Rope Chokeslam
Big Show b. Cody Rhodes – WMD
Maria Menounous/Kelly Kelly b. Beth Phoenix/Eve Torres – Rollup to Beth
Undertaker b. HHH – Tombstone
Team Johnny b. Team Teddy – Skull Crushing Finale to Ryder
CM Punk b. Chris Jericho – Anaconda Vice
The Rock b. John Cena – Rock Bottom

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