The SmarK Rant for WWE Wrestlemania 30
Live on the WWE Network, from New Orleans, LA. I was watching on the PS3 tonight and the stream was 99% perfect, with only a couple of buffering issues and once or twice where something would repeat. Other than that, it looked HD quality, just like on PPV. For a four hour show I’m very impressed.
Your hosts are Michael Cole, JBL & Jerry Lawler
Hulk Hogan joins us to begin his hosting duties and he already botches his lines by calling it the Silverdome. Thankfully the crowd corrects him. And holy shit, here’s Steve Austin. And you can tell the crowd respects him because they do the “What” on cue and not otherwise. And then, because why not, it’s the Rock. Not that I’m complaining, but maybe advertising some of these might have been a good idea. How the hell is anyone supposed to follow this?! Even Rock scores off poor Hulk tonight by pointing out that they’re in the SUPERDOME. So Rock takes credit for electrifying the crowd so much that people give birth nine months after Wrestlemania. And with nothing really important said, they all drink beer and wrap it up. Spectacular.
Winner gets the title shot: HHH v. Daniel Bryan
HHH’s entrance, which is as noted by the King “like he stepped out of a Frank Frazetta painting”, is indeed quite the deal. HHH and Steph making goo-goo eyes at each other is wonderfully obnoxious as well. HHH offers a handshake, so Bryan kicks him down for two. HHH bails for some brand synergy advice from Steph, and back in he starts working on the bad arm. Bryan takes him down with a headlock as I ponder what the hell is up with Bryan’s furry Berzerker boots. HHH goes work in the corner and takes Bryan down with a legdrag, but they head to the floor and Bryan follows with a tornado DDT off the apron. And then adds a dive off the top because he’s kind of insane. Back in, Bryan goes up and gets crotched, and they head to the floor for a brawl on the announce table. NOT THE MOUNTAIN DEW! Bryan escapes a Pedigree there, but HHH goes back to the arm in the ring. HHH bails and Bryan tries another dive, but walks into a forearm. HHH hammerlock slams him on the apron in a nasty spot and Steph gets some quality trash-talk in. Back in, we get a crossface chickenwing, which turns into a crossface, but Bryan makes the ropes. Slugfest and Bryan comes back with a forearm, and a german suplex gets two. HHH goes back to the arm with a tiger suplex for two, and they head up and slug it out on top. Bryan with a sunset bomb and he comes back with the corner dropkicks, but walks into a massive lariat. Steph is just awesome at ringside as the cheering section. Bryan reverses the Pedigree for two and goes up for the flying headbutt, but lands on the knee and it’s crossface time again. Bryan is fading in the middle, but rolls him over for two and then reverses to the Yes-Lock. HHH makes the ropes, to the disgust of the crowd. Bryan hits him with the suicide dive, but HHH won’t stay down, so he does it AGAIN and then kicks the hell out of him. Back in, missile dropkick and Bryan makes the comeback with the kicks, which gets two. HHH catches the running knee and gets the spinebuster, and KICK WHAM PEDIGREE gets two. Bryan with a small package for two. HHH has had enough of this guy and pounds away in the corner, but Bryan counters another Pedigree for two. Hunter holds on to the arms, however, and knees him into mush. Another Pedigree is reversed into a high kick, and the running knee finishes at 26:03 to make the crowd lose their shit. **** Come on, no matter how much I was trolling everyone you knew that Hunter was going to do the right thing in the end. And then we get the Corporate Beatdown afterwards to really make sure Bryan has no chance in the main event. I had to add another ½* to the rating just for Steph’s heel mannerisms here.
The New Age(d) Outlaws & Kane v. The Shield
I’m thinking they’re not gonna match that opener. The Outlaws quickly get stacked up on the ropes and Reigns gives them the running kick, then hits Billy with the Superman Punch. The heels all end up on the floor and Gunn is left alone with the Shield, so he decides to run away. Reigns spears everyone and the Outlaws get put out of their misery with the triple powerbomb at 2:50. I knew they’d be awesome babyfaces. ½*
Meanwhile, Jim Duggan and Sgt. Slaughter have an action figure battle, refereed by DANNY DAVIS, but Ted Dibiase buys the playset out from under them.
The Andre Rousimoff Memorial Battle Royale (ARMBAR)
Everyone is already in the ring except for Big Show and Sheamus, so that should tell you who’s winning. And really, this is a FOUR HOUR show and they can’t even give these poor geeks their entrance? Yoshi Tatsu is gone before I can even type that last sentence. Khali chops Brodus out and then gets dumped by 3MB. And then Zack Ryder, of course. Darren Young takes a day off on the floor. Mark Henry gets tossed by Show and it’s a lot of people laying around and randomly punching each other. Cody and Goldust team up to get rid of Sandow. Big E powerbombs Gabriel out and then follows by throwing David Otunga out. Fandango kicks Big E out, but stops to dance on the apron and gets eliminated by Sheamus with a billion forearms. Show throws Truth out, and Del Rio kicks Kidd to the floor. C’mon, never go to the top in a battle royale, TJ! Goldust goes out via Del Rio’s feet, as does Cody. Rey gets CESARO’D to the floor as I hope to god this means we’re getting a Giant Giant Swing. Kofi gets tossed and lands with his feet draped on the steps, so he’s still in. Cute. Kofi runs wild for a bit, but it’s the GIANT SWING. Show breaks it up with the chokeslam to big heel heat, but Sheamus finally puts Kofi out. Del Rio superkicks Ziggler out to bigger heel heat. Sheamus and Del Rio resume their C+ rivalry and eliminate each other, leaving Cesaro v. Big Show for the SEVEN FOOT GOLD STATUE. Cesaro throws uppercuts but Show tosses him unsuccessfully. Back in, Cesaro SLAMS HIM OUT at 13:15 to win it. What an awesome callback and a pretty fun battle royale once it got down to a manageable number of people. The crowd is going to lose their minds for Cesaro tomorrow night, and clearly the push has begun.
John Cena v. Bray Wyatt
Bray offers Cena a free shot to “finish him”, but Cena opts for a headlock instead. Bray slugs him down and follows with a back elbow, but charges and runs into a clothesline. This finally prompts Cena to show some emotion, as he gets mad and slugs away on the mat. Cena chokes him out in the corner and puts him down with a big boot, but Wyatt gets a cheapshot and puts him down with a suplex. And we hit the chinlock, until Cena fights out and makes the comeback. Cena tries the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Bray bridges up into the crabwalk to freak Cena the fuck out. Wyatt gets the front rows to sway with him and hits a corner splash, but Cena gets a tornado DDT for two. He goes up and gets caught with a powerbomb, and that gets two for Wyatt. Cena comes back again with the Shuffle, but Bray puts him down with a gutbuster for two. To the apron, where Wyatt hits a DDT for two. The crowd starts swaying again and that’s probably gonna the big thing tomorrow night. They head back to the top and Cena decides to hit the Family with a dive, and the brawl is on. Cena is too good to hit him with the stairs, however, and they head back in for another serenade by Bray. Now, do they have to pay royalties for “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands”? I would presume not because it’s a traditional hymn, but you never know with the music division in WWE because they’d probably get sued by the church and manage to lose. Cena with the FU for two. Harper gets a shot behind the ref’s back and Wyatt gets two. Cena gets tossed and puts Harper through the timekeeper’s table as a result, but Wyatt throws Cena back in and tries to finish, only to see Cena reverse to the STF. Wyatt quickly makes the ropes and hits Sister Abigail for two. Bray grabs a chair and offers it to Cena, but he hits Rowan with it instead. Cena finishes with the FU at 22:31. Are you KIDDING me? They spend months building up Wyatt and then he just loses to Cena? Kind of a weird, slow match, too. Good, but not great or anything. ***
Brock Lesnar v. Undertaker
Undertaker is nice enough to line up a series of caskets the Streak victims helpfully numbered, although the video package and panning shot both omit the 21st victim. Brock quickly slugs UT down and clotheslines him to the floor, but Taker goes to work on the arm. Guillotine legdrop on the apron and Snake Eyes, but Brock escapes the chokeslam and Taker misses a blind charge. Brock takes over and chokes away in the corner, and works on the leg. There’s almost no reaction from the crowd for any of this. Taker comes back with the big boot for two and the chokeslam for two. Brock with the F5 for two. Brock slowly walks around over Taker before getting caught with the gogoplata, but he powers out of it. Another try, but Brock powers out again. And now it’s Brock turn, as he grabs the kimura, but Taker reverses out. We go Old School, but Brock counters with the F5 for two. Brock with a pair of weak-ass german suplexes, as Taker can’t really go up for them any more. Brock pounds him in the corner, but makes the classic error of standing on the turnbuckles and gets powerbombed. Tombstone gets two. There was about a foot of space between his head and the mat on that one. Another try is turned into an F5…and the streak is over at 25:50. WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK?!? Fans at ringside freak out and I can’t blame them. I think I can say without hyperbole that this was one of the worst booking decisions in the history of wrestling. This is a waste of the streak. Not to mention that the match sucked and Brock was booked like a chump leading up to this. **1/4 And then as Undertaker does his dramatic standing up, some guy in the front row yells “YOU SUCK” with perfect timing. There’s a good summation of the whole deal. I feel like this is going to dominate my inbox for the next two weeks.
Divas Title Battle Royale Invitational Deal Thingie
Does anyone really care about this after watching the streak end? Just a huge stupid trainwreck, including one of the women losing her top accidentally and Rosa Mendes suddenly going blonde for some reason. The Bellas clear the ring and hit a twin dive, but Nikki turns on Brie and gets two. However, in the end AJ puts Naomi in the Black Widow and gets the submission at 6:50 because the other 13 girls suck too much to get the job done. DUD Like really, the Bellas couldn’t have been smart enough to agree for one of them to lay down for the other or something?
Meanwhile, Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff confront Hulk Hogan, and Mr. Wonderful is looking much better these days, thankfully. Piper and Orndorff reluctantly agree to bury the hatchet after 30 years.
WWE World title: Randy Orton v. Batista v. Daniel Bryan
We are blessed by Rev Theory doing the live entrance theme for Orton, since one can only presume they had no other gigs booked tonight. Or ever. Weird note in that Michael Cole hypes up Extreme Rules by calling it a “WWE Special” instead of a Pay-Per-View. That’s gonna take some getting used to. Bryan gets dumped right away and you can tell this crowd is basically dead and buried. Batista and Orton brawl on the floor as Batista sports boots that are the color of infected puss. Orton takes over on Batista in the ring and drops a knee for two while Bryan disappears into the void, but he returns with a missile dropkick on both guys. Bryan hits them both with kicks to wake up the crowd, but Orton puts him down with an exploder for two. Could you imagine Batista and Orton having to main event this show after what happened? There would have been entire sections walking out. Bryan keeps fighting off both guys, but Batista suplexes him to the floor and it’s back to the Batista-Orton snoozefest. Orton gets a superplex and Bryan flies in with a headbutt, as HHH and Steph join us at ringside and take out the ref. Well you knew that was coming. Scott Armstrong makes his return as Batista gets the powerbomb for two. This match was going nowhere anyway. Bryan takes out the crooked ref and then hits the Authority with a dive, and now HHH declares it sledgehammer o’clock. Bryan takes him out and cradles Batista for two, but Orton makes the save. The heels beat on Bryan outside and work together to clear off two tables. And we get a Batista Bomb into an RKO to put him through. The EMTs come for Bryan while Batista goes after Orton and they sluggishly fight on the floor. Orton with the draping DDT off the apron while Bryan gets taken out on a stretcher, but he fights his way off it and Orton hauls him into the ring again. RKO is countered into the Yes-Lock, but Batista makes the save. Bryan puts him in it as well, but Orton makes the save now. RKO on Batista gets two. Orton sets up the punt, but walks into the Bryan running knee and Batista steals a two. Batista Bomb, but Bryan runs in with the knee and wraps him up with the Yes-Lock to win the WWE title once and for all at 23:20. To say this was too long would be a major understatement, but they brought it home well enough with some near-falls that freaked out the crowd and nailed the landing with a great match. **** So everyone can breathe now.
It was certainly a newsworthy show, bookended by a pair of great Daniel Bryan performances and what will no doubt be the biggest booking controversy in forever. You sure can’t say it wasn’t memorable. I’ll go thumbs up because the two matches everyone wanted to see delivered and they nailed the big happy ending.