Whenever it’s time for Wrestlemania to roll around again, the Superbowl of wrestling – well that’s not entirely accurate, I guess you could say it’s more like a less redneck version of the Daytona 500 – It’s often met with elation. The thought of paying a large amount of money to go see it in person, or paying way too much to be disappointed on PPV is never really enough to drive away fans. Once a fan, always a fan, and you’re always going to do it. Last nights Wrestlemania set the bar for dumbfuckery, that I dare say, hasn’t been seen since Wrestlemania IX; and for fuck sake, at least Wrestlemania IX has excuses, XXVIII, however, does not.
The first match on the card, Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus, should not have been the first match on the card. I remember a time when winning the Royal Rumble was a big deal; when it was customarily one of the last matches to go on, built upon the hype of winning the Royal Rumble. Seeing as how Smackdown has one the last two Rumbles, and been relegated to the opening slot of the last two Manias, It’s meaning is less significant now, and is becoming a PPV I’m less interested in watching (The Royal Rumble is my favorite PPV, I own the four volume anthology for fuck sake!). Most people would be happy to see the image above, and while I am to a degree, the WWE robbed us what should have been a really great match. The match was 15 fracking seconds, and yes A.J. was sort of a cause of Bryan’s loss, but this match feels as detrimental to the title itself as much as David Arquette’s run with it in WCW.
This second match – Kane vs. Randy Orton – was an improvement in that it lasted more than 15 seconds, but that’s still not saying much. I expected a better match since it saw Kane dominate a large portion of it. Apparently the WWE were going for that elemental theme considering Orton was rocking those blue shorts that made you say why? The matches surprise-ish ending with the super choke slam was a great, fitting end to an OK match. Despite a decent performance from both competitors, this match is forgettable; while it did build up Kane a bit, it’s going to take a really great match, most likely at the next PPV, to build Kane up to a formidable level.
Now to another match that just whelmed me; Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes. I expected more here because Big Show is the best big man in the business. Most will say that’s because he can move around better than most, and while that is true, his ability to work with the “smaller” guys is what sets him apart from those other big men. With that said, I expected a lot more from Cody Rhodes. His heel work lately has been phenomenal; hell he went on to make Big Show a euphemism for shit! But Rhodes didn’t really shine like I expected him to, especially with that leg lock. Sorry, I just wasn’t buying it. I am happy to see Show win the IC title though, had he not, it would have been a detriment to his career.
And now the WWE’s “lust over leg locks” special, Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos vs. Beth Phoenix & Eve. It’s safe to say that the large majority of fans are underwhelmed by the Diva’s division, myself included, and while it will get a shot in the arm with Karma’s return, that’s still a little bit off. The biggest reason why this match doesn’t work is that the WWE tries to sell Menounos as a real competitor. She is not, and you can tell by the fact that she can’t wrestle, but seeing as most of the Divas can’t, I guess she fits in. But the fact that they sell her like that, kind of makes a joke of the division, putting forth that ANY female can do it. Sure any female can learn the basics, and shit their way through the whole process, but that doesn’t make for compelling wrestling. My biggest fear is that with Karma, the WWE won’t know what do with her, and that shot in the arm will just become a short fix. Was anybody surprised to see Kelly Kelly & Menounos win? No. Did we see a great match at all? Hell no, though I’m sure guys were thrilled with Kelly Kelly’s flip from the top rope. I hope we don’t see the Diva’s division go the way of the hardcore division or the shortly lived midget wrestling division of the late 90’s (still love Max Mini), but if they don’t get their shit together, it most certainly will.
The night’s best match, you knew it, I knew it, we all fucking knew it! Undertaker vs. Triple H, hell in a cell, the only way to fittingly end this feud. This is probably the only match that lived up to fans expectations, but it was Undertaker’s and Triple H’s experience that helped sell the premise that Triple H had a chance of beating him. Especially after that Superkick/Pedigree combo, you felt he really had a shot of doing it, but alas, Taker’s ability to outlast is his greatest attribute. The streak will always live on and be his most cherished accomplishment, which is something that no other Superstar can claim fame to. In a way, Undertaker’s legacy is more unique, compared to other Superstars, and if this is his last match – I really hope it is – than his career saw a fitting end, and his legacy cemented in stone.
The match that you were kind of excited for, but only because WWE decided to reward a few worthy wrestlers with some face time. OK, you know it, I know it, but what the hell was Johnny Ace thinking wearing that suit. Was he trying to bring back fond memories of brother love, because to be honest, I don’t think I have any. It’s Funny, how Zack Ryder has now become the Jar Jar Binks of the WWE’s Sith Empire, responsible for the now elected official that seeks to bring our doom and deliver one of the worst character performance in WWE history, second only to Abe “Knuckleball” Schwartz (and he didn’t talk). The only good things to come from this is that we’ll see Otunga get the push he deserves, and will most likely be buried in bullshit due to Johnny Ace impartiality. But perhaps, now, Drew McIntyre will finally be back on TV for good, and will get more of a push.
The nights second match worthy of watching, Punk and Jericho put on a hell of a show. At times it got lost in trying to pull out the over the top submission attempts, but both competitors put on a great match. One thing that made fans scratch their heads was the stipulation that on a DQ or count out that Punk could lose the title. Seriously? Fucking make it a no DQ match or fucking ladder match instead. That would have been ten times better, but alas, this Mania seemed to be more about giving fans everything they didn’t want. But, I won’t complain too much here, this match delivered more than most on the card.
FINALLY, THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM HAS ARRIVED AT WRESTLEMANIA!!!! This match should have been called the WWE’s version of Grumpy Old Men, only the woman they were going for was really the heart of the WWE Universe. These guys looked as good as your favorite dog eared, water stained copy of The Incredible Hulk #181. Stryker (John Cena) and Kabal (The Rock) showed us how two Super Duper Stars couldn’t make a main event worthy of mid-card status. Did The Rock really not have a chance of winning here? No, it’s his fucking hometown! Did he have a chance to really put on a good match? Less than slightly, and those that say he was in top physical shape don’t realize that there is more to wrestling than physical shape. The Rock’s been out of the ring for years, and yeah I know he had a few matches in between, but judging by performance, he was in about the same shape as Ric Flair when he decided to ruin his career in TNA, or Impact, or whatever the fuck you call it. Cena wasn’t much better, but we know how he moves in the ring. Though big props for the WWE slightly ruining John Cena’s career here, I respected the guy heavily before this match but, hey, you just put him on the same level as Zack Ryder did with this Mania. Perhaps they’ll come together as a tag team and lose to Primo and Epico at the next PPV.
In terms of rating this PPV, on a scale that consists of the best (X-Seven, XX, and III) and worst (II, IX, and XI) I’d have to put this on par with Wrestlemania XI. It was awkward, ultimately disappointing, and had a celebrity that thought they could wrestle too. Not to mention, Wrestlemania XI made Mongo McMichaels think he could wrestle. You’ve almost outdone yourself WWE, I won’t stop watching, but I will definitely think twice about buying a PPV on my mother-in-laws Time Warner account again!