Monday, March 30, 2015

Wrestlemania Review: A Night With Some Surprises

I am not sure what this says for the building to big events given how Wrestlemania turned out. I can honestly say heading into the show, I literally had no interest in who won any match. Yet the show turned out to be a great wrestling event. It wasn’t what some people are saying the greatest Wrestlemania ever. It was very good though for the most part. What this show did have going for it was the unexpected that has been lacking in wrestling for years. Ronda Rousey made a surprise appearance with The Rock. The rumor mill had made it clear Rock was going to be there. People also knew Ronda would be there as a fan. In fact, WWE even acknowledged her presence at the show. No one expected her to get in the ring and judo throw Triple H and gently attacked Stephanie’s arm. In a world, that it is hard to keep a secret this had been planned months ago and had the approval of Dana White Ronda’s boss in the UFC.

In addition, the WWE did a pretty good job of booking themselves out of what seemed like a tough situation for their main event. Some had thought that Seth Rollins could have cashed in his Money in the Bank at Wrestlemania. However, no one expected the twist of Seth coming out during the match because it had never happened before. They were able to build Roman Reigns and make him look strong. Brock was not pinned to lose his title. While Seth Rollins the best heel currently on the regular roster, walk away the New World Heavyweight Champion.

If you’re into nostalgia, you were able to see a ton of it in the Sting vs. Triple H match. We had DX and N.W.O get involved in a very over-booked match. Sting got his moment for the people that care about that. He didn’t get the win. In the end, did you really expect Vince McMahon to “put over” the franchise wrestler of the company that tried to run him out of business? Better yet against his own Son-In-Law in Triple H. Even more to the point how many more matches will Triple H have compared to Sting. How much would it mean for Triple H to lose matches to guys like Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose Bray Wyatt or other rising talents. If Triple H loses to a guy in his mid-fifties that by the end of that match looked like it. How would this be for his credibility?

The United States and Intercontinental titles have been elevated coming out of this event. The Tag Team Titles and Diva’s Title look fairly week.

Tag Titles were defended on the pre-show and at least Cesaro and Kidd retained. They did have some cool spots but it having two-jobber team’s involved and half of the Uso’s did the match no favors. While the Diva’s title was not defended and the tag-team match with the Bella’s and Paige and A.J did get some time but fell flat. The girls tried hard but it just didn’t come off but at least the girls that can wrestle won with A.J got the champion Nikki Bella tap out.

The Intercontinental Title ladder match was much hyped but for me was a typical ladder match. Some cool spots and a nasty bump for Dean Ambrose that you hope really didn’t get him injured. In the end, the rumored winner Daniel Bryan was in fact the winner. They tried to make this seem a big deal with a cast of hall of famers that held the title was congratulating Daniel backstage. It is still impossible not to see the contrast in the fact Daniel Bryan winning the world title last year and this lesser title this year. I am just glad Bryan made it out of this match injury free.

The WWE went all out to try to make fans cheer John Cena. It was almost like a propaganda film with the entrances for this match. Lana was back and led Russian army men carrying the Russian flag with the Anthem playing. If all that wasn’t enough we had artillery guns firing on the stage and Rusev came in on top of a tank. John Cena was preceded by Republican based U.S propaganda film complete with clips of Ronald Regan, George W. Bush etc and all kinds of typical American images.

Still by the time Cena entered the crowd was singing along to Cena’s theme telling him he sucks. The result of the match was fairly predictable as spoiler alert John Cena wins. I knew this when rumors of this match first surfaced 6 months ago. The match end came with Rusev knocking Lana off the apron as Cena avoided him. Cena became the first man to defeat Rusev. He defended America even though the crowd was pro Russia amazingly, as that sounds. For all the defenders of John Cena I challenge you to defend how he can’t get over in the most patriotic USA USA angle. In any case, he holding the U.S Title does help continue keeping the title strong as Rusev had begun to do. Rusev and Lana seem to be on the rocks but Lana still has a movie to finish so they might not be done. However if they decide to split them it will hurt both in a major way. Rusev needs Lana as much if not more as Savage in his early years needed Elizabeth.  

Oh maybe this was me trying to block it out but Big Show won the Andre Battle Royal. They did pull the trigger on the Miz and Mizdow break-up. They were the other two in the final three.  Show backed out and let Miz and Mizdow fight, as Mizdow eliminated the Miz. They did give Mizdow a decent little chance to eliminate Big Show but eventually failed to do it. While the Miz and Mizdow feud was featured the tension between Big Show and Kane was forgotten.  Ryback was in the final four and had several people eliminated at his hands. The opening spot of the match was fun as the entire battle royal turned on Curtis Axel and literally, body surfed him out of the ring as the first eliminated.

Bray Wyatt and Undertaker likely were most disappointing. Reports that Wyatt had hurt his ankle prior to match seemed legitimate. While the Undertaker looked more mobile than he has in the past few years. He grew out his hair as well and overall looked in better health and shape. This all being stated the fact he likely retires next year in Dallas is a good thing for him and for us, as he really should have retired before now. He did get the win over Wyatt and that might have been an audible with Bray's injury or it may not have been. The response for this match seemed muted as it followed the Rock and Rousey show with the Authority. Fans were pro Taker and got what they wanted. Bray may miss a week or two with his bum ankle that he fought through like a champion. Give full marks to Wyatt for working at less than 100 percent. 

The crowd hated Roman and they loved Brock, which shocked no one. Brock called the majority if not all of this match until Seth came out. It was a good fight and Brock legitimately getting hurt added to the match. He looked a bloody mess by the end. He still gave a beating to Reigns and to his credit, he took it. I really gained respect for Reigns even if that makes me in the minority so be it. He took his medicine and still worked very hard.

The booking to end things was fairly brilliant to use Rollins and Money in the Bank with a unique never before seen cash in. Earlier in the night, Rollins had a great match with Orton that Randy won. Rollins taking an amazing RKO to close that match which seemed forgotten after his stunning cash in to win the title.

In the end a Wrestlemania that I felt little to no investment, it wound up being a pretty great show. I give credit when things are good and this Wrestlemania was good, was worth my time, and kept my attention throughout.