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OnDemand Reviews: WWE Presents Wrestlemania XXVIII
Live from Miami, FL
WORLD TITLE: DANIEL BRYAN (C) vs. SHEAMUS
This is what I was afraid of. An 18-second World title match that closed the door on Daniel Bryan's heel title reign. From a story standpoint, this makes sense; the champion has been holding onto his title by the skin of his teeth, hitting-and-running, and overall being a huge dickwad. replica watches So of course when he steps in there against a driven opponent, he gets squashed like a bug. However, from a promotional standpoint, this was idiotic. You've spent months building up Daniel Bryan as a heel champion, and he has been brilliant in the role you've given him. The crowd is actually starting to grow to like him, with "Yes! Yes! Yes!" signs showing up across the crowd. He is, legitimately, one of the best wrestlers in the world, and can work with anyone and make them look great. replica rolex So you give him no time to work, give the fans no time to care, and squash him so thoroughly that his character is now effectively dead in the water.
Would it have killed them to let these two wrestle for ten minutes? We actually had a running joke going on during the show, which became more and more disheartening as it went on; what on the show ran longer than the Daniel Bryan match. To break it down... rolex replica almost everyone's entrances were longer than the match. The promotional videos for each of the matches were longer. The two concerts at the end of the night were longer. Funkasaurus bringing out his "mama" and the "bridge club" was longer. Funkasuarus's PHONE CALL leading up to the dance sequence was longer. The initial lockup between John Cena and The Rock was longer. The total time people were thrown into the ringside stairs was longer than this match. The time it has taken you to read this paragraph? Longer than the match.
You have two talented wrestlers going one-on-one on the biggest stage of them all, for a title that's supposed to mean something. Yet in the end, you book it to be an 18-second squash of the current champion, deflating the crowd for a good five minutes afterwards as they stewed in their seats. PEOPLE PAID MONEY FOR THIS. This is NOT a Raw, where you can get away with stupid shit and write it off as "well, change the channel". This isn't even yoru typical $35 wrestling PPV. This is WRESTLEMANIA, the biggest show of the year, both in terms of hype and in terms of cost. Yet 18-seconds is what we get for the World title match. Fuck you, assholes. -***** for the sheer gall of this company to book this match this way.
WINNER AND NEW WORLD CHAMPION: SHEAMUS
Backstage, Team Johnny is not amused by The Miz's rallying cry. This'll come back up later. Then Johnny Ace shows up in a SWANK white suit. Someone's been raiding Robert Parker's closet! Well, that's one way to psych out Booker T.
RANDY ORTON vs. KANE
I'm one of the few people that "gets" this match, it seems, as most people immediately began complaining about Kane getting the clean win over Orton. However, with their burial of Daniel Bryan, they needed a Smackdown heel to feud with Sheamus. Randy Orton might be a dick, but the crowd still adores him, and Kane is always good in the transitional challenger role. The match itself was slow moving, which didn't help the crowd get anymore excited after suffering through the abortion that was the first match. Instead, we get a couple guys exchanging moves, going through the motions, and Kane chokeslamming Randy Orton off the middle rope when Orton decided to be cute instead of smart and went for an RKO from up there. While I'm sure the girls of The Rack (live every Thursday night on WildTalkRadio!) got a kick out of their boy going over, the match itself did nothing for me. **
Inbetween matches, Santino and Mick Foley promote the show Deadliest Catch with one of the fisherman from the show. This segment also features more offense than the World title match (Mr. Socko, The Cobra, AND the Fishy Elbow). Yes, we needed THIS instead of giving it to the opening match.
INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE: CODY RHODES (C) vs. BIG SHOW
Revenge is a dish best served with squash. I really didn't get the point in making Cody Rhodes look incredibly ineffectual through the entire match until FINALLY hitting a flurry of offense at the end (all sold by Big Show by drooling, by the way), but it gets the title off of Cody so he can move up the food chain, and gives The Big Show an emotional moment as he has now not only won a title match at Wrestlemania, but also won every major championship sans the European in company history. Which is something they didn't even mention on the show itself. GOOD JOB, GUYS. *1/2
WINNER AND NEW INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION: THE BIG SHOW
Oh, goodie, I get to throw up in my mouth a bit. It's time for Jackie Feist's favorite segment... the Diva's Celebrity Blowjob Match!
KELLY KELLY KELLY KELLY KELLY KELLY (damn copy-paste) & MARIA MENOUNOSOSOSOSOSOSOS (damn Grecians) vs. BETH PHOENIX & EVE
As sloppy as this is, either Maria Menounos is legitimately (re)hurt mid-match, or she's the best seller in the company. The other positive is that Kelly Kelly hit a clean somersault butt-splash onto Beth Phoenix, showing that there is SOME talent there (or a lot of luck). Maria pinning Beth was... something alright. I'd go into the problems of having a celebrity pin your champion, but really, who gives a rat's ass about the Diva's division? The WWE certainly doesn't. 1/2* for Kelly Kelly having the temerity to make this watchable for 30 seconds.
WINNERS: THAT BLONDE DIVA THAT ISN'T A HEEL & THAT CHICK FROM EXTRA
Oddly enough, the entrances for Hell in a Cell are pretty subdued. The Hell in a Cell gets it's own entrance, though, and it lasts longer than the World title match. Shawn apparently bought his ref's attire from the "Big and Tall Referee Store". Hey, Todd Sinclair couldn't be the only guy shopping there, or it wouldn't be in business very long.
HELL IN A CELL: UNDERTAKER vs. TRIPLE H
FINALLY, business picks up, and in a big way. From a wrestling standpoint, this match is a heaping pile of shit. I'm pretty sure the closest either of them came to "wrestling" was hitting their finishers on each other. But as an emotional brawl, it was off the charts. Unlike last year, they don't lay around sucking wind nearly as much, and when they do Shawn is there to cover for them and keep the story evolving. The story itself is well paced, as Undertaker and Triple H get more and more desperate to put the other away, and are more then willing to destroy each other to get it. Shawn, meanwhile, just wants this over with, and is conflicted on whether to allow them to kill each other or step in and just call the match before someone ends up buried. By the time Shawn hits a superkick on Undertaker, into a Pedigree by Triple H, the crowd is fully invested and popping for EVERYTHING as the possible finish.
When Triple H makes his one last lunge with the sledgehammer, when Undertaker just catches it and shakes his head as if to say "you won't ever finish me, so just lay down", the "End of an Era" story of the match, shoved down our throats for weeks, finally comes to fruition. These two men have thrown everything at each other, destroyed each other in the ring and left every ounce of their being on that mat, and there is absolutely nothing left to prove, nothing left to say, and only one thing left to do. A Tombstone piledriver dots the i's and crosses the t's, and this match, along with the in-ring careers of three of the most dominant men in pro-wrestling history, comes to a close.
The final scene, of them embracing on the ramp together, looking out at the crowd in pain and pride, should be the final thing we see of these men. None of them have anything left to prove, and at 20-0, The Undertaker should be able to retire with a streak that is unbeatable, much like Joe DiMaggio, and if his place in history wasn't already cemented, knowing that he went out at the biggest show of the year, in the greatest match (storywise) of the year, should be enough. Triple H can stay backstage and run things day-to-day. Shawn Michaels can go hunt and fish, enjoying the fruits of his labor. And The Undertaker can finally rest knowing that what Hulk Hogan originally did for Wrestlemania, 'Taker has taken it on his back and kept it at that place. It's time to let someone else have the reigns, and time to let this era rest in peace. *****, as I'm handing these things out like candy this weekend.
WINNER: THE UNDERTAKER
Edge's music during the Hall of Fame introductions gets more time than the opening match. As does Heath Slater trying to join Flo Rida's "posse".
TEAM TEDDY (SANTINO MARELLA, KOFI KINGSTON, THE GREAT KHALI, R-TRUTH, ZACK RYDER, BOOKER T) vs. TEAM JOHNNY (DAVID OTUNGA, THE MIZ, DREW McINTYRE, JACK SWAGGER, DOLPH ZIGGLER, MARK HENRY)
Having watched it twice now, this really is a much better match then it has any right to be, on par with some of the more fun main events of Raw/Smackdown. The lugs are given very little time to bring it down, Booker T looks damn good for his age, and the people that need the rub get it. In particular, the triple-dive spot and Dolph Ziggler's EPIC selling of the monkey flip were fantastic, along with The Miz turning out to be Johnny's savior after Johnny dicked him around for weeks making him jump through hoops to get on the team. Nothing really rubbed me the wrong way except for the finish. I'm STILL not sure why Zack decided to "help" Eve when she interjected herself into the match and the referee tried getting her out. It just makes him look like an idiot. Then he eats the pinfall. THEN Eve kicks him in the nuts. That's quite the Wrestlemania Moment for Zack. Woo woo woo... my nuts hurt. **1/2
WINNERS: TEAM JOHNNY
During the celebration backstage, Johnny bumps into CM Punk and decides to add a pointless stipulation to his match at the last minute. Really? AT Wrestlemania? That's the kind of shit you do when you're stacking the deck against someone at a Raw. You don't do that shit on THE BIGGEST SHOW OF THE YEAR.
WWE TITLE: CM PUNK (C) vs. CHRIS JERICHO
I have a problem with this match. Now, don't get me wrong, the start and the end both worked incredibly well, with the ending stretch absolutely rocking and rolling. The middle portion is where my beef comes. It starts with Chris Jericho trying to bait CM Punk into getting himself DQ'd, thus giving Jericho the title. It's a good story, and is played really well by both men. However, somewhere around the five minute mark, they just completely ignored that narrative thread, and started wrestling. The wrestling was great, especially in the ending stretch, but it didn't make any sense.
What the middle of the match needed was something simple. As Jericho continues to goad Punk and try to drive him to the DQ, Punk gets closer and closer to breaking... until finally he beats the hell out of Jericho, gets right in his face, and says "I'm not going to destroy you... that won't get to you. I'm going to PROVE I'm the best in the world." THEN you go into the middle portion of the match, where they bust out the match people expected. It was missing that knot in the thread that linked one side of the match to the other, and it suffered for it in my eyes. Still a great match, but not something I'm going to put up there in the "all-time classics" category, which people expected out of it. Maybe that's just me as a fan expecting too much, but that's my opinion. ****
WINNER AND STILL WWE CHAMPION: CM PUNK
Next up is Jed Shaffer's favorite segment of the show... THE FUNKASAURUS DANCES! Now with 100% more Mama Clay and The Bridge Club Dancers! The prosthetic asses on Mama Clay and company got more airtime than the World title match. They also spent more money on them than they did EVERY FCW CONTRACT. This... was special.
JOHN CENA vs. THE ROCK
BUT FIRST WE GET MUSICAL PERFORMANCES! Because when I think Wrestlemania, I think 20 minutes of music performed by subpar hip-hop groups. I'm going to guess that Flo Rida wasn't tested under the same restrictions as the talent. I'm also going to guess that Machine Gun Kelly has never heard of a sandwich. As for the match, it's right smackdab in the middle of "I don't give a fuck" street. They don't do anything altogether offensive, but they don't do anything to drag me into the drama, either. The Rock passing out in the STF was a great bit of acting, but the rest of us were ACTUALLY passing out for real. The Rock certainly looked like he only lost a couple steps, and Cena covered well for anything that was screwed up. The match itself was just there, though.
In the end, the crowd was hyped up and rocking along with the match, but in Miami The Rock could probably come to the ring and sodomize Dan Marino and the crowd would be into it and cheer him on (Now I'm visualizing 70,000 people chanting "cum, Rocky, cum!" You're welcome for that). As a fan at home, I got what they were going for, it just fell flat for me. The finish might be controversial to some, and it was certainly surprising to me, but it's all in how they follow it up. If John Cena comes out tonight and either writes it off as "I tried my best, and that's all you can do" or "I want the Rock in a rematch NEXT YEAR", it's going to die a hundred deaths. But if this leads to an edgier, angrier Cena who is out to prove that he's BETTER than that, and BETTER than "Dwayne", then it will work. As for the match itself, ***. Now to see where they go from here.
WINNER: THE ROCK
While this wasn't the worst Wrestlemania, it was far from the best. The "End of an Era" and WWE title matches carried this pay-per-view, as they were expected to, but everything else was middling. The "comedy" segments weren't comedic enough, the musical performances dragged on forever, and the show opened with one of the most disappointing moments in WWE history. Wait for the "End of an Era" and WWE title matches to show up on DVD sets, and if you're a huge Rock fanboy, rent the DVD when it's released. But at $60, you could order EVERY OTHER WRESTLING EVENT held this weekend on iPPV, and get more for your money. Pass on this one, unless you REALLY need to see The Rock win.
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