Better Late Than Never: Wrestlemania Recap.

It has been just over a week since the Showcase of the Immortals and I have a lot to say. I even watched it twice, just to relive my favorite moments and remember what I didn’t like. Let’s break it down…

Pre-Show Match: Wade Barrett (IC Champ) versus The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship
I still can’t believe that this was relegated to the pre-show.

I also can’t believe that Miz had a victory, however fleeting the moment was. However, I did think that it was a match worthy of being on the main card, with terrific athleticism and showmanship. The fans in attendance were very lucky to see it. I enjoyed watching it on WWE.com, even if Wade lost.

The Miz has no business holding the title, he couldn’t hold a candle to Wade Barrett. I don’t find him entertaining and his constant imitation of Ric Flair is just annoying. He doesn’t have anything really going on and he’s bordering on Zack Ryder territory (Sorry Zack!).

Six-man Tag Team Match: Sheamus/Randy Orton/Big Show versus The Shield
There is a distinct difference between the two teams that competed in this match. The Shield is a cohesive group and Randy Orton, Sheamus, and the Big Show are not.

You can really tell that Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns are meant to be in a faction together. Each one of those men comprise unique element of one of the most engaging teams since the Freebirds and the Horsemen (That’s right, I went there.). Dean Ambrose is the voice. Seth Rollins is the aerial artist. Roman Reigns is the powerhouse. The other three were good, they were entertaining, but it didn’t seem like it was meant to be.

There was obvious dissention between Sheamus, Orton, and Show at various points throughout the match, especially when it came to who was tagging who. You could see it all over their faces and it affected their performance. There were little rivalries brewing between the three of them throughout the match and it opened up the possibility of feuds involving any combination of Sheamus, Orton, and Show.

The teamwork of The Shield prevailed as Dean Ambrose picked up the win, keeping The Shield’s undefeated streak intact.

Mark Henry versus Ryback
This match was pure power against power, two huge men facing off in the ring. It definitely wasn’t a classic by any means, but it was entertaining and showcased just what the bigger wrestlers are capable of in the ring. Mark Henry and Ryback tussled back and forth, Henry hit the Sammartino bear hug and Ryback took out Henry with his deadly meat hook clothesline. It was a beauty of a move and I felt Henry’s pain. It was awesome.

The Wrestlemania moment, and my personal favorite, of this match was when Ryback had Mark Henry positioned for shellshock. What sold it for me was the look on Henry`s face as he was hoisted on the shoulders of his competitor. The fear sold it and the finish made the match much more than two big guys ambling around. Henry captured the win when he collapsed on top of Ryback, but he got his revenge by delivering a spine buster and a perfectly executed shellshock on Henry.

Tag Team Match: Dolph Ziggler/Big E. Langston versus Team Hell No (Tag Team Champions)
I had a feeling that Team Hell No would retain their titles and I was right.

This match was good but I saw it as just a showcase for both Ziggler and Langston. It was the in-ring debut of Big E and I thought it went over rather well. As I have said in a previous post, he needs to make sure that he is seen as more than just a pile of muscles in a singlet that is too small. The two shining moments were when Langston caught Kane like a baby and when Daniel Bryan got the win with the flying head butt. Aj and Dolph’s kiss before the match, taunting Bryan’s 18 second loss to Sheamus last year, was also a nice touch.

Tag team wrestling is one of the cornerstones of the business and I feel that this match would have been slightly better had it been against an already established team. Rhodes Scholars anyone?

Fandango versus Chris Jericho
Out of the entire card, this is the one that I was most on the fence about. It was one of the greatest superstars of all time facing a man who waltzed in off the ballroom floor. I was not disappointed.

For his first official match in the WWE, Fandango was fabulous. When he caught Jericho in the head with a mid-air dropkick, I lost it. If anyone can get someone like Fandango over with the (sometimes brutal) WWE Universe, it is the Ayatollah of Rock & Rolla. The match was fast paced and flawless, with Fandango gaining the win over the seasoned veteran. My only critique is that he uses an leg drop off the top rope as his finisher.

A LEG DOP OFF THE TOP ROPE! WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? I sincerely hope that he is holding out on us…

World Heavyweight Championship match: Alberto Del Rio (WHC) versus Jack Swagger
I was over this angle a while ago. I find Swagger boring and his gimmick very stale. The only point of interest is that Zeb Colter is garnering all the heat for him. Think about it, what has he really done to contribute to the furthering of his storyline? That’s right, nothing.

Del Rio retained via submission. Moving on…

CM Punk versus Undertaker
Epic. How else can this be described? This is probably the most anticipated match of the last few years, one I was so excited about that I could have peed myself. The work put into this match was some of the finest work I have ever seen in my 24 years of watching wrestling. It was so magical, I clung to every word and action of both men for weeks. As bad as this sounds, Paul Bearer’s death added a sense of reality and realness to this match. The Undertaker was hurting and the wrestling world was reeling from the unfortunate news of Bill Moody’s passing. Cue Punk now…

Even the entrances were perfect. Punk had Living Color play him to the ring, surrounded by a mixture of cheers and booing. The Undertaker walked through a sea of the living dead to exact his revenge on Punk for what he did to completely disrespect the memory of Taker’s long-time friend and manager. CM Punk’s black, grey, and purple trunks were also a nice nod to Taker. This match wasn’t about what one did to another or who hated who, it was about the highest level of respect between two men who love this business. Punk was able to win this match via count out or disqualification so Taker had to be extremely careful. It was everything that a good wrestling match should be, the two battled for control constantly and there wasn’t one moment that could be predicted by the fans watching. Taker went for Old School, Punk pulled him off the ropes. Punk went for the GTS and Taker countered with a choke slam. The Undertaker got into the ring at the nine and a half count! I was so into the match I was sweating while I watched it.

My two favorite moments were when the Undertaker gave Punk the ‘stare of death’ when he broke out of the anaconda vise and when Punk gave Taker the flying elbow off the ring and onto the announce table. As everyone saw, the table didn’t break and it added to the long list of injuries that Punk has been working with for the last little while. Things like this just make me appreciate these guys so much more than I already do.

The Undertaker continued his streak to 21-0 when he countered the GTS with a very strategic tombstone pile driver. Taker and his urn were finally reunited.

No Holds Barred: Triple H versus Brock Lesnar
The best part of this match is Triple H beating Lesnar. I didn’t really see a need to have them fight again, although the build up was pretty decent.

Lesnar can’t wrestle. The only way he can compete is if it’s a stipulation that gives him an edge. UFC isn’t WWE, in WWE you have to actually do things. Not knocking UFC fans but I don’t think half of the guys in the octagon could cut it in the squared circle.

HHH won and Lesnar lost. Can’t wait for Extreme Rules so I can watch the same match again!

WWE Championship: The Rock (WWE Champion) versus John Cena
Boring and predictable. The only thing that makes me happy is that the champion will actually be on the flagship program every week. What makes me sad is that we’ll probably be treated to another round of Rock/Cena at Wrestlemania XXX.

Final Thought
I found that the last few Wrestlemania’s that involved Rocky have been somewhat mediocre but this one was the worst. The only thing that truly made it great was Undertaker versus Punk. It had to be tough to book a major event around a champion who was too busy promoting movies to promote the business he supposedly missed so much. The other superstars were left to pick up the load, as well as the staff in the offices. Next year is the 30th anniversary of the grandest event in all of sports entertainment, I hope they step up their game for New Orleans.

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