WWE WrestleMania XXVIII
by Scrooge McSuck
- Broadcasted live on April 1st, 2012, from the Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, with Michael Cole and "Jerry "The King" Lawler calling the action, unless otherwise noted.
- Lillian Garcia is out to sing our National Anthem. I guess she's a cheaper, better alternative than... (looks at list of previous performers), yeah, Garcia is better.
- Team Johnny is backstage (earth to WWE: The "Team Edward and Team Jacob" thing was cool, among 12 year old girls, about a year ago...), along with their master, Brother Love's lamer cousin? Seriously, what's with John Laurinaitis rocking the white suit and red tie look? Team Johnny vs. Team Teddy is tonight, you know, and $50 to anyone who can name everyone involved in this match...
- Santino Marella is backstage, with Mick Foley, and some other guy to advertise Deadliest Catch... Was this seriously necessary to be featured on a $60 Pay-Per-View, in lieu of a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH? Shows how much I follow... I thought Mick Foley was working in TNA. Ron Simmons ends things with a "Damn."
- Shawn Michaels is backstage, and hey, he's going to referee the End of an Era, Hell in a Cell Match between the 19-0 Undertaker and the Definitely-Defeated Triple H... will he keep it pure, the way Undertaker demands of him, or will he help his best friend end the streak?
With all that out there, let the battle begin: Slugfest to start at the center of the ring, won by the Undertaker. He takes it to the corner and continues to unload with lefts and rights. Whip across the ring, and HHH boots a charging Undertaker, and retaliates with his own series of blows. Undertaker no-sells, tosses Hunter to the corner, and lays into Hunter some more. Undertaker tosses Hunter out of the ring, and introduces him to the steps. Undertaker whips Hunter into the cage, and takes him over with a back drop. Undertaker pulls Trips up and connects with several headbutts. Undertaker with more strikes to the chest, followed by choking. Shawn tries to get between them, and gets shoved off by Undertaker for it. Triple H gets sent into the cage again, then the ring steps to change the pattern. They finally return to the ring, and Hunter nearly whiffs on a clothesline. Whip to the ropes, and Hunter with a face-buster, but it's no sold and Undertaker connects with a clothesline of his own. Undertaker works the arm, and it's time to go Old School. Undertaker rams Hunter with the ring steps, then throws the bottom half into the ring for a later spot. Undertaker with a leg drop from the apron, and he's taking his sweet time, taking the Game apart. Back inside, and Hunter surprises 'Taker with a DDT. Hunter rams 'Taker into the ring steps, then unwisely goes for a pedigree... you know the result. That could've been the end of the streak right there if it hit. Undertaker pounces on his fallen opponent, and pounds on Hunter with rights. Undertaker hits the ropes, and Hunter catches him with a spinebuster onto the steps! That had to hurt. Undertaker has enough in him to slap on the Hell's Gate, but Hunter uses the momentum off the steps to slam Undertaker into the canvas for a two count.
After over 10-minutes, Hunter finally has the advantage, and pulls out a pair of steel chairs. Hunter with a shot the midsection, then another across the back. Hunter props the steps in the corner, and quickly re-introduces Undertaker to them. Hunter with the chair again, and another whack across the back. He channels 1999 Rock and starts laying into Undertaker like he just murdered his mother. I don't know what's more fucked up, the chair or Undertaker's back after all that. Michaels tries calling Hunter off, but there's no mercy. Hunter wants Shawn to call for the bell, but he can't do that. Hunter throws Shawn aside, and bashes 'Taker with more chair shots. Shawn asks if Undertaker wants to quit, but no dice, Jim Rice. That's an open invitation for MORE chair shots, and still only gets a two count. Hunter seems to be busted hardway around his left eye, by the way. Hunter heads outside for more weaponry, and hey, it must be Peter Grabiel time, because it's SLEDGEHAMMER. Undertaker still won't quit, so it's a sledgehammer to the jaw... for two! Hunter winds up to smash Undertaker's head like watermelon, but Shawn pulls it out of his hands and tosses it away. Shawn teases calling for the bell, so Undertaker gives him the Hells' Gate to keep him from making the decision. Awesome. Hunter breaks it up with another shot with the sledgehammer, and checks on Shawn afterwards. Undertaker goes low to counter one more, then it's Hell's Gate for Triple H! Hunter does all he can to escape, but Undertaker has it locked... too bad the referee is incapacitated. Suddenly, Charles Robinson hits the ring, and Undertaker with a chokeslam... for two! Undertaker reacts to that near fall by chokeslamming Robinson back to the zebra's dressing room. Undertaker goes for the Tombstone, but Triple H escapes, shoves him into Sweet Chin Music, and the Pedigree finishes the combo off... FOR TWO! Holy crap, that was the greatest near fall in history. Shawn falls into the corner in disbelief, nearly costing Undertaker the match, letting his emotions get the best of him.
Hunter is up first, but Shawn refuses to let him use the sledgehammer, and gets tossed for it. Undertaker sits up, boots Hunter, and lays into him with rights. Whip to the corner, and Undertaker follows in with a clothesline, followed by snake eyes, and a charging big boot. Undertaker comes off the ropes with a leg drop, and plants Hunter with the Tombstone... and THAT only gets two. Both men are down, and Shawn is in the corner, on the verge of having a nervous breakdown. They exchange blows from their knees, with the crowd behind the Undertaker. Undertaker has some disgusting welts on his back from all those chair shots. Hunter escapes another Tombstone and hits the Pedigree, but... TWO COUNT! Shawn's body language: Are you kidding me? Hunter goes for the hammer, and Undertaker with a chair... Undertaker is up first, and he steps on the hammer. Game Over. Undertaker with a shot to the neck, then a sickening chair across the back. Word of the match: Retaliation. Undertaker pummels the Game into Jelly, and covers for two. Now it's Undertaker yelling at Hunter to stay down. Hunter musters up all the energy he can to get back to his feet, but Undertaker blocks the sledgehammer shot with incredible ease. Undertaker disarms him, so Triple H offers one last crotch chop, takes a sledgehammer to the jaw, and the Tombstone Piledriver FINALLY finishes things off at 30:52, making it 20-0 for the Undertaker, and no doubt calling the curtain for the in ring careers of both men. Undertaker slowly makes it to his feet, then along with Michaels, helps Triple H up and all three leave together, and hug at the top of the stage, like the infamous MSG Curtain Call of '96. I don't know what else to say, but this was just a fantastic performance, with drama and storyline shining through from the opening to final bell. Everything was done with a purpose, with attention-grabbing emotion, heart attack inducing near falls, and masterfully working every moment to perfection. This match was the only reason I wanted to see WrestleMania, and it more than delivered, and if this was truely the end for everyone, what a damn fine way to go out.
- Time to recap the Class of 2012 Hall of Fame Inductees... Ron Simmons, Mil Mascaras, The Four Horsemen (along with RIC FLAIR), Yokozuna, Mike Tyson (Celebrity Wing), and the Rated R Superstar, Edge. You know, other than the "Celebrity" (at least it's a good one), not a pretty bad class. Simmons and Yokozuna look like a weak pair, but Simmons does hold the honor of being the first African-American World Champion, and Yokozuna... wasn't too bad.
- John Lauarinaitis meets C.M. Punk backstage to inform him that his title can change hands by Disqualification. That was nice of him.
Lockup to start, and they grapple from corner to corner until Punk grabs a waistlock, and brings Jericho to the canvas. They tussle around, until Punk mounts from behind and lays into Jericho with rights to the back of the head. Whip to the ropes, and Punk with a knee to the midsection. Punk stomps away in the corner, but makes sure to stop before the count of five. Punk goes back for more, but makes sure to keep away from being cheaply DQ'ed. Jericho bitch slaps Punk, then hides in the corner, trying to antagonize Punk into getting Disqualified. Jericho asks Punk about his father, and he takes another knee to the face and gets elbowed across the chest over and over again. Punk with a scoop slam, then nails Jericho outside of the ring with a top rope clothesline. Jericho continues playing head games, prompting Punk to grab a chair and almost lose his cool. Punk holds off, and takes a dropkick to the face for it. Jericho with knees to the face, and a charging elbow, knocking Punk out of the ring. Punk avoids the springboard dropkick, but Jericho hangs on and clotheslines Punk back into the ring, then brings him back to the outside with a suplex onto the arena floor. Jericho with a punt to the chest, then back into the ring to cover for a two count. Jericho with a double underhook back breaker for another two count. Jericho works a chinlock, and Punk escapes with a bitch slap. Punk comes off the ropes, and gets planted with a back breaker for a two count. Punk heads to the top rope in another offensive burst, and quickly gets yanked off and covered for another two count. Jericho with a modified surfboard, but Punk manages to escape with a version of a mule kick. Punk charges, and eats boot, but shoves off a bulldog attempt, crotching Jericho across the middle turnbuckle.
Punk with alternating chops and forearm shots, followed by a side heel kick. Punk with a swinging neck breaker for a two count. Punk gives the evil eye, and charges in with a high knee, but the bulldog is countered. Punk blocks the lionsault, but Jericho counters the counter, and goes for the Walls of Jericho, but Punk rolls through, kicks Jericho off, and lays him out with a roundhouse kick for another two count. Punk heads to the top rope, but seems to be taking too much time... then signals for an elbow drop Macho Man style, and Jericho blocks the elbow with knees to the chest. Jericho with a knee to the jaw, knocking Punk to the floor, his only safe haven right now. Jericho rolls Punk back in, but it's a trap, and Punk drops Jericho into a knee for a two count. Punk with right and left kicks to the chest, followed by a powerslam for another two. They go through a series of counters until Jericho drops Punk across the top rope, and connects with the Lionsault, but it's only enough for a two count. The word of the match: frustration. Punk heads to the second turnbuckle, but takes too long, and gets the skin chopped off his chest. Punk climbs up with him for a hurricanrana, but Jericho blocks and brings it back to the canvas for the Walls of Jericho. Punk pulls himself to the ropes and manages to grasp the bottom rope to break the hold. Jericho thinks he won, but nope, it's not over yet. Jericho with a desperation charge, and all it gets him is a long-distance trip to the arena floor. Punk tries his luck, and a suicide dive crashes both of their bodies into the security wall. Punk with another jumping knee, with Jericho resting against the ring post for added punishment. Punk springboards back in, but gets nailed with the Code Breaker! Jericho crawls over to make the cover, but Punk kicks out at two! Jericho with some trash talk, and clubbing blows. Punk goes for the GTS, but Jericho keeps struggling to escape and clamps on the Walls of Jericho once more, but Punk manages to counter this time with a roll up. Punk with the Anaconda Vice, but Jericho is a determined little bast--- uh, bugger, and does everything he can to escapr. Jericho manages to slap on the Walls of Jericho one last time, but Punk won't be denied, and the Anaconda Vice proves to be the end, with Jericho tapping out at 22:21 to retain the Championship. Well, that was a bit of a roller coaster. Started off slow, but it was a slow start that I was "feeling", even if it seems like the opposite in the PBP. After the HIAC Match, though, the trading finishers (in this case, submissions) kind of felt "bleh" instead of something spectacular, but it's still a great match that happened to be outshined.
- We waste a lot of time...
Both men are slow to get back to their feet, and slug it out once more, with Cena gaining the upperhand. Rock gets cocky with the comeback, allowing Cena a FU out of nowhere for a two count! That was a little too soon, but a good near fall. Cena unwisely drags Rock to his feet, and it's Rock Bottom time, also for a two count. Rock with some shots in the corner, but Cena counters a whip with a side suplex for two. Cena heads to the top rope, and after what seems like forever (5 count!), hits a SUPER SIZED ROCKER DROPPER... FOR TWO! Cena goes for the FU again, but Rock escapes, hits a spear, and slaps on the sharpshooter... and my GOD, is it awful looking. I mean, worse than usual. Worse than HBK on Hogan. Cena makes it to the ropes to force the break (thank God), but Rock goes for it again. I can't tell, but Rock seems pretty gassed... and he tops his last sharpshooter with an even worse one. The action spills out of the ring, with the Rock firmly in control. Rock makes sure to introduce Cena into the ring steps before bringing it back inside the squared circle. Cena surprises Rock with a sunset flip, then quickly slaps on the STF... and it's just as lazy as the sharpshooters! PULL BACK! Cena pulls Rock back to the center of the ring, and reapplies the hold. Smart move (if it was executed well). Rock teases tapping but it looks more like he's taking a nap. The arm drops two times, but Rock holds it up on the third, and makes the miracle crawl to the ropes to force a break. Rock with a samoan drop from out of nowhere (Parts Unknown?), and both men are down, again. Slugfest #3, Cena blocks the Rock Bottom, Rock counters the F-U (or whatever it's called), and drills Cena into the canvas with a spinebuster. People's Elbow time, and the crowd is electrified without a doubt, but it only gets two! Both men get to their feet, and Cena with a small package for a two count. Cena sweeps the legs, and slingshots Rock into the corner for another two count. Cena drags Rock to his feet, a bad idea the last time he tried it. Cena sets Rock up on the top turnbuckle, and predictably gets knocked off. Rock gets to the top rope on his own power, and comes off with a cross body, but Cena rolls through, powers to his feet with the Rock in his arms, throws him to his shoulders, and hits the FU FOR TWO!!!! Holy shit, that was awesome. Cena gets too arrogant and sets up for the People's Elbow, but the Rock gets up, nails Cena with the Rock Bottom, and gets the three count at 30:38. That was a hell of a ride. Other than the Rock obviously being winded roughly halfway through and the poor execution on the submission spots, a satisfying finale to WrestleMania, although again, it was outshined because of a stacked series of main event caliber matches. Will there be a rematch? Time will tell...
Final Thoughts: The show definitely opened on a sour note for smart fans, and even from a neutral P.O.V., it seems like an awful way to start the show. What followed was about an hour of incredibly sub-par performances that were making this look like it had potential to be one of the worst WrestleMania's ever. Then we got Triple H vs. Undertaker, and it kicked ass. Then we got a terrible time filler tag match, but followed it with another outstanding effort between Jericho and CM Punk. Finally, we ended it on a Dream Match, that while not as good as the previous two high profile matches, it was another strong performance and a great way to end the card. It wasn't the best WrestleMania, but it holds up pretty well, and considering how little I watch of WWE, I'm surprised I enjoyed it this match. Well worth checking out, but not for an insane price tag of over $60 like the PPV ran for. Pick up the DVD for less than half that next month.