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WWE WrestleMania XXX
by Scrooge McSuck
- Originally broadcasted LIVE on not only Pay-Per-View, BUT THE WWE NETWORK, TOO! We're coming from the SuperDome in New Orleans, LA, with Michael Cole, Jerry "The King" Lawler, and John "Bradshaw" Layfield on commentary. Ricardo Rodriguez is sticking out like a sore thumb in a white tuxedo over at the Spanish Announcers Table.
Kick-Off Match: WWE Tag Team Championship Match:
The Uso Brothers © vs. Los Matadores (w/ El Torito) vs. The Real Americans (w/ Zeb Colter) vs. Ryback & Curtis Axel:
Roughly a half hour before the match started, it was announced it was changed from standard Fatal-Four Way to Elimination Rules. This was probably a good decision to put on the Kick-Off Show, otherwise on PPV, it would've been a 5-minute rush job. They went nearly twenty minutes, and being allowed to take their time allowed them to hit their spots flawlessly, and set things up for a solid finale. Los Matadores and RybAxel are both eliminated courtesy of the Real Americans. The Usos and Real Americans work a solid 6-7 minutes before ultimately one of the Uso's pinned Cesaro with the Splash. Post-Match, Swagger snaps on Cesaro and puts the Patriot Lock on him, but after Colter convinces him to try and make up, Cesaro takes him off his feet and gives him the Giant Swing. Solid performance to get the crowd going early. **1/2
- The PPV starts proper, and Hulk Hogan fucks up, calling it the SILVERDOME. The crowd doesn't let him get away with it. Then "Stone Cold" Steve Austin comes out, makes fun of Hogan's slip up, and does his catchphrases. Then THE ROCK shows up and does the same. It's all a 20-minute segment that I personally think was to buy time to get the stream settled once the traffic started to hit it's peak. This was much more lively and entertaining than the Rock's monolgue of death from WrestleMania 27.
Winner Enters WWE Championship Match:
Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H (w/ Stephanie McMahon):
Yep, this is our PPV opener, proper. I jokingly said weeks back that Triple H would open so he could try and top Bret vs. Owen for greatest WrestleMania opener. Stephanie introduces him with much hyperbole, rivaling Apollo Creed for most nicknames used. Bryan enters the match with an injured shoulder, so Triple H spends a good amount of the early parts of the match targeting the injury. For the first 10 or so minutes, it's a predominant Triple H squash, but then Bryan starts flashing more offense, until the tables are turned and both men start trading big moves. Triple H hits a Pedigree late in the match, and I was genuinely surprised that Bryan kicked out at two. Bryan blocks a second Pedigree, hits a roundhouse kick, and comes exploding out of the corner with the running knee, and yes, Daniel Bryan pinned Triple H on his first finishing move attempt at around the 26-minute mark. Bryan's celebration is short lived, getting the piss slapped out of him by Stephanie and his arm sandwiched between a ring post and chair courtesy of the Game. Nope, no new Champion for best opener, but a VERY good, borderline great match. ***3/4
The Shield vs. Corporate Kane & The New Age Outlaws:
Just incase those reading this doesn't know, the Shield are Dean Ambrose (US Champion), Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns (future WrestleMania headliner). I had very little hopes for this had the over-the-hill villains gotten too much offense. Thankfully, that wasn't going to happen. This match was what it needed to be... a complete and utter DESTRUCTION courtesy of the Shield. I don't think either Kane nor the Outlaws got a single offense move in on the Shield, being completely dismantled and stomped on without so much as a flash of offense. Reigns lays Kane out with a spear on the floor, double spears the Outlaws, and then both Gunn and Road Dogg eat a TRIPLE TEAM POWERBOMB, AT THE SAME TIME, and yep, it's over just like that at around the 3-minute mark. * Did the job it was setting out for.
- "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, Sgt. Slaughter, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, "Million $ Man" Ted Dibiase, AND REFEREE DANNY DAVIS (YES, DANNY DAVIS!) are backstage to promote some WWE Action Figures. I love when they do this stuff. I honestly thought it was Tony Garea at first, but nope, it's Dangerous Danny Davis in the flesh!
Andre The Giant Memorial 30-Man Battle Royale:
(Participants: Big Show, Sheamus, The Miz, Kofi Kingston, Cesaro, Mark Henry, The Great Khali, Rey Mysterio, Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio, Xavier Woods, R-Truth, Zack Ryder, Jinder Mahal, Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre, Santino Marella, Fandango, Big E., Tyson Kidd, Justin Gabriel, Cody Rhodes, Goldust, Darren Young, Titus O'Neil, Damien Sandow, David Otunga, Brad Maddox, Yoshi Tatsu)
Yeah, I don't think I have everyone listed, but who cares, when YOSHI TATSU is thrown in there to pad things out, there's too many people in the damn match! Christian appears to be absent, no-doubt still suffering from a concussion. Big Show and Sheamus are the only men with an entrance, which usually means one of them would win, but freshly turned Cesaro is working double duty, and was my official pick. Too much dead weight makes it REALLY hard to tell certain people apart. Took me a while to figure out Gabriel and Kidd were in there. Notable moments: Kofi Kingston messes up doing an impressive elimination save, but brownie points for trying to salvage it. Sheamus absolutely destroys Fandango, busy celebrating on the apron for an elimination, with clubbing forearms, then casually pushes him off the apron. Cesaro counters Rey's 619 with a vicious Uppercut, knocking him over the top, and out. It finally comes down to Show and Cesaro. They work a decent mini-match until Cesaro SCOOPS BIG SHOW UP, and throws him over the top rope for the victory at around the 13-minute mark. Match was the usual boring mess until we got down to 10-12 people, and then it actually got very entertaining. N/R, just because it's hard to fairly judge Battle Royale's on a normal scale.
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt (w/ Harper & Rowan):
Cool to see a bizarre band (no idea who it is) play Wyatt's theme music live. That was DEFINITELY odd and gave the proper Wyatt Family vibe. Here we go with one of the most interesting matches of WrestleMania XXX. The build up was a bit questionable, focusing mostly on Wyatt challenging Cena's motives and true feelings when it came to being a poster-child for always doing the right thing and never giving in to darkness (or something along those lines). Much like any Wyatt match, you have to watch this with a different scale, and a different mind-set. He spends most of the match challenging Cena, daring him to be a vicious animal. Cena's hesitance being Wyatt's opening to possible victory was honestly the only way I could think Wyatt could win, considering Cena's survived everyone's finisher times infinity. The crowd's taunting Cena, for once, works into the story of the match, with him increasingly more frustrated, to the point he looks like he's about to murder Wyatt with a chair, before changing aim at the last second and taking out Rowan. Cena survives Sister Abigail, counters a second, and finishes with the F-U at around 20-minutes, then quickly exits the ring and embraces a small child in Cena gear, before celebrating with what I assume is his family. It wasn't traditional, but it worked. An outstanding effort from all involved. ****
The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman):
Brock's physical superiority and Undertaker battling father time were the main selling points of this match. Unfortunately, no one could die to make it more interesting. Before the match, my brother, who is watching with me, asks "Would you be more surprised if Brock won, or Bryan lost?" and I said without a shadow of doubt, "Brock winning." I would've put money on it. Undertaker gets a fantastic entrance, of course. They work a slow, sluggish brawl for the first 8-10 minutes, really testing the patience of myself, and the crowd appeared to be a bit out of it. They start picking up business by trading submission locks, with Brock powering out of the Hell's Gate not once, but twice. They trade Kimora Locks, and then it's finishers! F-5 kicked out of, Tombstone kicked out of, F-5 kicked out of again. Undertaker goes for another Tombstone, but Brock reverses out of it, throws him up on his shoulders, and plants him with a THIRD F-5... for the three count. Yes, BROCK LESNAR PINNED THE UNDERTAKER AT WRESTLEMANIA. I was genuinely stunned by the three count. Paul Heyman's "YOU ENDED THE STREAK!" reaction was all you needed... it seemed so unbelievable, but so believable at the same time. 'Taker losing adds new intrigue to any further WrestleMania appearances. He's 21-1, no more streak. He's vulnerable now, and there no longer is "this guy has no chance" vibes surrounding pretty much anyone on the roster. Not a great encounter as we've seen in previous years from the 'Taker, but the second half REALLY helped save the whole thing. ***
- We celebrate the 2014 Hall of Fame Class: The Ultimate Warrior, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Razor Ramon, Carlos Colon, Paul Bearer, Lita, and Celebrity Inductee Mr. T. Jake's speech literally had me in tears. Mr. T shows up backstage with Hulk Hogan later on with Paul Orndorff and Roddy Piper to bury the hatchet. Yes, Mean Gene was there, and so was the referee of that WrestleMania 1 Main Event, Pat Patterson. Cute.
WWE Diva's Championship; Invitational Match:
(Participants: A.J. Lee (Champion), Tamina, Natalya, Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, Aksana, Layla, Alicia Fox, Cameron, Naomi, Emma, Summer Rae, Rosa Mendes, and Eva Marie)
Really, did we need ALL OF THIS in one match, with only one fall to decide things? I literally went to the bathroom during the match. My money was on Natalya taking the loss since she's the best wrestler of the entire division (which is apparently all represented here, with the exception of Santina Marella). Despite the trainwreck and clusterfuck appeal... it's not really bad. I mean it's not very good, but the spots were hit with most of them being successful and clean looking. A.J. and Tamina are immediately thrown into the middle of the ring and dog piled by the rest of the participants. We were teased of Tamina murdering Eva Marie for daring trying to punk her out, but she gets saved by one of the Funkadactyls. Brie and Nikki Bella have a VERY short exchange after the rest of the field finds itself taken out of the match. Finish comes with A.J. coming in from what feels like an eternity on the floor and forcing one of the Funkadactyls to tap out to the Black Widow at around the 7-minute mark. Again, it wasn't very good, but far from bad. *1/2
WWE Championship Match:
Randy Orton © vs. Batista vs. Daniel Bryan:
Bryan comes out selling the further-damaged arm courtesy of COO Triple H. Randy Orton gets played to the ring by whoever the f*ck sings his theme music. Batista looks gassed halfway through his entrance. OK, I made that up, but he's definitely running on empty after about 5-minutes of doing the least work of all involved. Orton and Batista work the majority of the early stages, and thankfully the crowd doesn't turn on them. Bryan sneaks in with well-timed, out of site, attacks, but keeps getting the arm attacked and thrown around. Bryan finally makes the big comeback, only for Triple H to return and lay out the referee. Bryan gets wiped out, and here's crooked referee Scott Armstrong to try and fast-count Nick Patrick style (as in very slowly), but Bryan kicks out at two. Bryan lays out Armstrong with a roundhouse kick, then suicide dives onto Hunter AND Stephanie! Hunter busts out the Sledgehammer, but Bryan intercepts it and KO's him, instead! Orton and Batista unite for a common purpose and end up putting Bryan through a table with a Powerbomb/RKO combo. In a gruesome moment, Orton lands square on his back across a TV monitor, showing some color across his back, and looking like he was in incredible pain. They tease carting Bryan off in a stretcher, but he RISES ABOVE while Orton holds it together and Batista starts to not suck. They tease some near falls, including Batista stealing a pin attempt following Bryan's big knee, but we FINALLY get the big finish with Bryan forcing Batista to tap to the YES Lock at around the 23-minute mark. Bryan celebrates, uninterrupted, as the entire crowd gets into the "Yes!" chant. Not the greatest triple threat, but they were clicking, big time, and we got the finish we demanded. ****
Final Thoughts: Holy crap, was that a good WrestleMania. It's not an all-time great, but it's one of the best from the last decade. Bryan stole the show, but almost everything clicked, or got over whatever it was going for. I found it very surprising how unremarkable most of the Undertaker/Lesnar match was, but I think we all had fears in the back of our minds over that one. The Diva's were put in a weird spot and managed to have a solid match with so many bodies flying around, and the Battle Royale was surprisingly fun once it got down to a manageable amount of participants. Wyatt/Cena delivered one of the most intense, story-driven matches I've seen in a while, and hey... the Shield DESTROYED The New Age Outlaws. Catch the replay, enjoy yourself.
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