A Fan's Take on Wrestlemania 28
The Big Event
A Grand Performance
For the most part, Wrestlemania 28 lived up to the hype of it being the “Showcase of the Immortals”. The “End of an Era” match, the “Once in a Lifetime” confrontation, and others were etched in stone as Wrestlemania memories that will be talked about for years to come. The matches, well, most of them, were grandest-stage-of-them-all caliber and featured some of the most incredible displays of resilience, especially in the amount of kick-outs after finishing moves, that I have ever seen. The outside atmosphere of Miami brought something different into the equation as well.
Though the show was a pretty outstanding program in terms of classic professional wrestling, there were of course a few low points. The following are my personal feelings about each match.
Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan for the World Heavyweight Championship
Let me just say that I am stoked to see Sheamus as the new World Heavyweight Champion. He has earned every inch of that title and in my mind is the genuine future of the WWE. Not only that, Daniel Bryan is perhaps the biggest jackass in the WWE, and it was very pleasing to see him dethroned at the biggest event of them all. That being said, the “match” itself was somewhat of a joke. One strike, a Brogue kick by Sheamus, and the match is done. Sheamus’ glorious triumph at the Royal Rumble led him down the great road to Wrestlemania so he could fight for eighteen seconds. I’ll say that it places the storyline for Bryan and AJ into a different realm, but there could have at least been a fight before the big kiss ruined Bryan’s dreams. I was looking forward to seeing Sheamus fight and, well, he didn’t. There could have been so much more to this match.
Kane vs. Randy Orton
I will say I was very pleased with this match, especially the outcome. I am a huge fan of both Kane and Randy Orton, but I was pulling for Kane solidly in that match. Recently, Kane has appeared as more of a physical menace (his looks) and not enough of an in-ring menace. He lost to John Cena in the ambulance match at the Elimination Chamber PPV, and wasn’t very impressive in his confrontations with Orton leading up to Wrestlemania. In order for Kane to hang on to his persona of domination and power, he had to win at Wrestlemania. Losing there after losing to Cena a month earlier would have made him nothing more than a scary person to look at. As for Orton, we know he is one of the best in the business today. We know that he is a venomous viper that can win match after match. Therefore, him losing against Kane was really no shame.
Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes for the Intercontinental Championship
Another match that pleased me, this David-and-Goliath bout showcased both Cody Rhodes’ and Big Show’s wrestling adequacy on such a grand stage. Rhodes had held the Intercontinental Championship for many months and I was glad to see someone else, especially someone like the Big Show who has been in the business long enough to say he’s a deserving champion, capture the title. Cody Rhodes himself should be proud that he’s achieved enough superstardom to even compete at Wrestlemania, and I do think he’s earned it.
Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos vs. Beth Phoenix and Eve
This was the downer match of the event in my opinion. In a short match (imagine that) that pitted a Diva with mediocre wrestling skills and a show host that doesn’t even need to be in a wrestling ring against two of the biggest heel Divas in the WWE, there wasn’t much to be excited about. It was almost a given that Kelly Kelly and Menounos would win the match simply because Menounos was a “celebrity guest”. That is just ridiculous. Now the main Diva in WWE couldn’t overcome a woman with absolutely no wrestling skills (Menounos) and that pretty much make Beth Phoenix a joke to the Divas title.
The Divas match we should have seen at this big event would have been Beth Phoenix defending the Divas title against Kharma. Two powerhouse women, the Divas Championship, and finally a Divas match worth watching. That would have been Wrestlemania caliber and something I would have been very excited to see.
Triple H vs. The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell Match with Shawn Michaels as the Special Guest Referee
Now we move on to what I felt was the best match of the entire PPV. There were moments leading up to Wrestlemania that I really wanted to see Undertaker face someone else (like Sting or Brock Lesnar) but I accepted the fact that Triple H would be his opponent (which is fine because I’m a Game fan, too) and geared myself up for a battle of the ages. It was indeed so. Both men, having not even stepped into the ring in some time, showed no signs of rust and fought like they never have before. The back and forth and seemingly never-ending near-falls kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. With every near-fall Triple H had on Undertaker, the streak was a second away from ending and history unlike any other in WWE history would be made. With every near-fall Undertaker had on The Game, the power of The Deadman was about to reach its apex. Weapons were used, blood was shed, and a classic wrestling atmosphere was cast upon the WWE Universe. Then there was Shawn Michaels. The Heart Break Kid was surprisingly unbiased and ensured the match remained pure (minus the super kick that he delivered to the Undertaker mid-match). The emotion he showed, even crying at one point because the tension of the match was so high, brought a more human experience into the equation. Finally, the respect that the three men had for one another at the end of the fight was astounding. I think that this storyline has been settled and everyone has recognized what they were or weren’t meant to do. I was pleased to see the streak continue because that is the Undertaker’s legacy, and his legacy should remain.
Team Teddy vs. Team Johnny for Total Control of WWE Programming
This match was interesting because of its complexity. So many Superstars and Divas were in the mix that it was nonstop action and mayhem, which of course is always fun. Now I know some people will dispute me on this and I do agree that John Laurinaitis can be pretty dreadful to deal with much of the time but I was glad his team won. No disrespect to Teddy Long, though, as he is one of my favorite GMs of all time and I love seeing him on WWE television, but I feel like having John Laurinaitis having total control of the WWE shows creates a more dramatic situation in the WWE because he is indeed a heel. And what happens when bad guys gain such power? A hero steps up to challenge that bad guy and we have a whole new version of the classic storyline. Perhaps this could even be the time that CM Punk and John Laurinaitis’ rivalry picks back up, as I feel it ended too quickly.
CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho for the WWE Championship
This was another great match, and I knew it would be. Here we have two guys that are very evenly matched and claim to be “The Best in the World” and rightfully so. This contest exhibited classic wrestling aspects, such as numerous submission holds and the catch-as-catch-can style of back and forth wrestling. I’ll have to admit, however, that in the weeks leading up to Wrestlemania I felt like Jericho should win that match. Why? Because since his return he has promised to end the world as we know it and do something big when in fact he hasn’t done anything impressive at all. He failed to win the Royal Rumble and the Elimination Chamber, and I felt like a win at Wrestlemania along with capturing the WWE Championship would maintain Jericho’s relevance as a major force, and legend, in the WWE. But win he did not. Although he displayed a Wrestlemania-worthy performance, he came up short. Now where does he go from here? Will the rivalry with CM Punk continue? Perhaps, and I’m ok with that. In the last couple of days before “The Granddaddy of Them All”, I started to want Punk to win more. I like both men, but Punk is my preference as a Superstar. And so I rooted for Punk, and Punk did win. That’s a good thing because that keeps Punk’s relevance as WWE Champion alive and well.
The Rock vs. John Cena "Once in a Lifetime Match"
Finally, the main event of Wrestlemania 28 was the “Once in a Lifetime” match between John Cena and The Rock. After exactly one year of hype, the match came and delivered a spectacle for all the world to see. The match fell right into place with other matches on the card, like Undertaker vs. Triple H, as pertains to the back-and-forth drama aspect. Now in this match I was personally pulling for John Cena. Though I’m not really a major fan of either one, Cena earned my respect far more than The Rock did simply because Cena has been loyal to fans night in and night out over the past several years. I agree with some who say The Rock turned his back on the WWE, and for this reason I wanted Cena to win. But The Rock was the better man, and there’s nothing wrong with that. My own feelings were that if The Rock were to win, that must mean he’s coming back full-time. If not, then Cena should have most certainly won the match. This rivalry was one for the record books but I believe, after all the months of hype, that it should officially be settled after the Wrestlemania bout. Both men are great, The Rock was the better man on the biggest stage.