It has been a ride, through Hell (in a Cell) and heaven. Being a wrestling enthusiast is not an easy thing to explain in general and Wrestlemania 28 did not really help convince my friends that it is fun to watch grown men dancing around in pink shorts. (which of course is a perfectly acceptable thing to like)
Even though WM 28 was built to be a “Mainstream-Media-Event” it could, in many ways, not live up to the expectations of both pure wrestling-insiders and the occasional “Hey-I-like-that-guy-with-the-bright-green-shirt”-audience. No matter how bad you want it to be awesome – it just wasn’t,sorry.
But, I would not be writing this article now, if EVERYTHING sucked. Still going over the puzzling events in Miami the night before I watched Raw, thinking: Well, there’ll be some lame rematch, no surprise.
Hell did this show took me off. It was fresh, it was entertaining and the crowd was beyond anything I ever witnessed. I would like to get into WM 28 first, to analyse what might have gone wrong. Then I will go on to the show, that has already become legendary and point out a few of the many amazing things shown.
Wrestlemania 28 :
We have been flooded with many, many videos, countless comments by superstars and celebrities and we were hyped (well, at least I was). Wrestlemania 28 started with the World Heavyweight Title match,: Daniel Bryan, the overly optimistic submission specialist and his girlfriend AJ versus the Celtic Warrior Sheamus. Fans have anticipated this matchup since last year, mostly because of two very talented athletes who are known to put on a show, even if they are not in the main event’s spotlight. Their fight at WM 28 could have been a great chance to honor the effort of both, Sheamus as a crowd-favourite, especially for younger children, Daniel Bryan as a pure wrestler with many character traits. Now that is what COULD have happened. As we now know, Sheamus won the belt in 10 seconds: He came, he won, he left, that was it.
I would have liked a promo between the opponents, to heat up the audience (which was not even there, probably because they did not expect this in the first 5 (!) minutes). Daniel Bryan shouting at AJ, Sheamus telling a story about his uncle, maybe even Del Rio returning at the grand stage. Do not tell me, that there was no time for a segment with Alberto del Rio arriving in a private jet at the airport, when they had to include Mick Foley and Santino.
It might have shocked, but not as an opener and not with the audience still buying popcorn.
Kane versus Randy Orton is a match I did not want to see at Wrestlemania. It has the attitude of a regular weekly match between a champion and a random superstar, meant to strengthen the champ for the “big PPV”. In this case we had Randy Orton, who has been incredibly boring over the last year, who, in my opinion, lacks the will to improve and the right amount of confidence to put on a show (Daniel Bryan and Sheamus have that confidence for example). Randy Orton often collides with opponents who are bigger or stronger, thus making the matches slow and uncoordinated. I enjoyed Randy’s feud with Ted DiBiase or Cody Rhodes, guys he knows well, guys who have a similar in-ring-style. Kane was the wrong guy on the wrong night. But nevertheless I am impressed with Kanes’s progress, and the effort the WWE puts into him. Let us hope it results in a nice, last storyline, Glenn Jacobs has earned his retirement.
The match itself was okay, but as you could hear from the “record-breaking” crowd at Sun Life Stadium, nobody felt special about it, there was no real Wrestlemania spirit. It is the kind of feeling you get 5 minutes after the show is over, when you realise you saw history in the making. This felt more like: “Ahh, well, I just spend all my money on this, but whatever…playing Angry Birds on my smartphone is soo much fun”
Next up was Cody Rhodes versus The Big Show, and I was hoping to see Cody win. That was clearly the child speaking, as I am a big fan of Rhodes style and gimmick (That top-rope kick is just awesome). Big Show has always been a mediocre giant, the comedy wrestler, not a believable champion such as Mark Henry (the list would be: Henry>Show>Khali). Without the title, Cody might rise to the main event, or continue the war at Extreme Rules, there are many possibilities, and none of them is a disappointment. The match itself was nice and well-structured, without taking too much time from the 3 big single bouts.
Put a celebrity in the ring and hope the people notice. Seems to be the philosophy every time the WWE tries to get attention. Let me give you a hint: It does not work and most of the time neither wrestling fans nor casual viewers like the outcome. I know that, as an objective person (Really, I try) even the WWE Diva’s should be a part of my schedule, but most of the time I end up going to the bathroom, or eating, or sleeping, or reading tweets, or all of those things simultaneously.
The streak lives, the era is…hmm. Yeah, what happened to the “era” of Triple H, Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker ? Is it over, paused or going on (Since there are many other classic stars in active stories). I have no idea. And I would have to say, that I do not care. The match was nice, it was neither the best, nor the most exciting, but it had it’s moments. I also have no idea how the end could give any hint at the future. As far as I am concerned all three might return next week, happily waving at the audience announcing their Triple threat at Wrestlemania 29. Personally I liked Takers appearances against Micheals more, but as always: An epic match-up with three legends will always be an emotional thing.
Team Johnny versus Team Teddy was the kind of story Wrestlemania needs: Many athletes, hot girls, some nice spots, larger-than-life-villains and a stipulation that can change the WWE. Well, sadly, they just took all these ingredients, threw them in the ring and said: “Now go on and do something”. Once again the anticipation was bigger than the actual event.
A few ideas on that: Revive the ladder match, make it for the position of GM, give it time, make it the first (TV) match of the evening. I watched because I know that superstars such as Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Drew McIntyre, Zack Ryder NEED the chance to shine…and yes they brought what they could bring in the given environment. The Miz goes on to dominate in singles competition again, Eve and Zack have a defining moment, David Otunga earns necessary experience. Win-Win for the wrestlers, but the fans, who spent (a lot) of money to watch WM 28, might have been disappointed.
The Best in the world fights The Best in the world, result is the best wrestling match of WM 28. It was creative, it was fast, it was vicious. But hey, what did you expect ? I hope Punk and Jericho get to continue their rivalry, especially after the awesome attack at Raw this week. Maybe a little TLC match at Extreme Rules, Iron Man match anyone ?
CM Punk deserved the win, and being an interesting, unconventional champ, he might even lose the title at a common houseshow (let’s hope that doesn’t happen). CM Punk is great at selling a hard-fought battle, which means it is not a bad thing to get beaten by the World’s Strongest Man. It helps CM Punk to be “real” and make the WWE title the most valuable thing to conquer. (The Tag Team Titles for example, or the US Title are incredibly dull)
And now, ladies and gentlemen, once in a lifetime, the biggest match in the history of the WWE…
was probably the biggest surprise of 2012. The Rock slams Cena, goes for the 1,2,3,…and elevates himself to be the greatest superstar in entertainment. I guessed John Cena was humble enough to let Rock have the victory and the attention. The fans cheering for Cena do not care about The Rock, since most of them can not see the connection between Dwayne Johnson, Steve Austin, Mick Foley, they will love Cena no matter how often he looses. The Rock on the other hand has to prove to older fans that “he still got it”. And yes, no question, “Team Bring It” is not just a nice thing to write on a shirt (which I can proudly wear^^), but a way of life. The Rock has worked and trained hard, and he showed many young talents what the WWE is all about. It is not about Martial Arts, it is not about being a champion, it is not about travelling to foreign countries: It is about dedication, sacrifice and the ability to control people by just being in the ring.
The match itself was straight-forward, rumours of outside interference were, luckily, untrue. I had hoped to see a few more powerhouse slams or brawling, but it might have been the best those two, very different personalities, can put up. At some moments it looked as if the Rock was trying to make Cena look bad, putting less effort into throws. But then again, as a person, who respects John Cena more than any other superstar, and loves the Rock it is not up to me to decide.
Three comments on random stuff:
– The music was awful, at least for my taste, and did not fit the atmosphere. To buy “international superstars” that lack talent or inspiration is…bad. Not only for me, as I love classic rock, but I believe simply putting a dancing puppet on the stage will not help sell tickets.
– The costumes were…well, special. Wether it was Cody Rhodes in his leather coat, Beth Phoenix with an alien growing out of her head, or David Otunga, who could sue himself for lack of proper tailoring.
– The light show and fireworks were awesome. FIREWORKS. BOOM. Doesn’t get better than that. Period.
What do we remember, what feeling do we get, when we think of Wrestlemania 28 ?
I think of Raw, I think of a great TV show and not about the PPV. There were 2 moments acceptable as legendary memories: The end of an era, the Rock delivering the rock Bottom to Cena. That might be it.
A PPV lives from the crowd, whether they cheer or boo, whether they have funny signs or t-shirts. And at Wrestlemania there was no crowd. It sounds harsh, but for me there has never been a better moment. Never before has there been such a huge difference: From the loose mass at WM 28 missing the moments, to the raw “awesomeness” one night later. Hogan versus Rock was mediocre, what made that night special was the torn audience.
Maybe it was because of the location, but in fact there are way too many good reasons to use a stadium, so there is now way the WWE should change it.
This was it, my take on WM 28. Tell me what you thought about the event, the presentation, the stars and the development of each storyline. Feel free to comment, write me on Twitter, Facebook or via message. and please consider: This is my personal opinion, if you think differently I would be happy to hear yours.