WWE WrestleMania 28 went down last night (Sun., April 1, 2012) from Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida, and featured a couple of damn good matches to go along with some terribly disappointing booking decisions.
- Upon the announcement of yet another Triple H vs. Undertaker match, I cringed. Not because I didn't think they could deliver something fun, but because I'm simply not a big fan of retreads, rematches and trilogies. But I was pleasantly surprised to see the two deliver the goods in such an insane fashion. Everything from how brutal they were with their brawling to how intense it got with Shawn Michaels teasing dissension, to the spot with HBK hitting the Sweet Chin Music followed immediately by the Pedigree from Triple H. The near falls were money and they still managed to make me believe that Trips actually was going to end the streak. Ultimately, though, they told the same story they did with Michaels. Eventually, "The Game" came to realize he simply couldn't defeat "The Deadman" and in one last act of defiance, gave Undertaker the crotch chop suck it before getting finished off. Having fought their battles and ended their war, all three men helped each other out and all but took a bow at the top of the ramp. It was one of the best matches and stories told inside a pro wrestling ring in the history of the business. Simply incredible.
- Undertaker's bald head did not, in fact, ruin anything. At all. The mohawk look was hard to get used to, at first, but it didn't affect anything.
- Also, Undertaker's Shredder costume? Total win.
- It's hard to believe The Rock went over clean on John Cena. Partially because they spent quite a bit of time having Cena convince us that he HAD to win this match. To that end, it should be most interesting to see how WWE plays this out tonight and in the coming weeks. Cena HAD to win but he didn't. So what happens now? He didn't lose for any other reason than Rock is the better man, at least in storyline. He should be the man to open Raw tonight with an explanation and a great deal of advancement to this angle. The most likely scenario seems to be that we're headed for a rematch, maybe at SummerSlam. And that doesn't sound appealing.
- The reason that doesn't sound appealing is because Rock and Cena simply don't have chemistry. They didn't have it during promos together in the ring leading up to the match and they didn't have it when they got physical last night. Rock struggled a great deal to apply a serviceable sharpshooter and Cena's STF application was one of the worst in his history of using that particular submission maneuver. Even the finish was botched, as Cena slid when he wasn't supposed to and caused a delay to the Rock Bottom just before the pinfall. Combine all this with Rock gassing midway through and it wasn't a strong match. Had it not been for the crowd being so heavily in Rock's favor, this would have been a terrible finish to a WrestleMania, especially with how amazing Undertaker vs. Triple H was earlier in the night.
Thoughts on the rest of the show after the jump.
- I don't ever want to see Flo Rida or Machine Gun Kelly on my television set again, especially the latter. Both guys were terrible and the idea having them perform just before each man's entrance was just terrible. Never again, please.
- CM Punk and Chris Jericho didn't steal the show but they had a damn good match nonetheless. With the benefit of hindsight, I would have rather seen these two open the show and work the match they did. Had that been the case, it's entirely possible we would be looking at this match in an entirely different light. As it stands now, it's damn near a classic. But it was forced to follow Undertaker vs. Triple H, which sucked up a TON of heat and energy from the crowd, energy they didn't really get back until Cena vs. Rock. It made sense to rush the opening of the card to make sure the big dogs could get there time in but Punk vs. Jericho was an unfortunate casualty of having to follow the best match of the past year, and maybe more.
- One thing that should be pointed out in favor of Punk vs. Jericho was the finishing sequence. All to often in pro wrestling the minor details are ignored. Simple little issues that, if fixed, add a great deal to a match. Such as the fact that Punk's Anaconda Vice submission oftentimes leaves him wide open to get kneed in the back of the head by his opponent. So instead of Jericho tapping at first, he used the obvious way out and made Punk search for a new method. The same happened in reverse with the Walls of Jericho. It was only when Punk had repositioned himself in such a manner that left Jericho no outs did Y2J finally succumb. That's ring work that we don't see often enough and deserves a great deal of praise.
- Daniel Bryan was always going to lose the title to Sheamus, that was never in question. But the idea that they would book him to lose the belt in just 18 seconds in a squash match when he's quite possibly the best wrestler on the roster is just insane, silly and shortsighted. The only plus to this is that Bryan's character, as dictated by WWE storylines, should recover just fine and Sheamus was only out there for around one minute, including post-match celebration. That's the glass half full view.
- Big Show got his WrestleMania moment, which included kissing his wife after winning the Intercontinental title from Cody Rhodes in a match that would have looked good on a Raw or Smackdown but was rather pedestrian at a WrestleMania. The one good thing here is that Show really sold winning the title as a big deal. Take notes, mid-carders.
- Johnny Laurinaitis is now the General Manager of both Raw and Smackdown after his team won a mess of a match that was nothing more than a cool down match for the live crowd to recover from the Triple H vs. Undertaker war. There were some high spots -- like Dolph Ziggler flipping around like crazy for Zack Ryder and Mark Henry tossing Hornswoggle to the side like a swatted fly -- but it wasn't anything anyone will remember.
- Randy Orton jobbing to Kane was one of the most shocking aspects of this show. Orton is still a star that draws a great reaction from live crowds but the way he's been booked over the past year has made it seem as though he's fallen out of favor with WWE. That's not likely to be the case but big stars need to be treated as such lest they lose that perception and Orton is starting to lose some of his shine. The outcome of this match also throws into doubt whether Orton will be headed for the main event picture anytime soon. Sure doesn't look like it.
- I love the Funkasaurus from Planet Funk who is funky. Brodus Clay is held in the highest of regards here at Cageside Seats. But the dance routine and skit with his momma? Let's not ever do that again. All it seemed to do was entertain the live crowd but everyone at home was just pissed that Daniel Bryan was squashed in 18 seconds and we got Clay's mom shaking her ass all around Sun Life Stadium.
- Last note on Bryan: I'm proud of the crowd in Miami last night for chanting his name multiple matches after he was beaten and even breaking out into periodic "YES! YES! YES!" chants. Good job, folks. You've got great taste.
Overall, this was a good WrestleMania. Not the best ever but it's likely in the top five. It was fun and it featured one of the best matches in recent memory. I'll give it a solid A and I'm happy to have spent the money.
But that's enough from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off with all your WrestleMania 28 thoughts in the comments section below. Did you like it? Love it? Hate it?
Let's hear it!