The biggest event on the sports entertainment calendar and the week that followed has come and gone, and with it many of the fans that only hang around for the few weeks leading up to Wrestlemania. Of course, winners and losers go beyond who got their hand raised, and who was looking up at the New York area night sky. Let's have a look at who gained and who lost from the "Showcase of the Immortals" and the week that followed.
*NOTE: I originally wrote this last Monday and made a few changes to it during the week, so it may not look all clean and pretty. Also, I wrote this prior to the events of the 4/15/13 episode of RAW.
Winner: John Cena
In an outcome that surprised no one, John Cena defeated The Rock to become the WWE Champion for the eleventh time. Whatever the final number of WWE titles the former "Doctor of Thuganomics" is, it might as well go up in the rafters. No one's beating it. He's three ahead of both Triple H and The Rock, and only Randy Orton has any hope of catching Cena's record. (Orton, by the way, is on six. And he was last WWE Champion two and a half years ago.) At least the WWE Champion will be on RAW every week for the foreseeable future, so the E has that going for them, which is nice.
Loser: Fans of heel turns everywhere
Neither of the two expected heel turns many fans expected happened last week: Randy Orton and John Cena. But one hardly anyone cared about did. Big Show is heel again, to the surprise of no one. But then, did Show even turn in the first place? I mean, the guy flips more times than a politician during election season. This isn't to say that the heel turns won't come; to the best of my knowledge, the last heel turn at Wrestlemania was twelve years ago, and that one didn't work out so well. I still say a Randy Orton one is imminent, and the supposed Ryback heel turn isn't exactly a heel turn yet. I mean, when you have an entire crowd still doing your "Feed! Me! More!" spiel, you're not a heel. You're just not.
Winner: Jay Briscoe
Going out of the box for a moment. While WWE was light on surprises at Wrestlemania (other than the kinda sorta out of nowhere announcement that The Rock would be on the cover of WWE 2K14), Ring of Honor delivered a jaw-dropper on the other side of the Hudson: Jay Briscoe won the company's world title from Kevin Steen. Briscoe is just the seventeenth man to hold the ROH world title in the 11-year history of the promotion, and the sixth man (out of seven) in the last four years to win the title in New York City. Congrats to Jay Briscoe.
Losers: Rhodes Scholars, Las Bellas and Tons of Funk(adactyls)
On a night that had no backstage segments and little filler (outside a Diddy and Living Colour performance), these eight people STILL couldn't make Wrestlemania. Yeah, they'll miss the thousands of dollars that even a cameo appearance comes with being on the "Showcase of the Immortals", but their match rescheduled for the next night was entertaining if nothing else. So they had that going for them, which is nice.
Winners: Mark Calaway and Phillip Brooks
Also known as Undertaker and CM Punk. Sure their match wasn't on the level of the Undertaker-HBK or Undertaker-COO H matches, but they still shut that place down. At 48, Mark Calaway continues to amaze us in ways his younger peers cannot. This isn't opinion. This is fact. Though it was a foregone conclusion that CM Punk would be just another victim, you probably at least believed for a split second (especially when he stole Undertaker's pin pose) that maybe, just maybe he could do it. That's the sign of a good match: you know the outcome. You're sure of the outcome. Yet, the performers in the ring can sell doubt in that outcome. All things considered, these two deserve their well-earned vacations. Mark, we'll see you in New Orleans. Phillip, get back ASAP, because it's gonna be a mess while you're gone. Speaking of selling...
Loser: Dolph Ziggler
Why you no cash in your Money in the Bank? The whole world wanted it. I wasted five points in the Cageside Seats Pick ‘Em for you to run down that ramp...aisle...stage thingie. You could cash it in tonight and I won't care. You can cash it in tomorrow and I won't care. This was your "I'm here to show the world" night. And you couldn't do it. Maybe WWE doesn't take you that serious after all.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
After last Monday, I totally take all that back. Apparently, it was in the works for weeks for Ziggler to get his moment the night after Wrestlemania. Congratulations, Nick Nemeth. From being Chavo Guerrero's caddy and 1/5 of the Spirit Squad to being the top of the Smackdown roster, the guy earned it. And I know my next statement will grind a lot of gears, but it's true: he's a product of being in the right era at the right time. In any other era, he doesn't get close to being a world champion.
Losers: Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger
Ok, it's safe to say Alberto Del Rio as a face isn't exactly working. I see why WWE did it-it was a demographic thing-but... no. I think I can declare it a failure and not get a lot of dirty looks. But all things considered, you could be Jake Hager, aka Jack Swagger. He was primed for a world title run when he got behind the wheel high and in possession of marijuana shortly after debuting his new gimmick in February and getting hotshotted to the front of the line. Now, he's probably looking at being in the doghouse, or worse, unemployed in the foreseeable future. Karma is a bitch like that. Ok, he probably won't be unemployed, as under the WWE wellness policy, marijuana is only punishable by a fine. But if Gulport, Mississippi prosecutors have their way, he could wind up in jail for a couple days and be out a couple grand. Guess we'll find out this summer.
Winners: Daniel Bryan and Kane
Good to see that on the third try, Daniel Bryan Danielson gets a proper Wrestlemania match. Granted, he'll still be remembered for the second one. And EVIL WELDER KANE just keeps on ticking, don't he? Ten Wrestlemanias in a row (16 if you include the XIX preshow) for the little Brother of Destruction is damn impressive. If anyone has a chance of knocking down the most consecutive Wrestlemanias ever record (which will probably top out at 14 by Undertaker next year), it's Kane. So... who challenges Hell No in the tag division? I have a suggestion in a bit. Also, Daniel Bryan: big winner. He got to raise a fist with the Brothers of Destruction. And he stood in the same ring as Triple H the next night (Friday). Yeah. Daniel Bryan Danielson is a big deal. But you...you already knew that.
Losers: The WWE Divas
If my math is correct (and it very well may not be), only three WWE divas appeared on the show last night: Trish Stratus (who is four months preggers by the way. Congrats!) in the Hall of Fame portion of the show, AJ Lee, and Lilian Garcia. Please explain to me again why I should care about the WWE divas if WWE themselves don't care about them. Unless Sara Del Rey walks through that curtain (or something similar drastic happens), I'll be over here continuing not to care, thanks.
Winners: The Shield, Ryback, Fandango, and Big E Langston
Ok, everyone except Ryback and Big E Langston won a Wrestlemania match, but at least none of them crapped the bed, which sometimes is all you can ask. The Shield may be in line for a tag title shot, Big E Langston gets to be the world champion's heavy for the foreseeable future, and Ryback is next in line to be fed...to John Cena. But holy hell, perhaps no one had a better week than Johnny "Fandango" Curtis. His theme "Cha Cha La La" is a top-50 song on iTunes. Fandangoing (humming his theme while pointing upwards with alternate arms) is a thing. Fandango apparently is a pet project of Vinnie Mac himself, so he'll be given every chance to succeed, and so far, he has. He beat Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania. That's saying something.
Losers: The tag team division
With Hell No dispatching AJ's Boy Toys last night on the big stage, there are no viable challengers for the tag team titles. Remember that "tag team revival" last fall? Yeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. May I make one suggestion to challenge Hell No? How about The Shield? They're unbeaten. Oh, and they have a win over Hell No. Put the belts on The Shield, have them defend the belts Freebird-style. Or have them defend it in handicap matches. Whatever works to bring life to this lifeless division.
Potential Winners: Near-main-eventers
Hell No won't be the only ones in need of challengers for the foreseeable future. John Cena will need one with The Rock probably going away for a while (even though he is advertised for Backlash: Extreme Rules: One Night Stand a month and a half from now). Dolph Ziggler being the new champion probably sets up a Del Rio-Ziggler feud for the foreseeable future, maybe. But who after that? Not you, Kofi Kingston, take three steps back please. Good God, has anyone fallen further in recent memory than Kofi? From Money in the Bank highlight reel moments to pregame analysis in a suit? Really? Oh wait...
Loser: Mike Mizanin
Awesome for him that he got to win back the Intercontinental title with his mom in the front row. That's touching. Really, it is, except he loses it just 26 hours later back to Wade Barrett, pit fighter. Way to go, Mizanin. Two years ago, this guy was the winner of the main event match at Wrestlemania. You know how many people ever that can say that? Sixteen. In two years, he went from Wrestlemania main-event winner to Wrestlemania preshow winner. All things considered, it's a better career trajectory than Paul Orndorff: from main eventer at Wrestlemania I to curtain jerker the next year to out of the WWF entirely by Wrestlemania III.
Winners: People who like The Rock's entrance theme music
The main events of Wrestlemanias 27 through 29 have produced three different winners. But the last music heard on the show all three times was "Electrifying" by Jim Johnston, best known as the theme for The Rock.
Losers: Submission wrestling aficionados
To Dwayne Johnson and Paul Levesque (aka The Rock and Triple H): I'm gonna have to ask you not to do the sharpshooter and kimura lock respectively ever again. Just...no. Stop doing that.
Winners: Spanish announce table truthers
The table doesn't sell CM Punk's top rope "Macho Man" elbow. Yet the table breaks for COO H. The dude's ego trip truly knows no bounds, does it?
Losers: People who ordered legitimate streams of Wrestlemania 29
The official stream had an ROH iPPV moment when it went dead just a few minutes into the show, and when the stream restarted, it went back to the beginning. That's not a good look, WWE, especially when streaming will probably be a revenue stream of the future. Worse, the WWE sent an email to those that had stream problems: no refunds. Good God, WWE. Even ROH did a make good once when their stream went bad.
Winners: People who paid less than full freight for Wrestlemania 29
Think about it. You don't have buyer's remorse today if this applies to you. On the other hand...
Losers: People who paid full freight for Wrestlemania 29
Whether you were in the stands or paid for your PPV, there's a pretty good chance you feel you didn't get your money's worth last night. Wrestlemania 29 was good in spots, but outside of the Undertaker-Punk and maybe Triple H-Brock Lesnar matches, you probably feel that you didn't get that signature Wrestlemania moment on this show. And I would agree. And I didn't pay full freight.
Winners: The WWE, Metlife Stadium, and its many inhabitants
Per a press release issued by WWE last Monday, this is the fourth straight year that a Wrestlemania broke the ticket gate record, taking in $12.3 million American last night. 80,673 bodies packed the gym, the largest in the history of the young stadium and less than 200 more than this past season's attendance for New York Giants home games. That's damn impressive. Say what you will about the state of the product; if WWE can draw a crowd comparable to a Giants home game, they must be doing something right.
Winners: The IZOD Center in East Rutherford, NJ
That was as good a crowd as you could ask for last Monday. There hasn't been that much energy for RAW since RAW 1000. If we could only have crowds like that every week. Oh wait, we did. It was called the Attitude Era. The bar has been set for the 2013-14 season. Good luck clearing it.