(THE ONE WHERE CM PUNK JOBBED TO ORTON AND MIZ WON...AGAINST CENA...TO RETAIN THE WWE CHAMPIONSHUTUP JUST SHUT UP)
The year was...well actually just a few years ago if you can believe it. The Rock -- perennial fan favorite, attitude-having superstar of a bygone era -- had waltzed back into our lives in such a surprising fashion we all shelled out top dollar to watch the weakest WrestleMania card of the post-WCW era.
Wait, that's no good. Let me start again.
The year was 2011 and The Rock was back. He was better than ever and proved it with his Mania-opening promo punctuated by leading the crowd in a "I say Wrestle, you say Mania" chant.
Wait, wait, wait. No, that sucked too. One more time.
Gather round kids and I'll tell you the tale of how The Miz was WWE champion fresh off a feud with Jerry Lawler and was about to win the main event of Wres...
This is going to be a hard one to write.
So where to begin? There once was a time when I found The Miz to be compelling. He was the little engine that could, the wanna be wrestler who worked really hard at his job until finally they gave him a chance. If you don't remember, new fans, The Miz was once thought of by Internet fans the way we think about Dolph Ziggler (minus all the talent in the ring, natural charisma and charm). He was the little guy seemingly being held back in John Cena's world. He used to have this shirt that simply had Cena's name with a slash through it. I loved it. So did a lot of older fans.
This is The Miz here, folks. I say again: At one time he was an Internet darling. Not a huge one, mind you, but he was one. His little WWE.com show, The Dirt Sheet, with John Morrison (and their tag team) was very popular.
But like WWE is so fond of doing, they took a good thing and ruined it. I blame Batista. Miz went from anti-establishment with a natural edge to his character (yes, The Miz) to a cookie-cutter, WWE-formula, weak heel. As soon as creative started paying attention to him he lost a lot of his luster. At first it was okay: He used to call out John Cena and when the (injured) superstar no-showed, Miz would claim the win by forfeit. This lasted all the way up until the 2009 Great American Bash pay-per-view (PPV) when he lost to Cena in five minutes. He lost again in a squash on Raw and shuffled down to mid-card obscurity. He never recovered his fan support.
Then, after they had killed him, the creative powers at WWE naturally decided to do something with him. They made him the mentor of NXT'er Daniel Bryan. This only pissed us off more because by now The Miz had become one-dimensional and stale, his in-ring skills had never improved and he was "mentoring" an indie superstar.
With fans sufficiently sick of him, the WWE decided the time was ripe to put the title on him. He cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase and won the richest prize in the industry. He held the title high and proclaimed himself the greatest champ ever.
He then entered into a feud with Jerry Lawler.
At least Bret Hart had the decency to feud with Jerry Lawler after he lost the title.
That takes us to WrestleMania. Having successfully conquered consecutive feuds with John Morrison and Randy Orton (with the help of CM Punk; that's right Punk helped Miz lock himself into the main event of WrestleMania. No wonder he was heading out the door in 2011), he entered into a WrestleMania program with his old enemy Cena.
In another world this would be a great WrestleMania storyline. The little wannabe getting a chance to take on the undisputed top dog, the man who just happens to be the guy who embarrassed him in his first singles push? That's a great story. Too bad by this point The Miz was box office dead-weight and Cena was basically feuding with a then -- as far as we knew -- non-wrestling Rock.
As for the match...it's probably the worst-worked WrestleMania main event since 13. No, I take that back: It is most-definitely the worst-worked since then and may even be worse than that.
Come to think of it...Holeecow, could this be the worst-worked main event match in WrestleMania history? It was slow, clumsy, sloppy, lacking in psychology. The ending was genuinely offensive. Then offensive twice over again.
There was better crowd interaction and it felt like a bigger deal than Undertaker vs. Sid, and the finish wasn't as offensive as Bret/Hogan/Yokozuna from WrestleMania IX... I think it's placement here is fair, but just in terms of the bell-to-bell action, this might be the worst main event. There was no one for everyone to rally behind: John Cena will always have his supporters and detractors but 2010 to mid-2011 was probably his worst period in terms of older fan rejection. Miz meanwhile was not just hated like a heel, he was just hated.
The guy everyone paid to see in the main event was the "host" who didn't even make an appearance until after the title match ended in a DQ.
Read that sentence again and tell me you didn't think of WCW. If you weren't watching the program back then, if you only came back after CM Punk's pipe bomb promo later that summer, this is what we mean when we say the product stunk before Punk broke through and made everyone think "well shoot, Punk vs. Cena should have main evented WrestleMania."
Some of us are still waiting on that.
Apart from rewriting history, there's not much that could have main-evented in place of Cena vs. Miz. Undertaker vs. Triple H was probably the match of the night (although it didn't hold a candle to the previous two streak matches, in my opinion) but no one was seriously thinking it would close the show. There was no reason for it to. The title match-apart from some ridiculous circumstances-ought to close out the top show. It's just a shame that a combination of bad booking, bad working, and a bad ending made this one of the worst main events in WrestleMania history.
Sound off, Cagesiders. Is this among the worst? Is it the worst? Did I not give it (and the build up to it) a fair shake? Let us know in the comments.
Remember what I said about how the title ought to close the show? Drink some pepto, I'll see you tomorrow...
- Ranking Mania main events #26: Undertaker vs. Sycho Sid
- Ranking Mania main events #27: Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter
- Ranking Mania main events #28: Bert Hart vs. Yokozuna
- Ranking Mania main events #29: Lawrence Taylor vs. Bam Bam Bigelow