There's an old saying that rings especially true when it comes to major sporting -- or sports entertainment -- events: "Nothing ever goes the way you plan it." This was never more evident than the Super Bowl this past February at the Superdome in New Orleans -- the site of WrestleMania XXX next year -- when the power went out for over half an hour in the middle of the game. This was also the case with last night's (Sun., April 7, 2013) WrestleMania 29 pay-per-view (PPV) blowout from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
If you look at each of the nine matches on the card standing on their own, most were good, a couple were better than good, and one was outstanding. But when put together in the manner in which WWE laid out the card, it hurt a few of them greatly.
Here's the line-up we got last night from first match to last:
- Wade Barrett vs. The Miz (pre-show)
- The Shield vs. Randy Orton & Sheamus & Bgi Show
- Ryback vs. Mark Henry
- Special Olympics segment on stage
- Team Hell No vs. Dolph Ziggler & Big E. Langston
- Chris Jericho vs. Fandango
- P. Diddy performance
- Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger
- Undertaker vs. CM Punk
- Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H
- Hall of Fame inductees on stage
- The Rock vs. John Cena
That's an oddly put together show for a number of reasons. For starters, it should be noted this list doesn't include any of the video packages that played throughout the night, of which there were more than one and that already makes for too many. And I'm not talking about pre-match promos to set up stage entrances either.
I'm talking no less than two hype promo videos for Rock vs. Cena later in the show. And there were more than that, too, like a couple that aired before P. Diddy's performance to give them time to set up the stage for that awful eight minutes or so.
What's so odd about the card is how they went back-to-back-to-back with the big three matches. That may not have been the plan originally but because of time constraints and the want to give the headliners enough time to work their magic, the Tons of Funk & Funkadactyls vs. Rhodes Scholars & Bella Twins match was cut from the card completely.
That meant no cool down match in between Undertaker vs. CM Punk and Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H.
The latter match suffered greatly because of this, as the bout was actually far better than the crowd was giving it reaction for. Put simply, all the emotion was sucked out of the building and the fans needed time to rest before getting back into another emotionally charged match.
They were never given that time. So they were dead quiet -- or at least it came across that way on the broadcast -- for almost the entire match.
This was also true for the main event, though it did pick up steam towards the end.
Knowing what we do now, WWE would have been better served to save the Diddy performance for later in the show and they probably should have stuck the Del Rio vs. Swagger match -- which Swagger got a jobber entrance for to really showcase how bad the timing of all this was -- after 'Taker vs. Punk if they knew they were cutting the eight-person mixed tag match.
All this without mentioning Barrett and Miz got all of four minutes worth of match time on the pre-show that was actually expanded to an hour, all so WWE could play video packages that were later re-aired during the PPV broadcast.
On top of the timing and pacing issues, there were widespread technical difficulties. Many folks, myself included, had trouble actually ordering the broadcast from their cable providers, with some never actually getting the chance to do so. Other reports state the WWE.com stream crashed and never actually got going until mid-way through the show when a message simply came up stating it wasn't going to play the show.
On top of all that, fans who paid a lot of money to attend the show live at the stadium were disappointed to get there and see that the beautiful, elaborate stage set up ended up obstructing thousands of seats. Quite a few fans were actually forced to wait in line to get their seat changed so they weren't missing out on the action and for many of them this simply never happened.
To really top it all off, it rained slightly early in the evening and it was cold out, which could explain why there wasn't as much reaction throughout the night as one would expect from a WrestleMania.
Overall, it wasn't necessarily a bad show, it just had a lot of problems. Triple H vs. Lesnar and Rock vs. Cena would have been much better served without the timing issues and conditions surrounding their respective matches. Both were good but seem much worse than they actually were thanks to extenuating circumstances.
Here's to hoping WrestleMania XXX in New Orleans goes better.