Facts from Wrestlemania 30, 6th April 2014

The wrestling fan’s ersatz bank holiday weekend, Wrestlemania 30 was last night, and I had a lot of thoughts about it. Spoiler, obviously.

  • The show began with guest host Hulk Hogan talking.
  • He was joined by Stone Cold Steve Austin. I entertained myself by thinking of him bumping into Cameron backstage and discussing whether or not she’d picked a new favourite match yet.

  • And then they were joined by the Rock, who was the highest-grossing actor of 2013, so fair enough for being there, I suppose.
  • By the end of their nice little chat, 22 minutes of the pay-per-view had gone, and I was starting to get twitchy, particularly when the next segment was a video package summarising Daniel Bryan’s feud with Triple H.
  • And then I forgot all that, because Bryan v HHH – the qualifier for the triple-threat title match – was amazing. From HHH’s timely Game of Thrones-esque entrance (with Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Alexa Bliss as his lovely masked servants) to Steph’s ringside screeching, the scene was set for Bryan to triumph over evil.
  • When Bryan had his arm lifted, I immediately shouted, “Bryan, get out of the ring! Get out of the ring and hide for a couple of hours until your next match!” You’d think he’d learn. Instead, he was slapped by Steph, attacked by HHH, and smashed up with a chair.
  • The Shield v the Old Age Outlaws and Kane was brief – which, really, it should be, but it’s always nice to see Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns united against injustice. Also, the double-triple-powerbomb was immense.
  • The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal was chaotic until the field thinned out, and it became evident that the crowd were cheering everything that Cesaro did. Even when he was duking it out against the Big Show – still ostensibly intended to be a face and our returning all-conquering hero – his strikes were getting the cheers while Show’s were getting the boos. And when Cesaro wrapped up his win by picking Show up and throwing him over the top rope, I actually gasped and clapped.
  • It was then that I began to fret that things were going too smoothly.
  • Luke Harper had a new Wrestlemania waistcoat, and we also got a new John Cena taking on Bray Wyatt – a Cena with justifiable rage and normal human emotions. Assuming he doesn’t return to the usual “Some of y’all like me, some of y’all hate me!” mode tonight on RAW, this is the first time in ages I’ve been interested to see what happens with him.
  • The Undertaker v Brock Lesnar was a rather turgid affair, with the excitement coming at the end as the Streak was broken. There have been reports of people crying, demanding refunds, or simply walking out. I must be heartless, because I wasn’t even that shocked, and I actually laughed – mostly at Lesnar’s smug smirk. I understand all the arguments about why that particular win should have been given to someone who was on the rise and “needed” it. Sure. But that wouldn’t have been as much of a surprise, would it?
  • It looks like Sting held out one year too long to sign that WWE contract, then.
  • The Divas’ Invitational was hideous, obviously, with Natalya reprising her usual horrified reaction when someone has the audacity to hit her in the face, Eva Marie’s strikes looking a bit like being swiped by a kitten, and AJ justifiably retaining. I’d have liked a run-in from Paige under the tutelage of Sara Del Rey, but to be honest I fear I’m never going to get that so perhaps I should get over it.
  • Randy Orton was played to the ring by a live band, the singer of which seemed to be in Corey Graves cosplay.
  • Of course Triple H and Stephanie tried to interfere, bringing back their puppet referee Scott Armstrong – and Bryan destroyed them all with a dive out of the ring. I was glad that Steph got squashed there – she deserves some kind of retribution, and seeing as Brie Bella seems intent to remain storyline WORLD’S WORST FIANCEE, Bryan had to do it himself.
  • Orton and Batista combined to attempt to keep Bryan out of the match, concluding in a spectacular spot where Orton RKOed him on the way out of a powerbomb on the announce table. Bryan was stretchered out, with a neck brace, but halfway up the ramp he tore off the restraints and crawled back to the ring.
  • After Orton eluded his clutches (despite me shouting, “TAP, YOU STUPID MAHOGANY GIT!” at the TV) Bryan finally made Batista tap, and took the belts. There was pyro. There was golden confetti. There were tears around the world as the YES Movement triumphed over the powers of evil, but also, of course, because a great, hard-working wrestler is getting his reward for so many, many years of effort and entertainment.
  • What a great Wrestlemania. It put me through a range of emotions and I came away feeling glad I’d paid to see it. That’s what I want from professional wrestling.

4 Responses to Facts from Wrestlemania 30, 6th April 2014

  1. Mike says:

    Absolutely amazing Wrestlemania, packed with memorable moments, surprises and emotional pay-offs, just like The Biggest Stage of Them All should be.

    Everyone did their job well – from the near passing-of-the-torch that was Rock/Austin/Hogan’s opening segment, to the entertaining Andre The Giant Battle Royale, to the ongoing and escalating Bryan/Authority war.

    I’ve seen some stubborn people claim that Bryan winning was predictable. Really? Tell that to the 75,000 in attendance and millions at all who were twitching uncomfortable on the edge of their seat at every perfectly-executed near fall. Good show, WWE. The drama – and the constant, nagging worry of Bryan being somehow screwed over again – never disappeared.

    My only two gripes (and in the scheme of things, they’re small) were the booking of Cena/Wyatt and Lesnar/Undertaker. The pairings seemed mismatched to me – a Cena/Lesnar rubber match and a Wyatt Family/Dead Man encounter seemed on paper like a much better fit to my mind.

    Undertaker’s Wrestlemania streak appeared to end in an almost ignominious way. The match wasn’t a patch on his recent Wrestlemania appearances (kudos I guess to Punk, HHH and Michaels in that regard), and Lesnar – a former UFC champion and certified WWE legend in his own right – certainly didn’t need the rub of being the man to make it 21 and 1. Bray Wyatt’s dark charisma seemed a more natural fit for the Dead Man – and if the streak was to end, in my mind at least it should have been used to elevate a natural successor, not as a bone thrown to a part-timer.

    Still, we can’t have everything, and WWE once again gave us more than we imagined with an absolutely breathtaking spectacle which proved yet again that Wrestlemania really is the grandest stage of them all.

    • Carrie says:

      I do see that argument re Lesnar, but if Taker had faced Wyatt, in that obvious cross-generational way, the ending of the streak wouldn’t have been such a surprise, I think…

  2. PPW says:

    I almost got a little teary eyed seeing Stone Cold and The Rock hug it out in the ring. Both are my childhood pro wrasslin’ heroes. This is my take on Lesnar beating Taker, from my blog, basically directed at the angry IWC:

    The thing I can say here, is people are not looking at the storylines in place here. This is, by all logics, the reality era in professional wrestling. Undertaker’s character, all be it a fantastic and compelling character, is getting old. Once a year is not cutting it anymore for the deadman. This match is culmination of the last five years!

    It started with Shawn Michaels, he put dents in the majestic armor of the Undertaker, but Taker proved he still wanted it. Then Triple H came along, and took him to more of a limit than Michaels ever did. Hell, not even both of those men could beat the Undertaker, then CM Punk, the greatest, in my opinion, entertainment style wrestler of our era, pushed him to almost the breaking point with head games, insulting Paul Bearer to the point where that victory was not even him winning, it was vengeance winning.

    And this year, after inducting Paul Bearer into the Hall of Fame, and seeing his friend finally get that place in the heavens and the Hall, he had nothing to gain by taking this match! He had no reason to even come back this year and fight. 21-0 would have been one of the greatest things in the history of professional wrestling. But, he challenged a foe that only he (kayfabe) knew he had a chance against, and he lost. He can now ride into the sunset and let the past be behind him.

    Brock Lenar is a beast, he is a former UFC/WWE Champion, he is a NCAA division one champion, and most of all, he is 13 years younger than the Undertaker. He should have beat the Undertaker! The streak was never meant to last forever, there was always gonna be the one. And Lesnar is the one in 21-1.

    And if that storyline alone doesn’t do it for you, maybe the Undertaker wanted to go. Maybe he wanted to retire. Maybe the only way he could peacefully retire without the fans coming for him this time every year is to end the streak. I honestly hope he comes out tonight and retires as Mark Calaway, not The Undertaker, because the Undertaker we saw last night is not the same Undertaker I remember. If you think in that aspect, who are we to deny the Undertaker that WrestleMania choice? Because there is no way he would have not approved Lesnar beating him last night…

    The Undertaker, storyline wise, had nothing to gain in this match and everything to lose. He lost.

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