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.
— Chris Hero (@thechrishero) April 7, 2014
- 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.