Alright guys, I've been dreading typing this up. I was in attendance last night at Metlife stadium. I was, to say the least, incredibly excited for the event. Say what you want about expectations for the card itself, I have general expectations for the biggest PPV of the year - and it failed massively to deliver, IMO. To anyone who argues, "It's entertainment, just be entertained and never complain," I genuinely pity you. The Mindy Project is entertainment, Disney on Ice is entertainment, a Justin Bieber concert is enterainment - because it is defined as entertainment and intended to be entertaining does not mean I should blindly be entertained. That notion is narrowminded and propesterous.
I spend big money to attend Wrestlemanias and watch wrestling because I love it. Please don't tell me to stop watching. I'm invested in certain characters and I will always love the spectacle of it: the showsmanship, the live-athletic soap opera that is pro-wrestling. But, because I invest a lot of time into it, I expect to get something out of it. It's like watching an entire season of a television show, and generally having some expectations for the finale to be memorable and at times breathtaking - particularly when finales in the past have been memorable and breathtaking.
As many others have mentioned - Wrestlemania is largely considered to be the birthplace of new stars, amazing moments, and bold shifts in the company's landscape. There was NONE of this. I'll break it into detail later in this rant, but there was NOTHING. The only 'shake-ups' were nauseating (see: Ryback vs Henry and Big Show). There was not a heel or face turn, a shake-up in one tag team, a twist in one storyline, an entertaining backstage promo, a jawdropping spot - and let me tell you - you could feel the lingering dissapointed in the 80,000 strong at Mania.
Shield vs Show/Orton/Sheamus: Pleased the Shield won. Show's spear was a cool spot. No Orton heel turn, no Sheamus heel turn, and the worst part - Big Show re-heel turn. Good lord. WWE basically said, "We're horrified of turning a top 5 face, heel - so we'll turn the Big Show soooorta face for 3 weeks, just to get him into the match, than we'll swing right back where we were." It was a slap in the face.
Crowd: Into it. Opening match. "SHIELD SHIELD SHIELD SHIELD" chants. Ambrose got the biggest pop when first tagged in.
Ryback vs Henry: Silly finish. IF YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE RYBACK SHELL SHOCK HIM, WHY HAVE HIM LOSE 1ST? Why not have Ryback fail to pick him up, receive a WSS, kick out of WSS, get psyched up, than have his big Mania moment hitting the Shell Shock for the win? Who in the world decided it was a good idea to give Mark Henry the win, only to make him look bad 2 minutes later?
Crowd: 'Feed Me More' chants to start. 'Boring' chants midway in. Picked up again during the Shellshock attempts.
Jericho vs Fandango: This match was the PPV in a nutshell for me. Sure, it's not the greatest match in the world on paper (like several others), but there was definitely reason to believe that this could have been something special. It just wasn't. Some sloppy moves toward the end. Fandangos awkward hop off the top rope, Jericho overshooting the Lionsault, and even the roll-up at the end. Where was the 2 minute Walls of Jericho with Fandango struggling to the ropes, showing he's tough, getting the crowd on their feet? It's simple stuff like that that just seemed missing throughout the night. Felt like I was eating at a 5 Star restaurant, with 5 Star quality food, but all my dishes were cooked at 3-Star quality. Where are my truffles at Wrestlemania? (Sorry for that analogy.)
Crowd: Big Y2J pop. Some "FAHN! DANH! GO!" chants, but probably not audible enough to hear on TV with the open roof.
Hell No vs Zig/Bigz: Big Ziggler fan, but I don't care that they lost. I care that nothing was progressed in the match. NO AJ involvement. She's been flirting/acting weird with Daniel Bryan for this ENTIRE build-up and NOTHING at Mania would show it. No friction amongst either team. No lengthy times for Ziggler and Bryan to do something special. Their match on Raw last week showcased their talents more.
Crowd: Big Yes chants to start. TONS of Ziggler signs and T shirts. If I spoke to 100 people, 100 thought he was cashing and was hoping for it.
Taker vs Punk: Don't get me wrong, this match was very entertaining. But, wasn't it what absolutely everyone expected? And I'm not just speaking the outcome. A hard worked match, 3 or 4 big kick-outs, and Taker getting the W. Things I expected to see because they teased them during the match and never delivered: a GTS (Punk didn't connect on ONE FINISHER - think about that), a Last Ride, the running front flip over the ropes that both Punk and Taker teased at, and a damn broken Spanish Announce Table.
Crowd: Into it. And justifiably. Punk doing Old School was awesome. Punk doing the throat chop before a failed GTS was sadistic and effing awesome too. Taker seems incapable of rust. Both guys got the job done, for sure. "This is awesome" chants.
Del Rio vs Swagger: Here I go. I don't know if you could hear it well on TV, but 80,000 people were chanting WE WANT ZIGGLER within 1 minute of the match, the entire match. There was not a full minute of that match where a section was not chanting it. NO ONE, gave a shit about Del Rio/Swagger. The WHC feud is dust, its an unwanted, stagnant, boring feud that no one has bought into in weeks and DESPERATELY needed an injection of a fresh face. In my opinion, the biggest missed opportunity of the night not having Zigs cash. The stadium was DEFLATED after he didn't cash.
Crowd: THOROUGHLY dissapointed. Massive boos when the commercial hit.
HHH vs Lesnar: These guys worked there ass off. Wrestlemania caliber match, for sure.
Crowd: Was in a buzzkill from the lack of a cash-in. When 80,000 people are cheering for something that could have and should have happened, and it doesn't - it takes the wind out of your sails. Lesnar and HHH gradually got us back into it.
Cena vs Rock: These guys worked hard too. It's tough to fault them. There has never, IMO, been a more ripe time for Cena to have turned heel. A shot to the head with belt, an AA after the handshake - would have obviously been awesome. This is one of those things I realistically was aware probably wouldn't happen. That said, it was Wrestlemania and its the one day a year to suspend such beliefs. If there was to be a rubber match at 30, a screwy finish here at 29 would have teed that up nicely.
Crowd: Furious at the finish. I was very content. Crowd popped big for a few of the kickouts. Biggest moment of the night was when Cena tricked the Rock during his Peoples Elbow and taunted the crowd in the process. It felt like a glimmer of heel-hope was shining. It faded soon.
Well this got lengthy. My apologies. Take it for what it is. There were certainly great moments and guys worked hard, but I feel like that should be a given for any PPV - not just Mania. I was dissapointed.