Crisco here. Wrestlemania (Wrasslemania) happened last night and I am going to give you all my thoughts. Before I go on, I should give a little context though. I don't consider myself an authority on wrestling. Heck, it is not even something I would really feel comfortable admitting to enjoying. In conversation, I generally qualify the fact that I watch it by saying that I only do so for my brother (that is mostly true actually, but I admit that I am a sucker for some of the bigger events that happen every few weeks). So, this reflection is very much with the casual viewer in mind. It will be very tongue in cheeck and is meant to be more of a fun read/conversation starter than a serious grading of the events that occured.
So, back to Wrestlemania XXX (GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER! THOSE ARE ROMAN NUMERALS YOU PERV!). Some awesome things happened, some mediocre things happened, and there were a few things that happened that made the Crisco family curse loudly and throw tacos at the television. So, let's begin:
Pre-Show Tag Team Championship: The Usos VS. The Real Americans Vs. Uhm.... Vs. Really this should have just been two tag teams in a match
This was a decent match, but it felt insignificant early on based on the fact that Rybaxel and Los Matadores were inserted into it. Once it boiled down to the Real Americans and The Usos, the match felt much tighter. The Usos victory was not unexpected considering they just grabbed the belts recently, but it felt well earned and the Real Americans implosion after the match gave the preceedings a bit of story relevance.
+ Real Americans split finally happened and frees up Cesaro for better things (more on that later).
+ The Pre-Show is over and we can get to the damn show now!
+ The Usos had some unidentified streamer type items on their clothes that looked like the Ultimate Warrior's arm strap thingys that brought me great amusement.
- El Torito is painful. I don't take issue with whoever is inside that little chibi bullsuit (I like to imagine it is Rey Mysterio, in which case it is time to hang it up since there is no lower point than being El Torito the chibi bull that likes to spear people in the butt...). I just find the gimmick silly.
- Rybaxel needs to hang it up. They are comprised of two singles wrestlers that could not gain any momentum/lost constantly and are now a tag team comprised of two tag team wrestlers who cannot gain any momentum/lose constantly.
Opening Segment with The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Hulk Hogan:
Even as a filthy casual, this segment was the thing of dreams. Having three of the biggest legends of the past all occupying the same space at the same time threatened to open a wormhole right in the middle of the superdome (silverdome). Nothing could have made that moment any better and it is going to be a segment remembered by fanboys around the world as the moment that the singularity finally happened.
+ Hulk botched the name of the arena and called it the silverdome. No one let him get away with it, and the ribbing that came as a result was hilarious.
+ Stone Cold still has mic skills. Despite the fact that Stone Cold's neck is held together via duct tape and string, his mic skills make me ache for him to get in the ring one more time. We can only dream...
+ Nerd wish fulfillment. The only thing that could have made this moment any nerdier is if dragons swooped in.
- No CM Punk. Some crazy people out there prophesized that CM Punk was going to get involved with Stone Cold in some sort of set up for a match next year. Despite the rumor being silly in numerous ways, it had just enough traction that I kept an eye out during the segment. It did not happen, and that is okay.
Winner: All of Humanity
Number One Contender's Match between Bryan and Triple H to be Added to Triple Threat at End of Show (and winner of longest title stipulation!):
I am calling it: This was my favorite match of the night and is easily in my top 5 for the past year. Lots of great moments, excellent pacing, a couple great near finishes, and all around good fun. I may not have known it going in, but this was the match that will stand out based on its quality for years to come.
+ Dem kick outs! I was sure Bryan was done after the second Pedigree. Anytime I can be surprised, then it is probably a positive (with one major exception coming below that will be in all caps)
+ The Crowd. Wrestlemania crowds seem to be a cut above normal crowds, and that was really evident here. Just enough interaction to make you feel the gravitas of what you were watching, but not enough to become obnoxious and over-powering.
+ Daniel Bryan Wins! Regardless of potential triumphs later in the night, Bryan need this win to validate the hero's journey over the last few months. A loss here would have really been a slap to the face to his character and to the fans that have been so rabidly behind him lately.
- The post-match tantrum. There was no need for this. It was already clear that Bryan was injured and that the match with Triple H put an extra toll on him. Did we need a single additional chair shot for dramatic effect? If I shoot you in the leg, then why would I then go over to you and begin flicking you on the leg? I mean, I guess it is mean, but it is too little too late since the damage is already done...
- That Triple H entrance. I have no words to describe that silly piece of macho malarky. The man was wheeled in on a Game of Thrones float accompanied by dancers cosplaying as mermaids (?) while wearing some sort of chain mail tunic/head mask that looks like it was ripped straight from "Conan: The 7th sequal that went straiight to dvd and had no budget" all while some kind of "epic" fantasy score played in the background.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
The Shield Vs. Kane and the New Age Outlaws (because reasons...).
This should have been a good match... which is why it is so strange that it was given milliseconds to play out. I wish I had a stopwatch to time this one since it felt like it clocked in at 5 minutes at most. This was not a match. It was an excuse for The Shield to come out in their vests and act like badasses. Mission accomplished I guess.
+ Double powerbomb/Double Spear. Roman Reigns better become a breakout star in 2014. He has the look, the attitude, and seemingly the skill to pull off a lot of exciting things in the future.
- Everything Else. The match was so rushed that calling it a match is like calling the new Godzilla trailer a movie.
Winner: The Shield
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal:
And the disappointments keep on coming. I guess I was not paying attention in the buildup to wrestlemania. I assumed this was going to be like the Royal Rumble with entrants coming in at certain intervals. Thus, the mystery spots made sense and would be comprised of some surprise entrants. Seemed like a fun idea.
NOPE. They just threw everyone in the ring in an orgy of faux violence. Early on, it was impossible to focus on any one person and it was impossible to root for any one person since bodies were just flying everywhere.
I hope that someone one day makes a mashup of the first few minutes of this match with Bodies by Drowning Pool.
Anyway, when push came to shove (hah, get it! Because they are shoving each other out of the ring!! I will let myself out...), Cesaro won the match. Overall, not a bad choice by any means and I was perfectly happy with him winning it. It was not exactly a spectacular showing by anybody, but, given the confines of the dubious setup, I think it turned out about as well as can be expected.
+ Cesaro had a good night. Sure, he lost his first match, but that lost meant a split from the Real Americans, who were dragging him down. Add to that the procurement of the gigantic and seemingly cumbersome Andre trophy (which I hope he has to carry around now despite the fact that it is 4 feet tall), and I think Cesaro is on the upswing (hah, swing, get it! I will let myself out... again).
+ Decent pacing. Thankfully, this match did not drag too long. People got eliminated at a pretty constant rate and the field whittled down quickly.
- Kofi cheated. I like Kofi's weird over to the top rope spots, but this man blatantly cheated this time! I don't care if you got a pinky toe on the steps outside the ring! That does not count as staying in the ring! You were eliminated! Get out of my ring! PISTOLS AT DAWN SIR
- Ziggler got eliminated uncermoniously and fairly quickly. I am a Ziggler fan. WHAT?
- The match set-up was stupid. 30 people in the same ring should never have happened. It is a fun idea, but it does not look right in reality. It robs the match of any real flow and/or artistry (I just compared wrasslin' to art and should probably lie down now...).
John Cena Vs. Bray Wyatt (because reasons):
I was not expecting much from this one. I am not a Cena fan, and while I am starting to like Wyatt, I really had no reason to believe he had any hope of taking down WWE's make a wish ful1filling super heroic android of goodness and hope. Surprisingly, the match was pretty solid. It was a smart decision to weave some story into this one and make this about more than a match.
This was the story of Eve and the snake, only recounted via burly men in a ring (or something like that). Bray Wyatt spent the majority of the match trying to turn Cena to the Sith, but he sided with Obi-Wan in the end, which is really too bad for everyone. Darth Cena would have been much more entertaining in the long run. Anyway, Cena overcame his dark passenger and took Wyatt down just like everyone knew he would. Still, it ended up being a decent journey towards the stale ending (JUST LIKE LOST! OOhh, extremely dated reference burn!).
+ Cena's "mulling over the darkside" faces. These faces ranged from "I just saw my dog urinate on the floor" to "Just saw the red wedding" to "I am really constipated." Each one was a joy to behold.
+ Wyatt bein' Wyatt. The man has a creeper factor cranked way beyond 11. I hope he keeps it up because he should have a great career ahead of him. And, if WWE does not work out, then he should be allowed to sing kids hymns all day in that creppy voice. "He's got the whole world in his hands!"
+ That split second when Cena was holding the chair and thinking about doing something evil with it (though worrying about hitting someone in a chair in WWE is kinda like arguing balls and strikes in baseball. NOBODY CARES ). I never truly bought it, but I wanted to so badly...
- If you take out some of the excellent storytelling in the match, the match itself was pretty standard Cena fare. Nothing terrible, but not breaking any new ground.
- Stale finish. It is not like Cena needs wins. I don't get why Wyatt had to lose this one just so Cena can put another feather in his cap. *shrugs*
Winner: John Cena
Undertaker Vs. Brock Lesnar (21 Year Streak Vs. Guy Who Was Not Good Enough to Stay in UFC and Has a Giant Sword on His Chest to Compensate for Something):
Sigh. I just... I don't even...
Let me put this as eloquently as possible: Someone in the writer's room has completely lost their mind and needs to be fired. The entire writer's room needs to be smited for this one. The Undertaker lost last night. The 21 year streak ended. There are so many things wrong here that I just cannot even enumerate them here.
Brock Lesnar is an enhancement guy. No one actively cares about him. He comes, he fights a match he may win or lose (and it really does not matter to him since he takes no real pride in the business), and then he takes his paycheck to the bank with his sweaty snot filled hands (seriously, why does he always seem like he is spewing body fuild everywhere all the time?!).
This is not the man deserving of ending the streak. Undertaker has had 21 matches at Mania before this, and I would say at least 17 of those were more deserving of the honor. Just the idea of Lesnar being the guy that did it is repulsive. BUT, BUT, BUT IT GETS WORSE. Not only did Lesnar end the streak, he did it in a match that has only had a so-so build up and in a match that ranks as possibly the worst Undertaker match in his career (certsainly in the bottom 3). Nothing about this match flowed. Nothing felt right. It just existed as a vehicle for Brock Lesnar to beat up an old guy for 20 minutes and then get the pin. I know it was planned, but everything about this one feels like a mistake. It feels wrong in the wrongest wrongy way possible.
+ Uhm...nope. I got nothing.
- Lesnar just earned bad heat. There is "Oh, you said someting bad about our sports team" heat and there is "you just betrayed our trust" heat. This is of the rare third variety of "you just murdered a child in front of me" heat. I don't want to boo Lesnar. I want Lesnar to move to Antartica. He has the kind of heat that will make me walk out of the room when he is on television now. Seriously, $^&$% THAT GUY. It is not even really his fault. He was booked in the match to win and he did. Still, I have no other outlet for these feelz, and so he must be crucified. If the only way I can show my amazing displeasure with this is by screaming "LALALA I CANNOT HEAR YOUUUU" when he is on screen, then so be it.
- That match was terrible. Undertaker did not look like he had a chance at a single point in that match. There was no storytelling. There was no awesome moments. It was just 20 minutes of elder abuse. I don't know whose call that was, but it made Undertaker look beyond weak and it is extremely unfitting of his great legacy. Sure, he got a single tombstone off and he hit a chokeslam, but even those moments felt completely empty considering the context. There was not a single moment it felt like he might pull through.
- End of a career. I am not actually bitter that the streak had to end or that Undertaker is retiring (and let's be honest: that is exactly what this means). I am bitter that it had to happen this way. I am bitter that Undertaker's career had to end in such an unfitting slog of a match in an unfitting slog of a fued with such an unfitting slog of an opponent.
Divas Match Battle something something:
This was the point in the night in which tacos were being flung at televisions. I don't really remember this match because 1) I did not care to begin with and 2) my brother and I were still trying to convince ourselves that the preceeding event was all a bad dream brought on by expired tacos.
By the time we had returned to reality, this match was wrapping up. So, it was a thing that happened. I cannot say much more than that.
+ It happened
- It happened
Winner: AJ Lee
Grade: It happened
Batista Vs. Randy Orton Vs. Daniel Bryan for the World Titles:
Despite still being in shock of other horrible events prior to this (that's right, I am butthurt and proud), this match ended up being pretty solid. I find Orton dull in the ring and Batista has the cardio of a chihuahua, so I fully expected this match to be uneventful. Thankfully, that was not the case. Some surprisingly good chemistry between the three participants, a surprise run in by Triple H, and more finishers than a $5 massage parlor made this one pretty exciting. Maybe the "Daniel Bryan unconcious on a stretcher...no wait he is fine!" thing was a bit much, but I will allow it.
I really feel like watching this match again at some point since I feel like I was not as attentive as I should have been early on (I was playing on my ipad during the first few minutes...), but I was impressed with the last half. Overall, this was a solid finish to a pretty good wrestlemania.
+ That Powerbomb/RKO combo was kewl. I especially love how Orton landed on one of those handheld monitors. There was a couple seconds when I thought the stretcher was coming out for him because he had broken his back. As Nathon Explosion would say: That was %&%in' brutal.
+ Vindication. Daniel Bryan finally gets vindicated in so many ways. Triple H got thwarted Team Rocket style, the crooked ref made an appearance in order to bring closure to that dangling plot from 6 months ago, and Bryan got Batista to tap out (which is the single worst way to lose in WWE and will definitely result in "you tapped out chants" tonight).
+ Crowd. Post-win, that sea of yes chants felt so right.
- The stretcher angle. Putting Bryan on the stretcher and wheeling him to the ramp was just needless filler. Knowing what we know from the finish, it seems really dubious now and just a waste of a few minutes.
- Triple H's Sniddely Whiplash run in at the end led to some nice vindication for Bryan, but it was also over the top. I was juat waiting for the Benny Hill chase music to pipe in over the sound system.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Overall, this was not a bad wrestlemania. Some matches were memorable (Both matches featuring Daniel Bryan), some were pretty good (Pre-show tag match, Wyatt-Cena), some were okay (the battle royal), and one of them was the most infuriating contemptable display of obnoxiousness since Honey Boo Boo was grenlit (that Undertaker drubbing at the hands of roided up Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes).
It feels strange to seriously downgrade the entire event based on that single calamitous occurance, and so I would feel more comfortable using that abomination to offset the holy trinity meet up between Rock-Hogan-Austin. Taking the remainder of the matches, the score seems pretty clear.
Overall Grade: B
*I would love to have some discussions with people about the event, so please send them my way (even if you were happy about the Lesnar-Undertaker match...just be warned that I will fight you to the death).
**If you are at all interested in reading more of these for future pay per views, then let me know. I would not mind doing these once a month at all since I will be watching them anyway and need an outlet for my