Joel: I remember really enjoying this WrestleMania when I was watching it live, but rewatching it this time around I spent the first hour or so of the show wondering how I could have possibly liked any of this. The Daniel Bryan match with Sheamus bothered me a little bit watching it live, but it frustrates me so much more now, knowing that Bryan will only ever have two singles matches at WrestleMania and this is one of them. Honestly there are only three really good matches on the card, and they’re good enough to make this a good WrestleMania on a “thumbs up/thumbs down” scale, but these three matches are all in the last four matches on the show.
Undertaker and Triple H more than make up for their so-so match from WrestleMania 27 with this Hell in a Cell match. It’s nice to see the end of this era go out with Undertaker standing tall rather than having to be carted away like he was the previous year. And I feel like bringing Shawn Michaels in as the referee nicely ties these past four years together into a single story.
CM Punk and Chris Jericho would have easily closed out the show on any other WrestleMania. I still love the simplicity of this match, with it’s build up being that both guys claim to be the best in the world, and they’re going to have a match to settle it once and for all, nothing more than that. This is one of the purest pro wrestling matches I’ve seen at a WrestleMania, and it easily takes home match of the night.
But the big story of this show, the one thing we have to talk about is the Once in a Lifetime main event. Ignoring the year long build up and whether or not that worked, and ignoring the fact that “Once in a Lifetime” was a total lie, and focusing on just the match itself, I have to say it holds up for me. Of the handful of matches that The Rock has done since he came back, this is the one where he looks the best. Cena’s character works great with The Rock and their back and forth looks good here. It really feels like both of these guys are aware that it’s entirely possible the other one can out perform them and both are determined to keep that from happening. Cena’s attempt at a People’s Elbow works for me, and the retaining of the torch for The Rock, was a smart move for this match, as it really felt unexpected at the time. So as a match, I was honestly impressed that they were able to pull off as good a match as they were for the level of buildup they had given this one. So let’s wait until the next WrestleMania for them to screw it all up.
Kue: Why the hell was Kane fighting Orton?
Taker/Trips was great drama. Punk/Jericho was brilliant execution by two excellent workers. Cena/Rock had novelty and was at least fun the first time around. Beyond that, the moment that lingered throughout the night, and inevitably started a chain reaction with repercussions still being felt today, was the 14 second Sheamus/Bryan match. I personally remember watching the main event and still talking about the opener with my friends. Hindsight makes me, and I’m sure most, very grateful for that moment.
Sanders: I can now, years later, that the Daniel Bryan Sheamus match stings a little less when it’s conjoined with the knowledge of how the story eventually ends for Daniel Bryan and you see how the fan outrage over the 18 second match help skyrocket Daniel Bryan to unexpected (by WWE’s decision makers) heights. I will agree that there still is an element of displeasure over the fact that this is one of the two singles matches Daniel Bryan ever got, even if the 2nd would be a vast improvement. I can’t write this review without at least mentioning Maria Menounos’ unfortunate choice of wearing white pants for her “match” and ended up with half of Eve Torres’ mountain of makeup on them, making it look like Maria had a case of the mud butt. And speaking of Eve Torres, that single kick to the groin was the perfectly symbolism for Zach Ryder’s moment in the spotlight during this time. Taker/HHH III was a big improvement over last year’s match and it told a great story. This really should’ve been the final match of HHH or Taker or both and it would’ve been perfect. Punk and Jericho was good but personally I always liked their Chicago Street fight a little bit more in the month that followed but this was a nice reminder of the Year of Punk and how it was criminal that he wasn’t main eventing pay per views. Rock and Cena was fine because I remember watching it live and how I was getting worked up in the moments right before the bell had rung, knowing that we had finally made it through that year-long build. The match was fine but we should’ve known there was going to be a rematch if Rock won and no torch was passed. But then again, Cena’s reaction might’ve been even worse if he beat Rock in his home town. All in all, this was a Wrestlemania that I enjoyed for the most part.
BD: WM27 was the shitgrenade from hell, and WM28 got plenty of shrapnel on it as a result. WWE might have viewed Rock Cena is a savior, but this match was the immaculate misconception, and the year after that had the abortion that was way too late. I guess that covers the main event.
Shaemus beat Bryan in 18 seconds. Have I ever talked about that? I don’t remember.
Although honestly, it covers the rest of the card too, except for one thing. Honestly, so many years in a row leading up to this were just terrible shows that don’t hold up with maybe 1 good match… this year it was Punk and Jericho, and even that was by far one of the worse matches these 2 put on.
Some of these other guys might tell you that HHH Undertaker was good. Nothing could be further from the truth. The match made no sense. HHH’s best friend was the referee, how could HHH POSSIBLY lose the match? It was better than their match at 27, but nowhere near their match at 17. Some people say it had “drama” – to me the addition of both Michaels and the cell made it clunky and awkward.
See you next time basically for the exact same review of 29, except replace Jericho’s name with Undertaker’s name in terms of the one good match on the card. Don’t blame me, blame WWE.
Tags: Chris Jericho, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, HHH, John Cena, Rock, Shawn Michaels, Sheamus, undertaker