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A2Z Analysiz: WWE WrestleMania XXX (Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Batista)

Mania 30

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Mercedes-Benz Superdome – New Orleans, LA – Sunday, April 6, 2014

Michael Cole, Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler, and JBL are on commentary.

KICKOFF MATCH: WWE Tag Team Championship Fatal 4-Way Match – The Usos vs. Los Matadores vs. The Real Americans vs. Ryback & Curtis Axel

The Real Americans have Zeb Colter in their corner, and Los Matadores have El Torito. This is under elimination rules. The Usos have been the Champions since 3.3.14, and this is their second defense. Axel and Jey Uso start the match. They go back and forth a bit and Axel tries to bail but neither Jack Swagger nor Cesaro will tag in. Axel comes back and lands a dropkick, then makes the tag. Ryback takes it to Jey and sets up for the Meat Hook but Diego tags himself in. Diego and Jey battle back and forth at a rapid rate. Cesaro decides now is a good time to enter the match, and he tags himself in and goes to work. Swagger joins him for some double-teaming. Cole says they’ve been building a lot of momentum, and that’s the key really. Things fall apart and the referee loses control. Everyone gets sent to the floor except Diego and Fernando, and they take everyone out with simultaneous dives to the floor. Torito thinks about following them but Axel puts a stop to that. Axel goes up the ropes but Diego and Fernando stop him and hold him in place for Torito to deliver a cross body block to wipe everyone out on the floor. Back in the ring Swagger brings Diego off the top rope with a flapjack and then immediately locks on the Patriot Lock and Diego taps out at 5:40. Jimmy gets in the ring and Swagger puts him in the Patriot Lock as well but Jimmy counters out. Axel gets a tag and drills Jimmy with a knee to the face. Ryback and Axel control the pace of the match, and keep Jimmy grounded and away from his brother. After a few minutes Ryback tries a charge in the corner and misses, running right into the ring post. That allows Jimmy to make the hot tag and Jey is a house afire. Jey goes for a dive but Swagger cuts him off with a spinebuster for a two-count. Swagger goes for the Swagger Bomb but gets kicked in the face. Ryback tags himself in and starts giving spinebusters to everyone. He destroys Swagger with a Meat Hook and goes for the Shellshock. Cesaro saves his partner and comes in to hit Ryback with a pop-up European Uppercut and the Neutralizer to get the pin at 11:44. The crowd goes CRAZY for Cesaro by the way. The crowd loves both remaining teams and all four men take it to each other right away. The Usos knock the Americans to the floor and wipe them out with dives. Back in the ring Jimmy goes for a cross body block but Cesaro catches him in a backbreaker for two. The pace stays fast and momentum shifts back and forth. Swagger traps an Uso in the Patriot Lock and the other Uso has to break it up. Everyone gets taken out and all are trying to recover. Tags are made and Cesaro is battling one of the Usos. Cesaro gets tossed into Swagger, knocking him off the apron. The Usos hit a double superkick and then a double Superfly Splash to get the pin and retain the titles at 16:13. That was super fun and got some time to go somewhere. The Real Americans looked great as a team and they probably should have let them run with the belts and feud with the Usos for a bit after this instead of breaking them up, since breaking them up accomplished exactly nothing. Even so, this was a rockin’ opener and I wish they could have found the time for this on the main card.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #1: Winner to Be Entered into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match – Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H

Stephanie McMahon handles Triple H’s ring introduction and hangs out at ringside. Bryan’s shoulder is pretty heavily taped. This is HHH’s eighteenth WrestleMania match, and Bryan’s third. Both men stall to start but the crowd is eating it up. HHH smugly sticks out his hand for a handshake but Bryan kicks it away and rolls HHH up for a near-fall. That angers the COO but Bryan uses his anger against him and almost delivers a big knockout kick. HHH takes a powder. Back in the ring HHH targets Bryan’s injured shoulder, and Bryan responds by working a headlock. Bryan knocks HHH to the floor and follows him out with a DDT from the apron! He goes to the top rope and wipes HHH out with a somersault dive. Back in the ring Bryan covers for two. Bryan goes up top again and this time HHH crotches him on the top rope. HHH knocks Bryan to the floor and then sets up for a Pedigree on the announce table. Bryan fights out of it but HHH drops him shoulder-first onto the table. Awesome spot. HHH continues to attack the arm, but when he charges at Bryan against the ropes Bryan ducks and drops him to the floor. Bryan goes for a dive but HHH cuts him off with a straight punch to the face. HHH then back suplexes Bryan right on the edge of the ring frame. Bryan barely makes it back to the ring before the count of 10. HHH locks on the Crossface Chicken Wing and then turns it into a Crippler Crossface. Bryan is able to reach the ropes. He powers up and hits a flying forearm to the face, and then follows it up with kicks. A series of reversals ends with Bryan hitting a German Suplex for a two-count. The second German Suplex also gets a near-fall. Bryan tries for a third one but HHH counters out of it and hits a release Tiger Suplex! Sweet. That gets a two-count for the Game. HHH goes for a superplex but Bryan counters with a Sunset Bomb for two! Bryan hits two straight IEDs but on the third attempt HHH crushes him with a clothesline. HHH goes for the Pedigree but Bryan counters with a jackknife cradle for two. Bryan lands a kick to the head and goes up top. He tries the diving headbutt and HHH gets his knee up! Ouch. HHH puts on the Crippler Crossface and this time Bryan counters into the Yes Lock! The Game is able to reach the ropes. He rolls to the floor and Bryan follows him out with a suicide dive! Bryan follows with a second dive, and then goes back to the ring to hit a missile dropkick! He unleashes a series of kicks, landing one to the head for a two-count. Bryan sets up for the Knee-Plus but HHH catches him in a spinebuster! HHH hits the Pedigree and Bryan kicks out at two! The crowd is going crazy. Bryan surprises a frustrated HHH with an inside cradle for two. HHH pounds Bryan down and goes for a Pedigree but Bryan backdrops him and leans down for a near-fall. Another Pedigree attempt is reversed and Bryan drills HHH with a kick to the face. HHH tries a back suplex but Bryan slips out and delivers the Knee-Plus! Bryan makes the pin and advances to the main event at 25:58! This is the second best opening match in WrestleMania history, hands down. This had a great buildup, both men wrestled the ideal match – HHH was cocky but knew when to step up his game; Bryan was the underdog fighting from underneath, yet still sure of himself. Bryan showed himself resilient and then beat one of the most decorated Champions in history clean in the middle of the ring with his finisher. I can’t ask for much more than that… until the main event of course.
Rating: ****½

MATCH #2: Six-Man Tag Team Match – The Shield vs. Kane & The New Age Outlaws

Road Dogg talks a little trash during his entrance, but he is cut off by the Shield’s music! United States Champion Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns comprise The Shield. Kane and Ambrose start the match. Ambrose scores with a rebound lariat to take Kane off his feet. Reigns and Billy Gunn tag in and Reigns takes him out with a flying clothesline. Dogg gets the same treatment, and Kane gets a Samoan Drop. Reigns dominates all three of his opponents and delivers the flying kick on the apron to both Outlaws. Back in the ring Reigns hits Dogg with the Superman Punch, and sets one up for Gunn as well. Kane grabs Reigns by the throat and Rollins comes to the rescue with a flying knee. Rollins takes Kane out with a flip dive over the top rope. Gunn goes for the Fame-Ass-Er on Reigns but Ambrose cuts him off. Dogg pulls Ambrose to the floor and Ambrose throws Dogg into the barricade. Gunn winds up alone in the ring with all three members of the Shield, so he bails to the floor. Ambrose and Rollins hit simultaneous dives to the floor, and Reigns hits Kane with the Spear. The Outlaws get in the ring and get Speared at the same time! Ambrose tags in and brings Rollins in as well. They put both Outlaws on Reigns’ shoulders and he powerbombs them both down! Rollins pins Gunn at 2:55. That was short but you know, it should have been. The Shield absolutely needed to destroy these veterans and cement their status, so I’m glad this wasn’t any longer than it was.
Rating: **

MATCH #3: 30-Man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

Cesaro is out there competing in his second match to bring the total to 31 wrestlers. Only Big Show and Sheamus get real entrances. The ring is PACKED. The Great Khali tosses Yoshi Tatsu for the first elimination. Brad Maddox is next to go, can’t quite tell by the camera angle who eliminated him. Khali eliminates Brodus Clay. A small group gets together to eliminate Khali. Members of the 3MB eliminate Zack Ryder and then Darren Young. Mark Henry eliminates Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal at the same time, and then throws Heath Slater out on top of them. Show then dumps Henry out and then Titus O’Neil. Santino Marella brings out the Cobra and tries to use it on The Miz, but Xavier Woods breaks it up for some reason. The persistent Marella goes back to Miz and eliminates him with the Cobra. Cesaro and Sheamus are seen slugging it out. Alberto Del Rio eliminates Marella. David Otunga (I think) eliminates Xavier Woods. Cody Rhodes eliminates Damien Sandow with a little help from Goldust. Intercontinental Champion Big E eliminates Justin Gabriel and then Otunga. He battles with Fandango on the apron and Fandango eliminates him! The crowd is loving on Fandango as he dances on the apron. Sheamus delivers the forearm shots to the chest to eliminate poor Fandango. Great spot. Show press slams R-Truth to the floor. Del Rio eliminates Sin Cara and then Tyson Kidd. He dumps Goldust out too, and then Dusty’s other kid in the match. Rey Mysterio hits Del Rio with the 619 and tries it on Cesaro, but Cesaro catches him and drops him on the apron, then takes him out with a European Uppercut. Cesaro hits Ziggler with the Pop-Up European Uppercut and then backdrops Kingston to the floor, but Kingston’s feet landed on the steel steps so he’s still in! That gets a huge pop. Back in the ring Kingston hits everyone with Trouble in Paradise but Cesaro catches him and delivers the Cesaro Swing! Show grabs Cesaro in a Chokeslam, and Sheamus hits Show with a Brogue Kick. Sheamus clotheslines Kingston to the apron and then hits a Brogue Kick to eliminate him. Ziggler hits Sheamus with a huge DDT but then gets eliminated by Del Rio. We’re down to the final four – Del Rio, Show, Sheamus, and Cesaro. Del Rio puts Sheamus in the Cross Armbreaker and Sheamus powers his way back to his feet and goes over to the ropes, where both men tumble out. Show goes for a Chokeslam but Cesaro slips out and hits a series of uppercuts and clotheslines. Show tries to throw Cesaro out but Cesaro fights back and goes up top, but jumps right into a chop! Cesaro slips out of a bodyslam and picks Show up and bodyslams him over the top rope to win the battle royal at 13:25! That was a pretty standard battle royal until the last couple of minutes, but it was never boring and I love the result.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #4: John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt

Wyatt has Luke Harper and Erick Rowan in his corner. He tries to offer Cena a free shot so he can “finish him,” but Cena doesn’t want to become the monster that Wyatt thinks he is. Cena instead tries a headlock, but Wyatt quickly cuts him off and goes to work on him. Cena flies out of the corner with a clothesline and he’s got his first second wind. Then Wyatt cuts Cena off and goes back to wearing him down. Cena busts out the dropkick to give himself a chance to recover. Wyatt responds with a sleeper hold. Cena fights back with the shoulder tackles and the Proto-Plex. He goes for the Five Knuckle Shuffle but Wyatt pops into the crab walk position. I just think that’s the dumbest thing. Rowan distracts Cena, allowing Wyatt to slam him back down. The crowd sings “The Whole World in His Hands” as Wyatt dissects Cena. Wyatt tries a charge in the corner but Cena gets his boot up and hits a tornado DDT for two. Cena goes up for the Cena Slice but Wyatt catches him in a powerbomb for a two-count. Back on their feet Cena hits the Protoplex and the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena tries the Attitude Adjustment but Wyatt counters to a gutbuster for a near-fall. They fight to the apron and Wyatt hits a DDT! That gets a two-count. They fight up on the top rope and Cena knocks Wyatt down, and then leaps to the floor to wipe out Rowan and Harper out with a dive! That was cool. Wyatt comes out and hurls Cena into the steel steps. Cena fights back and throws Wyatt into the steel post. He grabs the steel steps and looks like he wants to use them, but he doesn’t want to become a monster. Back in the ring Wyatt hits the hard cross body block for two. Cena avoids a senton and hits the Attitude Adjustment. Wyatt kicks out! Rowan distracts the referee and Harper kicks Cena right in the face. Wyatt hits the senton but it only gets two! A frustrated Wyatt throws Cena to the floor. Cena picks Harper up and drives him through the barricade! Back in the ring Wyatt goes for Sister Abigail’s Kiss but Cena counters to the STF. Wyatt reaches the ropes. He then hits the second attempt at Sister Abigail’s Kiss but Cena kicks out! Wyatt brings a steel chair in the ring and gives it to Cena, begging Cena to hit him. Cena instead hits an interfering Rowan. Wyatt grabs Cena and goes for Sister Abigail’s Kiss but Cena powers out and hits the Attitude Adjustment to get the pin at 22:27. That wasn’t even a bad match per se, it was perfectly solid and had some really good spots, but the point of this feud was so stupid and the feud they did built up necessitated that Wyatt win the match, but instead of that we got #LOLCenaWins. I’m not even such a Cena hater, I like Cena, but this feud was built for Bray Wyatt to win this match.
Rating: ***¼

Hall of Fame Class of 2014

This year’s class includes Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Mr. T, Paul Bearer (posthumous), Carlos Colon, Lita, Razor Ramon, and the Ultimate Warrior.

MATCH #5: Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar

Undertaker is 21-0, with victims including Jimmy Snuka, Jake Roberts, Giant Gonzalez, King Kong Bundy, Diesel, Sycho Sid, Kane (twice), Big Boss Man, Triple H (three times), Ric Flair, Big Show & A-Train, Randy Orton, Mark Henry, Batista, Edge, Shawn Michaels (twice), and CM Punk. They waste no time taking it to each other, both men eager to show that they are in no way intimidated by the other. Undertaker actually works the arm in the early going, trying to neutralize Lesnar’s freakish power. He goes for Old School but Lesnar fights it off. Lesnar charges into the corner and misses, causing further damage to his arm and shoulder. Undertaker abuses Lesnar on the floor, and then hits the legdrop on the apron. Back in the ring Undertaker hits Snake Eyes and tries the Chokeslam but Lesnar reverses it and tries the F-5, which Undertaker avoids. Undertaker misses a boot in the corner and that gives Lesnar the opening to attack the leg. Lesnar takes complete control, keeping Undertaker on the mat (or floor) and dominating him with strikes and suplexes. Undertaker fights back with a desperation DDT and both men are down. Back on their feet Undertaker puts together a flurry of offense, including another Snake Eyes and a Big Boot. Undertaker hits the legdrop for a two-count. He follows with a Chokeslam but again only gets two. Undertaker goes for the Tombstone but Lesnar counters to an F-5! Lesnar covers and Undertaker kicks out. Undertaker grabs the Hell’s Gate from out of nowhere but Lesnar is able to break it up with a little powerbomb. Lesnar tries to follow up but Undertaker grabs him in Hell’s Gate again! Once again Lesnar breaks it up with a powerbomb. Lesnar puts on the Kimura Lock, which Undertaker reverses into his own armbar, and Lesnar reaches the ropes. Back on their feet Undertaker goes for Old School but Lesnar pulls him down right into an F-5! That only gets two but it would have been a great finish. Lesnar smells blood and hits Undertaker with a release German Suplex and then another one. He does the silly mounted punches in the corner spot and Undertaker brings him out with the Last Ride (sort of) and both men are down. Back on their feet Undertaker hits the Tombstone and Lesnar kicks out! Undertaker sits up and signals for the end. He tries another Tombstone but Lesnar counters to a third F-5 and that’s enough to end The Streak at 25:12. The crowd reactions to this are the best, ever. With a year of hindsight and knowing that Lesnar was going over, I actually appreciated the match a little more this time around. Sure, it was still a slow and a bit plodding, and it probably could have been a few minutes shorter, but they really played up that Undertaker just didn’t have this one in him and Lesnar was simply too much of a Beast to overcome. All of that aside, this is a hugely historical, landmark, watershed moment in WWE and WrestleMania history for sure.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #6: Vickie Guerrero’s Divas Championship Invitational

AJ Lee has been the Champion since 6.16.13, and this is her twelfth defense. She is defending the title against Aksana, Alicia Fox, Brie Bella, Cameron, Emma, Eva Marie, Layla, Naomi, Natalya, Nikki Bella, Rosa Mendes, Summer Rae, and Tamina. One fall to a finish. It’s 12 on two in the early going, as everyone goes after AJ and Tamina. Things quickly descend into chaos and it’s a little hard to pick out every little thing that’s going on. The finisher parade kicks off and the Bella Twins wind up the last two in the ring. Nikki and Brie hit a simultaneous suicide dive to wipe everyone out on the floor. Back in the ring they decide to fight each other since the title is at stake. Nikki hits Brie with the Rack Attack but Fox and Layla are there to break up the cover. Tamina hits Natalya with a Samoan Drop and she head sup top but Naomi pushes her down. Naomi goes up and Aksana joins her, so Natalya powerbombs Aksana down. Tamina pulls Natalya and Aksana to the floor, and Natalya takes out Tamina with the discuss clothesline. Meanwhile AJ puts Naomi in the Black Widow and gets the win at 6:48. That was a fine buffer between the end of The Streak and the main event, but I think it would have been better with fewer participants.
Rating: *¾

MATCH #7: WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match – Randy Orton vs. Batista vs. Daniel Bryan

Orton has been the Champion since 10.27.13, and this is his fifth defense. Bryan charges out of the gate, which is smart strategy given how injured he is. Orton quickly cuts him off and stomps on the injured shoulder, sending him to the floor. Batista comes back in and takes it to Orton, and everyone takes the fight to the floor. Bryan is still struggling to recover as Batista throws Orton around the ringside area. Batista rearranges the steel steps and goes for a powerbomb but Orton backdrops his way out of it. Orton goes back to targeting Bryan’s injured shoulder, keeping him out of the fray. He heads back to the ring with Batista and works him over. Bryan makes his way back in with a missile dropkick that takes out both of his opponents. He follows with a series of Yes Kicks, landing a knockout blow on Batista. Bryan tries one on Orton but the Champ catches him and this an exploder suplex for two. Batista grabs Orton and hits a powerslam for a two-count. Bryan continues to battle through the pain but Batista is able to suplex him from the apron to the floor. Batista goes up top and Orton brings him down with a superplex. Bryan flies back into the ring with a diving headbutt on Orton, and then he puts him in the Yes Lock! Triple H and Stephanie McMahon make their way out to ringside and Triple H pulls the referee to the floor! Bryan is rightfully pissed off, but the distraction allows Batista to come in and flatten Bryan with a spinebuster. The crooked referee Scott Armstrong comes in as Batista hits the Batista Bomb, but Bryan kicks out! The crowd is awesome here, getting behind Bryan and the Yes Movement in a major way. Batista charges into the corner and Bryan avoids him. Armstrong gets too close to Bryan and Bryan kicks him right in the head! Bryan then takes out Triple H, Stephanie, and Armstrong with a suicide dive! Triple H is angry so he grabs his sledgehammer. Bryan gets control of the hammer and drills Triple H in the face with it! He quickly rolls Batista up but Orton breaks up the cover. Orton dumps Bryan to the floor and follows him out for more abuse. Batista joins them and the former Evolution teammates work together to decimate the underdog challenger. Orton and Batista rearrange the announce tables, and Batista decks Bryan with a monitor. Batista then picks Bryan up on one announce table and powerbombs him into an Orton neckbreaker through the other announce table! That actually leaves Batista in pretty good shape here. Batista is indeed in complete control, throwing Orton around ringside as the medical crew arrives to carry Bryan out. Orton fights back and hits Batista with the DDT from the apron to the floor. Meanwhile, Bryan is fighting his way off the stretcher and he makes his way back into the match! He’s in rough shape though, and Orton is standing tall. Orton goes for the RKO but Bryan blocks it and puts on the Yes Lock! Batista breaks it up but Bryan puts him in the Yes Lock too! Orton breaks that one up. Batista hits Bryan with a Spear, and then Orton hits an RKO on Batista but the Animal kicks out! Orton sets up for the Punt but Bryan blocks it with the Knee-Plus! Batista dumps Bryan to the floor and tries to steal his pin but Orton kicks out. Batista hits Orton with a Batista Bomb, but Bryan gets back to the ring and drills Batista with the Knee-Plus! Bryan then cinches in the Yes Lock and Batista taps out in the middle of the ring at 23:21! What a moment for Bryan. The match was really good stuff, and did everything it could to make Bryan into a world-beater. He overcame Triple H, Stephanie, a crooked referee, a stretcher job, Randy Orton, and Batista all in one night. All three men kept the action moving and built to some believable near-falls and some excellent high spots. This was a great main event and a well-deserved reward for Daniel Bryan.
Rating: ****¼

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