THE RAGER! Fandangoing All Over Wrestlemania And Raw (John Cena, Fandango, NJ Crowd

So here I am, sitting at my usual spot (Geeksboro Coffeehouse and Cinema) to crank out this year’s post-mania Rager that you all know and love (okay, maybe mildly fond of) but I find myself wanting to talk more about Raw than I am about Wrestlemania 29. But never fear because there are plenty of things I want to discuss and rest-assured that you will get more than the typical “it sucked” thoughts that barely crack 200 words. So let’s cover 8 hours of WWE programming, strap in.

Wrestlemania 29

Pre-show Intercontinental Championship Match: Wade Barrett(c) vs Miz
It would be impossible to talk about this match without noting their match on Raw the very next night. So let me get this straight, you had the belt change hands only to get the crowd pumped up for an opening without pyro? The crowd didn’t seem to be having it at Wrestlemania, but we can always attribute that to the acoustics of the open-air stadium seeing as how the crowd was all for this match on Raw.

The Shield vs Randy, Sheamus, Big Show
A surprisingly quick match for my taste but that’s probably more to the point of me being completely in the tank for the Shield members. I do like this serving as the real match to get the crowd energized and into the PPV, it’s damn sure better than a Rock pep rally. I don’t know whose decision it was to put Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns together but give that person a medal because I find myself more and more in awe of their chemistry. It was a battle of the 3 most promising stars against 3 stars that seem like fans are beginning to get bored with. Don’t get me wrong, Randy still gets a massive pop when he music hits (mostly from the kids and the ladies) but once the match begins, his fans check out.

Pissing Contest Match
Mark Henry vs Ryback
Do you like seeing giants mounds of flesh flopping against each other for an extended amount of time but in a PG manner? Then this match had everything you were looking for. It was slow and limited but that’s not exactly unexpected, but the literal flop at the end was puzzling. Sure, that ending made sense when they were planning to continue this feud into Extreme Rules but there’s more intelligible ways to cause a “fluke win.”

Tag Team Championship Match
Team Friendship(c) vs Biggles
I really dug them echoing Daniel Bryan’s Wrestlemania 28 match at the beginning and how that caused Bryan to shoot out of a cannon as the crowd went insane. Big E looked good in his first match and put together enough to build off of as he continues in this heel character. He definitely wasn’t polished but it was a promising start. Ziggler was Ziggler but I think we were all just waiting for him to cash in…more on that later.

Say My Name Match
Fandango vs Chris Jericho
Great entrances by both, the crowd seemed to really come alive with Jericho coming out. Just as I said about Big E, solid showing for Fandango’s first match for his character. I like that he’s so agile and light on his feet and, of course, he’s far from polished but he’s a very promising start. Fandango has the character and is willing to really live the gimmick, now he has to build his ring work (or at least show us a little more). Really surprised Fandango picked up the win but it continues the story and I’m definitely okay with that, maybe now we can add a little more context.

World Heavyweight Championship Match
Alberto Del Rio (c) vs Jack Swagger
Felt odd that they cut Swagger’s entrance, that’s usually a no-no for Wrestlemania. The match itself kinda fell flat which wasn’t really the fault of anybody in the match, the match was fine. Everyone seemed a little bit more interested in what Ziggler was going to do, although I’m glad Dolph didn’t cash in at Mania…but more on that later. But all is not lost because this match did give me one of my favorite moments.

Respect Has to Be urn-ed Match
CM Punk vs Undertaker
Sure, it was a little shorter than some of us were probably expecting but that didn’t stop this from being a really good match. First off, both entrances were phenomenal. Living Colour playing Punk in was a great way to wake the crowd up from the Diddy concert. Add into Punk still being cocky when he reached the ring and letting out a viking yell at the first Taker bell, it was fantastic. And what can I say about Taker’s entrance? Even the most rigid and cynical wrestling fan (Blair) has to admit that was pretty awesome. As for the match itself, it had plenty of meaty parts for the audience (both live and on TV) to really sink their teeth into and enjoy. Like I said, the match was pretty quick to end as compared to recent Taker matches but I chalk that up as Taker facing someone that can move a lot quicker than HHH and Shawn. The match may not have had the epic story as we’ve seen the previous 4 years but it was good switch in the legacy of the Undertaker. Punk and Taker’s challenge was to take a match where we all knew the outcome but still drive us to the edge of our seats and they did just that. The high points are definitely Taker sitting up in the Vice and Punk taking that table bump like a champ and continuing with an alleged leg injury.

Bar-Holding Protest Match
Clone HHH (III) vs Bork Bork
You can believe that white stuff that stuck to HHH’s torso in his entrance was because he doused himself in water before walking through the extinguishers but I prefer to believe Clone HHH (Triple I) was recently from his fueling cell and his handlers forgot to wipe off the coolant. Either way, this match bored us all to tears just like the Summer Slam match. Hopefully the end of this feud was signified by Brock botching a pedigree (much like the same when Nash did it).

Twice in a Lifetime
The Rock(c) vs John Cena
The crowd was not having any of this match and good for them. This match devolved into both men repeatedly going back and forth between their finisher set-ups for a good 5-10 minutes, it’s like that button on their controllers were both broken. Cena won, the torch was passed, let’s move on.

I don’t think Wrestlemania 29 was necessarily bad but it did feel off and it’s because of a variety of factors. We started with out “America, the Beautiful,” a time-honored tradition as well as the opening pyro. We also saw a bunch of Rock and Cena promos throughout the entire night but got no intro at all before the match itself. Also, Cena didn’t get a super duper ring entrance like he always does. I’m not complaining too much about because they’re almost always incredibly lame but still, a bit out of the norm. The fans really did not want anything to do with the end of the night and I felt like that was a big factor into…

Monday Night Raw
Before the show, there was all the hubbub about Rock catching a flight out of NJ without telling anyone in WWE and stories about Rock ditching Raw ran rampant, all while the twitter-happy Rock was completely quiet (possibly due to being on the plane). We finally got word from Rock (about 20 mins from Raw) about the injuries sustained during his Wrestlemania match and he was getting them checked out. Personally, I’m not exactly buying the injury angle here but I’m not completely rejecting it now that more and more people are coming out today (Tuesday) saying the injury is legit. Either way, I’m not exactly counting on Rock being at Wrestlemania XXX, either to not hinder his movie career or out of losing interest in wrestling. Either way, I think this is a great opportunity for WWE to fill the part-timer-shaped gaps with current talent that’s been in the back seat.

A lot happened on Raw but the real story here would be the crowd, who probably were just as loud at Mania but I wouldn’t know first hand. I felt like this was an extension from the infamous Miami crowd last year and it makes the post-mania Raw simply fun to watch.

The biggest news-worthy thing was, of course, Ziggler finally cashing-in and winning the WHC as the crowd’s brains exploded before out very eyes. It started of Ziggler’s championship run with a ton of momentum and hopefully it’ll carry over when they leave NJ. Follow all of that up with Undertaker being interrupted by Shield, which is surprising and a way to being the presumed “Taker Farewell Tour” but the real kick that has everyone excited was when we saw something nobody believe we’d ever see.

The crowd solidified it’s place in the annuls of time during the incredibly yawn-worthy booking of Sheamus vs Randy Orton. What we heard was the crowd becoming bored but instead of the crowd growing quiet and disinterested, they rejected the premise and started chants that had nothing to do with the match. I’d say this segment was doomed the moment Randy took the mic away from his mouth and mouthed to Sheamus, “What’s my line?” Not even kidding, this actually happened.
This is like a member of the St. Louis Cardinals hitting a home run at Wrigley and a Cubs fan threw the ball back onto the field. Sure, this is the one episode of Raw all year that features such a high volume of the “smark” demographic but I do feel like their displeasure of Mania’s ending had to do with their reaction to everything on Raw. It’s as if the crowd refused to take part in WWE’s serious face-pushing and elected to just have fun, hence why the strong reaction to Fandango and his music because it’s brainless, silly and fun…a perfect transition from the most meticulously planned night of the year.

I hope everyone enjoyed their Wrestlemania weekend and I’m excited to hear about how you all spent said weekend. My group of friends had a nice Saturday night of movies and shirt-making followed by a Sunday afternoon of Lazer-tagging.
Before Mania, we did present our critically-acclaimed Power Point presentation in an attempt to inform our non-wrestling fan friends of who is who and what they’re fighting for. The presentation is prepared by my Classy Ring Attire co-host (follow us on twitter @CRAttire), Joel Leonard, and presented by yours truly (although I’m always prohibited from seeing the presentation beforehand). If you want to check out what Joel put together, you can download it here or here.

Finally, I want to let everyone know about a non-wrestling venture Joel and myself are working on. A friend of ours is wanting to make a animated short film based on a children’s book he has written called Moon Bear. Both Joel and myself are producing it and we would love for you all to check it out and maybe share it with your friends or family. You can read all about it on our Kickstarter page. We’re really excited about it and I believe everyone will enjoy the finished product with your help!
End of plug, I swear.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,
Chris

The Answer: If you are in desperate need to get that dumb “coming Home” out of your head, try this.

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