\o/

mania 2

[WARNING: For those who didn’t see Wrestlemania 30 live last night and are catching up later tonight, read this at your own risk!]

WWE has been in this kind of shit rut for a while, but it became much more evident at the Royal Rumble. Shit booking in the title match, the marquee Rumble match. And then what followed afterwards in the abrupt departure of CM Punk.

As a result of these events, WWE creative got together for emergency meetings to discuss its future heading into Wrestlemania. And while it very much needed to head down this route anyways, even I don’t think many WWE fans expected how what went down overnight in New Orleans.

So Hogan comes out. Alright, fine, whatever. Add Steve Austin to the mix? Hnnng. But drop a bit of The Rock in? FULL ON MARK OUT MODE. Its segment took me back 12 years to 2002 and how the three of them headlined Wrestlemania X8 with Rock and Hogan facing each other in the de facto main event of the night (the official main event of the night was a match between Chris Jericho vs Triple H for the Undisputed Title) at 11 years old.

It was full on amazing. Just amazing. Good start there in catering to the audience.

Then there was the first match – Trips vs Daniel Bryan (sidenote: Trips’ entrance was amazingly executed). And that in itself was a pretty good barometer setter in terms of the quality of the majority of the matches. Bryan getting into the championship match against Randy Orton and Bootista was more or less a forgone conclusion, but it didn’t take away how great a match it was or how much I marked out afterwards (even if I could see the Trips ambush happening five miles away).

The Shield-NAO/Kane match was a squash match, John Cena-Bray Wyatt was pretty good if albeit the ending was ‘same old shit’ (sidenote: Bray’s entrance was amazing as I’d hoped) and the tag titles was pre-show so I’ll keep that out of the picture, although Cesaro finally broke off on his own from Swagger and Zeb Colter at the end of the match. First thing he does? Wins the Andre the Giant Memorial Match by effectively picking up Big Show the same way Hogan picked up Andre.

It was a nice little nod and not to mention, Cesaro has been over with the fans for a while, but needed that shunt to get him going again on his own. He got it and that was great. It showed that the ‘E was listening to its audience.

Next, Lesnar vs Taker/The Beast vs The Streak. This was more or less considered a forgone conclusion. Taker would drop a few chokeslams, Last Rides and Old School while Lesnar giving a few Kimura locks and F5s before Taker would give one or two Tombstone Piledrivers to go 22-0.

So whilst the match is going on, Lesnar has countered Taker into a third F5. So begins the pin that Undertaker would kick out of.

One

Hmm, he’ll kick out.

Two

Hmm, he’ll kick out.

Three

Hmm, he’ll ki-WAIT, WHAT!?

Surely, that was mistake. It couldn’t be what I think was. Maybe they’d catch Lesnar or Paul Heyman in the act doing the dirty or whatever retroactively.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the winner of this match – Brock Lesnar!”

Stunned. To compound it more, Lesnar’s music started playing. Surely, someone will come out by the time they reach the top of the ramp to order – in whatever stupid, nonsical reason – to restart the match and not have the pin count (lets be honest, WWE have given weaker excuses in the past to restart matches).

Yet, lo and behold, it did not come. And the cherry on top? There on the big screen for all to see: 21-1.

That said, there are reports coming out this morning that Undertaker was showing concussion-like symptoms and taken to hospital as a result (with Heyman and Lesnar going with him apparently). My theory – and bear in mind this is a theory – that considering how delayed the reaction was on the production side (think ring announcers taking an age to announce the result, the commentary team sitting silent instead of shitting their pants on comms like they did with the fake commentary in the promo before the match begun, the titan guys not immediately preparing Brock’s music), Taker got his concussed state after the third F5 from Lesnar and thus wasn’t able to respond to the three count. Taker thankfully managed to make it to the back afterwards under his own will.

Was it supposed to end? Everything ends eventually. But my gut feeling is telling me that – somehow, someway – it was never meant to end in this capacity.

Lets be clear here, Lesnar-Taker before the count was an absolute shitfest of a match. Say what you will about the Triple H matches at 27 and 28, but at least they were up to a decent standard and his match with CM Punk stole the show last year. But last night was less of a good showing and more of a mismatch.

But even after that, I still can’t take away that moment when Lesnar defeated the Streak was probably the most shocking moment I’ve ever seen as a WWE fan of 13 years. Even I couldn’t watch the Divas match because I was still processing what had just happened (AJ won, by the way).

Even by the beginning of the WWE World Championship match began between Bryan, Batista and Randy Orton, the crowd in attendance were still somewhat stunned by what had happened with Taker. But as the match progressed, the crowd got more and more into it. Orton and Batista have had a lot of proverbial monkeys on their back in the run-in to Mania, but credit where it’s due, they put in a hell of a performance, more so Orton out of the two.

With everything that had just happened to The Undertaker, the emotions were high as to whether we would actually – hopefully – see Bryan walk away with the straps. Those emotions didn’t help when Batista and Orton performed a Batista Bomb/RKO combo on Bryan through the Spanish announce table, which was sold incredibly well on the part of Orton and Bryan. Even medical staff with a stretcher was called in to take away Bryan, which only amplified those fears.

Thankfully, he came back. And he took down Orton. And Batista. And forced the latter to submit to the Yes Lock. He did it. Daniel Bryan, the guy who’s first Wrestlemania saw him beaten by Sheamus in 18 seconds to the WHC, had reached the end of a two-year journey that began that evening in Miami in 2012 in one of the biggest followings a superstar has ever had since the Attitude Era. I won’t tell a lie, I actually marked out big time and slightly choked up when it happened.

The match was also in my eyes the best main event seen at Wrestlemania since Taker-Shawn Michaels in 2010 at 26, which says a lot considering Orton and Batista’s involvement, but they really put on a hell of a match with Bryan and they should get a massive part of the praise the match gets its way.

And that was Wrestlemania 30. Considering the amount of fucking bollocks the WWE has been over these past few months, no one expected Wrestlemania to, you know, actually live up to being pretty amazing. But it did. WWE more or less starting over with a new lease and throwing out the kitchen sink while it was at it helped massively. And maybe the leaving of a certain superstar turned out to be a blessing in disguise for how the show would be.

Best Wrestlemania ever? Nah. Even with the streak now gone, I still wouldn’t go there, X8 still ranks up there for me in that regard. But it was definitely one of the best ever surely and easily the best since 26.

Even now, I’m still processing what happened with Daniel Bryan and Undertaker. But what I do know is this: Monday Night Raw tonight is going to be off the hook.

Advertisements