It was the grand-daddy of them all, the showcase of the immortals as WWE presented Wrestlemania 29, shown live in the early hours of this past Monday morning on Sky Box Office here in Britain.
The show began with six man action as Sheamus, Randy Orton and the Big Show faced the Shield’s Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns.
This was a nice little opener, and it also gave us an interesting sideline storyline-wise. It started off in the normal way, which was a little surprising because I thought they’d kick things off with a mass brawl.
Anyway, Orton and Sheamus put together some good sequences early on. However, as they tagged each other into and out of the match Show became increasingly frustrated that they weren’t tagging him.
The big guy eventually tagged himself in. It didn’t do him any good though when the Shield boys used him for target practice as they put that pack mentality of theirs to good use once again.
Show eventually managed to tag Sheamus. The Irishman proceeded to clean house before the numbers game got too much for him. Show managed to save his hide when the Shield were about to take him down with their triple powerbomb.
Sheamus managed to make it back to his corner, but as Show extended his hand Orton took the blind tag and proceeded to clean house. But once again the numbers game came into play, and after Reigns connected with a spear Ambrose covered Orton for the winning pin, and while all of this happened Show stood on the ring apron and did nothing.
Afterwards Show got into the ring and began to argue before laying both of his partners out with his knockout punch.
The singles action began with the battle of the powerhouses as Mark Henry faced Ryback.
I wasn’t expecting this one to be a technical classic. What I was expecting was a match between two big guys beating the hell out of each other, so in that respect I wasn’t disappointed.
It was okay in it’s own way, with both men adopting the slow methodical approach. Henry dominated the majority of the action as he tried to squeeze the life out of Ryback with a variety of bear hugs before the smaller big man came back and took Henry down with his meat hook clothesline.
He then made his fatal error when he lifted Henry onto his shoulders in an attempt to take him down with his shellshock finisher. He struggled for a few moments as Henry grabbed the top rope before the bigger man came crashing down on top of him. This left Henry with the simple tasking of rolling Ryback over for the winning pin.
As Henry left the ring the doctors began to check on the fallen Ryback. Henry then got back into the ring, intent on inflicting further damage until Ryback sprang back into life and took him down with a spine buster, sealing the deal when he finally took Henry down with the Shell Shock.
The first title match of the main show saw Dolph Ziggler and Big. E. Langston, accompanied by A.J. Lee, challenging Team Hell No, Kane and Daniel Bryan, for the Tag Team titles.
This wasn’t too bad. It was one of those short and sweet encounters that ticked all of the boxes for this particular writer.
It began with a nice twist as Ziggler demanded a kiss from his lady, and when he was finished with that Bryan connected with a kick to the head that almost led to the winning pin.
A few moments later we saw some nice exchanges between big men Kane and Langston, which were a lot better than the big men exchanges in the previous match.
The almost underhanded moment came when A.J. threw the Money in the Bank case to Ziggler while she distracted the referee. But after the attack failed Kane put Ziggler away with a choke slam. He then tagged Bryan, who applied the finishing touches with a head butt off the top rope for the title retaining pin.
Then it was the turn of the newcomer Fandango (did I say that right?) as he went up against Chris Jericho.
Fandango arrived on the scene with an elaborate ballroom dancing set-up. Len Goodman would probably have given him and his partner a score of seven.
This certainly proved to be an interesting encounter. Jericho began his night’s work by taking Fandango to the proverbial woodshed early on, but when he went for his springboard dropkick Fandango countered with a kick to the head.
The newcomer had very few moments of offence after that as Jericho’s dominance continued, although he came very close to getting the win after a great looking leg drop from the top rope.
A few moments later Fandango went to the top rope again, but this time around he crashed and burned when he went for another leg drop. Jericho came back, but when he went for the Walls of Jericho Fandango countered with a small package for the winning pin.
Then it was on to the Smackdown main event as Jack Swagger, accompanied by Zeb Colter, challenged Alberto Del Rio, accompanied by Ricardo Rodriguez, for the World title.
This was another of those matches that fits into the not too bad file. After we had old Uncle Zeb’s anti-immigration rhetoric the boys put together some nice exchanges. The best of these was when Swagger went for the ankle lock, and when he dropped down to the mat and grapevined Del Rio’s leg the champion countered with the cross arm breaker, a submission attempt that the challenger managed to survive.
We then had a brief altercation between the ringside flunkies and a blindside attack by Swagger before it was back into the ring where, from out of nowhere, Del Rio applied the cross arm breaker, getting the submission win at the second time of asking.
Two questions now present themselves. Does this mean that Swagger will now serve a suspension for his recent misdemeanours? And if Zeb needs someone new to challenge for the title will he go looking for Stan Hansen again?
With Living Colour providing the entertainment C.M. Punk, accompanied by Paul Heyman, went up against the Undertaker.
For a guy who only wrestles once a year the Undertaker looked in pretty good shape. As for the match I have to admit I had my doubts early on, but as it progressed it turned into a riveting encounter.
It may not have been as dramatic as last year’s effort from the Dead Man but it certainly told a good story. Punk started the proceedings with a good old fashioned slap, a sure sign that he was playing his part perfectly. They then moved along to some great moments, such as when Punk went old school, and as the big guns came into play it began to get even more dramatic.
We also had plenty of false finishes, and when the Dead Man hit the trusty old Tombstone it looked all over. Except it wasn’t.
Eventually they countered each other as they looked to hit the finish until the Undertaker hit the Tombstone for the second time. A three count later and the streak was kept alive.
Afterwards the Undertaker reclaimed his sacred urn after it had been left on the ring steps. Well I say sacred. It’s as sacred as the other ones kept in WWE’s storage facility.
Paul Heyman made a quick return to action as Brock Lesnar faced Triple H, who had Shawn Michaels in his corner. This was the no holds barred match with the stipulation that if the Game lost he’d have to retire.
Now this I liked. They easily picked up where they’d left off last year, making this a very enjoyable encounter. Lesnar looked like an absolute beast as he dominated much of the early going. His power was on display for all to see as he threw Triple H around like a stuffed toy, first at ringside, then through the Spanish announcers table, and then back in the ring.
Every time the Game tried to fight back Lesnar cut him off after just a few seconds. It was a brutal performance from the monster, and a very good one as well. Everything Lesnar did, every weapon he used, was the set up for the kimura, and when he finally applied the hold it looked like it could be game over, especially when he sat on the top rope to gain extra leverage.
Then, remarkably, Triple H came back again, lifting Lesnar off the top rope and taking him down with a spine buster. He then delivered a low blow to signal that his time had come.
The Game then took a page out of his opponent’s playbook when he went for a kimura of his own. Lesnar now looked like he was going to tap until he slammed his man into the ring steps that he’d brought into the ring moments earlier.
But like a dog with a bone Triple H didn’t give up as he went for the kimura again. Lesnar barely survived as he slammed Triple H on the steps again, but once again the Game went back to the kimura.
Lesnar was now close to losing as he tried to slam the Game on the steps yet again, but this time around Triple H anticipated the move and took him down with a DDT.
Moments later it was all over. Triple H finally slayed the beast when he used his trusty old sledgehammer, following up with a Pedigree on the ring steps to take the winning pin.
The main event saw John Cena challenging the Rock for the WWE title.
So how was the once in a lifetime moment second time around? Last year’s moment was a little disappointing, which meant that they could only improve on their efforts.
They just about did it. Although this won’t go down as the greatest main event in Wrestlemania history they did achieve what they set out to do, even if they didn’t really give us that much that was new.
There weren’t really any big surprises here. It was an intriguing back and forth affair in which both men put on their usual array of moves. It was entertaining in it’s own way, but only just.
We had plenty of false finishes here as both men went for their big moves time and time again, with Cena even using the Rock Bottom at one point, and after numerous Rock Bottom and Attitude Adjuster attempts Cena finally took the movie star down with the AA for the title winning pin.
Afterwards the two shook hands before Cena left the ring as the Rock paid his respects to the fans before he joined Cena on the stage and raised his hand.
In conclusion - so how did the biggest show of the year fare?
Well, even though I didn’t read any online reviews I heard that the opinions of those in the know were divided. Me, I thought it was an enjoyable show. Not the best Wrestlemania I’ve seen in my near four decades as a wrestling fan but still enjoyable nonetheless.
The majority of the matches were well executed, with the performances of those involved ranging from okay to very good.
As for my match of the night no-prize this time around it’s going to the Brock Lesnar/Triple H encounter, although C.M. Punk and the Undertaker came a very close second.
So with all of that out of the way it’s time to deliver the final verdict by giving Wrestlemania 29 the thumbs up.