Friday, 14 February 2014

WWE Wrestlemania 29 - DVD Review

It's time for a spot deja vu again as we take a look at the DVD release of a pay per view I've already reviewed, and this time it's a big one as we go back to last year's grand-daddy of them all with a look at the three disc set that is WWE Wrestlemania 29.

Disc one began with six man action as Sheamus, Randy Orton and the Big Show took on The Shield's Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose.

This was a great way to kick off the main show, and it also gave us a very interesting storyline. Early on both Orton and Sheamus were somewhat reluctant to tag in the Big Show, mainly because of his recent past as a heel, and it got to the point where the big man tagged himself in.

Show had some success at first, and he delighted his partners when he used Ambrose as a chopping block, but it wasn't long before the Shield boys were taking him down, their pack mentality serving them well time and time again.

Eventually Show made it back to his corner and tagged in Sheamus. The arrival of the Irishman signalled the start of the mass brawl as the bodies began to fly and the big moves came out, but like Show before him Sheamus soon found himself on the receiving end of the three man wrecking crew and in need of a tag.

As he crawled back to his corner Show held out his hand for the tag, but when he got there it was Orton who tagged himself in, and after taking down Ambrose with his DDT and Rollins down with an RKO Reigns took him down with the spear.

While all of this was going on Show watched from the apron before taking a couple of steps back to a position on the ring steps, and as Ambrose pinned Orton for the win the big man made no attempt to save his partner from defeat.

Afterwards the irate Show argued with Orton in the ring before delivering knockout blows to both of his partners, leaving them laying as he made his way backstage.

Then it was on to the battle of the powerhouses as Mark Henry went up against Ryback.

No fancy stuff here, this was basically two big guys beating the proverbial out of each other. It may have been simple, but it was definitely effective.

Henry controlled the majority of the action after the initial exchanges, and although Ryback got in a few fleeting moments of offence he just couldn't get anything going. Henry was just too powerful for him.

Even when Ryback managed to put a few moves together his eagerness to prove that he was stronger than Henry proved to be his undoing. When he lifted the big man on to his shoulders Henry stopped the shell shock attempt by grabbing onto the top rope. He then came crashing down right onto Ryback's back, and all he had to do afterwards was roll him over and take the winning pin.

Ryback eventually managed to take Henry down with his finisher, but it was only after Henry returned to the ring intent on inflicting further punishment, and by then it was too little too late.

The first title match of the main show saw Dolph Ziggler and Big E. Langston, accompanied by A.J. Lee, challenging Team Hell No's Kane and Daniel Bryan for the Tag Team titles.

The best way to describe this match would be short and sweet. It began with a re-re-enactment of the previous Wrestlemania when A.J. gave Ziggler a good luck kiss before Bryan kicked him in the head and almost got the pin.

From there the action was pretty fast with Langston, making his in-ring main roster debut, looking pretty impressive as he took Kane down with an array of power moves.

This continued into the mass brawl segment, and after Ziggler failed to put Kane away with his zig zag finisher A.J. distracted the referee so Ziggler could use his Money in the Bank briefcase. It was a futile attempt as Kane ducked the shot and took Ziggler down with a chokeslam before Bryan sealed the deal with a top rope flying headbutt.

Speaking of in-ring main roster debuts Fandango was up next, taking on Chris Jericho.

This was, for the most part, a pretty one-sided affair. Jericho controlled the majority of the match, and looked good in doing so, with Fandango pulling off some impressive moves in his rather short comebacks.

The dancer's most impressive move came when he came down off the top rope and connected with a leg drop. It didn't get him the pin though, and after Jericho got in some more offence he went up top again, but this time around there was no one at home.

A fast exchange of moves followed, but when Jericho went for the walls Fandango rolled his man up for the three count and win.

After a song from Puff Daddy or whatever name he goes by these days 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 the match that looked like it wouldn't happen at one point after Swagger's arrest for possessing a stash of wacky weed, and as far as title matches go it wasn't too bad, but after all the hype it just didn't have that big fight feeling.

The execution was spot on throughout though. Del Rio controlled the early going before Swagger slowed the match down a little. They then moved through the gears, and the best part for me was when they exchanged submission holds.

At one point we almost had a ringside brawl between Colter and the injured Rodriguez until Del Rio came to his stooge's aid, only for Swagger to attack him from behind as he threatened everyone's favourite Vietnam veteran.

But as soon as they made it back into the ring Del Rio took Swagger down with the cross armbreaker, with the challenger tapping out to give Del Rio the submission win.

The streak was on the line next as Paul Heyman guy C.M. Punk went up against the Undertaker.

Now this was good, and I mean really good. You had two of the best going at it, and it was even better seeing it second time around.

Punk began by doing what nobody else has ever done to the dead man with a good old fashioned slap in the face. It was a significant signal of intent, a sign of disrespect, and was the perfect start for what was to come because these two put on tremendous performances.

The disrespect continued throughout the match, particularly when Punk used the Undertaker's old school move, and as the action went on and both men turned up the tension levels a notch or two it became obvious just how good this match would be.

It just had everything.....well, almost. What it did miss was a broken announcer's table, although we did get to see Punk take to the air and connect with an elbow drop from the top rope as the Undertaker lay on the Spanish announcer's table. The table failed to break, which was fortunate for the Spanish announcers because it meant that they'd have something to put their tequilas on for the rest of the show.

It was after this dramatic moment that we saw an exchange of submission holds, and a few moments after that Punk did the impossible when he kicked out of a pin after the Undertaker had taken him down with the tombstone.

Punk was the next man to come close to the pin. While the referee was taking a snooze the dead man lifted Punk up so he could take him down with the last ride powerbomb. Heyman then handed Punk his urn, and one shot to the back of the head saw both men tumbling to the mat, so when the referee regained his senses the first thing he saw was Punk crossing the Undertaker's arms over his chest for the pin. The sneaky incident didn't get the job done though.

So with it all to play for the two warriors went at it again, and after Punk failed to put his man away with the go to sleep Undertaker lifted Punk up again and took him down with another tombstone. This time there would be no escape for Punk as the dead man took the winning pin, keeping the streak intact at 21-0.

Disc two began with Triple H, with Shawn Michaels in his corner, taking on Paul Heyman guy Brock Lesnar in a no holds barred match, with the Game's career on the line.

This was brutal, pure and simple, and it was also a great piece of storytelling. It was a great back and forth encounter which saw both men knocking the proverbial out of each other.

It may not be Lesnar's best match since his return, but it's pretty damn close. He was an absolute monster at times as he tried to annihilate the Game, throwing him around like a stuffed toy, including an awesome suplex into the Spanish announcer's table.

Trips put up a good fight, but no matter what he did the monster kept coming back for more, and at one point Lesnar took Michaels out as well when the corner man tried to superkick his buddy out of trouble.

So after they'd clobbered each other with chairs and Lesnar had clobbered his man with the ring steps he went to his submission hold of choice, the kimura, and after Trips had survived he played Lesnar at his own game, working over his left arm before applying a kimura of his own. The big man held on for as long as he could, and he even looked like he was going to tap at one point, until he managed to pick Trips up and slam him onto the ring steps.

It didn't do the job though, because Trips applied the hold again within seconds, and even when Lesnar slammed his way out a second time he found himself in the hold again a few seconds later. Lesnar then went to slam himself out again, but this time Trips countered with a DDT on the steps.

It marked the beginning of the end. A few moments later the Game took his man over to the steps and took him down with a pedigree, finally putting his man away for the three count and pin.

After an appearance from the Hall of Fame's Class of 2013 it was on to the main event, the once in a lifetime match second time around as John Cena challenged the Rock for the WWE title.

I wasn't exactly enamoured with their first encounter. That whole match just didn't feel right, it just didn't have that indefinable "it" factor. This match, however, was definitely an improvement, but not by much.

It began with the water testing period as both guys looked to get their footing, and as it went on both men showed that they had a better understanding of how this kind of match should be played out. The exchanges were sound and crisp, and each man was given their fair share of time to show what they could do.

But it was when they brought out the big guns that for me it began to slide a little. Time and time again both men went for their big moves, and when these moves were executed you kind of got the feeling that they'd always kick out, no matter how many times they executed these moves. It just seemed to get a little repetitive.

Then, after what seemed like an age of finisher after finisher counters Cena took Rocky down with another attitude adjuster. This time was different though, because he finally got the title winning pin.

What about the extra features, I hear you ask? Well, these begin on disc two, with the Miz challenging Wade Barrett for the Intercontinental title, the Wrestlemania 29 post-show, and the Hall of Fame ceremony, which bleeds over into disc three.

In conclusion - so now I've seen this show for a second time, you're probably wondering if my overall opinion has changed.

Well, not really. Wrestlemania 29 was a very good show with some very good performances. All of the matches delivered to varying degrees, and overall I found myself enjoying the show even more second time around.

As for the match of the night no-prize that prestigious award goes to the excellent encounter between the Undertaker and C.M. Punk. Now that was one that was better second time around.

So after taking everything into account, the main show, the special features and all that, there's just one more thing left to do, and that's to give this release the thumbs up.

With thanks to Fremantle Media and Fetch Publicity for supplying a copy of this release. WWE Wrestlemania 29 is available to buy online at

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