April 8, 2012
Wrestlemania XXVIII, April 1, 2012, Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL
Announcers: Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler
It's the biggest show of the year, which certainly makes it worthy of a review. I wasn't super hyped up for the event, but I was curious to see how well Rock would fare in a singles match after all this time off, and was also certainly interested in the Hell in a Cell match and the Punk/Jericho one too.
Opening Match, World Heavyweight Championship: Daniel Bryan (w/AJ) vs. Sheamus
The Setup: Sheamus won the Royal Rumble which they used to always say punched your ticket to the main event at Wrestlemania, but for the second year in a row now the Rumble winner is relegated to the opener.
The Action: And what an opener it is as Bryan demands a good luck kiss from AJ, and then turns around into the Brogue Kick for the 3 count at 0:18.
The Verdict: Daniel Bryan was as over as he's ever been this week, and this was what they decided to do with him? I mean, I was expecting Sheamus to win and all, but I was at least hoping that we'd get a good match out of it. The "Yes, Yes, Yes!" is catching on, which may or may not bode well for him, but I'd like to think that they realize they have something with him. DUD
Kane vs. Randy Orton
The Setup: They somehow tried tying this into a match from last summer, but let's be honest: Nobody cares about this one. These are just guys they wanted on the card, but felt they were too big of stars to be in the T-Shirt Match.
The Action: We get a "Daniel Bryan" chant in protest as the match kicks off. It's pretty slow early on as Kane controls with basic stuff and restholds. Orton comes back and gets in his usual offence like the backbreaker, powerslam, and hanging DDT. RKO is countered with a big boot for 2. Orton sets up the punt, which we haven't seen in a while, but is still over, but that's countered to a chokeslam for 2. They slug away up the ropes with Orton in control, but all of a sudden Kane catches him and hits another chokeslam off the 2nd rope for the pin at 10:57.
The Verdict: Kane is Kane and Orton is great when he's motivated, but how motivated can you be while jobbing for Kane in the second match on the card? The crowd got into it later on, but they were being very generous. **
Intercontinental Championship Match: Cody Rhodes vs. The Big Show
The Setup: This was all about Rhodes taunting Show about being the biggest embarrasment in Wrestlemania history, and showing clips of his losses to Akebono and Floyd Mayweather, as well as hosting the show from The World one year. So Show comes here tonight looking for revenge.
The Action: Rhodes runs early, but gets caught and thrown around for a bit. He briefly takes over by going for the knee and hitting a Disaster Kick, but Show nails him on a second try. Show then connects with the Big Right Hand for the pin and the IC Title at 5:19.
The Verdict: This wasn't a great match, nor was anyone expecting that, but I was a big fan of the storyline. Just a nice, basic, pro wrestling deal where the heel mocks and taunts the babyface for weeks and weeks and then finally gets his just desserts when the showdown comes. It's not that hard, is it? * By the way, if they were wanting to do a flash finish on this show, it would have fit perfectly with this storyline, so who knows why they did it in the WHC match instead. *1/4
Beth Phoenix & Eve Torres vs. Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos
The Setup: Beth and Eve did a run in during a Kelly Kelly interview on Extra hosted by Maria and the challenge was issued for a match.
The Action: Eve and Kelly trade a bit to start and then a tag to Maria leads to a double Stinkface. The heels then take over and we get some psychology as they work the ribs that Maria injured on Dancing With The Stars. Kelly ends up getting the hot tag and running wild on Beth, but Eve turns the tide for her side. Beth goes for the Glam Slam, but it's countered to a bulldog and Maria gets tagged back in. She gingerly goes up top, but Beth grabs her for a press slam. Kelly saves her to setup Maria shoving Beth into Eve and then rolling up and pinning the Divas Champion at 6:50.
The Verdict: This was fine by Divas standards and Maria didn't look out of place at all which either really says something about her or really says something about the Divas. 3/4*
Hell In A Cell Match: Triple H vs. The Undertaker
The Setup: Undertaker wanted a rematch from last year after feeling that he didn't really win that one because he had to be helped out of the ring. Shawn Michaels is the special guest referee.
The Action: Jim Ross is out to do commentary, apparently at the request of all the participants here and of course he brings things up many, many notches. All Taker early on until HHH finally hits a DDT to take over. Taker does hook the Hells Gate, but HHH breaks it and then starts to work Taker over with a chair. He keeps looking to Shawn to stop it, and Shawn seems like he wants to, but Taker tells him not to. Finally Taker hooks Shawn in Hells Gate to put him out for a bit, and then does the same thong to HHH. Charles Robinson runs in to make the count as Taker nails a chokeslam, but HHH kicks out at 2. Robinson then gets chokeslammed as well, which is the last we see of him. Shawn recovers and Superkicks Taker into a Pedigree, but Taker still kicks out at 2. Taker sits up, hits Snake Eyes, a big boot and the Tombstone, but HHH is still alive and out at 2. Pedigree gets 2 again, and then Taker follows with a series of chairshots for one more nearfall. The end sees Taker block HHH from using the sledge hammer, which draws a crotch chop, so Taker nails him with the sledge and Tombstones him for the 3 count at 30:55. After the match they all do the big show of respect thing as Shawn and Taker help HHH out and then they all hug up on the stage.
The Verdict: This had tremendous drama to it, and even though they didn't do tons of stuff, they got tons out of what they did do. The crowd was pretty nuts for every near fall and all in all it was a great package here. Although I'm still not clear on what exactly "End of an Era" is supposed to mean. ****1/2
Hall of Fame Roll Call: Mil Mascaras, Yokozuna (represented by his children), Ron Simmons, The Four Horsemen, Mike Tyson, & Edge
The Epic Battle For The General Managership Of Both Raw & Smackdown: Team Johnny - The Miz, Mark Henry, Drew McIntyre, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, & Team Captain David Otunga (w/John Laurinaitis, Vickie Guerrero (Team Johnny Flag Bearer), & Brie Bella) vs. Team Teddy - Kofi Kingston, The Great Khali, R-Truth, Zack Ryder, Booker T, & Team Captain Santino Marella (w/Theodore R. Long, Hornswoggle (Team Teddy Flag Bearer), Aksana, Eve Torres, & Nikki Bella)
The Setup: The WWE Universe isn't big enough for two General Managers, so they've both assembled teams and the winner will run both shows.
The Action: With this many guys there's not really a chance to do much. Everyone gets a few moves in, and then Team Johnny gets the heat on Booker. Eventually everyone comes in and starts laying each other out, culminating in a big dive spot to the floor by Team Teddy. Hot tag Santino, who nails the Cobra on Miz, but Ziggler saves. Tag to Ryder, who also runs wild. Eve gets in the ring for the Woo Woo Woo deal, but this just distracts Ryder who then eats the Skull Crushing Finale and gets pinned at 10:38. After the match, Eve kicks Ryder low and walks out on him to cement her heel turn.
The Verdict: It was what it was. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing special either. But we do get double the Johnny Ace now, so that's a plus in a campy sort of way. **
WWE Championship Match: CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho
The Setup: It started out as a battle over who was the Best Wrestler in the World, but since Jericho is a dick he also started exposing the dirty laundry of CM Punk's family to get under his skin. Also, after his victory in the last match, John Laurinaitis flexes his muscle and tells Punk at the last minute that if he gets himself disqualified, Jericho will get the Title.
The Action: The story early on is Jericho trying to goad Punk into getting DQ'd, but it's to no avail. He ends up abandoning that plan and hits a suplex to the floor to take control for a bit. They break out the finishers now with both guys either countering or being able to kick out. Jericho does a nice counter of a rana off the top right into the Walls, but Punk makes the ropes for the break. Then the ending sequence sees Jericho hook the Walls again, but Punk maneuvers his way out and they go through some pinfall reversals leading to Punk hooking the Anaconda Vise. Jericho in turn is able to maneuver out of that, but not fully, so it's rehooked and this time Jericho has nowhere to go and taps out to give Punk the win at 22:19.
The Verdict: A very good match, although not a show stealer like they were apparently hoping for. I don't get the last minute DQ stip addition as it added nothing and just seemed to be a way to kill time early on before they forgot about it and went back to doing their match. ***3/4
Speaking of killing time, it's a Brodus Clay segment involving calling his Momma. Dancing ensues.
Main Event: John Cena vs. The Rock
The Setup: It's billed as the two biggest stars in wrestling colliding for one time only. One year ago, after their confrontation at Wrestlemania XXVII the match was made for tonight and here we are. We're still not really sure why they hate each other though.
The Action: The crowd is about 80/20 in favour of Rock I'd say, but Cena doesn't seem to be getting too havily booed. They start with the epic lockup and both guys take turns shoving each other off. Early on each guy controls for a bit with some basics. an early attempt at the People's Elbow is countered leading to Cena going through the Moves of Doom, but the AA is countered. The Yay/Boo slugfest breaks out, and Cena hits the AA out of nowhere from that, but Rock kicks out. Rock Bottom is also hit, but Cena kicks out of that. They then trade submissions with Rock hooking the Sharpshooter and Cena making the ropes, and Cena getting him in the STF for an extended amount of time. They do the arm drop thing for it and Rock keeps it up the third time and makes the ropes for the break. Rock then comes back with a Samoan drop, and a spinebuster to setup the People's Elbow again, which hits this time, but again Cena kicks out at 2. Rock tries a crossbody off the top, but Cena rolls through and hoists him up for the AA, which connects. He covers, but it only gets 2. Cena then mocks Rock by going for the Cenation Elbow, but Rock kips up, catches him with another Rock Bottom, and gets the pin at 30:33.
The Verdict: I think they absolutely made the right call in putting Rock over. It's clearly what the crowd wanted to see and I think Cena will be just fine going forward. As a match, it was pretty underwelming given all the hype, the one year of anticipation and its spot in the main event here, but they did a pretty good job. ***1/4
Overall Thoughts: This isn't really up there with the best Wrestlemanias of all time, but I think it was still a pretty good show all in all. The top three matches all delivered pretty well even if I was a little disappointed by the main event. The rest of the card was what it was and the only low point was us getting cheated out of what could have been a good match with Daniel Bryan and Sheamus. There was also a bit too much filler for my liking, but that stuff is easliy skippable anyways. Final verdit is Thumbs Up for Wrestlemania XXVIII.