Tremendous Tirades 4.06.14: WWE WrestleMania 30
Posted by Larry Csonka on 04.06.2014
The Beast ends the streak, while Daniel Bryan wins the world title…
As a reminder, this will not be another traditional recap, but instead it will be a mash up of the Rs, Instant Analysis and my usual Twitter ramblings I would do during the shows; completely uncensored and as the ideas flow unfiltered to the old keyboard. Remember, this is a review; and I am here to review the show. As always, I encourage discussion and even disagreement, just do so in a respectful manner. I will be doing the review for Raw and most PPVs and iPPVs going forward.
I had heard that WWE was going to do something special on the show, something resembling a "Mount Rushmore of WWE" segment. You had Hogan, Rock, Austin; all huge stars, WWE institutions, and guys with some of the most memorable matches in the history of WrestleMania, it all makes sense. If you're going to celebrate the 30th edition of WrestleMania, well then you really can't go wrong with that. Personally I think they were missing Bruno, but that's just me. Bruno doesn't do catchphrases and 99% of the modern audience has no appreciation for him. In my opinion it went a little too long, BUT I loved the idea behind it was entertaining as hell. You want to make the show feel huge, well it doesn't get much bigger then those three in the ring at the same time.
For a spot in the WWE World Title Match: Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H w/Stephanie McMahon: On the WrestleMania 30 preview show, the general feeling was that Bryan and Triple H go on first or very early, and that Bryan wins the match to head into the main event. Then Triple H beats him down, Bryan's participation is in question, and then Triple H places himself into the main event. Bryan of course would return and then win the title. Triple H's over the top King of the Universe Shao Kahn looking entrance was great, as was Stephanie (wearing something from the Zatanna Zatara fashion line) introducing him. Bryan's shoulder is still taped up, selling his shoulder injury, and I appreciate that. It made the attack done a couple weeks ago mean something, and gave something for the heel to work over. Triple H constantly working that arm is easy, draw heat and makes sense. This match was fantastic. They obviously had the crowd, but the work was tremendous. Both guys worked hard, and Triple H felt as if he went out of his comfort zone (in a good way) to make everything Bryan did work. Triple H was also awesome, as the match just worked on every level. The other thing I loved about this is that the match didn't have the overly choreographed feeling. It felt like a fight at times, making it even better. Bryan got to kick out of the pedigree, and that shit has been reserved for the very top guys, and with the way they have done things I feel he needed to have that here. I also loved the reactions of both Triple H and Stephanie changing through out the match, from confidence to concern to then desperation. And then Bryan won clean with the knee, and the crowd just fucking loved it. As expected, they did the Tripe H post match attack. Everything according to plan so far. This is easily in the top tier of matches for the year thus far, and also proves that doing the simple and predictable thing is not always a bad thing. Also, Stephanie getting involved also sets a stage for Brie Bella to help Bryan later tonight. Match Rating: ****½
The Shield vs. Kane & The New Age Outlaws: The Shield destroyed them with ease. WrestleMania level squash match, but is makes a statement, and really is what it should have been. Their time likely got cut, but it worked. People do like the Outlaws and such, but this is what they were here for. Also Kane took the powder after the spear, which leaves him able to go for his vengeance later. Another thing, you notice that when heels become faces, the ones that have the most success generally do the same shit that got them over as a heel. Well, that's what the Shield is doing, and it continues to work. Again, this was exactly what it should have been. Match Rating: NR (under three minutes)
Legends cameo time. Damn.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal: #1. I still think that this would have worked better with 20 guys instead. #2. HOLY SHIT David Otunga was in this match! I am just glad to see that's dude's ok, haven't seen him in ages. Big Show wore his "Andre the Giant Memorial Singlet" for the match. Makes sense, he was billed as Andre's son in WCW. Anyway, it came down to Big Show vs. Cesaro and Cesaro destroyed him with some uppercuts and then Cesaro picked up Show (clean as hell) for a body slam and tossed him over the top. Cook and I discussed the ending the only thing missing (from what we discussed) was Hogan coming out to pose with Cesaro to cement his moment. Battle royals (not gauntlets or Rumble matches) are generally lazy and end up resembling the drizzling shits. It was rough early, but they got down to the right guys, they did the right things and Cesaro has that moment that they can replay; especially with it being an ode to WrestleMania 3. I had a feeling that was what they would do, again Cook and I discussed it on the podcast, the only thing missing was Hogan awarding the trophy and posing with Cesaro. This was a solid match, good by basic battle royal standards, with the right booking and guy winning. Cesaro is just ridiculously fucking strong. Match Rating: **
After a great video package for Cena vs. Wyatt, we had a Voodoo chick dance (place your former TNA star Roxxi Laveaux jokes here), and then the live music entrance for the Wyatts. The live entrance was awesome.
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt w/Rowan and Harper: I have really enjoyed the build for the match for the most part. They got away from goofy Cena and did some good stuff and had some great video packages to set the stage. I loved Bray playing mind games at the bell, telling Cena he could end it by letting the monster out. It plays into the story that Wyatt has mind-fucked Cena, and that Cena may be losing it. Bryan also does so many little things with his character so well, things that make it feel real, and that is why people love it. Great move by Cena as he went up top at one point, and then dove to the floor onto Harper and Rowan. It's something you didn't so much expect, and also plays into the mind games and him being distracted. That also played into the point where Cena couldn't use the steps on Wyatt, because he "doesn't want to be the Monster". I LOVE the physiological work they are trying to do here, but we've seen Cena use the steps and such before, so it doesn't mean as much as it should. Wyatt got the kick out of the AA, some minimal interference from Harper and Rowan, leading to Cena spearing Harper through the barricade. There was another great tease when Cena was given the chair by Wyatt. From an in ring "work" standpoint, it is nothing great, but they tried to tell a really good story and a lot of the match was something not in Cena's comfort zone. I also loved that they got over 20-minutes. The ending was sloppy as hell, and ended up being the same old John Cena match finish (counter, AA, pin out of nowhere) which is unfortunate. Also, the announcing for the match actually took away from it. While telling the story, Cole kept going on and on and on to the point that he was taking away from the story instead of adding to it. This was good, but not what I felt it needed to be. If Wyatt was going to lose, this needed to be a great effort, and it simply wasn't. I will add though that the way Bray worked the crowd was some tremendous stuff, loving that guy. Match Rating: ***
WWE Hall of Fame Class appearance.
A great video package starring Paul Heyman aired to hype the Taker vs. Brock match.
The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar : I will freely admit that I felt that the build to this match was lackluster, not really good at all. The magic of the Undertaker matches these pact few years has been about a few things. The build, the quality of opponent, Taker's willingness to almost break himself for the big show and the fact that at least ONE TIME they can manipulate the crowd into buying that the opponent is going to break the streak with a near fall. Taker will do whatever, Brock is great, but the build has been bad and we don't know if that magical moment will happened until the match begins. So the match was about as good as the build, which is to say not good. It wasn't awful, but it lacked reaction from the crowd and that emotional feel that the last few years have had, and was slow and FELT long. The crowd was initially stunned that it happened, and then not happy. It's one thing if they would have done the Lesnar rules the world tour, challenge Taker and then win, but this came off poorly in my opinion. There had been rumors that Taker could be retiring, and that if he was he could lose, and maybe that is what it happening. The match told the story that Taker was old and slow, but if that was going to be the case, you would have thought that that the build would have been better and sold that fact. It's not that I have a problem with Taker losing or even Lesnar being the one to do so, it just felt "there" as a match and a moment. In wrestling there are times when things feel right, this was the exact opposite of that. That being said, they need to make the most of this and Lesnar better go on a spree of destroying everyone in his path. Also of note, Paul Heyman was the best part of the match. The man is great. Match Rating: **½
People at the event have stated that fans were so upset at the finish of the Taker match that fans are leaving.
The Vickie Guerrero Divas Invitational Title Match: These poor women, getting the jobber entrance (AJ got hers) and having to follow the Taker deal. They got about seven minutes, and really did the best that they could due under the circumstances. They had to battle the crowd, as well as the handicap of it being a 14 person, one fall match. They did some fun spots, clear outs, dive to the floor and the mini-tower of doom. They tried, and when they got rid of people it was solid. AJ, being super sneaky, made Naomi's hand tap out during the black widow as the ref was in bad position. This pissed off Vickie Guerrero, because she wanted AJ to lose so bad. Again, given everything against them, they did well but I wish they could have had something easier to work with, like a four-way, but it was what it was. Match Rating: **
They introduced the Hall of Fame members sitting ringside.
Let me say, it is hard to argue with the first hour of this show. Hogan, Rock and Austin all in the same ring at the same time playing the mutual admiration society and selling the importance of the show was a great moment. On top of that you get Bryan and Triple H in a 26-minute, MOTY contender, with the booking done exactly as it should have been. That is a hell of a way to kick off the show.
Hour two started with a quick squash victory for the Shield, which while it may have been cut due to timing issue, came off very well. The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal was better than the average battle royal, and the right guy I felt won. Most of Cena vs. Wyatt was in hour two, which was good but not great. Hour two was nowhere near the homerun that hour one was, but worked just fine.
Hour three was the finish of Cena vs. Wyatt, which again was good but not great. We then got the Hall of Fame cameos and the Taker vs. Brock match. Taker vs. Brock was most of the hour between promos, entrance and the match. Overall hour three came off as the weakest on the show, due to the lack of emotion and quality in the Taker vs. Lesnar match.
The final hour was the divas match, and then the main event. Again, the Divas did the best with what they had to work with, I wish they were given better situations to succeed. The main event delivered a great story, a very good match and the moment fans wanted.
For a show a lot of people seemed down on, and in a way I was, it ended with memorable moments. The Hogan/Austin/Rock summit, the great opener, Cesaro winning the battle royal with a shout to WrestleMania 3, the Undertaker finally losing at WrestleMania and Bryan finally winning the title and the big celebration. I felt that there were two great matches and the big moments that you look for at a WrestleMania event. Overall this was a very good show.
Show Rating: 8.4
As a reminder, I will be going by the 411 scale…
0 - 0.9: Torture 1 - 1.9: Extremely Horrendous 2 - 2.9: Very Bad 3 - 3.9: Bad 4 - 4.9: Poor 5 - 5.9: Not So Good 6 - 6.9: Average 7 - 7.9: Good 8 - 8.9:Very Good 9 - 9.9: Amazing 10: Virtually Perfect
As a reminder, this is not a basic "how good was the show" number like a TV show, as I have always felt that a PPV is very different from a regular show. I have always judged PPV on how they built to a match, the match quality, crowd reactions to matches and angles, the overall booking, how the PPV leads into the future, PPV price and so on and so forth. I have added this in here for an explanation since so many have asked, and I have previously discussed it on podcasts. I understand that this may seem different, but that is how I grade. Obviously your criteria may be different.
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Larry Csonka is a Pisces and enjoys rolling at jiu jitsu class with Hotty McBrownbelt, cooking, long walks on the beach, Slingo and the occasional trip to Jack in the Box. He is married to a soulless ginger and has two beautiful daughters who are thankfully not soulless gingers; and is legally allowed to marry people in 35 states. He has been a wrestling fan since 1982 and has been writing for 411 since May 24th, 2004; contributing over 3,000 columns, TV reports and video reviews to the site.