Tremendous Tirades: WrestleMania 30 Blu-ray Review (Discs 1 & 2)
Posted by Larry Csonka on 05.18.2014
From the end of the streak and the rise of Daniel Bryan to the Hall of Fame Ceremony and more, 411’s Larry Csonka reviews the latest WWE DVD release, WrestleMania 30 on Blu-ray…
In the spirit of full disclosure, the following set was provided to 411 by WWE for review purposes.
The set was released on May 13th.
The set included a commemorative 65-page mini-book of the 30 greatest WrestleMania moments from the past 30 years.
Some sets contain an “Exclusive Topps WWE Chrome Trading Card of John Cena”.
DVD description: “It only happens once a year, and this year the greatest spectacle in all of entertainment heads to one of the world's most vibrant cities, New Orleans, for the milestone 30th WrestleMania. Last year at Met Life Stadium, a record crowd turned out to see John Cena even his score with The Rock by defeating the Great One for the WWE Title. This year, in the famed Super Dome, who will add their name to the history books by walking out of WrestleMania 30 with the WWE Championship held high? Which legendary Superstars will return? Who will steal the show and create the next iconic WrestleMania moment? Featuring exclusive backstage footage, the 2014 Hall of Fame Induction, and much more!”
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)
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: **
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: ***
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 past 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: **
WWE 2014 Hall of Fame Ceremony: I am a huge fan of the Hall of Fame Ceremony, and for the past 10 years or so (or for how ever long it has been a part of the DVD) it has been a main purchase point. Even if the WrestleMania show was average or not good, I always want the Hall of Fame Ceremony. The big thing is past years was that you couldn’t watch it, so that mileage may change for many now with the network. As for this year’s event, I quite enjoyed it. Especially the raw and emotional Jake Roberts speech and of course, Warrior’s closing speech. You can read 411’s complete WWE Hall of Fame report at this link. Mike Chin did a tremendous job with the coverage.
Top 30 Greatest WrestleMania Moments: This was a cool little countdown special, where they ran down the top 30 moments. The top 5 were HBK vs. Bret at WM 12, the debut of WrestleMania, Austin vs. HBK from WM 14, Hogan vs. Andre at WM 3 and #1 was “The Streak”. It was a fun feature, but completely contradictory to the book that came with the DVD set. The book’s top 5 was TLC, Savage vs. Steamboat, HBK vs. Bret from WM 12, Bret vs. Austin from WM 13 and #1 was Hogan vs. Andre. Maybe a small nitpick, but it seemed odd to have the same topic, but with two lists on the same set.
Hulk Hogan Discusses WrestleMania: This was the sit down interview with Michael Cole shortly after his WWE return this year. Hulk was happy to be home brothers.
Triple H & Stephanie McMahon Reveal the WrestleMania Set:This was the basic reveal that they do every year, but it felt like a changing of the guard moment as this is traditionally something that Vince has done.
Batista Reflects on His Return to WWE: This was the sit down interview WWE ran shortly after his return, with Booker T hosting.
Randy Orton Speaks On Becoming the Face of WWE: This was the sit down interview WWE previously ran, with Booker T hosting.
The History of Andre the Giant: This was a basic video package on the greatness and importance of Andre the Giant. With the show featuring the first ever Andre the Giant memorial Battle Royal, I honestly thought this should have been more since so much of the current fanbase needs educated on Andre and his importance.
The Streak vs. The Beast: This was the main hype video for the Taker vs. Lesnar match. Simply put, an excellent piece of work from the WWE.
A Look at Hulk Hogan's Storied Career: This a short (3-minutes) look at Hogan’s WWE career. It plays off of him hosting the event and his return home to WWE.
John Cena Confronts His Fears: This was the sit down interview with Michael Cole, with Cena discussing the feud with the Rock and upcoming match with Wyatt at WrestleMania.
AJ Lee vs. The World: I don’t remember this video package, but it is the hype video for the AJ title defense at WrestleMania. Really well done, as you’d expect, with AJ being especially AJ. That’s a good thing.
The 411: Well if you saw WrestleMania 30, you already knew that the show was a really good one. That of course did not change when I came to review this set. If anything the show gets a slight upgrade because I had the chance to watch the pre-show, which was a damn fine match. A lot of the extras on disc two are fluff; videos we have seen before, but they are a fine addition. The real honey is the Hall of Fame Ceremony, which is something I personally always enjoy and felt was a very good one this year.
Part of me was ready to question why anyone would by the DVD, as good as it is, because of the WWE Network. But as I look back, you have the Daniel Bryan story, the Undertaker’s streak ending, and the Hall of Fame featuring the Jake Roberts and Warrior speeches; and it hit me there that this is something I am really glad to own.
Hugh thumbs up for the WrestleMania 30 Blu-ray set.