Monday, April 8, 2013

Ramblemania XXIX

Sunday, April 7th
MetLife Stadium
East Rutherford, New Jersey


That is perhaps the one word that honestly describes my feelings towards the twenty-ninth edition of WWE's long-running Wrestlemania extravaganza. In every sense, Wrestlemania XXIX was underwhelming when it really shouldn't have been. After all, this is a show that featured a number of highly anticipated encounters, including John Cena squaring off against the Rock for the WWE Championship, CM Punk attempting to snap the Undertaker's long-running streak, HHH attempting to get his win back from Brock Lesnar, and Alberto Del Rio defending his World Title against Jack Swagger. With those high caliber matches in place, Wrestlemania XXIX should have been one for the ages...

Of course, while hyper hyperbole would treat the show as such, the truth of the matter is that there has not been a more tepid build to a Wrestlemania in recent memory than the build to this show. The card showed little promise, with main event matches whose outcomes could be predicted long before they're even booked or written by the monkeys making up the so-called "creative team" of WWE. I can only speak for myself when I say that out of all the Wrestlemanias in recent memory, this year had the least to be excited over. I knew what matches were going to take place and I knew who was going to win each match... and I'm not exactly a smart mark, either.

A part of me was hopeful that despite the utterly predictable outcomes, the show would actually turn out pretty good and the matches would at least be interesting... but alas, it was not to be.

The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Roman Reign) defeat Sheamus, Randy Orton, and Big Show. Big Show then punches out both Sheamus and Orton. In retrospect, the opening contest of Wrestlemania XXIX was perhaps the show's sole highlight with the continued pushing of the Shield as a dominant threat in WWE. It's been no secret that when it came to big projects, such as the Nexus and Summer of Punk in 2011, WWE has a tendency to fumble big time. The Shield, on the other hand, is doing exactly what they should be doing; be imposing and dominating villains in a believable way. It only serves to cement the three men as big stars when the Shield eventually break off and go their separate ways.

Mark Henry defeated Ryback. A match between two big muscle guys should be interesting to watch, but instead we're stuck watching this; a match that almost put the party to sleep. Most of us watching the show were pleasantly surprised to see Mark Henry win the match, because we almost expected a Ryback victory. But aside from that, this was sleep inducing. Sadly, it would not be alone in this category, as the night would produce a couple more sleep inducing matches along the way.

The team of Kane and Daniel Bryan (I refuse to call them Team Hell No) retain their tag-team titles over Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston. I'm afraid I didn't catch the match because I was busy at the moment, but from what I understand, the match lasted longer than half a minute. That makes me somewhat satisfied and it's nice to see Daniel Bryan Danielson finally get a Wrestlemania match to be proud of.

Fandango defeated Chris Jericho in a pretty meh match. Bless Jericho; he really gave it his all and tried to make Fandango seem like a threat, but the way the match flowed didn't convince me of that. It was basically Jericho dominating Fandango before the latter won with a fluke roll-up. How do I perceive this guy as a viable threat if all he does is get his ass kicked for ten minutes before lucking out with a roll-up victory? Maybe I'm missing the bigger picture and Fandango isn't intended to be another tough guy and if that's the case, then I guess it worked... but if it did work, why am I thinking too much into this? For a quick match on RAW, this probably would have been fine if not average. For a Wrestlemania match? Not at all. Sorry.

Alberto Del Rio defeated Jack Swagger to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. You want to know how I knew Swagger wasn't going to win this match? When the show cut from the short promo video they put together to Swagger already in the ring. Is it that bad that you're giving up on this thing so quickly? Anyway, the match... *snore* The second sleep-inducing match of the night; perhaps even moreso when Del Rio snagged the victory and there was no cash-in from Dolph Ziggler to wake everybody up. Anyone remember when Edge held the Money In The Bank for months on end before finally cashing it in on John Cena? Remember how spontaneous and exciting that was? Somehow, the same won't be applying to Ziggler when he eventually and FINALLY cashes in.

The Undertaker defeated CM Punk to extend his streak to 21-0. Of the four main events advertised, this one ALMOST managed to make me interested. And after two sleeping inducing matches with HHH in the past couple years, it was nice to see Undertaker face off against an antagonist for once and especially against someone who is more than fully capable of delivering a solid performance - something that He of the Three Hs could not do in either of his attempts. CM Punk certainly made the match fun (liked his mocking of Undertaker's tightrope signature move - I've been waiting for someone to steal that one) and while it wasn't an legendary epic match by any stretch of the imagination, it was still a very good match and, at the very least, it didn't put me to sleep. No, that's what the next match is for...

Triple H defeated Brock Lesnar in a No-Holds-Barred match. Triple H can now avoid retirement so that he can go back to retirement. Yes, that sounds completely stupid, but that's WWE logic for you... Yeah, the match blew chunks. Slow, plodding, not too exciting, not too thrilling... it was boring and ultimately bad. Honestly, I've seen kittens show more ferocity than these two clowns. It was just... awful. There was no reason for this match to take place. There was no reason for me to care about two part-timers beating the crap out of each other (sad that I didn't get THAT either). It was just plain terrible. Absolutely terrible.

And then, of course, John Cena defeats the Rock to win the WWE Title... while last year's match was actually pretty decent, this match was - you guessed it - utterly horrific and underwhelming. A lazy match comprising kicking out of finishers, countering finishers... fuck me, this match sucked. The crowd was literally dead throughout the match. The only time they reacted was when Cena won and people were booing the shit out of him, along with the sign of respect handshake and thing... Totally pedestrian storytelling, not very interesting... this sucked the big one.

Yeah, disappointing... just sad. Whatever happened to Wrestlemania?

Some other notes that came to mind:

- Apparently, there was supposed to be a mixed tag-team match of some kind that was eventually nixed. I guess thank heavens for small favors is in order, but given the alternate of having to constantly air promos for that title match as well as constant commercials for things I don't care about (yes, some noble causes such as Make-A-Wish and whatnot were featured, but that's not why people paid eighty bucks for a PPV). I honestly much rather prefer the crummy wrestling match.

- On the other hand, though, this year's Mania lacked any stupid unfunny skits that served to waste everybody's time. I guess they needed the air time for the constant commercials. Does TNA air commercials that I can easily watch on TV for free?

- P Diddy did a live act... I didn't care... and I doubt many other folks did, either.

- On the other hand, there was no "America The Beautiful" performance, either. There goes another Wrestlemania tradition... Look, I'm not American, but the lack of any "America The Beautiful" rendition is oddly noticeable and extremely jarring.

That's all I got. Overall? This was a pretty lackluster show. I enjoyed watching it with people, but the show had little to do with my enjoyment. Must try harder, folks. This didn't cut it for me.

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