WrestleMania 28 was billed as ‘Once in a Lifetime’ because of the dream match between Rock and Cena. Except that if you swap Cena for Hulk Hogan, this is exactly how WrestleMania 18 was billed and it was halfway through a three WrestleMania feud. Looking at the rest of the card, your humble reviewer finds herself uninspired by what she’s seeing, other than a few matches. Will I have to eat my words, like I did with WrestleMania XI? Let’s find out!
Lilian Garcia sings ‘America, the Beautiful’. We get a promo about Rock/Cena and WrestleMania. Lilian’s voice is gorgeous and there are a lot of military people around.
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Daniel Bryan (with AJ Lee) vs Sheamus
Sheamus gets a great pop. Again, the winner of the Royal Rumble does not get the main event spot. I don’t like this. Daniel Bryan and AJ get a round of boos.
This match was quick and I’m not really sure why. They couldn’t give them at least ten minutes? It’s not like they had a lot of barn burners on this card. Bryan barely finishes kissing AJ when Sheamus darn near kicks his head off for the three and that’s it. I’m not sure who’s more shocked and upset: Bryan or the fans.
Winner: Sheamus by pinfall in the quickest Heavyweight Championship match since Diesel vs Bob Backlund.
Comments: Why was this match so short?
Kane vs Randy Orton
Kane comes out to a nice pop. Orton gets a great pop. Apparently, the fans aren’t thrilled with the short World Heavyweight Championship match either because they’re chanting ‘Daniel Bryan’.
This was an okay match. Kane and Orton worked really well together, but there wasn’t a lot of exciting stuff in this match. I’m not really sure that the story really warranted a match on a WrestleMania card, but this match was good.
Winner: Kane by pinfall.
Comments: That was okay, but a little boring.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Cody Rhodes vs Big Show
Rhodes comes out next to an okay pop. Big Show gets a great pop.
This was pretty good, if only because seeing Cody Rhodes get beat up amuses me. The storyline of Cody pointing out that Big Show has never won a singles match at WrestleMania and calling him a ‘choke artist’ really got the audience behind Big Show, they WANTED to see him finally win one. Show’s legit tears over FINALLY winning a title at WrestleMania was sweet and endearing. He was SO happy, you couldn’t help but be happy for him.
Winner: Big Show by pinfall and cementing his legacy by winning every championship he was eligible for, a very rare feat.
Highlights: The HUGE crowd hushing at Show’s command so they could hear the ‘smack’ of Show’s hand on Cody’s chest. Big Show’s happiness at winning his first singles match at WrestleMania.
Comments: Okay, this was fun.
There’s a segment about how beautiful and powerful the Divas are, but the montage basically just shows them as eye candy, not as wrestlers. Thank god, that’s changing, but it’s still disheartening to see even knowing that change was coming.
Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos vs Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres
Beth and Eve are out first. I’m not sure what Beth is wearing on her head, but it’s…interesting. Kelly and Maria get a good pop. Maria isn’t really dressed to wrestle. Maria is a tough girl, she’s doing this match with cracked ribs and stress fractures in her feet, none of which feel great in a non-wrestling capacity, never mind a wrestling match.
This match was actually better than I expected. Maria Menounos is a life-long WWE fan and she really hung in there with the pros, despite her injuries. I’m normally not a fan of celebrities with little to no experience coming in and getting a match, but Maria’s legitimate enthusiasm and excitement, and her toughness, impressed me. She was living a dream and making the most of it.
Winner: Kelly and Maria after Maria pins Beth Phoenix with a rollup.
Highlights: Maria being game and taking bumps with several fractures.
Comments: I was surprised by how much I enjoyed that. Kudos to Maria for being so game for this and living every wrestling fan’s dream.
New attendance record for Sun Life Stadium: 78,363!
The Streak: Undertaker vs Triple H – Hell in a Cell. Special Guest Referee: Shawn Michaels
JR is joining us for this match!! HBK gets a great pop, as expected. Triple H gets a great pop and does another Skull King entrance. The Deadman Cometh. Undertaker comes out in a hooded robe with spikes on the arms, very reminiscent of his Lord of Darkness gear. Taker’s sporting a new haircut. As Taker and Trips face off, the Cell gets its own entrance.
This was a great match and really did set up the end of an era for WWE as three of the company stalwarts were leaving or moving on to different roles in the company: HBK was retired, Taker’s role in WWE would largely be confined to WrestleMania and special occasions, Triple H would be taking a more backstage role and focusing on projects such as NXT. All three men seemed very sad about the end of the match and what it meant. They were the last of the Attitude Generation, the last outlaws, still reasonably active on the roster and that was ending. As someone who remembers the Attitude Era and what those three helped do for WWE, I cried a little at the end of the match.
Winner: Undertaker by pinfall. Afterward, he and HBK help Triple H to the back and the three of them stand on the stage together and look out at the crowd. The Streak is 20-0
Comments: To be honest, I think this is when the Streak should have ended, either way, it was a great match.
Team Johnny: David Otunga, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntire, Jack Swagger, Mark Henry, and the Miz (with Brie Bella, John Laurinitis, and Vickie Guerrero) vs Team Teddy: Booker T, Kofi Kingston, Great Khali, R-Truth, Santino Marella, and Zach Ryder (with Nikki Bella, Aksana, Eve Torres, Hornswoggle, and Teddy Long) – Twelve Man Tag Match To Determine the General Manager of RAW and SmackDown
Brie introduces Team Johnny, Brie seems to get the best pop of the bunch. Nikki introduces Team Teddy and everyone seems to get a good pop, except for Khali. To be honest, I skipped this match after a few minutes. I really didn’t care about the storyline and the whole thing just seemed like a big mess.
Winner: Team Johnny by pinfall after Miz hits Zach Ryder with a Skull-Crushing finale. Johnny Ace is now the GM of RAW and SmackDown.
Comments: Eh on the match and the story, but I did notice something: Team Johnny was predominantly white while Team Teddy was predominately African-American or ethnic and Team Teddy seemed to be the babyfaces. I don’t know if that was intentional or not, but it was interesting.
WWE Championship Match: CM Punk vs Chris Jericho – If Punk gets disqualified, he loses the championship.
Jericho gets a great pop and we see his LiteBrite jacket. Punk gets a good pop.
This was a really great match. Punk and Jericho really worked well together. Knowing how long Punk’s title reign would go, I had a little trouble understanding why Jericho’s stipulation seemed to be such a problem with the announcers, but I’m also not sure how long Punk had been champion by this point. Either way, this was a really good match, Punk and Jericho have similar styles, but that actually worked here because they were evenly matched and put on a great show.
Winner: CM Punk by submission
Comments: I don’t like Punk, but I enjoyed this match.
The Rock vs John Cena
Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, MGK, and someone else perform Cena’s entrance. Cena enters to a very mixed reaction. Flo Rida performs for some reason. Rock FINALLY comes out to a great pop.
This was a pretty great match. It was definitely a better one than Rock/Hogan since Rock was still in his prime and could really keep up with Cena rather than one of them having to slow down for the other. Rock was a little rusty at first, but that ended pretty quickly and it was like he’d never left WWE. Rock’s win was surprising, and a little disappointing, but I guess they’d already decided to give us part II.
Winner: The Rock by pinfall.
Comments: I would’ve like this more if they hadn’t shoe horned the music acts in for no reason. It took them around ten minutes to get both wrestlers in the ring.
So, did your humble reviewer have to eat her words about WrestleMania 28? Yes, up to a point. I was not impressed with a good chunk of this card, but there were several good matches on this card, including a couple that surprised me (Divas match, that was surprisingly good).
Snoozers: Kane vs Orton. I like both guys, but that match was just blah.
Stinkers: World Heavyweight Championship match. They could’ve at least given them five minutes for the match. Seeing Bryan basically get KO’d less than twenty seconds in ticked me off, and really didn’t do much for either guy since it looked like Sheamus won by cheapshot.
Match of the Night: Undertaker vs Triple H. It was the End of an Era, and one I was really sad to see end.
Hall of Fame: Mil Mascaras, Edge, Ron Simmons, Yokozuna, Mike Tyson, the Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Barry Wyndham, Tully Blanchard), and JJ Dillon (manager of the Four Horsemen).
Final Thoughts: This was an okay show, but it definitely could’ve been better.