WrestleMania 29 featured a main event that was a rematch of the year before when The Rock beat John Cena. This time, Rock walked into WrestleMania as the WWE Champion while the challenger Cena was hoping to get his win back and leave with the WWE Title as well.
Remember the tagline WWE used for WrestleMania 28 in 2012? They told us Rock vs. Cena was “Once in a Lifetime.” In reality, they had a two years plan to have The Rock cost Cena the WWE Title match against The Miz at WrestleMania 27 in 2011, then Rock beat Cena at WrestleMania 28 in 2012 and then later in 2012 we found out Rock was going to wrestle again in 2013. Rock beat CM Punk for the WWE Title at Royal Rumble 2013 while Cena won the Rumble match (obviously), so that set up Rock vs. Cena II at WrestleMania 29. Should we be mad at WWE for blatantly lying? No. I’m not. That’s the wrestling business. It’s not like they were going to build WrestleMania 28 for a whole year to let us know that we were going to see it the year after too.
This is my live review in 2013. I didn’t go to this show after going to the previous two WrestleManias. I wrote about it as it happened and I’m keeping the review I wrote in 2013.
The only pre-show match result was that The Miz defeated Wade Barrett to win the Intercontinental Title. It was a decent match that got about five minutes of time similar to their match on Raw. I got that prediction wrong, for the record.
The rest of the pre-show featured video packages and interviews as well as a panel that involved Scott Stanford, Jim Ross, Kofi Kingston & Dusty Rhodes talking about everything that was on the show. I actually like the idea of talking about it as if it was a sports broadcast. It fills time, but it also gets people talking based on the comments of the analysts.
WWE WrestleMania XXIX
April 7, 2013
From MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey
The opening video package talked about Hurricane Sandy that happened in the New Jersey/New York area in the fall. The video focused on the resilient human spirit that helped those affected bounce back from that horrific event. It’s the voice of Governor Chris Christie narrating the video package. He welcomed us to WrestleMania.
The wide shots of the stadium show a packed house in New Jersey that Michael Cole said the number was approaching 80,000 people. No threat of rain, which is a great sign.
There was another video package that focused on some historical moments in WrestleMania history while also showing clips of the men involved in the big matches on this year’s show. That led to the crowd shots as Cole welcomed us to the show. There’s a nice Statue of Liberty statue on top of the ring. No national anthem or America the Beautiful on the pay-per-view portion of the show as of yet.
The announcers for the show are Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Jerry Lawler. The Spanish announcers are there too.
Sheamus, Randy Orton & Big Show vs. The Shield (Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns)
Two years in a row with Sheamus in the opener. The Shield entered through the crowd like usual. Nice “my dad is way more into this than I am” sign in the crowd. I could be that dad one day. Sheamus started out with Reigns. I had a business phone call that took my attention away, but I was able to see as I was talking. Basically the story was that The Shield was working like a cohesive team that isolated on Big Show early. Then they focused on Sheamus. There was a nice spot where The Shield was going to hit a three man powerbomb on Sheamus and Big Show saved his partner by giving the members of The Shield a spear. When Sheamus went to hot tag Big Show, Orton tagged himself in the match instead. He was cleaning house as he hit a RKO on Seth Rollins, who came off the top rope. That allowed Roman Reigns to hit Orton with a Spear. Sheamus was out on the floor during all this. Ambrose covered Orton to win the match for his team at 10:33. Big Show looked on from the corner during all of that.
Winners by pinfall: The Shield
After the match, The Shield left through the crowd. Big Show ended up decking Sheamus with a KO Punch. Then he gave one to Orton too. Show left on his own.
Analysis: **1/2 Pretty good tag. It was basic. The story was about how The Shield was a group that could work together while Orton, Sheamus & Show couldn’t work well as a team and it cost them the win. For those expecting the Orton heel turn it didn’t happen. It looks like the angle they’re going with is that Big Show was not loyal to anybody, but himself. He’s still a selfish jerk. As for The Shield, it was a good win for them although it wasn’t anything special or out of the ordinary.
There was a video package for The Rock vs. John Cena coming up later.
Ryback vs. Mark Henry
Henry was in control early with a power slam followed by a clothesline. Henry powered out of a Shellshocked attempt and threw Ryback into the turnbuckle. Clothesline by Henry as a “Sexual Chocolate” chant started up. Great chant! Henry applied a bearhug. The crowd didn’t seem that interested in the match as Henry applied another bearhug. Ryback drove Henry to the corner and hit a couple of clotheslines. The crowd chanted “feed me more” as he hit the Meat Hook Clothesline. Ryback went for Shellshocked again, he did it, the crowd popped huge and Henry got his hand on the rope. He landed on Ryback’s back to break the hold. Henry covered for the three count at 8:02.
Winner by pinfall: Mark Henry
Analysis: *1/4 The match was really slow paced and the crowd didn’t get into it. I actually thought the finish of the match was well done in terms of how Henry won. It’s just that it fell flat in terms of giving us a memorable finish. Once Henry pinned him the thought was “that’s it?” because I think fans were expecting to see a finishing move. I’m also surprised that Ryback lost. He’s lost too much in PPV matches in the last few months, so I figured they did this match to give Ryback a win. Instead they have Henry go over him. That’s a bit weird to me. I’d imagine that this means Henry is going to be a top contender for one of the major titles soon.
Post match, they were checking on Ryback and Henry went after him. Ryback was able to counter that with a spinebuster and then he hit Shellshocked to get his heat back.
Analysis: That is Ryback’s WrestleMania moment. Too bad it was after a loss. Why not just book Ryback to win the match? I thought a Ryback win was a sure thing. I’m surprised they would book Henry to win unless they want to push him as a threat to John Cena or somebody else in the near future.
They announced that WWE is a sponsor for the Special Olympics 2014 USA Games. They showed some people involved in the games along with Stephanie McMahon from WWE and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Tag Team Championship: Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan & Kane) vs. Dolph Ziggler & Big E Langston w/AJ Lee
Ziggler got a kiss from AJ at the start of the match. Bryan kicked Ziggler as a nod to last year at WM when Bryan lost the World Title in that spot. He rolled up Ziggler for a two count. Really loud “yes” chants from the crowd as Bryan got in a lot of kicks on Ziggler. Ziggler tagged in Langston while Bryan brought in Kane. Langston gave Kane three backbreakers in a row to show how strong he is. Langston hit a running body attack on Kane to knock him down. The heels made quick tags as they worked over Kane, but Kane came back with a nice DDT on Langston. Ziggler knocked Bryan off the apron and Kane came back with a sidewalk slam on Ziggler. Kane missed the top rope clothesline because Ziggler moved. Why don’t more people move? Ziggler went for Fameasser, but it didn’t connect that well. Still got a two count. Kane came back with a nearfall on Ziggler. Langston broke that up with a splash on Kane. Kane sent Langston outside the ring, so Bryan hit Langston in the head with a knee. Ziggler with a Zig Zag on Kane for just two. Great nearfall. AJ distracted the ref. Kane avoided a briefcase shot and gave Ziggler a Chokelsam. Bryan tagged in and hit the Flying Headbutt on Ziggler, which was good for the pinfall win at 6:17.
Winners by pinfall: Team Hell No
Analysis: **1/2 That was a tag match full of energy with a hot crowd that was reacting to everything very well. Just like last year at WrestleMania the “yes” chants were very loud. I thought it was time to take the tag titles off of Bryan & Kane, but that didn’t happen. The announcers did a good job of reacting in an over the top way to everything Langston did. By doing that they put over his power. The story of the match was about how Bryan & Kane continue to work well as a team that has held the tag titles for over six months now. I think it’s fair to say they have been booked well as the tag champs and the titles seem important again.
John Cena talked about Make A Wish and how we can donate $10 to Make A Wish by texting 80088.
The entrance of Fandango took a very long time. There were other women dancing by the entrance along with him and his one ballroom dancer. As he made his way down to the ring they showed clips of what led to this match with Jericho. I think his entrance time was close to that of Undertaker. I really liked Jericho’s entrance. Made him come off as a big star and stand out from the others.
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango
The bell rang, so Fandango started dancing to get heat. Jericho had enough of that, so he gave him a suplex onto the top rope. Jericho hit a Codebreaker two minutes into the match. Fandango fell out of the ring. Jericho gave him a dropkick as JBL kept talking about how Fandango has never had a wrestling match in WWE. Of course he was Johnny Curtis for several years, but we are supposed to forget that. Why can’t they say his career as Johnny Curtis wasn’t working, so he decided to take a different path in order to get noticed? It’s not bad to say something like that. Back into the ring, Fandango took control of the match. Jericho came back with a double axehandle followed by a Thesz Press. Jericho hit a cross body block for two. Jericho went shoulder first into the ring post. Fandango hit a neckbreaker variation. Top rope leg drop by Fandango connected. He covered Jericho for a count of two. That was a good nearfall. Jericho went for the Walls of Jericho, but Fandango countered and he connected on a clothesline to put Jericho down again. Fandango’s second climb to the top was countered by Jericho, who grabbed the top rope to trip him up. Fandango used a headbutt to counter a superplex by Jericho. Top rope leg drop missed this time. Jericho’s Lionsault missed because Fandango was too close. Jericho went for the Walls of Jericho, but Fandango countered with an inside cradle to win at 9:11.
Winner by pinfall: Fandango
Analysis: **1/2 My prediction for that one was right. Jericho is always putting people over and the win for Fandango does a lot for this new character that WWE is interested in pushing. The win happened on a counter to Jericho’s signature finishing move, so it put over Fandango as more than just a dancer, but a guy that can wrestle too. Imagine that huh? This gimmick can work as long as he wins matches and gets heat from the fans. Feuding with Jericho will certainly help. The only thing wrong with the match was the Lionsault spot because Fandango was too close to the ropes, but they were able to improvise it.
We got clips from the pre-show that featured the IC Title win by The Miz over Wade Barrett. It was nothing special.
There was another video package about the main event. This time it featured The Rock and clips of fans saying they are “one of the millions” of his fans while others did his catchphrase.
The musical guest of the show is Diddy and he had a concert at this point in the broadcast. It felt like seven or eight minutes. It wasn’t bad. I just don’t think we need it an hour and twenty minutes into the show.
The World Title is up next and they get a video package featuring some Zeb Colter/Jack Swagger videos as well as recaps of everything that happened between Swagger & Alberto Del Rio in the past month or so.
Swagger & Colter were in the ring at the end of the video package. Colter had a microphone as he wondered when we let “them” take over. He complained about people speaking Spanish, Italian, Greek, Chinese and “plot God knows what” against “us.” He called out the Greeks! That bastard? I’m Greek. Maybe we can have him over at the family restaurant to convince him otherwise. I guess I’m off topic. Anyway Swagger said “we the people” to end it. They showed some Mexican flags in the crowd as Del Rio made his entrance.
World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio w/Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Jack Swagger w/Zeb Colter
Del Rio was aggressive from the beginning, but Colter distracted him and Swagger tripped up Del Rio while he was on the ropes. Swagger threw Del Rio into the steel post. Del Rio rolled up Swagger for a two count, but Swagger came back with a boot to the face to stop that attack. Del Rio made a comeback with clotheslines followed by a tilt a whirl backbreaker. He stepped on Colter’s hand just for fun. Side kick by Del Rio to Swagger got him a two count. The crowd wasn’t that hot for this match as Swagger hit a shoulder block to the knee of Del Rio. I should point out too that there were some “We Want Ziggler” chants. Del Rio went for his enziguiri, but Swagger ducked it and then Del Rio tripped up Swagger when he was going for the Swagger Bomb. Del Rio got a Backstabber on Swagger for a two count. Del Rio went for his finisher, but Swagger countered it into a Gutwrench Powerbomb for two. Swagger applied the Patriot Lock. Del Rio fought out of it and quickly applied his Cross Armbreaker submission. Swagger countered that into the Patriot Lock on the left ankle of Del Rio. Del Rio hit an enziguiri kick to the back of the head of Swagger. When Del Rio went for a pin, Colter put Swagger’s leg on the ropes. Rodriguez went after Colter on his crutches, so Colter kicked one of Ricardo’s crutches. Del Rio tried to save his friend, but that just led to Swagger attacking Del Rio from behind. Swagger threw Del Rio into the security wall. Back in the ring, Swagger thought he was in control, but Del Rio applied the Cross Armbreaker and got the tapout victory at 10:30.
Winner by submission: Alberto Del Rio
Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid match that did not have the special feel of a World Title match, but that’s been the case for the World Title at WrestleMania in the last four or five years. I thought Del Rio would win and he did. I liked all of the submission holds they were trying and the counters of their signature spots as well. It made them both look like very good in-ring technicians out there. That finish will likely end the feud because if they listened to the fans you could tell they weren’t that hot for it. I thought maybe we’d see Dolph Ziggler cash in. Didn’t happen. I would think it happens very soon, though. The crowd wanted to see it. It would have been special.
After the match, Swagger left. No post match attack. No Money in the Bank cash-in attempt by Dolph Ziggler.
(Ziggler would cash in on Del Rio one night later on Raw. That was a memorable moment.)
There was a quick video and acknowledgement for the National Guard of New Jersey.
The video package aired for the feud between The Undertaker and CM Punk because that match is up next.
As CM Punk and Paul Heyman made their entrance, Living Colour played their song “Cult of Personality” to a big reaction from the crowd. That was pretty cool. I’m guessing Living Colour has not performed in front of big crowds very often in the last twenty years. It must be really cool for them to be there. It’s a great song, so I’m glad it’s been given this big platform.
The entrance for The Undertaker was pretty awesome as usual. As he emerged from the shadows there were hands of fans that were close to touching him, but none of them got that close. The entrance took about four minutes. Punk was looking like a maniac during all of it.
The Undertaker vs. CM Punk w/Paul Heyman
Punk slapped him in the face early on. Undertaker came back with a boot to the face. Punk had a bandage on his right elbow. Punk hasn’t wrestled in about a month because of the elbow injury. Undertaker threw Punk into the security wall outside the ring. Undertaker threw Punk ‘s head into the announce table as Undertaker threw the monitors off the Spanish table. Undertaker threw Punk into the ring post. Dueling chants from the crowd with some chanting “Undertaker” and some chanting “CM Punk.” Great atmosphere! Undertaker hit a leg drop on the apron right on the throat of Punk. Undertaker kept on intimidating ref Mike Chioda whenever he would warn him. Undertaker went to the top for the clothesline, but Punk took him down with an arm drag to huge heat. Punk went to the top rope and hit the Old School Clothesline move with his left arm. Loud “CM Punk” chants. Punk avoided an attack as Undertaker went knee first into the top turnbuckle. Dropkick knocked Undertaker to the floor. Punk hit a double axehandle off the top to the floor followed by a neckbreaker in the ring to get a two count. Undertaker looks to be in pretty good shape, by the way. Undertaker tried to use punches to fight back, but then Punk got a swinging neckbreaker for two. Heyman encouraged Punk saying that Punk was getting closer with every pinfall attempt. Undertaker countered a headlock with a suplex. A corner charge didn’t work, so Punk went for the top rope Old School clothesline again, but this time Punk slipped and got crotched on the top rope. Undertaker punched Punk in the face to knock him outside the ring. Undertaker ran the ropes and he wanted to hit a dive. Instead, Paul Heyman jumped on the apron. That distraction allowed Punk to attack with a top rope clothesline. That was a good tease of that famous Undertaker dive.
Punk hit the running knee in the corner followed by a clothesline. Punk hit the Flying Elbow off the top rope for two. Undertaker slipped out of a GTS and hit a huge Chokeslam that earned him a two count. Good nearfall. Undertaker came back with some signature spot including a corner attack and the snake eyes. Punk countered Undertaker again with a jumping side kick for two. Punk gave Undertaker a clothesline over the top to the floor. They were brawling by the table as Heyman distracted the ref to keep him from counting. Undertaker wanted the Last Ride Powerbomb through the table, but Punk slipped out and kicked Undertaker in the head. With Undertaker on the table, Punk went to the top rope and hit the Flying Elbow. The table didn’t break. That’s the Spanish Announce Table seeking revenge after all these years. Undertaker crawled into the ring right before the ten count. Undertaker applied the Hell’s Gate submission, but Punk countered it into a two count. Punk applied the Anaconda Vice submission move on the shoulder of Undertaker. Great spot as Undertaker got back up to his face and made an evil face right into the eyes of Punk. Punk avoided a Chokeslam and hit an awkward GTS. Undertaker bounced off the ropes and he gave Punk a Tombstone! Punk kicked out! What an incredible nearfall that was. The crowd is really into this match, as they should be. They started brawling. Undertaker went for a choke, so Punk hit the ref in the face “accidentally” on purpose. Punk hit his running knee in the corner. Undertaker was going for the Last Ride as Heyman gave Punk the urn. Punk hit Undertaker in the head with it. He covered by folding Undertaker’s arms on his chest. One…two…no! Another awesome nearfall. Punk did the Undertaker’s famous throat slash. GTS didn’t work. Undertaker countered, got to his feet, hit the Tombstone, folded Punk’s arms on his chest and covered for the win at 22:07. That’s 21-0 for Undertaker at WrestleMania.
Winner by pinfall: The Undertaker
The crowd was cheering wildly as The Undertaker did a pose in front of the urn in tribute to his late friend Paul Bearer. Undertaker left with the urn in his hand as the “21-0” graphic appeared. He looked back at the crowd that showed their appreciation for him.
Analysis: ****1/2 What an incredible match that was. The formula for these Undertaker matches has been pretty simple with his opponent hitting everything, Undertaker kicking out and having the opponent kick out of stuff too. Guess what? it works. The crowd absolutely loves it. The Undertaker has great matches year after year on the biggest stage there is and he proves just how legendary he is. As for Punk, what can I say? He was incredible from start to finish. His mannerisms were perfect the whole way. He really did a great job of reacting to everything when he came close to winning and fell short. The crowd showed him respect. He delivered his second classic match of the year (the other being on Raw in February). I’m looking forward to watching it again because it was masterfully done in terms of the time it was given, the execution by both performers and the reaction of the fans. They were so loud when Undertaker won. It’s just a shame that the damn Spanish Announce Table didn’t break!
(Note regarding the star rating: I originally had the above match at five stars when I wrote it live. I knocked it down a bit on my second viewing. I’m allowed to change an opinion on a re-watch. Don’t get too worked up over it lol.)
There was a video package about John Cena’s shot at redemption. As it aired I was writing that “analysis” part you see above.
The Triple H/Brock Lesnar match is next. There’s a video package for it of course. So they followed up one video with another right away.
The great Shawn Michaels entered the arena to a nice ovation. He will be in Triple H’s corner for this next matchup. Brock Lesnar entered along with Paul Heyman. Triple H made his entrance to a nice reaction. It’s his first match with the short haircut, so that’s historical I guess.
No Holds Barred Match: Brock Lesnar w/Paul Heyman vs. Triple H w/Shawn Michaels
They brawled immediately with Triple H throwing Lesnar into the security wall followed by a hard slam into the announce table. Lesnar went after Triple H on the floor, but Hunter hit a hard clothesline that saw Lesnar land on the back of his head/shoulder. That looked painful! Back in the ring, Hunter hit a knee to the face while Lesnar had a chair in his hands. Heyman pulled the chair out of the ring. Outside the ring, Lesnar hit an overhead belly to belly suplex. Lesnar gave Triple H a vertical suplex into a slam that broke the Spanish Announce Table. That’s how you break it. Lesnar continued to attack outside the ring. Seven minutes into the match the crowd wasn’t very loud partly because the previous match was such an epic matchup. Lesnar hit a clothesline to slow down an attack by Triple H. Hunter got his feet up, but Lesnar countered with a belly to belly suplex in the ring. JBL was suggesting they stop the match. Already? Another overhead suplex by Lesnar as Heyman asked HHH why he put himself through this. Lesnar with a German Suplex on Triple H for two. The crowd is still pretty quiet. Lesnar whipped Hunter into the turnbuckle, which led to Hunter doing his bump over to the top rope to the floor. We’re at the ten minute mark now. The crowd was quiet for most of this beatdown by Lesnar on Triple H.
Outside the ring, Hunter hit a clothesline to knock Lesnar over the security wall. Hunter hit Lesnar in the back with a steel chair. Lesnar hit a bridging German Suplex for two. Heyman went on the apron, so Michaels did too and Lesnar knocked Michaels down all the way to the floor. Hunter hit a spinebuster on Lesnar. They did a finishing move exchange that nobody really won until Michaels went into the ring for a superkick. Lesnar gave Michaels an F5. Hunter came back with a Pedigree on Lesnar, which was messed up at first because Lesnar went to his knees early. Then Hunter ended up getting it. Hunter pulled out a sledgehammer from under the ring. Lesnar ducked it and hit the F5. One…two…no. Here’s a tweet from @the_ironsheik “The Brock have the Booger in the nose #WrestleMania.” It’s true. It’s damn true.
They brawled outside the ring where Lesnar destroyed Triple H with the steel steps. The crowd was still pretty quiet as JBL was saying that Lesnar was out of control as a way to put him over as a monster. Lesnar did the throat slash signal. With another set of steel steps in the ring, Lesnar drove them into the face of Triple H for another two count. Lesnar was trash talking, so Hunter slapped him in the face. Lesnar applied the Kimura Lock arm submission move that “broke” Hunter’s arm before. Hunter broke free of it by driving Lesnar into the turnbuckle. Lesnar applied it again. Hunter drove Lesnar to the mat to break the hold. Hunter hit a low blow, which was legal in this match because it’s No Holds Barred. Hunter got a steel chair and drove it into Lesnar’s arm, which was up against the steel post outside the ring. Hunter with another chair shot to the left arm of Lesnar while it was on the steel steps. Hunter applied the Kimura Lock to the left arm of Lesnar. The crowd was chanting “tap” during this. Heyman grabbed a chair. Michaels snuck into the ring to hit the Sweet Chin Music superkick to pop the crowd. Lesnar got back to his feet and he drove Hunter back first into the steel steps that were in the ring. Great spot. Hunter applied the Kimura Lock again, so Lesnar drove him into the steps once more. Hunter applied the Kimura Lock a third time. Lesnar drove Hunter into steps again except this time Hunter cradled his head, so Lesnar’s head went into the top of the steps. With Lesnar back to his feet, Hunter grabbed the sledgehammer and hit Lesnar in the head. He did his big yell as the crowd cheered. Hunter hit the Pedigree on the steel steps for the win after 23:55.
Winner by pinfall: Triple H
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a well-built wrestling match between two guys who know what they’re doing in this situation. However, it was not a classic. It was tough for them to follow the great match before it. This was a very physical brawl with Lesnar looking a badass as he did everything he could to avoid the Kimura Lock submission by Triple H. I thought that maybe it ran a little long at 24 minutes because it was just too slow in the early going. That reminded me of their Summerslam match, which was also a bit too slow for my liking. I was hoping they would change it up a bit this time. It didn’t make it bad by any means. It’s just that it didn’t have a special feel to it. I would have preferred that Lesnar win the match, but I think this finish was locked in as soon as the rumors of the rematch happened last fall. I absolutely understood why they booked it that way. It doesn’t mean I love it. I think Lesnar needs to be booked as a guy that wins matches.
There was a commercial for the Extreme Rules pay-per-view on May 19.
There was a commercial for The Rock’s next movie Pain & Gain that also stars Mark Wahlberg on April 26.
We got clips from the Hall of Fame ceremony at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. They showed clips from the inductions of Mick Foley, Trish Stratus, Bob Backlund, Booker T, Donald Trump and Bruno Sammartino.
Back to the arena, the Hall of Famers were on the stage in the order of Mick Foley, Booker T, Trish Stratus, Bob Backlund, Donald Trump (he was booed for the most part) and then Bruno Sammartino. Huge ovation for him.
As we know, WrestleMania 30 is in New Orleans on April 6, 2014.
The announced attendance was 80,676. Legit number? No idea.
It’s main event time as John Cena made his entrance. No special entrance for him or The Rock. Cena was booed, but got some cheers of course. The Rock got a thunderous ovation as he posed with the WWE Championship by the entrance. The crowd was very loud as we begin this one.
WWE Championship: The Rock vs. John Cena
They worked at a really slow pace early on because the match began at 10:21pmET meaning they had at least 20 minutes to work a match. They basically did nothing in the first three minutes as JBL argued that Rock is the best wrestler of the modern era because he has beaten Hogan, Austin and Cena at WrestleMania. It’s true about those victories. Rock gave Cena a hard whip into the turnbuckle. Rock drove his forearm into Cena’s chest multiple times. Cena decked Rock with a hard clothesline. The slow pace continued as Rock applied a sleeper hold. Cena countered with his back suplex. By this point, it’s reached ten minutes and nothing of significance really happened. Cena hit a vertical suplex for two. The pace picked up a bit as Cena countered a spinebuster with the STF, but Rock got out of it. Cena hit two shoulder tackles, but Rock countered the spinning suplex with an arm drag. The Rock applied the Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring. Cena fought out of it with his vintage spinning slam. Mixed reaction for Cena like usual. Rock avoided the Five Knuckle Shuffle and hit a quick DDT. Cena countered the Rock Bottom into a Crossface. Rock countered into a pinfall attempt for two. Cena gave Rock a slingshot into the top turnbuckle followed by the spinning slam again and this time the Five Knuckle Shuffle connected. I guess he really wanted to hit that move huh? Rock slipped out of the Attitude Adjustment and hit a Spinebuster. Cena was able to come back with the STF. Rock powered out of it. Back to their feet, Rock hit a Rock Bottom in the center of the ring for two. Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment. Rock kicked out of that two.
Cena went to the top rope and he missed his leg drop to the back of the head. The Rock hit the Spinebuster followed by the People’s Elbow for a two count. The crowd started to make some more noise by this point in the match. Cena rolled out to the floor to buy himself some time. Rock brought him back in the ring where they exchanged punches in the middle of the ring with the crowd reacting to every punch. Cena caught Rock in his arms and went for the Attitude Adjustment, but Rock countered into Rock Bottom for another two count. Rock wanted another People’s Elbow, but he took too long and Cena caught him for another Attitude Adjustment. Rock kicked out at two. They exchanged punches again with the crowd saying “boo” when Cena throws a punch while Rock’s punches earn a “yay” of course. Cena hit a Rock Bottom for a two count. It looked okay, but not great. Cena signaled for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but then he changed his mind. He went for the People’s Elbow just like last year when he got caught by Rock. This time, Cena held onto the ropes. He went for AA, Rock countered into Rock Bottom and that connected for a two count. They exchanged finishing move attempts again a few times, but neither guy could hit. Rock hit a DDT. Rock went for Rock Bottom, Cena slipped out, hit the Attitude Adjustment for the pinfall and that was enough to win the WWE Championship. The match went 23:59.
Winner and NEW WWE Champion: John Cena
Analysis: *** They went a little excessive with kicking out of finishing moves. I thought they did it a little too much. Once in a while is fine, but when you do it as many times as they did it that can hurt the match a bit. It was too much of the “hit your finisher, kick out and repeat” formula. I would have liked to see them maybe work on body parts or at least sell moves a bit. It’s not like they did a poor job of getting the crowd involved because you could hear the people were into it. I just think that they could have built the match up in a different way that would have led to more of an exciting finish. For the haters of The Rock out there, he didn’t tire in the match. He did a good job as did Cena. I just didn’t think it was booked in a way that really benefitted both guys as much as it should have. The announcers may call it a classic, but that’s not it was. It was just an okay match for the WWE Championship.
After Cena won the match they showed a little kid full of Cena gear that was celebrating the win.
Post match, Cena held the WWE Title in his hands and he talked to Rock. We couldn’t hear what they were saying. It ended with a handshake as well as a hug. Cena left the ring with the WWE Title in his hands while Rock’s music played. Rock was saying “I love you” to the fans and signaling to them. Rock hugged his family at ringside.
At the top of the stage, The Rock raised John Cena’s hand as Cena held the WWE Title in his hands. Cena said “The Champ Is Here” while the show came to a close.
Analysis: The way they did that ending bit with Rock suggests that this could be the end of his career. I’m not sure how many more matches he’ll have, but that’s what it felt like. I know there are rumors of a WrestleMania 30 match. That could change. You never know, though.
(Rock was definitely rumored for WrestleMania 30, but he did not wrestle there. He was part of the show opening promo. Rock suffered a lot of injuries during this match. There was a “match” in 2016 where he beat Erick Rowan with one Rock Bottom at WrestleMania 32. Other than that, though, Rock has stayed out of the ring.)
As far as the show ending goes, that’s what I had written many times. Cena wins, Rock raises his hand and puts him over. That was the whole point in this story starting over two years ago when Rock came back. It was about Cena earning respect and going over Rock as he did so. That’s what I thought it was going to be the entire time, so if it makes you mad I’m sorry. It was the culmination of this story. Will there be a third match? I don’t think so. It’s the end of this rivalry. That image of Rock raising Cena’s hand was the end of it.
This event has a runtime of 3:46:44 on WWE Network.
Five Stars of the Show
1. CM Punk
2. The Undertaker
3. Brock Lesnar
4. Triple H
5. (tie) John Cena/The Rock
I picked six. None of the other matches stood out. These three matches got the most time and allowed for these men to be the stars of the show.
I’m giving it a 6 out of 10. Like I said going in I didn’t expect it to be one of the greatest WrestleMania matches, nor did I expect it to be one of the worst. It was pretty average.
The best part of the show was unquestionably the Punk/Undertaker match. No doubt about it. It stole the show. If I had to pick the match of the year it would probably be Punk/Cena from Raw in February, but this one is right there too. Once again Punk proves he’s the best in the world.
If you’re wondering why the main event wasn’t as good as Punk/Undertaker because both matches featured guys kicking out of finishes it’s because there was more to the Punk/Undertaker match. It wasn’t just about kicking out finishers. They built up the story well, the crowd became heavily involved in the action, the drama was there for everything they did and it was just a better match. It’s obvious when watching them.
It was a three match show. The three “main event” matches were given a significant amount of time while everything else was treated as a midcard match that wasn’t given the chance to be memorable in any way.
What WWE needs to do at future WrestleManias is allow for one or two midcard matches to get more time, to allow midcarders the chance to shine and hope that somebody makes a big impression. If you don’t let the midcard matches get more than ten minutes then they will never captivate the audience and those stars will never be elevated to that next level.
Was it a predictable show? Absolutely. I went 6-3 in picks. Others I know got perfect or just one match wrong. WrestleMania is usually that predictable. That’s just how it is. To the very small number of people out there that are mad there was no eight-person mixed tag match to fill time, I’m sorry. I guess it got bumped for time. Is anybody still in the stadium waiting for some Tons of Funk? It’s not happening. Sorry for your loss.
I didn’t hate it, but didn’t love it either. It was an average WrestleMania. I’d love it if it was better, but that’s what happens when you have inconsistent booking heading into the biggest show of the year.
One final point. The show did a record WWE gate number over $12 million and WWE is already bragging about it on their website. That’s how much money the audience spent to watch the show in person. If you’re one of those people that thinks WWE is going to be mad about this show or think they did a poor job in executing this show you’re wrong. It’s a business. This show did HUGE business for WWE and they’re not going to think they did a bad job in executing it because some fans online hate Cena. It’s important to have perspective. WrestleMania 29 likely made Vince McMahon very happy because of the amount of money they made. It’s a business first of all. As a business, this was financially the most successful wrestling show in the history of WWE in terms of ticket sales and when it comes to PPV buys it will likely be near the top there too.
I haven’t liked Raw that much in the last month and I didn’t think this was a special show. But try telling that to the company that had their most successful show (money wise) in their history. They’re going to be happy with what they presented here even though it really wasn’t some all-time great WrestleMania show.
That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Thanks for reading.
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