So I’ve been out of action for almost a fortnight now having been struck down with food poisoning, but I’m certainly feeling more sprightly this week.
It’s definitely the morning after the night before for me though as I only recently managed to get to bed after staying up with friends for a yearly tradition; watching Wrestlemania.
Now I know instantly some regular readers will balk at this review because of the subject matter, but hey, don’t like it, don’t read it 😉
Anyway, going in to watching WrestleMania XXIX (or as the Sky Planner incorrectly named it, WrestleMania XXVIIII…idiots) I can’t say I was particularly energised about it.
WrestleMania is supposed to be the Season Finale for WWE. The centrepiece show to wrap up a year of storylines and matches where all the performers bring their A Game to the table.
It’s supposed to have all the big matches, the top stars and a marketability that the other eleven pay per view events don’t have.
It’s supposed to be special.
But this has been a poor year for WWE. With a lack of freshness and a mind numbing repetitiveness at the top of the card (The Rock and John Cena have been trading barbs for over two years now) I just didn’t feel there was too much to be excited or hopeful about.
What could change? Would John Cena finally develop his character? Would The Undertaker lose his streak? Would Triple H lose to Brock Lesnar and retire? Would anything of note happen?
WrestleMania XXIX (29) Review – The Atmosphere
The first thing to note about WrestleMania 29 was the crowd.
It’s great that WWE can still pull in north of 80,000 people for a show, and no doubt they’ll have made a load of money from it, but open air stadiums do absolutely nothing to enhance the product on-screen.
For the people in attendance, I’m sure the atmosphere was electric, but the sound of their chants, cheers and boos are lost to the viewer at home because of the acoustics of it. Rather than being picked up by the microphones, the majority of the sound made by the people in the stadium float away into the sky.
As a result, WrestleMania seemed flat for most of the show. As a viewer, I picked up no enthusiasm from the crowd, and so it hampered my enjoyment.
Great crowds make an average wrestling event seem better than it is, but dead crowds make good ones feel pedestrian.
As for the quality of what we were served up, I can’t say I was hugely impressed.
Six Man Tag: Not a patch on either of the Shield’s other two PPV matches. Nothing exciting happened, and the finish was as expected. There was no need for the Big Show to turn on his partners at the end and all it has done is set up another boring feud for him on Smackdown vs Orton. Oh joy.
Mark Henry vs Ryback: I didn’t think this was that bad. Loved that Mark Henry won as it keeps him strong. The post match stuff also allowed Ryback to save face. No complaints.
Team Hell No vs Ziggler/Langston: A basic TV match, the kind of which you see every week on Raw. It was nice to see the crowd still love Daniel Bryan though.
Fandango vs Jericho: The right man won but in the wrong way. Why have Jericho kick out of the new man’s finisher? And the finishing sequence seemed a little bit botched to me.
del Rio vs Swagger: I honestly couldn’t care about either man. Not surprised by the winner.
Undertaker vs CM Punk: People are talking up this match like it’s a classic, and while it was good, to me it didn’t hold a candle to the Undertaker’s last four WrestleMania matches. Sorry, but everyone knew he was going to win, and unlike the Triple H and Shawn Michaels matches, Punk did nothing to make me – as a viewer – feel that that could change.
Lesnar vs Triple H: Maybe it’s because I was drifting in and out of sleep during this match, but I thought it was good. Unlike almost every other match, I didn’t know who was going to win, so it turned out to be quite exciting. But it was far from amazing.
The Main Event
The biggest talking point for me though was the Main Event.
The phrase “Shower of shite” would be apt to describe the match between The Rock and John Cena.
For a start, we didn’t need the amount of video packages shown throughout the event leading up to it. That time – as well as the time wasted on that P Diddy Concert – could have been spent on backstage skits or keeping the Brodus Clay match on the card.
The Cena/Rock feud has been tedious. It was new, fresh and exciting two years ago, but that ship has long since sailed. I honestly don’t think WWE has its finger on the pulse with this at all.
Going into the match, I didn’t care who won, and I’m not sure many in the crowd did either. Sure, nobody wanted Cena to win, but the Rock has been so pitiful as WWE Champion that I’m guessing very few people were actively hoping for him to go over either.
What would have been good – from a logical storyline development perspective – would have been if an increasingly desperate Cena turned to underhand tactics to put the Champion away. This would have made sense and could have set up months of interesting television on the interminably long 3 hour Monday Night Raws.
Sadly it wasn’t to be.
What transpired was that Cena won clean and the two of them shook hands and became friends. Oh pass the sick bucket. They telegraphed that ending two years ago. Where’s the excitement? Where’s the interest levels?
It wasn’t just that though; the match itself was absolutely rotten.
Rest holds in less than five minutes and not even the slightest bit of psychology.
People who don’t like wrestling will point to its pre-determined nature as being a bad thing, but what it can do is allow the wrestlers to tell a story in the ring. When a wrestling match hits the right notes, it can be superb.
This didn’t, and this wasn’t.
Basically the last 10-15 minutes involved Rock and Cena trying to hit their finisher on the other. No psychology, no reasoning, no nothing. Any wrestler could do that. And what was worse was that the two of them were clearly talking each other through it as they went along.
It was amateur.
Most of the blame must rest on the shoulders of The Rock. He hasn’t had one halfway decent match since returning, and seems unable to perform at the standard that people seem to expect from him.
But Cena was poor as well.
Really, it was just a huge disappointment that sent fans home unhappy.
Wrestlemania 29 Review – Final Thoughts
Nothing stood out in a good way about WrestleMania 29.
Perhaps the biggest problem with it is the hype associated with it.
WrestleMania is supposed to be special, but with what sounded like a dead crowd, and no matches standing out as classics, it just felt like the same old, same old.
And that’s the problem WWE has right now; there’s nothing new, fresh or interesting about the product. John Cena will go back to being the top dog, and it doesn’t seem like he has any opponents waiting in the wings to challenge him,
I can’t see anything interesting on the horizon.
As a viewer since 1991, I must admit by interest in the WWE product is at an all time low, and I saw absolutely nothing at WrestleMania 29 to make me feel positive about the weeks and months ahead.
It wasn’t a bad show, it was just unremarkable, and that’s not what WWE are marketing.
Much like the way their voices disappeared into the New Jersey night sky, I can’t help but feel WWE has a struggle on their hands to keeping hold of their loyal fan-base unless something changes soon.
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