WWE WrestleMania XXVIII
by Scrooge McSuck
- Broadcasted live on April 1st, 2012, from the Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, with Michael Cole and "Jerry "The King" Lawler calling the action, unless otherwise noted.
- Lillian Garcia is out to sing our National Anthem. I guess she's a cheaper, better alternative than... (looks at list of previous performers), yeah, Garcia is better.
Pre-Show; Tag Team Title Match: Primo & Epico © vs. Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel vs. Jimmy & Jey Uso:
Sorry, no clue who anyone is here (for the most part). Josh Mathews and Matt Striker are calling this one, for the two of you who care. Those Tag Titles look like something out of the Boxing World. The Uso in the ring no-sells blows to the head from Primo, and knocks him out of the ring. Kidd comes in for a pair of near falls, then takes Jey down with a swinging neck breaker. Primo and Epico take turns working Jey Uso over until Tyson Kidd comes back to life, only to be DDT'ed for a two count. Primo sets Jey up on the top rope, and Kidd helps turn it into a sunset flip/super-plex combination. Jimmy Uso and Epico tag in, with the Uso in control. Whip to the corner, and Jimmy Uso with a twisting body press. Gabriel comes in and gets caught with a back breaker. Jimmy Uso takes him over with a hip toss, and Jey Uso with a Samoan Drop. The Usos remain in control, but Primo breaks a pin attempt on Epico. Jimmy Uso with a body press to the floor on both champions, then Kidd gets caught with a Samoan drop. Gabriel joins the fun, botches his spot, and hits a springboard Asai on the second attempt. Gabriel nearly blows another spot, but his 360 splash meets the knees. Epico with the backstabber on an Uso to retain at 5:06. Sorry for the disjointed PBP... it's hard to tell apart on a webcast, and Mathews and Striker weren't helping much. Just time filler.
World Heavyweight Championship Match:
It's amazing how lowly of a position on the card the Royal Rumble Winner has gotten... jerking the curtain, for the secondary World Title, and not even in the top half of most important matches on the card. Bryan had been working an overly arrogant character as the reigning Champion and is a dick to his valet/girlfriend/whatever, and other than that... I got nothing. They just threw this on here after yet another instance of "I'll decide which title to challenge for at a later date" writing. Bell rings, Bryan calls Sheamus off to give A.J. a kiss, and the Brogue Kick finishes this turkey off at the 18-second mark. As a mostly non-fan at this point, I have to ask... WHAT THE HELL!? Instantly, I remember an old episode of Celebrity DeathMatch where Big Foot fought The Loch Ness Monster, and it ended after one swipe of the tail, and Nick comes back from concessions only to find it ended in merely seconds. I know in Boxing and MMA you run the risk of a one punch/kick KO, but this is WWE, SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT. You don't have a match like this end in one move. I know, they wanted to do a "new record" title switch, but they botched it anyway, making it even more pointless. Just an absolutely dumb way to start things, especially since the "heel" was getting more babyface reactions than the challenger.
Daniel Bryan © (w/ A.J.) vs. Sheamus:
- Team Johnny is backstage (earth to WWE: The "Team Edward and Team Jacob" thing was cool, among 12 year old girls, about a year ago...), along with their master, Brother Love's lamer cousin? Seriously, what's with John Laurinaitis rocking the white suit and red tie look? Team Johnny vs. Team Teddy is tonight, you know, and $50 to anyone who can name everyone involved in this match...
Randy Orton vs. Kane:
It's time for some undercard filler... as much of a Kane mark I am, he REALLY needs to retire soon. After yet another lengthy break off, Kane came back with the mask (and wig), and after a lackluster program with John Cena, is now singling out Randy Orton over a handshake. I guess it's better than starting an angle over spilled coffee. Orton slugs away to start in the corner, but Kane fights back. We get a "Daniel Bryan" chant, which is never a good sign for a match that doesn't involve the person being chanted. Orton goes for a DDT (miscalled a bulldog by Cole), but Kane shrugs him off and boots Orton on the side of the head. Kane continues to control the pace, and slaps on a chinlock. Cole referencing the amount of WrestleMania appearances (in this case, 14 for Kane, 9 for Orton) kind of shows how much "new" talent is being featured prominently. Orton tries for another slugfest, but one roundhouse right lays him out for a two count. Kane takes a boot in the corner, but still has enough in him to execute the side suplex for a two count. Orton escapes a chinlock and takes Kane down with a swinging neckbreaker. Kane remains in control, and brings Orton over with a suplex for another two count. Orton escapes a second side suplex and connects with his signature back breaker. Orton hits the ropes for a pair of clotheslines, followed by a powerslam. Orton sends Kane shoulder-first into the ring post, then connects with his DDT (again, called a bulldog) from the second rope. Orton goes for the RKO, but Kane shoves off and boots Orton for two. Kane heads to the top rope, and the clothesline is countered with a dropkick. Orton lines up for a punt, but Kane catches him coming with a chokeslam, but that only gets two. We get another slugfest, and the RKO is countered again. Both men make it to the second rope, with Orton gaining the upperhand, but Kane turns it into a Super-Chokeslam, and the three count is academic at 10:58. That was very... dull. The crowd was mostly not into it, and it just seemed to drag on until the last couple of minutes when the action finally picked up.
- Santino Marella is backstage, with Mick Foley, and some other guy to advertise Deadliest Catch... Was this seriously necessary to be featured on a $60 Pay-Per-View, in lieu of a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH? Shows how much I follow... I thought Mick Foley was working in TNA. Ron Simmons ends things with a "Damn."
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match:
Holy crap, the Intercontinental Championship is actually being defended at WrestleMania?! When I still was watching on a regular basis, they always seemed to stick the IC Champ into a Tag Match or something non-title like the Money in the Bank series at WrestleMania. Basic point to this: Big Show is a 'Mania Loser (reverse Undertaker) with a poor record and goofy matches, so Rhodes makes fun of him for it. Oh yeah, Big Show is making his 12th WrestleMania Appearance. NEW STAR! Rhodes runs away to start, but a sneak attack attempt fails. Show tosses Rhodes back in and tosses him across the ring. Show... slowly... pounds away, then does the Andre butt-suffocation move in the corner. Whip to the opposite corner, and a charge misses. Rhodes takes Show down with a pair of dropkicks to the knee, and stomps away. I've got a four letter word for this crowd: DEAD. Rhodes with a step-over toe hold, then more stomping. Show fights free and lays Rhodes out with several clotheslines. Show eats boot on a charge to the corner, then gets hung up across the top rope. Rhodes with a springboard kick to the head (the Disaster Kick?), but a second attempt is countered with a crappy spear/tackle. Show pulls the strap, and a punch wins it at 5:19... seriously, his finisher is a punch? Oh well, it works for him, I guess. Big Show cries harder now than he did when his dad died before Survivor Series '99 and won the WWF Title soon after. Now that's just disrespectful. Felt like a Smackdown or Raw match, not a WrestleMania match.
Cody Rhodes © vs. Big Show:
Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos vs. Beth Phoenix & Eve Torres:
Ugh... I hate Women's Wrestling, and this one has a celebrity (I guess... never heard of her). Kelly Kelly is still hanging around and wrestling? Jesus christ, do I long for the days of Trish and Lita every time I see her attempt to wrestle. Maria is "hurt"... uh huh. As if it matters. I could work as difficult of a match with two sprained ankles and swollen knees without breaking a sweat. Kelly and Eve start. I'm tempted to say fuck it and hit skip, but I'll man up for this, I guess. Kelly with a hurricanrana into a pin for an early two count. Eve sells being rammed into the buckle, even after Kelly stops. Kelly adds to the embarrassment with a handspring elbow that would make Chyna cry (I won't even BOTHER comparing to Muta). Double stinkface (Stinkface = PG!), and Maria looks like she pooped herself, but it's just makeup. Maria "Sid'ing" herself would've been far more entertaining. Maria plays skank in peril, and no one cares. Beth comes in, and rocks a BEARHUG. Maria sells it with a smile on her face half the time (shakes head in shame). This crowd is so not into this, so Eve does a booty shake (because it's PG) and gets kicked in the ass for it. Kelly gets the cold hot tag, Thesz Press on Beth, and I guess the only moves she can do well involve wrapping her legs around someones face... insert your own joke here. Beth goes for something, but Kelly counters with a DDT... I mean bulldog. Damn Michael Cole. Maria tags in, despite not holding the tag rope, climbs to the top rope, and gets pulled off by Beth. Kelly makes the save, and Maris surprises her with a school boy (or school girl) for the three count at 5:55. Well, that sucked.
- Shawn Michaels is backstage, and hey, he's going to referee the End of an Era, Hell in a Cell Match between the 19-0 Undertaker and the Definitely-Defeated Triple H... will he keep it pure, the way Undertaker demands of him, or will he help his best friend end the streak?
Hell in a Cell Match: The Undertaker vs. Triple H:
(Special Referee: Shawn Michaels)
Jim Ross (with a sporty new goatee) joins the broadcast position for this one, and doesn't get bitched around by Michael Cole, either... treating Jim Ross with class? HOW DARE HE! In all seriousness, I'm glad to see Cole being more informative than annoying, and putting over the talent rather than himself. Triple H comes out of a giant cave, straight out of the dungeon of Doom, possibly. Not exactly "For Whom the Bell Tolls" from 27, but simplicity works best. Undertaker has a rather generic entrance for once, and again, nothing wrong with that. He's sporting a weird "spiked" robe and hood, revealing a mostly shaved head with a short mohawk (kind of like Chuck Liddell). They explain the look as Undertaker shaving his head until Triple H accepted the challenge, or some other random nonsense. The lowering of the cage actually gets music, Metallica's "The Memory Remains". Not one of my favorites, but fitting for the match, I suppose. Cole busts out some weird tidbits, like these two participating in 19 out of the 24 Hell in a Cell matches in WWE History, Undertaker having an incredibly under-whelming record, Triple H being successful, and Triple H never losing a match with Shawn Michaels as special referee... JESUS dude, does PWI Almanac list all of this.
With all that out there, let the battle begin: Slugfest to start at the center of the ring, won by the Undertaker. He takes it to the corner and continues to unload with lefts and rights. Whip across the ring, and HHH boots a charging Undertaker, and retaliates with his own series of blows. Undertaker no-sells, tosses Hunter to the corner, and lays into Hunter some more. Undertaker tosses Hunter out of the ring, and introduces him to the steps. Undertaker whips Hunter into the cage, and takes him over with a back drop. Undertaker pulls Trips up and connects with several headbutts. Undertaker with more strikes to the chest, followed by choking. Shawn tries to get between them, and gets shoved off by Undertaker for it. Triple H gets sent into the cage again, then the ring steps to change the pattern. They finally return to the ring, and Hunter nearly whiffs on a clothesline. Whip to the ropes, and Hunter with a face-buster, but it's no sold and Undertaker connects with a clothesline of his own. Undertaker works the arm, and it's time to go Old School. Undertaker rams Hunter with the ring steps, then throws the bottom half into the ring for a later spot. Undertaker with a leg drop from the apron, and he's taking his sweet time, taking the Game apart. Back inside, and Hunter surprises 'Taker with a DDT. Hunter rams 'Taker into the ring steps, then unwisely goes for a pedigree... you know the result. That could've been the end of the streak right there if it hit. Undertaker pounces on his fallen opponent, and pounds on Hunter with rights. Undertaker hits the ropes, and Hunter catches him with a spinebuster onto the steps! That had to hurt. Undertaker has enough in him to slap on the Hell's Gate, but Hunter uses the momentum off the steps to slam Undertaker into the canvas for a two count.
After over 10-minutes, Hunter finally has the advantage, and pulls out a pair of steel chairs. Hunter with a shot the midsection, then another across the back. Hunter props the steps in the corner, and quickly re-introduces Undertaker to them. Hunter with the chair again, and another whack across the back. He channels 1999 Rock and starts laying into Undertaker like he just murdered his mother. I don't know what's more fucked up, the chair or Undertaker's back after all that. Michaels tries calling Hunter off, but there's no mercy. Hunter wants Shawn to call for the bell, but he can't do that. Hunter throws Shawn aside, and bashes 'Taker with more chair shots. Shawn asks if Undertaker wants to quit, but no dice, Jim Rice. That's an open invitation for MORE chair shots, and still only gets a two count. Hunter seems to be busted hardway around his left eye, by the way. Hunter heads outside for more weaponry, and hey, it must be Peter Grabiel time, because it's SLEDGEHAMMER. Undertaker still won't quit, so it's a sledgehammer to the jaw... for two! Hunter winds up to smash Undertaker's head like watermelon, but Shawn pulls it out of his hands and tosses it away. Shawn teases calling for the bell, so Undertaker gives him the Hells' Gate to keep him from making the decision. Awesome. Hunter breaks it up with another shot with the sledgehammer, and checks on Shawn afterwards. Undertaker goes low to counter one more, then it's Hell's Gate for Triple H! Hunter does all he can to escape, but Undertaker has it locked... too bad the referee is incapacitated. Suddenly, Charles Robinson hits the ring, and Undertaker with a chokeslam... for two! Undertaker reacts to that near fall by chokeslamming Robinson back to the zebra's dressing room. Undertaker goes for the Tombstone, but Triple H escapes, shoves him into Sweet Chin Music, and the Pedigree finishes the combo off... FOR TWO! Holy crap, that was the greatest near fall in history. Shawn falls into the corner in disbelief, nearly costing Undertaker the match, letting his emotions get the best of him.
Hunter is up first, but Shawn refuses to let him use the sledgehammer, and gets tossed for it. Undertaker sits up, boots Hunter, and lays into him with rights. Whip to the corner, and Undertaker follows in with a clothesline, followed by snake eyes, and a charging big boot. Undertaker comes off the ropes with a leg drop, and plants Hunter with the Tombstone... and THAT only gets two. Both men are down, and Shawn is in the corner, on the verge of having a nervous breakdown. They exchange blows from their knees, with the crowd behind the Undertaker. Undertaker has some disgusting welts on his back from all those chair shots. Hunter escapes another Tombstone and hits the Pedigree, but... TWO COUNT! Shawn's body language: Are you kidding me? Hunter goes for the hammer, and Undertaker with a chair... Undertaker is up first, and he steps on the hammer. Game Over. Undertaker with a shot to the neck, then a sickening chair across the back. Word of the match: Retaliation. Undertaker pummels the Game into Jelly, and covers for two. Now it's Undertaker yelling at Hunter to stay down. Hunter musters up all the energy he can to get back to his feet, but Undertaker blocks the sledgehammer shot with incredible ease. Undertaker disarms him, so Triple H offers one last crotch chop, takes a sledgehammer to the jaw, and the Tombstone Piledriver FINALLY finishes things off at 30:52, making it 20-0 for the Undertaker, and no doubt calling the curtain for the in ring careers of both men. Undertaker slowly makes it to his feet, then along with Michaels, helps Triple H up and all three leave together, and hug at the top of the stage, like the infamous MSG Curtain Call of '96. I don't know what else to say, but this was just a fantastic performance, with drama and storyline shining through from the opening to final bell. Everything was done with a purpose, with attention-grabbing emotion, heart attack inducing near falls, and masterfully working every moment to perfection. This match was the only reason I wanted to see WrestleMania, and it more than delivered, and if this was truely the end for everyone, what a damn fine way to go out.
- Time to recap the Class of 2012 Hall of Fame Inductees... Ron Simmons, Mil Mascaras, The Four Horsemen (along with RIC FLAIR), Yokozuna, Mike Tyson (Celebrity Wing), and the Rated R Superstar, Edge. You know, other than the "Celebrity" (at least it's a good one), not a pretty bad class. Simmons and Yokozuna look like a weak pair, but Simmons does hold the honor of being the first African-American World Champion, and Yokozuna... wasn't too bad.
David Otunga (Captain), The Miz, Mark Henry, Drew McIntyre, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler (w/ John Laurinaitis, Vicki Guerrero, Bella Twin #1) vs. Santino Marella (Captain), Kofi Kingston, The Great Khali, R-Truth, Zack Ryder, Booker T (w/ Teddy Long, Hornswoggle, Aksana, The Other Bella Twin):
Did I already make a Twilight pun? Oh, I guess so... well, fuck it, here we go again: As much as WWE tries, their fanbase will always be dominated by the male demograph, so ripping off Twilight for an angle, months after it was even relevant, just seems like a waste of time. Look at all the talent in this match, and how little each of them matters, because they're only defined by their red and blue shirts. Poor Dolph gets to play the "dead crowd" match two years in a row. Kingston starts with Ziggler. Kingston with a quick cross body for a two count. R-Truth tags in with some heatless dancin' and a leg drop for two. McIntyre tags in and gets wiped out with a forearm. Khali tags in, and it's a disgrace he's a former World Champion. Booker T tags in, and lays into McIntyre with various blows. Booker with a side suplex for a two count. Otunga nails Booker from the apron, and Booker gets to play face-in-peril. Swagger tags in, and slaps on a hammerlock... in a 12-Man Tag. Swagger with a clothesline for two. Mark Henry tags in, plants Booker with a slam, and talks more trash. This is so dull and uninteresting, when it should be nothing but a spotfest. Miz tags in, going from Main Event to filler teammate in a 12-Man Tag over the span of one year. Dolph tags in and drops an elbow for two. Henry with the World's Strongest Slam on Booker. Khali with the Hassan-Chop to Henry! Flapjack by Swagger and McIntyre on Khali. Double dropkick from Kofi and R-Truth. Ryder tosses Otunga out, and Hornswoggle jumps off the top rope, into the arms of Henry, and gets thrown to the side for it. Kofi, Ryder, and Truth with simultanious planchas, and then it's a cat fight at ringside. Santino gets the hot tag, and lays into Miz with rights. Santino with a hip toss, followed by a diving headbutt. Santino goes for the Cobra, but Dolph makes the save. Ryder tags in and jobs... sorry, I mean he jobs. Ryder takes out Miz and Ziggler for the moment, but Miz celebrates prematurely with Eve, and Miz plants him with the face buster for a three count at 10:37. Way to job, Ryder. That was heatless and uninteresting until the last two minutes. Post-match, Eve nut shots Ryder. WWE sure does have a hard on for making Zack Ryder look like a chump. He's like a 21st Century Tito Santana, or something.
- John Lauarinaitis meets C.M. Punk backstage to inform him that his title can change hands by Disqualification. That was nice of him.
WWE Championship Match:
Not too much behind this one, other than pride and self-loving about being the best in the world (and some Class A level trash-talking from Jericho). Jericho formally earned his title shot by winning a #1 Contender's Battle Royal... I used to laugh at the idea someone got a title shot so easily, when another person had to win THE ROYAL RUMBLE to get one on the same show, but when the Rumble winner jerks the curtain, all bets are off. Jericho is rocking a sparkling jacket that would make Michael Jackson look like a normal guy. C.M. Punk is a "fresher" star, but hey, Jericho is making his 9th WrestleMania appearance, if memory serves correct. I completely forgot Punk was using Cult of Personality as his theme music... that's just awesome.
C.M. Punk © vs. Chris Jericho:
Lockup to start, and they grapple from corner to corner until Punk grabs a waistlock, and brings Jericho to the canvas. They tussle around, until Punk mounts from behind and lays into Jericho with rights to the back of the head. Whip to the ropes, and Punk with a knee to the midsection. Punk stomps away in the corner, but makes sure to stop before the count of five. Punk goes back for more, but makes sure to keep away from being cheaply DQ'ed. Jericho bitch slaps Punk, then hides in the corner, trying to antagonize Punk into getting Disqualified. Jericho asks Punk about his father, and he takes another knee to the face and gets elbowed across the chest over and over again. Punk with a scoop slam, then nails Jericho outside of the ring with a top rope clothesline. Jericho continues playing head games, prompting Punk to grab a chair and almost lose his cool. Punk holds off, and takes a dropkick to the face for it. Jericho with knees to the face, and a charging elbow, knocking Punk out of the ring. Punk avoids the springboard dropkick, but Jericho hangs on and clotheslines Punk back into the ring, then brings him back to the outside with a suplex onto the arena floor. Jericho with a punt to the chest, then back into the ring to cover for a two count. Jericho with a double underhook back breaker for another two count. Jericho works a chinlock, and Punk escapes with a bitch slap. Punk comes off the ropes, and gets planted with a back breaker for a two count. Punk heads to the top rope in another offensive burst, and quickly gets yanked off and covered for another two count. Jericho with a modified surfboard, but Punk manages to escape with a version of a mule kick. Punk charges, and eats boot, but shoves off a bulldog attempt, crotching Jericho across the middle turnbuckle.
Punk with alternating chops and forearm shots, followed by a side heel kick. Punk with a swinging neck breaker for a two count. Punk gives the evil eye, and charges in with a high knee, but the bulldog is countered. Punk blocks the lionsault, but Jericho counters the counter, and goes for the Walls of Jericho, but Punk rolls through, kicks Jericho off, and lays him out with a roundhouse kick for another two count. Punk heads to the top rope, but seems to be taking too much time... then signals for an elbow drop Macho Man style, and Jericho blocks the elbow with knees to the chest. Jericho with a knee to the jaw, knocking Punk to the floor, his only safe haven right now. Jericho rolls Punk back in, but it's a trap, and Punk drops Jericho into a knee for a two count. Punk with right and left kicks to the chest, followed by a powerslam for another two. They go through a series of counters until Jericho drops Punk across the top rope, and connects with the Lionsault, but it's only enough for a two count. The word of the match: frustration. Punk heads to the second turnbuckle, but takes too long, and gets the skin chopped off his chest. Punk climbs up with him for a hurricanrana, but Jericho blocks and brings it back to the canvas for the Walls of Jericho. Punk pulls himself to the ropes and manages to grasp the bottom rope to break the hold. Jericho thinks he won, but nope, it's not over yet. Jericho with a desperation charge, and all it gets him is a long-distance trip to the arena floor. Punk tries his luck, and a suicide dive crashes both of their bodies into the security wall. Punk with another jumping knee, with Jericho resting against the ring post for added punishment. Punk springboards back in, but gets nailed with the Code Breaker! Jericho crawls over to make the cover, but Punk kicks out at two! Jericho with some trash talk, and clubbing blows. Punk goes for the GTS, but Jericho keeps struggling to escape and clamps on the Walls of Jericho once more, but Punk manages to counter this time with a roll up. Punk with the Anaconda Vice, but Jericho is a determined little bast--- uh, bugger, and does everything he can to escapr. Jericho manages to slap on the Walls of Jericho one last time, but Punk won't be denied, and the Anaconda Vice proves to be the end, with Jericho tapping out at 22:21 to retain the Championship. Well, that was a bit of a roller coaster. Started off slow, but it was a slow start that I was "feeling", even if it seems like the opposite in the PBP. After the HIAC Match, though, the trading finishers (in this case, submissions) kind of felt "bleh" instead of something spectacular, but it's still a great match that happened to be outshined.
- We waste a lot of time...
John Cena vs. The Rock:
It's time for the match everyone has been waiting for, for the last year... okay, maybe last few months. This is the Rock's first singles match since losing to Goldberg at the 2003 edition of Backlash, and this actually feels like a big deal, even if I'm very lukewarm about Cena. We get boxing style introductions, with both men having their entrances (wrapped around horrible music performances). They try and do Hogan/Rock with the looking at the crowd bit, but THIS ISN'T HOGAN VS. ROCK, it's John fucking Cena. Lockup, and Cena shoves Rock into the corner. At least the crowd is very much alive... The crowd with dueling "Let's Go Cena / Cena Sucks" chants. Lockup again, won by the Rock this time. Rock with a side headlock, then the most casual transition into a wristlock. Cena counters, Rock escapes with a hip toss, then takes Cena over with a pair of hip tosses and the la magistral cradle gets a two count. Rock goes back to the side headlock, and comes off the ropes with a shoulder. Cena catches Rock off the ropes with a hip toss, then takes him over with headlock. Rock escapes, sweeps Cena off his feet, and goes for the sharpshooter, but Cena escapes and rolls out of the ring to safety. Back inside, Cena works the Rock over in the corner with shoulders to the midsection, then follows with a clothesline for a two count. Cena slaps on a grounded bearhug, smart move for someone who hasn't really wrestled much in a decade. Rock fights back to his feet, but takes a dump over the top rope. Cena follows, and drops Rock across the security wall. They wander to the announcers table and repeat. Cena throws Rock back in, and quickly covers for two. Cena measures Rocky up, and lands a big right. Cena stalks around and connects with a belly-to-belly suplex for another two count. Cena continues to pick his spots rather than rush into things, but that allows Rock a flurry of rights. Whip to the ropes, and Cena goes back to the bearhug. Rock lands a series of rights to break the hold, then snaps off a DDT for a two count. Slugfest time, and Rock comes off the ropes with a clothesline. Rock with a spinebuster, and it's People's Elbow... never mind, Cena picks the ankle for the STF, but Rock kicks off. Cena with shoulders off the ropes, followed by a twisting back suplex. Cena with the five knuckle shuffle, but he doesn't follow up, allowing Rock to catch a breather. Cena goes for the FU, but Rock slides out of the grip, and a double clothesline puts both men down.
Both men are slow to get back to their feet, and slug it out once more, with Cena gaining the upperhand. Rock gets cocky with the comeback, allowing Cena a FU out of nowhere for a two count! That was a little too soon, but a good near fall. Cena unwisely drags Rock to his feet, and it's Rock Bottom time, also for a two count. Rock with some shots in the corner, but Cena counters a whip with a side suplex for two. Cena heads to the top rope, and after what seems like forever (5 count!), hits a SUPER SIZED ROCKER DROPPER... FOR TWO! Cena goes for the FU again, but Rock escapes, hits a spear, and slaps on the sharpshooter... and my GOD, is it awful looking. I mean, worse than usual. Worse than HBK on Hogan. Cena makes it to the ropes to force the break (thank God), but Rock goes for it again. I can't tell, but Rock seems pretty gassed... and he tops his last sharpshooter with an even worse one. The action spills out of the ring, with the Rock firmly in control. Rock makes sure to introduce Cena into the ring steps before bringing it back inside the squared circle. Cena surprises Rock with a sunset flip, then quickly slaps on the STF... and it's just as lazy as the sharpshooters! PULL BACK! Cena pulls Rock back to the center of the ring, and reapplies the hold. Smart move (if it was executed well). Rock teases tapping but it looks more like he's taking a nap. The arm drops two times, but Rock holds it up on the third, and makes the miracle crawl to the ropes to force a break. Rock with a samoan drop from out of nowhere (Parts Unknown?), and both men are down, again. Slugfest #3, Cena blocks the Rock Bottom, Rock counters the F-U (or whatever it's called), and drills Cena into the canvas with a spinebuster. People's Elbow time, and the crowd is electrified without a doubt, but it only gets two! Both men get to their feet, and Cena with a small package for a two count. Cena sweeps the legs, and slingshots Rock into the corner for another two count. Cena drags Rock to his feet, a bad idea the last time he tried it. Cena sets Rock up on the top turnbuckle, and predictably gets knocked off. Rock gets to the top rope on his own power, and comes off with a cross body, but Cena rolls through, powers to his feet with the Rock in his arms, throws him to his shoulders, and hits the FU FOR TWO!!!! Holy shit, that was awesome. Cena gets too arrogant and sets up for the People's Elbow, but the Rock gets up, nails Cena with the Rock Bottom, and gets the three count at 30:38. That was a hell of a ride. Other than the Rock obviously being winded roughly halfway through and the poor execution on the submission spots, a satisfying finale to WrestleMania, although again, it was outshined because of a stacked series of main event caliber matches. Will there be a rematch? Time will tell...
Final Thoughts: The show definitely opened on a sour note for smart fans, and even from a neutral P.O.V., it seems like an awful way to start the show. What followed was about an hour of incredibly sub-par performances that were making this look like it had potential to be one of the worst WrestleMania's ever. Then we got Triple H vs. Undertaker, and it kicked ass. Then we got a terrible time filler tag match, but followed it with another outstanding effort between Jericho and CM Punk. Finally, we ended it on a Dream Match, that while not as good as the previous two high profile matches, it was another strong performance and a great way to end the card. It wasn't the best WrestleMania, but it holds up pretty well, and considering how little I watch of WWE, I'm surprised I enjoyed it this match. Well worth checking out, but not for an insane price tag of over $60 like the PPV ran for. Pick up the DVD for less than half that next month.
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