The Newport Report: WrestleMania 29
by, 04-08-2013 at 04:52 PM (2322 Views)
So now that WrestleMania 29 has come and gone, I feel like this is the perfect time to debut my own series of monthly blogs entitled "The Newport Report". Today's topic? The very underwhelming excuse for what WWE calls it's 29th Show of Shows. Let's begin:
For some reason, I was really looking forward to this. A free extra hour added on before the pay-per-view begins. Right before I sat down to watch it on Y-Screen, I actually thought it might be the most unpredictable hour of the night. Would Antonio Cesaro have a title match? Would there be a rumored battle royal? Who would emerge the winner? I mean, they had an entire 60 minutes to pump us up for the rest of the night...
...and of course, they failed.
What we ended up getting was 55 minutes of video packages and commentary, and only 5 minutes of wrestling. All of which aired later on that night on the PPV. There was no US title match. There was no battle royal. What we DID get (and I'm sure the New Jersey crowd loved every second of it) was a backstage segment with Snooki. Um, yay?
The outcome of the Intercontinental Championship match turned out like I expected: The Miz defeated Wade Barrett with the Figure Four Leglock to win the title. Being a proud Mizfit, this was one of the few highlights of the night. But that didn't save the match being a forgettable 5 minutes long.
I intially said The Barrett Barrage and The Awesome One deserved better than a pre-show match, but considering 75% of the current roster didn't even make it to a backstage cameo, I consider both men to be lucky.
The First Hour:
The first actual match of the PPV was the six man tag team match between The Shield, Randy Orton, Sheamus, and The Big Show. It's not that the match itself was bad. It was actually pretty good. It was the ending the ruined everything.
The Shield won at the cost of Randy Orton, as I predicted they would, but it wasn't Randy Orton that turned heel. It was The Big Show. Considering The Viper has been dying to turn back to the dark side for well over a year now, and The Big Show keeps flipping back and forth every few months, this was the first of several major letdowns.
Mark Henry vs. Ryback delivered one of the few shockers of the night. Ryback may have managed to eventually shell-shock The World's Strongest Man, but it was Mark Henry that got the three-count and the victory. Well done, Kool-Aid, well done.
But this raises a good question: What the heck is going to happen with Ryback now? He's lost every PPV match he's been in for months, and he could've really used a victory last night. Perhaps WWE management has soured on him since last fall. Oh well.
And then we came to what was supposed to be the IWC favorite: Team Hell No vs. Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston. It should be noted that unless you count Fandango's valet as part of the locker room, AJ Lee was the only Diva we saw on the pay-per-view.
Despite a good effort from Ziggy and Biggy, Daniel Bryan and Kane stuck together and won the match. I personally didn't care about the outcome, but sure alot of Internet fans did. Any chances of a Dolph Ziggler power stable happening ended in 7 minutes. But hey, at least he still sells like a pro.
The Second Hour:
The next hour opened up with what was arguably the best entrances of the night. Fandango and his valet came out complete with their own group of dancers and his light-up sign. Jericho arrived like the legend he is with fireworks going over the makeshift Brooklyn Bridge.
Very exciting entrance. Too bad the match wasn't half as memorable.
Once again, the outcome was predictable. Fandango got a cheap victory over a shocked Chris Jericho. And yes, we finally got to see Fandango wrestle...sort of.
Most of the match consisted of Y2J beating the hell out of his opponent, and Fandango spending more time posing and running away than actually showing us what he could do. The end result left me feeling that while Fandango COULD be a big star one day, he simply isn't ready to face a guy like Jericho, and for the forseeable future, shouldn't be treated as such.
The World Heavyweight Championship match between Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger followed, and it was quite possibly the most underwhelming match of the night, in my opinion.
Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter ended up getting a jobber entrance, while Ricardo Rodriguez spent a little too much time saying Del Rio's last name.
For a world title match, this was short. Not 18 seconds short, but shorter than it should've been. Despite good offense from Swagger, Del Rio retained the championship relatively unscathed with no cash-in from Dolph Ziggler (the night's biggest nail in the coffin).
Sean "Diddy" Combs did a quick half-time performance. I swear if I hear the "I'm Coming Home" song one more time I'll puke, but it was nice to hear "All About The Benjamins" again. Still, I would've rather seen a match instead of a pointless '90s rapper taking up time.
The Third Hour:
Let me get this out of the way: I am by no means a fan of CM Punk. In fact, I'm highly critical of CM Punk and everything he's said and done over the past 2 years. I'm also in the minority that believes The Undertaker should've retired himself after retiring Shawn Michaels. I guess 20-0 sounds better than 18-0, but The Streak just isn't going to get any bigger than that.
But I'll say this: The Undertaker vs. CM Punk was the best match of the night, and the ONLY match that delivered.
CM Punk came out to the real Living Colour playing their signature song and his current entrance theme. I enjoyed how the band altered the sound of "Cult of Personality", which a nastier, more heelish feel to it. The Undertaker's entrance was the usual longer-than-a-filler-match length, but the wailing hands were a nice touch.
If anyone out there was really expecting The Best In The World to be the 1 in 20 and 1, I feel bad for you. The Streak will never be broken, but darn if Punk didn't try. There were alot of good spots in the match. Punk attempting Old School not once, but twice stood out for me. And The Dead Man's "resurrection" towards the end made me mark out a little bit.
After attempting a long back-and-forth match, which included use of Paul Bearer's urn, Undertaker finally Tombstoned Punk to Hell and went 21-0. Paul Bearer's memory may now rest in peace in what was an exciting match, and the only one that was truly WrestleMania-worth.
Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar was exactly what I expected it to be: an unnessecary sequel. Props to Shawn Michaels coming out to support his best friend, but even he couldn't save this half hour crowd killer.
What we got was 15 minutes of Brock Lesnar obliterating Triple H like a rag doll (and screaming like a caveman?), with The Game hulking up at the end to save his career.
Did anyone think Triple H was going to lose? No. Did anyone care about this match? I guess some people did, but I didn't. And obviously the NY / NJ crowd didn't either.
The Final Hour:
By this point, I'd been watching for four hours, and being already tired, I was waiting for this letdown to hurry and up and end.
I was a little shocked to find out the eight person tag team match between Tons of Funk and The Funkdactyls against Rhodes Scholars and The Bella Twins had been cut at the last minute. I guess Nikki Bella getting banged by the face of the company dosen't get you everything.
Speaking of the face of the company, it's time for the main-event: The WWE Championship match between The Rock and John Cena. Twice in a Lifetime folks.
To describe this match in a nutshell? It was twenty minutes of The Brahama Bull and The Champ trying to one up each other with signatures and finishers. I wish I could go into more detail, but at this point, my interest was wondering towards other things.
Cena. Rock. Cena. Rock. Attitude Adjustment. Cena wins the WWE Championship for the bazillionth time and finds "redemption". Both men hug and shake hands to a chorus of boos, and in the ultimate IWC nightmare scenario, they both stand on the ramp posing as fireworks go off to end the show.
While I don't think this was THE worst WrestleMania of all time, it's definately in the top 5, and by far the most underbooked and underwhelming. Nothing about this show felt like it was taking place on the Grandest Stage of Them All. More like a filler fall PPV during football season.
Aside from the Streak match, nothing delivered. The WWE title match and the Career match were predictable re-runs with less than half the enthusiasm the first time we saw them. The WHC title match didn't even feel like a world tltle match with no cash-in. The IC title match was too short and should've been on the main-card. The mixed tag team match got cut at the last minute. The tag team title match was alright I guess, but Fandango didn't prove to me that he deserved to go over Y2J. Ryback's fate was confusing, and the wrong man turned heel to start off the show, if he wasn't already heel.
There were no real swerves. There were no real turns. There were no real suprises or shockers. There was almost nothing about WrestleMania 29 that made it feel like the 29th WrestleMania.
I guess the silver lining is that tonight's Raw starts a new year, and I hope that the rest of 2013 is good for WWE as a whole.
Anyways, that concludes the 1st edition of The Newport Report. I hope you enjoyed my blog.