Appraising the Show: Wrestlemania 29
It’s “the granddaddy of ’em all”, the glittering jewel in WWE’s event calendar. Wrestlemania is WWE at it’s finest, an event where fans of pro-rasslin’ can come together enjoy the “showcase of the immortals”. At least that’s the theory, in recent years I’ve felt that Mania is a little unsure of itself, or more precisely, unsure of the roster. In the pursuit of PPV revenue, “The E” has reached out to, or employed the use of “special guest stars” to bolster the card, and perhaps separate a greater amount of currency from a greater amount of people. But is this a bad thing? As a PPV, Wrestlemania should be different to every other event, and these special attractions are the best way aren’t they?
Pardon the facetiousness, but Wrestlemania breeds so many differences of opinion it’s scary. Can we really have all watched the same show? So while the spotlights at the MetLife stadium are still warm, let me shine a light of my own, eh?
Although a quick confession, at this point I still haven’t seen Alberto Del Rio vs Jack Swagger, but if I can be honest, the momentum stalled a long time ago for me as far as that one’s concerned.
The amount of debuting superstars this year was truly astonishing. Ambrose, Rollins & Reigns picked up a clean win over the “Fighting Vipers 3”, Fahn-Dahn-Goh (breathe the A’s) got a win over Chris Jericho & Ryback was there also. While they were only a fraction of the focus, it’s encouraging that they appeared, and made impressive showings, and hopefully will get to keep their momentum going forward.
Oh God Punk vs Undertaker! From inception through the build to the final bell this had my complete attention, what this feud would’ve looked like without the passing of Paul Bearer is of course open to some serious debate, but this is the hand we were dealt, and it delivered. I, along with many I suspect, went into this with genuine doubt as to whether this was it for the streak, and all credit to whoever laid out this match, that doubt carried right the way through. CM Punk was just on another level throughout, playing a perfect villain along with Paul Heyman. That image of Taker staring a hole through Punk while trapped in the Anaconda Vise is one that will live long in my memory, too.
Baffling ending aside, Ryback vs Mark Henry was a great spectacle, no other match had me wincing quite as much as when Mark damn near decapitated Ryback as he charged at him. Plus we did get the image of Ryback hoisting Henry up for the Shelkshock, which was all kinds of impressive.
Even Rock/Cena 2 had its moments, we may not have had our WMX-7 Cena heel turn, but we did get a slightly different Cena here, viciously stomping the Rock early on & successfully suckering Rocky in after mocking him during a people’s elbow spot. In the Attitude Adjustment immediately following that, the wry grin on Cena’s face was something else. The outcome was in very little doubt, but regardless of the destination, the journey was enjoyable enough.
Weaknesses (I’m calling them what they are this time)
Puff Daddy, P Diddy, Diddy or whatever we’re supposed to call him nowadays performed, and although I’m yet to see it, the announcement of its inclusion filled me with a total sense of “whatever” no offence to the man, but however hard WWE wants to promote Wrestlemania as an “entertainment” extravaganza, it says “wrestling” on the marquee, adding this to the expulsion of the Tons of Funk/Funkadactyls vs Rhodes Scholars/Bellas collision was a small tragedy. I know that wasn’t going to be Gotch/Hackenschmit, but it’s a wrestling match, which is what I’m here for I guess, plus the inevitable post match shenanigans would’ve been fun at least.
I have a small issue with the Triple H/Lesnar match too, only one mind, I enjoyed it on the whole, we expected a war & got one, but the spamming of the kimura by HHH was a little tiresome. I got the intimation, but it didn’t necessarily get me excited. A small point but one that bears mentioning, a rare misstep in the usually meticulously booked HHH affairs.
Obviously this is impossible to write on Mania 29 itself, but the practice of reaching out to the “part-time players” does bear examination. This approach may annoy some, but I am of the opinion that Wrestlemania sits outside of regular WWE continuity, so that sad state of talent like Wade Barrett & Antonio Cesaro I talked about in the last article is only temporary I hope. It’s just a shame it’s occurred when the most eyes are on WWE’s product. But perhaps a great number of those eyes wouldn’t be there if not for Rock, Brock, Taker & Trips. It initially seems like a double edged sword, but is it really? If the WWE machine put its full might behind those already under contract, who’s to say that the likes of Barrett, Cesaro, Ambrose et al couldn’t be the ones the “casual audience” flocks to see. That wouldn’t make Mania seem so apart from the rest of the WWE calendar, but then, would Wrestlemania seem as special?
I’m not sure, that’s another debate for another time I think, but I would like to finish with my thoughts of Wrestlemania 29 overall. Was it a bad show, as I’ve seen some proclaim? No. Was it a bad Wrestlemania? No. Every match delivered in some form, there were some misses & I don’t feel outside of Punk/Taker this will trouble many “greatest Mania of all time” lists, but the show was fun. Expensive, yes, built up poorly, in some aspects, completely, but a great deal of creative attention went into the show itself, and it hit the big beats. The show didn’t leave a bad taste in the mouth, and now we now can ponder the road ahead for The Shield, Fahn-Dahn-Goh, CM Punk and even John Cena too.
So the cycle begins anew, mad season is over, lets see what we get this time around, shall we?
This is all my opinion of course, and any comments are welcome, as always I can be found prowling the twitter-sphere @BunnySuicida, and to borrow a phrase from Billy again, lets keep the conversation going. And please, have fun with wrestling. Until next time folks.