The Suicida Appraisal: Wrestlemania XXX

by Martin Dixon (@BunnySuicida)

I think I’m safe in saying that Wrestlemania 30 was a night to remember. Giants were toppled, the people’s champion ascended to the throne by first besting “the king of kings”, then overcoming collusion & injury and a streak was broken. As much a celebration of everything WWE was, Wrestlemania 30 was not just the final full stop on the traditional “WWE season” on reflection it feels like it was the full stop on an entire era. Prior to the show, I’d said that the next generation of WWE needed to be built upon the old guard, not in spite of it, that’s what we’re seeing unfold, well at least to start with. I’ll explain more as I go on, but for now let me welcome you reader back to the warm busom of The Suicida Appraisal as I break down what I loved, hated & would possibly wish would happen differently at the Show of Shows.

Strengths.
I feel I could easily could’ve changed that heading to “Going Over” as a lot of fresher talent got chances to shine on what is traditional a relatively risk free show, booking wise. Cesaro got his “Wrestlemania 3” moment by slamming the Big Show clear over the top rope with frightening ease to win the Andre Memorial Battle Royal. The Usos got to keep their tag team championship in the pre show match. The Shield looked even more like a force to be reckoned with (if such a thing were possible) by just decimating the New Age Outlaws (As someone who has hated the Outlaws comeback, this was so cathartic to watch). Although he didn’t win Bray Wyatt took John Cena to a new limit in a storytelling tour de force. Daniel Bryan finally overcome the machinations of the Authority to not only beat Triple H in my personal match of the night but also scored the feel good moment of the decade by winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. That’s a lot of new names mixing it up with the figures we’ve all become accustomed to over the years and all to some degree got their moment in the sun.

This is less of a point for some that others but for me, the WWE network passed it’s first big test, with only a couple of pauses & freezes throughout the preshow & the card itself. This easily could have gone south & reached RoH iPPV levels of awful but no, I was pleasantly surprised by the experience and must tip my hat to the technical wizards WWE employed for the network.

Brock Lesnar. Yes really. No before you reach for the pitchforks hear me out. Yes he broke the Undertaker’s legendary streak and no I’m not in agreement with that, but think about it. Brock could be this new generation’s boogeyman, a powerful force brought out for special occasions to look dominant & break some heads and generally be a special attraction like Undertaker himself was/possibly still is. It’s an odd theory, but it’s something that came to me in between being bummed out that my favourite wrestler ever lost at Wrestlemania for the first time. Heartbroken isn’t the word.

Nostalgiamania ran rampant in the opening segment as Hulk Hogan, the Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin came together for one of those “holy crap this’ll make for some epic photos” moments. Hogan’s geographical confusion aside, that was a special moment as a celebration of all that Wrestlemania was.

Production values were again off the charts, Triple H’s, Undertaker’s & the Wyatt Family’s entrances were captivating and felt suitably epic, and the Wrestlemania stage set looked excellent on camera, full of verve & colour. It all aided the feeling that new days are dawning.

Areas of opportunity.
I may have been more able to come to terms with the streak being broken if it had happened in an epic, barn burner of a match but sadly the match we did get was very dull and plodding, maybe Undertaker was too far gone as a performer, maybe Brock wasn’t capable of hiding those limitations but whatever the reason, the final match of the streak was very forgettable, even with the shocking result.

The fact I’m reaching for this next one as a nitpick should clue you in to just how highly I held this Wrestlemania in my esteem, but aside from Cesaro’s herculean strength, the battle royal was very dull for me, devoid of any meaningful action until the closing moments, but the surprise feel good finish made up for that somewhat.

Did we really need a Slam City toy advert in Wrestlemania? When it features Sgt Slaughter, Hacksaw Jim Duggan & Ricky Steamboat clowning around for our amusement, the answer is yes. My gripe is there wasn’t more of them.

Closing thoughts
Obviously I can’t say what I’d like to see from Wrestlemania 30 going forward but I’ll offer some closing thoughts on the show overall. This was an excellent show too to bottom, where in ring action failed to impress, spectacle and a sense of occasion papered over the cracks, but on the whole, the younger roster and clever match ups made this one of my top 5 Wrestlemanias of all time, and maybe in my top 10 wrestling shows overall. The old hands played their parts well and in doing so made the new crop of potential main eventers look that much better. A delicate balance was hit in honouring the old while showcasing the now and building for the future. Kudos WWE, you had something to prove on April 6th, and you went about it so well it’s made a lot of people very optimistic about the future of your company, long may it continue.

Thank you for reading and roll on the rest of 2014.

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