Monday, April 8, 2013

Tom's Musings on Wrestlemania XXIX

By Tom Cuthbertson, M.D.

I very nearly posted my knee-jerk reactions to Wrestlemania when it went off the air at 4am. Which, due to be being naturally tired and a little cross, most likely would have been a... Poor decision. It sucked that I squandered an hour of sleep, but now, much like the A's in Fandango, my thoughts on Wrestlemania have had something of a chance to breathe.

So, what are my thoughts on Wrestlemania 29?

Up to and including the Undertaker/CM Punk match, it was going pretty well. The opener was vintage Shield with the group winning unexpectedly and looking like a million bucks doing it, which is nice. The Tag Team title match was solid, if a little short, and it was good to see Fandango win his match by capitalizing on a mistake by the veteran. The World Heavyweight title match was an enjoyable, back-and-forth contest, the match of the night until that point in the show, and neither guy looked especially weak coming out of it. Hopefully we can see a little more from this feud at Extreme Rules.

Really, my only gripe with the undercard is the Ryback/Henry match being booked terribly. This was built up as the most even matchup on the card, and not only does one guy dominate the whole match, but he goes over when he was the absolute wrong man to do so. Either this feud carries on to Extreme Rules, Mark Henry starts pursuing the World Heavyweight Championship, or I start making rage faces at my TV screen.

The Undertaker vs CM Punk was, to my mind, phenomenal. It was solid enough in the ring, despite more noticeable ring rust from Undertaker than in years past, but CM Punk made this match by being at the top of his game. How many guys have ever had the nards to start a match with Undertaker by slapping him square in the face? I don't care if he lost, that was a mark-out moment right there that affirmed Punk as the biggest and most dominant prick in WWE (As if the last nine months hadn't already done so). Oh, and Undertaker reclaiming the urn and crying at the end? Even after 21 Wrestlemanias, that felt like a genuinely special moment, and a fitting way to pay tribute to Paul Bearer after the last month of shenanigans.

Then Triple H vs Brock Lesnar happened. Remember how personal this feud was supposed to be? Remember the dastardly stuff Lesnar has done to HHH over the past eleven months? Remember that Raw when Lesnar smacked a steel chair so hard on the ramp that it nearly broke in half? Remember that HHH's career was supposedly on the line? NONE of this came out in the match. What was supposed to absolute bloodbath between two angry, angry guys turned out to be slow, lacking in intensity, and overall indistinguishable from their Summerslam match. I mean, the match itself was a good match for any other PPV and any feud, but this was a Wrestlemania match with a fuckton of intense buildup. You gotta pull out all the stops. Very few of the stops were pulled out. Consequently, it was evident that the two guys just did not care, which was disappointing and frankly inexcusable on a Wrestlemania.

Speaking of not caring... then came the main event. Oh my god, the main event.

Cena's music hits inexplicably following after a commercial. No announcement, no ringing of the bell, no promo video, no acknowledgement that there was supposed to be a match before this, not a single word breathed by the commentators, no manner of reaction by the fans in attendence, no nothing until the match started. No nothing. At a Wrestlemania main event. Raw main events have more excitement than that. This was a Wrestlemania main event WWE Championship match - featuring John Cena and The Rock no less - that half the audience was groaning at anyway, and in no way did anyone on commentary, in production, or in the crowd make any attempt to sell it or tell a story. We've just come off a match with two guys that clearly did not care enough, and not one person in the arena wanted to pick up the slack and hype this match? The same match that got a ton of hype last year? I'm tired, so the bold font is the only length I'll go to to demonstrate how cross and disappointed I am about this, but seriously. This is Wrestlemania, it's and inexcusable for one guy in the company not to be going batshit crazy hyping this event, let alone EVERY guy.

Well, I say every guy. Turns out the were actually two people that cared about this match, and they went on to give us a match befitting a Wrestlemania event that was actually tense at times. The Rock repeating Cena's mistake from last year and getting nailed by his own move. Cena faking out the People's Elbow and seemingly outsmarting the Rock, only to get hit with his third Rock Bottom on the match. The minute of constant AA and Rock Bottom counters and reversals. All these things told a story and added tension to the match, and damnit, that's what a Wrestlemania main event is about. Not fans sitting on their hands and commentators forgetting two years worth of history.

Overall, had anyone other than Cena and Rock cared about the last hour and a half of this show, it could have been a solid Wrestlemania. Alas, for whatever reason they stopped selling, so everyone understandably stopped buying, I think that's the essence of why everyone seems disappointed with this Wrestlemania. It was just 'good', and if you're not using words like 'great', 'excellent', 'magical' etc to describe a Wrestlemania, something, somewhere has gone horribly wrong.

Thanks for reading.

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