Monday, April 8, 2013

4/7/13 WrestleMania XXIX

Hey all, it's been a while. For those wondering, I've tried to keep up on the WWE storylines as much as possible. It might be a day late, but here are my WM 29 ratings:

Miz vs. Wade Barrett (IC Title): Just saw the highlights of this from the main show. Miz got Barrett to submit to the Figure Four and become IC champ once again. Ric Flair must be proud of Miz as the Hall of Famer grieves over his son's tragic passing. N/A

Big Show, Sheamus, & Randy Orton vs. The Shield: Good match here. Shield booked strong as one would hope. Notable spot near the end of the match with Rollins doing the suicide dive to Orton and basically smashing his own face into the barricade. Triple spear from Show got a nice pop. Orton tagging himself in and Show not liking it will probably lead to a feud later. **3/4

Mark Henry vs. Ryback: Booker T issued a no-contact rule and that led to some bench press stuff on Smackdown. No one expected a wrestling clinic here anyway. Cole now references Bruno Sammartino when Henry goes for the bearhug. Ryback goes for Shellshocked, can't hold Henry up. Henry falls on Ryback and that's good enough for three. Huh?! Crowd reaction was fine. Ryback hits a spinebuster and Shellshocked after the match. *1/2

Team Hell No vs. Dolph Ziggler & Big E Langston (Tag Team Titles): Yup, I miss watching AJ Lee each week. WWE replayed the end to last week's RAW, where Langston got involved and Ziggler scored the pin on Daniel Bryan using the tights. Crowd going NUTS for DB. Nice start to the match with the AJ Lee "Kiss of Death" reference. JBL helps put Langston over as a strong dude. Ziggler hits the Zigzag on Kane but only two. Chokeslam to Ziggler and Flying Goat for three, champs retain. **

Fandango vs. Chris Jericho: Fandango's WM debut. Lilian Garcia introduces Fandango, who probably tried to compete with Undertaker for the longest ring entrance in WM history. Nice dancing intro, though. Jericho wasn't billed as being born in Manhasset, NY, although I guess he's more known for being from Winnipeg anyway. Fandango had gotten the upper hand on Jericho the past few weeks. Codebreaker to Fandango early, but Fandango knocked out of the ring. Jericho the clear ring general here. Fandango can springboard leap to the top like RVD. Impressive top-rope legdrop gets two. A second one misses. Jericho lionsault hits. He goes for the Walls but has some type of "tweaked knee" moment. Fandango rolls Jericho up for three. Y2J puts over another young guy on the roster, nothing new there. **1/4

Diddy performs "Comin' Home." Seriously a great song.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger (World Heavyweight Title): Main event intros here. Poor Jack Swagger. If not for his arrest, he probably would have been world champ. Think I caught a remix of ADR's original theme; not sure how long that's been around. Ricardo's on crutches to sell the ankle injury Swagger gave him. Swagger gets ADR in the Patriot Lock but ADR counters into a cross armbreaker -- then Swagger counters back to the Patriot Lock. Great segment. Colter of course gets involved. Swagger nearly forgets to get back in the ring (at 9) and ADR slaps on the cross armbreaker for the submission win. Another decent match, but could have been a lot better. **3/4

Undertaker vs. CM Punk: Another outstanding video package to get me up to speed on the storyline. One of the best segments: Taker beating Punk up with the urn tumbling to the floor like a fumble, and Paul Heyman picking up the urn and running with it like a defensive lineman going for a touchdown. Living Colour performs "Cult of Personality" as Punk walks to the ring. Love it. Taker looks in much better shape than he did at that house show several weeks ago; that portly gut is all but gone.

Punk with the mind games before the match; he teased ways to win via countout or DQ if he had to. Punk delivered Old School to Taker and a side Russian leg sweep for two. Flying Savage elbow gets two for Punk. GTS countered, Taker chokeslam for two. Snake eyes from Taker, but Punk hits the back heel kick for two. Taker wants Last Ride to Punk on the Spanish table, but Punk gets out and kicks Taker in the head. Punk with the elbow drop to Taker while the deadman is lying on the Spanish table. Taker gets in at nine and Punk looks distraught. Still maintain the Taker/HBK countout segment at WM 25 was the best one, given how Taker all but spiked his own head on the floor while doing the big dive.

Punk goes for the Vice, but Taker gets that "you are screwed" look. Punk's looking like he just crapped his pants. Taker delivers the Tombstone and Punk kicks out. Fans are going nuts. Ref bump spot. Punk with another running knee in the corner. Taker no-sells and goes for the Last Ride. Punk gets the urn and clocks Taker. Punk with the signature Taker pin and still just gets two. Crowd real loud now. Heyman gives a constipated look on the arena floor. Punk mocks Taker's throat slash. GTS countered. Taker Tombstone countered. GTS countered one more time. Taker hits the Tombstone and gets three. Another outstanding Undertaker WM match. Not on par with the HBK and HHH matches, but still awesome. ****

Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar (No Holds Barred): HBK is in HHH's corner tonight. As one would expect, not a complete wrestling clinic, more a physical massacre. Still, we had the nice wrestling moves from both guys. Lesnar loves the suplexes. Spanish table finally met its demise here. Crowd got a bit dead when Lesnar stayed on offense in the ring. Lesnar knocks HBK off the apron, then HHH hits a spinebuster. Pedigree countered. Lesnar goes for an F-5. HBK comes in for Sweet Chin Music but that's blocked. F-5 to HBK. Lesnar went to his knees prematurely on the first Pedigree, so it looked like he "blocked" the first attempt. HHH gets it the second time and gets two. Crowd's not impressed. HHH into the steel steps. Lesnar brings the bigger of the two steel steps into the ring and nukes HHH's shoulder again. Lesnar goes for the Kimura several times, no rope break in this match. HHH with a spinebuster to break that third Kimura attempt. Lesnar's left shoulder into the ringpost and HHH attacks that arm. Chair shot on the post and the steps.

KIMURA TO LESNAR! Lesnar screams for help. Heyman into the ring with a chair, but HBK with Sweet Chin Music to Heyman! Lesnar's in trouble. Lesnar picks HHH up and spinebuster on the steps. HHH re-locks the Kimura, so Lesnar slams him on the steps again. Kimura again! HHH counters Brock's counter and DDTs Lesnar on the steps. HHH with a sledgehammer shot to Lesnar and a Pedigree on the steps for three. Real nice, might have benefited if they added some blood to this one. ***3/4

Hall of Fame ceremony highlights. Probably the best HOF class in recent memory. Glad Bruno Sammartino's finally in. Whoa, Trish is pregnant with child! Howard Finkel does the formal announcement at WM 29.

Attendance announced as 80,676. Wonder how much that got inflated.

John Cena vs. The Rock (WWE Title): Twice in a lifetime! Main event intros. Pace is slow at the start; two guys just trying to set the tempo. Crowd is fairly quiet for a match that's supposed to have a heavyweight-type feel.

Rock sharpshooter countered. Cena misses the Five Knuckle Shuffle, and Rock plants him with a DDT. Rock Bottom countered and Cena locks in the STF. Looked like Cena was guiding Rock to counter while in the hold. Rock uses leverage to get a rollup for two. Rock catapulted, then a slam and Five Knuckle Shuffle from Cena. AA countered into a Rock spinebuster. Rock caught in the STF. Rock powers out!

Rock Bottom to Cena, but only two. AA to Rock for two. Crowd's not impressed. Cena misses the top-rope legdrop. Rock spinebuster and People's Elbow, and that gets two. More counters. Cena catches Rock, but Rock counters into a Rock Bottom for another two. Crowd perked up there. Rock for another People's Elbow. Cena pops up and hits the AA...TWO! Crowd starts to love it. But seriously, is this all the people will liven up for?!

Cena with a sloppy rollup for two. Rock tries the Rock Bottom but Cena hits a Rock Bottom?!?! That gets two and Cena has a look of disbelief. Yeah yeah.

Cena does the People's Elbow mocking, which got him caught last year. Rock pops up but Cena was ready. Cena goes for the AA but Rock counters again. Rock Bottom for ANOTHER TWO. This is getting old, dammit! Crowd still loves it, though.

Rock plants Cena with another DDT. Rock lies in wait. Cena gets up. Cena counters a Rock Bottom and hit sthe AA for three. And after all those false finishes, an AA wins it for Cena. Really?! Really?! ***1/2

Cena and Rock shake hands in the ring. Cena leaves to allow Rock to get one more salute from the fans. Rock meets a saluting Cena on the stage and they take one more curtain call. A nice, classy way to end the show.

Final Thoughts: WWE will probably keep preferring to hold PPVs in large stadiums and domes to up that attendance count. I saw a couple pics on Twitter where people were complaining about those barriers around the ring obstructing their view.

Not a PPV for the ages by any means. But it's still good enough to watch thanks to Taker/Punk and HHH/Lesnar. Cena and Rock was good, but that's why someone like Ziggler should have been in the main event. I agree it's great for business to have part-timers like Rock, HHH, and Lesnar wrestle. But it doesn't do the guys like Ziggler or Kofi Kingston any good.

You'll notice no MITB cash-in and Kofi was off the card completely. Heck, I heard Tonz of Funk (Brodus and Tensai) got taken off the card. I'd probably give the overall show about a ***1/4

Will Taker be at WM 30? Possibly, but unsure. Not sure who he'd face, but it could be someone like Lesnar or Cena. Assuming it's Taker's last match, have a damn farewell tour. Have it be for the WWE Title and make Taker retire as champ. Do something great for a guy who's stayed loyal to the company for that long.