Wrestlemania XXX Reaction

Written by Roger Malcolm wrestlemania-30-1330887 I’ve watched Wrestlemania every year since Wrestlemania XXI when the Armed Forces Network (AFN) aired it for free in 2005.  I had missed out on the first 4 Wrestlemanias as a kid.  I got my start with Wrestlemania V when the Mega Powers Collided, with Hulk Hogan challenging Macho Man Randy Savage for the WWF World Heavyweight Title; Wrestlemania VI when The Ultimate Warrior challenged Hulk Hogan for the title; Wrestlemania VII when Hulk Hogan challenged and battled Sgt. Slaughter for the title; and my final as a child, Wrestlemania VIII at the Hooiser Dome, when  Hogan defeated Sid Justice by disqualification.  Lame.  At least Wrestlemania VIII had Bret Hart challenging Roddy Piper for the IC title, and Randy Savage challenging Ric Flair for the WWF World Heavyweight title. Since then I’ve watched Wrestlemania I through XIV after acquiring the Wrestlemania boxset on VHS.  There are always great moments at every Wrestlemania but there’s not one Wrestlemania that I consider my favorite overall, as Survivor Series and Royal Rumble have always been my favorite events, especially from the late eighties through the early nineties.  However this all changed on April 6, 2014 when I watched Wrestlemania 30. Hogan-rock-undertaker-beer-wrestlemania-xxx I typically enjoy Wrestlemania albeit several complaints.  Usually one is not appreciating scheduled matches ending in 11 seconds or having to watch matches go on for 10-15 minutes that should have only been 11 seconds.  As much as I love and respect him, Bret Hart didn’t need 11 minutes to beat up Vince McMahon nor did Michael Cole need a near 14 minutes with Jerry Lawler. No one enjoys the awkward guest celebrity that has no place at Mania or the pointless musical performance.  Fortunately this year had none of those problems.  I enjoyed the entire show from Hogan mistaking the Superdome for the Silverdome and Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock taking turns poking fun at him, all the way to the Yes Movement becoming a success with Daniel Bryan achieving his much deserved Wrestlemania success.  Seeing 3 of the biggest names in WWE history in one ring was truly remarkable and it returned me to a special place, making it feel like a true Wrestlemania moment. As for the matches… Triple H vs Daniel Bryan showbiz-wwe-wrestlemanio-30-5 Triple H has been my favorite pro wrestler since 1997 after discovering him in 1996 while watching his match against Henry Godwinn in their Arkansas Hog Pen match from In Your House 5: Seasons Beatings.  I got to see it on some Saturday morning recap show and it might have even been clipped.  I became a huge fan while he formed Degeneration-X with Shawn Michaels and was thrilled when he dropped Shawn after Wrestlemania XIV and formed the second iteration of D-X with my favorite tag team of the time the New Age Outlaws.  I love the heat Triple H generates which cements him as the world’s greatest heel to this day.  So I found it strange that I didn’t realize the significance of the booking this year. Then about a week or so before it hit me, that Triple H was going to be in a match at Wrestlemania with currently one of the best in-ring performers in the world, the American Dragon Daniel Bryan. Opening the show they competed for 27 minutes in the longest match on the card and I was nowhere near disappointed.  Stephanie McMahon brought that extra-special addition which I felt really stole the show along with the match.  She was truly amazing and really shined in the spotlight.  Best match of the night and only time will tell but it was perhaps one of my favorite matches of all time.  I can’t wait to watch this gem again.  An absolutely fantastic job by WWE, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and, most importantly, Daniel Bryan. The Shield vs Kane and The New Age Outlaws wrestlemania-30-the-shield-vs-new-age-outlaws-and-kane Though it was a rather short match, clocking in under 3 minutes, it was nice to see the veteran team of The New Age Outlaws and Kane putting over the future of the company.  The fans love The Shield and they all seem like tremendous performers.  I am a fan of Roman Reigns and I’ve barely even watched him outside of his wonderful Royal Rumble performance. Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal Screen-Shot-2014-04-07-at-9.28.28-AM-650x368 This was one of the matches I was truly looking forward to simply because they were honouring the memory of one of the biggest names in all of pro wrestling, Andre the Giant.  My first PPV was Summerslam ’88 with Andre in the Main Event, which led to perhaps one of my favorite memories of my life.  I love Andre and it made me happy WWE wanted to honour him at Wrestlemania XXX with a battle royal.  As I’m sure most would agree, I felt Big Show was the perfect entrant to be the inaugural winner.  However much to my surprise and appreciation they did something even better with the finish.  As a throwback to Andre putting over Hogan by allowing him to be slammed at Wrestlemania III, Big Show was lifted by Cesaro and dropped over the top rope.  Cool on so many levels.  Perhaps Big Show can add some more prestige to the battle royal in coming years by being built into a story line around him attempting to win it next year, only to be upstaged by another.  This could continue, allowing Big Show to chase the chance, leading up to him just not being as good of a giant as Andre by failing at all the battle royal opportunities (a kid can dream); or, he could just go on to make a “streak” out of wins and lose to Brock Lesnar in 22 years or whoever is the new strong man (perhaps Paul Wight’s dream).  I doubt any of that will happen and it will be something I couldn’t imagine.  I do respect Big Show, but I only have one favorite giant.  So it’s just personal, nothing business, Mr. Wight.  I see great potential with the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal for years to come. I wonder if the genius Pat Patterson was behind this idea, as not only did he come up with the idea of the Royal Rumble but was great friends with Andre, and always speaks so highly and kind of the the 8th Wonder of the World.  It’s certainly better than a $15,000 BodySlam Challenge.  It would have reminded people of Andre slamming Big John Studd and we all know Andre didn’t like Studd.  So that idea was nixed as soon as Vince suggested it.  Kofi Kingston did have a nice spot where his feet didn’t hit the floor.  He’s a talented athlete. John Cena vs Bray Wyatt WM30_Photo_209 Love him or hate him, cheer him or boo him, John Cena has my respect and I believe he deserves his spot without question. The reactions this guy gets is unparalleled, though it does remind me of 1997 Bret Hart. The match was solid with a lot of drama as Cena started to show signs of coming unglued and really coming unleashed on Bray Wyatt. An almost intriguing story line which is more than I can normally say about John Cena. Bray Wyatt seems to have made himself a proven talent yet I’m still not thrilled by ol’ Husky Harris.  Everything is good with the entrance song and even the lantern is a cool start to the entrance.  I just don’t see much reality in his character, I suppose. The Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar Brock-Lesnar-Undertaker-WrestleMania-XXX-30 I watched The Undertaker debut at the 1990 Survivor Series and it scared me to death.  I later watched him defeat the first victim of the streak Jimmy Snuka at Wrestlemania VII when I was 7 years old.  I’m 30 watching Wrestlemania XXX and I was just speechless to see no kick out after Brock pinned the Deadman.  I can’t describe the sensation or complete lack of emotion I experienced realizing the streak was over.  I believe I am still trying to take it all in and accept exactly what it was that I witnessed. A part of me became really sad immediately, while another started to make sense of the booking.  I’ve heard folks claim the streak should never end. Besides that not being an option any longer, I never believed that made sense from a business stand point.  Pro wrestling works because of the tradition of over talents putting other talents over.  Most won’t argue with that but few expected a veteran to end the streak. Though how could you risk it with a young lion without knowing if he was worth it?  I believe Brock was a good choice and hopefully he has another 5 years left in him at least.  It’s really just heartbreaking to believe The Undertaker’s career is over.  I was never the biggest Taker fan and grew tired of his biker gimmick and signature punches in the corner but I always respected the hell out of him.  Rest in peace to the streak.  Thank You Undertaker for 24 years of performing.  The Undertaker will forever be The Phenom. 14 Diva Match WM30_Photo_294 Well, I hate to be so harsh but I never give much respect to the modern day group of Divas in WWE.  I believe the amount of solid women wrestlers is rather low compared to men and then WWE scouts, blah blah blah.  I just prefer the Jumping Bomb Angels or Lisa Marie Varon over most I suppose.  However,  I enjoyed Natalya Neidhart’s ringwork as per usual.  I believe the Bellas were sloppy and see them as a little overrated, yet they are still trying.  The one double team move they did was botched and it was obvious Nicki or Bella wasn’t satisfied with the outcome. Randy Orton vs Batista vs Daniel Bryan wm30 daniel bryan new champion This is the match I expected to see and had WWE not done the right booking I would have been completely let down.  This is proof that they are running a competent company as of 2014 – and really winning me over as a long-time fan.  The match was solid but of course was over-booked.   I suppose with how important the story was this main event at Wrestlemania can get away with it.  It was nice having Bryan hit Triple H with his own sledgehammer and seeing Batista tap.  YES, YES, YES! I didn’t get to see the first Wrestlemania nor Wrestlemania X at their times, but I did get to watch Wrestlemania XXX, which seems to make up for it.  The throwback to Bret Hart, who wrestled twice at Wrestlemania X by facing his brother Owen in the first match and later challenging Yokozuna for the WWF Title, by having Daniel Bryan doing the same this year facing Triple H in the first match and challenging the Champion in the main event was nothing short of excellence of execution. This was the first Wrestlemania as far as I know to feature 4 matches that were all over 20 minutes.  They were spaced well with one at the beginning, two back to back in the middle and the last at the end.  I felt that was much better than having 3 or 4 long matches all at the end.  There were only 3 other matches on the card beside the pre-show tag which I didn’t watch.  Great show.  The high points were great and the emotional ride of the streak ending made this the best Wrestlemania I’ve ever watched.  Being able to say that is pretty cool. wwe-hall-fame-induction-ceremony-jim-hellwig The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was pretty good too albiet a bit stiff with the speeches.  It was great to see Jake Roberts and Scott Hall at Wreslemania XXX after all of DDP’s help.  Also seeing Ultimate Warrior back was very surreal.  I’m so glad he had this last weekend.  He will be remembered fondly.

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