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Wrestlemania 29 Review

Before I get into reviewing the show proper, I would just like to acknowledge the great atmosphere I was lucky to be a part of whilst watching Wrestlemania this year. Showtime Cinema Limerick decided to put the event on in one of their big screens, allowing fans who usually have to watch the showcase of the immortals quietly in their living rooms to engage in a fantastic experience with those in attendance making it very clear who they liked and disliked and creating an atmosphere you thrive on as a wrestling fan. It had to be the funniest and most exciting viewing of Wrestlemania I have ever had and if Showtime decide to run again, and I don’t see why they would not as the place was a near sell-out in one of the biggest screens, I would definitely recommend anybody from the Limerick or surrounding counties to partake in what is guaranteed to be a memorable night.

The pre-show was exactly what you would expect, mainly just last-minute hype videos and skits in order to get last-minute fence sitters to purchase Wrestlemania. The featured match of the pre-show saw defending intercontinental champion Wade Barrett taking on The Miz. Many people were frustrated in the buildup to Mania when they discovered this match would not make the pay-per-view proper. Never the less the two had a fun albeit short match with the Wade bringing back his infamous wasteland move for the night. However it was Miz who would pick up the win and his second Intercontinental championship by locking in the figure four leg lock in a very unique fashion and making Barrett tap out. Naturally The Miz celebrated ecstatically however the whole pre-show seemed underwhelming and the match seemed to lack any real credibility or prestige.

The pay-per-view proper opened with the home guard of WWE, Randy Orton, The Big show and Sheamus taking on the vicious and violent vigilantes known as The Shield. The buildup to this affair seemed to focus more on whether or not Orton and Sheamus could trust The Big Show rather than the threat The Shield posed. This match was a physical and intense contest which we have come to expect from matches featuring the Shield. The hounds of justice received some long overdue payback in the early stages of the match as all three members, especially Dean Ambrose, took some serious damage. However communication errors on the part of the heroes and solid teamwork from the rookies led to The Shield taking control. For the final few minutes of the match it was an all-out brawl with each man giving in that Wrestlemania effort, however a selfish tag from Randy led to The Shield picking up the big win. There was a certain air in the post match that this may finally be the heel turn from Orton we have been teased with for months. However it was The Big Show who would dish out the punishment to his team mates to a chorus of boos. Fast-paced, unpredictable and exciting this match was exactly what you want from a Wrestlemania opener.

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Next on the card was the collision course between the two steaming locomotives Ryback and Mark Henry. This match was never going to be a technical showcase or battle of skill. This match was a spectacle of power and ferocity. The match didn’t last too long before Ryback hoisted Mike Henry up for a predictable shellshock. However Henry using his veteran instincts and the ropes to his advantage managed to collapse on Ryback’s head, pinning the juggernaut in the process. Foolishly Henry did not want to walk away with just the victory and re-entered the ring only to be picked up by the monster, who proceeded to parade the World’s Strongest Man around like a helpless child before crashing him into the canvas. A questionable booking decision having Henry win, maybe it was just because they heard the grumblings that this year Mania was being labelled predictable or maybe they have big plans for Mr Henry in the near future.

Image The following contest was for the Tag Team Championship as Wrestlemania debutant Big E Langston teamed up with Mr Money In The Bank Dolph Ziggler to take on defending champs Daniel Bryan and Kane, Team Hell No. The match began with a kiss between Dolph and AJ Lee, a slap in the face of Bryan and his embarrassing Wrestlemania debut last year. Daniel gave Dolph a swift kick to the head and a quick cover almost leading to a reversal of fortune on the submission specialist’s part. This match was pretty enjoyable yet lacked that Wrestlemania excitement you would hope for. Langston was exactly as you’d imagine he would be in his first match, impressively powerful but noticeably inexperienced. The match ended with Kane delivering what might go down as one of his most impressive chokeslam’s on Dolph Ziggler followed by a flying head-butt from Bryan. This match certainly wasn’t boring but was not what you would hope for from Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan.

Next up was possibly the biggest Wrestlemania mismatch of all time pitting six time world champion, nine time Intercontinental champion and the first undisputed champion in the history of wrestling Chris Jericho against the flamboyant yet sleazy Fandango in his first ever WWE match. However Fandango wasn’t really a rookie as he won season four of NXT as his Johnny Curtis alias and also had a cult following for his incredibly entertaining “Dirty Curty” persona. I personally was a big fan of the man and looked forward to seeing him tangle with one of the all-time greats on the grandest stage of them all. Apparently I was not the only one excited, as when Fandango made his entrance he received one of the noisiest reactions from the live crowd in Showtime cinema, ranging from sheer joy to disdain towards the man known simply as FAN… DAN… GOOO! This match told a great story as the veteran Jericho dominated most of the match whilst Fandango played the part of the coward out of his depth excellently. The final few minutes of the match had our crowd literally jumping out of their seats as the action went back forth both men looking like they could win at any second. In the end it was the debutant who scored the surprise upset. Considering the ridiculous gimmick that Curtis has been dumped with he has shown real promise in the role.

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We now enter the personal half of Wrestlemania as the battle for the World Heavyweight Championship and the soul of America was on the line as the real American Jack Swagger accompanied by the controversial Zeb Colter went one-on-one with the World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio. This was a feud built on real-life political problems in America and dealt very close to conflict between America’s immigrants and some of the USA’s less than welcoming natives. However considering how hot a topic they were dealing with and how fiery their feud was leading into it, the match itself lacked any real heat. A bit of a let-down, yes the match was technically sound and offered us nice back and forth counters however this was supposed to be an intensely personal matchup and I just couldn’t feel it. After a nice back and forth between ankle lock’s and cross arm-breaker’s Mexican native Alberto picked up the submission victory. Many people had their eye on the tunnel hoping for a Dolph Ziggler money in the bank cash in that never came.

Now we were faced with the big three main events, the first of which was probably the most anticipated, the battle for respect between the Best In The World CM Punk and the undefeated Phenom The Undertaker. Using the death of the Undertaker’s famous manager Paul Bearer as the catalyst, this feud has been a true battle between good and evil. These two men went out and put on undisputedly the best match of the night. For a match where the result was really cast in stone from the beginning, this contest had us out of our seats for most of the matchup. It was also host of the most painful looking spot of the night as CM Punk attempted a flying elbow from the ring post to the announcer’s table in order to crush the Undertaker’s sternum. However the table did not break as it is usually supposed to leading to an even more painful landing than initially expected. A series of reversals and close calls finally led to The Undertaker delivering the tombstone and scoring the three count… The Undertaker is now 21-0 at Wrestlemania as the streak lives on.

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The collision course between Brock Lesnar and Triple H was our penultimate matchup. Basically this same match type and personal situation they found themselves leading into their SummerSlam matchup this year, the only noticeable differences were that this time around Triple H’s career was on the line and also the needless addition of Shawn Michaels in the corner of The Game. The grittiest matchup of the night Brock and Hunter did what has made them both famous throughout their respective careers, they brought the pain. The match consisted of mainly brawling and painful collisions incorporating the arena floor, the finally collapsing Spanish announce table, the steel steps and of course a sledgehammer. The final 5 minutes really dragged out as both men exchanged kimura lock’s in an attempt to make the other tap out. In the end it took a sledgehammer shot and a pedigree on the steel steps for Triple H to save his career.

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 The main event of the night was the defending WWE champion The Rock taking on the Royal Rumble winner John Cena in a rematch from last year’s Wrestlemania. Shockingly the company did very little to build this match up in our eyes especially considering they gave it a year of building for their first encounter. However not much building was needed as the story was clear, Cena needed the win to bury the ghosts of the last year and The Rock needed the win to solidify his dominance over John Cena. The match itself was noticeably better than last year’s encounter and even though Wrestlemania is the time of year for it there was a ridiculous amount of kicking out of finishers. I know this phrase gets thrown alot in wrestling but these men literally threw everything they had at each other and kept getting up for more. In a clever twist from last year’s Wrestlemania, it appeared Cena was foolishly going for another people’s elbow however this time around he stopped at the ropes as The Rock popped up and gave him a cheeky wink. Finally the match ended with Cena exercising his demons and pinning the great one. When people talk about the epic feud between John Cena and the Rock I suspect this is the match they will highlight.

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For a Wrestlemania that many people criticised the build up of, this year’s was most definitely a great event. For the most part each story was told the way it should be and everyone at Showtime cinema seemed to be in enthralled by the whole experience. I have seen many Wrestlemania’s before and It’s safe to say I’ll watch more however I feel this one will always stick out in my mind as definitely a memorable event not only because of the unique and entertaining venue I got to watch the event in but also the entertaining show itself. They call Wrestlemania the showcase of the immortals well this year it showcased the promising youth WWE has to offer and their phenomenal legends.

PPV Rating: 7.5/10

Moment of the night: Cena kicks out of that final Rock Bottom

Match of the night: CM Punk vs The Undertaker

Personal highlight of the night: FAN…DAN…GOOOO!

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