Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wrestlemania XXX Recap

Inside the SuperDome
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

My usual post Wrestlemania high didn't last as long this year, in part because of the untimely passing of the Ultimate Warrior.  Then add a 10 hour road trip home from New Orleans, and a 1:30 a.m. wakeup call for work and you get one tired and sad writer.  But enough excuses, it's time to look back at Wrestlemania 30, which I believe is the best Wrestlemania I've attended.

Chad and I have traveled to eight Wrestlemanias over the last nine years.  We've been to 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30.  Each experience was fun for different reasons, but I think Wrestlemania 30 will standout for years to come for a number of reasons.  Let's take a closer look at the Wrestlemania moments of the evening:

Drink up!
Legends Unite:
Kicking off Wrestlemania with Hulk Hogan seemed more like a Raw moment, but his speech helped pump the crowd, even if he called the Super Dome the Silver Dome.  Then the sound of breaking glass and the appearance of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin pumped up the crowd even more.  The Rock coming out was the cherry on top, as I watched in awe these three icons interact.  The toast at the end of the segment was nothing short of awesome, as I wonder if we'll ever see these three together in the ring again.  Bonus, because of our seats, as the Legends walked past us, I was able to reach out and touch the Rock's arm.  I know I should probably not have been so excited by this, but it was indeed a mark out moment for me.

The winner!
Super Cesaro: 
Up until the end of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, I had The Big Show picked to win.  Not because I wanted him to or thought he deserved the honor, but because he was the biggest man in the event and the parallels have been made between he and Andre.  I love the concept of the battle royal, getting many Superstars on the show and paying tribute to one of the greatest Legends in the history of wrestling.  Kofi Kingston's near elimination was pretty cool. I thought he had gotten hurt and that's why the camera was on him because from where we were sitting it looked like a nasty spill over the top rope.  I was glad to see Kofi keep his streak of unique near eliminations alive.  But the true Wrestlemania moment came when Cesaro scooped up the Big Show and slammed him over the top rope.  It was a flashback to 1987 when Hogan slammed Andre to win the main event of Wrestlemania III.

Prematch stare down
RIP The Streak:
I'm not gonna lie, I thought the Streak would live on forever.  I had actually contemplated making a $50 bet with an old friend from high school that the Undertaker would win. I'm glad now that I didn't.  Another confession, I haven't been that into the Undertaker, ever.  I like the guy, don't get me wrong.  His matches from the past were very good.  But in recent years, I've just not been overly impressed.  I know I'm in the minority when I say that.  Finishers done on the opponent, several near falls, and finally the victory.  Don't hate on me for that, as I do respect the Undertaker and his contribution to wrestling.  But I was not fully engaged in the match with Brock, but looked up from my phone as Lesnar delivered the final F5.  When the ref's hand hit the mat the third time and the bell rang, I immediately thought Paul Heyman called for the bell and Taker had kicked out.  Then they flashed the 21-1 graphic on the screen and Heyman and Lesnar left the ring.  Like the 75,000 others in the Super Dome, I was shocked.  I did not cry though, nor scream bullsh!t.  I didn't leave either.

21 and 1
I was disappointed at first, but I think it makes perfect sense now.  The ending of the Streak garnered national media coverage.  Heck, a radio station from my hometown called me and interviewed me about it.  After sleeping on it, I had a different perspective and after Monday's Raw where Heyman introduced Lesnar as the 1 in "21 and 1", I loved the idea even more.  I don't know what the future holds for the Undertaker, but his legacy will not be tarnished by his loss at Wrestlemania 30.  I just hope they keep this momentum going for Brock and the loss was for nothing.



Triple H vs. Bryan
Yes! Yes! Yes!:
Taker's streak ending likely overshadows Daniel Bryan's victories at Wrestlemania 30, but it no doubt was another great moment that night. For years, I think Wrestlemania has lacked those definable moments, but this year there were several.  Bryan's initial win over Triple H in the opener sent him on a path of domination into the main event.  The match was really good, as I think both men put on one helluva show.  

I've said it before, I'm not a fan of Batista or Randy Orton, but both men put their bodies on the line for the sake of entertaining the millions watching this WWE World Heavyweight title match.  The Batista Bomb/Reverse RKO was phenomenal and Orton's crash landing on the monitor had many fans wincing in pain.  I wondered for a moment if he was going to be able to continue.  To his credit, Orton got back in their and fought an epic battle against his two foes.  

The new champ
Bryan overcame the odds of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon returning to ringside and the bogus actions of a corrupt referee to win the title.  Even though Bryan has held gold before, this victory seemed especially sweet.  I'd say 90% of the Super Dome was chanting YES! at the end of the match as confetti showered the crowd and Bryan.  It was a long and winding road, a slow burn that ultimately paid off in a big way for the WWE Universe and the new champ.  I don't know what the plan was before CM Punk left, but I don't care.  I'm happy to see Bryan win the big title at the biggest Wrestlemania to date. 

The Shield 
I've rambled long enough.  I was glad to see the Shield remain intact and look strong in defeating three WWE Legends in Kane, Billy Gunn, and the Road Dogg.  John Cena's victory was unexpected and I think unappreciated by a majority of the crowd.  It is what it is as far as I'm concerned.  AJ Lee's victory was clever, I liked it a lot and felt sorry for the Divas as they made their way to the ring moments after the Streak came to an abrupt end and fans took out their anger on the ladies in the ring.  

It was a solid show, the best Mania I've attended in person. Props to the WWE talent, producers, and all the men and women who make the magic happen and don't get recognized for it.  I'll write more about that soon.


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