Welcome, cats and kittens, to yet another installment of the coolest cats this side of a serial killer's refrigerator Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight, as we all don our tuxedos and evening dresses for the fanciest and most prestigious night of the wrestling year. Come be thrilled as our monocles pop out in amazement, come be dazzled as our silken fans flutter to calm our enraged emotions, and come be confused as you try to figure out how you feel about Vice in an evening gown. However you come join us, and for whatever reason, we have our most jam packed, star studded gala event of the season ready and waiting for you to partake of. Will John Cena embrace the hate and finally get redemption for his greatest failure? Will Triple H's career survive the horrific machination of a deranged monster? Will CM Punk be the man who forever tarnishes the greatest statistic in wrestling history? Is anyone else even on this show? There's only one way to find out.
So without any further ado, let's do a motherfucking review!
Cewsh: You may recall from last year's Wrestlemania review, (which you can find HERE,) that the assembled group of Wrestlemania reviewers did a prediction tournament to crown the official DR. EXTREME psychic champion, (brought to you by the fine folks at Harris Teeter and their wonderful beverage.) Vice ran away with the contest last year, with myself far, far, far, far, far behind in last place. Like always. But this year will be different, dammit. I have opened my third eye, cleansed my aura, and balanced my chi, and now I am locked and loaded to bring home the title of DR. EXTREME where it belongs. A three eyed crow told me that the crown of extremity is going to say "Cewsh" on it. And prophecy's like that have never disappointed anyone, right?
So that you can follow along at home, the contest works like this. We each guessed every match winner, the way that they would win, (pin, submission or other,) and then used extra side bets for each match to help settle tiebreakers. Getting a match winner correctly is worth 5 points, (the main event is worth 10,) getting the way of victory is worth 2 points, but you only get them if you got the winner right. And the tiebreakers are each worth 1 point. Simple, right? So keep tabs on it as we go through, so that you can raise a glass of Cewsh Rum with me at the end in celebration of my crushing defeat. Err...victory. Sorry, I'm used to typing the other one.
Let's start with the pre-show match between Wade Barrett and The Miz.
And now let's get to the real reason why you're all here.
- "Why doesn't John Cena rock the panty? Is it a lack of manhood? He could try some yoga pants or something."
- "Brock Lesnar looks like Machu Pichu. He's built like a pyramid, look!"
- "I think we've prematurely ejaculated in terms of eating before the show starts."
- "CROTCH GLAZE."
- "Cewsh is no fun!"
Vice: I want to start by saying that I both love and despise WrestleMania always being in stadiums these days. It's great because you can get monster sets, 80,000 fans, and overall the visuals are just insane. Every time they do a wide shot and you see how many people are there to look at this itty bitty ring in the middle of the stadium, you get this huge sense of scale. The downfall, however, is that even if the fans are very rabid, it takes a LOT for it to actually be heard because of the acoustics and whatnot. 500 loud fans in the ECW arena sound 10 times louder than 80,000 people in a stadium going ballistic. An amazing crowd can make an ok match a great match, and a shit crowd can make a great match an ok match.
While everyone who attends WrestleMania always talks about how hot the crowds are, I find them fairly silent through about 3/4 of the show on my television. When they're going crazy, like during an Undertaker match, it's pretty amazing. But more often than not, you just don't get THAT reaction. You know the crowds on the RAWs after WrestleMania and how rabid they are? That's what I want to a WrestleMania crowd to be. But if you're Vince and can get 80,000 people to show up for your event every year, I honestly can't think of an actual, intelligent reason for him to ever go to back to an arena with 15-20,000 seats.
So, we're kind of stuck with stadiums for better or worse.
Cewsh: First of all, let's all just take a moment to enjoy and appreciate how humorous this gif is:
Ah. So fine. Let's continue.
When the Shield arrived on the scene back in November, they wasted no time making an impression. In their first appearance on the main roster, they cost Ryback and John Cena the WWE Championship, and immediately set the tone for how significant they would be as a group going forward. For a while they just beat down anyone they wanted at any time, pissing off just about everyone and receiving hardly any opposition, until finally a super team of Ryback and Team Hell No was assembled to take them down. But the Shield beat them. Then, as the Shield became even more of a threat, an even more incredible dream team was assembled to throw them the hell out of WWE for good, with John Cena, Ryback and Sheamus teaming up in a match that seemed ridiculously stacked against the Shield. But the Shield beat them too. Now Sheamus has recruited Randy Orton and formed an uneasy alliance with the Big Show to stop the menace that continues to ravage the WWE countryside.
But once again, the Shield is victorious.
The story of this match isn't actually that the Shield wins, but rather how. Leading up to the match, the big question was about whether or not the Big Show would be on the same page with Sheamus and Orton. Leading up to the match, it certainly seemed as though they had resolved their differences and were ready to batter down whatever the Shield threw at them.
But as the match progressed, Sheamus got beaten down and went for the hot tag to Big Show, and Randy Orton leaned in and stole the tag.
Big Show looked on, visibly annoyed, as Orton tore through the Shield. And he kept right on looking on as Roman Reigns crashed into Orton with a huge spear. Show watched silently as Dean Ambrose pinned Orton, standing not 5 feet away from stopping the Shield's newest victory. And when Sheamus crawled into the ring to see what had happened, Big Show removed his jaw with a punch, and gave one to Orton as well. Because while the Big Show may be willing to put aside his ego at times for the greater good, you damn well better remember that NOBODY PUTS BIG SHOW IN A CORNER.
This was a decent opener, and it seemed to get the crowd going pretty well from the start, though the ending deflated them pretty quickly, and a I wonder how clear it was to the audience in the arena what exactly happened with the Orton tag. I know we were all kind of hoping for an Orton turn here, an we'll have to go on hoping, but the match itself was perfectly fine. The Shield's worst match to date is still pretty good, as they continue their unusually amazing run.
68 out of 100
Vice: I was very surprised to see this match open up the show. I've gotten used to the world heavyweight championship curtain jerking, so I was very much expecting that. I must say that the title match not being first made me think that Ziggler might actually cash in his money in the bank contract. Like, have his tag match first, then the world title match sometime after, which ends with Ziggler cashing in for the title victory once Del Rio is weakened. So right off the bat, I was intrigued by all this.
There were rumors of Randy Orton turning heel here, so that got me somewhat intrigued. I still thought the faces were going to win, because Shield needs their comeuppance at some point (hopefully never) and this is WrestleMania. But, ya never know. I thought the match was alright. It had some interesting bits here and there, but never actually seemed to take off in any sort of way. This match should have been a lot hotter and more intense since it was kicking off the show, which was disappointing.
Aaaaaaaaand.. Big Show turns heel? Despite already being.. heel? This confused me because it really didn't make a ton of sense to me. The way it was presented made it seem like we were supposed to be speechless by this atrocious betrayal by Big Show, but it was basically just Big Show being Big Show. I can see them not wanting to turn Orton heel in the first match if, say, Cena was going to do some sort of turn later in the evening. While I know there's like a 2% chance of Cena ever going heel, I was a bit intrigued by Orton not turning heel. It'd have been a good time to do it. The setup wouldn't even need to be that different, either.
Sheamus goes to tag in Big Show because he needs Show to clean house. Orton tags himself in, acts like a cocky bastard, and gets his ass taken out after Big Show is knocked off the apron, and Sheamus is too weak to break free from one of the Shield members that is holding him back. Orton gets pinned. Shield celebrates. Sheamus walks over to Orton to be all like "dude, what was up with that tagging yourself in shit?". Orton shoves him. Sheamus walks over to him again in an apologetic LET'S JUST TALK ABOUT THIS SO IT DOESN'T HAPPEN AGAIN sort of way. Orton turns his back to Sheamus. Sheamus grabs Orton's left shoulder to turn him around. Orton spins around and RKO's Sheamus. Then gets up and starts kicking him and shouting. Maybe even drops to the canvas to get right up in his face to shout. Orton kicks him one more time for good measure before storming out, as Big Show stands on the outside looking on, rather confused by all of this. Rocket science.
Speaking of Big Show.. I generally always complain about people not selling enough, but I think he sells far too much. He is a 7 foot tall behemoth of a human being. He shouldn't be getting knocked over and pushed around like he does. All 3 members of the Shield should be able to get him off his feet fairly easily when working together, but just one of them shouldn't be able to knock him down with ease.
Glad to see Shield get the win, but I found this all fairly underwhelming.
Mama Cewsh Says:
On Potential Children's Book Names:
- "Orton hears a boo!"
Cewsh: Ryback has been the subject of a great deal of speculation as to where he would go on the Wrestlemania card for months now. Would he face the Big Show? Would he face Del Rio? Would he be part of the Shield match? That last one seemed the most likely, and indeed, he actually WAS a part of that match until the situation with Mark Henry grew too big for him to ignore. So now we have the muscleman vs. the mastodon, and if you like hoss matches, good lord is this ever the match up for you.
Now, the thing about hoss matches is that somebody has to play the guy who gets beaten up for awhile and then makes the big comeback and does the impressive feat of strength that makes us all go "OOOOOHHHH". In this case, Ryback is that guy, and while this match does follow that formula, the way they go about it is distinctly weird. Essentially, Ryback, (who is an unstoppable machine of slamousity,) just gets his ass kicked for 7 minutes straight. Then he launches into his comeback which consists of one lariat, and goes for the Shellshock, with Henry promptly reverses by fatting all over it and collapsing on top of Ryback's head. Boom, match over.
If that sounds like a deflating finish that makes Ryback look like a chump, then yeah, that's pretty much what it is. But the result isn't really my concern here, so much as the fact that they gave us a Ryback match with no Ryback in it. I love Ryback. I want to see him crush people's faces under his cyborg boot like he just got back from the Terminator future. So to see him in a 5 minute bearhug and then get his head treated like a coconut by the World's Strongest Gut was tremendously disappointing. Luckily, after the match, Ryback did jump Henry and do all the things I wanted. It's just that between the bells, he may as well have been Funaki. It's not a good look for him.
57 out of 100
Vice: I have a feeling this will be a love or hate match with very little in between, and I have to say that I'm on the hate side. I thought this was booked horrifically and was generally just boring as hell. I love it when two crazy powerhouses go toe to toe and beat the absolute shit out of each other, while no selling to a degree because they are that powerful. Like, you can have a REALLY INTENSE match with two people like this, with lots of shit being beaten out of each person. This was not that. It was slow, plodding, and I am very confused by it all. Have they given up on Ryback? He had so much promise, was getting over huge (and is still pretty over) and had all the makings of him being the next big non-Lesnar thing in WWE.. but then they had him lose. And lose. And this match was basically him getting his ass kicked and then losing in horrendously underwhelming fashion. To an almost stupid degree.
If the finish of the match was just a random spot, I'd have been like "oh that's kind of clever", but as a finish it was dreadful. Ryback lost because he is incompetent, and Henry won because he is too fat. Like, I don't see how it gets anyone over. Ryback getting his ass kicked throughout so much of the match and then losing because Mark Henry fell on him does not do good things for him. And Henry doesn't look that great because he only won because he is so fat that Ryback couldn't properly lift him. Surely I'm not the only one thinking this, right? When Henry got the 3 count, a small part of me died inside and I was almost speechless at what I had just seen. This is Wrestlemania, and one of the biggest prospects lost because a fat person fell on him.
Yeah Ryback beat Henry up after the match, but fucking hell. This match actually had a lot of potential, and I'd still say it had some potential towards the end of it, but the finish just killed it for me. Fell so flat.
Mama Cewsh Says:
On Ryback Choice Of Apparel:
- "Ryback is rocking a pinafore. You don't know what a pinafore is? He's wearing one."
On Fictional Character Comparisons:
- "Ryback is Shrek! Look at him! He's green and his ears stick out!"
Cewsh: No (+1)
Cewsh: Big E Langston is just the best, you guys. His explosive aggression is swell, his imposing presence is peachy keen, and his otherworldy strength is just the bees knees. If you've read Cewsh Reviews for awhile, you know well that I am a complete and total sucker for a big dude with muscles and a surly disposition. "Murder Machines" I have dubbed them, and Big E Langston is the new kid of the Murder Machine block. When we did our Scouting Report of NXT not too long ago, I dubbed him the biggest can't miss prospect in WWE, over Paige and Dean Ambrose. So yeah, I'm a fan.
I started out by gushing about Big E in an old timey fashion because there really isn't any story behind this match. The match is happening because it's happening, and that's good enough for all involved. And we're lucky that it is, because any chance to watch Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan share a ring together should be boxed up and cherished forever and ever. They show this off in the start of the match with a fantastic callback to Bryan's dreaded 18 seconds match from last year's Wrestlemania where it's Bryan who almost wins with a big kick after Ziggler takes the time to kiss AJ before the match. The woman is a walking trap at this point, guys. You should all really know better.
Now, this is not a long match. It clocks in at around 8 minutes, and more than anything, this match is designed to make Big E look like a very real threat. They accomplish that pretty easily, since the man is catching Kane out of midair like he's a big red cheeseburger.
Then they move on to Ziggler bumping around like a madman, since Ziggler is some kind of mutant, with selling as his super power. Hell No wins, the crowd goes home happy, and everybody looks good in the process. For a match just meant to be 8 minutes of midcard fun, it's hard to argue with this.
70 out of 100
Vice: This match was pretty good. I like Big E Langston, despite not seeing much of him. Though I must say, his boobs are bigger than most divas' implants, and they're pure muscle. And good lord is that motherfucker strong. I'm not entirely happy with the way the match was won, but it was tricky. You don't want Big E taking the fall since it's his in ring debut, but I didn't like Ziggler getting pinned.
And I don't know how I'd feel about them actually winning the match. And I wouldn't want it to end via DQ or countout or anything shady. But it's whatever. Fairly enjoyable match, but didn't feel WRESTLEMANIA at all. Could have been on any other PPV. Or even RAW.
The opening bit of the match really confused me. As we all know, Daniel Bryan's match lasted 18 seconds at last year's Wrestlemania. He gave AJ a nice, long kiss and then turned around right into Sheamus' very large foot for a rather embarrassing loss. So now that AJ is Dolph's lady, Dolph gives her a big kiss, only to turn around into a kick to the face from Bryan. Wouldn't it have made much more sense for Dolph to rub it in Bryan's face that AJ is now his, and then AVOID the headkick, allowing him to get the advantage? That'd have been brilliant. But it was just a rehash of last year with Dolph kicking out. It made Dolph look stupid. That is all.
Mama Cewsh Says:
On Big E Langston:
- "What's his name? Little E? The rapper guy?"
Cewsh: You've got to hand it to Johnny Curtis. The man turned lead into gold.
When the vignettes first started airing for Fandango around the start of the year, it quickly became pretty clear that Fandango had the potential to be the biggest flop since the Gobbledy Gooker. He danced, he was goofy, and his name had only been previously know for a place to buy movie tickets. As such, the videos were roundly mocked, and anticipation for this man to debut was either nonexistant or tremendous, depending on how much the person in question loves them some unintentional humor. And then Fandango finally did debut, only he didn't. He refused to wrestle for weeks, complaining that nobody could pronounce his name correctly, (for the record it goes FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN - DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN - GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAHAHAHHAAAHAHA.)
It didn't seem like we'd ever actually get the guy into a ring until Chris Jericho started mocking him at every opportunity, saying the things that a lot of fans were thinking about the character, and re-configuring his name in ways that were actually fairly amusing, (Fan-Dodge-Durango is a personal favorite.) And that's when Fandango became something else altogether. He began to snap violently, and would beat Chris Jericho into pulp whenever he was mocked, surprising everyone with his violent side, even as it was quickly suppressed under his sleazy dancer persona. And now, all of a sudden, Fandango is in a hot feud and is having his debut match at the biggest show of the year, and more and more he looks like a potential break out star.
How's that for making the best of a bad situation?
This match is interesting, because it's our first time getting to see the Fandango gimmick really in action. My scouting report on Johnny Curtis from his NXT days basically said that he was brilliant in backstage segments and promos, (which has proven to be true,) but that he was very much an unfinished product as a wrestler. Indeed, everything in this match that didn't involve physical contact hit the nail straight on the head. Fandango's facial reactions were delightful, and his entrance was somehow the best on the whole show.
But in the ring, things seem slightly...off. Fandango bumped around for Jericho as best as he could, in a way that shows you what Dolph Ziggler's selling looks like when done by someone without his physical gifts. Fandango's offense, such as it was, tended to be either forgettable or even more forgettable, except for that leg drop off the top rope which is absolutely gorgeous. So the match goes on and does it's thing, and then Jericho lands wrong off of a Lionsault miss, and the ending quickly falls apart from there. Jericho seemingly couldn't support himself on one of his legs while trying to do the Walls of Jericho, so we get Fandango winning with a small package so sloppy it would make Lou Thesz rise from the grave to slap everyone involved.
This match is a weird situation where it isn't good by any stretch, but it was UNDERSTANDABLY mediocre. Jericho gets hurt, Fandango is in his debut, and they do the best that they can. And therein lies the trouble with debuting a guy at Wrestlemania. Sometimes they look great, like Big E. Sometimes they look bad, like Fandango. And you can't take back a first impression in front of the largest paying audience of the year.
But knowing Fandango, he'll find a way to turn even this into gold.
63 out of 100
Vice: I'm very mixed about this match.
I like that they have a young new talent that they are giving a big push to, because WWE really needs some new stars and prospects once all the part-timers go away for good. And they need to freshen up the product a lot more. But giving a young dude his very first WWE match ever (at least with this gimmick) at Wrestlemania, and going over Jericho, is quite a big thing.
To be as blunt as possible, I expected a lot more. When you give a young dude such a crazy opportunity, I'd expect a better match. He's in there with Jericho, a veteran who can have a good match with pretty much anyone, and I found it quite boring. I really wanted to like it, because I've heard great things about Curtis, but I couldn't help but think "really?" throughout the match. It wasn't BAD, but by the time it ended I really wasn't impressed with Fandango in the ring. What's it going to be like when he has someone who isn't as adaptable and capable of carrying as Jericho? He still has a lot of potential, of course, but this soured me on him a bit. When it comes to Jericho, are they ever going to let him actually win? The harder someone is to beat, the more meaningful it is when someone beats them. Jericho always loses. Unless Jericho gets some wins, beating him doesn't really mean THAT much. I feel like I could beat Jericho at this point. And I don't feel like it'd mean very much, either.
Also, the thing that fucked me off the most..
So, his entire gimmick thus far is basically that he will not compete unless his name is announced correctly. FAAAAAAAAAHHHHNNNNNN.. DAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHNNNNNNNN... GOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHH. I even saw a video of him doing some radio show appearance, and he kept his gimmick there for the most part. He was coaching the radio hosts on how to say his name properly, and didn't want to actually join the radio show like he was supposed to because they couldn't get his name right. So this dude's gimmick basically entirely revolves around his name being pronounced correctly. Here he is at Wrestlemania. 80,000 people. Biggest show of them all. Has quite a grand entrance.
...and Lillian Garcia casually announces his name as he is walking to the ring, and Fandango isn't even phased in the slightest.
Seriously, did I miss something here?
Mama Cewsh Says:
Speculations About Fandango:
- "Maybe Fandango ate yo' baby!"
Cewsh: It is at this point in the show that the lights go out and a long video showing the history of Wrestlemania plays. Then, as it concludes, out from the ground rises a man surrounded by billowing smoke and blinding light, like a great leviathan rising from the sea. This seeming deity rises to us laden with gold and silver and encompassed in a cacophony of light and sound to stir the most stony heart. He reaches up, seeming the feel the pulse of the sea of humanity that surrounds them, and opens his mouth to begin.
Unfortunately, at this point the spectacle there has to be an actual musical performance and the best thing that I can say about that is that it is blessedly short. It doesn't appear to actually infuriate the fans in attendance, so it's pretty much the best musical performance in Wrestlemania history. Hell, if it didn't actually ruin a highly anticipated part of the show, then it's about 80,000 notches ahead of Kid Rock. Not that "better than Kid Rock" is something P. Diddy will be putting on his resume any time soon.
Cewsh: Look, I really don't want to talk about this feud. In order to portray Jack Swagger as a legit title contender to Alberto Del Rio, they turned him into a halfhearted racist with a great manager who is wasted on him, and had him beat no one of significance for a month. It's like if you wanted a promotion at work, and you went about it by doing less work than before, while joining your boss's softball league. It's miserably cheap heat, it didn't add to the match or the feud, and if you don't do anything to change the fact that you were a mediocre employee to begin with, everyone is going to see through your shit.
But let's not let that detract from the real story here. Which is the fact that Alberto Del Rio is fucking awesome and is fighting valiantly to make us care about this. He firing up the crowd, he's bumping for his life, he's developing signature spots that are getting better every match. All in all, he is working overtime to try to salvage a waste of your time here, and he allllllllmost manages it. But ultimately, there are only 3 important things that you need to know about this match.
1. Del Rio wins.
2. Swagger murders his leg in the process, (that'll come up on Raw the next day.)
3. When Swagger loses, Zeb Coulter makes the greatest foiled supervillain face of all time.
78 out of 100
Vice: The world heavyweight championship match is the fifth match! It's almost a credible title now!
It's just a shame that the challenger, Jack Swagger, didn't even get a fucking entrance. When the video package was over, it just cut to Swagger and Colter in the ring. It looked like they came out in a cool little cart thing together, but I didn't see it. I also hope that Colter was driving.
This wasn't an exceptional match, but it was fairly solid. Kind of boring. I liked some of the reversals and transitions, and overall I COULD buy into Jack Swagger being a top guy if they spent more time building him up. It's fantastic that they have given him such an absurd man for a mouthpiece. I don't like how racist the character is, though. Yeah yeah yeah he's a heel, he's supposed to be hated. But half the country will think this man is a god among peons. And I find that embarrassing. It's wrestling, though, so angles like this are unavoidable, and they do get a decent amount of heat. Zeb is damn great at it, too. Plus it keeps Swagger from feuding with the letter S.
Also it is strange that this is all because of a feud with Del Rio. He is not some freeloading Mexican or anything. His whole character is that he is basically Mexican royalty, wealthy as fuck, made a name for himself in Mexico, legally here in America, and is actually helping America's stature by being in this country. But I guess Del Rio is fighting for his Mexican buddies. Or something.
Anyway, ZIGGLER CASHES IN HIS CONTRACT AND HOLY SHIT WHAT A WRESTLEMANIA MO--
Mama Cewsh Says:
On Alberto Del Rio:
"He's Cute! Like Adam West Batman!"
On Jack Swagger's Likability:
"Jack Swagger needs to be flushed. A plunger may be required."
Cewsh: So here we are. For years now, the internet has been flooded with people begging and pleading on their hands and knees for this match. Whether it made sense or not, the people asked for it again and again. Their desire for this match eschewed storyline concerns, health concerns, and just about everything else too. Everyone with a keyboard wanted this match inside of them, and they weren't prepared to take no for an answer. And by god, here we are.
Now, before we get to the match, let's peel away at the storyline that brought us here. After losing his championship rematch to the Rock, and after finally being defeated by John Cena, in one of the matches of the young year, CM Punk needed something big to get his momentum going back in the right direction. And because Punk is Punk, he decided that what he really wanted was to beat the Undertaker at Wrestlemania just to make everyone mad and prove to us all that he could. For some reason a fatal four way happened to determine who would face the Undertaker, and Punk cheated his way to victory, and thus the match was on.
Then, sadly, the great Paul Bearer passed away. The timing couldn't have been more fortuitous for this feud, (depending on who you ask,) as they farmed the grief over Bearer's death immensely to tell a story of CM Punk getting inside of the Undertaker's head, as Taker struggled to cope with the anger and grief of his father's passing. This involved Punk taking a bath in what was clearly intended to be Paul Bearer's ashes at one point so....yeah. It got kind of intense. As a result, Taker is out for blood here, while Punk is simply out to rob Taker of the thing he holds dearest, his Streak. Punk will take a count out, a DQ, a pinfall or a submission, and with the Undertaker in the most volatile and vulnerable state we've ever seen him in, he just might get it.
And then we come to now. As usual, WWE kills it with the entrances for the Undertaker's match, having Living Colour play CM Punk's theme live, and also having the Undertaker appear to rise out of a pit of zombies from the depths of hell. The entrances are utterly different, and utterly awesome, and actually represent the performers themselves in that way.
Both men get into the ring, the crowd buzzes anxiously, and we get underway. Now, remember what I told you about Punk's plan here. He really doesn't care HOW he beats the Undertaker. All that matters to him is that he ruins this proud tradition for everyone like the King of Trolls that he is. So in the early going, he does everything he possibly can to antagonize the legend in the ring with him. He ducks and dodges him, he slaps him in the face, he introduces him to his boot, and he even flails around like a sissy for no reason.
Inevitably, the Undertaker catches him, because that's what the Undertaker does, and administers some fist related justice. Punk somehow Punk just keeps getting one step ahead of him. Punk has shown himself to me a master of counters and reversals in his recent main event matches, and he uses that to full effect here, reversal chokeslams, the Hells Gate, and even Old School. The Undertaker has faced squirrely opponents like this before, most notably Shawn Michaels, but somehow this time seems different. Punk just won't let up with a combination of agility, counter wrestling and dickishness that Taker has never seen the like of, and before long, Taker starts to wear down from all of the abuse.
Finally, CM Punk locks the Undertaker in the Anaconda Vise, and the Undertaker visibly starts to fade. And maybe, just maybe, it begins to creep into your mind that the Undertaker might not be able to win this one. Just maybe CM Punk just seems too young, too fast and too smart for the Undertaker to overcome in his twilight years. Just maybe we're about to see the most significant statistic in professional wrestling vanish before our eyes as the Undertaker slowly sinks to the mat.
The Undertaker gives CM Punk the mother of all terrifying looks, and from there it's full on Bombs Over Baghdad. Taker drops Punk with a Tombstone, Punk kicks out. Punk hits the Undertaker with the urn and does the full on Undertaker pin with the tongue out, Taker kicks out. Chokeslams and Go 2 Sleeps and everything else swirls around in a wonderful tornado of badass until finally the Undertaker will brook no further foolishness, and Tombstones CM Punk all the way the Hell, Michigan. 1...2...3.
21-0. The Streak lives.
It's funny to give a match a score this high and feel like I have to defend why it isn't higher. Make no mistake, this was a great, great match. It absolutely earns it's place right alongside the amazing run of matches that have made up the last 5 Wrestlemanias for the Undertaker. A run that may be the finest streak of matches anywhere in wrestling history. There are actually only two things that keep this from sharing the same rarefied air that the Michaels and Triple H matches live in. The first is the fact that that whole "I'll take a win any way I can get it" thing was pretty much completely dropped altogether 5 minutes into the match. That's an element that could have really made this match stand out from the others, instead of making it suffer from comparison. And the second is that this storyline, while they tried valiantly, just didn't invest me in the winner of this match like those others did. When you get up to the mid 90s, you have to split hairs and compare this match to what has come before, and it just wasn't as special as those were.
BUT, this match still rocked my socks straight off. Those criticisms are small pebbles in front of a mountain of guitar soloing awesomeness. The smarks finally got their match, and wouldn't you know it, they were right all along. And since now they seem to be calling for Cena to be next, who knows? They might get their wish again.
94 out of 100
Cewsh's Seal of Approval
Vice: I really, really, really, REALLY, REAAAAAAAAALLY wish this feud had started in a better way. Seriously, a fatal fourway for the right to face Undertaker at WrestleMania, which then turns into this crazy personal feud immediately after? I could think of 10 other ways of starting the feud that would be better. As for the feud itself, I had heard lots about it, but didn't know the exact details of what went on. I kept myself fairly in the dark about it all because I felt really weird about it. Like, Paul Bearer legitimately died. I know his sons signed off on WWE doing this stuff because they think Paul would have loved it, but, that doesn't mean I have to be into everything and enjoying it. Sometimes when people die, you just have to let them be dead. If Bearer finally died for real in WWE-land, with William Moody still being alive, and they did this feud, it'd probably be really cool. But like.. the dude is dead. Like actually dead. I'm not offended by it or anything, but I just find it unsettling enough to not go out of my way to watch it unfold.
I loved Punk getting pumped up waiting for Undertaker to come out. Flapping his arms demanding he come out, and then screaming with joy the second the gong went off. After so many years of people peeing themselves when Undertaker comes out, it's great to see Punk not only completely unafraid, but practically foaming at the mouth in anticipation. It's great, and all the more reason to hate that this all started due to him winning a random fourway to challenge him.
Undertaker's entrance was brilliant. Coming up from below with all the ZOMBIES and shit was such a phenomenal visual. I actually thought it was kind of spooky. I would have loved it if Paul Heyman chucked the urn at Undertaker's face when he had his eyes rolled back. Because hey, the bell hasn't rung yet. Fair game.
Like the last few years, Undertaker's match is the best of the bunch by a fair margin. This was a really good match. I would have liked to see CM Punk get a bit more aggressive and dickish to try and get the DQ, but he did well enough I suppose. There was a lot of great character work in this match, especially with Punk. He looked like he was having so much fun. Him doing the throat slice gesture with his tongue out and crazy eyes was so comically brilliant that I almost got taken completely out of the match laughing. The anaconda vise spot was really great with the facial expressions of both of them once Taker sat up, and stared Punk down. Tons of perfect facial expressions all around.
I liked that Punk only kicked out of one Tombstone, and overall there weren't a ton of finishers. Michaels and Triple H kicked out of a ton of them over the past 4 years, with each year more and more seemingly being kicked out of. So, I was kind of afraid that Punk would kick out of just as many, if not more. Yeah you need drama, but Punk shouldn't be taking more of a beating than those two. While a lack of finishers could have contributed to it, I never thought Punk was going to win the match. Not for a second. The past 3 streak matches have all done an astonishing job of making your heart skip a beat, and causing you to stop breathing until Undertaker kicked out. The spots were built THAT well. This match wasn't built nearly as well.
..which I'm kind of mixed about. On one hand, the match wasn't as good as it could have been. On the other hand, it makes sense for Punk to go down easier. So, I can't be too mad about it. Though as much as I fucking love The Undertaker at this point, I actually kind of wish he retired last year. That concluded a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge storyline that spanned many many years, going all the way back to Michaels/Flair. And now that it's over, part of me is just kinda eh about him wrestling random opponents now. Plus 20-0 is cooler than 21-0 or anything else up to 25-0, which Taker will never reach. He kinda has to face Cena next year though. Could easily be the most emotional, edge-of-your-seat matches ever. You have one of the most beloved, respected wrestlers ever in The Undertaker, with the most prestigious thing in wrestling, the WrestleMania streak, up against one of the most hated wrestlers, by a huge chunk of the internet, in John Cena. And knowing how WWE handles John Cena, it actually wouldn't shock me if he ended the streak. So it'd definitely be a spectacle of a match, and the crowd would be MENTAL.
Anyway, I think now that CM Punk needs something new to do, his next feud should be with the Spanish announce table. I swear he's like 0-10 with that thing.
Mama Cewsh Says:
On CM Punk:
- "Look at him. He crosses his legs like a little bitch. He's bad news."
Cewsh: Undertaker - Submission (+5)
Cewsh: Of all of the matches on this card, this is probably the one that has caught the most flack from fans for taking place. "OH TRIPLE H JUST WANTS TO GET HIS WIN BACK" they might be saying, or "WE ALREADY SAW THIS MATCH" or some variation on those. And if you come into this match feeling that way, then that's a shame, because the story here is one of the most interesting on the show.
Let's go back to last year. The running storyline through the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 was about how Triple H had been forced to take over the reigns of WWE from Vince McMahon, and how he struggled with the responsibility and having to force his old "punch everyone in the face" instincts down for the good of the company. Eventually everything went to hell for him and John Laurenitus was installed as his temporary replacement. Well then the dreaded Brockle Snar returned to WWE, and made it clear that he wanted special treatment or he'd leave just like he did before. Laurenitus bent over backwards to give it to him, only to be overruled when Triple H returned and told Lesnar to go fuck himself and his demands. Lesnar doesn't really deal with rejection particularly well, and promptly jumped Triple H and broke his arm, much to the dismay of his manager, Paul Heyman.
Fast forward a few weeks and Triple H came storming back and wanted a fight with Lesnar. He was grateful to cast off his role as an executive and get back in the ring where he belonged, but he was way, way, way over his head. During the run up to the match, Lesnar broke Shawn Michaels' arm just to prove a point and threatened to do the same to Stephanie. So yeah, things got personal. Then they finally met in the ring at Summerslam, and, to put it lightly, Brock Lesnar fucked Triple H's shit all the way up. He left one of the greatest superstars in WWE history in a broken heap in the ring, crying and apologizing to the fans for not being the man he once was and failing to stop the menace. Both Lesnar and Triple H disappeared for awhile after that, as Heyman concentrated mostly on managing CM Punk. But when Vince McMahon challeneged Paul Heyman to a match to punish him for using the Shield to protect Punk's title, Lesnar reappeared. And he was angry. In one fell swoop, Lesnar broke the hip of the most powerful man in wrestling with a devastating F-5, while Heyman looked on in shock and horror.
Lesnar was riding high then, but little did he know that he had given the directionless Triple H exactly the inspiration he needed to tap into that inner self that had been through so many wars before. Triple H began training like a madman, set solely on the goal of destroying Brock Lesnar. For weeks and weeks he trained silently, waiting for his moment, and then he finally reappeared, attacking Lesnar and turning him into a bloody mess.
Even Lesnar seemed unsure of what to make of this new Triple H, one that could actually stand toe to toe with him. And even though the odds were still stacked heavily in Lesnar's favor, some doubt began to enter the equation. So Heyman and Lesnar agreed to a match to settle the score. But only if it were No Holds Barred, so Lesnar could be free to break any limb he wanted, and only if Triple H had to retire if he lost. Triple H accepted, and now he's in for the fight of his life, with his best friend Shawn Michaels in his corner, against the single most imposing threat that WWE has ever seen. Beat Brock Lesnar, or retire forever. The only way out is through.
You can feel the desperation from that storyline in every minute of this match. They have set up 5 things very definitively coming in.
1. Brock Lesnar is virtually unstoppable by conventional means.
2. Brock Lesnar underestimates his opponents and likes to toy with them.
3. The Kimura Lock is devastating and breaks arms.
4. Triple H will go to any lengths to win.
5. Shawn Michaels is there to help.
Those are the 5 key points of this feud that they have established. And all 5 of them play a huge role in this match.
Triple H brings the thunder early, knocking Lesnar all over the place and clearly surprising him with the level of aggression. But then, as in all Lesnar matches, eventually Lesnar is just too much to deal with. He's so much faster, stronger and better trained than everyone else that this is inevitable, and he begins a methodical dismantling of Triple H, much to Paul Heyman approval and Shawn Michaels' dismay. At one point Shawn even tries to get involved, only for Lesnar to bash him in the face with an elbow, bloodying Shawn, and then to catch a Sweet Chin Music attempt and promptly F-5 Shawn Michaels into obscurity. I want to make that point clear, so it doesn't get lost. At the mid point of this match, Brock Lesnar is destroying both members of D-Generation X at the same time. Effortlessly. And it is not strange in the slightest. That is how dominant this man is.
But then point 2. rears it's ugly head, and Lesnar decides to play with his food. He bats Triple H around like an oversized chew toy, and then brings in the ring steps, because he likes to play with those, even if they often prove to be his undoing, (See: vs. John Cena - Extreme Rules 2012.) He messes about with Triple H some more and then starts going for the Kimura. Triple H knows full well at this point that he is beyond fucked until he figures a way out of this. He somehow escapes, and manages to turn this match into a hardcore brawl, the one way he has the advantage. He brings out Sledgy and bashes Lesnar in the face with it, and hits him with a Pedigree, but this just seems to daze the dreaded Brockle Snar. But then Triple H gets an idea.
Triple H locks in a Kimura of his own, and for the first time in the match, Lesnar seems insure of what to do. The old man is actually hurting him! A lot!
Seeing the danger here, Heyman comes running in to help, but then Shawn Michaels makes his grand return to the stage, obliterating Heyman with a triumphant Sweet Chin Music.
And that leaves Lesnar all alone in the Kimura. He slams Triple H on the stairs to break it once, twice, but always Triple H locks it back in. And then finally Triple H weakens the monster enough to dust him off with a huge Pedigree on the steps. Triple H saves his career and gets his revenge. And all is well with the world.
There were a LOT of factors working against this match. Not only did they have to follow Undertaker/CM Punk and deal with a lot of apathy towards their feud, but apparently Triple H sustained 2nd Degree burns from dry ice during his entrance and Lesnar was concussed in the first 5 minutes of the match. And despite all of that, this match was an incredibly pleasant surprise. They took things slow, allowing the crowd to come back to life on their own, and the finishing sequence was absolutely perfect revenge for the babyface. And while I know that people, (Vice,) grumble about Lesnar never winning, which is something I agree with, this was the way that this story needed to be. The hero is defeated, regroups, and defeats the villain. It's the most classic story there is, and it worked wonderfully here. Too often we all get caught up in who needs to get pushed or how they need to get pushed or who needs to beat who. Because ultimately, this is a story that they're telling. And the hero needs to win.
So yeah. Basically, haters to the left.
90 out of 100
Cewsh's Seal of Approval
Vice: It'd really help Lesnar if he'd win more matches. While he murdered Cena in his first match back, he really should have won it. Or at least lost in a less definitive, deflating way. Yeah he beat Triple H the first time around, but the story could have easily just ended there. Did anybody really give a shit about this rematch? It wasn't needed at all. Worse, Triple H really didn't need to get the win back.
The first half of the match was actually really fun. Brock was an animal, and I actually enjoyed what Triple H was doing. But then it slowed down a lot, and Triple H just definitely beat Lesnar, just about as convincingly as possible in such an environment. Speaking of environments, why the hell is Brock losing no DQ matches, while his only win is in a normal match? That is the exact opposite of how I'd book things. Yeah, you could argue that he loses no DQ matches because his opponents can bonk him to death with metal objects, but he should be killing them first. He can lose normal matches because he gets sidetracked trying to stay within the rules, gets frustrated with the ref interrupting his killing, the ability to get counted out, and ye ol' roll-ups that can help someone squeak by.
I feel bad that this match had to follow Undertaker's, because the fans were totally exhausted from that.
Shawn Michaels may also have the worst fashion sense in the history of the world. That man wears some of the dumbest outfits I've ever seen. Well, that may be harsh. He wears stuff that makes him look like a tremendous idiot.
If Brock is going to have a big match at next year's Wrestlemania, the dude needs to start winning some matches.
Cewsh: Twice in a lifetime.
That's the joke you've heard over and over for the past few months, right? Sometimes said bitterly, sometimes said mockingly, but repeated again and again. Last year they promised us a Once in a Lifetime match between Rock and Cena, and now we're getting it again. But let's take a look at how the story has brought us here.
Way back in the ancient year 2011, the Rock returned to the WWE. It was an incredible moment of catharsis and reunion for both Rock and his millions, and things quickly turned to business when Rock called out John Cena for disparaging comments that Cena had made about him. Things escalated from there as you well know. Rock ultimately cost Cena the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania that year, and then the feud was on in earnest. For one year they made us wait. The gave us the date and the time and teased us with sprinkles of feud here and there, until Survivor Series, where Rock and Cena teamed up against Miz and R-Truth. And this is where the pattern became clear. Whenever the Rock and John Cena came together, sparks flew, but always the crowds took Rock's side, and always the Rock shined just a little bit brighter.
By the time Wrestlemania came around, the fun and games were over. The Rock stepped into the ring to have his first singles match in 9 years, and he defeated John Cena fair and square in the middle of the ring. In a moment that would be reshown again and again, Cena sat dejected on the ramp, watching the Rock celebrate as Wrestlemania ended, as Cena had himself so many times before.
In fact, until that moment, Cena had never lost a Wrestlemania main event clean before. For the next year that loss haunted him, as he struggled to figure out what to do if he wasn't the best anymore. That confusion cost him title match after title match as he failed again and again to beat his nemesis CM Punk, and it nearly cost him his career in a barbaric match against Brock Lesnar. He lost PPV matches to Dolph Ziggler, CM Punk and John Laurenitus, and was as far from the top star in the company as he had been since his debut in the company nearly a decade before.
And then on one night, a path to redemption opened for John Cena. On the same night that the Rock returned in spectacular fashion and won the WWE title from CM Punk, doing the very thing that Cena himself could not time and time again on his first try, Cena won the Royal Rumble, granting him a title shot at Wrestlemania. And for a moment, real doubt came to Cena. He had a real chance to fix everything by winning that precious championship back, but to do it, he'd have to beat the Rock. He gave the challenge, and the match was set. What was once Once in a Lifetime, had now become twice as their paths intertwined once again. But with so much on the line, this time Cena had no jokes to tell or raps to do. With an uncommonly aggressive demeanor, he told the Rock that he would take his belt back, and there was nothing he could do to stop it. Redemption or bust. And all the Rock ever needed to say in response was a simple "I know I can beat you. You don't know if you can beat me."
Obviously, the intrigue behind this match among many fans centered around the question of whether or not John Cena would turn heel here. It's something that has entranced us all at one point, and indeed, all signs did appear to be pointing in that direction coming in. But both men arrived with their usual entrances, they did their usual poses, and then they got down to work. The opening minutes of the match actually involved tons of chain wrestling, and counters between the two, as they showed a tremendous familiarity with each other. After all, this was not a feud about anyone kicking anyone's ass, not really. John Cena wanted the respect that came with beating the Rock fair and square and the Rock wanted to prove once and for all that he was the best there is or was. So the match became a rapid fire succession of counters, reversals, hoodwinks, and popadoodles. It was somewhat surreal to see these two wrestlers, who have both often been buried by fans for their lack of wrestling ability, turning in a smooth and interesting mat wrestling match. But it served to illustrate exactly how evenly matched these two icons really are.
Then the bombs start dropping. This match may have contained more Rock Bottom and Attitude Adjustment attempts than any other in each man's career, and it vividly recalled the Wrestlemania 17 match with Steve Austin, where each man knew the other so well that finishers almost became meaningless. But after numerous fakeouts, John Cena finally managed to catch the Rock with a climactic Attitude Adjustment and win the match, the title, and his redemption all in one go.
And as they stood in the ring together, they shook hands, and the Rock passed the torch definitively to Cena once and for all.
Now, I've seen all the negative things that are being said about this match and this feud all over the internet, and there are a lot of good points being made. The finisher sequence at the end went on too long and the implied heel turn never came. But there were a lot of incredible things about this match. First off, the idea that the Rock worked the whole thing with an ab muscle torn off the bone is gruesome and insane, and I had absolutely no idea. A huge credit to the man. But my favorite thing here was the way that this match built so clearly on the one that preceded it.
In the lead up to the match, Cena said that the reason he lost last year was because he beat himself by trying to show Rock up by doing the People's Elbow. And in doing so, Rock caught him with the Rock Bottom that ended the match. There are not one but TWO call backs to that moments here.
First, where the Rock goes for the 5 Knuckle Shuffle and gets AA'd for a fantastic nearfall.
And then when Cena goes for the People's Elbow again, only to hang back knowingly and tell the Rock "You Can't See Me", before initiating the sequence of moves that would win him the match.
The idea that Cena studied his loss and found the key to victory from it really takes this match to another level for me. And ultimately, it was a spectacle that brought two icons together who duked it out satisfactorily. It won't win any awards, and it doesn't have to. It was simply a Wrestlemania main event that didn't let me down.
86 out of 100
Cewsh's Seal of Approval
Vice: The commentary of the main event was them all saying that this Cena was the best Cena. He is better than the Cena that faced The Rock last year. That the past year has been a year of focus and determination. But the entire match is based around how Cena has had a shit year ever since losing to The Rock, and now he is desperately trying to overcome all odds, adversity, and his own downward spiral so that he doesn't end up killing himself because he'll never realize his dream of being a real WWE superstar.
I loved that there were no over the top crazy entrances for either man. I know that WrestleMania is a spectacle show, especially in stadiums, and Vince loves everything being larger than life, but lordy some of the entrances have been stupid over the years. So this was refreshing. Though part of me is curious if they actually had crazy entrances, but had to be cut since they were running low on time. Whatever. Either way, I enjoyed it.
The match is very.. interesting. The first once in a lifetime match was hampered by Rock being extremely out of ring shape, and being totally gassed within about 8 minutes. The match was worked well enough around this, but it was still definitely bogged down by it. Now that it's twice in a lifetime and Rock has had a few more matches to get in better shape, I thought he was a lot better on the cardio side of things. I thought the first part of the match was a lot better this time around, and there were a lot of really cool little sequences throughout, but the flow just disappeared halfway through. Completely.
I swear the last half of the match consisted of fun 20 second sequence, followed by someone hitting a finisher, the other person kicking out of said finisher, followed by a minute of recovery.. then repeat like 10 times. And one of the things that really took me out of the match was both guys, especially Cena, kicking out at like 2.25. There were a few times where if they had kicked out at 2.99, my mind could have been totally blown with the drama. Outside of the finish, which actually felt very underwhelming to me, there were two spots where I immediately thought "oh shit, this could actually be the finish", but the suspense wasn't there at all when it came to the pins. Don't kick out as the ref is raising his arm for the 3 count. Stuff like that just really deflates me.
They were spending so much time concentrating on Cena's inner struggles and how he needed to win this match more than anything in his life, but I never got any real sense of desperation from him. Sure he got frustrated when he couldn't get the 3 count, but he was supposed to be fighting for his life. I never saw that from him. Even a tease of him THINKING about putting his feet on the ropes would be great. Catching Rock off guard with a roll-up, maybe even with a handful of tights, would have added so much to the match, Cena's character, and the feud.
I'm going to say this now: I did not expect Cena to turn heel. I did not think he would turn heel. But if he were to turn, this would have been the time. They could have done something very interesting here with what they were building up, but I lightheartedly talked about how it was going to end with a typical Cena victory, a handshake, a hug, and the torch officially being passed to Cena.. while secretly hoping that something remotely interesting would happen. Anything but that scenario would have been better. Anything.
His first world title win was in 2005, and he's been going strong ever since.
He has been the world champion for over 3 years when his reigns are combined. He has held the WWE championship longer that everyone in this generation. The only people who have held it longer are Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, and Bob Backlund. The Rock's 8 reigns, combined (and including this last one), lasted just mere days over one year.
John Cena has not only been on top longer than Rock's entire active career in WWE, but he has been
BOOED as the top guy for longer than Rock's entire active career in WWE.
This is the man WWE had The Rock pass the torch to.
The main event of Wrestlemania has revolved around Cena and The Rock for the past 3 years, starting with Rock costing Cena the match at Wrestlemania 27, then two main event matches with each other.. so that underdog John Cena could triumphantly battle against all odds and finally get the big win he needed to prove that he will have a bright future in WWE one day. What an utterly fantastic moment it was.
...and by "fantastic moment", I mean fuck this shit.
Mama Cewsh Says:
On The Rock:
- "I wish once in my life I could get into bed with a man like that. I'm not talking any death do us part shit."
- "I wouldn't even know what to do with it all. There's so much there that a dick wouldn't even be required."
- "I bet you even his feet are hot."
- "Dat ass."
Cewsh: I liked this show, I really did. Judging from the responses I've seen to it, I may be among the more positive voices regarding it that you're likely to find. The top 3 matches all delivered, and by the end of the night I was entirely satisfied with what I had paid money to see. There were issues all over the place, absolutely, and things unfolded in a predictable manner for sure. But you know, it gets tiring trying to outrun the storylines and waiting to be surprised all the time. This is one of those shows that just made me happy to be watching it. And I've really never wanted anything more than that.
Cewsh: ...god dammit.
Well that'll do it for us this time, boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed sharing the climax of the wrestling year with us. And while in years past, we've taken some time off after Wrestlemania, this year we're only just getting started. For next week we will just be reviewing the other thing that happened on this one jam packed weekend, as we look forward to bringing you New Japan's Invasion 2013, (which features a match that Defrost called "the greatest match that I have ever seen". But first we're backing up and bringing the thunder with the promised review of WWE Wrestlemania XXVII. How will this Wrestlemania stack up against what many consider to be the greatest of all time? You may be surprised. But until then, remember to keep reading and be good to one another.
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