NOTE: Timmy was lucky enough to attend the event, and has provided feedback “live from the nose bleeds.” We decided to combine our reviews to give readers the difference in perspectives from being at an event live compared to watching at home. His live fan reaction/s are in bold.
It was one of the best events I have ever been to, from Rock Concerts, to NLCS games, I can honestly say, without a doubt, Wrestlemania 28 was one hell of an event to be there live, from opening to closing, the crowd was beyond vocal, and the matches that did happen had a high level of intensity to them, that overall it was an instant classic. From the goofy skits, to the epic matches, Wrestlemania delivered on all fronts, and I was there, LIVE, as it all unfolded, Live from the nose bleeds, this is my wrestlemania experience.
This won’t be my standard article style, where I would go into detail on why something was good, bad, or inbetween, This is from a view point of a fan who went ape shit at one of the greatest moments of their life, I was there marking out like a bitch, I can say this without shame, I am not reviewing mania I will be talking mainly about the reactions live I am sorry for the lack of detail of the matches but I will be talking about mania from a live stand point and what the crowd showed.
First View of it all : My overall reaction was Average, While I did like the Giant fake palm trees holding the tent, Ring Tron, and Cell, The lack of a Titan Tron in the shape of a giant pyramid (like the one 2 years ago) was underwhelming, I wanted to see a big ass fancy screen, but got nothing much, however the WWE Did use the Stadium’s own Giant screens to good use. It wasn’t a bad first glance, but I was hoping for a bit more, win some lose some I guess.
DARK MATCH : The crowd was still getting in, while I didn’t hear them, I saw that Striker and Matthews was calling this match for youtube, which did make me glad that striker is getting some desk time again, as for the match, The USOs had some support going into this one, Justin Gabriel had some support, but when the Team of Epico and Primo made their way, the crowd was fully behind them, and let us be honest, it was because of location, but besides that, it was a fair match, had its moments, and the crowd was digging it, those who came early got a good treat.
The Announcers come : The crowd goes all out once they see that the event is starting, but prior to it beginning, the announcers come out, The Spanish Team gets a loud pop, and Cole gets booed instantly, I couldn’t tell you what his theme was, I think it was Frank Sinatra, but he was getting Booed so hard that I couldn’t even tell, Crowd wanted to hang cole up by pitchforks as soon as possible, and then the King, Once he comes out, a standing ovation, some bowing, and a general feeling of good times were finally coming. Lilian Garcia got a standing ovation as well, the Crowd was ready for the event.
The Opening : As the crowd watched the Titan Trons, It was clear that this will be a crowd divided throughout the night. It was a well put together piece, showcasing the matches tonight, mainly focusing on the Rock Vs Cena, and Undertaker Vs Triple H, but overall it got the crowd ready for tonight.
The show of shows opened with a nice rendition of “America the Beautiful” by Lillian Garcia, complete with a F15 flyover. The flyovers always look better with the outdoor stadium shows. Speaking of the stadium, Sun Life looked fantastic! The show began shortly before sundown, so that created a beautiful back scape, not to mention the WrestleMania stage and setup was great, and really complimented Sun Life Stadium. Definitely lands in my top five aesthetically.
On to the first match…
World Heavyweight Championship
Daniel Bryan[c] vs. Sheamus
Not a surprise that the World title bout kicked things off. As the bell rings, AJ Lee gives Bryan a good luck kiss. WHAM! Brogue Kick, one, two, three, and it’s over. Well, that was disappointing. Really a shame too, considering both guys were way over with the live crowd. There were a ton of Bryan fans in attendance, and a plethora of “Yes” signs. So, we could have had a nice match, between two rising young talents, who were over with the crowd, for the World Championship, but instead, WWE wanted to try to break the shortest match record. Which, they failed at; the real record stands at 8 seconds, Chavo Guerrero vs. Kane for the ECW Championship, back in 2008. Don’t let them convince you otherwise.
I would say that it’s unfortunate that Bryan’s first ‘Mania appearance came to this, but there have been others that compare (HHH/Warrior immediately jumps to mind), so I’m not too upset about that. However, if I was Sheamus, I’d be pissed. Regardless of such a horribly booked title victory, I’m still hoping for a long reign for the “Celtic Warrior”. Oh, and you can now follow the newly crowned World champ on Twitter, @WWESheamus.
During the entrances, Sheamus got an instant pop, people were ready for this match, and were a bit puzzled on why this was the opening match, but hey, Edge VS Del Rio opened the show last year, so it wasn’t a big deal. Once Daniel Bryan’s theme hit, The boos came without warning, I was one of the few idiots yelling “YES!” with my finger pointed up, chanting “YES! YES! YES!” alongside the other Danielson fans… Bell rings, Bryan Kisses AJ, Kick to the face, and Done… While there was a fair amount of fans clapping for Sheamus, More fans booed the fact that it was an 18 second match. This note will be brought up later, but needless to say, NOT the best way to start of mania, it dampened the mood faster than what any storm could do.
Kane vs. Randy Orton
“The Devil’s Favorite Demon’s” entrance looked wicked with the flames covering basically all of the stage screens. Seriously, I can’t express how much I loved the setup, enough. Anyway..oh yeah, the match. Well, it was what it was; nothing special. Both guys got in their signature moves, Michael Cole called a bunch of moves incorrectly, just your average match. Wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected it to be. The crowd stayed in it, the pace wasn’t too slow, and compared to the other matches on the card, was a good back and forth contest. Surprisingly, at least to me, Kane picked up the win, with a Choke Slam off the top rope.
Since Kane won here, I’m actually interested as to where both will be going in the coming weeks and months. Specifically, when it comes to who will be the next challenger for Sheamus’ World title.
Orton got a bigger reaction than he deserves, and Kane got little to nothing, Sure there were some Kane fans in the crowd, but we felt outnumbered by the wiggle head army (my term for fans of orton), it was a good solid match, and fans thought it was over at any finisher connected, but overall I would call this the true opening match. As an opening Match, it did its job of trying to divide the crowd, and get them ready for tonight’s events.
Next we’re treated to a backstage skit involving Santino, Mick Foley, and one of the captains from the “Deadliest Catch” show. Jokes and references about fishing and pirates are made throughout. The captain asks Santino and Mick if they know how to crack open crab legs, and Santino answers that they have their own special method. Out comes the cobra and Mr. Socko, hitting the plates. 2012 Hall of Fame inductee Ron Simmons appears in the background, and spouts out his signature “DAMN!” line.
ARRGH, this was stupid, and truly annoying when you realize time was cut from other, important matters, like the World Championship match, to make way for this promotion.
I don’t remember when this segment happened, but I think it was after this match, the segment with Santino, Foley, and Some fisherman from Deadliest Catch, and while it did get a few chuckles here and there, it was when Ron Simmons came out, that people loved it, “DAMN” was being yelled at every section. It got a good reaction, and if it did take place after the Terrible opening match, it did its job of reviving the crowd for a bit.
Cody Rhodes[c] vs. Big Show
Cody came out rocking a very cool Assassin’s Creed-esque robe. The story being told in the match was clearly focused on Big Show’s strength (as it normally is in his matches). He dominated the beginning of the match, until Cody was able to use his speed to escape the big man’s clutches. The defending champion targeted Big Show’s legs, in the cliche “take the giant off his feet” story. Show pretty much no-sold all of that. Cody was able to hit one Disaster Kick, but that only dazed the challenger. When he went to hit the move again, Big Show caught him in mid-air with a low spear. Big Show hit him with the WMD, and after 233 days, we have a new Intercontinental Champion.
Even though I feel much more could have been done, I quite liked the build to the match. That being said, I was looking forward to seeing what these two could do in the ring against one another. Sadly, it wasn’t much, just another average match, that wasn’t what I call WrestleMania worthy.
I’ve already heard some fans wondering if this is Rhodes dropping the Intercontinental Championship, to go after the World title, which is the only way I would be ok with him losing it to the Big Show. We shall see.
Fans loved the opening segment showcasing all of Bigshow’s “Best” Wrestlemania moments, while many bigshow fans were the same ones laughing, when his music hit, People were indeed vocal with their support. As the match began, it was interesting to see cody take an early domination and progress from there, multiple kicks to the head, and trying to keep show down, I felt that cody earned a big name win at mania, but when it was all said and done, Bigshow won, and the crowd (even Rhode’s fans) gave credit where credit was do, no one booed the big man this year as he took his victory, and more importantly first real victory at Mania in years.
Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounous vs. Beth Phoenix and Eve
Right off let me tell you how much I hate it when celebrities, particularly D-list ones at that, come in, and steals a more deserving talent’s spot, all in the name of publicity, that more often than not, amounts to nothing. You can imagine how I felt when I found out about Maria Menounous participating in the Diva’s match at WrestleMania this year. We could have had Beth Phoenix vs. Natalya!
After hearing about Maria breaking her ribs, I had hope. Maybe it’s not too late to get a real match, or at least one celebrity free. Much to the chagrin of fans around the World, this turned out to not be the case. However, I’m forced to give Menounous props for her perseverance. Most celebrities would be sidelined for weeks or months from a similar injury, and wouldn’t even consider stepping foot inside the squared circle. Yet, not only did she go ahead with the match, she actually did something in the match, and is probably just as good as her partner. She’s also an impressive seller…or maybe that was legit.
Am I upset that the Diva’s champion took the pin? You bet I am. Was it a good match? Hell no, but it certainly is not the worst I’ve seen. Can Kelly Kelly run the ropes yet? Nope.
The audience went dead here. No one was interested in what would happen here, and some of the comments in my area showed that. Infact the only time the crowd was vocal about the match was a series of “Daniel Bryan” Chants. Don’t know how well the TV audience heard it, but it was there, and while the match wasn’t bad, it should have been sooner. This was a momentum killer.
JR Coming out : A clear sign for the end of an era match, but not only a standing ovation, but bowing, Everyone from what I could see, myself included stood up and bowed for JR, as soon as we heard the classic drums of his theme, no one was sitting for this one, they knew that something great was about to come up. GOOD OL JR. It is a shame that I didn’t hear him, but considering I didn’t hear Cole for the entire night, no big loss.
“End of an Era” Hell in a Cell
Triple H vs. The Undertaker, w/ Shawn Michaels as Special Guest Referee
Even though I’m one of the few who didn’t enjoy their WrestleMania 27 bout, and am in the minority of those who vehemently dislike “The Deadman,” the build up hooked me in on the Road to WrestleMania, and this was without a doubt, the match I was most excited for at WrestleMania 28. I don’t know how they do it. Every year, though I know The Undertaker is going to win, they somehow get a small sliver of me to doubt that.
JR came out first to call the match, followed by the special referee, “Mr. WrestleMania” Shawn Michaels.
Both Triple H’s and Undertaker’s entrances were stunning visuals, and a gasp was let out from the crowd when Taker removed his hood, revealing his shaved head, as a bolt of lightening crashed. The best image, up to this point, in my opinion, though, was the Cell’s entrance (see picture).
The match itself was not so extravagant. Not that it should have been “extravagant”; perhaps that’s the wrong adjective to use here. What I mean to say, is that it wasn’t a four or five star match that many fans are heralding it as.What it was, was a hard-fought brawl. The storytelling, is what made this the match of the night.
Undertaker took the upper hand earlier, and the match became a one-sided affair for awhile. They tossed one another into the cage a couple of times, and that’s pretty much the only action the Cell saw.
HHH finally took control of the match, after escaping from the Hell’s Gate, via lifting Taker and slamming him down. Great storytelling with that, as he had tried to do that last year, but was unable. He then proceeded to hit Taker with a chair for five minutes. Michaels began to beg him to stop, only to be shoved aside. Shawn continuously asked Undertaker if he wanted the match stopped, but Taker refused. When the chair seemed to not be enough, “The Game” brought out his trusty sledgehammer. He went to bash”The Deadman’s” skull in, but Shawn stopped him. Shawn tried telling HHH that he knows Undertaker won’t give up, only to be told to stop the match, or he’ll finish it. Pretty much the role HBK played the entire time.
Eventually, Undertaker fought back, and the match became much more back-and-forth for awhile. Numerous false finishes and near falls, including one Sweet Chin Music/Pedigree combination, kept everyone watching on the edge of their seat. The crowd was going absolutely crazy! After the back-and-forth exchange, HHH goes for the sledgehammer again, only for Taker to put his foot on it, and lay into him with a chair multiple times. The end finally comes, when Undertaker hits the Tombstone Piledriver for the one, two, three.
Shawn helps Taker stand, and raises his hand in victory. After the regular Taker posing, he and Shawn help HHH up, and carry him up the stage. In the show stealing moment, and one which will endure lifetimes, all three men look on at the crowd, before embracing one another and walking to the back.
I am biased here, But MATCH OF THE FUCKING NIGHT. The people Lost their fucking mind throughout the entire part, from HBK coming out, to the hug afterwards, I Honestly don’t even remember sitting down for a second for this match. Amazing pops for both Taker and Triple H, as each entrance was the flashiest of the night, fireworks blasting everywhere, this match alone from intro to end, was a fucking show. Every twist turn or event actually led people to think that Triple H might win this, from the multiple Chair shots, to the constant grabbing of the sledge hammer, to the final suck it, which is when people knew it was over, but still on their feet, cheering and counting alone, 1 2 3! I even heard someone mention, Well worth the price of admission, so if came down to it, he was right, with still a few matches to go, This was already contender for match of the night, and I have to say it was, even though in my previous article about this match said otherwise, that I would think someone else would steal the top spot, I don’t think anyone else did.
After all that drama, it’s time to bring everyone back down to Earth with the Hall of Fame bit. Really awesome class this year, with each inductee deserving.
Heath Slater gets shoved into a wall by Flo Rida, in another bad backstage segment.
Team Johnny vs. Team Teddy
Going into WrestleMania, I hated everything about this match. The idea of throwing guys who deserve more prominent spots on the card, into a 10, 12, however many men, man match, just doesn’t sit well. Also, the idea of either Johnny Ace or Teddy Long being in charge of both shows, is maddening, as I find both annoying to the utmost degree.
Didn’t really pay too much attention to this match, so I’m just going to give you some random notes:
-Ace is apparently a fan of Brother Love.
-Crowd was out of it for awhile, but picked back up.
-There were a few good spots.
-Eve had an identity crisis (heel in earlier match,face during this match, heel again)
-This went a lot better than I expected it too.
-It should be interesting to see what happens to Teddy Long now.
Oh yeah this match still exists… Many people in my area forgot this match existed, they knew they had two more events to go, The WWE title match, and Cena Vs Rock Match, but almost every forgot this match. Well it happened, it had a few good moments, the crowd was behind Teddy, and did the Teddy dance when his theme hit, but even I can admit, when Zack Ryder came in at the end, I even did the “WOO, WOO, WOO” chant along with maybe 50,000 people ( I did see a fair amount of people not doing the chant). And really, the only ‘bad’ Ending of the night, It wasn’t even a screwjob ending, it was Zack being distracted. Santino and Ryder stole the show for this match, Santino and his crazy ring side manor, and ryder with the woo woo woo, but other than that, a forgettable event and match to say the least.
CM Punk[c] vs. Chris Jericho
Punk’s entrance was very cool, as pyro was timed with “Cult of Personality.”
At the start of the match, it looked like we were in for a wrestling clinic, mixed with some good brawling. Which, would have made everyone who expected this match to steal the show, happy. Jericho eggs Punk on, asking about his father and sister, trying to draw Punk into a DQ situation. At one point, Punk brings in a chair, and Jericho tells him to hit him over the head. As the crowd chants “CM Punk,” he refrains and drops the chair.
Jericho takes control of the match, after suplexing Punk out of the ring. The match slows down after that, and the crowd quiets down. The highlight of the match comes when Punk is able to counter the Walls of Jericho, and the two engage in a series of reversals, counters, and near falls.
Punk retains his championship, and claim as the “Best in the World” via Anaconda Vice.
This was my big disappointment of the show. I, along with many fans, expected this to steal the show, and it just wasn’t that good. No, I’m not saying it was bad, but it just didn’t seem up to par considering the competitors.
The fans were all with Punk on this one, So many best in the world shirts, both Gray and White, a couple of arm sleeves with an X on them were all showing support for the Champ. I, the internet, and everyone pegged this one to be the match of the night, and while It wasn’t a B is still a good passable grade. This had all the makings for a 5 star match, but fell short by just a bit, it was contending with Taker Vs HHH, and Cena Vs Rock up next. While this match had a lot going for it, It was still a blast, Jericho fans showing support in numbers, finally became vocal in the middle of the match. However Punk’s diehard fans was with him from the start, from the “IT’S CLOBBERING TIME” to “BEST IN THE WORLD” at the end, CM Punk had full support from Miami when it was all said and done. A few fireworks at the end, and the match ends.
Brodus Clay comes out to call his mama, and encourages the live crowd to do the same. He tells his mama that he wishes she were there, and she says that she is, with her Bridge Club. Out comes Mama Clay, along with the Bridge Club, and they all dance about.
It was stupid, cartoonish, and dumb, but you know what, SOMEBODY BETTER CALL MY MAMA! The very divided crowd of Miami had finally found something for everyone to root for, Clay’s mama and the Bridge club!, Not to many people were in their seats for this one, hell even from where I was, people were dancing their asses off, enjoying the presentation of stupidity, but hey I would be lying if I wasn’t dancing along. It was a good live thriller for the night, and was a blast.
John Cena vs. The Rock
Sean “Diddy” Combs comes out first to introduce MGK; I don’t know why either. MGK and Skylar Grey perform “Invincible,” and then he tries to convince the audience that John Cena is the under dog, only to be met with a chorus of boos.
Cena’s music hits, and he comes out…with the jorts. Damn him. The camo looked so much better. Oh yeah, and he also debuts new green attire, that resembles the Boston Celtics logo.
Out next is Flo Rida to perform “Good Feeling” and “Wild Ones.” He changed some of the lyrics to go along with The Rock. Seriously, if fans wanted to watch a concert, we would buy tickets to that or tune into MTV…wait, maybe not.
Dead. The Crowd was not supporting either of these two, a few cheap pops for Flo Rida, for being from Miami, and with fireworks, but other than standing around, the audience was not really active as they were for brodus. Only reactions came from the cheap pops, and the cheap heat from that one white rapper, saying Rock had an ego. Other than that, dead show.
The two start the match off with a tie-up, and Rock shoves Cena to the ground. Normally, Cena would win the show of strength, so that was something different to see. Pretty good back-and-forth action, with both getting their signatures in. Lke several others, I feel The Rock, just wasn’t as electric as he normally is. I know I’ll get heat for this, but I also felt that Cena carried the match.
There were a ton of false finishes and near falls, and as expected, the crowd was very much into this match, with dueling chants and such. “Fruity Pebble!” “Tooth Fairy!”
Cena attempted the People’s Elbow, only to be met with a Rock Bottom, for the finish! I really believed, still do, that Cena should have won, to put over the current generation. However, since my era is more the Aggression Era, I’m still happy.
This match was divided, I did see couples who found someone to root for together in other matches, take a stand on this one. It was a mixture of back and forths between the fans, “LET’S GO CENA” / “CENA SUCKS” and “CENA” / “ROCKY”. If one thing made this match a classic, it will be the fans. From heavy yays and boos, I was down to my last bottles of water, making sure I too would be vocal in this event. It was amazing from start to finish, and while it will not be match of the night, the hype did do its job, and have to say, anyone who was disappointed in this event, needs to go see a specialist. Even if Cena would have won (Which I was expecting) It still was a great match, but you know, THE PEOPLES CHAMP WON, ROCKY ROCKY ROCKY.
It wasn’t a five star match by any means, but it will define this WrestleMania. That being said, WrestleMania 28 was a vast improvement over the past four years. Going in, the storylines were spotty, but the card looked amazing on paper, at least the mainevents. Coming out of the show of shows, the matches, were not phenomenal, none five stars, and some downright bad. Overall, though,WrestleMania 28 was far from bad. I don’t believe, unlike the last couple of shows, that I wasted $70. There are questions that I’m interested to see the answers too. Who will challenge Sheamus for the World title first? What will Teddy Long’s role be now that he’s no longer the General Manager of Smackdown? Did we see the Undertaker’s final match? Will Jericho stay or go? And most importantly, who will headline WrestleMania 29; which stars will rise this year, who will return?
It will be hard to say that Wrestlemania 28 won’t be contender for event of the year, it had almost everything right, and the things it did get wrong, were put to rest by the power of 7 men. Jericho, CM Punk, The Rock, Cena, Triple H, HBK, and The Undertaker. But with that said and done, It was a grand show live, it did its job and delivered on all fronts, as a wrestling event, I was impressed, as a stage show It was grand, as an overall product, it made me proud to be a fan. And for that night That is what I was, a fan. I might go back and watch Wrestlemania on standard TV later this week, but no matter what I see as a reviewer, I will not let that destroy the memory of last night.
Tim5000 professional Hate…. No, Professional FAN, signing out.
Fasten your seat belts people; we’re back on the Road.
J. and Tim