(From Nicholas J. Walz)
THUMBS DOWN (though it pains me to say)
BEST MATCH: HHH vs. Brock Lesnar
WORST MATCH: Ryback vs. Mark Henry
Having not read what anyone else has critiqued thus far (hoping I don't sound like a broken record), but this show suffered in my eyes from tremendous predictability and lack of a truly great match that we'll look back upon, a la Steamboat/Savage, Hart/Austin, Triangle Ladder Match, etc.
As noted, best match of the evening was HHH beating Brock Lesnar. A few speculated that it would be Helmsley winning with the Kimura lock as comeuppance to Brock's SummerSlam win and those spots with the steps and Brock coming *this* close to submitting came across strong. The Heyman/Michaels superkick spot was also great from a fan reaction standpoint. Still, I'd argue the SummerSlam match had a bigger feel and was executed better.
Other than that, I'm looking back at a pedestrian main event (Cena winning or losing aside, it's no crime to have near falls -- but don't kill each others' finishers so much) and a CM Punk/Undertaker match that was disappointing in that it was shorter than I expected and never really had the drama that the Michaels or HHH had with the Helmsley tombstone at WM XXVII or superkick/pedirgree spot last year. The table not breaking during the match's high spot didn't help matters. A few friends pointed out that Punk's physique was soft and you can't help but wonder if this was him just trying to get through this show and to that presumed sabbatical. Thumbs up for Living Colour playing Punk to the ring, that had to be a thrill for Phil.
The Shield winning the six-man was a strong opener, and a shame it wasn't a sign of things to come. Why Ryback did the job to Mark Henry will be something I hope Dave & Bryan explain in the post-game show, especially when he was going to hit his finisher anyhow. Tag Team title match & Jericho/Fandango were adequate to me, nothing you couldn't see on an episode of RAW or smaller PPV. Though I don't find Alberto Del Rio to be a particularly compelling babyface, his match with Jack Swagger was quite entertaining and the cross-armbreaker is one of the better finishing moves in the WWE today, so the end I liked.
It wasn't a particularly pleasant night for the IWC (No Ziggler cashing in, Punk loses for 3rd straight PPV and the return of SuperCena in his greatest career triumph), and it's murky where they go from here. Not a good time to be a heel, either, but WrestleMania rarely is. Diddy was entirely forgettable, if that matters.
Give the company credit -- the stage and the pageantry were there, it felt tremendously big even without a ton of celebrities. WWE has a very positive, wholesome feel to it right now. You just wish the wrestling could have be better.
(I've never written one of these so I don't know if it makes the cut but thanks for reading all the same.)
-- Nicholas Walz
Dave, I was there live. Biggest problem was that it was too cold.
|Confirming the one-liner you had about obstructed seats. We were in the $200 range behind one of the corners and could see half the ring because of the huge replica towers in each corner. The further forward you got, the greater the obstruction.
There were loud chants of "We can't see you".
WWE really need to rethink their set design. Selling seats for hundreds of dollars before confirming view obstruction is intellectually dishonest.
Stadium staff were getting a lot of hassle but there was nowhere to relocate people to.
Best Match: Punk/Taker
It was exactly what I expected: a 9 for spectacle, a 6 for in the ring.
People need to understand that WM is no longer a "wrestling" PPV. It's an entertainment show for the casual fan where the matches are very easy to understand and almost secondary. It even has a halftime performer. If you're looking for workrate, buy an iPPV.