I've watched Wrestlemania 28 again today, so it's the third time I've seen it in full and it grows on me with each viewing.
Bryan/Sheamus STILL bugs the crap out of me. I know time was an issue, but it's freaking Wrestlemania and it's the World Heavyweight Championship. It probably did more good for Bryan and more harm to Sheamus, which is probably not what WWE wanted. But, I digress. It's all been said over and over already. DUD
Orton/Kane is actually pretty good, despite the piss-poor reasoning for the match. Feels like they just had to find a way of putting Orton on the card as he's supposed to be the top babyface on Smackdown but he's not been doing much of anything recently. Anyways, it was a solid, physical match and I enjoyed how Orton tried to go toe to toe with him. His strikes were effective and he looked like he could beat Kane. The chokeslam from the second rope at the end was visually great and it was nice to see Kane win. ***
Show/Rhodes was disappointing, and again I don't think it was given enough time. I suppose it's nice to see Big Show win the Intercontinental Championship, but I would've prefered a Rhodes victory. Given more time, I would've liked to have seen Cody really go to work trying to chop the big man down. **
Divas tag match - Maria whatever her name is from that Extra show appeared ZERO times on WWE TV to promote this match so why should anyone care that she's involved? Waste of time. DUD
Undertaker/Triple H inside Hell in a Cell was fantastic. Absolutely phenomenal match that was head and shoulders better than their encounter last year. First couple of minutes were a bit slow but shit got good real quickly after that. On a side note, I laughed at the cell getting its own entrance with theme music. It was utterly ludicrous but it totally worked, especially seeing both men look up and the camera slowly pan up through the smoke to see it coming down. The WWE production team are amazing.
Anyways, I heard Jim Ross say it best in a documentary...this was a perfect example of how to wow a crowd with physicality. The chair shots were brutal, and judging from Undertaker's back at the end of the match it was pretty clear they did considerable damage. Chair shots, sledgehammer, steel steps, interference from HBK as referee...it was all there. I love that every year they always throw in a moment where something happens and I think that it's all over - Edge hitting the second spear at Wrestlemania 24 only to have Undertaker grab Edge and lock him in Hell's Gate. Then there's HBK getting Tombstone at 25 only to kick out, or Triple H nailing Undertaker with a Tombstone. I thought for sure the match was over when I saw that. This year, HBK hits Sweet Chin Music and it's followed by a Pedigree. I literally held my breath because I thought that shit was over for sure. The kickout was epic.
When Undertaker finally won, and they all helped each other to their feet and embraced, it truly felt like the end of an era. I imagine we might see both men in action again in the future, but we'll likely never see all three men together ever again. Anyways, extremely physical and emotional war. The ONLY downside was Shawn's acting. The whole conflicted referee thing was cool and made sense seeing as he's Triple H's best friend and he has great history with The Undertaker, but the actual acting from HBK was cringeworthy. However, it didn't ruin the match. ****1/2
Team Johnny vs Team Teddy was ok I guess. I'll admit it, unless it's with the big main event stars I HATE big tag matches like this. Don't get me wrong, I love some of the mid-card talent, but I'm all for one on one matches instead of big tag matches. Ziggler was great, as was Ryder. Interesting times lay ahead with Johnny Ace leading both shows. **
CM Punk/Chris Jericho was great, great stuff. Started off slow, as it seemed like it took a few minutes for them to get the chemistry right. Jericho trying to make Punk angry at the start with the taunts about his family was smart. Jericho is so good at being a real piece of shit. Jericho's control segment was great, and the climax was great. Punk going for the hurricanrana from the top rope but getting reversed into the Walls Of Jericho was really innovative too. Ultimately, Jericho taps and Punk is still the champ. Best in the world perhaps ****
The Rock vs John Cena was a great match, and a very worthy Wrestlemania main event. How can a match live up to a year-long build? It can't, and any match will likely always fall short of the massive expectations we all put on it. However, both men did great and it really did feel special. I wasn't looking forward to the musical performances, but Flo Rida wasn't all bad. MGK absolutely sucked though, he got boos and then literally no reaction once he was done. His little opinion on the match did NOT go over well with the live crowd. It made me laugh how MGK said Cena was the UNDERDOG. Really????? I'm pretty sure that even though most people wanted Rock to win, deep down we all thought that Cena would go over. Flo Rida got a moderately good reaction and it seemed like the fans were into it whenever they cut to shots of the crowd. Cena got loads of heat as expected, and the crowd was very pro-Rock which was expected to. That's not to say Cena didn't have his fans, because he did. But the crowd was on Rocky's side.
The staredown at the beginning was a nice reminder of how Rock/Hogan started ten years ago, as was the back and forth show of strength that followed. Rock was a bit rusty during the match, but for a guy who hasn't had a singles match in 9 years I think he was incredible. The rest periods were a little dull, but I was glued to the screen the whole time and both men really know how to work the crowd. Rocky doing the "you can't see me" gesture only for Cena to pick him up and AA him was fantastic and it seemed like it was over. The leg drop from the top rope was brutal, Rock was lucky he didn't get hurt for real. Rock's crossbody from the top rope is something we haven't seen since 1997! Fantastic thing to pull out of the bag in a match as important as this.
Cena made ONE fatal mistake, and that was deciding to mock The Rock at the end. He took his eye off the prize because he suddenly became too concerned with getting a cheap shot in. Rocky took advantage and hit the Rock Bottom for the win. The victory was met with an almighty pop that gives me goosebumps every time. When the camera cuts to a wide shot of the crowd and you can see what looks like EVERYBODY going nuts its just amazing. A true sight to see. I read a live fan report that said people were literally jumping up and down and dancing in the aisles when Rocky won. Like it or not, it was the best decision. It's Wrestlemania and you have to send the crowd home happy. Cena winning would've made some people happy but the vast majority would've hated it and the show would've ended on a sour note.
All in all, it was a fantastic match that obviously couldn't live up to expectactions but they still delivered a great main event that I'll no doubt watch over and over for years. ****1/4
Verdict - best Wrestlemania since Wrestlemania 24, and I think it's better than 22 and 23. Great show that seems to go really quickly.