WWE WrestleMania 30: Seven things we learned in New Orleans
What did we learn on the grandest stage of them all?
Tuesday 08 April 2014
WrestleMania is over for another year, fans have packed their commemorative chairs away and long-forgotten wrestlers such as Virgil have waved goodbye to people willing to pay them $20 for an autograph. Here's what we took away from WrestleMania 30.
1) Nothing Lasts Forever...: The Streak was the one true constant in WWE. Going into WM 30 Undertaker had twenty-one matches and had won them all. It encompassed all time classics with Shawn Michaels (twice), HHH (three times), Edge, Batista and CM Punk. It had, in some ways, become bigger than WrestleMania itself. With Undertaker getting up there in age, we had come to accept that he didn’t have many more ‘Manias left in him and that he would most likely retire, Streak intact and it would never be topped.
We were wrong.
In what has to be the biggest shock in ‘Mania history, Brock Lesnar broke the streak, countering a tombstone into a third F5 for the pin. The crowd was stunned, and many reacted as if it hadn’t happened. Surely it was a false count, a mistake, something – surely Brock Lesnar did not just end The Streak? But it wasn’t, and he had. It’s going to take a few more days to work out whether this was the right move or not, but Undertaker’s Wrestlemania record now reads 21-1. I doubt many predicted that going in.
2) ...but some moments will: One of the more underappreciated aspects of being a wrestling fan is being able to watch a great life story unfurl over a number of years, and at WM 30, Daniel Bryan completed his journey from ‘Indie Darling’ to WWE Champion with not one but two amazing performances and of course, the show closing image of a crowd of 75,000 chanting ‘YES!’ as he held up his newly won gold. It has been a rollercoaster ride for the man once known as ‘American Dragon’, and a ride not without its bumps and sometime derailments. Labelled too small, a ‘nerd’, mocked for his beard, hair and his popularity with the dreaded ‘Internet Wrestling Community’, Bryan overcame all of these obstacles to become ‘The Man’ at Wrestlemania 30. It was perhaps overdue but incredibly deserved.
3) Wyatt loses but star shines bright: While the logic of John Cena defeating Bray Wyatt may be questionable (Cena can handle the loss, it would have advanced the storyline and most importantly given Wyatt a win at the biggest show in wrestling), Wyatt’s demented performance was a career high and will hopefully keep him on the ascent in the WWE. The leader of the Wyatt Family has established himself firmly as the best character in WWE, and his in ring skills aren’t too far behind. The reaction of Cena to Bray’s ‘Spider Walk’ was one for the ages.
4) Cesaro’s feat of strength: In winning the inaugural Andre the Giant Battle Royal, Cesaro honoured Andre’s legacy in a way that is more fitting than had The Big Show won. By picking up and slamming the giant over the top rope to win, Cesaro replicated the most famous ‘Mania moment of all time – Hulk Hogan slamming Andre at WM 3. It was a fitting end to a surprisingly entertaining battle royal, featuring a new addition to Kofi Kingston’s fantastic collection of avoiding elimination and Fandango taking a world record number of chest clubs from Sheamus.
5) We were spoiled, weren’t we?: Watching Hulk Hogan, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and The Rock share a ring, ribbing Hogan on his inability to say “Superdome” (he played it off exceptionally well, to be fair) and exchanging catchphrases and beers was a great way to kick things off. It was also a stark reminder that while the in-ring action may be the best it’s ever been, there isn’t a star on their level, including John Cena. We should appreciate these three men for how much they given us.
6) In appreciation of Stephanie McMahon: HHH and Daniel Bryan have rightly received many plaudits for their work in the build up to and execution of Bryan’s title win, but what about Stephanie McMahon? Not known for her promo skills, Stephanie stepped up to the plate across the feud and was an important factor in building the heat in Bryan’s quest for the gold. Introducing her husband and accompanying him for his match at WM 30, McMahon played her ringside role to perfection. Bravo, Stephanie.
7) And next year? Now is the time that WWE hits reset and starts building again. New faces will be introduced while others fade into the distance. The obvious picks to main event next year would be Bray Wyatt, Cesaro and Roman Reigns. Daniel Bryan is still young enough for a long run at the top, and Randy Orton will be in the picture, as will John Cena (who can’t have too many more ‘Manias in him, surely). What about The Undertaker? With The Streak broken, is that it? Sting all but confirmed his involvement at WM 31 over the weekend at a wrestling convention, so will ‘The Deadman’ face ‘The Stinger’ in his final WWE match?
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