Wrestlemania 29

the-rock-vs-john-cena-wrestlemania-29

The 29th installment of Wrestlemania was a solid show with many highlights and was one of the very few I had not seen. It was held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ and was billed as a co-location event between New York and New Jersey. It was the fifth Wrestlemania held outdoors which added a Super Bowl-type atmosphere to the proceedings. WWE has held to this new tradition of holding the biggest wrestling event of the year in big stadiums and it really adds to the atmosphere.

The highlights of the night are as follows:

Randy Orton/Big Show/Sheamus vs. The Shield – This was the first Wrestlemania for all three members of The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns) and was a solid start to the show. The highlight of the match was when Rollins attempted a top rope maneuver and Randy Orton caught him with an RKO. The match ended with a spear from Reigns to Orton and the pinfall was secured by Ambrose. Great match and The Shield were very over with the crowd.

Mark Henry vs. Ryback – A little underwhelming since the match featured two big, slower guys and the crowd was not very interested in this match. It was not horrible, just kind of a throw away match. Henry secured the win after a failed Shell Shock attempt from Ryback.

Team Hell No vs. Dolph Ziggler/Big E – A solid match that featured a very fun team in Daniel Bryan and Kane that I miss since they not only had solid matches, but their vignettes were hysterical with the two of them always being at odds. Ziggler and Big E (with AJ Lee in tow) were a very solid team as well. The match was fairly quick, but exciting with Team Hell No retaining their Tag Team Titles.

Fandango vs. Chris Jericho – This was Fandango’s debut match and the fact that it was against Jericho made it appear that Fandango was set for a big push. It was a fairly good match with Jericho having to carry the night since Fandango was more than a bit green. I could not help but feel that a debut match should not be held at the biggest event of the year. Not fair for a talent to have that kind of pressure put on them. Amazingly enough Fandango got the win, but surprisingly he was not really pushed that much after Wrestlemania. Seems a waste of such a notable victory.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger – This was was kind of an ironic match since both men are known to be very reckless in the ring and have both caused multiple real life injuries to their opponents. The match itself was fine with Alberto retaining his World Title, but I had one HUGE issue with the entire storyline, the racist aspect of it. During this time Swagger came out with Zeb Colter (formerly known as Dirty Dutch Mantel) with Zeb constantly attacking immigrants and mentioning how ‘those people’ should not be in our country. I have loved wrestling since I was a kid and even though I have seen my fair share of embarrassing moments on the screen most of it was fairly benign. This particular angle went too far in my opinion and with racism being a big issue in our country this was one area the WWE should have stayed out of. It got uncomfortable hearing the things that were spewing from Colter’s mouth and made the match less enjoyable.

The Undertaker vs. CM Punk -Once again, another great match from The Undertaker with CM Punk being that year’s victim of the streak. They both worked a solid, hard fought match with plenty of moments that made you think Punk could have been the one to end the streak. After a lot of back and forth The Undertaker hit Punk with a Tombstone Piledriver for the win.

Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar – This match was brutal with both men beating the hell out of each other. Triple H has always been and always will be a solid in-ring performer and he and Lesnar really worked well together with H Securing the victory via his patented Pedigree.

John Cena vs. The Rock – The big rematch from the previous year’s Wrestlemania. Both men had legitimate animosity towards each other and were able to channel that heat into an excellent match with plenty of action and false finishes. John Cena won the WWE Title with the AA and both men embraced after the end of the match showing true respect for each other.

Overall, a good show that was fun to watch for the first time even though I already knew the outcomes of some of the matches.

Next week I will be watching Wrestlemania 30 again and even though I already reviewed it last year, I am looking forward to a second viewing and seeing if my opinion has changed on any of the matches knowing some of the real life stories behind them, especially The Undertaker/Brock Lesnar match which I was not thrilled with a year ago.

Remember, you can watch all of these shows yourself and so much more by subscribing to the WWE Network for only $9.99 a month!

Wrestlemania 28

1953189

The 28th edition of Wrestlemania was a major step up from the previous year’s installment and is a must watch event.

The highlights:

Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk – A very good match between two great performers at the top of their game. The story they told in the ring was powerful and engaging. Jericho had spent the past few weeks attacking Punk’s family’s issues (his Dad was an alcoholic and his sister had drug abuse issues) which really added to the drama of the match. The in ring result was a great match that saw Punk win with the Anaconda Vise.

Randy Orton vs. Kane – A solid match between the two which ended with Kane getting a surprising and much deserved win. Kane is one of the all time best big men in wrestling and he has a great in-ring chemistry with Orton.

A Hell in a Cell match featuring The Undertaker vs. Triple H with Shawn Michaels as the guest referee – Simply wow…their match a year before was a classic and this one somehow out did it. The match was brutal, violent, yet technically proficient and ended with The Streak being extended to 20-0. Michaels was also used very effectively in the match. He interfered on a couple of occasions, but it made sense and did not disrupt the quality of the match. He added a significant amount of drama to the bout that worked very well. The ending with the three men embracing was emotional and heart felt.

John Cena vs. The Rock – Great match that ended with a Rock Bottom out of nowhere that secured the win for The Rock. Even though the previous Wrestlemania was frustrating at times, coming off as just a big lead up for 28, it was worth it and provided a great main event.

The skits – I complained about 27’s excessive skits and the 28th edition corrected it. There were a few skits that were brief and effective, especially a funny one involving Mick Foley and Santino.

Honestly, not too much to complain about. The first match of the night for the World Title saw Sheamus take the belt from Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds and was a bit of a disappoint since these two work well together, but it did advance a storyline so it was tolerable.

Definitely a must watch Wrestlemania that gets me excited to see number 29 and the big rematch between Cena and The Rock.

Wrestlemania 27

fbbff503816cc8723e650

The 27th edition of Wrestlemania had some issues, but also featured some very memorable matches.

Starting with the lowlights:

The Rock – I know, sounds blasphemous, but this was the first time for me where I wanted him to get out of the ring and let the matches begin. His opening promo was too long and he really seemed off his game. This was a Wrestlemania I had not seen and just wanted to get to the matches. You can tell the crowd did too.

The main event of The Miz defending the WWE title against Cena – Two very talented performers and great characters that had one of the most boring main events in Wrestlemania history. They both just seemed off. The match ended with a double count out and then The Rock came out to demand the match restart. He Rock Bottomed Cena to give The Miz the win and then took out The Miz afterwards. The only purpose of this whole match was to set up next year’s Wrestlemania main event between The Rock and John Cena which further made this bout pointless. Another thing that made the ending of The Miz getting knocked around was that he had suffered a concussion earlier in the match and seeing him taking blows to the head while looking truly out of it was a little disconcerting. The Miz is still a featured wrestler on WWE programming, but that concussion could have caused long term issues.

Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole – The least said the better. By the way, I HATE heel Michael Cole. Enough said.

The skits – Soooooo many skits. Various ones featuring The Rock. Another one with Snoop Dog that was funny, but too long. People want to see actual matches during the biggest show of the year, not comedy routines. The fewer the better.

The positive:

The Edge vs. Alberto del Rio – This was Edge’s final match since he was forced a week later to retire due to a neck injury. He retained his World title in a solid match and got the rare opportunity to retire as champion.

Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio – These two worked amazingly well together. Rey is always incredible, but Cody held his own and was just as amazing. Cody got a big win and it was much deserved.

The Undertaker vs. Triple H – Yes, The Undertaker continued his win streak, but did a great job of making it look like the streak was truly in danger. They had a brutal, physical match that kept your interest throughout. The match of the night by far.

CM Punk vs. Randy Orton – Another great match with both men working very well together with Orton getting the win via an impressive RKO off a Punk springboard clothesline attempt.

Overall, a good show that was brought down a bit by The Rock and the main event, but not enough to say you should skip this one. Worth a watch for some great matches.

Looking forward to Wrestlemania 28 and the big main event between Cena and The Rock.

Wrestlemania’s 19 and 20

I was a little off my schedule the past week so I have just 2 Wrestlemania’s to discuss, 19 and 20. As always, there will be some spoilers.

Rarely is there a ‘bad’ Wrestlemania. There are some that were definitely less memorable than others, but usually the WWE puts everything they have into making it the best show of the year.

Wrestlemania 19 was a solid show, but despite the fact I have watched it more than once I never seem to remember the card much before I start watching the 19th installment of the longest running PPV. Overall, it is a good show, but the only match that really stands out in my memory is Stone Cold vs. The Rock. This was a top notch match where The Rock finally got a Wrestlemania victory after losing to Stone Cold in Wrestlemania main events the past two times they met. This was Stone Cold’s last Wrestlemania main event since his injuries forced him to retire from full time wrestling. It was a great way to go out and if you watch this match you can see that The Rock is truly appreciative of Austin doing the job for him and subtly thanks him after the final pinfall.

Another match of note is Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon in a street fight. Way better than it had any right to be and both men busted their asses to put on the best show possible. Several high spots, a lot of blood shed by both men, and classic Hogan moments make this an entertaining match with Hogan winning.

Chris Jericho going against Shawn Michaels was another major highlight. Seeing these two legendary and very athletically gifted performers going head to head was a match made in heaven. They have similar styles yet are very unique in their move sets. Both guys were clearly trying to be the match of the night and they did a great job doing so.

The final match of the night was Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesner. An incredible match that had a ton of buildup with a nice payoff of Lesnar winning the WWE title. With both men having legendary amateur wrestling careers seeing them go to head to head in the WWE was a dream match and it did not disappoint.

Wrestlemania 20 was an okay show. Not bad, but not great. The low light of the night was Goldberg’s final match in the WWE against Brock Lesnar. The fans in attendance had no interest in the match and both wrestlers did not gel at all. It was awkward and unfortunate for both men.

Highlights were Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle (both all time great performers), the Cuiserweight Open for the WWE Cruiserweight Title (featuring Rey Misterio, Billy Kidman, Tajiri, and others), and the tag match between The Rock and Mick Foley vs. Ric Flair/Batista/Randy Orton in a 3 on 2 handicapped match.

Overall, a good show, but definitely flawed in the fact that there was just too much going on. At this time the WWE had an over abundance of talent and did not always seem to know what to do with them.

Still, this was a historic Wrestlemania being the 20th installment and still worth a few hours of your time.

10 more to go before this year’s Wrestlemania!

Wrestlemania’s 2000 – X8

Per last week’s post I am beginning my snap shot reviews of what I consider the modern Wrestlemania’s (from 2000 on) in preparation for this year’s Wrestlemania 31:

Wrestlemania 2000 – This was an overall solid show that kicked off the 2000’s quite well. One of the things I notice when watching shows from this period of time is how over every single wrestler was. From the lowest spot on the card to the main event, the crowds are in to everything and it seemed as though every match had a storyline of some sort which the WWE really needs to get back to.

One of the key matches was the first every triangle ladder match for the tag titles featuring Edge/Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz. Simply WOW. This was very early in the long running rivalry between these three teams and this match was simply amazing. High spot after high spot and not a move seemed wasted. Edge and Christian left with the titles and us fans saw the beginning of an industry changing rivalry.

The main event was a four way for the WWF title with a McMahon in every corner. Triple H with Stephanie, Mick Foley with Linda, Big Show with Shane, and The Rock with Vince. The McMahon gimmick was definitely a bit overboard and unnecessary and four way matches can be disasters, but with four good workers this match came off very well. Triple H retained the title and the match was well paced and the wrestlers themselves did a great job making this a worthwhile main event.

Wrestlemania X-Seven – Possibly the best, or at least close to the top, of all the Wrestlemania’s. Edge/Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz in a TLC match somehow managed to surpass their match from a year back and ended with Edge/Christian winning the tag titles again. With interference from Lita, Rhyno, and Spike Dudley this match never slowed down and was simply amazing.

The main event with Stone Cold Steve Austin beating The Rock for the WWF title was well worked even though most people did not like him turning heel at the end of the match and working with Vince McMahon. Even the Vince vs. Shane McMahon street fight was solid with a lot of great moments. Overall, an amazing show with the WWE being at a high point creatively and talent wise.

Wrestlemania X8 – Notable since this is the last ‘WWF’ labeled Wrestlemania and the first one after the WCW buyout by Vince McMahon the year prior. The Undertaker and Ric Flair had a brutal and bloody match that was a hell of a lot of fun to watch. Stone Cold and Scott Hall had a match that has been lambasted for many years but watching it again it was much more solid than people give it credit for. Triple H won the Undisputed Championship in the main event which was a very well worked match.

The highlight though is Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock. This match was well paced and worked to perfection. Clearly, this match was heavily planned out beforehand since Hogan was past his prime, but still came off as a viable threat to The Rock with both men having an incredibly historic match. This match alone makes this one of the most memorable Wrestlemania’s of all time.

So far a nice start to the modern Wrestlemania’s. Since this is the WWE’s biggest event every year it is usually a good, solid show with not too many disappointments.

I’ll be back next Wednesday with the next batch of Wrestlemania’s which will lead to what could be one of the best Wrestlemania’s yet in this year’s 31st edition.

Roman Reigns

The WWE has been in the bad habit of late of leaning too heavily on long established talent such as John Cena and Randy Orton. While both are great talents and legends it gets a little old seeing the same handful of guys at the top week after week. The last half of 2014 the WWE has been making a point of featuring more of the younger and less featured talent. Because of this the future is truly bright for the WWE.  Once a month I am going to discuss one of these exciting new talents.

The first on my list is Roman Reigns who debuted with the WWE in 2012.

romanreigns

At the age of 29 he has a ton of upside and has been brought up in the WWE quickly, but not too quickly in my opinion. For the most part his rise to the top tier has been done well. He was built up slowly and not thrown into main events right after his debut.

He started becoming a name with The Shield (along with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose). During the 2014 Royal Rumble WWE had Reigns eliminate 12 men which broke the long standing elimination record held by Kane for several years. The fans responded quite well.

When they split The Shield last summer there was concern that one or two of them could have suffered. Amazingly enough all three of them have excelled and really found their niche in the WWE. Roman Reigns was immediately over with the WWE audience.

Recently they have paired him in a feud with The Big Show which has not been well received by WWE fans and his promos (which are heavily scripted by WWE’s writers) have been ridiculed of late because of the silliness of them. Despite this fact he still gets great reactions from the crowds since he has a natural charisma similar to his real life cousins The Rock and The Usos. As he gets more experienced on the mic he will get to the point where he can go off script more comfortably and not be stuck saying things like “sufferin’ succotash” (yes, he really said those words).

There are heavy rumors that he will win this year’s Royal Rumble and main event Wrestlemania for the world title. I would be thrilled at this point to have almost anyone with the title besides Brock Lesnar who has gone 5 months or so without defending the belt since he apparently has a non work clause in his contract. Roman would be a great pick as champion since he has a great look, solid in ring talent, natural charisma, and is over with the crowd.

No matter who winds up winning the Rumble, Roman Reigns is proof that the WWE has a bright future ahead of them and there is no doubt he will be a champion sooner rather than later.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation

go-joe-02

G.I. Joe is a brand that I am quite familiar with having played with the 3 3/4 inch toys, watching the cartoon, and reading the comic books as a kid. After Star Wars, G.I. Joe was next on my list of favorites in grade school.

When they came out with the first live action movie a few years back I was excited to see it. It was okay…not as fun as I hoped it would be, but there were some things I enjoyed like the portrayals of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, my two favorite characters from the property. Then they announced a sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, followed by the casting of The Rock Dwayne Johnson as Roadblock. Now I was getting hopeful for a much better second movie since I am a big wrestling fan and really feel that The Rock has made an excellent transition to movie making. I did not see this movie until very recently through Amazon Prime and was very pleased with what I saw.

I had heard about the beginning featuring the death of the majority of the Joes except for Roadblock, Snake Eyes, Flint, and Lady Jaye. I was still a bit surprised by the scene though. Channing Tatum’s Duke was fairly popular and killing him off seemed like an odd choice, but it worked out since the leads really came off well. The Rock was his typical fun, badass self who always seems to have a way of making the audience root for him right off the bat. Ray Park as Snake Eyes and Byung-hun Lee as Storm Shadow were simply awesome and Adrianne Palecki was an effective Jaye. The only one that seemed a little off from the way the character was portrayed in the comic books/cartoon was D.J. Cotrona as Flint. Flint was always one of the leaders of G.I. Joe and in the film version he came off as an unsure of himself subordinate. Of course, the plan could be for him to build up to being a leader in the next movie which would work, but it still was a little strange to see the character portrayed the way he was in this movie. Also worth mentioning is Bruce Willis as Joe himself. He was typical Bruce which worked great for the role.

What pleased me the most in this movie was the portrayal of Cobra Commander. In the first movie he came off as a non threatening, weenie of a future commander. In the cartoon his voice was so over the top it would become annoying at times. In Retaliation he was a much more menacing figure and really seemed like the type of character that could take over the world. The other character on the Cobra side that was a ton of fun was Ray Stevenson’s Firefly. You could tell he was having a blast being the bad guy and it made for a very enjoyable character.

Overall, this was a fun, solid film that did not disappoint. It was much better than it’s predecessor and made me look forward to a possible third film.

This type of movie is not supposed to be an Academy Award winner. It is not supposed to be critically acclaimed. It’s only goal is to provide the movie audience with a way to escape from their hectic days and just have some good old fashioned fun.

It is streaming on both Amazon Prime and Netflix and is well worth a couple hours of your time.