Wrestlemania 29

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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!

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.

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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.

WWE Payback 2014

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This was one those PPV’s that did not have a lot of positive expectations going in. Most fans online expected it to be boring, but it was anything but. Overall, it was a very good show with 4 big highlights.

The show started off with Sheamus defeating Cesaro to retain the United States title. A very good opening match between to great talents. A lot of back forth, a good story, and nice high spots. The crowd was into this match and it was a promising start to the night.

Bad News Barrett retaining his title against RVD was another solid title bout. RVD can still outperform a lot of wrestlers on the roster and BNB is very over with the crowd and can really put on a great match. RVD putting over Barrett was the right choice and I cannot wait to see BNB in future story lines. He is definitely a top performer.

John Cena over Bray Wyatt in a Last Man Standing match was the match of the night. I have not enjoyed this feud for the most part. Their match at Wrestlemania this year was slow and boring. Their rematch at last month’s PPV was significantly better, but the possessed child that came out at the end was stupid and ruined the match. This third match made it all worthwhile. A ton of back and forth, great high spots, a suddenly terrific story, and well thought out interference from Wyatt’s crew and the Usos made for an amazing match. The end of the match was also well done. It cracked me up, but did not come off as stupid. It cannot be properly explained and needs to be viewed.

The main event was Evolution losing to The Shield in a no holds barred, elimination match. It looked for a while that Evolution would go over, but suddenly The Shield came on strong in the end and eliminated all three members of Triple H’s team with none of The Shield being eliminated. Triple H made the correct call and put the correct guys over.

This was a solid show and it was clear that the talent all put their best feet forward and provided fans with an entertaining 3 hours that was well worth the money.