I know everybody’s going to say that RAW last night was way better, and it was, but WrestleMania was still highly enjoyable to see in person. Was it predictable? Absolutely, but it was still worth it just for CM Punk vs. Undertaker, to be honest.
Punk-Taker came off amazing on TV. I could see if some of it was lost live, because close ups were key. Them mentioned moment of Taker “no-selling” the anaconda vice, I thought, was a tremendous callback to the old-school “sit-up” moments Taker used to have, especially if you saw the death stare he gave Punk when he popped up. It was awesome.
“Worst: The Shield Didn’t Come Down In A Helicopter Like I Was Hoping”
So I was not the only one who was secretly hoping that helicopter doing outside shots was actually carrying The Shield so they could repel down to the ring?! YES! I was irrationally disappointed when they came through the crowd..
That chopper DID get closer to the ring before the Shield’s match, too. It wasn’t my eyes playing tricks on me. I’m showing this report to the people I went with, to prove to them that I’m not completely insane. Or that we both are, Brandon.
I wouldn’t feel too bad about not liking Punk and Taker’s match. It was definitely my favorite match of the show but I didn’t think it was fantastic or anything (Athena vs. Hamada was the best match of the weekend). When you watch it back, I assume you’ll like it a bit more but it’s certainly not MOTY of anything crazy.
I rather enjoyed Punk-Taker, but I agree to some extent. I thought the ending felt very abrupt. Last year’s match was stupid in that HHH-y WrestleMania-Rocky II-IV spam-finishers way, but it felt like it was structured to tell a specific story that built to a crescendo that was earned. This year, it was a fun back and forth but it just sort of ended unnaturally and quickly, and I was left going “Oh, okay.”
I was among the ones too focused on Ziggler during Del Rio-Swagger, and upon rewatching it, I was really taken with how good a match it actually was. My favorite was Swagger genuinely selling the cross-armbreaker like someone having a cross-armbreaker applied to them, instead of just patiently deliberating on whether to tap out like most hold-victims seem to do.
Nice to know you had a good time at ‘Mania. Did you notice The Rock was hurt when you saw him live? You’d think if you lost your abdominal and abductor muscles, you could barely move, let alone wrestle.
I was surprised that I liked it as much as I did, as I don’t generally go into a HHH match thinking it is possible to like it. Especially when I know that the shoot baddest dude on the roster is going to eat a pin to the shoot guy with most creative control on the roster.
If I were EVER to be given the keys to the WWE kingdom on some Charlie Buck shit, the first thing I would do is sit down Triple H in a room and have him try to explain me how burying the best heel in the company could POSSIBLY make the company money? You know the company he has a financial obligation as one of the shoot board of directors?
And then after he fumbles and explains to me how THIS BUSINESS works, I will explain how ACTUAL business works and fire him on general principle.
It’s soooooo greviously and obviously dumb to have an aging has-been performer nobody gives a shit about anymore slay the biggest dragon your company has these days. HHH beating Brock made me soooooooooo mad on Sunday Night. This is my 18 seconds moment.
I like these live reviews pretty well. They’re not too heavy on the “me” stuff and they give the perspective you can’t get on TV.
I thought the Punk match was good, especially compared to those later things. And if you watched on TV, the lack of TOF/Rhodes Scholars was that much more infuriating because of the amount of video packages and commercials that played.
The CM Punk shirt is fantastic. Thanks for doing these as always.
I really enjoyed this one too and think you’re dead on about the live reports. The WWE is trying to play to both a live audience and the audience at home and to get a live perspective from a person who actually likes wrestling, is capable of writing and spends more than an hour gathering his thoughts makes for a fun read.
While you might be right about striking the appropriate balance between personal stories and straight commentary, I do have to admit I really enjoyed reading the “me” stuff that was in this column. There’s a vibe on Withleather where certain wrestlers are appreciated or disliked that differs from what seems to be the natural vibe at the events. Hearing about the interactions between Brandon and “regular” WWE fans is one of the things that makes this interesting.
I’m also really partial to this type of presentation. You’ve got to write what you think but I enjoy “I don’t want to say this like I’m proud of being some smarmy anti-fun asshole” as opposed to “If you stopped thinking this way you’d be happier.” Language that implies here’s what I think almost always comes across better than a here’s what you should think.
I’m going to keep reading regardless but I liked this column even more than usual. Really looking forward to the one tomorrow.
I kinda liked the Diddy stuff, but between all the feels from Wrestle-Con, Watching Mania with friends who enjoyed it and weren’t just in it to make snarky comments and a pretty lengthy conversation I had on the bus ride to and from Secaucus on Saturday about Jurassic Park, I felt like I was in a time warp to the mid-90’s. You can ask Casey, Ashley, Lobby or Chudley, I knew every word.
Maybe this is just me reading into it too much, but I think the hands on the back of the CM Punk shirt are a reference to Davey Havok’s tattoo – harkening another loose connection between CM Punk and AFI. This is awesome to me. Picture below:
Honestly, to me, this was one of the most predictable Wrestlemanias I’ve watched. I ended up winning the pot at my Wrestlemania party with an almost perfect pick (I picked Tons Of Fun to win; they didn’t even go on). I enjoyed the first half, like Brandon, and I tuned out after Punk vs. Taker.
I really don’t have much to say about WM this year. It was, for lack of a better term, meh.
I just gotta agree with you …
however, I’m really REALLY “trying my hardest” to forget about the last two matches (all the video packages at raw and the coming ones at main event and smackdown aren’t helping …) and it’s actully working ! it’s making me think “HENRY WON ! SHEILD OUTSMARTED ORTON AND SHEAMUS ! FAAAN-DAAAN-GOOO FOR EVEEEERRRR !! YES YES YES ! AND PUNK WAS AWESOME !!!” and just that.
I actually didn’t pay much attention to most of HHH/Lesnar either. There was a spot during the match where HBK was attacked by Lesnar or something which led my friend and I to joke for most of the it about how HBK is gonna have recurring hunting nightmares where a giant bear is constantly trying to maul him. The joke was that the bear had a weird sword shaved into his chest fur and a Jimmy John’s logo shaved into his ass and his name was Bear-ck Lesnar. So there’s that.
Though I enjoyed parts, overall I feel like a shmuck for ordering Wrestlemania — and even more so after watching Raw late last night. Seriously, no backstage vignettes. No interviews. No legends making an appearance (other than the brief HOF recognition). And they STILL had to cut a match I was looking forward to. I spent $70 and basically got a non Big 4 show that was utterly TROUNCED by the free show I watched the next night. Even the parts I enjoyed have to be tempered by the fact I basically had to pay $30 more than I used to in order to be shown closed circuit commercials.
I heard Dave Meltzer on the radio right after Mania, and he said they actually filmed a bunch of backstage vignettes – mostly for the WWE app, although a couple were planned for the PPV itself apparently. Then when the app crashed and time was too tight to get in all seventy ads and promos, they decided not to run any of them.
Maybe it was just the sound at the Hooters where I watched this but the crowd seemed pretty dead for Lesnar/H. If that’s the case, I’ll assume it was because “crowd tired/no breather match” but the match was damn dull anyway.
Yeah, that was well documented in the open thread. The crowd was hot for Undertaker/Punk and then just seemed bored out of their minds for Triple H/Bork. I think that reception, plus the rowdy crowd at Raw, is why Triple H retreated to Smackdown, land of the fake crowd noise dubbing, to give his follow-up promo.
Yeah, Triple H’s career is safe, so he can then spend the next 3 months off TV before rolling out of bed to have a match at Summerslam for no real reason.
What I’m saying is how is anything different with the win? He hadn’t wrestled since he lost at Summerslam to Bork anyways. Pretty sure you’re already Mick Foley retired with your one or two matches a year schedule Trips.
This was my first Mania live and in person, and I had a blast, outside of Rock/Cena II. I’m already thinking about New Orleans next year, and how many organs I’ll need to sell on the black market to afford tickets, travel and accommodations.
I am also one of the apparently growing horde who assumed that helicopter would play SOME sort of role in WM outside of capturing arial shots. I had gotten a HOT TIP (aka a friend of mine is also friends with Seth Rollins, and he told my friend that he thought the Shield were gonna get the nod to open Mania) the night before, so the circling copter definitely got me excited. Minor letdown, though, as I ADORED Rollins’ leaping/rolling entrance over the barricade.
I was literally the only person in my entire section (212, btw) who cheered for Fandango. They’ll all come around soon enough. I told them to expect Fandango/Taker, streak-vs.-streak, for WMXXX.
It’s weird sitting in an open-air stadium that far away from the ring, because you can barely hear any of the impact at all. I think that’s what made it hard for the crowd to get into the Lesnar/HHH match, as it looked brutal enough, but it was like watching a silent film. There actually seemed to be a live mic still on somewhere near ringside, because every once in a while you’d hear grunting or someone hitting the ringpost or something.
Super-surprised at no National Anthem/America The Beautiful/backstage segments/assorted tomfoolery. It was pretty much just a bunch of wrestling (and video packages), which I’m okay with. I also loved the pre-show, and wish the post-show would’ve been broadcast in the stadium as I would’ve hung around to watch that too.
I’ve tried to post this a couple times and it didn’t go through, hopefully I’m not breaking any rules, but I think the hands on the Punk shirt are a reference to a Davey Havok (of AFI fame) tattoo. I approve.
I was there live, too, and I have to say it was, over all, an amazing experience. Definitely bucket list material. I get that a lot of people didn’t enjoy the main event(s) and they were overly predictable, but I still had a blast. Then again our section was lively and pretty inebriated.
Also, what the hell ran so long that they had to cut a match, have John Cena and the Rock practically sprint to the ring, paste the Swagger/Del Rio video over Swagger’s entrance and have the Hall of Famers wave quickly while practically catapulting them across the stage?
WWE’s time budgeting for PPVs, especially WrestleMania is atrocious and I don’t know why. Are they so used to getting extra time on USA that they freak out half way through ‘Mania when they realise they can’t go over and start chopping everything?
Hey Brandon, did you do any touchups to these pictures, because on the Team Hell No vs. Team Rocket picture, I can see Kane’s legs but can’t see anything above them. It’s as if his torso turned invisible so you could have the perfect viewing angle for D-Bry covering his ears.
I get so annoyed with the fact they need to cut things to make other things longer. Going 25 minutes doesnt make something automatically epic. I was at WrestleMania 22, and Angle/Rey/Orton had a banger, and it was what, 9 minutes? If it went to 25 minutes, would it have been a guarenteed classic? Who knows. There might have been 13 minutes of rest holds added.
But then Kurt Angle would have suplexed both men during their rest holds, so yea, bad example, that match would have been epic.
I also enjoyed the taker/punk match but didn’t think “EPIC !” after it was done too … I especially liked exactly what you talked about in it , which is basicly “cm punk is a wrestling fan~ before being a wrestler and knows the little details that will make people like him” …
I also was one of the guys that really really really really really wanted punk to win that I totally believed in it until the very end even with all the little things that you could totally know from it that he’s losing !!!