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WWE WrestleMania XXVIII
April 1st 2012
Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida
Announcers: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler & Jim Ross
The main event for WrestleMania 28 was the “once in a lifetime” match between John Cena and The Rock. The unique dynamic about this match was that it was booked a year in advance (April 4th 2011, the night after WrestleMania 27). Rocky made his in-ring return at the Survivor Series and he deserved those “you still got it” chants. The other big main event was the Hell in a Cell match between Undertaker & Triple H. Undertaker was dissatisfied about being stretchered out of the arena at WM 27 and offered Triple H a rematch as he didn’t want to be remembered that way. Hunter refused. Eventually, Triple H accepted a re-match on the condition that it would be a Hell in a Cell match. The other interesting addition was the inclusion of Shawn Michaels as the guest referee. Looking at the card, I had high hopes for this show. Would it deliver? Let’s find out!
The WWE’s own, Lillian Garcia sings America the Beautiful. She does a great job as always.
This year’s video package focuses on tonight’s main event between John Cena and The Rock. They showed clips of them as children, their WWE debuts and other moments from their lives/ careers. The VP also focused on the Hell in a Cell match too. The “Once in a lifetime” tag makes me laugh knowing what’s going to happen next year.
World Heavyweight Championship
Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan © /w/ AJ Lee
Daniel Bryan get a kiss off AJ, he turns around, Brogue Kick from Sheamus 1…2….3. It went 18 seconds.
Winner and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: Sheamus via pinfall
I was watching this show with a group of mates and we were fuming! I remember saying if this match got enough time we could end up turning Daniel Bryan face. Poor choice of words huh? Even today I’m still pissed off about it. I understand why they did it as they wanted to put Sheamus over huge and give the impression that the Brogue Kick was a finisher that could end a match in seconds. A mate of mine who was there told me that for the rest of the show everyone was bitching about it. I don’t blame them. At least D-Bry wasn’t buried afterwards. He went on to become one of the top guys in the company. The “YES” chants have a cult following.
Backstage, The Miz tried to motivate “Team RAW” in preparation for their match later tonight but they ignore him. John Laurinaitis appears wearing a red & white suit. He too also motivates the team, this time they respond to the motivation.
Randy Orton vs. Kane
Before the match started, we all joked that all the matches will go 18 seconds just so Rock & Cena will go on for 4 hours. Orton goes to work on Kane and beats him into the corner. Orton stomps on Kane, so Kane rolls to the ring apron to create some distance. Orton goes for his patented rope-assisted DDT, but Kane slides through and tosses Orton onto the ropes. Kane connects with a Big Boot and gest a two count. Kane whips Orton to the mat and lands a basement drop kick to Orton’s skull for another two count. Kane locks in a rear chin lock, but Orton fights back to his feet. Orton and Kane slug it out in the middle of the ring, but Kane connect with a right that drops Orton for yet another two count. Kane hits a side slam for another two count. Kane wrenches on Orton’s neck, but Orton slowly regains his vertical base. Kane flights Orton onto the corner and follows up with a delayed vertical suplex in the middle ring for a two count. Kane has been in control for almost the entire match, and he presses his advantage by going right back to the rear chin lock. Orton again fights back to his feet, Kane goes for another vertical suplex, but Orton floats over and lands on his feet. Orton hits a clothesline and follows up with a power slam. Orton whips Kane to the corner, and Kane posts his shoulder. Orton hits the rope-assisted DDT and sets up for the RKO. Orton goes for the RKO, but Kane counters into a Big Boot for a two count. Kane heads up top and flies, but Orton connects with a drop kick to the ribs in mid-air. Orton sets up for the Skull Punt, but Kane catches him with a Choke Slam for a LONG two count. Both men get back to their feet, but Kane pounds on Orton in the corner. Orton fights back and goes for a quick RKO, but Kane again pushes Orton to the corner. Orton catches Kane with a drop toe hold and then takes him up to the top turnbuckle. Orton pounds on Kane up top and set up for a Super RKO, but Kane counters into a Super Choke Slam from the top rope for the three count.
Winner: Kane via pinfall
The Chokeslam from the top rope was a pretty cool spot I admit. The match itself was decent. It got 11 minutes which was the right amount of time. Orton had a great year in 2011 and deserved a more high profile match at WrestleMania. This wasn’t it.
There was a backstage comedy bit with Santino, Mick Foley, some dude from Deadliest Catch (don’t email me his name – not important) and then Ron Simmons ended it with a “DAMN.” I’m glad he did because this segment was dying fast. I guess that’s the point. Too bad Foley didn’t have a bigger role on the show. I was convinced that he would face Dolph Ziggler in a Hardcore match.
WWE Intercontinental Championship
Cody Rhodes © vs. The Big Show
Rhodes immediately heads to the outside to avoid Show, but Show gives chase and tosses Rhodes back into the ring. Show beats Rhodes from corner to corner and then launches him half way across the ring. Show traps Rhodes in the corner and connects with a thunderous chop. Show lands a shot to the gut and follows up with another thunderous chop. Rhodes slumps down to the mat, and Show buries Rhodes’ face in his hindquarters. Rhodes finally takes control and beats Show down to the mat for a two count. Rhodes goes to work on the knee and thigh so that Show will have trouble getting back to his feet. Rhodes continues to wrench on Show’s knee and then stomps on his face a few times. Rhodes goes for a boot the skull, but Show catches Rhodes’ boot and shoves him down to the mat. Show takes Rhodes up top and goes for a choke slam, but Rhodes drops to the outside and wrenches Show’s arm over the top rope. Rhodes hits a Disaster Kick that drops Show. Rhodes goes for another Disaster Kick, but Show spears him in mid-air. Show waits for Rhodes to get back to his feet, hits the Weapon of Mass Destruction, and gets the three count.
Winner and NEW WWE Intercontinental Champion: The Big Show via pinfall
Rating: * ½
If any match was to go 18 seconds it would have to been this one. It would have made sense as Cody was always mocking Big Show for not having that WrestleMania moment. I wish Cody got the win here but I understand why Show was victorious as he finally picked up his WrestleMania moment.
They aired a video package promoting why the WWE Divas are so strong and beautiful. Never once mention that there was a Divas match tonight. Apparently as soon as the VP aired, huge sections of the crowd went to the bathroom/ concession stands.
Eve Torres & Beth Phoenix vs. Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos
Kelly and Eve start, and Kelly slides through Eve’s legs for a quick takedown. Eve whips Kelly to the corner and goes for a clothesline, but Kelly evades and goes for a handspring back elbow shot, but Eve gets her knees up. Eve goes up top and goes for a moonsault, but Kelly knocks her off the top. Maria gets the tag, and Kelly and Maria hits Eve with a double stink face. Eve regains control and takes Maria down to the mat. Eve locks in a body scissors to work over Maria’s injured ribs. Eve makes the tag to Beth, and Beth kicks Maria in the ribs. Beth locks in a side bear hug and continues to work over Maria’s injured ribs. Beth mounts Maria and goes to work with mounted punches. Beth stomps on Maria’s ribs and makes the tag to Eve. Eve goes for the booty poppin’ standing moonsault, but Maria kicks Eve out of the ring and crawls toward Kelly. Eve makes the tag to Beth, but Maria just manages to make the tag to Kelly. Kelly hits Beth with a head scissors takedown into the corner and follows up with a neck breaker. Kelly heads up top and connects with a somersault senton. That actually was pretty impressive. Eve rushes the ring and makes the save, and that allows Beth to set up for the Glam Slam, but Kelly counters into a high bulldog. Kelly makes the tag to Maria, and Maria heads up top. Beth pulls Maria off the top and goes for a guerrilla press slam, but Kelly makes the save from behind. Beth gets pushes into Eve and knocks Eve off the ring apron. Maria catches Beth on the rebound and gets a quick roll-up pin for the three count.
Winners: Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos via pinfall
Rating: ½ *
Fans didn’t take much interest in it. Beth deserved better.
Matt Striker is interviewing Shawn Michaels. Shawn makes a hint about screwing Undertaker over.
The official attendance is announced as 78,363. Yet another attendance record!
Jim Ross is introduced as the guest commentator for the next match. I wish he stayed for the entire broadcast but as least he was on hand for this epic encounter.
Shawn Michaels is introduced as the guest referee. He gets a decent pop from the crowd as does Triple H. Undertaker has his traditional kick ass WrestleMania entrance like he normally does. Undertaker pulls back the hood on this entrance attire and is now supporting a Mohawk. The Cell also gets its own entrance theme which was a bit over the top. With the Cell down and our competitors ready, let’s recap this awesome match!
Hell in a Cell
Special Guest Referee: Shawn Michaels
Triple H vs. The Undertaker
The bell rings and we’ve got a straight up slugfest to start. The action spills to the floor quickly and Hunter takes a back bump on the floor. Taker sends Triple H shoulder-first into the steel steps but back in the ring Hunter hits a knee on the dead man and it has no effect. ‘Taker works over the arm and goes Old School for a big pop. Back outside the ring again he slams the steel steps right into Hunter’s face as if it were a steel chair before sliding them into the ring. Back inside Hunter fires off a DDT to regain a bit of momentum and then tries to pedigree ‘Taker on the steps, but he takes a huge back body drop instead. Hunter gives him a nasty Double A spinebuster right onto the steel steps but the dead man just uses that as a chance to try and lock on the Hell’s Gate submission. Hunter just picks him up and slams him for a two count though. Hunter grabs a couple of chairs from under the ring and waffles ‘Taker over the back with one of them. Triple H slams Taker into the steps in the corner and then slams the steel chair over his back a total of nine times before HBK can momentarily back him off. He goes right back to it though, slamming the chair over him a few more times. Hunter wants Taker to quit via chairshot apparently, but he won’t have any of it as he just keeps getting back up like the quasi-zombie he is, kicking out of another pin attempt. Hunter seems to be slightly busted open above his eye (not sure if that’s intentional or not) as he goes for the sledgehammer underneath the ring and then blasts Taker with it. Taker kicks out of another pin attempt and Hunter squares up to basically cave in Taker’s skull with the hammer, but Shawn grabs it away from him at the last second as Triple H admonishes him to ring the bell and “end it”. Shawn contemplates it but he gets too close to the wounded dead-man, who locks him into the Hell’s Gate in a sign of blind panic, taking him out for the time being. Taker locks Hunter into the hold next, pretty much choking him unconscious. Referee Charles Robinson comes running down to the cell just in time to count to two as Undertaker chokeslams Triple H, and Undertaker doesn’t like that so he chokeslams him for making the trip. Shawn awakens and is pissed now so he gives Taker the Sweet Chin Music to set up a pedigree from Triple H, but still the dead man kicks out! Very well planned and executed spot there that really had half the crowd convinced that was it. I did too!
Hunter tosses Shawn in anger just as Undertaker catches his second wind, firing off a tombstone for a near fall so close that he spits out a trail of nasty drool on Hunter’s chest in disbelief. Back on their feet both men begin brawling again until Hunter hits the pedigree, and still Taker kicks out. Hunter goes for the sledgehammer again but now it’s Undetaker’s turn to beat the living shit out of Hunter with a steel chair, getting a measure of payback for the beat down Hunter gave him earlier. Triple H’s selling here is marvellous as he’s literally snivelling and cowering trying to find the strength to get to his feet, but he’s a rebel to the end so Hunter gives him a crotch chop and eggs Taker on to take him out with the sledgehammer. Finally Undertaker gives him a last tombstone and that’s enough for the win. Afterwards Shawn and Undertaker embrace in a sign of respect and help Triple H out of the ring to wrap things up perfectly.
Winner: The Undertaker via pinfall
Awesome! Bret Hart gave it a 4/10, I’ll give it 10/10. It was the last time that we’ll likely see them involved in the same match at the same time, I’m sure of that. Shawn was brilliant as the ref and the emotion he showed was outstanding. It truly felt like an end of an era. The nearfalls were amazing, especially the SCM/ Pedigree spot. I honestly thought it was over then as did a lot of people in the crowd. Undertaker is now 20-0 at WrestleMania.
The Hall of Fame segment is up next with this year’s class including Yokozuna, Mil Mascaras, Mike Tyson, Ron Simmons, The Four Housemen (Ric Flair, JJ Dillion, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard & Barry Windham) and Edge. Edge is looking very emotional here. Shame he had to retire through injury but what a career he had though. There’s something amusing about seeing Mil Mascaras, Mike Tyson, and Ric Flair all in the same place at the same time.
Backstage Josh Matthews is hyping up Flo Rida when the “One Man Southern Rock band” (whatever the hell that is) Heath Slater interrupts to say that no one wants to hear Florida. Slater plays goofy white guy and Flo Rida’s deadpan reaction and violent shove of Slater is pretty hilarious in response
Team Johnny (The Miz/ Mark Henry/ Drew McIntyre/ Jack Swagger/ Dolph Ziggler & David Otunga)w/ John Laurinaitis, Vicki Guerrero & Brie Bella vs. Team Teddy (Kofi Kingston/ Great Khali/ R-Truth/ Zack Ryder/ Booker T & Santino Marella) w/ Teddy Long, Eve Torres, Hornswoggle & Nikki Bella.
This is for GM control of both RAW and Smackdown and they’re all wearing goofy team t-shirts again. There are far too many people at ringside though. Kofi starts off with Ziggler but tags Truth in quickly so he can do his dancing leg drop. Drew and Khali tag in and you can guess who wins that exchange. Booker tags in next and feeds Drew a superkick and a side-slam. Booker winds up earning the role of face in peril as all the heels trade tags and work him over in their corner. The beat down just goes on and on and on but the crowd is already gone by this point, everyone fights out to the floor and Miz takes them all out with a nice tope, while back in the ring Santino gets the hot tag from Booker. Santino hits a diving headbutt and then nails Miz with the Cobra, but Ziggler breaks the pin up. Ryder hops in and is all kinds of fired up, snapping off a neckbreaker and then the Rough Ryder onto Ziggler. Eve hops into the ring to fist pump with Ryder out of nowhere, but this of course just serves to distract Ryder long enough for Miz to give him the Skull Crushing Finale and make Johnny the permanent GM. After the match, Eve kicks Ryder in the balls further humiliating the guy.
Winners: Team Johnny via pinfall
Rating: ** ½
It was a good tag match and as always Zack Ryder was booked as the village idiot!
We get a recap from the recent Fan Axcess events. Lucky sods!
Backstage, WWE Champion CM Punk is preparing himself for his upcoming title defence. John Laurinaitis approaches him and tells him that in his upcoming match he can lose the WWE title via disqualification.
Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk ©
This one looks great on paper, and though some didn’t like the alcoholic angle with Jericho it was classic heel behaviour and gives Punk a bit more of a reason to want to take Jericho out. Both men lock up and Punk takes it to Jericho in the corner when Jericho asks Punk how his father is in a funny moment. Punk looks for the Macho Man elbow but Jericho bails out of the ring so Punk flies off the top with a clothesline to the floor instead! Jericho asks Punk how his sister is now and he grabs a steel chair as Jericho eggs him on, hoping for Punk to get DQed. How can you not laugh when a man yells out “Your father’s a drunk! Your sister’s a drug addict! Hit me!”? Jericho is such an evil heel! Jericho clotheslines Punk into the ring from the apron and then suplexes him right out of the ring all the way to the floor off the apron! Sick spot there. Back in the ring Jericho slaps on a chinlock and hits a lazy back senton for two. Punk goes to the top but Jericho yanks him back off and Punk’s head snaps back against the mat as if he were a car crash victim. Ouch. Punk uses some fancy footwork and fires off a swinging neckbreaker, and then manages to fight off a lionsault and a Walls of Jericho attempt. He tries for the Macho elbow but Jericho blocks it and then hits him with the Codebreaker, sending Punk flying out of the ring. Jericho manages to bring him back in but Punk hits him with the GTS out of nowhere. Punk takes too long to cover though and only gets a two from it. Both men trade waist locks until Jericho gives Punk a front suplex over the top rope and then hits a lionsault. Punk looks for a top rope frankensteiner, but Jericho counters into the Walls of Jericho position and leaps off the top rope, nearly killing Punk in the process. He applies the hold on the mat for a few moments but Punk gets the rope break. Jericho gets dumped to the floor and Punk takes him out with a tope. Punk springboards back into the ring, but Jericho meets him in mid-air with another Codebreaker. Jericho blocks another GTS attempt and transitions right into the Walls of Jericho, and he’s really cranking it on almost in Liontamer fashion. Punk counters into the Anaconda Vice and Jericho manages to escape into a few roll-up attempts, but Punk just rolls through right back into the Vice all in one fluid motion. Jericho has no choice but to tap out.
Winner and STILL WWE Champion: CM Punk via submission
Rating: *** ½
Enjoyable match with the added stipulations. Jericho was awesome in his attempts to get Punk disqualified but Punk was able to overcome Jericho’s mind games. Not quite the epic encounter we were all hoping for (that would come at the next pay per view, Extreme Rules) but this was still a great match with perfect psychology and sweet reversals.
The Funkasaurus Brodus Clay of all people comes out next to ask everyone to bring out their cell phones and call their momma’s. Brodus calls his mom but apparently she’s already here, so he introduces “Mama Clay”, who looks like Martin Lawrence in Big Momma’s House complete with huge ass and all. A whole troupe of big momma dancers come out as well. Well that was something. I guess Brodus has had his WrestleMania moment huh.
It’s main event time as we get a video package for the Rock/Cena feud. I thought they’d run a longer one. P. Diddy came out and introduced Machine Gun Kelly, who sang Invincible while John Cena highlights played. What I found ridiculous was when MGK called Cena an underdog. He’s been main eventing for seven years now. He’s not an underdog. He deserved to be booed for that statement. John Cena’s entrance was full of boos. There was a lot of noise, though, so that let me know the crowd still had plenty of energy to react to everything in the main event.
Flo Rida was next. He sang “Good Feeling” and “Wild Ones” to a lot of cheers from the crowd. It was a fun concert. Lots of energy for him. Not a Flo Rida fan but it was decent I must admit. Now here comes Rocky and what an ovation he receives. One of the loudest I’ve ever heard. I noticed that there was a “If Cena wins we riot” sign in the crowd, if Cena did win then that statement could very well be true! I’ve never heard a crowd more behind one person that they were behind the Rock on that night. The fact that there were 80,000 supporting this one man made it even more impressive.
John Cena vs. The Rock
Well here we are, one year later and it’s finally here. Can it deliver after all the hype? Let’s see. Crowd is all over Cena as expected but it’s not quite as bad as you might expect. Rock fires off a few nice armdrags and he looks good here. Cena takes control with a side headlock briefly but bails after Rock escapes and then returns with a stiff clothesline. Cena tries working a bear hug waist lock of sorts and then dumps Rock over the top rope and out to the floor. Back inside a belly to belly suplex gets Cena a two count and he goes back to the bear hug. Rock manages to give him a DDT and that gives him enough time to find his breath and look for the People’s Elbow. Cena blocks it from every happening though and hits a fallaway slam. Both men go for a clothesline at the same time and wipe each other out. Back on their feet they trade shots when Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment out of nowhere only for Rocky to kick out. Back on his feet the Rock hits the Rock Bottom, but now it’s Cena’s turn to kick out. He takes his sweet time on the top rope before finally hitting the biggest top rope leg drop I think he’s ever done for another two count. Rock responds by locking him into the sharpshooter, but of course Cena won’t tap and he gets the rope break. The action spills to the floor and Rock sends Cena into the ring steps. Back inside Cena applies the STF and Rock’s facial expressions here are great. Cena really milks the hold for all it’s worth and Rock nearly passes out as they do the arm-raising spot, but of course he gets his arm up at the last second and manages to finally break the hold. Rock hits a spinebuster and then delivers the People’s Elbow, but that alone won’t put Cena away. Rock hits a beautiful Steamboat like cross body off the top, but Cena rolls through and picks Rock up for another Attitude Adjustment! Rock somehow kicks out of it though. Cena reacted to it perfectly with a look of shock, wondering what he could do to put this guy. Not sure of himself, Cena went for the People’s Elbow. That was his undoing. Rock popped right up, gave him a Rock Bottom and won the match
Winner: The Rock via pinfall
Rating: *** ½
I enjoyed it personally. I know a lot of people didn’t like it but I thought it was enjoyable. Rock looked gassed after 10 minutes but he worked though it though. I didn’t like the bearhug spot because it was too 1990-ish but they told a great story with plenty of drama. Cena showed a lot of toughness coming back from everything and Rock showed a lot of heart by holding on while Cena had him in the STF for nearly two minutes as well. The finish was well done. I thought maybe Rock would win after two successive Rock Bottoms. I think it would have been a great spot to have Cena kick out of the Rock Bottom that ultimately was his demise because then Rock would really have to finish him off with another. It was fine how they did it, though. I guess I just wanted the finish to be even more emphatic than it was. Did you hear that pop for the finish? Ridiculously loud. I was watching this with a bunch of mates and afterwards I immediately said that they’ll have a re-match at WrestleMania 29. And I was right!
We end the show with Rocky celebrating in front of his hometown crowd as a stunned Cena watches on from the entrance ramp.
Best match: Undertaker vs. Triple H – Outstanding in every way.
Worst match: Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos vs. Beth Phoenix & Eve – Fans weren’t interested at all. Beth deserved a bigger role at WrestleMania
WrestleMania moment: Undertaker kicking out of the Sweet Chin Music/ Pedigree spot- I honestly thought the match was over at that point. One of the loudest reactions for a nearfall ever.
Top 5 stars
1. Undertaker – He earned those “you’ve still got it” chants.
2. Triple H – He was ruthless and unforgiven in his quest to defeat Undertaker.
3. The Rock – Put on a great performance in his return to singles action.
4. CM Punk – He played his role well by not giving in to Jericho’s taunts.
5. Chris Jericho- Loved him as the heel. The way he was trying to piss Punk off was flat out awesome.
Updated rankings chart:
Shawn Michaels – 50pts
Hulk Hogan/ Undertaker – 30pts
Macho Man Randy Savage – 29pts
Bret Hart/ Stone Cold – 25pts
The Rock – 22pts
Triple H – 21pts
Edge – 18pts
Kurt Angle– 14pts
Ricky Steamboat – 11pts
Mick Foley/ Jeff Hardy– 10pts
Owen Hart/ Ric Flair/ John Cena– 8pts
Ultimate Warrior/ Roddy Piper– 7pts
Chris Benoit– 6pts
Dynamite Kid/Rick Rude/ Ted Dibiase/ CM Punk– 5pts
Terry Funk/ Bam Bam Bigelow/ Diesel/ Eddie Guerrero/ Batista- 4pts
Tito Santana/Andre the Giant/ Mr Perfect/ Lawrence Taylor/ X-Pac- 3pts
Greg Valentine/ Scott Steiner/ Razor Ramon/Shane McMahon/ Christian/Brock Lesnar/Shelton Benjamin/ Chris Jericho-2pts
Sgt Slaughter/ Gorilla Monsoon/ Bobby Heenan/ Jim Ross/ Bubba Ray Dudley– 1pt
Overall Show Rating (Out of 10): 7.5
To me, the top three matches all delivered the goods. If you have a show where one match is five stars, another is over four stars and a third match is very close to that then it’s a very successful show in my opinion. I still wished Daniel Bryan and Sheamus got more time though.
WrestleMania Rankings so far:
WrestleMania 17 – 10
WrestleMania 19 – 9.5
WrestleMania 21 – 9
WrestleMania 14 – 8.5
WrestleMania 20 – 8.5
WrestleMania 24 – 8
WrestleMania 10 – 8
WrestleMania 23 – 8
WrestleMania 22 – 8
WrestleMania 26 – 7.5
WrestleMania 28 – 7.5
WrestleMania 25 – 7
WrestleMania 8 – 7
WrestleMania 3 – 7
WrestleMania 18 – 6.5
WrestleMania 7 – 6.5
WrestleMania 6 – 6
WrestleMania16 – 5.5
WrestleMania 12 – 5.5
WrestleMania 15 – 5
WrestleMania 27 – 5
WrestleMania 1 – 4.5
WrestleMania 13 – 4
WrestleMania 5 – 4
WrestleMania 11 – 4
WrestleMania 4 – 3.5
WrestleMania 2 – 3
WrestleMania 9 – 0.5
Up Next: Once in a lifetime 2 takes place at WrestleMania XXIX