For two years, we as wrestling fans spent 360+ days knowing the following year’s WrestleMania event. We knew how the booking was going to fall simply, and, it made for rather lackluster WrestleManias.
For months, all I heard from fans was how awful 30 was going to be, partially because of what had happened for two years and partially because once the dust settled and you could see how this was going to end, the main event we were going to get looked more depressing than Rock-Cena III (Once In A Lifetime, We Really Mean It This Time).
However, a funny little thing happened last night in New Orleans.
WrestleMania 30 became one of the best WrestleManias of all time.
Daniel Bryan ascended, just like anyone not blinded by sheer fandom could have told you was coming, it was just a matter of time. A story line, to me, that was fast-forwarded due to the departure of CM Punk.
It really came at the perfect time, however, because WrestleMania 30 became the Showcase of the American Dragon. As he opened the show in a 30-minute masterpiece of a match (which, by the way, was because of Bryan AND Triple H). He then closed the show and re-awoke a dead crowd, leading me to believe that Bryan is magical and can awake someone from a coma even at this point.
Speaking of dead, a seven minute entrance and a match that felt full-on stiff from moment one ended in a way no one could have predicted.
Seriously, no one could have predicted that. Let’s review the lead-in to The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar, shall we:
- The Undertaker 21-0 entering WrestleMania 30.
- Lesnar has looked petrified of Taker except for the Monday before WrestleMania 30, which lends itself to the idea that there’s no way he’s going over.
- The certainties of life are life itself, death, taxes and The Undertaker winning at Mania.
So, on that third F5, you’ll pardon us all in attendance, watching at home or following along on social media for going into shock that a three count followed.
There were reports of anger and crying, I can tell you even the press box fell into “what the…” mode. Hell, we were all just playing around waiting for the eventual Taker does something from kinda nowhere and wins. (Isn’t that how it always happens now?)
But, nope, not this time. Lesnar hits a third F5 and the referee’s hand went down 1-2-3, and the most mystifying moment ever occurred.
Let’s be realistic, I could list you probably 20 reasons why it shouldn’t have been Lesnar to break the streak without blinking an eye. But, let me tell you the reasons why it was perfect:
- We have begged “creative” to be creative and unpredictable. They were.
- We kinda want Lesnar to be an unbeatable monster. He’s been beaten, sure, but he’s done the unthinkable, somehow re-energizing the kinda falling Lesnar. Honestly, this is the best Lesnar has been booked since his return, easily.
- Lesnar is now the heel. THE GUY. You could have him pretend he’s now just gonna walk out, you could also have The Authority align with him to try and take out Bryan and set up a Summerslam match of fantastic-ness.
- It kinda also gives The Undertaker the chance to say goodbye if that’s the way it’s going or to let him and Sting just have a match. No real expectations associated. Just let the two have a match so the nostalgia crazies are appeased.
- You’re watching RAW tonight JUST to see what happens with these two, aren’t you? And considering there’s a national championship game on tonight, Vince McMahon will do a lot to make sure you tune into his television program instead of that.
While it was the biggest, it wasn’t the only upset of the night, no no, that goes to the other guy to have two WrestleMania moments Sunday: Cesaro.
On the preshow Cesaro swung Jack Swagger to the curb, then was somehow miraculously found in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal an hour and a half later.
Many of us would have put money on The Big Show walking out of that match the winner, because, sure, any of a select few would be great fits, but the inaugural match has to go to the guy who is compared to Andre all the time, who showed up dressed like Andre, right?
Nope, it went to the guy who body-slammed the guy who is compared to Andre. The one that the crowd has gotten behind a lot in recent weeks.
Say hello to the Cesaro push, ladies and gentlemen. It’s going to be fun.
Match after match, moment after moment. WrestleMania 30 was a hands-down success that sets up the road to WrestleMania 31 full of curves and questions, just the way the WWE wants it.
NEW ORLEANS – The weekend of WrestleMania, “The Showcase of the Immortals” began with enshrining some into immortality and ended with making one mortal.
But, on the business side, the sports-entertainment juggernaut announced Sunday night that the landmark 30th WrestleMania, held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, broke several notable records.
WrestleMania 30, according to a release by the company, broke the record for the Mercedes-Benz Superdome’s highest-grossing entertainment event, marking the fifth consecutive year the WWE broke the host venue’s record.
Sunday night, WrestleMania 30 grossed $10.9 million as a sold-out crowd of 75,167 from all 50 states and 37 countries converged on the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The event was broadcast live in the U.S., not only on cable and satellite providers on pay-per-view in more than 100 countries in 20 languages as well as the newly launched, WWE Network.
“On behalf of the city of New Orleans, I would like to thank all of the fans who came from around the world to WrestleMania 30,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “WrestleMania has taken its rightful place amongst the most historic events ever held in New Orleans.”
In a press conference prior to Sunday’s event, WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon was more than complimentary to the host city.
“We have been so welcomed by the entire city,” she said. “We’ll be back, I just don’t know when.”
McMahon explained that WrestleMania, like the Super Bowl and other major events, are bid upon by cities. New Orleans won the bid for the WWE’s landmark event and it was announced last year that WrestleMania 30 would be hosted by the city.
“This city is built to host WrestleMania,” said WWE Superstar John Cena. “It’s built to host any event.
“Hopefully, we’re doing New Orleans justice.”
“The success of WrestleMania week in New Orleans would not have been possible without the tireless support of Mayor Mitch Landrieu, as well as our public and private sector partners who built an amazing blueprint to welcome our fans from around the world to this milestone celebration,” said John P. Saboor, executive vice president of special events, WWE. “We now begin our exciting journey to Silicon Vallery for WrestleMania 31.”
WrestleMania 31 takes place Sunday, March 29, 2015 from Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
WrestleMania 30 also now ranks as the fifth-most attended WrestleMania, behind WrestleMania 3, Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Mich., 93,173; WrestleMania 29, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J., 80,676; WrestleMania 23, Ford Field, Detroit, 80,103; and WrestleMania 28, Sun Life Stadium, Miami, 78,363.
But, WrestleMania is more than just business numbers, the entertainment side has always been the event’s bread and butter, and this year’s edition was no different.
Starting earlier in the week, the WWE took over New Orleans, visiting schools, hosting “Be A Star” anti-bullying rallies, building playgrounds and much more charitable events, helping the WWE continue to cement its status as a good corporate citizen.
Saturday, the first of WrestleMania weekend’s two major events, was held at the Smoothie King Center. The WWE Hall of Fame inducted one of its largest and most notable classes to date, including Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Paul Bearer, Razor Ramon, Lita, Carlos Colón and The Ultimate Warrior, as well as Mr. T into the Celebrity Wing.
The emotional night brought back memories from all, some more painful and thought-provoking, like Roberts’ wishes of sharing his time more wisely and expressing his gratefulness for second chances like the WWE, the fans and his friend Diamond Dallas Page have afforded him. Others were a mixture of conflicting emotions, like this year’s headliner, The Ultimate Warrior, who in the midst of his lengthy speech, called his fans legendary, expressed hopes of beginning to honor the behind-the-scene people in the WWE at the Hall of Fame and talked about part of The Ultimate Warrior DVD that broke his heart.
Sunday, the main event, was also a roller coaster for the fans, and became a night of major moments and landmark upsets; most notably, Daniel Bryan becoming WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Cesaro winning the inaugural Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and, of course, the end of The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak. The latter, drawing the ire and shock of fans all over the globe.
This will be your headquarters for my trip to New Orleans this weekend for Wrestlemania XXX. You can expect a story and a column, both dropping Monday morning. Hopefully after I get some sleep.