There were several major matches set for WrestleMania with a number of lauded performers set to take center stage.
We anticipated great things from many of them. In many cases we got what we expected. In some cases, perhaps not.
But not every person stepping between the ropes was expected to do great things.
Here are three performers who went above and beyond expectations on Sunday.
Okay, right off the bat I'm going to cheat, and cheat twice.
The Usos were part of the triple-threat for the Tag Team Titles that constituted the dark match, and the whole thing was broadcast on YouTube.
They competed with the tag champions Primo and Epico (who defended their titles, big surprise), and Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel.
Smaller, younger (well, maybe not Primo and Kidd) guys and all, this match promised fast-paced exciting action, and delivered.
To me, the Usos stole this one.
Now, I have been banging the Uso drum for a while, but they really showed something tonight. The pair was the most fluid tag team out there, very much in sync. Their combo moves were vintage stuff. They did one move that started off looking like a classic double flip or double clothesline—what the heck is that move called?
Anyway, they tossed the guy up and then the one brother pushed him onto the shoulders of the other for a Samoan Drop. Very innovative, interesting stuff there. Looks like a signature move for the future (unless they've done it before and I missed it).
They did a similar thing later at ringside.
Good stuff all around.
Can I just say I was shocked with what Maria Menounos brought to the table?
Maybe it's because I can spell "Uso" with her last name.
Obviously she's no great shakes as a wrestler.
What I really liked from her came after she'd taken a lot of kayfabe abuse on her legit rib injury and Kelly Kelly needed to make a tag.
It looked like Kelly had more in the tank at this point and Maria had no business tagging in.
She struggled her way towards the top rope (a ridiculous decision for someone with bad ribs) and I'm not sure if she was legitimately hurt or just selling it really well, but either way I was impressed.
Obviously, the spot from the top rope to Beth Phoenix's hands to Kelly's help and the roll-up win was planned out, but her struggle to go up top was really good theater.
Can a performance by the showstopper really be considered surprisingly good?
I say this one was.
Even up to today, the attitude from Michaels was "I have the power over these men in my hands."
Once inside the cell, Michaels was powerless.
The right decision was made not to have HBK influence the victor directly.
He did try to dissuade Triple H from continuing his chair and hammer assault on The Undertaker, and encouraged him to make a pin.
He begged Undertaker to quit, begged to be allowed to call off the match.
He was denied.
He counted near fall after near fall, but could not end the match.
He got knocked senseless and had to be replaced, and even (sigh, for the fan boys I guess) threw a Sweet Chin Music.
But mostly he was reduced to sitting in the corner, staring or covering his face in his hands.
Distraught and weary at witnessing the destruction around him, the demolition of his best friend and having no recourse to stop it.
I swear, at times it looked like Michaels had taken the worst beating of all.
That's a good performance.
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