Wrestlemania 28: How Wrestling's Biggest Stage Made Me a Kid Again for a Night

Justin EldridgeCorrespondent IIIApril 2, 2012

The dust has settled, the fans have left and Wrestlemania is officially over for another year. This Wrestlemania was one of the best I have ever seen, at least what I saw of it (more on that in a moment).

Not having a TV for the last couple of months has been hard on me. Following wrestling through news sites and B/R just isn't the same as watching it unfold before your eyes.

Therefore, I wasn't getting really excited to see Wrestlemania until yesterday, but the vibe caught on and I got bit hard by the 'Mania bug.

I walked into my friend's house to him arguing on the phone with his cable provider. Long story short, we missed everything right up to the middle of the women's tag match.

Now, while the women's match was fairly lackluster, it did have some bright spots. Kelly actually impressed with the somersault off the top, and with her reversal of the Glam Slam. The outcome of the match was hardly in doubt as celebrities don't lose at Wrestlemania.

Since I started writing for Bleacher Report, I have noticed a difference in the way I watch wrestling. I have started to use a more analytical eye. After the women's match last night, that all changed.

Maybe it was the fact that almost every match after that had someone involved that I watched when I was a teenager or in my pre-teen years. A lot of people have complained that these older guys have been taking the spotlight from the younger ones. All I can say after last night is, for that one night this year, I don't care.

Sure, the young guys should get time to shine at Wrestlemania, and they will.

This was not that year.

I really like a lot of the young guys that are coming up, but the nostalgic feel to last night was simply amazing. While I always enjoy watching wrestling, I literally had a smile on my face for the rest of the night as soon as Shawn made his entrance.

The Hell in a Cell match stole the show, in my opinion. That match was classic in ring story telling at its finest. What a way to end a storyline that had been told for basically the last four years.

I was on the edge of my seat for every near fall, engaged fully by the spectacle unfolding before my eyes. The three embracing at the top of the stage will forever be etched into my memory. After that match, I felt sorry for whomever would be following them.

I was pleasantly surprised with the big tag match, and Dolph Ziggler continues to shine and sell like nobody else. There was some time given to the match to allow for some very credible near falls, and I found myself quite into that match as well.

The Miami crowd even seemed to be fairly hot for some of the match which is a testament to the guys involved considering their placement on the card. Look for The Miz's stock to rise starting tonight.

With a stipulation put in place last minute by Johnny L, I figured that would come into play in the WWE Title match. Again, simple storytelling and great performers took a relatively basic match compared to other matches I have seen these men involved in and turned it into a match that was very special to watch. I actually expected to see Punk drop the strap and chase for a bit considering he has held since Survivor Series, but I was also happy to see him keep it.

I know it was Miami, but that may have been the hottest a crowd has been for a match since Rocky fought Hogan in Toronto. Of course I am talking about the show closer. It's truly amazing how much a great atmosphere elevates the performance of the wrestlers and it definitely translated across the airwaves.

When that bell rang to start the match and I got to see Rocky in the ring again for the first time in forever, I could not wipe the smile off of my face. Since packing on all his muscle, he's lost a bit of agility but he still put on a great show. Cena did extremely well in the match too. As much flak as he receives, Cena definitely rose to the occasion last night.

How does all of this translate to my headline? Well, I'll tell you.

It started in the Taker vs. HHH match. I noticed it a couple of times during that match and I shrugged it off as not much. But then it continued with each passing match.

I actually didn't care who won each match. I was fully invested in the story being told in the ring alone. That has not happened to me in years. I've been of the mindset that the bad guy should win, or so and so should win because it makes the most sense.

Last night, that stuff didn't matter. Sure I was rooting for certain wrestlers, but in the end it didn't matter to me who won or lost. I simply enjoyed the show, just like I did when I was kid. No analyzing, no being angry at certain outcomes of matches, just pure joy to be a child in an adult's body—if only for one night.