The opening match at WrestleMania 28 left many fans with a bad taste in their mouth.
In spite of subsequent matches at the pay-per-view proving to be stellar displays of heart and jaw-dropping talent, the match for the World Heavyweight Championship between Daniel Bryan and Royal Rumble winner Sheamus wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
With the WWE Championship match later in the card widely expected to steal the show, the World Heavyweight Championship match was still not to be counted out. The two stellar performers, both of whom were ultimately left off of the WrestleMania card last year for their U.S. title match, can put on one heck of a show.
Unfortunately, the WWE did count them out—in 18 seconds, flat.
Eighteen seconds isn't a particularly long match by any stretch of the imagination, but it also wasn't the shortest title match at WrestleMania: That distinction is held by Kane (another Superstar on this year's card) and Chavo Guerrero for the ECW championship at WrestleMania 24.
That match lasted a maddeningly brief eight seconds.
With the match-up between Sheamus and Bryan opening the pay-per-view, the Miami crowd was amped up for quite the showdown between the two, even if there had been prior complaints of their storyline heading into the event leaving something to be desired.
All that mattered when the two made their way to the ring was this match, this moment, and reigning champion Bryan's first career WrestleMania appearance.
Signs in the crowd in support of the heel titleholder adorned with his signature catchphrase—"Yes! Yes! Yes!"—were on display as the bell rang, signaling the beginning of the match.
Bryan took a moment to kiss girlfriend AJ Lee at ringside before turning to begin the bout.
Sheamus immediately landed a Brogue Kick, his finisher, before pinning the champion to the mat and ending the match with a pinfall.
If WWE were looking to set a record with the shortest title match at WrestleMania, they had failed in that mission. If they were, however, looking to bury two main event talents and cause some backlash amongst those in attendance, mission accomplished.
The following match, a grudge match between Kane and Randy Orton, also suffered from the booking.
As these two men battled it out on the "Grandest Stage of Them All," the crowd could clearly be heard chanting Bryan's name.
Was the company trying to bury the champion, or do they have bigger plans for Bryan and Sheamus post-Mania? I'm inclined to believe the latter.
After all, it was almost fitting in a way that the match should end in this manner.
Bryan himself had won the title from Big Show after cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase, leading to Big Show having the shortest title reign in history and igniting quite the feud between the men.
It also can't be forgotten that Bryan and Sheamus were left off the card altogether at last year's event, only to go into this year with one of the briefest matches in the history of the pay-per-view.
So, where do they go from here?
Going into this match, the storyline between the two had fallen short of being much of a legitimate feud. Now, Bryan's truly got something to be mad about.
If Bryan's title reign and feud with Big Show is any indication of the direction the company takes with these matters, look for the two to duke it out for the next couple of months, culminating in a very real feud with very real stakes.
To steal a phrase from The Undertaker's promos to Triple H, leading up to their match at this year's event: "This is not over."
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