Thanks to three incredible main-event matches, WrestleMania XXVIII certainly lived up to the hype as it was one of the better 'Manias in recent memory. Although the wrestlers were the biggest reason for that, there were also several non-wrestlers who made a huge impact on the event's entertainment value.
There would be no WrestleMania without the wrestlers, but the atmosphere is of great importance as well. Whether it be a manager, announcer, referee or anything else, there are plenty of other factors that go into making WrestleMania a spectacle.
They don't call him Mr. WrestleMania for nothing as Shawn Michaels proved capable of stealing the show on wrestling's biggest stage without even competing in a match. Michaels served as the special guest referee for the Hell in a Cell match between The Undertaker and Triple H, and he added a ton to the bout. His history with both men was well documented and it made the match even more captivating as he did an excellent job of showing how conflicted he was.
While Triple H is his best friend, he has incredible respect for The Undertaker, so it was uncertain what route he would choose to take. He tried to stop Hunter from hitting Taker with sickening chair and sledgehammer shots, but when the tables were turned, he tried to stop The Deadman as well. After being taken out by Taker at one point, he hit him with a Sweet Chin Music into a Pedigree, but Taker still miraculously kicked out. Michaels ultimately counted Hunter's shoulders to the mat and helped The Undertaker carry Triple H away after that match in what was an unbelievable WrestleMania moment.
It seemed like it was unlikely to happen, but prior to the Hell in a Cell match between The Undertaker and Triple H, Jim Ross was introduced to the crowd and came out to announce the match. It's quite obvious that the fans absolutely adore good ol' JR, so Vince McMahon and the company as a whole made a very wise decision in allowing him to call the match. He was a huge part of the career of every man involved in the match, so he deserved to be on commentary.
Say what you will about Ross having lost a step, but he always brings that big-match feel to every bout he calls, and he most definitely did that on Sunday. Truth be told, Michael Cole did quite a nice job calling WrestleMania as he wasn't preoccupied with playing an annoying heel character. Even so, I consider Ross to be the best to ever put on the headset, so I was thrilled to see him get his moment. The end of an era match would have been amazing regardless of who called it, but Ross added a little something extra to it.
Which non-wrestler had the biggest impact on WrestleMania XXVIII?
It may sound cliche, but a great audience can go a long way in making a wrestling event a success. WrestleMania XXVIII had a great card and some fantastic matches that any wrestling fan would have loved, but the crowd reactions made them even more special. The 78,000-plus at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Fla. were amped up as soon as things got started and they didn't quiet down for the rest of the night. It started with "Yes" chants prior to the Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan match and it ended with dueling John Cena and Rock chants during their dream encounter.
They were equally as involved the next night on RAW and deserve a huge round of applause for making WrestleMania and the ensuing RAW huge successes. It would have been tough for any wrestling fan with a pulse not to get excited for WrestleMania, but there have been lame crowds for big events in the past. That wasn't the case on Sunday, though, as the Miami audience proved why wrestling fans are, to borrow a quote from CM Punk, the best in the world.