WrestleMania 29 Review: Match-by-Match Recap and Highlights

The Doctor Chris MuellerFeatured ColumnistApril 8, 2013

WrestleMania 29 Review: Match-by-Match Recap and Highlights

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    WrestleMania 29 is in the history books, and if everyone saw the same show I did, then there are sure to be plenty of people who will debate the quality of the show.

    A lot of factors led to how well the show came across on TV, including the cold weather, longer than usual pay-per-view time and the way the matches happened.

    We saw two new champions crowned at WrestleMania. The Miz won the Intercontinental title from Wade Barrett and John Cena won the WWE title from The Rock.

    It also has to be mentioned that a complete match was left off the card. For whatever reason, probably Undertaker's entrance taking five minutes, Tons of Funk and The Funkadactyls vs. Rhodes Scholars and The Bella Twins did not happen.

    The match will almost certainly take place on Monday Night Raw, but eight people who thought they were going to be seen on the grandest stage of them all had to sit it out.

    Let's take a look at each match and go over what happened and any highlights to be had.

Miz vs. Wade Barrett for the IC Title

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    Miz and Wade Barrett did two things during the match on the WrestleMania Pre-Show. They maximized their minutes by having a fast-paced match. The other thing they both did well was sell each other's offense.

    The strikes from both men, as well as some of the slams, were pretty amped up compared to what we usually see from these two.

    One of the best moves of the match was a massive Winds of Change from Barrett to Miz that seemed as if there was no way Miz did not get hurt in some way.

    The end came when Miz applied the Figure-Four in a very unique way. It is something I have seen before, but the way Miz did it was completely fluid, and it looked great on camera.

    Miz winning the IC title surprised me a little bit. I thought he would end up winning by DQ and then not winning the title in the process.

    This ended up being one of the better matches of the night in terms of the crowd response and how it was executed.

    I may be alone in that statement, but I stand by it. This was a great match, especially given that it ran roughly nine minutes and it was on the pre-show.

The Shield vs. Sheamus, Randy Orton and Big Show

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    This was another match I enjoyed for a couple of reasons. One reason I liked it is that The Shield won, continuing their streak of beating top WWE superstars.

    The action in the match was about as good as we could have hoped for. All three members of The Shield really looked like they belonged in that ring with top superstars. Roman Reigns using the spear to get the win is keeping with another pattern of theirs, which is one I kind of like.

    Roman Reigns and Sheamus started the match with a slug-fest that made Reigns look like the superior striker, something you do not often see against Sheamus.

    Seth Rollins taking an RKO off a springboard looked great, but it also seems to be a pattern that he takes finishers from other people a lot. 

    The fact that it was Big Show who took out both his partners was great for one reason, it keeps him a heel. Big Show is better as a heel because giants make great stepping stones. It sucks for him, but it's true. Big Show puts over so many people every year.

    His monster heel run can't stop now.

Ryback vs. Mark Henry

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    This match started off with some promise. The collisions in the middle of the ring where neither man budged really started the match off well.

    Ryback showed his strength a few times, but when the end of the match came, it seemed as if something went wrong.

    Ryback had Henry up for Shell Shocked, but he seemed to falter after Henry grabbed the ropes and then Henry just pinned him.

    Ryback was not hurt, though. He got up and gave Henry a very impressive Shell Shocked to end the match on a happy note for the crowd.

    I would expect Ryback to win a rematch sometime in the future, but for now it was Henry who came away victorious at WrestleMania.

    The match as a whole was a typical Mark Henry or Ryback match. The crowd was pretty into it at times, so it might have been better to see live.

Team Hell No vs. Big E Langston and Dolph Ziggler for the Tag Team Titles

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    Big E Langston had to be nervous having his WWE debut outside of NXT on the grandest stage of them all, but he stepped up.

    Everyone in this match knew it was WrestleMania, and everyone pulled their weight in what ended up being an entertaining match.

    The call back to the kiss of death at WrestleMania 28 was a nice touch in the beginning of the match, and it set the tone for the rest of the bout.

    A rare miss from Ziggler came when he overshot a Famouser to Kane, but he looked good the rest of the match like he always does.

    Kane and Bryan worked together to win this one, but it was Kane who kicked out of a Zig Zag to keep the match going. In the end it was a Chokeslam from Kane and a flying headbutt from Bryan that ended the match and allowed the champions to retain their titles.

Fandango vs. Chris Jericho

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    Fandango was given a grand entrance for this match, with several dancers on stage as he made his way to the ring.

    Chris Jericho started off very aggressively after being on the receiving end of a few attacks in recent weeks. He pulled out some high-risk moves that really made the match into something better than it should have been.

    The Fandango character is somewhat of an enigma when it comes to whether or not WWE is going to make him into a legitimate threat, but he looked good in this match.

    Deep down I knew Fandango was going to win, but the Jerichoholic in me really wanted to be surprised and see Jericho make Fandango tap out in his debut and then lose to him on Raw the next night.

    This match was a decent PPV match, but it did not really feel like a WrestleMania-level match.

Puff Daddy's Performance

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    This will make me feel really old. In my day, we called this guy Puff Daddy, so that is what I am going to call him. P. Diddy isn't even a good abbreviation. My spell-check hates it.

    Anywho, the performance was really good. He did a selection of songs from early '90s hip-hop through today, although it ended a little sooner than I expected.

    Whether you see that as a good or bad thing is up to you. The point is that Puff Daddy did well, which is not something I often say about the musical acts at WrestleMania.

    The special dedication to the victims of Super Storm Sandy was a nice touch.

Jack Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio for the World Title

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    At this point, fans had been in their seats for over two-and-a-half hours, and you could tell some fans were feeling the downside of stadium seating and chilly weather.

    The hype video before the match made Alberto Del Rio look more American than Jack Swagger. Zeb Colter's promo before the match was nothing new and did not really add to the match itself.

    Del Rio wearing a robe to the ring was an interesting addition, and it is one I am curious to see if he continues.

    Numerous counters and submissions made this match exciting at the end, but this was a match I feel like I have seen from Del Rio before.

    Any other night this would have been a good match, but at WrestleMania it was just so-so.

The Undertaker vs. CM Punk

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    This was the match of the night. The crowd was really into it, and both men showed why they have earned the reputations they have for being amazing in-ring performers.

    The video package at the start of the match made me care about this feud more than I did going into the match because it was so well-made.

    CM Punk being played to the ring by Living Colour was cool, but it seemed like WWE did not really promote it at all. His ring gear being black, grey and purple was also a nice reference to The Undertaker.

    Undertaker had a message to Paul Bearer on his left leg that said "RIP P.B." inside an urn design.

    Punk had an answer for almost everything Taker threw at him on Sunday. Several finishers were hit and countered in what was another classic Undertaker match at WrestleMania.

    Paul Heyman was the best possible manager for this match. His constant encouragement and instructions made him stand out in a good way. And the way he used the urn to mock The Undertaker was great.

    Nobody really thought it would be Punk who would break the streak, but at times it seemed like he had the crowd convinced.

    The elbow drop from Punk to Taker on the announce table was especially brutal because the table did not budge one inch. Punk took every bit of that impact, but he finished the match without missing a step.

    CM Punk kicking out of the first Tombstone was great to see, especially since the crowd went absolutely nuts when he kicked out.

    The Undertaker won in the end, just like we all knew he would. But it did not make the actual sight any less spectacular. CM Punk and Undertaker stole the show at WrestleMania.

Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar

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    It has to be pointed out that something happened with Triple H's entrance that left a white foam all over his torso. He washed it off with his bottle of water, but it was hilarious.

    Triple H started off this match strong, but eventually it became a Lesnar-controlled bout. Shawn Michaels had a little impact on the match, but even then, he only hit Heyman with a superkick and took an F-5.

    Lesnar looked more like a pro wrestler in this match than in any other contest we have seen him in. He used more throws than we have seen from him in other bouts, but this was definitely not a wrestling match.

    A few F-5s and several German suplexes could not stop The Game from gaining the advantage. Using the chair to hit Lesnar's arm against the ring post and steel steps looked violent, and it worked very well to set up the finish.

    They used chairs, steel steps and the announce table to punish each other, but it came down to which man could use the Kimura Lock more effectively.

    Brock Lesnar had it on Triple H three times, and three times it was countered. Triple H shocked the crowd when he began using the hold himself, needing to lock it in three times to finally get Lesnar in a vulnerable enough state to hit the Pedigree on the steel steps for the pin and the win.

    Triple H got redemption for his previous loss, and Paul Heyman became a two-time loser at WrestleMania 29.

    After the show, I went back and watched all the main event matches again, and I can say that this match was better the second time. They really put each other through hell.

The Rock vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship

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    Another rematch on this card was The Rock vs. John Cena, but this time the WWE title was on the line.

    The first thing that really surprised me was that WWE did not show the promo video for this match right before it took place.

    I am positive I heard a "Boring" chant during the match at some point, which either means the match was boring or the crowd was getting cranky.

    JBL calling John Cena the Jim Kelly of WWE if he loses to Rock a second time put a smile on my face.

    When this match started, most fans had been in their seats for well over four hours, and this match was one that a lot of people simply did not have the energy for.

    The weather was a bit chilly, and everyone had probably already lost their voice. This match did not have the level of performance from either man that anyone expected, which made it an awkward end to the show.

    Maybe five hours is too long for a PPV with this kind of star power, but the final match of the night did not have the crowd's full attention until the final five minutes.

    Once The Rock and Cena began countering everything the other threw at them, and hitting each other's finishers as well as their own, the fans began to get behind it.

    John Cena had a few nice moments in the match. The sequence where Cena suckered Rock in by pretending to do the same thing he did last year was kind of cool, but The Rock still ended up hitting him with a Rock Bottom two seconds later.

    John Cena won the match with a final AA, and he won the WWE title. He and Rock shared a handshake and a hug on the ramp, and then the show ended.

Final Thoughts

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    WrestleMania 29 built itself into an unattainable goal. By booking so many part-time superstars in different matches, they put themselves in a corner.

    Being predictable did not help. I was 7-2 on my predictions, and the ones I got wrong were Miz and Henry winning.

    CM Punk and The Undertaker had a great match, and Paul Heyman added a lot with his presence outside the ring.

    Upon a second viewing, the Lesnar and Triple H match had a lot of great action. Both guys did some pretty dangerous things in this match. And again, Paul Heyman was a great addition.

    Some of the matches would have been viewed as good at a B-level PPV, but this WrestleMania will not be remembered as having the greatest matches.

    Here is what does interest me: Will The Rock use a rematch clause? Could we see him in some sort of match at Extreme Rules, or possibly on an episode of Raw?

    The Monday after WrestleMania tends to be pretty interesting, as we find out which feuds continue and which superstars enter into new programs.

    What did you think of WrestleMania 29?

     

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