WrestleMania 29’s third featured main event for the night was Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar, in an intense, physically extreme match. This one was all about Triple H attempting to gain some revenge against the man that WWE calls The Anomaly, and by the end of the match, both men had proven why they deserved the 'Mania spotlight.
Unfortunately for them, they were playing to a dead crowd.
Why? Because no one cared? Because Triple H—as some fans have suggested—is a man who needs to hang it up and walk away from active competition?
Or was the lack of response due to Lesnar’s reputation for being nothing but a money-hungry Superstar, who perhaps does not really care all that much about the WWE product?
Perhaps. I suppose there is some truth on both ends of that debate.
But for me, the real reason why Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar was not as well received as I personally thought it would be is because it took place immediately after CM Punk vs. The Undertaker.
As Jerry Lee Lewis used to say, “Follow that one, killer.”
The truth is, no one wants to follow such a great match. Punk and Taker tore it up out there, pushing themselves even higher than I actually thought they would. Their match was a work of art in many ways, especially due to the fact that it did not become a weapon-laced affair, filled with vicious chair shots and physically damaging impacts.
Much like Triple H vs. Undertaker at WrestleMania 28.
No, Taker and Punk did not need all the props or weapons to tell the story. They did it the old-fashioned way, with their ability to work and the natural chemistry that they have with each other.
For me, it was the finest match Undertaker has had since his epic one against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 25.
Good luck to anyone following that.
However, for Triple H and Lesnar, while it may have been a daunting proposition to step into the ring right after Punk and Taker, it also was likely viewed as a challenge.
“Let’s go out there and one-up them.”
After all, this was not the first big main event battle that Hunter and Brock have ever seen. Both men are accustomed to being on the grand stage at WrestleMania, under the bright lights of WWE with the world watching.
I would suspect that they would have simply decided to just put the previous match out of their minds and then go to work, doing what they could to make their match as entertaining as possible.
So, how did they do?
I will be the first to admit that it may not eventually be considered an instant classic like Undertaker and CM Punk inevitably will be.
But honestly, it didn’t need to.
This was a different kind of match, with two different kinds of Superstars. This one was not supposed to be a technical display. This match was no holds barred, anything goes. Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar was meant to be a war.
And on that front, they more than delivered.
We all knew the story going in on this one; it had been well documented. Triple H was seeking redemption against the man who broke his arm twice last year and attacked his best friend, Michaels. Lesnar had spent this year mauling his way through WWE, obliterating Hunter’s father-in-law Vince McMahon, and then smugly adding the retirement stipulation for his WrestleMania match against Triple H.
The groundwork had been laid; we were all prepared for this match. Or should I say war.
That’s what this one was—a war from start to finish. However, it did not solely rely on weapons to tell the story either. It was more about the physical punishment that Brock was dealing to Hunter. Every time it appeared as though The Game was getting back on task, he was immediately put right back down by the beast.
But Triple H would not be denied, as he kept fighting his way back up. Because of this, the crowd ultimately warmed up to them and did begin showing signs of life for this match. By the time the end came, and Hunter defeated Lesnar, the fans expected it and wanted it. They were sucked into the moment.
This match was a well-paced, physically intense contest featuring two Superstars who told their own story in their own way. They did as much as they could, giving all they had to entertain a WrestleMania crowd who was emotionally spent after a match that on any other night would have been the main event.
Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar was successful in my eyes.
They did what the match called for them to do, and in an environment that expects the best that a man can give, they more than delivered.
Jerry Lee would have been proud.