Sunday’s 2013 edition of WWE’s WrestleMania was the biggest show of the year, and the in-ring action caused its fair share of winners and losers.
The predictability that the WWE Universe feared with this event came to fruition—almost every main event went down as fans thought it would—and while some stars were able to shine through, there were some that were buried along the way.
All of the following wrestlers either were the biggest winners of WrestleMania or the company’s biggest losers heading into the next year of programming.
The last two years of CM Punk’s career have been amazing, but Sunday’s WrestleMania performance against The Undertaker cements his legacy as arguably the best active wrestler in the world today.
Despite taking the loss in the match, the in-ring storytelling and the all-out commitment to making the show spectacular from Punk made this the best match of the night and one of the top bouts of 2013 thus far.
The WWE is the largest wrestling company in the world, and the fact that officials backstage not only trusted Punk to work a match with The Undertaker, but do it on the grandest stage of them all, WrestleMania, proves he has taken his place alongside John Cena as one of the top dogs.
After spending the last year convincing the WWE Universe that it was the worst stretch of his career both personally and professionally, John Cena was finally able to find redemption and beat The Rock for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 29.
The crowds will still boo Cena relentlessly because that’s what’s cool amongst wrestling fans, but the validation he and the CeNation needed came Sunday in the form of the biggest win of the new WWE champion’s career.
It is imperative that the WWE books Cena wisely coming out of this show, but the victory over The Rock is the redemption the face of the company needs to return to his spot as the unstoppable champion.
While there were many fans that did not like Fandango coming into WrestleMania, a stellar match with a bona fide star like Chris Jericho and a stolen victory should have the WWE Universe fully behind the blossoming star now.
Fandango is one of the WWE’s best prospects—former NXT Season 3 winner—and with the help of Y2J on the WrestleMania stage, he was able to show the fans and the officials backstage just how exciting he can be in the ring.
Not only did Fandango beat Jericho in his debut match, the fact he did it at WrestleMania makes him one of the biggest winners of the night. Expect huge things from a star the WWE is pushing this hard this early.
The WWE signed Brock Lesnar to be a major PPV draw for the company, but the way he keeps losing matches, it’s clear that Vince McMahon and the shot-callers don’t care how strong or weak he looks for the future.
Instead of continuing to build Lesnar as a war machine that can’t be stopped, Triple H—a character that needs a win for absolutely no reason and is nowhere near the draw Lesnar is—wanted to play John Cena and get redemption of his own.
Lesnar could be fighting for the World Heavyweight Championship or putting over fresh talent, and instead of building his credibility by letting him beat Triple H, Lesnar is made to look like a loser once again.
Jack Swagger returned from taking time off with a new ultra-conservative gimmick and a xenophobic manager in Zeb Colter to win the Elimination Chamber match and fight for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania.
Despite the monstrous push to the top of the card, the resulting match was mediocre at best and Swagger simply lost by submission. While there is no question his drug arrest likely played a role in the match’s outcome (h/t TMZ), neither man shined in this feud.
After a war of words, pre-taped promos and physical attacks that lasted over six weeks, the fact this match culminated in a lackluster bout that left a lot to be desired was the perfect representation of the feud and Swagger.
The majority of the WWE Universe was openly hoping that Randy Orton’s character would change at WrestleMania, but the lack of a heel turn and the continued dominance by the Big Show was the worst-case scenario in this match.
Orton once again walks out of WrestleMania with few caring about his character or what he is currently doing. Taking the clean loss to The Shield and then getting knocked out by the Big Show makes RKO look awful.
The hope is that all of this is the groundwork for the possible heel turn in the future, but the lack of commitment in the past to following through with Orton’s character has the WWE Universe losing faith that he’ll ever be interesting again.
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