At WrestleMania 29, we witnessed the biggest stars in the WWE take center stage as they attempted to enter the realm of legends. Although some wrestlers were unable to attain victory, certain participants performed at a level that exceeded wins and losses.
The losers who stole the show.
To be clear, there's no denying that these men would have preferred to emerge victorious. With that being said, there are few wrestlers other than those about to be listed that managed to grab the hearts of every fan watching and pumped them at will.
Perhaps that's consolation for ending up on the wrong end of the decision.
If not, these wrestlers can know that they have managed to put on some of the most memorable performances of the most hyped event of the year. Whether they did it with gravity-defying moves or jaw-dropping feats of strength, they managed to do what few could.
So who were this year's match-losing show-stealers?
For a majority of the match between Chris Jericho and Fandango, Y2J was in complete and dominant control. He carried this match until the closing moments, connecting with signature moves and even served up an injury for the debuting Fandango to capitalize on.
It was just another day at the office for Jericho.
Jericho took it to Fandango in a variety of fashions, blending a brawl with a match consisting of mat skills and high-flying moves. From kicking out of a Flying Leg Drop at the opportune moment to his relentless approach with the Walls of Jericho, we saw it all.
We had to, as Fandango rolled out of the ring to avoid contact more than he inflicted it.
With that being said, Fandango did play the underdog role well and displayed relatively impressive ring prowess. When you're on the grandest stage of them all for your first match since being re-branded, however, you need a star to carry you.
Y2J succeeded in doing just that.
Say what you will about Ryback as an in-ring competitor and you'll get minimal backlash from me. He is the latest powerhouse with limited mat skills to grace the WWE, thus thriving on brute force more so than what marks refer to as "skill."
With that being said, there's no way around how impressive it was for Ryback to lift Mark Henry onto his shoulders, march around the ring and slam him down with the Shell Shocked.
It may not have been a Triple Moonsault or a gravity-defying finish, but lifting Henry up is no easy task. Walking around with the 412-pounder on your shoulders is even more difficult.
Ryback did it.
With Triple H's career on the line, Brock Lesnar brought it to "The Game" with a furious rally of offense. From deep arm submissions to stiff shots on the outside of the ring, Lesnar brought the pain to Triple H.
Unfortunately, it just wasn't enough to secure the W.
What may have been most impressive about Lesnar's performance was his body language throughout the match. No matter what he was doing, Lesnar kept a larger than life arrogance about him throughout the duration of the match.
Even as Triple H fought back to put in the Kimura Lock, Lesnar countered by slamming him spine first into the steel ring steps—just one of the numerous spots worth marveling from this match.
If you ask 10 people what the match of the night was at WrestleMania 29, nine of them would say that CM Punk versus The Undertaker stole the show. As great as Undertaker was, and always is, no one would be foolish enough to ignore the efforts Punk made.
That includes a breathtaking flying elbow drop to the outside of the ring that resulted in the announcer's table not breaking as it was supposed to.
Punk was marvelous as a wrestler and storyteller, maximizing his heel character by imitating Taker at every turn. He hit his version of Old School, made the throat-slicing taunt and even attempted to pin Taker with his arms crossed and Punk's tongue sticking out.
What was most impressive about his performance, however, is that Punk suffered a knee injury during the previously alluded to elbow drop (via WrestleInc.com). Even still, Punk managed to finish the match and act as if he wasn't in pain.
That's a WrestleMania performance at its finest.