"We have a new Intercontinental champion at WrestleMania!" said Josh Matthews after Wade Barrett tapped out to The Miz on the pre-show. Not that new really, is he?
I love watching The Shield wrestle. The first match, against The Big Show, Sheamus and Randy Orton, was great. What did cross my mind, though, is how low Randy Orton's dropped. Had this match happened two years ago, would you have expected Orton to get pinned over Show or Sheamus? Don't get me wrong, though, I'm not complaining.
Mark Henry vs. Ryback lived up to expectations. Those expectations weren't high, though, at least on my part. My favourite one won and we still got to see the big Shell Shocked, and that's the best we could hope for.
The Tag Team Championships match was short but sweet. The opening was cute. Kane kicked out of a finisher and delivered a huge chokeslam. Daniel Bryan got the pin and was afforded a WrestleMania moment as the whole crowd chanted "Yes! Yes! Yes!" with him. It may all seem harsh on Dolph Ziggler, but (I thought at the time) I wouldn't be surprised if his briefcase gets cashed in very soon, and then he'll be over this straight away.
Fandango vs. Chris Jericho had a botchy-looking finishing sequence, but it was diverting while it lasted.
An awful person who I'm told is called P. Diddy talked along to some sequenced music. I did not enjoy it, because I am a human being with taste and sense.
Jack Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio as a storyline will likely be remembered as an attempt to do something different that didn't capture people's imaginations. A noble failure. Swagger vs. Del Rio the match wasn't even as good as that, sadly.
"Now, CM Punk turns his attention to The Undertaker." And so it was that Michael Cole said something stupid on the grandest stage of them all. Where was Punk's attention supposedly in the five minutes of match before that? Jerry Lawler managed a silly one himself with, "I've never seen this not work," regarding CM Punk kicking out of a Tombstone. Even someone who only buys WrestleManias will likely be able to see through that.
The match itself was very good. I was, in fact, surprised as to how good it was and surprised how sprightly The Undertaker was. Both men can be very proud of the show they put on. It wasn't in the league of the Shawn Michaels matches, but at least it means our lasting memory of The Undertaker won't be last year's Hell in a Cell embarrassment.
Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar felt like it went on forever. Painfully slow, and of course Triple H pulled off the win. A particular gripe is that Lesnar left his arm flopping about on Triple H after breaking his arm lock for a second time—and wouldn't you know it, Triple H applied it for a third time. An absolute disgrace that wasted what felt like about nine hours just to service Paul Levesque's vanity.
I hate to make this a collection of silly Cole quotes, but he said that John Cena's loss to The Rock last year triggered a spiral "both in his career and his professional life." That's both true and factual, if you catch my drift. He later managed: "The Rock caught Cena!" when, in fact, Cena had caught The Rock. For his part, Lawler tried to convince us that neither was in better shape than the other. As though all those rest holds were for Cena.
The match itself was rubbish. Nothing demonstrates how ordinary and dismal a finisher the Rock Bottom is better than seeing it a dozen times. The bit where John Cena pulled back on the ropes to avoid a repeat of last year's finish was good, but that's it.
WrestleMania's undercard was terrific, everything you'd expect. It was from the World Heavyweight Championship match onward that things fell horribly short. Only Undertaker vs. Punk was any good, and the final two matches were appalling. This WrestleMania was a failure. And imagine how bad it would have been with an ordinary crowd.
The thing with WrestleMania is that it's so all-encompassing. It's not just bad if the show itself doesn't live up to the hype, but when hours and hours of TV are forced on fans, the "Road to WrestleMania" is wasted, and it's even worse if the Road wasn't any good. You can read my thoughts on that aspect here.