WWE Wrestlemania 30 Matches: Grading the Build for Every Match on the Card
WrestleMania 30 is finally here. Thanks in large part to Daniel Bryan, the card itself feels a lot more hotly anticipated than last year. Last year, WrestleMania in New York felt like the big draw more than anything, with two of the top bouts being rematches that fans weren't exactly begging for and The Undertaker's match hampered by a poor buildup.
So, with that in mind, how does this year's buildup stack up? How did Bryan build up so much anticipation? Did The Undertaker do better than last year, not that it would be difficult? Read on to find out!
Note: The order of the matches here has nothing to do with what the order of the matches may or may not be on Sunday.
The Usos vs. The Real Americans vs. Los Matadores vs. Rybaxel
I'd be shocked if they don't go all-out and have a crazy match to make the point that they should be on the main card, but that has nothing to do with the build.
This feels like the wrong lineup for starters: Why is Rybaxel in there instead of Cody Rhodes and Goldust? The babyfaces vs. heels eight-man tag match on the go-home show amplified this feeling, as Rybaxel badly dragged down the match when the duo was tagged in.
The only storyline in the division right now is the Cesaro babyface turn, which has been on the back burner for a couple weeks. I'd be shocked if it didn't happen this weekend, most likely on Raw after being set up here. That the crowd will be hanging on everything Cesaro does keeps this from being a disappointment in terms of the storyline.
The Shield vs. Kane and The New Age Outlaws
This feels like kind of a nonentity, all things considered. It's just a spot for The Shield to get a nice win at WrestleMania as it starts its babyface run. It's a nice symbolic match to go along with Bryan winning later, but that's about it.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
It comes off more important than past WrestleMania Battle Royals, and that's really all that matters. It's hard to say much more than that. It's an undercard match to get everyone on the show, and making it seem any more significant than that is a big accomplishment.
Graded Like Gym Class Is: Pass
Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational
On the other hand, this absolutely feels like an excuse to get everyone on the show. The only direction hinted at is Tamina Snuka turning on AJ Lee to take the title but not to the point it feels close to likely.
The most obvious feel-good story of Brie Bella winning the same night as her fiance wins the men's world title just five days before their wedding has not been hinted at in any way.
Naomi, who initially seemed to be in line to win the title here, got her push derailed by her injury.
On top of all that, WWE has done a pretty bad job explaining the rules. In hindsight, it probably should have moved that awesome AJ vs. Natalya match from Main Event a few weeks ago to WrestleMania to give the women a really high-quality showcase match.
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
This one is really about the memorable moments with the sheep mask: someone messing with Cena when he was in the restroom by sticking the mask in his peripheral vision, the Wyatt Family tying Cena to the ropes and putting the mask on him in Brooklyn, and Cena showing up in the mask on the go-home show.
The last one was really, really good but felt like a missed opportunity in that WWE could have had Cena pretend to be Rowan or something like that.
The rest is a mixed bag. Cena being scared was a cool idea but dropped pretty quickly. The initial attack at the Royal Rumble being ignored for the next month was baffling. Some good stuff overall, and WWE has made it a much more intriguing match than people expected it to be, but it could have easily been better.
The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar
I went over most of this earlier in the week. Paul Heyman was great, as was the contract-signing angle that kicked off the program. Unfortunately, though, Lesnar was not made nearly as much of a threat as he should have been, and WWE relied too much on The Undertaker's magic powers. It was better than last year, but that's faint praise.
Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H Leading to Randy Orton vs. Batista vs. ?
As far as the buildup is concerned, this is effectively one match.
On one hand, the Bryan vs. Triple H build has been phenomenal. On the other, Batista and Orton have been afterthoughts.
If you look at what the fanbase wants, then really, it's been a strong build overall. It's comical how little Orton and Batista have been around, especially with the former being the defending champion, but in the end, it's not the issue selling this show.
Daniel Bryan embarrassing The Authority and winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from someone—anyone, really—is what the fans are buying this show to see.
The highlight of the buildup has been Triple H and Stephanie McMahon masterfully trolling the fans, culminating in Raw last week. They made fun of all the fans who ever thought Triple H "buried" their favorite wrestlers in a video narrated by Stephanie, and it was amazing.
Batista and Orton coming out was almost disappointing during that segment. Again, though, the point is the fans hating The Authority and loving Daniel Bryan even more, and WWE has done an amazing job with that, culminating in the crowd exploding at the end of the show, where Bryan laid out all three of his (potential) WrestleMania opponents.
Grade: A (Would be an A+ if the Orton/Batista disappearances weren't so conspicuous)