WWE WrestleMania 2014: 6 Lessons Learned from Show's Biggest Results
The results of any event can tell one a great deal about the current state of the industry, and Sunday's WrestleMania 30 presentation was no different.
The most storied winning streak in all of sports and entertainment came to an end in stunning fashion as Undertaker lost to Brock Lesnar.
The Authority's grasp on the WWE World Heavyweight Championship was broken, as Daniel Bryan first defeated Triple H then captured the title to close out the greatest night of his professional life.
Swiss Superstar Cesaro made a tremendous impact and set himself up to be one of the future stars of the industry, while The Shield reiterated their dominance for anyone who may have forgotten when they dispatched Attitude Era stars the New Age Outlaws and Kane in mere minutes.
For WWE, the future was now at WrestleMania 30, an event whose results will have a far-reaching effect on WWE programming.
The Shield Is Stronger Than Ever
There is no better way to put an act over than by having them dominate and destroy highly respected competition.
That is exactly what happened Sunday night when The Shield absolutely laid waste to the New Age Outlaws and Kane just over two minutes, asserting their dominance and sending Road Dogg and Billy Gunn back into retirement following a massive Triple Powerbomb.
It was a no-nonsense display of force by the Hounds of Justice, who are as popular and strong as they have ever been.
The win seems to indicate that The Shield will stay united rather than split imminently, as had been planned for months. The trio have the fans on their side and are among the most over acts in the industry.
While the company may see a ton of money in Reigns, and rightfully so, there is still mileage in The Shield, and having them stand up to Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in the weeks and months ahead could help them join Daniel Bryan as the top young babyfaces in the company.
Continuing something that has been proven to work instead of starting something new could be the best thing WWE does with The Shield at this point.
Lita's Still Got It
The annual presentation of the Hall of Fame class is always one of the nicest and most touching moments of any WrestleMania. This year was no different, as Jake "the Snake" Roberts, Razor Ramon and The Ultimate Warrior returned to the stage on which they had some of their most memorable matches and moments.
As great as those three men were and as emotional as it was to see them enshrined Saturday night, there was one person who overshadowed all three when it came to crowd response during the WrestleMania broadcast.
Lita received the biggest pop of all of the Hall of Famers, which was nice to see since her speech Saturday night was overshadowed by the craziness that ensued later in the evening.
One of the greatest and most influential Divas to ever compete in the WWE, she deserved the recognition. Her appearance only helped shine a brighter light on the state of today's Divas division.
Which brings us to...
The Lack of Divas Competition Is Disturbing
The Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational was not only an awful match whose only purpose was to get all the girls on the show and eat up six minutes of time, but it was also a serious indictment on the state of women's wrestling in today's WWE.
AJ Lee is the one female character WWE has even attempted to enhance and evolve over the last three years, and the fact that she is as over as she is instantly puts her at a level above each and every other woman on the roster save for Stephanie McMahon.
No matter how much the company tries to push the cast of Total Divas, it does not mask the fact that no one takes to them like they do AJ, who has an established character and is a very good worker to boot.
Until WWE takes more of a vested interest in working with the females and giving the audience a reason to care about any of them, they will continue to utilize a booking method that sees AJ mow down the latest competition before rinsing and repeating the same thing the next month.
Cesaro Is the Future
Cesaro has been one of the best young stars on the roster for well over a year, a phenomenal worker who has gotten over thanks to the fans' appreciation of what he does between the ropes.
His team-up with Jack Swagger kept him busy and allowed him the opportunity to develop his in-ring persona at the same time. Fans bought into him as a legitimate beast with unmatched strength, and the Swiss-born Superstar became one of the breakout stars of early 2014.
That continued Sunday night, when he eliminated Big Show to win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and elevate his star in the process.
The vicious uppercuts from Cesaro, as well as his crowd-pleasing Cesaro Swing, are elements that will help keep him over as he learns to better express himself in the ring and on the microphone in the weeks and months that follow.
Great matches with the likes of John Cena and Daniel Bryan have shown that he has what it takes to hang with the very best the industry has to offer. Now it is time to for the company to take a leap of faith with him not unlike the one they took with his former Ring of Honor co-worker, Bryan.
An Era Has Ended
For 22 years, WWE has been able to rely on Undertaker's undefeated streak to fuel pay-per-view sales. Casual and hardcore fans alike looked at the Phenom's match at WrestleMania as one of the selling points of the show and waited with great anticipation every year to see if he could thwart the latest challenge to his unblemished win-loss record at the Showcase of the Immortals.
That is no more.
Brock Lesnar's win over Undertaker Sunday night ensures that the era of the streak is over and that WWE will no longer be able to use it as a creative crutch to lean on when the rest of their writing fails to click with the audience at large.
The streak was a tradition, a tradition that was as important to WrestleMania as any other championship or heavily hyped match on the card. Now there is no putting the proverbial genie back in the bottle.
That era is dead and gone, and it should be interesting to see how future events unfold as a result.
Daniel Bryan Is 'The' Guy
The most important takeaway from WrestleMania 30 is that Daniel Bryan is unquestionably "the" guy in WWE.
At least for right now.
The company could not have put Bryan over any stronger than they did during Sunday night's broadcast.
He outwrestled and cleanly pinned Triple H in the night's opening contest, a great match, then overcame an injured arm and stiff competition from both Randy Orton and Batista to capture the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and enjoy a massive celebration usually reserved for the likes of John Cena or the Undertaker.
The aforementioned Triple H went above and beyond to put Bryan over, not only doing the job for him early in the show but also bumping around for him during the Triple Threat match, just to really cement how much of a force of nature the former indy standout was.
Bryan's triumph at WrestleMania was the culmination of an eight-month story that saw him become the most popular star in the industry and a legitimate main event draw. Now with the moment and the gold to legitimize the Yes Movement, there is no stopping the Aberdeen native who was once considered too small to ever succeed on the WWE level.