After weeks of hype and WWE pulling out all the stops to get as many buyers as possible, I write this from my hotel room with a sense of massive, overwhelming disappointment.
The crowd was very loud before the action happened when the Hall of Fame 2011 inductees, Kevin Nash, Sean Waltman and Ric Flair were spotted in one of the private boxes just above where I was seated (positioned behind the main cameras).
Getting to our seats, we learned before the show went on air that the US Championship match between Daniel Bryan and Sheamus was to be a dark match under lumberjack rules.
Ring announcer Justin Roberts had to say this twice in order to make it obvious that the match hadn't made it onto the PPV.
The fact that this match wasn't even going to be broadcast made it apparently obvious that Sheamus was going to keep the title, which led to much less crowd participation and Teddy Long coming out to make the match a Battle Royal (which wasn't even won by Sheamus) made even less sense.
Opening the show with The Rock was an obvious choice and it gained the biggest pop of the night. After he spoke for a few minutes, it was then the opening match, which surprisingly was the World Heavyweight Title match.
The crowd were fairly lively during this one and were obviously behind Edge. The biggest shock came with Del Rio not securing the title and the pre-match rumours of Christian screwing Edge proved to be incorrect.
Next up, Cody Rhodes and Rey Mysterio was a fairly muted affair. Whilst the younger members of the audience were behind Mysterio, the arena was pretty quiet.
For the first time in the evening, it was apparent that WWE was pumping pre-recorded crowd noise through the stadium speakers for the purpose of the TV audience. Rhodes winning made sense, and this match was much stronger than it appeared on paper.
The eight-man tag was pointless (as the time length suggested) and to those in attendance, the absence of Kozlov was unexplained (unless you read about it online, then Kofi's inclusion was baffling).
Orton and Punk was up next, and coming into the PPV this was (in my view) the strongest match on the card.
Poor positioning of the match (fourth match? Really?!) and not enough time led to it feeling like a standard PPV match at best. This one really should have been the show stealer.
Orton not punting Punk in the head leads me to think that this feud may continue on yet. The crowd was hot for this one, and Orton got the second biggest pop of the night. Punk was also strongly cheered. WWE editing will most likely hide this on the DVD version, though.
Cole vs. Lawler was a massive disappointment. Even Austin's inclusion could not detract from a desperately poor match which made last year's Hart/McMahon match look like a wrestling masterclass.
There were times when Austin looked embarrassed to be in the ring, and this was the second time of the night when pre-taped crowd noise was obviously being played as the crowd was dead to the in-ring action.
As predicted by some of the fans I talked to, HHH had yet another over-important entrance for his match with Taker.
Whilst the match was solid and there were points where those sitting near me were sure that Hunter was going to emerge victorious, did anyone REALLY believe that The Undertaker was going to give up the streak? Anyone? No, I thought not. Not even HHH's backstage muscle would dethrone The Deadman.
My buddy went to get a drink during the mixed tag match and by the time he got back it was all over.
Snooki was booed out of the building but some of us were mildly surprised by her athleticism. Putting Morrison and Ziggler into this match and giving them pretty much no in-ring time is nothing short of a joke.
Finally, the WWE Championship match. The Miz got a large number of cheers, which was surprising, and Cena was given a massive amount of heat from all 71,000 in the building.
The match was solid but not spectacular, and everyone was just waiting for The Rock to get involved.
Following the match ending in a draw, the predictable thing happened. The Rock came down, got the match re-started and delivered the inevitable Rock Bottom to Cena, allowing Miz to retain.
Whilst the crowd went nuts for this, it all led to a serious feeling of being let down and having no 'Wrestlemania moment' to talk about as we all left.
Maybe we were spoiled the last few years having HBK deliver stunning performances. Or maybe it is just poor booking, poor storytelling and an over-reliance on gimmicky 'celebrities' that has led to a disappointing 'Biggest Entertainment Event of the Year.'
Who knows what WWE will try and do next year to sell tickets, but they need to start planning soon. There are no big names left to bring back, so they need to invest time and effort into elevating the Superstars they have to the next level.
Thanks for reading my first post.
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