WrestleMania in New Orleans: Reliving WWE's Magic with Daniel Bryan, Undertaker

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 29, 2018

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR WWE - Daniel Bryan celebrates after winning the main event during Wrestlemania XXX at the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome in New Orleans on Sunday, April 6, 2014. (Jonathan Bachman/AP Images for WWE)
Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press

With WrestleMania returning to New Orleans for its 34th edition this year, many fans are reflecting on the last time the Showcase of the Immortals was held in the Big Easy.

That took place four years ago, and it featured some of the most iconic moments in WWE history at WrestleMania 30.

In addition to Daniel Bryan going through Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, The Undertaker suffered the first loss of his career at WrestleMania to Brock Lesnar.

WrestleMania 34 has its work cut out for it in terms of matching the importance of WrestleMania 30, but here is a look at some of the biggest happenings from that memorable event.

      

Bryan Beats Triple H in Classic Opener

After initial indications that Bryan would be part of a lower-card match at WrestleMania despite his long-running feud with The Authority, WWE reversed course and placed him in the middle of its most important angle.

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The fans were behind Bryan leading up to WrestleMania, leading up to a storyline that saw Triple H agree to face Bryan for a chance to compete for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

The Game stipulated that the winner of their match would take on Orton and Batista later in the night with the title on line.

Bryan and Triple H were the first match of the night after a rousing introduction that included Hulk Hogan, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and The Rock.

Triple H had a grand entrance in which he rose from a throne and wore a skull king mask. Before they were known as top stars on the main roster, Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss helped him remove his garb en route to the ring.

There were few bells and whistles during Bryan's entrance, but the crowd cheered thunderously, and "Yes!" chants rang through the Superdome.

Triple H was accompanied by his wife, Stephanie McMahon, and she played a role in the match by trying to get involved and give her husband the upper hand.

After Bryan kicked Triple H's hand at the start of the match when he extended it for a shake, the match got rolling and became a true back-and-forth affair.

Triple H had Bryan on the ropes at times, but the leader of the Yes Movement was able to drop The Game with his signature running knee and pin him for the three count to gain entry into the main event.

Following Bryan's win, Stephanie slapped him, then Triple H attacked him and crushed his arm between the ring post and a steel chair, putting his availability for the main event in question.

         

Lesnar Shockingly Ends The Undertaker's Streak

In one of the final matches of the night, The Undertaker and Lesnar clashed with The Phenom putting his 21-0 WrestleMania undefeated streak on the line.

For several weeks leading up to the event, The Deadman got the better of Lesnar and his advocate, Paul Heyman, on numerous occasions.

Few believed there was any chance of The Beast Incarnate ending the streak since Lesnar was already an established Superstar who didn't necessarily need the win in order to be credible.

After a feeling-out process, Taker and Lesnar exchanged several signature and finishing moves, however, they were unable to put the other Superstar away.

The Undertaker kicked out of the F-5 twice and survived a kimura lock, while Lesnar kicked out of a chokeslam and a Tombstone, while also managing to break out of Taker's Hell's Gate submission a couple of times.

Lesnar appeared poised to become The Undertaker's 22nd WrestleMania victim when he went up from another Tombstone, but Brock countered it and turned it into an F-5.

Nearly everyone in attendance and watching around the world expected The Undertaker to kick out, but when the referee's hand hit the mat for a third time, the silence was deafening inside the Superdome.

WWE's camera operators expertly captured the shocked expressions on the faces of those in the live crowd, and the announcers played up to it by sitting in stunned silence.

Heyman came across as surprised as anyone, while Lesnar smiled and reveled in one of the greatest accomplishments in professional wrestling history.

The Undertaker eventually made it to his feet and woozily exited the ring, which elicited a standing ovation from the fans, the commentators and everyone else who witnessed the monumental event.

Although The Undertaker would continue to compete at WrestleMania after that, a big part of his mystique was left behind in New Orleans due to the loss at WrestleMania 30.

      

Bryan Outlasts Orton, Batista to Win World Title

The Undertaker's loss took much of the air out of the Superdome, but Bryan was tasked with getting the fans back involved in the main event for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship again Orton and Batista.

Bryan came to the ring with his arm taped after Triple H's vicious attack earlier in the night, and he was at an immediate disadvantage when both Orton and Batista focused their attack on him.

Orton and Batista eventually mixed it up with each other as well, but Bryan was clearly in a bad way considering how much energy he had to expend in defeating The Game.

Triple H and Stephanie reemerged during the match and sent crooked referee Scott Armstrong into the ring in an effort to screw over Bryan.

Bryan mustered a kick-out, though, and then eliminated Armstrong from the equation. He also hit Triple H and Stephanie with a suicide dive before knocking The Cerebral Assassin out with the sledgehammer shot.

Things got worse for Bryan, though, when Orton and Batista hit him with a combination RKO and Batista Bomb through an announce table.

Medical personnel tried to take Bryan away on a stretcher, but he somehow managed to get back to his feet and return to the match before either Orton or Batista could win.

The match's crescendo came when Batista hit The Viper with a Batista Bomb only for Bryan to hit The Animal with a running knee.

Bryan then put Batista in the Yes Lock, and although he tried to fight out, Batista had no choice but to tap out, resulting in Bryan becoming the undisputed WWE World Heavyweight champion.

That culminated months of hard work and overcoming adversity, and it set off one of the biggest and most memorable celebrations in WWE history.

Bryan hoisted both titles and conducted a "Yes!" chant that flooded the Superdome while confetti rained down on him and the crowd.

Against all odds, Bryan became one of the most organically popular stars to ever grace a WWE ring, and the rare connection he had with the fans was never more apparent than when he closed WrestleMania 30 atop the sports entertainment mountain.

        

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