It's been a day or so since Mania and I'm going to finish up my series here and finally be caught up. Overall impression of this show is it was a thumbs middle and will be remembered for delivering on most of the main events; a big step up from last year though.
1) Daniel Bryan v. Sheamus- 0
2) Kane v. Randy Orton- 4
3) Cody Rhodes v. Big Show - 2
4) Eve/ Beth Phoenix v. Kelly Kelly/ Maria Menounos- 2
5) HHH v. Undertaker (Hell in a Cell)- 7
6) Mark Henry/ The Miz/ Jack Swagger/ Dolph Ziggler/ Drew McIntyre/ David Otunga v. Santino Marella/ Kofi Kingston/ Zach Ryder/ Great Khali/ R Truth/ Booker T - 3
7) CM Punk v. Chris Jericho - 7
8) The Rock v. John Cena- 5
The opener is the most insulting slap in the face to WWE fans since Vince blew himself up and we take this a lot more seriously. Shows the disconnect between whoever thought that was a good idea and the people giving money to this product.
Kane selling is terrible as usual, with one notable fall looking akin to tripping over a tree limb in the forest while jogging. Kane continued to throw punches even though his suck; he should have stuck with the uppercuts. Orton is always a fun watch, you get the sense he is always within himself acting against the match and as if no one's there. Dug the surprise finish for the fact of being a surprise and nice bump.
Show looked like garbage here and this is the last match you want to give Cody a showcase with. But i get this was a moment for Show; this is a very Attitude era heavy night, with most of those guys getting the spotlight. A spear near the end was frighteningly ugly that looked like Show picked up a Tranny and threw her through the motel window.
Women's match didn't offer a lot; Kelly giving a Molly go Round was a fun surprise and Maria actually taking some shots to the ribs is commendable; but it looked terrible.
Hell in a Cell used to mean something; and it still doesn't. This match was an excellent thread, with Michaels even trying his hardest not to be hammy here despite his most natural instincts. The violent chair shots, both men being beaten to a pulp with chairs, it's a level, restrained in a PG environment we haven't gotten in a while, esp. in this promotion so it means more. There's lot of echoes in this too, Trips being finished just as Michaels was two years prior, the nearfalls always mean more with Taker, he has more than a title resting on them and no one in this business will ever get to kick out of a superkick and pedigree back to back again. They succeeded in my mind, much more than last year, as a full complete match with a better story even though the Cell wasn't even a thought in this.
The Team match actually was exactly asit should have been. A match like this can't go 30 seconds like the Corre bout from last year; everyone needs a moment, a move, a few sequences to solidfy this as an actual tag bout. The Ziggler bump will be remembered but that's probably about it.
My favorite match of the night and the one I was most looking forward to; you could tell as it was happening, they wanted this to be their Steamboat-Savage. It was stuck in a bad spot, right before the main event there's usually a buffer that lets people deflate for a moment but not here. Punk was driving to Concussion City during the build and took some nasty bumps on his head. I thought everything was worked really tight and the nearfalls were my favorite of the night; this was a match that needed them to give itself an identity and stand out. It did that and I"m always up for a submission ending.
Once in a Lifetime, End of an Era, all these buzzwords that people won't remember in two years when talking about the match; as this was going, where I was sitting, it didn't feel like the biggest match of all time and I knew going in they wouldn't work weak but the build and story would be elementary and basic with no surprises; and it was. Cena had the one impressive spot of catching gigantic Rock off the top buckle and rolling through to an FU. The two eras, Attitude and PG met here and I think it showed a complete difference in how to work a match. I've loved Cena's main events overall much more than Rocks in past Mania's, but I don't think Rock can work those matches to a success; because those matches are about the work and Rock wasn't able to show his usual charisma. It was a good match but only went 30 mins because of who was in it; anyone else doing this style is not even going 20. Rock goes over, people were surprised but he's the Rock; if that's what he wanted, that's what we saw.
I feel a sense of accomplishment finishing all these reviews; hope they've shed light on the biggest shows of all time through different eyes, not just historys and WWE mark columns but I have given my honest opinion of every single match and show and stand by them. See you next year in Jersey