Each year there’s no other event that indicates that it’s springtime like Wrestlemania. That is of course if you’re a die-hard wrestling fan like the millions and millions around the world. This year marked the 30th anniversary of the Super Bowl of wrestling and boy was it a doozy. Like all of the Wrestlemania events prior to this year, there were innumerable moments that will live on in infamy for years to come.
We’re now two weeks removed from the event but like any Wrestlemania, it’s impossible to be satisfied with each and every aspect of the show. For the most part, the 30th anniversary proved to be one for the ages with the gauntlet and ultimate victory of Daniel Bryan to the end of the Undertaker’s streak which has lived on for over two decade. But like any major event, fans have their own desires and expectations that the company feels aren’t always “best for business”. Some fans will feel neglected and left out in the cold, as their expectations will fail to live up to the actual events that transpired before their eyes.
Like any momentous occasion, it’s impossible to be 100% satisfied. Many fans will turn off their television with an empty feeling at programs end while wishing a match would have ended differently or their favorite wrestler may have made an appearance. Sometimes the WWE just misses the mark and we are left with a sense of disappointment or betrayal.
Lets take a step back and revisit 10 letdowns from Wrestlemania 30.
10. Crowd Energy
There were a lot of moments during Wrestlemania when the crowd was going absolutely bananas. Witnessing a sea of people chanting, “YES” to Daniel Bryan was without a doubt one of the highlights of the evening. It’s amazing seeing a packed show on RAW or Smackdown throwing out the chant but to witness it at an event like Wrestlemania in the Superdome with a packed house of 75,000 plus was a whole new experience to behold. And this is from a guy that watched it from the comfort of his own home.
On the flip side of that, it’s impossible for a crowd to keep up that kind of energy for an entire show. During the course of the night and the seesaw of events that would transpire, it was easily noticeable that at moments it was like Wrestlemania was happening inside of a mortuary. There were instances where the place appeared dead quiet, and not only during one specific moment, which we’ll touch on, but during other big matches.
Wrestlemania is a 4-hour televised event in addition to a dark match that usually takes place prior to events going live so it’s a long time for a crowd to be fully engaged throughout. With that being said, there were just too many spots where the booking was done poorly, whether it be matches in general or the order in which they took place. The momentum appeared to just stall at times which was a bit disappointing.
9. The Kickoff Match
It’s been a relief that over the past year and a half the WWE has finally started to care about the tag team division once again. A lot of this has to do with the pairing of Daniel Bryan and Kane and their epic run as an odd couple and ultimate climb to the top to become the tag team champions. Prior to these two capturing the title and being dubbed Team Hell No, the division had decayed into what can only be described as a joke with a number of top tier parings reigning as the tag team champions for short periods of time.
If you were fortunate enough to catch the Wrestlemania Kickoff match on Pay-Per-View or the recently launched WWE Network, you caught what was one of the best matches of the evening. And it wasn’t even a part of the main show. The Usos defended their tag titles in an epic 15-minute fatal four match against three other teams: Los Matadores, the Real Americans and RybAxel.
After the Usos claimed victory against the final team, Real Americans, fans were also gifted with the final face turn of Cesaro and his break from Jack Swagger. As a kickoff match, this was a great starter to an epic event such as Wrestlemania but it should have been included into the main card rather than reduced to dark match status.
8. WWE Network Streaming
To the surprise of many and joy to subscribers, the WWE Network survived its first major Pay-Per-View event test. Fans weren’t plagued with a massive server crash that a lot suspected might happen as a result of the massive influx of subscribers jumping on to watch Wrestlemania. WWE took a huge gamble with its first Pay-Per-View on the Network being Wrestlemania and it appears to have paid off for them. Amid a lot of technical problems with it’s initial launch, the WWE Network passed a critical test in proving that it can sustain a large streaming audience at one time.
Even though the WWE Network didn’t crash and result in the uprising of countless wrestling fans, the streaming wasn’t perfect. From the kickoff show all the way through to the end of the event, there were a lot of moments where the connection was spotty at best. Although the system never went down, there were difficulties during the night in which the program would skip or the audio would jump ahead of the action while it froze on the screen.
This is to be expected with any streaming service, let alone one involving a massive live event such as Wrestlemania, but it’s something that would not occur if the event were purchased through a cable provider. Although fans will rejoice at the $9.99 per month pay off, the streaming lag and hiccups at times did get a bit tiresome as the night went along.
7. Booking Of The Shield
It’s been great watching the Shield evolve into fan favorites and viewing them slowly turn face as a result of their skyrocketing popularity. The group consists of three of the best up and coming performers in the WWE. Their eventual break-up is all but assured at some point in the near future so that each man can go on to become top solo performers but right now fans are enjoying the ride. It’s a shame that Wrestlemania 30 came and went with the Shield playing such a minor and insignificant part.
At the Elimination Chamber Pay-Per-View, the Shield battled the Wyatt family in one of the most epic, show-stealing matches in recent history. The match was arguably more entertaining than the staple event itself as these two families put on a marathon battle. Why the WWE didn’t feel it would be a good idea to do Shield/Wyatt part two is staggering. Instead creative decided to pit the Shield against corporate Kane and a resurgent New Age Outlaws in a snoozer match that lasted three minutes!
For whatever reason the Shield were all but shelved and demoted to minor league status after proving time and again that they should be a part of some of the top storylines. It’s almost as if the development team knew they had to include the Shield but didn’t know how.
Which leads us to the next point…
6. Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena
In addition to the Shield getting the booking shaft, two other superstars that appeared to fall victim to this as well were Bray Wyatt and John Cena. This feud alone has been confusing as from a story standpoint it really doesn’t make sense. You almost have to flash back to the decision to turn Daniel Bryan “heel” with the Wyatt’s – An occurrence that lasted all of three weeks before once gain flipping Bryan face and putting him on a road to Wrestlemania.
It appeared to be a lock that Bray Wyatt would defeat John Cena and get a push moving him forward. Instead fans got a lack luster match that saw the crowd almost silent for the whole thing and an eventual John Cena win; bashing any hopes for a push for Bray Wyatt. With two giant losses to Daniel Bryan and now John Cena, it appeared that Wyatt was destined for mid-card status after a big initial push.
On the other side of this match, fans endured John Cena being a part of the event because…well, he’s John Cena. Cena is a critical part to the WWE and for all intents and purposes he should be included in the company’s biggest event. But the booking of this match was more for the sake of having a match than giving Bray a well deserved push or possibly doing the unthinkable and turning Cena heel. The story came across as being something that was just thrown together rather than ever developing. Hopefully moving forward, the plot will continue to play itself out even further between these two.
5. Placement Of The Divas Match
There hasn’t been a legitimate one-on-one Divas title match in Wrestlemania for quite some time now. It’s disappointing because much like the tag team division, the Divas division is pretty deep with talent it hasn’t ever seen. AJ Lee has had a great run as the Divas champion for close to 300-days leading up to the events of Wrestlemania. Fans were treated to a decent 7-minute, 14-Divas match where a single pin fall would result in a winner. In the end, AJ Lee would retain and walk away still the WWE Divas championship at the end of the night.
The biggest issue with the Divas match wasn’t its inclusion into the event but rather its placement. If you had the opportunity to sit down and watch Wrestlemania this year, chances are you were still in a bit of shock prior to this match kicking off. After the emotional conclusion of the Brock Lesnar / Undertaker streak match, the last thing you were ready for was a ring full of Divas.
The match itself just didn’t seem to fit with the sentiments of the show after the jolt everyone had just been put through. It’s possible that creative decided to slide this one in prior to the epic conclusion that would see Daniel Bryan finally concur the authority and become champion but it was just not the correct spot for the match to take place. Professional wrestling is a business all about balance but bouncing right into this match didn’t present the serene sense it was most likely intended for.
4. Lack Of An Under-card
One of the biggest drawbacks of the WWE is the lack of recognition that the under-card never seems to get. With the launch of the WWE Network a lot of the under-card talent is now getting more TV time than ever before but it hasn’t transitioned over to the main televised shows and Pay-Per-View events. We are seeing the rise of a lot of guys like Cesaro and Big E, but there’s still a lot of guys with amazing skills that just seem to never get the big pushes they deserve like Ziggler and Ryder to name a few.
There’s only so much TV time to go around and it’s impossible for everyone to get their shot, which makes it all the more important to grab the opportunity when it’s presented. Wrestlemania is a 4-hour show and rather than lump everyone into a massive battle royal match like we saw this year at Wrestlemania 30, the airtime should be used more accordingly for giving at least two others a shot at stealing the show.
It can be argued that this opportunity was given to Cesaro as he was the winner of the Andrew the Giant battle royal event but this spot could have been better utilized for what we saw during the kickoff match or building a possible Intercontinental or US title defense. Big E is the current Intercontinental champion and he hasn’t truly put on a strong title defense since gaining the title. The WWE roster is deep and fans need to see more of the mid-card guys so that they can get the opportunities to transition into top tier players.
3. No CM Punk
The more time goes by, the more it appears that CM Punk is truly gone and that his departure isn’t a work within the company. Since the Royal Rumble in January and Punk’s mysterious departure, fans have been forever hopeful that he’ll return to once gain save the WWE. Stories that Punk was dissatisfied with his placement within the company and the direction his character was taking appear to be true as his disappearance is still cloaked in hushed mystery.
Professional wrestlers are never gone for good and it should be assumed that at some point, Punk will make a return to the business but not in what appears to be the foreseeable future. There have been so many opportunities now leading up to Wrestlemania and even at the event itself for him to make his triumphant return. All of these opportunities have now come and gone and Wrestlemania 30 is now behind us.
Wrestlemania is usually an event for surprise appearances and bombshell moments. We had our fair share of shocking moments this year but a CM Punk return was an outside shot that we were all hoping for. Whether or not we actually believed Punk would return is up for debate but imagine the pop from the crowd if Punk would have shown up at the conclusion of the Daniel Bryan title win. Creatively it wouldn’t make sense as we are now in the era of Bryan but from a surprise stance, the place would have gone berserk.
Batista is one of the best performers that the WWE has had in the past decade and has been a part of some big Wrestlemania moments in his storied career. He’s a personal favorite of this writer but when it was announced that he would be returning at the Royal Rumble event, skepticism was piercing the air. Batista has always been a better face than a heel, especially in the years prior to his departure.
It’s clear that creative thought fans would applaud his return much the same way they have done in the past with returning talent such as the Rock or Stone Cold Steve Austin. This is where the mistake was made as even though the Animal is a celebrated professional in the WWE and future hall of famer, he’s not a superstar like some of the other talent from the past. The WWE made it almost too obvious that Batista would win the Royal Rumble event and when he did, fans all but mutinied and turned their backs on Batista and his spoon fed return.
Creative eventually capitalized on his lack of popularity and quickly turned him heel along with Randy Orton; all but solidifying that another party would be entering the feud at Wrestlemania. The reality of the matter is that Batista shouldn’t have been involved in the main event from the get go. Bryan and Orton have proven to have amazing chemistry with one another in the ring and the addition of Batista only added an unneeded third party to the feud to try and make the event even bigger.
1. The Beast Ends The Streak
Wrestling fans lamented the fall of the Undertaker and the end to the streak. Most thought that the Undertaker would go out on top and that the streak would never be broken. That reality came crashing down at Wrestlemania 30 as the Undertaker not only lost the match, leaving him with a 21-1 record, but it now appears that the Phenom is going out on his back and not as the undefeated dead man.
The Undertaker, or more importantly the man himself Mark Calaway, is a true professional in the sports entertainment business. He’s one of the few leftover performers from the Federation era and is a strong believer in putting over the man you wrestle rather than being selfish and going out on top. It had to be assumed that at some point the Undertaker would lose and the streak would be broken.
But lose to Brock Lesnar of all opponents?
Looking back at the past five Wrestlemania’s and the matches that the Undertaker found himself in, there was no way Lesnar was going to beat the streak. Anyone of the three previous men would have been better suited to take down the Undertaker and end the streak with Punk being the top choice of many. Booking Undertaker against someone such as Cena or Bryan would have been a more preferred performer to take down the streak rather than Lesnar.
As a whole, it was really a lack luster match considering what fans had seen just in the past five years and before. It was a complete shock to see the three-count fall and the Undertaker lose at Wrestlemania and the breaking of the streak with it. The arena was absolutely silent it what had to have been assumed was a mistake. If the WWE was going for shock factor, it cashed in big time as the end of the match was a stunner. But in terms of the quality and the passing of the torch to Lesnar, fans deserved better.
What do you think: What moments at Wrestlemania 30 let you down? Leave you comments below for us!
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