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Pantoja’s RetrospectiveMania Series: WrestleMania 29

March 6, 2024 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
WrestleMania 29 The Rock John Cena Dwayne Johnson Image Credit: WWE

WWE WrestleMania 29
April 7th, 2013 | MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey | Attendance: 74,300

I was so over the idea of WWE giving us “Twice in a Lifetime” that I made this the first WrestleMania I purposely skipped in my lifetime. I eventually went back and watched it but it’s the rare Mania that I’ve only seen once in full. After doing New York for Manias 1, 10, and 20, WWE returned for 29 instead of 30. It’s one of those weird things they decided that felt off but ultimately didn’t actually affect anything.

As a reminder, I’m reliving these WrestleManias and rating them on a 1-10 scale in these seven categories. They’ll be ranked by their total score.

• Match quality – Self-explanatory. Will always be the longest section.
• Memorability – How memorable is the show?
• Historical significance – The impact the show had on wrestling
• Booking decisions – Did the event have logical booking decisions for the stories they told
• Presentation – Things like stage setup, video packages, commentary, etc.
• Pacing/Flow – How well is the show laid out? Does it drag or move along smoothly?
• Entertainment – The non-wrestling elements like promos, celebrity interaction, concerts, etc.

Match Quality

WWE Intercontinental Championship: Wade Barrett [c] vs. The Miz ~ It’s Kickoff action! This wasn’t the best era for the Intercontinental Title and in terms of its position on a Mania card, it’s about as low as it gets. Most of the time, I don’t mind something being moved to the pre-show as I don’t view it as a demotion. It typically allows a match to get more time than it would on a crowded main card. However, that wasn’t the case here. These two just had what amounted to a Raw match that went a mere 4:08. Just some generic back and forth that saw Wade escape the Figure Four, Miz kick out of a Wasteland, and then Miz win the title with the Figure Four. Totally skippable and forgettable. [*]

Big Show, Randy Orton and Sheamus vs. The Shield ~ We’re early in The Shield’s run here and this was when they were putting all-star teams together to try and topple them. The Shield were on their heels to start this, with their individual efforts against the former World Champions across from them failing. That gave us the story of the match as the faces had control in one-on-one cases but The Shield were a well-oiled machine who took over once they had the chance to work as a unit. Quick tags, isolation, and that pack mentality that made them such a great faction. I liked the hot tag going to Sheamus because I totally though it would be Orton and Sheamus works well in that role. Orton got the next hot tag but Show wanted it, causing more friction between the trio. Just as Orton lined up the RKO, he ate a Spear from Roman and Ambrose pinned him at the 10:34 mark, with Show looking on instead of helping. A good official opener. It kept The Shield unbeaten, featured good action, and told a story. [***¼]

Mark Henry vs. Ryback ~ In the back half of 2012, Ryback was red hot but the losses to CM Punk stalled his momentum. He was apparently supposed to get put over by Jericho on this card but things were moved around and this is what the show was left with. Commentary hyped this as a clash of titans and while a match where two meaty men slap meat is often a blast, that wasn’t the case here. That’s why I didn’t type “slap meat” in all caps. This was a slog with Henry holding serve over Ryback using things like a weak looking bearhug. Then as Ryback rallied, he got the expected big moment of trying to get Henry up for the Shellshock. Logic says the babyface succeeds here and wins. Instead, Henry fell on Ryback and simply covered him to win in 8:02. Yeah, that was monumentally dull and a pretty strange decision. Then after the match, Ryback successfully hit Shellshock. [DUD]

WWE Tag Team Championship: Team Hell No [c] vs. Big E Langston and Dolph Ziggler ~ Oh, hello AJ Lee. Right off the bat, I appreciated the callback to AJ’s kiss of death last year as her kissing Dolph nearly led to a quick finish. Side note but this was the first main roster match in the career of Big E. He got to shine and showcase his strength by throwing Kane around with relative ease. That led to a heat segment on Kane which lines up since Bryan was getting absurdly over. There was a Zig Zag near fall that the crowd bit on but I really don’t like wasting finisher kickouts in the midcard. Kane avoided Ziggler using the Money in the Bank briefcase to Chokeslam him and then Bryan won with a diving headbutt in a fun little 6:16. That should’ve gotten 10 minutes and give Henry/Ryback four. [**¾]

Chris Jericho vs. Fandango ~ Man, this card is kind of a mess, eh? Like Big E, this was Fandango’s debut but the booking here was odd. Jericho had name value and this gimmick was clearly never meant to be a star so it’s so weird. You could tell almost instantly that this wasn’t a motivated Jericho though he did surprise me by busting out a cross body to the outside. Though I never really liked Fandango in the ring, I give the man props for always going all in with the gimmick. Even here he was stopping to get back into his dancer’s pose and such. But yeah, him on offense was pretty dull, including a rest hold that felt like it came from him not having much else in his bag. Jericho hit the Lionsault but when he went for the Walls, Fandango managed to pull him into an inside cradle for the upset in 9:11. This was a relatively inoffensive match and nothing more. [**]

World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio [c] vs. Jack Swagger ~ When this is your World Title match, you know the card isn’t exactly hitting. I honestly don’t have all that much to say about this match because it was just very bland. It’s a lot like Fandango/Jericho in that nothing they did was offensive and none of it was outwardly awful. It was just a match between two dudes who the crowd didn’t care much about and it lacked any sense of life. When the most energy comes from Ricardo Rodriguez and Zeb Colter outside, that’s a problem. They did the expected thing of ankle work vs. arm work and it culminated in a Cross Armbreaker that made Swagger tap after 10:28. Another in a series of ho-hum matches. [**]

CM Punk vs. The Undertaker ~ Undertaker entered this show on an all-time run with SIX straight spectacular Mania matches against Batista, Edge, HBK, and Triple H. Punk’s sole focus here was the Streak. He didn’t care how he did it, so his gameplan was to piss off Taker and goad him into a DQ. He did that during the build and added to it here, slapping him, stealing Old School, and disrespecting him at every turn. Punk was on his game here, doing all of the little things to really add to this. Meanwhile, this was Big Match Taker and it was really the final instance we got of it. I also want to give props to Paul Heyman at ringside. As always, he did so much with reactions and facial expressions throughout and I really liked him raising the urn whenever Punk got a near fall. Punk’s elbow through the announce table was the big spot but you could see that he hit the table HARD. It also set up Punk trying to win by countout, another cheap attempt. The other memorable spot here was Taker sitting up from an Anaconda Vice near fall and staring a hole through Punk. The final big shot for Punk came by using the urn as a weapon but Undertaker put him down with the Tombstone to move to 21-0 after 23:07. Easily the best thing on the show and likely saved it from being a dire show. [****¼]

No Holds Barred Match: Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H ~ This program was always a weird one to me. HHH/Brock never felt like something people cared about or wanted in 2012/2013. The other stipulation is that HHH’s career was on the line. Brock looked like an animal in the early stages, throwing HHH around outside and through the announce table. Had the match been a lot more of that, similar to what they’d end up doing at SummerSlam 2014, I think this would’ve worked much more. They tried to add some drama by having Shawn Michaels at ringside, including having him get hit by Lesnar but it never felt like much more than that. I think this also got hurt by the retirement stipulation because nobody believed this could be it for Hunter. Triple H rallied and applied his own Kimura on Brock. Heyman tried to make the save but ate Sweet Chin Music to a pop. Brock survived that Kimura, which seemed to last forever, only to lose to a Pedigree on the steel steps in 23:58. Not as bad as I remembers but it certainly drags and didn’t need to be 24 minutes. [**]

WWE Championship: The Rock [c] vs. John Cena ~ TWICE IN A LIFETIME! The first match was a fun epic that delivered in terms of being a big match between top stars. Despite this being a huge match, the crowd was very subdued early on. It’s like they knew these guys would try to go long and that nothing done in the first 10 or so minutes would matter. So it all just felt like they were going through the motions in front of a crowd that was shockingly apathetic. It’s as if they knew the crowd was kind of dying because after what felt like forever, they started throwing out the big false finishes that gullible fans eat up. That meant Cena kicked out of the Rock Bottom, Rock survived the AA, and then they stole finishers, like Cena hitting the Rock Bottom. I did like Cena going for the People’s Elbow that lost him the match last year only to expect Rock getting up and be prepared for it. I’m a sucker for those callbacks. When Cena finally hit the AA that ended this in 23:59, it was rather merciful. It’s not an awful match but it’s in the bottom-tier of Mania main events and a finisher spam fest late. [**]

The in-ring aspect of this show is pretty bad. The only thing that is really worth watching is Punk vs. Undertaker. The Shield opener is solid and the Tag Title match is pretty good though it’s too short. The rest of the card features matches that are bad, disappointing, overly long, or just flat out boring.

SCORE: 4.0


Similar to WrestleMania XXVII, this show is kind of forgettable. Rock/Cena II is a huge deal on paper, yet it never felt as big or as interesting as the first time around. So, this event is mostly just remembered for being very lackluster. CM Punk vs. The Undertaker is the lone bright spot and even that, while great, isn’t nearly as memorable as Undertaker’s clashes with Triple H and Shawn Michaels due to the four-year story told there.

SCORE: 4.0

Historical Significance

The main things that stand out here are a slew of WrestleMania debuts. The obvious one is The Shield as Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose all went on to have stellar careers. Reigns has headlined several Manias, so seeing where he started is cool. We also have something interesting as this marked (I believe) the first time two guys made their in-ring main roster debuts at a Mania in Big E and Fandango. Cena beating The Rock was notable in the history books so this gets a solid score.

SCORE: 7.0

Booking Decisions

Sometimes, a WrestleMania makes you question who the hell was booking the show. This is one of those. The Shield winning was wise, Cena had to go over, and Punk correctly wasn’t the guy to end the streak. But Ryback losing just to do his power spot afterward? Stupid. Triple H beating Brock? Bad move. Fandango clean over Jericho? Goofy. Throw in no women’s match and giving what could’ve been a good Tag Title match only a few minutes and you’ve got a lot of head scratchers here.

SCORE: 4.5


This is a GORGEOUS WrestleMania. The New York-themed stage is the best they’ve had to this point. “I’m Coming Home” is also a pretty great theme song for the show, really making it all coming together nicely while paying tribute to the past. Entrances play a part here and they mostly kept it reserved here with nobody having anything over the top. That said, this Undertaker entrance is probably my favorite ever. It’s simple but cool as hell. As a negative, the Cole/Lawler/JBL trio is one of the worst in wrestling history. Still, great score here.

SCORE: 8.5


As is often the case, a show that isn’t very good tends to drag. This event had that problem and I think a big part of it is how things were laid out. It has a solid start with The Shield opener but then gives you four matches in a row that are bad, too short, painfully average, and bland. There’s also a Diddy concert in the middle of that meaning that getting from The Shield to Punk/Taker takes forever.

SCORE: 4.0


There wasn’t much here in the way of non-wrestling entertainment here. There’s the Diddy concert that felt out of place and a live performance of “Cult of Personality” which was pretty cool. Otherwise, this show lacks celebrity involvement or any of the goofy segments that are sometimes charming on a major event like this.

SCORE: 3.5


People like to harp on WrestleMania 27 for not being god but this was significantly worse. Though it made a lot of money for WWE, it was a complete mess with only two things really saving it from ranking lower. Punk/Undertaker is a tremendous match and the presentation of this was among the best Manias that I’ve seen.

TOTAL: 35.5/70

WrestleMania Rankings
1. WrestleMania XIX – 62/70
2. WrestleMania X-Seven – 61/70
3. WrestleMania XXIV – 59/70
4. WrestleMania III – 55/70
5. WrestleMania 21 – 52.5/70
6. WrestleMania X – 52/70
7. WrestleMania 23 – 51/70
8. WrestleMania VIII – 50.5/70
9. WrestleMania XX – 50/70
10. WrestleMania I – 50/70
11. WrestleMania XII – 48.5/70
12. WrestleMania 22 – 48/70
13. WrestleMania VII – 46/70
14. WrestleMania XIV – 46/70
15. WrestleMania XXVIII – 45/70
16. WrestleMania XXVI – 44/70
17. WrestleMania VI – 44/70
18. WrestleMania XXV – 43.5/70
19. WrestleMania XXVII – 43.5/70
20. WrestleMania X8 – 43.5/70
21. WrestleMania 2000 – 39.5/70
22. WrestleMania V – 39/70
23. WrestleMania 13 – 37/70
24. WrestleMania 29 – 35.5/70
25. WrestleMania XV – 35/70
26. WrestleMania IV – 32/70
27. WrestleMania XI – 31.5/70
28. WrestleMania IX – 31.5/70
29. WrestleMania II – 29/70

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WrestleMania 29, Kevin Pantoja