wrestling / Columns

The Contentious Ten 04.02.12: The 10 Best Things from WrestleMania XXVIII

April 2, 2012 | Posted by Empire Of Ownage 411

Hello again, and welcome to the Contentious Ten! I am your host, Michael Ornelas, the new writer of this column. Nick wanted to take some time off to focus on work and school, meanwhile I’ve been itching to write about wrestling again, so the trade-off worked well for both of us.

As far as my background goes, and as I was criticized for last week – yes, I’m only twenty-three years old, and I’ve only watched wrestling since 2001. But that’s still more than a decade, and more importantly, I have done my homework and watched plenty of wrestling from the past. I wouldn’t accept the position as writer of a column that references history as much as this one does if I didn’t feel like I had a vast knowledge of wrestling’s past.

But having said that, tonight’s column is not about the past – it’s about tonight. So enjoy The 10 Best Things About WrestleMania XXVIII! And forgive the length of this column (or lack of) – I’ve been up for three days with no more than 90 minutes of sleep per day. I’ll do my best to be coherent. Enjoy!

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Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes, The Undertaker. All these men have one thing in common: Bad. Ass. Entrance. Robes. Although early indicators of the show proved robes to be detrimental to the outcome (Bryan and Rhodes lost championships in the two shortest matches of the night), The Undertaker put a stop to that when he came out with spikes down his arms. Entrance gear is always at its best at Mania and this year didn’t disappoint. I mean, did you see Jericho’s new Lite Brite jacket?!

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The crowd in the arena in Miami really made tonight memorable. They were white hot for the Cell match, great for Punk/Jericho, and obviously popping big time for the main event. They also cheered “Yes! Yes! Yes!” and “Daniel Bryan” in matches long after his unfortunate opener to let the WWE brass hear their voices. Bryan is really starting to get over, and Miami reinforced that tonight. But more than that, it was the matches that really had a special vibe because of the crowd. I absolutely loved the Cell match and Miami had a large part to do with that. And I speak from experience because I was at WrestleMania 25 for HBK/Taker, and what I heard when I watched the tape didn’t sound hot at all after the fact, but when I was in the building, you couldn’t hear yourself think. Those arenas can really suck up the sound and tonight’s 70,000+ in attendance made sure they were heard.

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Rock’s Still Got Itsize=6>

When The Rock started wrestling John Cena toward the start of their match, I marked out. It’s been so long since The Rock was a part of the WWE’s roster that I really do feel like we forget he’s a wrestler and not a guest celebrity. This isn’t Bigelow/Taylor. The kip-up, armdrag, Mahistral Cradle sequence from The Rock made me excited for what was to come.

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The Productionsize=6>

Every year I’m blown away with the Mania sets, and this one was no exception. The palm trees, the stage, the big “WRESTLEMANIA” across the tron, and of course the pyro. Tell me it didn’t give you goosebumps when The Undertaker and Triple H were staring each other down and the smoke filled the view as the camera tilted up to the Cell. Great visual, and they never cease to amaze me with the cool shots they manage to get at an event framed like a sporting event – a genre that rarely gets praised for cinematography.

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The Big Show Gets His Momentsize=6>

Say what you want about the match or the fact that young up-and-comer Cody Rhodes lost when the win would have benefitted him more – Show knows how to sell emotional victories. His reaction to winning and getting his WrestleMania moment made it all worth it. The man has now held every active championship in the WWE, as well as a few that are now defunct. I’m a bit of a sap when I sense genuine emotion from the performers. Show conveyed that and became one of the highlights of WM28 for me.

Now that we’re at the halfway point, it’s as good a time as any to give you all a message from this column’s former writer and personal friend, Nick Bazar:
First off, I want to thank Michael Ornelas for taking over for me. He’s a busy guy with lofty Hollywood ambitions, and it’s great to have him back on 411. Unfortunately, I also find my plate quite full, and it’s been getting harder and harder to keep up with a regular column on a weekly basis. With a full-time job on top of a full-time college schedule, there just don’t seem to be enough hours during the week. Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed writing the Contentious Ten for you guys this past year, and I always looked forward to reading your feedback- both positive and negative- every Monday. It often gave me doses of education on wrestling, confidence and even a few laughs. People are never going to fully agree on “Top Ten” lists, but my ultimate goal from the start wasn’t to be right about everything. My goal with this column was to give you fresh and new topics to discuss every week that had never been dug into before (which is the main reason why I never resorted to “Top Ten _____ Matches”). While it was a challenge to think of new list ideas when seemingly everything had been covered in the past, I like to think I managed to create some genuine discussion. Whether you agreed with me or disagreed with me, I just hope you enjoyed clicking on this column for a short distraction from your real lives. Thanks for reading and commenting, and you’ll probably find me contributing to some of the group columns or even the Video Review section in the future.
• Nick Bazar

I can tell you that Nick really did put a lot of effort into coming up with original, NOT run-of-the-mill topics each and every week and did a fantastic job over the past year by creating a column that I checked out each and every week. Hopefully he still maintains a presence here on 411. The most fun I’ve had writing for the site was writing the “BFFin’ News Talk” for all of 11 weeks last spring, which I did with Nick. And the readers seemed to love it too…

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I’ve never been a bloodthirsty wrestling fan by any means, but it was really nice seeing Triple H get busted open and NOT having the match stopped was quite refreshing. It was also in a Cell though, so getting someone in there to clean up the blood would have really killed their momentum. But I will say – Triple H being busted open over the eye made for a great visual that added to the intensity and stakes of the encounter.

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Being on the younger side of the IWC, I grew up with Edge. He was a tag champ when I started watching, and went on to hold more championships than almost anyone in WWE history. He was one of the best characters throughout the years. Whatever you think of his in-ring work, he was a solid character. Seeing him as the headliner for this year’s Hall of Fame was a great moment from this WrestleMania and an even better one for me as a fan.

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Cena Teases Heel Tactic – Loses Matchsize=6>

John Cena’s SUCH a good guy that even hinting at heelness cost him the match. Stealing a finishing move is about as cocky as you get, and Cena’s attempt at the People’s Elbow is precisely why he lost. Rocky obviously knows his way out of his own moves, from a kayfabe perspective. Most importantly, this outcome has me curious as to what comes next for Cena. I have no trouble admitting that I was way wrong with my prediction here, but I’ll tune in to see why for sure.

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CM Punk vs. Chris Jerichosize=6>

I’m going to start by saying that I was a little let down by this match. But I was expecting ****1/2 or higher. That doesn’t mean what we got was bad by any stretch, it was just a little slow paced in the middle and kind of put me out of it. But the final few minutes (starting with the Codebreaker from the springboard clothesline) saw some amazing sequences. I loved the focus on submissions and this match was a definite positive about WrestleMania 28, make no mistake about it.

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This year, the downtime in the match was a big part of the story, and damn did I love every bit of it. This match was essentially a Last Man Standing match inside a Cell because of the pride of both men. The contest these two men put on tonight is one of the best Cell matches I’ve ever seen – and I’ve seen them all. Everything that happened from Shawn’s entrance to all three men walking out together was storytelling perfection. From Trips trying to force Michaels to call for the bell when Taker took the chairs, to Taker’s revenge, putting HHH in the same position. The elimination of referees (the gatekeepers to wins and losses), the stiff as fuuuuck chair shots that ruined both men’s backs, and Shawn Michaels’ acting were all top notch. I have a tendency to overrate matches a touch after having just seen them, and for that reason, I don’t want to assign this a star rating. I just know that this was one of the best spectacles I’ve ever seen at a WrestleMania.

And there you have it. Although I’m usually an optimist, I must admit that this list was actually pretty hard to compile as I wasn’t exactly blown away by this year’s show. The Deadliest Catch needed to cross-promote with WrestleMania? I didn’t think so.

If there was anything that stood out as particularly memorable (good OR bad) from WrestleMania 28, feel free to voice your opinion below! Also, I’m going to let you decide my topic for next week:

Top 10 Striking Finishing Moves
Top 10 Submission Holds
Top 10 Authority Figures

And this JUST in: New episode of my television series, “Shenanigans”! Be the first to watch it!


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