wrestling / TV Reports

Views from the Hawke’s Nest: WWE Wrestlemania 2013

April 8, 2013 | Posted by TJ Hawke

April 7, 2013
East Rutherford, NJ

I’ve decided to do something a little bit different for this review. I’ve decided to embed some tweets from @typicalROHfan within the review to add some humor to what would otherwise be one of a million similar reviews for this show. I hope you enjoy, as @typicalROHfan is one of the best tweeters around.

Commentators: Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler

The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, & Roman Reigns) vs. Randy Orton, Sheamus, & The Big Show
The Shield entered through the crowd as usual. The match did not start as a brawl as I expected. Team WWE was mostly in control at the start of the match. Ambrose was actually able to cut off Show with a dropkick to the knee. The Shield then got the heat on Show. I never would have guessed that Show would have been the babyface worked over. In fact, I can’t ever recall watching a match where Big Show got worked over in a tag match. Show was eventually able to tag out to Sheamus, who tagged in and ran wild on Rollins. Ambrose tried to blind tag in, but Sheamus caught him and kicked his ass. Sheamus gave Ambrose a Finlay Roll. Sheamus then gave Rollins a Finlay Roll on Ambrose. Reigns managed to dump Sheamus to the floor. Rollins wiped out Orton with a tope suicida. Rollins crashed hard into the guardrail. The Shield went for the triple powerbomb on Sheamus, but Show managed to spear all of the Shield to save Sheamus. Show wanted a tag, but Orton then tagged in. Orton made a big comeback. Show was less than pleased. Rollins went for a springboard move on Orton, but Orton caught him with a RKO! Reigns then hit Orton with a spear: 1…2…3! Show purposely did not try to save Orton, because he was butthurt.

Show gave Sheamus and Orton a KO punch each after the match.

This match was a fun opener, and the right team went over. The match got enough time to tell a good story, and they made sure to add some spots you don’t see every week on Raw. Rollins in particular seemed to be trying to make an impression here. I’m hoping the Shield work the main event of the Extreme Rules PPV against Cena, Rock, and Brock. Their Wrestlemania angle was a huge comedown for them, and I think they deserve to be shot back into the main storylines for the post-Wrestlemania season.
Match Rating: ***

They showed an awfully obnoxious promo trying to convince us that Cena’s life went into a tailspin after he lost to the Rock at Wrestlemania 28. In theory, I think that would have been a cool story, but they never actually told that story as Cena worked every PPV main event (for the most part), beat Brock Lesnar, and made more money than anyone in the company. To me, that is WWE storytelling in a nutshell.

Mark Henry vs. The Ryback
I am not looking forward to this match. Henry took Ryback down first. Henry was in control after that. Bear hug. I hope they do the nerve pinch next. I’ve loved Mark Henry for a few years, but he didn’t seem into this match. He looked bored. Bear hug #2. Bear hug #3. This match sucks. Ryback finally came back with the meathook lariat. Ryback went for the Shell Shock. He got him up, but Henry grabbed the ropes and FELL ON RYBACK: 1…2…3! WHAT! YES!

After the match, Henry went to attack Ryback, but Ryback came back with a spinebuster and a Shell Shock…inexplicable.

50/50 WWE booking. Henry wins the match, but The Ryback beats him up afterwards. This was completely inexplicable. I have no idea what to make of this. When Henry won, I thought that Ryback perhaps failed a Wellness Test, but he then hit Henry with his finisher after the match. Very weird. Match was super boring.
Match Rating: 1/4*

Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan & Kane)© vs. Dolph Ziggler & Big E. Langston (w/ AJ Lee) [WWE Tag Team Championships]
This is Big E.’s first match as a member of the WWE roster, which is pretty cool for him. They started a match with an awesome callback to Wrestlemania 28: Ziggler kissed AJ, and Bryan then hit a buzzsaw kick to the head: 1…2…NO! Ziggler fell to the floor, and Bryan wiped him out with a tope suicida. Langston and Kane tagged into the match. Langston gave Kane a trio of cradle rib breakers. Kane goozled Langston, but Big E. escaped. The rudos worked over Kane for a bit. Kane came back with a DDT on Langston, but Ziggler knocked Bryan off the apron so that Kane couldn’t make a tag. Kane got a nearfall on Ziggler with a sidewalk slam. Ziggler avoided the flying lariat from Kane, and Ziggler hit Kane with the FameAsser. Bryan saved Kane. Kane avoided Langston’s finisher and sent Big E. to the floor. Bryan hit Langston with the diving knee of the apron. Zig Zag on Kane: 1…2…NO! Good nearfall. Ziggler tried to use the briefcase on Kane, but Kane avoided it. Chokeslam to Ziggler. Flying Goat: 1…2…3!

The match was criminally short, but everything they did was fun. Kane seemed to be going out of his way to make everyone else look good. I assume these guys will have a much longer match on Raw in the near future. Good stuff.
Match Rating: **1/2

Chris Jericho vs. Fandango
Fandango got a fancy entrance with about a dozen or so dancers. I love Fandango. This is Fandango’s WWE roster debut.

Fandango started the match with some dancing. Jericho attacked him. Jericho caught him with a Codebreaker, but Fandango fell to the floor. Jericho hit a Wrestlemania plancha. Jericho went for a Silverking dropkick, but Fandango caught him with an enzuigiri. Jericho pretty quickly made a comeback. Jericho has gotten 97% of the offense in thus match. Jericho got a nearfall with a step-up enzuigiri. Jericho got another nearfall with a diving crossbody. Fandango cut off Jericho by throwing him into the ringpost. Fandango hit a reverse STO. Fandango then hit the guillotine legdrop: 1…2…NO! That would have been a wet fart ending to this match. Jericho came back and tried to lock in the Walls. Fandango came back with a clothesline. Fandango went to the top rope again, but Jericho crotched him. Fandango fought Jericho off. Jericho avoided another guillotine legdrop. Jericho went for a Lionsault, but he kind of missed. Fandango got a small package: 1…2…3.

This match was a huge disappointment. I don’t know why they didn’t do the name-pronouncing gimmick here. That would have added a lot more heat to a match that desperately needed some energy. I genuinely thought this match was going to be a lot of fun, but this ended up being a waste of Jericho.
Match Rating: **

Puff Daddy “performed.” Do musical performances ever get over at wrestling shows? I can’t recall any. I suppose there has to have been one or two of them that did though.

Alberto Del Rio© (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter)
This angle sucks, and Swagger (while a fine performer) is not worthy of main event status. Also, Swagger should have been suspended as soon as he got busted for a DUI.

Swagger and Colter got a jobber entrance. Are they already cut for time? Colter cut a promo before the match. He invoked anti-semetic conspiratorial fear into his act. Bizarre. I’m kind of hoping that this match ends immediately so that the important matches on this show still get the time they need. Del Rio hit the dropkick suicida early. Colter quickly distracted Del Rio, which allowed Swagger to cut off Del Rio. Swagger got the heat. Del Rio eventually came back with a lariat and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Del Rio hit a weak-ass kneeling superkick for a nearfall. Swagger avoided the cross armbreaker. Swagger then got the Drunk Lock, but Del Rio escaped. Swagger avoided the enzuigiri. Del Rio avoided the Vader Bomb. Del Rio then hit an elevated backstabber. Crowd is pretty indifferent towards this. Del Rio then hit a German. Swagger hit the Swagger Bomb: 1…2…no. Crowd gives no fucks. Swagger got the Drunk Lock again. Swagger went to grapevine it, but that allowed Del Rio managed to reverse it into the cross armbreaker. That was nifty. Swagger reversed it into the Drunk Lock. Del Rio made the ropes. Del Rio avoided another Swagger Bomb, and he took Swagger down with a roundhouse kick. Step-up enzuigiri from Del Rio. Colter got Swagger’s leg on the ropes. Ricardo went after Colter, but Colter kicked his crutches away. That distracted Del Rio, which allowed Swagger to attack Del Rio from behind. Back in the ring, Del Rio got the cross armbreaker out of nowhere. Swagger tapped out.

This was the right result, but holy shit what a meh match. The idea that they were both going for the submission finishers throughout the match was a logical story, but these two couldn’t do anything to make the crowd care about the result. Del Rio has lost so much steam since the Jack Swagger feud started. Can we please move on to Del Rio vs. Ziggler?
Match Rating: **1/2

CM Punk (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. The Undertaker
In Living Colour played Punk’s music live. It was awesome. Heyman was carrying the urn to the ring. Heyman and Punk being scumbags is the best. Punk seemed like a big star for getting a special entrance. They did a really cool thing for Taker’s entrance where it looked like people from the underworld were trying to drag him back to hell. I assume it was just fans trying to touch him. Still though, it was cool. I’m really curious to see what these two are able to put together here. They seemed to have had good chemistry in the past, but they have never been put into a position where they had to have a great match. I’m hoping these two do a lot of storytelling about Punk trying to get Taker to beat himself.

The crowd is hot. Punk slapped Taker early. Taker goozled him, but Punk hit a roundhouse. Taker cut him off with a big boot. They ended up on the floor with Taker in firm control. Taker started to undress the Spanish announce table. Taker hit the apron legdrop. Taker went for Old School, but Punk armdragged him to the mat. Punk then delivered Old School. Color me surprise that Taker allowed Punk to do that. Punk was in control after that. Taker, for the record, has been moving around well for his age. He looks like he has two or three more Manias after this match. Taker tried to come back with a Yakuza, but Taker crashed into the turnbuckle. Taker didn’t get into the air like he usually does for that spot. Maybe I spoke too soon about Taker’s condition. Punk then wiped out Taker with a Wrestlemania plancha. Back in the ring, Taker came back with a suplex. Punk went for Old School, but Taker crotched him and punched him to the floor. Taker teased the Deadman suicida, but Heyman jumped up on the apron. GOOZLE! Springboard lariat from Punk: 1…2…NO! That was a cool sequence. Punk hit the Hail to the King: 1…2…NO! Punk called for the GTS, but Taker escaped and hit a chokeslam: 1…2…NO! Time for the Wrestlemania nearfalls.

Taker hit the Snake Eyes, but Punk then caught Taker with a leg lariat for a nearfall. Punk sent Taker to the floor. Punk set up the table, but Taker went for a Last Ride through the table. Punk escaped and hit a roundhouse that sent Taker onto the table. Punk went to the top rope…HAIL TO THE KING! The table did not break. Hashtag Maffew. Taker almost got counted out, but he made it in right before the ten. The WWE did not milk the drama of that moment well enough. Taker got Hell’s Gate out of nowhere, but Punk reversed it into a sloppy rollup for a nearfall. Punk then got the Anaconda Vice. Taker sat up, and Punk’s face was priceless! GOOZLE! Punk escaped and hit a GTS! Taker came right back with a TOMBSTONE: 1…2…NO! Great nearfall. They traded strikes. GOOZLE! REF BUMP! Punk got caught in the Last Ride position, but Heyman handed Punk the urn! URN SHOT TO TAKER: 1…2…NO! The crowd bought that. Hell, I bought that. Taker avoided a GTS. Punk avoided a Tombstone. Taker avoided another GTS and then hit the Tombstone: 1…2…3.

Boom. Another great Wrestlemania match from Taker. It wasn’t on the level of the HBK matches or the second HHH match, but this was a pretty fucking great time. The fact that they got the crowd on the urn nearfall said all that needed to be said about this match. Undertaker looked a little emotional after the match, which could be a sign that he thinks this is his last match. However, I think he looked to be in pretty great shape given his age and everything he has been through. I would be very surprised if he didn’t work Wrestlemania 30. Punk worked his ass off here. His heart never seemed to be in this angle, but he didn’t let that affect his performance here. He is truly one of the best wrestlers in the world, and I hope he is rewarded for his efforts over the last three to four months.
Match Rating: ****

WWE did a Slim Jim commercial after this match. I think they said that they donated $500,000 worth of slim jims to the USO. Ok. I just noticed the WWE hasn’t done any stupid backstage segments tonight, which has allowed the show to have a much better flow than the last few years. There may have been only one special match so far, but it hasn’t been as insulting as past years. This show is going to live and die on HHH/Brock and Cena/Rock.

Triple H (w/ Shawn Michaels) vs. Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) [No Holds Barred]
Triple H’s career is on the line. They ended up on the floor quickly enough. HHH was in control, which pretty much means this match does not have much of a chance of being special. HHH dominated the early portion of the match until Brock hit a belly-to-belly suplex on the floor. Brock suplexed HHH through the Spanish Announce Table. Brock then tossed HHH on the debris of that table. HHH dominating the early portion of this match killed this match. Back in the ring, Brock continued to dominate HHH. The big problem with the early portion of the match was the lack of emotion HHH displayed. He was acting like it was just any other match. Brock hit several suplexes. Jerry Lawler called the dead crowd “hushed.” False. They’re dead. They don’t care. Brock sent HHH ass over tea kettle to the floor. Brock stared down HBK, which allowed HHH to take Brock down with a lariat. HHH used a steel chair on Brock. Back in the ring, Brock hit a bridging German for a completely silent nearfall. Heyman jumped up on the apron. HBK jumped up on the apron. Brock knocked HBK down. HHH hit a spinebuster. Brock avoided a Pedigree. HHH avoided a F-5. Brock avoided a superkick from HBK. Brock gave HBK a F-5.

HHH hit Brock with a pedigree for a nearfall. Brock nearly took the bump before HHH hit the pedigree. HHH took out a sledgehammer, but Brock hit a F-5: 1…2…no. I can’t believe two of Brock’s return matches have been wasted on HHH. They ended up on the floor, and Brock ran through HHH like he should have at the beginning of the match. I just realized HHH has been a babyface since 2006. Barf. Brock hit HHH with steel steps and then put the steps in the ring. Another steel steps spot got a nearfall. HHH slapped Brock, but Brock then got a standing kimura. Light “Break It Off” chants. Brock locked in a body scissors with the kimura while sitting on a tunbuckle. HHH eventually reversed it into a spinebuster. Brock missed a charge in the corner, and HHH hit a low blow. Shades of Johnny Gargano. HHH then drove Brock’s injured shoulder into a ring post. Lol, what if HHH taps out Brock? HHH used a steel chair on the shoulder. HHH then locked in the kimura. Heyman went to help, but HBK delivered a superkick to him. Brock was about to tap…but he was able to stand up and spinebuster HHH onto some steel steps. The crowd seems to have finally woken up. HHH got the kimura again. Another spinebuster from Brock on the steps. Another kimura from HHH. Meh. Brock hit another spinebuster on the steps, but HHH managed to DDT Brock at the same time. Good spot. HHH hit Brock with a sledgehammer shot to the head. HHH then hit a pedigree on the steel steps: 1…2…3.

I’m at the stage of my wrestling fandom where I just no longer enjoy wrestling that is not fun. Telling stories and being logical is great (and definitely appreciated), but for the love of god this match bored me to tears 90% of the time. This was a failure.
Match Rating: **3/4

All of the 2012 WWE Hall of Famers came out to get a pop. I feel like Mick Foley’s induction should have been a bigger deal considering he was one of the best of all time.

The Rock© vs. John Cena [WWE Championship]
They had a good main event last year. Rock has had some fine matches this year with CM Punk. I’m not all that excited for this though. The story/build has sucked, and I don’t have any faith in Rock’s ability to have a great match these days. I hope they try to work a more fun match than last year at least.

Cena was obviously booed coming out. He didn’t get a super special entrance for the first time at Mania in years. The crowd doesn’t seem that excited for this. Punk and Taker was the only matchup that had that electric feeling before the match started. Not much happened in the early portion of the match. It wasn’t boring exactly, but it wasn’t exactly interesting. Cena got a weak nearfall with a fisherman suplex. They avoided some of each other’s signature moves until Rock locked in the sharp shooter. Cena escaped. Rock avoided the Five Knuckle Shuffler and hit a DDT. Rock seems much more relaxed for this match. Cena avoided a Rock Bottom and locked in a crippler crossface. Rock escaped. Cena hit the Five Knuckle Suffler. Rock avoided a FU and then hit a spinebuster. Rock called for the People’s Elbow, but Cena reversed it into a STF. Rock powered out and hit a Rock Bottom: 1…2…NO! Cena popped up and hit a FU: 1…2…NO! Rock avoided a diving FameAsser and hit another spinebuster. Rock then hit the People’s Elbow: 1…2…NO! Rock finally is wrestling well again, and the crowd only somewhat cares about him. They started slugging it out. Rock went for a crossbody, but Cena caught him. Rock avoided a FU and hit the Rock Bottom: 1…2…NO! Rock did the You Can’t See Me spot, which caused Cena to pop right up and hit another FU: 1…2…NO! They slugged it out some more until Cena hit a Rock Bottom: 1…2…NO! Cena then did a mock People’s Elbow, but Rock popped up. Cena pounced with a FU, but Rock escaped and hit a Rock Bottom: 1…2…NO! That was probably the best nearfall of the night. I bought it for sure. Rock avoided a FU and hit another DDT. Rock set up for another Rock Bottom, but Cena caught him with a FU: 1…2…3!

This was a perfectly entertaining Wrestlemania main event, and I think it was easily the best Rock match since he returned to the ring in late 2011 (yes, my star ratings for all of his matches don’t reflect that. Deal with it). He looked way more relaxed and natural in the ring than his other three singles matches, and I think with the right opponents, there are still more interesting singles matches for him to have. The result of the match was never really in doubt (even with that one great nearfall), but I thought they at least put on a good show of it there. Hopefully Cena drops the belt soon though.
Match Rating: ***1/2

The 411: WWE is really starting to get into a funk when it comes to putting on Wrestlemania cards that entertain me all the way through and make me feel it they’re worth the money. Three of the last four Wrestlemanias have basically been one match shows with Undertaker managing to crank out great match after great match despite his condition. WWE needs to do a lot better than that. While the booking was bad for the build to this show, some of performers really let themselves down. HHH is number one on that list. He showed very little emotion for what was supposed to be a heated revenge match. Del Rio similarly had problems with conveying any passion for what he was doing, and he didn’t seem as crisp as usual. Jericho was another one who didn’t seem to have his heart into it (but I guess a Fandango match wasn’t on the level of a lot of his previous Mania matches). They were not the only ones. I don’t know. Besides the main event and the Undertaker match, this show didn’t feel special and important in the ring. The production values are nice, but the WWE really needs to put more effort into putting together a better show for $70.

Recommendation: Don’t order a replay.

Thanks everybody for reading! You can send feedback to my Twitter or to my email address: [email protected] Also, feel free to check out my own wrestling website, FreeProWrestling.com. Also, check out my Best of Chikara blog and an archive of all my 411 video reviews.


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