Jerry’s buddy Adam Cormack guest blogs a recap of Wrestlemania. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
I was watching the season finale of “The Walking Dead” Sunday night. But I feel it’s in the public interest that I pander to the Wrestling fans out there, the Dale Arnolds and the Ben Kichens who love the Sport of Kings. So I’m bringing a guest blogger, my pal and Ben’s Wrestlecast sidekick Adam “Uncle Buck” Cormack to recap it for us. Take it away, UB:
Oh ye of little faith. If there’s one thing I’ve decided to accomplish in the next 12 months, it’s to get Jerry back into wrestling. That’s right, by Wrestlemania 32 in Dallas, not only will Jerry know he could have watched sports entertainment’s greatest spectacle for only $9.99, but he will be fully enveloped in the characters and stories that make it one of the year’s must-see live events across any medium. So let’s break down the action for Jerry and the rest of ThorNation, shall we? Live from San Francisco’s Levi’s Stadium it’s Wrestlemania!
Kickoff: Cesaro and Tyson Kidd Defeat the Usos, the New Day and El Matadores to retain their tag titles. First off, why is there still a pre-show? The whole point of the pre-show was to try to get people interested in pressing the purchase button on their remote, or as Mean Gene would say, “Call your cable provider right now and tell them you want to order Wrestlemania!” With the WWE Network now running the show, you either have it or you don’t. It also seemed like any “Free for All” matches like these were never much of a selling point. I mean, if these matches were so great they’d be part of of the main show. What kind of selling point is this? “Pay $59.99 and you can see even more crap like this!” It’s $9.99. Let’s go, just start the show. Also, can we as fans take up a collection to get Cesaro back in the mix? I don’t know what exactly happened, if he pissed in HHH’s tea or pinched Stephanie’s butt when she was walking by, but here’s a guy who has some of the most remarkable power moves we’ve see in decades and won the inaugural Andre The Giant Battle Royal last year and now he’s been relegated to crap like this. His win last year not only elevated him with a strong push when he eliminated Big Show to get the victory, a pure power move, but it elevated the ATGMBR into a career-elevating match that will forever be an annual highlight of Wrestlemania!
Kickoff match 2: The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Um, OK, so scratch that last sentence. Well, even though this has been bastardized to the “Free for All,” they will at least push a new talent with a big win. Your Winner: The Big Show. (Face palm.)
Wrestlemania begins with LL Cool J doing everything BUT rapping about how Wrestlemania is the reason for living and we should all be thankful for that.
Intercontinental ladder match: If you listened to Part 3 of the History of Wrestlemania podcast featuring your Uncle Buck and “Young” Ben Kichen of the Dale & Holley show, you heard about how the IC title has been more or less forgotten at Wrestlemania for a decade or more, so I for one was very happy to see it as the prize of this multi-star ladder match. The talent alone in this one: Bryan, Ziggler, Barrett, Ambrose and my favorite big man Luke Harper (oh yeah, and Stardust and R-Truth for some reason). Most of this one was a spotfest as these tend to be, the highlights of which were the Ambrose power bomb out of the ring through a ladder by Harper and the dozen or so repeated headbutts between Bryan and Ziggler, the last of which knocked Ziggy to the ground, giving Bryan the win.
Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins: I was in Boston almost a year ago when Rollins won the Money in the Bank ladder match, guaranteeing him a world title match anytime he wanted. When the hell is he going to cash this dented briefcase already? Anyway, we have Rollins and Orton in this one, and what we got was the best singles match of the night. Lots of back and forth and high-paced action. I actually think Rollins is the next Shawn Michaels with his ability, and while Orton’s success since he first stepped into the WWE has made him a bit stale, he still has a lot in the tank. Orton gets the win, but you’ll see these two for months to come.
Quick crowd shot, there’s Ronda Rousey in the front row. The king comments that Ronda wishes she could be in the ring putting an arm bar on someone. Funny that RR is in the house. Last week UB was in Vegas and stopped at a collectibles shop on the strip that specialized in boxing and MMA autographed items. I was looking around and ended up getting a UFC glove signed by Royce Gracie, UB’s all time favorite and the man who put UFC on the map with his win at UFC 1 all those years ago. Jerry’s reaction to my purchase when I texted him a pic: “I’d take Ronda Rousey on a bar napkin over Gracie (all due respect).”
Sting vs. HHH: Sting’s intro includes some kind of Asian drum ceremony with all the drummers wearing the white face paint. I’m half expecting the Great Muta to come out rather than sting. But sure enough the WCW icon comes out in a red robe, again combining a little of his early surfer dude style with his later Crow persona. HHH comes out second with an over-the-top intro involving new WWE Hall of Famer Arnold Schwarzenegger and a bunch of Terminators to introduce the Skeleton King Terminator: HHH. Yeah. If this is truly a WWE vs. WCW match then HHH should have had a Terminator in his corner, and Sting should have been seconded by his old pal RoboCop! A little cyborg love for both these guys. Oh surely you remember when RoboCop saved Sting from a beating at the hands of the Four Horsemen during WCW Capital Combat in 1990? If not, go back and watch it, Ric Flair’s reaction to RoboCop’s presence is worth the ridiculous visual alone.
Sting’s early momentum in this one gets a “You still got it” chant from the 70,000 on hand. To be honest, I was nervous for Sting. I mean, clearly this is the largest crowd he’s ever performed in front of, and while the guy is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, he hasn’t been active in some time. Apparently Vince was thinking the same thing, ’cause here comes DX to help pick up the action. Wait, here comes the nWo! In my best Bobby Heenan voice, “But whose side are they on!?!?!” Are they coming to help HHH since both Hall and Nash are original Clique members with the Game? Are they coming up to bring X-Pac back to the fold? Surely they can’t be there to support Sting. That wouldn’t make sense. I mean, Sting and the nWo hated each other (don’t give me that Wolf-pac B.S.). Where’s the Four Horsemen? At least Sting was an actual member of that group. Well, before we know it DX (Outlaws and X-Pac) are brawling with the original nWo (Hogan, Hall and Nash). But here comes DX originator Shawn Michaels with a superkick to Sting. Could it be “One more match” next year, HBK vs. Sting??? So after a false finish it’s a Triple H sledgehammer (hand) shot to the face that gives him the 1-2-3. And as in real life, WWE has defeated WCW. Not a bad way to finish what wasn’t going to be much of a match after seeing what Sting has left in the tank.
Hey, let’s visit with Daniel Bryan backstage as a row of IC champs congratulates him. First up is the first IC champ, Pat Patterson, followed by Rowdy Roddy Piper with an awkward kiss to DB’s forehead. Next up is Ricky the Dragon Steamboat, who comments on his match with new WWE Hall of Famer Randy Savage at Wrestlemania 3. Woooooo! It’s Ric Flair! Wait … Flair is here and didn’t come out to help Sting? Anyway, here’s Bret Hart, who gets a “Yes” chant going before Ron Simmons breaks it up with a DAMN!
And now for no reason here’s a musical performance from some people including Skylar Grey, a heavily tattooed chick. Ugh, I can’t wait for that fad to end.
Divas mag match: Paige and A.J. Lee vs. Champs and the Bella Twins. Still confused how A.J. Lee is in the WWE while her husband CM Punk hates the organization and rips it on podcasts repeatedly. Maybe the WWE had some time in her contract to run out, maybe she split with Punk, not sure. CM seems like the kind of guy that wouldn’t be cool with that. Here come the Bella Twins. Can we stop calling the Bella “Twins” after Nikki got implants? Can we change it to the Bella sisters since now “one of these girls is not like the other, one of these girls just isn’t the same!” Or how about “the Bella Twins and Brie Bella!” The Divas division may be a spotfest but at least they help each other in the ring. And after some decent action, A.J. gets the submission of “the Bella Twins” — a.k.a. Nikki. So maybe she’s sticking around after all.
Hall of Famers come out. Weakest class in years. Randy Savage should have been the highlight. To be honest, none of the the others except Fujinami and Nash deserved to be inducted, and Nash should have gone in as Diesel after Hall went in as Razor Ramon last year. Would have left the door open for Hall, Nash and Hogan to go in a second time as the nWo. Do I have to think of everything for Vince?
U.S. title, Rusev (defending champion) vs. John Cena: Typical Cena match give us a solid 14 minutes or so, lots of reversals, etc. Cena picks up the win so he gets a title he doesn’t need, and Rusev doesn’t get the Wrestlemania win that would have given him a big push. Another example of a match that could have ended in DQ to achieve everyone’s goals.
HHH and Stephanie come out as the Authority, soon to be interrupted by The Rock. Steph gives Rock the business while HHH looks like he literally didn’t sweat Sting about an hour earlier. After eight minutes of trash talk, the Rock finds a woman to help deal with Stephanie, because the Rock wouldn’t hit a woman, right? He only rock-bottomed her to conclude Wrestlemania 2000. So Rock grabs Jerry’s dream girl Ronda Rousey in her Dragon Ball Z shirt. Ronda proceeds to show people how different WWE is to UFC, waiting for her cue to talk before tossing HHH out of the ring and putting the princess in an arm bar. The highlight of the “Wrestlemania” moment comes when the Rock says RR is going to reach down Stephanie’s throat and jump rope with her fallopian tubes, causing HHH to crack up before telling the Rock not to talk to his wife like that. (Yes, I had to google fallopian tubes to get the correct spelling.)
Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt: Bray comes out with some Zombies following him, while the Undertaker does his usual entrance. They put on a good match, despite the now annual “Undertaker can’t believe his tombstone didn’t work” face. Taker gets the win. So after ending the streak last year, WWE doesn’t give Bray the win that would have elevated his career while letting Taker pass the weirdness torch. I mean, if Sting was going to lose and Taker was going to win, why didn’t they face off again?
WWE world heavyweight title, Brock Lesnar (defending champion) vs. Roman Reigns: After Royal Rumble I would have said there was no way that Lesnar, who reportedly was headed back to UFC, was going to walk away with the title, right? But then last week’s announcement that he had re-signed with WWE and was saying goodbye to the MMA world made me wonder, do the powers that be have the balls to give the Beast the win over their rising star? I mean, in a publicly traded company with stockholders you can’t really “fake” a long-term contract signing, so if Lesnar’s on board it makes sense to keep him dominating with the belt, which is what we get … sort of.
Lesnar manhandles RR a la Cena most of the match with the crowd counting along with every German suplex. Reigns is getting no fan support even the few times Brock is left stunned by a Superman punch or three. Finally Lesnar’s head meets the ring post, splitting open his forehead. He’s bleeding like Steve Austin and now I’m seeing a RR victory, but a counter by Lesnar and both men are down. HERE COMES SETH ROLLINS!! Many had predicted he would come out and cash in his dented briefcase after an RR win, instead he just made it a triple-threat match. I’m now seeing WWE’s way out of this. Lesnar will pin Rollins, keeping both himself and RR strong for a rematch, or Reigns will pin Rollins to win without having to beat Lesnar. Instead, Lesnar gets ready to F-5 Rollins only to be speared by RR, who then is curb-stomped by Rollins, who covers RR for the 1-2-3 and we have a new heavyweight champ. Great finish, considering the impending RR win was like a rain cloud over the two-month build up to Wrestlemania. Lesnar still is the dominant force he was going in, we have the best worker of the last year as our champion and what will hopefully be a heel turn for RR after the fans’ reaction. So they’ll have you tune in to Raw to find out.
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