WWE Wrestlemania: The Rock defeats John Cena, Undertaker goes 20-0

Dwyane 'The Rock' Johnson celebrates after defeating John

Dwyane 'The Rock' Johnson celebrates after defeating John Cena at WrestleMania XXVIII in Sun Life Stadium. (April 1, 2012) (Credit: AP )

Wrestlemania 28 is in the books and now we began to break it down and analyze it from top to bottom. Here’s my review of the show with a look at each match:

Sheamus defeated Daniel Bryan for the World Heavyweight Championship

If you thought the World Heavyweight Title go no respect for being the opening match the last two year’s wait till you hear this: The match was over in 18 seconds! Bryan kissed his girlfriend AJ and then turned around and received a huge boot to the face by Sheamus.

The potential was there for a good match and I really thought Sheamus was going to earn his Wrestlemania moment. Instead, this is a black mark on his short resume. He becomes an answer to a stupid trivia question five years from now. I came to the WWE’s defense when fans say the company has no love for the World Title and I will not defend them after this match. Also, Bryan had a ton of supporters in the crowd and this could have been a hot start for the event. This was Bryan’s first Wrestlemania appearance and what a forgettable one. I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s the dark match next year. Just look how far Randy Orton and The Miz have fallen in just 365 days.

Kane defeated Randy Orton

Most fans had this match going to Orton for a variety of reasons: 1.) Orton has more upside; 2.) A loss for Kane doesn’t really hurt him; 3.) Kane is no longer a monster. Yet, Kane pulled off the victory with a chokeslam from the top rope. It was a nice spot, but the wrong guy won in my opinion. I don’t know if the WWE decided to go with Kane just because everyone and their mother picked Orton or because they’re gearing Kane up for something big.

I still think Orton is destined to chase the title on Smackdown and a loss really doesn’t hurt him in the long run, however, I see this feud going on a big longer. I don't think Orton accepts the loss and moves on as that doesn't mesh with his character. Wrestlemania has not been kind to Orton. Forget the fact he loses a lot at ‘Mania, but his loses are in matches that are not very memorable. I doubt Kane goes on a tear after this win and does anything notable, making this match result even more frustrating.

Big Show defeated Cody Rhodes to win the Intercontinental Championship

This was another match that almost everyone picked the younger guy to win. The WWE finally gives the Big Show his Wrestlemania moment with a win over Rhodes. The match was nothing stellar but it’s always fun to watch Big Show throw someone around the ring. It’s like watching a big, nasty dog play with a chew toy. Big Show won after a devastating right hand to the face of Rhodes en route to his first Intercontinental Title.

Rhodes looked destined to break Honky Tonk Man’s reign as the longest Intercontinental Champion, but the WWE gave the win to another savvy veteran. Rhodes is a solid heel who doesn’t need the title to get heat, but a win for the young guy at Wrestlemania would have been a nice notch on the belt.

Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos defeated Eve and Divas Champion Beth Phoenix

People can hate on the divas match all they want, but this one provided decent back and forth action. I don’t mean to rub it in to all you Daniel Bryan fans, but Maria Menounos had more in-ring action time. I read that Menounos suffered two broken ribs from her stint on “Dancing with the Stars.” If that’s true, she showed little effects of it tonight and earned a pin over Beth Phoenix with a roll up. Not surprised Menounos gets the pinfall as this highlight will be shown on “Extra” tomorrow and that’s exactly the whole reason why she was booked in this match. The WWE is just looking for a little more main stream media attention and that’s exactly what they will be getting from this match. Hate on it all you want, it’s business.

Undertaker defeated Triple H in Hell in a Cell with Shawn Michaels as the referee

Undertaker and Triple H showed why they are two of the best storytellers in the industry. Mix in Michaels, and you an all the makings of an electric match with memories that will last a life time. They provided one heck of a match that easily topped last year’ encounter.

Triple H beat Undertaker with a chair so violently that Taker’s back was black and blue. Triple H told HBK numerous times to ask Undertaker if he quit. You could hear Taker say, “No, Shawn. Don’t stop the match.”

That prompted Triple H to move on to his favorite toy, the sledge hammer. He connected on a few shots to Undertaker’s mid-section. Out of nowhere, Taker choked out HBK with Hell’s Gate to get him out of the match because it looked as if HBK was going to call the match. It was great storytelling because Taker eliminated HBK to give himself more time. The beating was so bad at this point, that HBK’s hand was almost forced to call the match and give it to Triple H.

When HBK finally came to, he hit Sweet Chin Music on Undertaker in retaliation. Triple H tried to take advantage with the Pedigree but Taker kicked out. After this, HBK didn’t get involved anymore physically, but he was living and dying with every move. Some might say HBK was over-acting a bit, but it was perfect. You can tell how the match was going by just looking at his face. At one point, HBK was sitting in the corner almost crying as Triple H and Undertaker beat each other senseless.

A great moment in the match was when Triple H was crawling for the sledge hammer and just as he grabbed it, Undertaker stepped on it. Triple H looked up and Taker had an expression on his face as if to say “no way.”

The match ended a lot like Undertaker’s match with HBK at Wrestlemania 26. Triple H used the Undertaker to get back to his feet before Taker delivered the Tombstone for the win. After the match, HBK helped Taker up and they hugged. Then, Taker and HBK helped Triple H up and together they walked out of Wrestlemania and had a group hug on top of the entrance ramp.

The group hug might have been too much for the Undertaker’s character, but this moment was bigger than Undertaker. This was the “end of an era” because we probably won’t see any star from the “Attitude Era” ever deliver a match like that again. All those stars are practically gone and so are the matches that defined the era.

As for the Undertaker’s haircut, it was the shortest I have even seen. It looked like a Mohawk. We’re not just talking about hair, people. Taker’s hair really went along with his character. It just fit like a glove. Truth is, Taker just can’t pull off the long hair anymore. He’s getting old, evidence by the heavier mid-section he was sporting.

It was a nice touch to see Jim Ross call this match. This was about saying goodbye to the “Attitude Era” and who better than JR to call it. After all, his voice is plastered on so many of that era’s greatest moments.

Even though Triple H was the one who needed to be carried out this year, I don’t think this will be his last match. Both Taker and Triple H will be used as special attractions. Triple H will be visible on WWE TV by the summer and we probably won’t see Undertaker until 2013.

Team Johnny defeated Team Teddy

This match was supposed to give the crowd a chance to catch their breath after the hellacious Hell in a Cell match. It did just that. The Miz got the pin on Long Island’s Zack Ryder. After the match, Eve kicked Ryder between his legs. What did Ryder expect? A face and heel don’t make a good couple in the world of pro wrestling. Booker got a lot of in-ring time but didn’t really deliver any of his signature moves. Santino had some fun with the crowd when he released the cobra for a short time. It was good to see Miz get some attention with the pinfall. A pinfall victory over Ryder isn’t exactly the same as a pinfall win over Cena, but it’s baby steps for the Miz. With the win, John Laurinaitis has full control of Raw and Smackdown.

CM Punk defeated Chris Jericho to retain the WWE Title

A highly anticipated match that sadly did not live up to expectations. The problem with this match was its placement. Fans were still reeling from the Hell in a Cell match. I would have placed more distance between this match and the Hell in a Cell. This spot should have been given to the divas tag match or Kane vs. Orton. The WWE was looking to calm the crowd down after a crazy HIAC match. But why clam the crowd down with the WWE Title match? Not a smart move and a waste if Jericho and Punk’s talent.

Plus, before the match Laurinaitis told Punk if he gets disqualified, he will lose his title. The stipulation handcuffed Punk and thus the match was overbooked with the referee’s 10-counts. There was no rhythm or fast-paced action, which is where Jericho and Punk thrive. The last 90 seconds of the match saw a lot of reversals and mat wrestling, which was excellent. Where was that the whole match? Punk got Jericho to tap out.

The match was solid, but not up to the expectations we probably had for the two. I see this feud continuing into Extreme Rules later this month.

The Rock defeated John Cena

This match lived up to its expectations and the crowd was a big reason why. They were in it from the start despite the overplayed entrances with live music from GMK for Cena and Flo Rida for The Rock. The match started much like Rock vs. Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania 18. Rock and Cena starred at each other, then the crowd, and then back at each other. Then, the opening action was a test of strength. Cena out-muscled The Rock and the crowd booed. Rock returned the favor and the crowd went nuts. It was the same deal at Wrestlemania 18 in Toronto.

The Rock looked good for a man who has only wrestled two matches the last nine years. His first Rock Bottom of Cena was a little sloppy. There was some action outside of the ring as Cena bounced Rocky off the announce table. Rock would throw Cena into the steel steps later on. Cena worked on Rock’s back with the bear hug. Both men did their fair share of submission moves with about five false finishes.

The match ended when Cena attempted the People’s Elbow. He started to run the ropes and just then, The Rock popped up and hit a Rock Bottom for the victory.

Totally shocked Rock went over the guy the WWE has built as the face of their franchise the last seven years. Did the WWE give it to The Rock because it was in his hometown of Miami? Maybe. Did the WWE give it to The Rock for nostalgic reasons? Maybe. Who knows what the true answer is. The big question is where does Cena go from here? He said he needed to win this match more than anything to validate his career. How does the WWE still call Cena the face of the company when he loses to a man who has only wrestled two matches in nine years? I don’t think Cena turns heel and “embraces the hate.” Cena as a face is still a huge money-maker for the WWE, however, if the WWE decides to turn him heel, this is their best opportunity. I’ve never been a fan of heel Cena from a business standpoint, but it may be coming to that point.

Overall grade of the show: 7.5/10

It was by far better than last year which had an overbooked main event with a dirty finish. This year, we had a solid main event that ended clean and Taker vs. Triple H in 2012 was a lot better than their 2011 match. Plus, HBK’s involvement was minimal and when he did interfere, it was warranted. Punk and Jericho could have been better, but it was still decent. The Word Title mtch was terrible; but that finish will be a lot more memorable than if they would have had a 15-minute match. It’s going to have people talking tomorrow and it will be in the same conversation right there with Rock, Cena and Undertaker. Like it or not, sometimes this business is just about getting people talking and the 18-second match did just that.

The WWE rushed the undercard as four matches were completed within the first hour. The pacing of the show was off and they should have had the big main events more spread out with the filler matches in between.

The WWE takes a lot of heat for being too predictable, but Wrestlemania 28 was anything but that. I was also pleased that there was very little backstage action. One of my biggest problems last year was all the backstage vignettes and promos. This year, the WWE kept the action in the ring and the show was centered around the wrestling.

As for the best match, I think Undertaker-Triple H had the best match in terms of action and storytelling, but Cena and Rock was very exciting and the crowd had a lot to do with it. I feel confident saying that for the fourth-straight year, Undertaker has had the best match at Wrestlemania. So much for those critics who say Undertaker should retire.

By the way, no appearance by Brock Lesnar or Batista. Sorry to those who got their hopes up. Smart move on the WWE’s part as no return or debut should overshadow a Wrestlemania. That’s what tomorrow night’s Raw is for!

Tags: Wrestlemania 28 , The Rock , John Cena , Undertaker , Triple H , Shawn Michaels , Chris Jericho , CM Punk , Big Show , Cody Rhodes , Daniel Bryan , Sheamus , Randy Orton , Kane , Booker T , Kelly Kelly , Maria Menounos , Eve , Beth Phoenix , Zack Ryder , John Laurinaitis , Teddy Long , Hell in a Cell

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