I was able to watch Wrestlemania 30 on the WWE Network last Sunday night with a few of my good friends. After putting on my trusty red and yellow Hulkamania shirt (I have temporarily lost my red and yellow boas), I got comfy in a rocking chair and was ready for the show. If nothing else, every year Wrestlemania provides a nostalgic glimpse into my childhood where Robbie Hughes would coming strutting into my room as the Macho Man Randy Savage and I would point my finger and give the best “Whatcha gonna do brother!” that I had in me. Wrestlemania 1 debuted in 1985 when I was 8 years old. By the time Wrestlemania 3 was fought in 1987 in the Pontiac Silverdome, I was a full blown Hulkamaniac and the anticipation of watching Hogan fight Andre the Giant was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. Yes, I’m serious. Fifteen years later I would be sitting in the Skydome in Toronto, CA with my best friend Aaron Hagy to watch Wrestlemania 18 live and in person. I found myself feeling that same power all over again; Hulk Hogan would be coming down that entrance ramp to fight The Rock and there I was, watching and waiting. It’s hard to explain, but that night was a life changer.
So, here I was 30 years later still excited to see the “24 inch pythons.” What did I think of Wrestlemania 30? It’s pretty simple.
The first 20 minutes of WM 30 gave us one of the most epic, unforgettable, heart-stopping moments in Wrestlemania history. I’m’ not sure if anything in the future will be able to compare to what happened in those first few minutes. To kick things off, “Real American” started pumping through the Superdome and the place turned red and yellow. The immortal one himself, Hulk Hogan, came out donning the red and yellow boas and made his way to the “squared circle.” The place was going nuts. After reaching the ring and grabbing a microphone, Hogan started with his famous, “Let me tell you something, brother!” I was freaking out. Adding a little unintentional comedy to the mix, Hogan incorrectly referred to the Superdome as the Silverdome, the place where he body slammed Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania 3! Then, completely unexpected, Stone Cold Steve Austin’s music hits and he makes his way to the ring. Not long after, The Rock’s music hits and he makes his way to the ring. Yes, the three biggest superstars in WWE (WWF) history were standing in the ring at the same time. If you are even remotely a wrestling fan, you have chills going down your back right now. They each gave one another compliments and The Rock was especially grateful for the legacy of Hogan and Austin. After a few minutes, they were on their way backstage in order for the WWE talent to come out and entertain us. One problem…
How could anything follow that? There was no where to go but downhill.
And that’s exactly what happened. I thought I was back in the Skydome for WM 18 because, inexplicably, Hogan vs. The Rock was not the main event. I know, I know, you must respect the heavyweight title over anything else, but in the case of WM 18, Chris Jericho vs. HHH was the biggest let down of all time (and I love both those guys) after watching Hogan and The Rock electrify 70,000 people. Definitely not good. (just fyi, the 24 hours after Hogan lost to The Rock at WM 18 was as close to depression as I have ever been. Don’t believe me? Just ask my good friend Aaron Hagy).
With that in mind, here are my grades for the WM 30 matches:
Daniel Bryan vs. HHH
Unfortunately, everyone knew that Daniel Bryan was receiving a huge push from the WWE, which means he was not going to be defeated on this night. I have nothing against the guy, but he is simply not in the same league as HHH. Not even close. So, when Bryan kicked out of the pedigree, I slumped in my rocking chair.
Grade – B
The Shield vs. Kane and the New Age Outlaws
It was cool to see the NAO once again, but like everyone else who wrestled in the 80’s and 90’s, they are looking old. This was probably the most boring tag team match I’ve seen since watching The Fabulous Rougeau Bros fight, well, anybody.
Grade – F
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Old school at its best. A bunch of guys in tights throwing each other over the top rope to see who can be the last man standing. What’s not to love? I had never heard of Cesaro, who was the victor, but this was fun to watch.
Grade – A
Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena
Bray Wyatt might enjoy the distinction of having the longest ring entrance of any WWE superstar since The Undertaker. Having said that, it was also one of the best entrances I have seen, set perfectly to a live rendition of “Broken Out In Love” by Mark Crozer and the Rels. This match went for the psychological angle and it wasn’t terrible. Just wasn’t great either.
Grade – B
Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker
Taker’s 21-0 streak at Wrestlemania was on the line and not a single person in the world, no not one, gave Lesnar any chance of breaking the streak. If Taker was going to give up his coveted streak, surely it would be to a WWE legend. Nope. Taker lost after receiving three F5’s. This was a hard match to watch and its time for the Undertaker to move on with his life. Still yet, we can’t completely dismiss this match because of the historical significance.
Grade – C+
Well, that’s all I saw. I missed the main event, but we all knew Bryan was going to become champion, and he did. Overall, this was a disappointing 30th anniversary for wrestling’s biggest stage, but it was all worth it for the first few minutes. Those will not be forgotten.