Powell's WrestleMania 30 Hit List: The Streak Ends, Daniel Bryan wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt, Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, and The Rock appear together
By Jason Powell
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WrestleMania 30 Hits
Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H: I loved the pre-match dynamic with Triple H's over the top entrance routine followed by Bryan's basic entrance and organic "Yes!" routine. The match itself got off to a slow enough start that I was worried they might not find their groove. Once they did, it turned out to be a hell of a match and my favorite of the night. The Pedigree led to a tremendous near fall, and the finish of the match was perfect in that it was a decisive win for Bryan without a bunch of nonsense. Stephanie's facial expressions were fantastic and she added something to the match by being there. The post match attack was perfect. They couldn't go too far with it or it would have felt repetitive following the handcuffs angle on Raw. Bryan vs. Triple H lived up to my high expectations.
Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Batista: I can't really say that the match was truly overbooked. I rolled my eyes when they came out, yet it felt like a logical move considering the storyline. I was very surprised to see Batista tap out. Will he heel it up when the fans mock him with "you taped out" chants tonight or will WWE take another swing at him being a babyface? Is it as simple as Batista saying he absolutely did tap out, concede that Bryan was the better man, and then shake his hand? That's just food for thought more than a prediction. I was surprised to see Orton get up again after he landed on the monitor in that awesome Batista Bomb into the RKO through the tables. The most dramatic moment of the night was when Orton hit Batista with the RKO in the ring, and Batista kicked out at the very last second. That was about as believable as it gets and had nervous Bryan fans everywhere fearing the worst. The post-match celebration was awesome and completely needed to end the night on a high note following the Undertaker loss. I suspect that The Authority will somehow tease taking the title away from Bryan tonight only to have Vince McMahon show up
Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, and The Rock: A cool segment with three of the biggest names of the WrestleMania era all in the same ring together. Austin stated on his podcast that he wouldn't come back unless the creative was right, and he made the right call by taking part in this. Hogan butchering the Superdome name a couple times was actually a positive in that Austin and Rock both got to have some fun at his expense. The "Rock Babies" bit from Rock was laugh out loud funny. I really liked the way this segment featured three top stars, yet in no way overshadowed the actual WrestleMania matches.
Andre Battle Royal: A minor Hit. I was surprised to see Cesaro in the match, but I did assume he would play a big part in the finish if not win it since he was unadvertised and it's not like they couldn't have found another wrestler to take that spot in the match. Cesaro winning was a nice moment on the show, but I didn't come away feeling like a star was born. The key to this will be the followup, though I did like the way Show congratulated him after the match concluded. I disliked the overall presentation of it. They went through all the trouble to give the Stanley Cup treatment to the trophy, but then they only bothered to show us a couple of entrances before the punching and kicking began. Here's hoping the annual "get everyone on the show" battle royal finds a spot on the pre-show next year so that the undercard of the actual pay-per-view can be beefed up with a better match.
The Uso Brothers vs. The Real Americans vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel vs. Los Matadores: A good opening match with a crowd pleasing finish. The double top rope splash was excellent. The order of elimination was exactly what it should have been. I really didn't need Los Matadores in the match because the act just isn't over, and I still feel it's a shame that Cody Rhodes and Goldust didn't have a bigger role. The post-match was fun and done in a way that could serve as the breakup or simply another chapter on the road to the breakup.
Overall Show: I gave the show a 7 out of 10 in last night's audio review. Daniel Bryan beating Triple H was a WrestleMania moment. Daniel Bryan winning the WWE Championship at the end of the night was a WrestleMania moment. Hogan, Austin, and Rock taking part in a segment together was a WrestleMania moment. And while I do not care for The Streak ending, there's no denying that it was a WrestleMania moment. I want big WrestleMania moments and WWE delivered some gems. Major props to the production staff for the awesome set, and I also liked the live performances of the two entrance themes. And one of the biggest positives of the night for WWE is that the WWE Network stream did not experience any widespread major issues.
WrestleMania 30 Misses
Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar: Clearly, Mickey Rooney was the source of Undertaker's power. Anyway, I am not a fan of Lesnar ending The Streak. I don't know if this is the end for Taker, but if it is, then why not bill this as The Last Ride going in and reap the financial rewards of Taker's final WrestleMania match? Certainly, the crowd would have been a lot more receptive and rallied behind Taker if they knew this it. Instead, the crowd was flat from the start. They assumed Taker was going over due to history and because the buildup for the match did nothing to make them see Lesnar as a threat. They were also too familiar with the formula of Taker's WrestleMania matches and just weren't excited about watching a slower and less exciting version of it this time around. It felt like the fans were just starting to get up for the expected finishing sequence when the unthinkable happened and Lesnar ended The Streak.
This is the same Brock Lesnar who works a part-time schedule for WWE, and if recent history is any indication will only work three or four matches over the next year before his deal expires. Maybe he sticks around after that, maybe he does not. Either way The Streak was ended by a part-time player. And God bless Lesnar for getting that part-time schedule. I enjoy the hell out of Lesnar's act when he's booked well and this will breathe some new life into him. It also sets up the ultimate David vs. Goliath showdown in Lesnar challenging new champion Daniel Bryan for the title, but then what? If the match takes place soon and Bryan wins, then the momentum that Lesnar gained from ending The Streak is over.
I assume this was Undertaker's decision and while I respect what he has done for WWE over the years, it doesn't change the fact that I disagree with it. I would not have ended The Streak, but if he felt like it needed to end, then why not give it to a full-time wrestler with a bright future who could get more out of it and help the company at the same time? I don't even want to hear that it would have damaged every young wrestler they put in the role to beat Taker because the right young wrestler with the right storytelling and the right post-match endorsement from Taker would have become a star.
If Taker didn't feel that the right young wrestler was on the roster, then so be it. I still go back to why bother to end it if that's the case. Yes, it was a shocking moment that everyone is talking about today, but let's not confuse shocking the fans for good business. In the short term, yes, Lesnar has more momentum and fans are buzzing over the end of The Streak, but I do not have faith that this is going to pay the long term dividends that the end of The Streak should. I hope that everything that transpires going forward somehow makes me see this differently. I'm sure Paul Heyman will cut one hell of a promo and that Lesnar is going to have mega heat tonight. That's great for tonight and that's great for an eventual Daniel Bryan match, but I fail to see how this is a good long term business move.
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt: The story was that Cena saved his legacy by not giving into the dark side. Okay, fine, but it would have been nice if that story was actually told during the buildup. It came out of nowhere. There were no signs leading up to WrestleMania that Cena was on the verge of being darker and violent. He took Jimmy Buffett jokes, then showed fear, then got paranoid, and then got dressed up in a mask and ran off the Wyatt Family. The story they told in now way matched the story that was told in the buildup. Yes, we heard about Cena fearing for his legacy, but it wasn't because he didn't know if he could resist some urge to be more violent. I was okay with Wyatt showing that he enjoyed the crowd singing his song (expect a lot of that tonight) since he is the cult leader, and I enjoyed some of the near falls, but I can't get passed how the basic story came out of nowhere.
The Shield vs. Kane, Road Dogg, and Billy Gunn: It was fine for a squash match and the double Triple Powerbomb spot that closed things out was a pretty cool visual. I just can't help but feel disappointed that The Shield didn't have something hotter at WrestleMania.
14-Diva Title Match: I think everyone was still coming to grips with the shock that was Undertaker losing. The Divas went out there and had a bunch of planned spots and did what they could with the odd structure of the match, but none of it felt like it mattered. I was happy to see A.J. Lee retain the title because this was not the right place for her to lose, nor do I feel they have anyone positioned well enough to replace her as champion.
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