Undertaker’s stunning loss makes future as juicy as ever
For every ending, there is a beginning. That’s what happened Sunday night in WrestleMania XXX at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Stunningly, The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania came to an end. Brock Lesnar delivered not one, not two . . . but three F-5s to The Dead Man. The final finishing move polished off Taker and his 21-match WM winning streak.
Shocking and deflating would be understatements as the crowd of WM XXX, which was announced at 75,167 and almost $11M in ticket revenue, went funereal.
The crowd went from “No!” to “Yes!!!!” two matches later when Daniel Bryan, who had earlier defeated Triple H, overcame about every form of adversity known to WWE mankind and made Batista tap out to win the WWE championship.
Of course, no good twist is a deed undone, as Batista wasn’t the champion heading into the slobberknocker. That, of course, was Randy Orton, who, as a result of triple threat rules didn’t himself have to lose the match to lose his championship.
That creates a nice storyline heading into the next chapter of WWE, which will culminate in a year with WrestleMania XXXI at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
As for the super show in the Superdome . . .
The classy open for WM XXX — utilizing old NOLA and jazz — was beautifully produced. No one does a better job than WWE on these packaged video features.
And it ain’t bad on live segments, either.
After all, who could produce a bigger opening segment than one involving Hulk Hogan, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, and The Rock?
From where I’m sitting? No one. Hell, the trio’s catchphrases should have their own Twitter accounts.
The Hulkster had a mild flashback to WM III in Pontiac, Mich., as he referenced the "Silverdome" instead of the Superdome. That happens to all of us when we get north of 60.
— WWE (@WWE) April 6, 2014
It was up to the WWE talents to "follow this . . . brother."
— SB Nation (@SBNation) April 6, 2014
— WWE (@WWE) April 6, 2014
And here’s the best of how they did:
Daniel Bryan outgames "The Game"
With a spot in the main event — a triple threat match for the WWE championship — on the line, Bryan faced his nemesis, Triple H. After months of getting screwed by Triple H, Bryan finally got the last laugh, hitting the running knee before a raucous pro-Bryan crowd, winning the match and the spot in the main event.
Of course, a furious Triple H and wife Stephanie McMahon pummeled Bryan, hoping to do get one last jab in at Bryan and do what HHH alone couldn’t do in the match, make Bryan a wounded target for Orton and Batista.
The Shield vs. The New Age Outlaws and Corporate Kane
Fine while it lasted, but I wanted to see more of this match. All three members of The Shield should figure prominently in future WrestleMania’s but this quick victory was far from memorable. Nonetheless, it was great seeing the three veteran antagonists get in the big game.
And I am predicting it now: One member of The Shield will be in the main event of WM XXXI.
Could be the beginning of a cool "reign."
The hounds of justice are ready for war. #WrestleMania #WWE #BelieveInTheShield
Big Show pays tribute to Andre The Giant
— WWE WrestleMania (@WrestleMania) April 7, 2014
The 30-man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal got into the big dance many WWE talents who otherwise would have spent most of their WM XXX time in catering.
I tweeted earlier in the show (@JRsBBQ) that Antonio Cesaro was ready to move to a new, upscale neighborhood. I wish my stock picks were so accurate.
The "Giant Swing" — a la Don Leo Jonathan from the old days — has gotten Cesaro a unique move/identity. If the Battle Royal was designed to launch Antonio Cesaro to the next level, it worked.
John Cena vs Bray Wyatt
This was one of my most eagerly anticipated matches of this WrestleMania. The face of the WWE vs. one of the most uniquely gifted, young talents to perform in WWE in years. The story of Cena and the third-generation performer was a compelling one. It was actually riveting at times. Cena winning wasn’t a shock nor was it necessary as Wyatt’s persona and physical performance helped make the grandson of "Blackjack" Mulligan and the son of Mike "IRS" Rotunda more of a star. You gotta love it when two former college football centers step in the spotlight in the home of the Sugar Bowl.
Taker’s entrance (where else to start?):
— Lilian Garcia (@LilianGarcia) April 7, 2014
The Streak is over. Brock Lesnar defeated The Undertaker to hang the first WrestleMania loss on the Deadman, who is now 21-1 at WWE’s biggest event.
The outcome of this physical, ground and pound, human demolition derby stunned the massive crowd at the Superdome no less than if New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw a game-ending pick-six.
For a moment after the decision was rendered the ‘Dome felt like the world’s largest morgue. On a personal note, I never thought The Streak would be broken and now I know how Alabama fans felt after the 2014 Sugar Bowl. (Sorry, but I’m an unabashed Oklahoma Sooner fan.)
In my opinion the Undertaker will always be the conscience of WWE and with The Streak ending, it will fuel speculation that Taker’s storied Hall of Fame career may be at its end.
I assume the decision to end the Undertaker’s 21-0 winning streak is based on two factors:
One, the physical status of the 49-year-old rugged veteran, who has been surgically put back together on multiple occasions and may be in more physical jeopardy than we know. Not even Dr. Frankenstein could reassemble The Deadman.
Secondly, it seems as if WWE is recommitting its marketing machine to better monetize the potential of the amazingly gifted Lesnar, who has never gotten on a roll since returning to WWE after being forced to retire due to issues with diverticulitis.
Nonetheless, how many fans — in the Superdome or watching on PPV — didn’t look like this?
More moments of madness:
WHEN UNDERTAKER LOST pic.twitter.com/lCmAupXSF8
— TraVonn May4th (@LilTreProd) April 7, 2014
The greatest of all time, the undertaker I cannot believe the streak is over pic.twitter.com/h1HZUyJM9b
— Thank You Undertaker (@RespectPunkBITW) April 7, 2014
La racha de The Undertaker en Wrestlemania XXX ha finalizado. 21-1: RIP The Undertaker. pic.twitter.com/9J2Kw0Eg6s
— Mario Riveretti (@UnCrackMas) April 7, 2014
Sandwiched between Undertaker-Lesnar and Bryan-Orton-Batista, there couldn’t be worse real estate. AJ Lee kept her title, but it’s an unenviable WWE spot.
This last match looks like the remnants of a car crash. A human demolition derby. It ain't ballet. #WrestleMania
— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) April 7, 2014
A triple threat match for the WWE world title. This thing had to be stout to successfully close the show at WrestleMania XXX.
YES! YES! YES!
— SmackTalks (@SmackNetwork) April 7, 2014
Positioned as the classic underdog, Bryan, the bearded pop culture phenom, was storyline "physically dinged" and seemingly had an insurmountable mountain to climb to reach the top of his profession.
Bryan became the most unlikely WWE World Champion in recent memory. The slow-burning, long storyline arc tested the patience of many fans who wanted Bryan to achieve his success long before WM XXX.
Nonetheless, it could only be at WrestleMania where the 5-foot-9 veteran, who had traveled the world learning his craft, could truly achieve the defining moment of his professional career.
The story of this match was perfectly told and executed by everyone involved. Even the Spanish announcer table had a memorable cameo.
There was visible physicality with DNA left behind to prove it that validated the aggression of the presentation. Randy Orton’s timing was impeccable and Dave Batista’s presence was needed and invaluable. The "suspended" referee "shockingly" returning helped tell the story of "The Authority" (HHH & wife Stephanie) doing all it could to insure that Bryan would leave NOLA with more heartache.
Not on this night.
The moral of the story is that good can and will overcome evil if our heroes’ efforts earn them the success that they deserve.
WrestleMania XXX delivered an overall strong performance, which no doubt was what WWE was seeking for its first outing on the new WWE Network.
You can follow Jim Ross on Twitter listen to him on the Ross Report Podcast, and see him live at RINGSIDE: An Evening with Jim Ross. JR’s products are also available online at wweshop.com, americansoda.co.uk and beyondtheropes.co.uk.