April 17, 2015
Mania XXVIII was in Miami, Florida. I was in town this weekend but did not attend or even watch this show until viewing for the first time here. This was the weekend I came in to work with Mike Bennett for the first time with ROH. I accepted that booking because I wanted to attend the WWE HOF that weekend because my good friend Edge was being inducted that weekend. So I worked the ROH show Friday, attended the HOF Saturday, but instead of going to Mania I drove to Cape Coral, Florida to visit my mom.
The event took place April 1st, 2012 from Sun Life Stadium in Miami in front of a reported 78,363 fans. Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole were on commentary but Jim Ross did join them to call the HHH vs. Undertaker match.
Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus (World Title): This is the second year in a row where the Royal Rumble winner wrestled in the opening match instead of the promised Main Event match at WrestleMania. This was the 18 sec. loss that started the Daniel Bryan "Yes" movement. Daniel dropped the title to Sheamus after kissing AJ Lee to start the match and turned right into the big boot by Sheamus. It was supposed to kick off a big Sheamus push but instead it kicked off a near 3 years fan backlash movement of support for Daniel Bryan. The crowd did for the finish and the title change but this was the "show of disrespect" that started it all for Daniel Bryan's rise to the top culminating at WrestleMania XXX.
Randy Orton vs. Kane: Daniel Bryan chants break out almost immediately in this match and it would not be the only time tonight. This was solid enough, but nothing special. Kane picked up the win, which surprised me and I think most of the crowd, with a choke slam off the second rope.
We then got a really bad "comedy" skit promoting The Deadliest Catch which featured Santino and Mick Foley.
Cody Rhodes vs. Big Show (IC Title): There was a video package for this match and it was an all comedy build, treating Big Show like a joke for always choking and losing at WrestleMania. Not much of a match here. It went 5 minutes, with no real near falls. Big Show blew a comeback and hit the big punch, won the match, won the title and I guess final broke the choking curse at WrestleMania. Show even cried in celebration putting over how big this win was. I'm pretty sure the comedy video treating Show like a joke was "produced" by Cody, and was supposed to be false representation of who he was, but that wasn't put across here so Show felt like a legit joke and then he killed Cody who ended up an even bigger joke.
Beth Phoenix & Eve Torres vs. Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos: More Daniel Bryan chants here. This wasn't any good, but that wasn't really anyone's fault. Maria was doing Dancing with the Stars at this point and on top of being absurdly green, had stress fractures in her feet and a broken rib, so she couldn't do much of anything. Maria picked up the win with a school boy on Beth.
Undertaker vs. HHH (Hell in a Cell, HBK as ref): This match was absolutely phenomenal. As long as you accept the story that they decided to tell it was incredible. The story told was that Shawn was the ref and he had the power to stop a HIAC match and HHH kept pounding on Taker and trying to convince Shawn to stop the match. I accepted that premise so I absolutely loved this match, great action, and great story, just absolutely fabulous. They did 30 minutes and had me every second of the way. The way all three guys left together post match, it would have been a fitting end to all of their careers. Sooooo great.
We got the HOF introductions, and then a terrible skit with Flo Rida and Heath Slater. Rida dwarfed Slater as well as laying him out, completely burying poor Slater.
Team Johnny vs. Team Teddy (Control of RAW & SD): Team Johnny consisted of David Otunga, Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, The Miz, Drew McIntyre. Team Teddy had Santino, R-Truth, Kofi Kingston, Zack Ryder, Kahli, Booker T. Not really much to this match. They did what I call the Shotgun finish where guys feed in giving a big move and then get hitting with another, except they did it poorly by just having guys feed in from the apron and it looked very obvious. Ryder was the last baby face to get highlighted but he got distracted and Miz hit his finisher to pick up the win for Johnny. This was okay but not much more.
CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho (WWE Title): They added the stip that if Punk got DQ'd he would lose the title, so they told that story early. It made perfect sense but made for a very slow start. Jericho would slap Punk and then just cover up in the corner while Punk wailed on him, hoping Punk would get disqualified. Punk took 2 very ugly bumps in this match. He took a suplex over the top rope to the floor and flat backed right on the floor and a bump where he got pulled back off the top rope and smashed his head really bad. This was good and got quite great at the end. They did a great back and forth deal in and out of the Walls of Jericho and the Anaconda Vise which was fantastic. Punk won and retained the title. Crowd was totally into this at the end.
We got a Brodus Clay dance number next, followed by a concert deal that may have played into Cena's entrance but I was fast forwarding at this point so I'm not sure. Once Cena was in the ring we got the Flo Rida concert, which played into the Rock's entrance. I don't like musical acts in wrestling but this did make for a big match, main event feel having this play into the entrances.
John Cena vs. The Rock: This really felt like a Main Event, it had that big match feel and was completely built around emotion and was really good. The crowd was totally into this and completely behind the Rock. Cena did an awesome job here taking care of the Rock, and who ever laid this match was brilliant. Rock was in great shape but coming back after being off for years and doing a 30 minute match is incredibly difficult and while Rock got tired, he had the energy when he needed it and Cena deserves a lot of credit for taking care of him. The crowd was insanely hot at the end of this match and the reaction to the last near fall and the finish was incredible.
My only complaint for this one was the commentary. This match was built around the win being so important. Cena said countless times that he absolutely needed to win this match. Not 10 seconds after The Rock picked up the win here, Cole was doing damage control (no doubt being told to) saying, "I don't think there was a loser in this one" then constantly putting Cena over instead of celebrating The Rock's victory. I understand the idea behind this but could we not save the spin for Monday night, and allow the fans to absorb what should have felt like a major moment. It felt like a slap in the face as a fan. When you spend a year building this match up as important and then not 10 seconds after its over start telling us that it didn't matter, it's infuriating.
This was really only a 3 match show (Punk-Jericho, Taker-HHH, Rock-Cena) but those 3 matches were so good I'm giving this show a pretty solid thumbs up. Coming off Mania XXVII probably helped it a lot too, because this was way better than the previous year.
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