Miami Heat

Wrestlemania is almost impossible to put into words. There is so much to take in. The spectacle, the matches, the crowd, the atmosphere. Ultimately, it is WWE hitting the reset button and initiating a new year of programming.

Wrestlemania 27 was not nearly as good as it was made out to be. There were a lot of fans feeling let down after last years event. It all felt so half-assed, thrown together and poorly executed minus the Triple H vs Undertaker Match.

Wrestlemania 28 was a thousand percent better.

This isn’t to say that Wrestlemania 28 didn’t have its down times. Many people are upset about Daniel Bryan and Sheamus. Despite my sincerest efforts, I simply cannot muster up and explanation. Hopefully, desperately hopefully, WWE has something in mind and this wasn’t just Vince McMahon giving a giant middle finger to the IWC.

However, I would say, Wrestlemania 28 had greater peaks than it had darker valleys. Jericho and Punk definitely put on a show. This match was not the five star classic some had come to expect, but their performance was by no means a letdown. It was entertaining, back and forth and the closing five minutes of reversals and tapout teases was extraordinarily executed. I’d have gone with a different finish, had Punk lose and then have him walk into his hometown of Chicago as the challenger next month.

Triple H, Undertaker and Shawn Michaels reminded us that wrestling can be one hell of thing when it is done correctly. A nearly flawless match that absolutely lived up to whatever hype was drummed up in the past few weeks. That match has a series of moments (Triple H jumping back when Undertaker sat up, Shawn Michaels pleading with both men, the Superkick / Pedigree combination, blood, spit and eats) that should, and will, live on in the legacy of Wrestlemania. What this match did leave us with though, is three important questions: Was this the Undertakers last match? Is Triple H down for good? Was this the last gasp of the attitude era?

There were so many questions, doubts, backstage rumors, on screen bombs and chaotic experiences leading up to John Cena vs the Rock. Did this match payoff? Absolutely. Understandably there are some upset John Cena fans, but as someone who dislikes John Cena (his character, not the Make-A-Wish champion) I think this is the absolute best thing that could happen to him. This will force Cena to go to new places, assuming that he sells this loss and doesn’t come out giggling tonight like he often does after a big loss. If this is handled properly, John Cena could come out of this shinning. Also, no one should associate the Rock winning to the Rock not giving John Cena some amazing shine and Legendary rub.

The Rock proved he could still go. John Cena proved he could hold his own against the greatest superstar of all time. This is absolutely a win win situation that WWE can make into something even more amazing. Remember, folks, there’s always the possibility that this is a best of three series. I certainly hope not, I’d rather this was a one time thing.

Wrestlemania 28 was definitely a great show worth watching and paying attention to. The challenge for WWE coming out of this, which could be a fantastic thing, is to build new stars so that next years roster is full of young talent rather than returning names and old stalwarts. It’s time for a changing of the guard, but don’t be surprised if they wait until Wrestlemania 30 to make the switch. Next year they may want to cash in on that New Jersey, New York attitude with some old names. We know the Rock will be there, speculation points to Brock Lesnar and don’t forget a beer drinking, ass kicking, mudhole stomping guy from Texas with some gas left in the tank who might want to make a last impression.

Wrestlemania 28, as a whole, did what it was supposed to do. It reinvigorated, and for the most part, it paid off what it has been hyping. I rate the event an eight out of a possible ten. The eighteen second world title match kept this away from being a nine. Oh, and did I forget to mention, Good ol’ Jim Ross showed why he is, was , and always will be, the best announcer in the business.

Monday Night Raw has all the potential to be absolutely amazing tonight. Maybe WWE will show us that they don’t just pull out all of the stops for Wrestlemania.

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Mediocrity in a Cell

Hell in a Cell is one of the more epic and exciting gimmicks created within the WWE Universe.  Cage matches were once the be all end all when it came to ongoing feuds.  No matter what had happened, if two guys were at war with one another, they would ultimately end up inside a cage.  The cage was where their problems would finally be settled, where the frightened heel would be locked up with the vengeance seeking face or the smaller face would be trapped inside with a monster heel.
Hell in a Cell upped the anty.  Now the cage had a roof, the door wouldn’t open and the cage itself would encompass the ringside area as well as the ring.  This was a match not designed around escape or evasion but around punishment.  When a feud had gone on, when things had reached a boiling point, when the anger, hatred and violence had grown to an extreme there was only one place left to settle things.  Hell in a Cell.
Hell in a Cell was never pretty, it was never about seeing a technical match grounded in mat technique.  It was an all out, bloody battle to the end with no rules and no restraint.  Once the competitors stepped inside it was a literal free-for-all of violence and pain.  Of course, things evolve.  Eventually we saw matches moving outside of the cell, climbing to the top.  We saw, in possibly the peak of how danger Hell in a Cell could get, Mick Foley flying head first off the top of the cage to go crashing through the announce table.  Then, moments later, we got to watch him break through the top of the cage and land in the ring looking like he’d just been in a car accident.
Now, it seems, Hell in a Cell is a relic of a bygone era.  This is the PG WWE.  We aren’t allowed to see a bloody massacre inside the cell.  We don’t see barbed wire baseball bats or bags full of thumbtacks anymore.  Hell in a Cell is no longer the ultimate, epic gimmick.  It’s be relegated to an annual PPV where it has about as much significance as any of gimmick match.  They’ve destroyed what made it feel special by making it typical.  It has been stripped of everything it was supposed to represent and even the reason for its existence has been damaged.  This isn’t the blow off match anymore, this is just a match.
When was the last time we got to see a Hell in the Cell that actually meant something, where the cell was a last resort to put an end to the issue between two wrestlers?  We just get it thrown at us like we’re supposed to be excited for it.  There isn’t a whole lot exciting when you know its coming and when it isn’t really necessary.  It’s also hard to get excited when they’re throwing it at you two weeks after you just spent fifty dollars on the previous PPV.
One of the most important things about sustaining a gimmick match is being wise enough to know when to use it and when not to.  You’d think WWE would have learned over the years that there is a negative aspect to using a gimmick match too frequently.  Then again, Impact Wrestling hasn’t learned from their “Lockdown” PPV yet so maybe it’s asking too much to expect this.  There are certain matches which actually mean something.  The Iron Man Match comes to mind.  You don’t see it all of the time and when it happens it has a special feeling to it.  Though, as I type that, I grow dreadful of seeing an “Iron Man” PPV someday in the future.
The matches for the upcoming Hell in a Cell PPV don’t have me too excited either.  They’ve tried to make it seem important that we’re getting the first ever Triple Threat Hell in a Cell but in doing so they failed to recognize something:  why is this going to be a Hell in the Cell?  The Cena / Del Rio feud is hardly hot enough to necessitate the cell and Punk just got himself involved in it.  Sure, they ended Raw with the cell coming down and Del Rio beating both men down with a chair but that felt a little second guessed.  It certainly didn’t pump me up for the PPV because, as seems to be WWE’s history, with Del Rio looking dominant going into the match it’s more than likely he is going to lose.
Randy Orton and Mark Henry could have made sense.  It seems to me it would have made more sense for Mark Henry to have destroyed Randy Orton at Night of Champions and gotten himself disqualified.  Then he could have a match against Orton in the cell where Orton couldn’t escape and Henry could destroy him and win the title.  This would have kept Henry completely heelish and made Orton sympathetic.  Instead, they gave the belt to Henry already and they’re having a Hell in a Cell match though you haven’t really seen too many instances of these two interacting leading up to it.
I don’t know folks.  Five years ago if you’d told me that Hell in a Cell would be a bland, mundane, typical concept in the future, I’d have told you that you were an idiot.  Now, though, it seems to have come true.  Hell in a Cell doesn’t feel special, it doesn’t feel like a must see.  It feels like another gimmick that WWE finds necessary to beat to death.  If there is one thing they’ve proven in recent years it is their ability to take an amazing concept and make it seems less than worthwhile.  If you are ordering this PPV, I truly hope it stands up to your expectations but I can’t do it and I can’t in good conscience recommend that anyone do it.  I don’t care to see these matches, which speaks volumes about what Hell in a Cell means today.
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