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By Todd Matthy

On April 7th 2013, I finally got to go to Wrestlemania. Was it everything I expected? Click below to find out. For photos from the show check out my article for Y&P. 

I’ve always wanted to go to Wrestlemania. You always knew it wasn’t your average wrestling show. The big matches are at Wrestlemania.  Scores are settled at Wrestlemania. Celebrities got involved at Wrestlemania! It was the Super Bowl of wrestling. I had to go.

Wrestlemania X came to Madison Square Garden and sold out when I was in fourth grade. I couldn’t go. Wrestlemania XX came ten years later. I was in college and couldn’t make it.

Wrestlemania XXIX didn’t feel like Wrestlemania. There was very little build up to the matches. The Main Event was a rematch from the year before. There was little celebrity involvement. With the exception of appearances by Brock Lesnar and the Rock it felt like a regular PPV or episode of RAW not “the Superbowl of Wrestling.” How did this happen?

Wrestlemania XXIX was the showcase of everything that’s wrong with WWE. Creative is at an all time low. With the exception of Rock/Cena and Brock Lesnar/Triple H, there we’re no stories leading into Wrestlemania that anyone could sink their teeth into.

The card was predictable, with no attempts to surprise the fans. Everyone knew John Cena was going to beat the Rock. They knew after Rock beat Cena last year. They knew it, because people started leaving in the middle of the match to beat the traffic. You knew Triple H was going to beat Brock Lesnar because you saw The Dark Knight Rises. It was the exact same story.  The only result that was surprising was Mark Henry beating Ryback. But, rather then being shocked I found myself asking “why?” Ryback was being portrayed as a Goldberg-like machine that beat the nonsense out of people. The only person he didn’t beat was CM Punk, who was the Champion at the time and was eliminated from the Royal Rumble by Cena, who is WWE’s version of Superman. He’s the perfect foe for Cena, why have him lose?

Despite these flaws there were some bright spots. The match of the night by far was CM Punk against the Undertaker. You had the Undertaker, who has never lost a match at Wrestlemania, defending his streak against WWE’s hottest star (no matter how much Creative tries to give his angles to Cena), CM Punk.  While we knew there was no way they were going to end Undertaker’s streak, we wanted to believe it was in jeopardy. We we’re cheering when Punk took advantage of Taker because if anyone deserved to end the streak, it was Punk. We cheered, we gasped, we booed, we we’re into it because the match MATTERED.  You can switch titles all you want, but there’s no going back from ending an undefeated streak. It’s why the Undertaker match is the unofficial main event of Wrestlemania, because it matters. And how can you not love Living Color performing “Cult of Personally” for Punk’s entrance?

Another match I really enjoyed was the Tag Team title match with Champions Team Hell No (Kane and Sledgehammer’s Wrestler of the Year Daniel Bryan) defending against Dolph Zigger and Big E. Langston. While the action in the ring was exciting, what really made the match was the crowd. Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler are wrestlers the WWE Universe wants to succeed and the crowd let the world know that by cheering every move they did. In the days of Steve Austin and the Rock this was the sign you were a star. Today, it means you’re becoming more popular then Cena and Creative can’t have that so they’ll bury you.

So, did I fun? Absolutely! It was my fellow fans that made Wrestlemania XXIX so much fun. The tailgate before the show was a ton of fun. Fans we’re blasting and dancing to WWE entrance music while dueling “Let’s Go Cena! Cena Sucks!” chants. I loved being able to talk wrestling and with fellow fans while we waited to get in.  I loved shouting “Yes!” and “No!” during Daniel Bryan’s entrance. I loved singing along to Fandango’s entrance. It was a magical moment being able to stand up and salute Bruno Sanmartino, Bob Backlund, Mick Foley, Booker T, and Trish Stratus as they honored for joining the Hall of Fame. And it was even more fun being part of the booing Donald Trump when they announced him as a member of the Hall of Fame.  It goes to show bad booking cannot completely destroy the Wrestlemania experience.

Overall, the flaws with Wrestlemania XXIX lie not with the wrestlers but with WWE creative. Creative gave us no reason to care about any of the wrestlers. WWE is so desperate to not be pro wrestling that they are letting their product suffer. They are not giving us a reason to care about the wrestlers. They don’t listen to the crowd. They only seem to care about Diddy performing the bathroom break…I mean halftime show. Diddy, who hasn’t been relevant since…1999 and it was for blatantly stealing songs. WWE needs to listen to the crowd and push wrestlers so the fans think they matter. If you want Wrestlemania to truly be the “Superbowl of Wrestling” start building up so that the matches they’re in mean something. They’ll be surprised how much a little dedication can go.

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