WrestleMania 29 from April 7, 2013, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey
You know a WrestleMania is going to be a good one when it opens with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's voice. It's The Rock (c) vs John Cena II in the main event, Triple H puts his career on the line vs Brock Lesnar, CM Punk and Undertaker make some magic in the former's last Mania and the group known as The Shield makes its debut on the grandest stage.
This show is not great as a complete product, but when broken down into those three matches and a couple of nostalgia dusted moments, yeah … it still sucks. This is a period of WWE where I was only half paying attention mostly because I was working as a copy editor at Bleacher Report at the time and edited a solid amount of WWE copy.
I remember editing someone's review on WrestleMania 29, seeing highlights from the Punk-Undertaker match and I was lured back into the business. So, this show kind of brought me back in but not really because it was actually Mark Henry fake retiring on Monday Night Raw.
The Miz is on the preshow two years after being in the main event and Fandango went over Chris Jericho. That's WrestleMania 29 in a nutshell, also Jack Swagger in a world championship match.
Favorite moments and matches
The Undertaker and CM Punk is the clear match of the night on this card as the action bookended a nasty rivalry that turned a lot of people off by using the recent death of Paul Bearer (William Moody). Punk poured the ashes from Undertaker's Urn on him and Heyman dressed up as Bearer to lure a confused Undertaker through Druids.
To me, it was too ridiculous and over-the-top wrestling style to be taken as truly offensive. With the Undertaker's reputation, I doubt this would be allowed if it was going to be something that REALLY pissed him off backstage. Other than that, the action was fantastic as the two thankfully got more than 20 minutes to beat the piss out of each other. Both worked their butts off, and nailed some crucial counters late in the match to hype up the tension. The emotion, timing and just crisp action put this match over the top. These two had wrestled each other in the past, but nothing to the level of WrestleMania 29.
What a wonder a good story can do for the in-ring product.
Also, Living Colour > Diddy. Diddy phoned this one more in than anything he had since the late 1990s, which is really saying something. I'd rather watch Kid Rock perform that dogshit "New Orleans" song on repeat.
The Rock and John Cena is fine for what it is, but it's nothing but a finisher fest that goes about two too many finishers long. Some of the personality-based stuff and ridiculous kick-outs is fun, but it's just clearly not what anyone cares to see. The crowd had been checked out since the end of Punk and Taker, and it just never felt like this giant, special thing that WWE was billing it to be. It was Rock and John Cena in 2013. After the match, Cena and Rock go through the motions of rubbing each other off. Just a carbon copy rematch of something that was supposed to be "once in a lifetime."
I don't really have anything too glowingly positive to say about this show. There were spots here and there in the Triple H/Brock Lesnar match that I enjoyed, but it was mostly a predictable slow sludge of an affair. Trips attacking Brock's arm and locking the Kimura was a nice setup for the MMA style powerbombs before it was ended with the Pedigree on the steps. They also probably went about 2-3 more Kimuras than they should have.
Honestly, outside of that, this show was a snoozefest to me.
Least favorite moments and matches
I hated that WWE ended Punk's historically long WWE Championship reign just to slap it on The Rock for this rematch with John Cena. It didn't make sense to me to do the same match two years in a row, and this time for the championship.
Punk held that belt for 400-plus days and turned out working with The Rock very well, and this might qualify me as the mark, but it should have been The Rock vs John Cena vs CM Punk in the main event for the WWE Championship. This match would have given each and every fan at least one thing to like in this match from the mega mainstream star in The Rock to the new age Hogan type in Cena and every fan boy's favorite worker in CM Punk.
Not only had Punk and Rock worked two solid matches at the two previous PPVs, but Punk and Cena had historically one of the better rivalries (and matches) in WWE history. It just feels like a missed opportunity to use The Rock's limited WWE time to just do the same thing twice. I hated it then, and I hate it more now in retrospect.
Let's face it, The Shield vs Randy Orton, Big Show and Sheamus just feels like your typical middle of October Monday Night Raw main event. I'm not going to gush over keeping the Big Show in the corner by The Shield, because that's the highlight of the action, and I'm not going to highlight the Big Show's 1,001st heel turn. The Shield debuted, and they never did anything worthwhile as a team at WrestleMania. Talk about missed opportunities.
Alberto Del Rio vs Jack Swagger for ADR's World Heavyweight Championship. A fine match, nothing spectacular but one that was built on the Republican vs Immigrant storyline. Get out.
Fandango beat Chris Jericho. While now a fun, solid character wrestler, Fandango never had any business debuting with Jericho or at WrestleMania. The fact that he beat the first-ever WWE Undisputed Champion in less than 10 minutes, what the f***.
WWE still didn't really care about tag teams as Team Hell No defended against the thrown together Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston. Cool to look back on and that Dolph would cash in and win the WHC in the months after, but this match is nothing special. Just a lot of awesome talent duct taped together on this card.
Does it hold up?
No. Watch WrestleMania 33 and then WrestleMania 29 and tell me this show holds a candle to the current product. There isn't even a f****** women's match on this card outside of AJ Lee walking Dolph and Big E to the ring. Terrible.