WM29_v2

WWE Wrestlemania 29 (Cert 12)

3 Discs DVD/ 2 Discs Blu-ray (Distributor: Freemantle Media) Running Time:  228 minutes approx.

Wrestlemania. The grandest stage of them all. The biggest show of the year. From its humble beginnings as a make or break show in 1985, it has grown to be a stadium sized extravaganza that brings wrestling fans from all around the world to witness the marquee matches of the year. Wrestlemania is the one show that the WWE can guarantee will have the entire wrestling world buzzing with anticipation, and mainstream media attention at its highest.

This year’s event was held on April 7th and emanated from the Met Life Stadium in New Jersey with a record setting attendance for the venue of 80, 676 fans. Your commentators are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and JBL.

Onto the matches and as usual, no results but loads of opinion.

 

Sheamus, Randy Orton and Big Show vs The Shield

The story here is that the heel Big Show was the controversial replacement for Ryback in this match, with Orton going into bat for the giant against Sheamus’s wishes. Good, fast paced opener with plenty of action and The Shield continue to be one the genuine can’t miss prospects in the WWE at the moment.

Ryback vs Mark Henry

The problem with pitting two super strong guys who rely solely on power moves against each other is that the end result is usually a slow, plodding and dull affair. This match is no exception. Thankfully it was kept short.

WWE Tag Title Match – Team Hell No (c) vs Dolph Ziggler & Big E. Langston

This was Langston’s WWE in-ring debut. After a cute referential tease to last year’s 18 second debacle involving AJ and Daniel Bryan, this match was pretty much a sprint, cramming the final act of a 15 minute tag match into just six minutes. Great work and the most crowd heat thus far, but criminally short.

Chris Jericho vs Fandango

Another official in-ring debut this time, Fandango’s after many aborted TV matches. This is before his theme music became a cult phenomenon. Jericho pretty much carried the match although Fandango didn’t embarrass himself outside of the botched finish.

Rapper Puff Diddy Daddy or whatever he calls himself these days comes out to waste valuable time to mild indifference. This incongruous segment is the reason why the heavily hyped Miz vs Wade Barrett IC title match (included in the extras) was shunted to the pre-show.

World Title Match – Alberto Del Rio (c) vs Jack Swagger

Zeb Coulter tries to incite the international crowd with his borderline racist remarks to support his pro-American cause yet Del Rio still can’t get the crowd behind him. Solid match but with Swagger’s DUI and drug bust a few weeks before this match the end result was never in doubt.

Undertaker vs CM Punk

Living Colour (who still sound great but Corey Glover looks about 70 with his white hair) played Punk and Paul Heyman to the ring. This is the first Taker match at WM in years that has a feud behind it beyond ending the streak. Best match of the show despite Taker still working banged up and Punk’s mishap with the Spanish announce table (for the third PPV in a row!) which damaged his hip.

Brock Lesnar vs Triple H

Lesnar came out and answered the question “Who ate all the pies?”. Triple H got covered in dry ice foam when the machine malfunctioned and received burns to his body as a result. A slow and plodding affair that went far too long and thus lost the crowd, as well as Lesnar being knocked silly a few minutes into the match.

WWE Title Match – The Rock (c) vs John Cena

Their encounter at WM 28 was billed as “Once In A Lifetime” so naturally here it is again. Another match that went too long and was severely harmed by Rock suffering a hernia, in which he tore the muscles and tendons around his abdomen! Ouch! Almost as painful as the end match result.

Bottom Line:

I have to be honest, this year’s Wrestlemania – like the last few years – is the quintessence of “All style and No substance”. If ever the mantra “bigger is better” needed disproving, this soulless show is suitable evidence.

The reality is that nothing changed and nothing newsworthy happened, which is what Wrestlemania always used to be about. There was no break out star or performance, no-one was elevated and no match result could be considered game changing. The younger faces remain exactly where they were a year or two ago while the part timers drift off into the sunset to let them carry the load for the rest of the year. Then again, no-one was given any chance to shine since the undercard matches were either cut short or dropped completely (an advertised mixed eight person tag was cut at the last minute) while the three “main events” were given as much time as they wanted.

This resulted in the audience being largely tepid by the end, not helped by the elaborate stage setting which blocked the view of much of the crowd, a complaint which fell on deaf ears within WWE, who felt the visual of the set pieces are vital to the spectacle of the show.

So, as a wrestling event this year’s Wrestlemania, for this writer at least, ranks among the weaker efforts although it isn’t a WM 9 level abomination.

Best match – Undertaker vs. CM Punk

However….

I am reviewing this release as a complete presentation and in this instance there is a saving grace to rescue this from being a wholly negative review. I am referring to the annual WWE Hall Of Fame ceremony which is included on the second Blu-ray disc (or third DVD disc).

For many the highlight of the Wrestlemania weekend, the WWE remembers and recognises the trailblazers, celebrated names and bona fide legends of the grappling game on the eve of the PPV and this year’s ceremony is an absolute corker. Not only is the hardcore legend Mick Foley, the greatest Diva of the modern era Trish Stratus, the master of the Spinaroonie Booker T and the perennial babyface of the 70’s Bob Backlund inducted but Hell well and truly froze over when the Living Legend himself, Bruno Sammartino, buried the hatchet with Vince McMahon after twenty five very public years of enmity and conflict and took his place among the other greats in the HOF.

Aside from Donald Trump (who was mercilessly booed by the MSG crowd), this was an evening of well deserving stars getting their dues from the peers and the fans alike. Mick Foley’s speech is arguably the most entertaining of the evening, including a wonderful comic moment featuring Chris Jericho and CM Punk. Trish Stratus still looks stunning after 13 years and gave a typically perky speech while Booker T’s heartfelt acceptance was bolstered by an impressively erudite induction from his brother Stevie Ray. Bob Backlund’s turn was…odd to say the least, rambling on, in and out of character without saying much before not-so-subtly receiving his cue from Vince and Triple H. The unpopular Trump wisely kept his spot short leaving it up to the headliner Bruno Sammartino to bring things to a close with an inspirational speech.

To be frank the HOF disc is worth the price of admission alone and the WM PPV is just a bonus. Obviously the WWE would prefer this to be the other way around but such is life.

 

Extras:

English Language

German Language

French Language

English subtitles for the hard of hearing

Wrestlemania 29 Interactive Pre Show – WWE IC Title Match – Wade Barrett vs The Miz

Wrestlemania 29 Post Show from Met Life Stadium

Complete WWE Hall Of Fame 2013 Ceremony featuring:

Mick Foley

Trish Stratus

Booker T

Bob Backlund

Donald Trump

Bruno Sammartino

 

Blu-ray Only:

Monday Night RAW – March 18th 2013 – Triple H & Brock Lesnar Contract Signing

Monday Night RAW – March 25th 2013 – CM Punk Wants to End The Streak

Legends Q&A Session with The Rock and John Cena

 

Rating – ****  

Man In Black