WWE Wrestlemania 30 (Cert 15)
3 Discs DVD/ 2 Discs Blu-ray (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 234 minutes approx.
Welcome everyone to the thirtieth anniversary of the wrestling super show which this year was created by the fans and not the result of Vince McMahon’s creative leadership. And it’s all because of a short, shaggy haired, bushy bearded former darling of the indie wrestling scene.
As we’ve noted before the incredible popularity of Daniel Bryan over the past year has been noticed by everybody except Vince McMahon, who didn’t see Bryan as a main event draw thus never got behind him. When Batista returned in January and won the Royal Rumble the fans in Pittsburgh made their feelings known about the prospective Batista vs Orton main event for Wrestlemania 30. Vince thought this negativity was a one off until fans everywhere continued to boo Batista and cheer and chant for Bryan.
Then CM Punk walked out on the company after learning he was to face Triple H at Wrestlemania which he felt was a step backwards for him. The match was then given to Bryan (who inexplicably was originally due to face Sheamus) but the fans still weren’t satisfied and the rejection of Batista vs Orton continued.
Fearing the humiliation of having the main event of his biggest show dumped on by angry fans Vince had no option to do what he has always claims he does and gave the fans what they want. So how did this turn out?
On April 6th 75, 167 fans packed into the Superdome in New Orleans to see if Vince would come good at last. Your commentators are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and JBL and this was the first PPV show to air on the new WWE Network.
Onto the matches and as usual, no results but loads of opinion.
The show actually opens with Hulk Hogan returning to the WWE after three years with TNA, and immediately upset the fans by calling the venue the Silverdome (home to Wrestlemania III)! Then Hogan was joined by two surprise guests: Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock, bringing the three biggest names of the past 25 years together in one special moment.
Daniel Bryan vs Triple H – Winner Advances to the WWE World Title Match
As a result of the fans support for Bryan, the stipulation was added that whoever won this match was entered into the main event match. The longest bout on the show this was a great match, boosted by the hot crowd for Bryan. Credit also to Triple H for making an effort and doing his bit to elevate Bryan. But whoever wins has one more match still to go…
The Shield vs Kane & New Age Outlaws
If you blinked you missed this as it was all over in under three minutes. Billy Gunn was injured here which explains the Outlaws subsequent absence from TV. Oh yes, and The Shield rule!
Andre The Giant Memorial Invitational Battle Royale
This was announced on TV by Hulk Hogan and for the moment is being cited as an annual event. It was supposed to be a thirty man affair but a 31st man was afforded a spot. Most the usual jobbers who never get TV time were here along with the bigger names not given a match elsewhere such as Big Show, Sheamus, The Rhodes Boys, Alberto Del Rio, etc.
Bray Wyatt vs John Cena
This is only the second Wrestlemania appearance out eleven for Cena where he hasn’t contested for a title, either as challenger or in defender. As ever the creepy but charismatic heel Bray Wyatt is more popular than the vanilla hero, who is not just fighting another man but, according to the story line, is fighting his own dark side. While he has some help from his zealots Rowan and Harper, Wyatt puts in one of his strongest in-ring performances to date.
Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar
The Beast vs The Streak. Unfortunately not as a good as the past few years outings for Taker who was knocked silly early into the match. Such was the fear for Taker’s condition, Vince McMahon even missed the main event match to accompany Taker to hospital, something he has never done. The reverberations from the outcome of this match are still being felt today.
Vickie Guerrero Divas Title Invitational Match
With the rules unknown until the bell rang, this was basically a free-for-all until someone was pinned or submitted. Not a great match – a complete mess in fact – but there was a great spot when the Bellas hit stereo suicide dives to the outside on the other Divas.
WWE World Heavyweight Title Match – Randy Orton (c) vs Batista vs ???
So, who was the third man? Would we see a title change? Will we get a happy ending? You’ll have to watch and see. The match itself was okay but the fans rejection of Batista and their apathy towards Orton made for an interesting dynamic as far as the crowd reactions went. The lax rules due to the Triple Threat stipulation meant the various violent short cuts could cover for this. Not the strongest main event but a good one nonetheless.
After last year’s soulless and badly time managed outing, this thirtieth anniversary show saw almost every match get some time to fulfil its purpose, with the exception of The Shield’s match. A four way tag-title match was shunted from the card to the pre-show in favour of the opening schmooze fest which went over 20 minutes, but was a special way to kick off the show.
The end result is a show that delivers pretty much from top to bottom which Wrestlemania hasn’t done for a few years now, with every match having a key purpose and all participants raising their game for the big stage. As discussed earlier this wasn’t the show Vince wanted to put on but for once, he HAD to listen to the fans otherwise he would have jeopardises everything. And it is all the better for it.
One question remains – how different would this how have been had CM Punk not walked?
As ever with the Wrestlemania DVD/BD release the action doesn’t stop with the main PPV show. There is a wealth of extras included here, with the highlight being the complete Hall Of Fame ceremony held the night before.
A popular event from the Wrestlemania weekend this year’s is especially poignant due to the sad death of the headlining inductee The Ultimate Warrior just three days after the ceremony. His return to the company was one of the genuine “Hell Freezes Over” scenarios in WWE history. Warrior delivered a chillingly prescient speech on RAW the night after Wrestlemania before suffering a fatal heart attack the day after.
It’s a sad note to end on but it adds a certain air of emotional gravitas to what was already an emotional Wrestlemania in its own right. As an overall package this is one of the strongest WWE release for a PPV event in a long time.
Best match – Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H
Wrestlemania Pre-Show Fatal 4-Way Tag Title Match: The Usos (c) vs. Los Matadores vs. Real Americans vs. Rybaxel
Complete WWE Hall Of Fame 2014 Ceremony featuring:
Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Top 30 Greatest Wrestlemania Moments
Hulk Hogan Discusses Wrestlemania
Triple H & Stephanie McMahon Reveal the Wrestlemania Set
Batista Reflects on His Return to WWE
Randy Orton Speaks On Becoming the Face of WWE
The History of Andre the Giant
The Streak vs. The Beast
A Look at Hulk Hogan’s Storied Career
John Cena Confronts His Fears
AJ Lee vs. The World
All That’s Left is The Game
Bruno Sammartino Unveils His Statue
**SPECIAL EDITION version containing “WRESTLEMANIA — 30 Moments for 30 Years” booklet available exclusively at http://WWEDVD.co.uk while stocks last**
Rating – *****
Man In Black