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Dolfan Watches Every Wrestlemania On Lockdown


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DAY 89

You know, Alberto del Rio is a piece of human garbage, we recently found out what a piece of shit Ricardo Rodriguez is.  Jack Swagger is a Trump voter.  And Zeb Colter/Dutch Mantell is too (and apparently goes a little further with those beliefs...)  I think I'd like to cheer for frostbite in this match.  

Swagger won the Elimination Chamber match the previous month to get his title shot here.  Colter cuts a promo that could be heard at any Donald Trump rally outside of certain counties in Florida.... that is to say, it's racist, sexist, xenophobic, and blatantly anti-semetic.   Like, it's not even a dog whistle... he's saying to a New York crowd, "Hey guys, Jews suck."  It's striking.  And frankly, this is the sort of thing that will at some point in the future become a problem for the WWE.  

Fuck.

Well, anyway, these two idiots get 10 minutes to do their thing in front of the crowd who are all sitting on their hands.  Why?   Well, everyone in my section, at least (and I'm pretty sure everyone else in the stadium) was expecting Dolph to cash in.  The crowd is just waiting.  

Swagger gets put in ADR's cross armbreaker, and taps like he's a Bellator fighter who decided to try UFC out. 

As Del Rio is celebrating, we're all getting anxious -- and you can actually see the crowd looking at the entrance.   Fade to black, no cash in.  The disappointment is palpable.  

Ziggler would  cash in the following evening as this whole face Alberto Del Rio thing was just not working out, at all.  Let's watch that instead of this, shall we?  

Ah, Del Rio losing.  That's the good stuff. 

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Finding out the Yosemite Sam of wrestling is really the Yosemite Sam of wrestling is disappointing to me, but should be expected. 

Re: Fandango, let's sing along everybody: "IF THERE WEREN'T MIDCARDERS, THERE WOULDN'T BE A CARD"

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Del Rio and Ziggler had a fucking tremendous match soon after that. A beautifully executed double turn. So WWE immediately took away everything that made Dolph likable.

Edited by Brian Fowler
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Look in my eyes, what do you see...

Well, it's CM Punk's last WrestleMania. He'd last another 9 months in the WWE before his absolute misery with his job finally ended his time there.  By any stretch of the imagination, Punk's time in the WWE was a wild success.  His time as world champion (and in the upper card) was defined by his rebellious attitude, his "Voice of the Fan" persona, and his stellar work rate.  I'm well aware the feelings about him are divided and... strong. 

I was a fan of him as a performer.  Everything I've read about him though is that he was miserable and infected others with that attitude.  An assignment to work with him meant you needed to be at the top of your game, or you'd get berated.  And as someone who's worked with that type of personality, it can be rough -- but also rewarding.  

Now, the story of how Taker and Punk came to work together at WrestleMania has been documented well via Punk's exit interview/podcast.  My understanding is that Punk, as world champ going into the Rumble, was told the Cena-Rock match would be for the title, and he was being given the Undertaker match as a consolation prize. Now, I'm a little fuzzy if he said they'd promised him to end the streak if he re-signed, but I seem to think  that was a part of the deal, but Punk declined that.   

Regardless, the story they're going with is:  William Moody (the man behind Paul Bearer) has passed away and Undertaker is mourning his friend.  CM Punk acts like, a punk, and interrupts and steals the urn that contains Bearer's ashes.  Taker is furious but can never catch Punk.   It's an extremely Memphis-style angle and one both guys are clearly having a lot of fun with.  

I will say, going into the match, my buddy Andrew thought Punk might just be the one to break the streak.  Me, having seen what a TOTAL shitbird Punk had been for the last month or so, knew that there was no god damned way they were having Punk win that night. My only maybe was that they might give him the win NEXT year.  (More on that next Mania.)  Anyway though, everyone was expecting a good to great match, and boy did they deliver.  

Living Colour plays Punk to the ring and I'm sad I've never seen them live.  And until this pandemic ends, I probably never will.  And the pop Punk gets... god damn.   Taker's entrance is the "souls from hell" entrance that is just iconic.  

The two of them have an incredible amount of chemistry together, but the thing I notice as I'm riding is the respect they have too. Taker is giving Punk a lot of offense including doing 'Old School' to Taker twice (one successful, one not), so much so that he controls the middle half of the match.  Punk for his part, is constantly checking in with Taker, making sure he's okay after some awkward bumps, and doing great selling and facial expressions when Taker is on offense.  

The crowd is having a ton of fun with the match too.  There's a solid CM Punk section to the crowd and an equally solid Undertaker part. They're loud and chanting the whole time.  It's great.  (Except for the one idiot on the floor with a Fathead head of himself or Steve-O(?) making a goofy face that he holds up every 10 seconds. If I'd paid several thousand dollars to see this and one guy kept repeatedly blocking my view, I'd have beaten him to death by the 3rd match.)

Ends comes as Punk has Taker up for a Go 2 Sleep that barely connects, and allows Undertaker to bounce off the ropes and put Punk in a Tombstone for a VERY close 2.  After Taker has Punk in position for The Last Ride, but Punk gets the urn from Paul and bashes Taker good, but THAT only gets 2 as well.  Crowd easily bought both of those as potential finishes.  Finally, Punk does the Taker throat slash, tries for a G2S, but that gets countered into a Tombstone.  

Nice knowing you Punk.   21-0.  

Excellent match with both guys working their asses off and delivering in spades.  It's Taker's 5th very good (or excellent) match in a row and easily the best match of the night.  

And yeah, that means that what comes next is a whole pile of "meh" compared to this.  

End of Day 89. 

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Punk is one of my favourite wrestlers of all time. I don't doubt that he was probably a pain to work with at times, but he was a great heel, was over like rover as a face, and just generally ticked all the boxes I look for as a fan.

I'm glad he got out when he did, though. I bet he's a lot happier now than he would ever have been if he'd stuck around.

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I feel like Punk/Taker has kind of gotten lost to history, being coming in between the epic run of HBK/HHH Mania matches and Lesnar finally ending the Streak the next year (and obviously Punk’s own drama), but damn it was good.  I liked it better than all of those other 5 matches it was sandwiched between, except the first HBK match.

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DAY 90

I look at the date on that and still cannot believe it's been 8 years since Brock came back to the WWE.  In many ways, that moment changed where everything went for the WWE for the next decade - for better or worse.  He strangely took a loss in his first match back, which I'm convinced was Vince's punishment for leaving for a while, but since then has obliterated everything and everyone in his path.  He's also been breaking arms too because the Kimura Lock is his terrifying super-finisher and he doesn't give a fuck about anyone but himself. 

Enter HHH, the face-authority figure... yuck.  Anyway, Brock broke his arm.  Now they have a match, and Hunter's career is on the line.  The caveat?   No one, on the planet, believed Hunter was going to end his wrestling career.  So the needle to be threaded was Brock needed to win to keep him as the terrifying monster, but Hunter's career needed to stay intact.  

Of course, the solution was Brock was going to lose.  

Sure, okay.  

So, Brock gets a nice little pyro show as he comes down to the ring.  And Hunter comes in through a -- pretty lame -- giant skull head.  Like seriously HHH, that's the best you could do?   He could have at least set fire to the Brooklyn Bridge set behind him.  

So, now these two go on and have a power vs. power match, which is... adequate.  The match is somehow playing to Brock's strengths, and yet not.  It's odd.  Even though Hunter takes a pretty good beating here, I never got the sense that he was in danger of losing.  It's like the real world meta overwhelms the story they're telling and can never rise above the surface of that.  

Ooh, there's the Brock Scream meme

WellgroomedQueasyDeviltasmanian-max-1mb.

There are a couple of other recognizable (via meme) moments in this match too, but that's the one you'll see again and again.  And I think that's the biggest problem with this match.  It's completely and utterly forgettable.  I'd completely forgotten that Shawn Michaels was at ringside for this match.  I'd completely forgotten there was no Paul Heyman here.  I'd forgotten the end was a Pedigree on the ring steps.  

It's a very standard, main event WWE PPV match.  There's zero emotional connection and it is LONG.  Lord almighty, is this fucking match long.  

Yeah, okay, that's done.  Let's move on.

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31 minutes ago, Dolfan in NYC said:

I'd forgotten the end was a Pedigree on the ring steps.  

Didn't he hit him with the sledgehammer, then pedigree him on the steps?

I only remember that because "hit him with your trademark foreign object, then hit your finisher on the steps" was exactly how Cena beat Brock in Brock's first match back. I remember joking that Brock was a puzzle boss; he could only be beaten with that exact sequence.

(The real mystery is how Cena knew the key to beating Brock in that first match. I mean, he even brought back a gimmick he had abandoned years ago just so he'd have a trademark foreign object to use!)

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It's time for the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame.  Your Inductees:   Mick Foley, Booker T, Bob Backlund, Trish Stratus, Bruno Sammartino, and the guy from Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous.  No, not that one, the other one. 

The thing about this year is it is VERY WWE-centric, so that's a bit of a change from prior years.  And since that is the case, there are thunderous applause for everyone on the stage.   

Except him.  

You see, even in 2013. . . We knew.  

End of Day 90. 

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1 hour ago, tbarrie said:

(The real mystery is how Cena knew the key to beating Brock in that first match. I mean, he even brought back a gimmick he had abandoned years ago just so he'd have a trademark foreign object to use!)

Confirmed - John Cena save scums. It explains so much.

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On 10/30/2020 at 6:55 PM, Dolfan in NYC said:

DAY 89

You know, Alberto del Rio is a piece of human garbage, we recently found out what a piece of shit Ricardo Rodriguez is. 

Wait, what did he do? I Googled it but only came up with him dealing with trauma from all his concussions.

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Just think, Dolfan might actually finish watching every Wrestlemania in time for the one year anniversary of this thread.

Then he'll have to start watching every Bound for Glory from the first one! Can't wait!

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6 hours ago, Dolfan in NYC said:

 

It's a very standard, main event WWE PPV match.  There's zero emotional connection and it is LONG.  Lord almighty, is this fucking match long.  

 

This is my biggest problem with HHH, everything as to be epic. And by epic I mean long the matches with all the "dramatic" laying around. The 20 minute speaches to open raw. And I feel that it started with him and infected wrestling. Its amazing to go back and watch classic matches and see how short and effective then are in comparison 

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2 hours ago, AxB said:

Just think, Dolfan might actually finish watching every Wrestlemania in time for the one year anniversary of this thread.

Then he'll have to start watching every Bound for Glory from the first one! Can't wait!

He's gonna watch that Lenny Dykstra/Tommy Dreamer shoot first, whether he wants to or not!

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22 hours ago, Brian Fowler said:

Punk/Taker is either the best or second best match I've ever been in the building for.

For me its first Taker/HBK WM. Of course its also the only live show I have ever been to.

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It's funny. Both the Brock/Triple H matches that Brock won were good. But this one just wasn't. They couldn't follow Punk/Taker, and they under delivered in front of a burnt out crowd.

I admit, I was pretty much dead at this point.

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7 minutes ago, mattdangerously said:

Are there any indie promotions near you? You need to go see some more live shows.

I don't follow indy wrestling all that much outside of what is discussed here. I probably should check out Booker T's promotion at some point.

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16 minutes ago, Eivion said:

I don't follow indy wrestling all that much outside of what is discussed here. I probably should check out Booker T's promotion at some point.

You absolutely should. They're my home promotion, too. I've been to about 100 of their shows, and have never had a bad time. They're cranking out some stars, too--Gino Medina, Kylie Rae, Hyan (she's gonna have a massive 2021)...

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DAY 91

And it's time to end the show with what everyone in the stadium absolutely, positively knows is coming.  Honestly, I remember seeing some of the seats actually empty as this match went on, because the traffic out of MetLife Stadium sucks (and that is a vast improvement on how it was when it was Giants Stadium). 

Anyway, The Rock is back and his opponent once again is John Cena.  The story is Cena has had the worst year (professional & personal) of his life.  Which of course included winning the 2013 Royal Rumble.  We should all hope for those kinds of bad years.  Anyway, The Rock beat CM Punk for the WWE Championship at said Rumble PPV and defended successfully in February, so Rock/Cena II is the main event.  The crowd is, of course, thoroughly on The Rock's side of this argument. 

So, despite his redemption video which looking back wasn't bad, but at the time I thought was just saccharine pap, the crowd of course boos the hell out of him.  The Rock gets as big a face pop as he got the year before. Though he is looking... workman-like.

So the match... it's oddly muted.  (Not audio-wise. Though the cascading boos at Cena I remember do seem tamped down.) At the time, I thought Rock was essentially going through the motions as everyone on the planet knew he wasn't winning here.  Turns out though, he actually suffered a pretty serious injury somewhere in the course of this match.  Though to his credit, Rocky never does actually visibly show his injury (until the absolute end of the segment) and Cena does seem to be taking care of him.  

Anyway, the match is very much "Chapter 2" of their feud.  They fully expect you to remember their match from last year and build off the spots and psychology from then.  Right down to Cena almost losing again because he went for the People's Elbow, and then deciding to toss out the ring run part of the 5 Knuckle Shuffle to prevent Rocky from having time to get up.  And of course the end, as Cena gives Rock the AA out of a 5 Knuckle Shuffle attempt, which again... DON'T DO THE OTHER PERSON'S MOVE ON THEM.  It always backfires!    

Cena wins his 13th championship and celebrates and shares a moment with The Rock.  Rock is looking to GTFO and deal with his injury, but actually waits for Cena at the top of the ramp.  Cena comes up and Rocky gives a very perfunctory hand raise, that can best be summed up by the Simpsons meme:

 

So yeah.  That's it.  

--- 

It's not the best WrestleMania, but it was damned fun to be at. The stadium got hella cold after the sun went down, as you know, early springtime in the Northeast tends to be.  The Punk/Taker match was fantastic and better than I remembered it. Everything else was alright and nothing actively bad except the World title and HHH matches which were more boring than bad. 

Alright, this ride continues since it was raining that day... so... Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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