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Dolfan Watches Every Wrestlemania On Lockdown


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I always thought AJ was wildly overrated. Perfectly solid but nothing special in the ring. I think she would actually look somewhat average compared to much of the talent today.

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So, it's all down to this.  Can Daniel Bryan finally overcome all the obstacles and the mountain of shit he had shoveled on him?  Could he finally be triumphant in the face of not one, but two Herculean tasks?  

Well, Batista had come back and specifically said he came back to promote Guardians of the Galaxy...  er, to be WWE Champion.  So, according to numerous interviews Dave has given, he came back and had been promised the WWE Championship, but once he saw what was going on, he fully boarded the DB Hype Train.  One piece of news that VERY recently came out was that Dave had become friends with The RZA, who was -- FOR FREE -- going to re-do the lyrics on Dave's music, but the WWE declined.  (ugh.)  

And last, and certainly least, is WWE Champion Randy Orton. Who was there.  

Orton comes out first and has Rev Theory play "Voices" as he came down to the ring.  Batista came out living up to the BOO-tista name.  And Daniel Bryan had the hopes and dreams of 75000 people resting on his shoulders.  

So, by the nature of the storyline, Daniel's gotta carry the selling load here, because:  1) He's visibly injured, and 2) he's got to build (even more) sympathy.  So, I'm riding along and seeing the great job Bryan's doing at selling everything like he's being murdered.  I'm also picking up two distinct vibes, one from Randy who seems to be just going through the motions, and one from Dave who's really putting mustard on everything and clearly looking to put over his opponent. 

Stephanie & HHH make their comeback and bring Scott Armstrong with them as a crooked referee.  Daniel deals with that for a couple of minutes, and then does a suicide dive onto all three of them, and Stephanie & Scott seemingly vanish into the ether.  HHH tries one more trick and brings the Sledgehammer of Plot into the ring, Daniel gets it though and blammo, bye bye Hunter.  

The crowd really liked that.   And then they instantly get upset again when Batista and Orton start working together, including a really sweet Batista Bomb-RKO combo.  And I'm wondering why they were never tag champs. Also Orton took an ugly bump on the corner of a monitor there which looks like it really sucked.   Credit though, he sucked it up and kept going, despite the rather big gash that the monitor has inflicted on his back.   They start to stretcher Bryan out, but he somehow gets even MORE sympathy by getting off and moving on.  

This match is just a fucking clinic on putting over a babyface.  

Well, the crowd is now biting on heel finishes for this match, as an RKO on Bryan gets 2, and later a Batista Bomb on Orotn gets 2.  (I think if Dave were going over, that's where it would've happened.)  Dave is livid, so he connects on another Batista Bomb to Orton and turns around into a KNEE PLUS~!   

The crowd all leapt to their feet.  

Bryan grabs onto Batista... and it's a YES LOCK...

The crowd is literally jumping with excitement. 

Batista's struggling, but Bryan's got it locked in.

75000 people are all screaming "YES!  YES!  YES!"  

Does Dave tap out?  
Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  

Daniel Bryan is the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion and the crowd pop is the biggest I've seen since X7.  They're so loud, you literally can only barely hear the announcer with a fucking microphone declare Bryan the new champion.   It's a perfect end to the story and an absolutely amazing Mania moment as we fade to black on New Orleans.  And I'm smiling ear to ear. 

--

I'm not sure how much credit I can give the WWE for the Daniel Bryan story.  Vince, from all accounts, was dragged kicking and screaming to finally put the strap on Bryan.  But once they were finally there, god damn did they put him over huge.  And then, of course, reality came back to bite them all in the ass. 

Two days after WrestleMania, their newest Hall of Famer, Warrior died of a massive heart attack.  The less I say about that, the better.   

A month after WrestleMania, Daniel's neck would require him to get surgery and eventually be stripped of the title he'd fought so hard to win.  

And then a month after that, Batista quit and then...

930004e651f887ca78a5f420d63ffb31b7555646

😞 

Unfortunately, Mania 30 isn't as good as I remembered it.  The Daniel Bryan matches were terrific, the ending was great, and the Women's Title match was better than I'd remembered. Brock-Taker was fine, but a lot less special now.  The rest, eh. 

But WrestleMania is built around moments, and there's no moment in the 2010's that tops Daniel Bryan's triumph into history.  

End of Day 94.  

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1 hour ago, Dolfan in NYC said:

I'm not sure how much credit I can give the WWE for the Daniel Bryan story. 

I feel like you could probably give HHH a decent amount of credit and probably some writers once Vince was finally forced to give up. 

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1 hour ago, NikoBaltimore said:

Actually AJ did have a short match against Bayley in NXT. This was around the time where Bayley was in super fangirl mode and not yet next level version. But I'd be down for her having that epic match with her and the others. 

The skit/promo that led up to this particular match is one of the most amazing things I've ever witnessed in wrestling. I haven't seen the match, but there's no way it could ever live up to the set up!

AJ "What did you call me?"

B "Awesome!"

AJ "No, before that!"

Edited by Shartnado
seen, not been
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AJ was such an insane bump freak that I can't imagine her career was ever going to last real long, even without everything that happened with Punk.

There's one match with Kaitlyn that I remember being really fucking good. And she was a top notch character. She probably wouldn't be a top worker in the current women's division, but good enough to hold up her end, and she'd enhance the personality and charisma a lot.

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I unabashedly love WM30. At the time I thought we might be *this close* to a mini-boom period afterward, and then within 3 months....man it all came crashing down.

Bryan’s first feud being Kane was reasonable in theory given the background, but dude don’t feud your white hit top babyface against Kane.

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To this day I'm bummed that my brain just couldn't process the fact that Daniel won when watching it live.  I remember just being so bummed out by Taker losing that my brain pretty much checked out the rest of the show.  And it sucks because if there was ever a time to lose my goddamn mind that would have been it.  To this day I just rather not watch it back even though it's an awesome moment.

And for further information about the WMXXX aftermath Daniel's book goes into great detail about how all that panned out.  Definitely worth a read.

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1 hour ago, For Great Justice said:

I unabashedly love WM30. At the time I thought we might be *this close* to a mini-boom period afterward, and then within 3 months....man it all came crashing down.

Yeah. It's true that WM30 and all the surrounding aspects--road trip with friends, Bryan winning, getting ramp-side seats for RAW--will always be among the most fun times of my life. But it's also true that I haven't watched any WWE in roughly a couple years, and am so checked out I can't imagine going back. 

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I went to NOLA for everything but the actual Manis show.

Set up at the Mid South Fan Fest. Got to talk to Watts, Duggan, Gang, among others. 

Went to Ross' one man show. Got to ask Austin about the angle with Adams. 

Went to Access and got Regal to sign an Early Doors DVD. He had such a smile on his face. 

Ate lots of native food and bought zydeco albums in the French Quarter. 

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2 hours ago, For Great Justice said:

I unabashedly love WM30. At the time I thought we might be *this close* to a mini-boom period afterward, and then within 3 months....man it all came crashing down.

Did it hurt inside?

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It’s pretty common in the discussions I usually had to declare WWE from the day after Mania 29 all the way to Mania 30 the best overall year in the company’s history, and I’ve yet to see a real counter argument against it that didn’t involve drawing.


Great wrestling? You bet, Bryan’s big matches were great, The Shield six mans were a formula that never stopped being amazing, Orion-Christian feud is amazing, Punk/Lesnar happens, the tag scene was truest super hot with the Shield, Usos, Real Americans, and Rhodes Brothers with some great stuff, and Cesaro is amazing in the midcard.

 

Great Angles/Storylines? Bryan looking to show he wasn’t the weakest link against the Shield, The Henry Retirement swerve, the Authority angle had some downs but it led to the amazing Rhodes Brothers story, the Bryan/Wyatts angle was outstanding once you look at it overall, and the Wyatt/Shield feud might have been the single best setup to an angle of the decade. Even the Punk/Heyman feud hits much more then it misses.

 

The real crazy thing is how rapidly it fell off a cliff. It’s so easy to see a scenario we’re everything stays hot afterwards. Have Bray beat Cena, and run Cena as being down on his luck for a while, building to him getting a shot at Bray at Summerslam. Inject the Wyatts in the Shield/Evolution feud. Make it seem like the Wyatts are aligned with Evolution, then have them leave all 3 laying in a heap, with Bray cutting a promo about how his family will change the WWE forever. Meanwhile Cesaro goes on a winning streak as a Face after his win of the Andre the Giant, and shocks the world by winning the WWE Title once Bryan vacates it.

 

Such a frustrating thing as WWE has never came close to staying this hot again.

 

 

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18 hours ago, Brian Fowler said:

AJ was such an insane bump freak that I can't imagine her career was ever going to last real long, even without everything that happened with Punk.

There's one match with Kaitlyn that I remember being really fucking good. And she was a top notch character. She probably wouldn't be a top worker in the current women's division, but good enough to hold up her end, and she'd enhance the personality and charisma a lot.

So she'd be Alexa Bliss before she got too many concussions? 

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DAY 95

WRESTLEMANIA XXXI (or "Real Player 7 Play Button")

We've now come to the SF Bay area and are at Levi Stadium, home of the 49ers and at the time, their hot QB, Colin something or other...  

It's 2015, and what a year it's been.  The Shield broke up, Daniel Bryan left and made a shocking return from an injury (ominous music plays), hell has indeed frozen over and Sting has joined WWE, and a lady's sitting in the crowd of this show, thinking about her future.  More on that later.  

We begin tonight with an 8-way Money in the Bank substitute, a ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship.   Your champion is Bad News Barrett, the bad news is his neck is already fucked six ways to Sunday.  His opponents are: Dolph Ziggler, Daniel Bryan, Luke Harper, R-Truth, Stardust, and Dean Ambrose.  Christ, half these guys are at AEW now, and the other half constantly threaten to go.  Except for that Stardust guy, I have no idea who that is.  🤔

Anyway, the match is a fun little clusterfuck.  Harper is really doing a lot more of the heavy lifting of this match than I'd expect, but dude can go, so I'm fine with it.  Everyone is basically there to do an absolutely bananas bump.  But the winner has got to be Dean Ambrose who gets thrown from the ring through a ladder outside, which looked like it slashed his back up good.   Ow. 

Oh, also R-Truth keeps getting scared of climbing the ladder because he's afraid of heights.  You know, I don't want to denigrate the way this man makes a living, but it always feels like ol' Ron is *this* close to saying he's afraid of ghosts, or drinking a grape soda, or.... well, hopefully you'll see where I'm going with that. 

Alright, well, the end is coming up because BNB is hitting everything that moves with his Bullhammer forearm smash, which is really a dynamite finisher.  However, Daniel Bryan surprises Barrett with a Knee Plus, and begins to climb.  Dolph has recovered enough to climb too.  The two begin to really slug it out on top of the ladder, and ugh, DB and Ziggler just start headbutting the shit out of each other.   I'm cringing hard, because I know what happens after...   but Dolph falls, and Daniel Bryan claims his first Intercontinental Championship to complete the WWE Grand Slam.  

Within a month, Daniel's title defenses started getting mysteriously cancelled... and then eventually, his MRI's just getting worse and worse... and even though he took 8 months off, he'd retire (for the first time) the following February.  

I could write a thousand words on his retirement and unretirement later, but I guess I'll save some of my thoughts for that time.  Suffice to say, I really hope he's doing okay.  Really. 

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22 minutes ago, Dolfan in NYC said:

his Bullhammer forearm smash, which is really a dynamite finisher

Man, that was! One completely forgets about that. Along with the Knee Plus and the Big (Show) Punch, that was one of the last super-seeming knockout finishers in WWE so far. 

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I'll defend to the end that this is a top tier Mania, massively underrated, and the last great Mania to date.

It helps that it also was the last one before they started getting crazy long.

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I've stated before that I'm generally not a fan of Randy Orton when he plays face.  The WWE does what they do with most heels that turn and add smiles and make them just generally dopes.  But the exception for Orton is when he's playing face, and is the same dickhead he normally is, but against someone who's even more of a dickhead.  Enter Seth Rollins. 

The video package before the match actually does a fantastic job of explaining the story. Basically, Orton is HHH's boy since they re-formed Evolution to fight the Shield.  They peeled off Rollins, and he became HHH's prodigy. Orton, being a jealous bitch, kept complaining - and eventually got legit injured - so, to be written out, he was attacked and put down by Seth.  Orton eventually came back, slithered his way back into Rollins' and Hunter's good graces, and eventually beat Rollins to within an inch of his life. Because:  1) Seth deserved it, and 2) Randy's a dick.  

Classic Randy!

Well, Orton's back to leaving the show early, because he's on second.  Nothing really of note about their entrances, but I will say it is just WEIRD to hear Seth's old music with out the "BURN IT DOWN" scream. 

They have a match.  It's alright.  The main reason to watch this match is, far and away, the finish.  

During his singles run, the erstwhile Tyler Black, has brought his "Blackout" curbstomp with him. It's a good finisher because it's quick, it's not complicated to set up, and it looks like it hurts a lot.  The RKO though has all of those elements, but the even bigger advantage of it being able to be delivered from almost any position.  So, what happens when you combine those two?    Take it away boys...

It should be noted, Orton almost fucks up the moment, because he's SO pumped this insane thing actually worked.  (Which makes me think it was Seth's idea.)  It kind of looks like Seth is smiling as he gets covered too, so Randy's probably not the only one excited.  

Of course though, Seth's night is nowhere near over.  But... my ride is.

End of Day 95. 

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I barely remember anything about the match except being really bored and then damn near jumping out of my seat at the finish. Just a "holy shit God damn" spot despite not doing anything except hitting a move in the ring.

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DAY 96

NXT tag team Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir are at ringside, they've got some lady there them.  

It's time to prove that hell has indeed frozen over, as making his WrestleMania debut, is the man called Sting. He's challenged HHH to a Mania match, and Hunter has graciously accepted.  The match was made Pinfall or Submission Only for reasons we'll get into momentarily.  

Sting has a Japanese drum band doing a play-along to his entrance music.  He, of course, gets a massive pop, as frankly anyone who's ever watched wrestling in the 1990's is having a completely surreal moment.  Hell, it's 5 1/2 years later, and I'm still saying "god damn... that's Sting".   

Now HHH's intro.  Lord almighty, this was ridiculous, even by HHH at WrestleMania standards.  He has a group of T-100 terminators rise up around him through the stage.  He has a bunch of NXT guys in masks and guns behind him (Supposedly including Corey Graves, Enzo, and Cass). He is also wearing a T-100 mantle on his shoulders, like he's an African king, and this is the lion he has single-handedly killed.  He then has Arnold fucking Schwarzenegger introduce him.  (This was all promo for the absolutely terrible Terminator: Genisys

The match itself gets started and Sting is clearly excited to be here.  He's bumping all over the place and is clearly super happy to be here.  I'm pretty sure outside of Japan this is the biggest crowd he's ever performed for.  But I could be wrong about that.  

Sting gets the Scorpion Death Lock on Hunter... and here's where a decent match just goes flying off the rails.  D-Generation X (The New Age Outlaws and X-Pac) make their way to the ring. They try to interfere in the match and Sting takes them all out -- frankly, as he should.  HHH gets a Pedigree, and then goes for his buddy Sledgy. 

Acquiring the sledgehammer though, unlocks Sting's TRAP CARD~  

(Let's talk about what bullshit it was that Yugi-Oh! always had some bullshit deus ex trap card to play to get him the fuck out of anything.  What a stupid show that was.)

The NWO (Hogan, Hall, and Nash) come down and clear house.  They fight DX at ringside in what is surely exciting... someone?  Nash looks like he tore his quad again at some point.  Sting got a near fall with a Scorpion Death Drop, but HHH kicked out.  Another Death Lock though is met by Sweet Chin Music from the OTHER guy in DX, HBK.   (This by the way, would have been the *absolute* perfect time to bring back Chyna.  You know, assuming, she was okay to perform.) 

Anyway, none of this is working for me. 

End comes as Sting has acquired his baseball bat... which was apparently forged by Hattori Hanzo in Okinawa, because it sliced through the sledgehammer like it wasn't there.  Sting beats up HHH, stupidly lets go of the bat, gets a Stinger Splash, and then goes for another... and gets brained by HHH who's still holding the business end of the half-sledgehammer.  

HHH wins in a pinfall that makes zero sense.  Unless you realize, yes, this is 100% Vince pissing on the grave of WCW, yet again. Especially when you factor in JBL's yammering on and on AND ON AND ON.... about this being us versus them.  

Plus, the age of EVERYONE involved was clearly showing by the end. And frankly, if you're going to have 7 guys interfere, it needs to be fucking insane, not gramps nudging each other with their canes. 

This whole match was nostalgia masturbation for the high school crush you never got to sleep with, but was always in your rolodex. 

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