MANILA, Philippines – Not at all like the ancient violence of pugilism. But professional wrestling — particularly the WWE — has thrived in modern times as a fictitious combat sport aimed at providing audiences with more drama than actual sport. Everyone knows it’s fake, yes, deep in the back of our minds — but does anyone really know?
Whether or not it is, is irrelevant. No one watches the WWE for genuine competition –- we watch it for the compelling storylines complete with plot twists and turns, the high-flying stunts that defy conventional wisdom, and the cool wrestling moves everyone loves to try at home.
Once a year, the WWE holds the most prestigious event known to wrestling fans all over the world – the “Superbowl” of wrestling if you will – Wrestlemania.
It’s on pay-per-view and though it costs a pretty penny, diehard fans have invested more than just money on its undeniable charm.
Given the hype that is so expertly built up prior to the actual event, Wrestlemania XXVIII certainly did not disappoint.
And though naysayers love to repeat the same lines, ‘wrestling’ is definitely not ‘dead.’ In fact given this iteration of the popular slamfest, it is very much alive and kicking.
The passing of the torch
In what would have been the proverbial ‘passing of the torch’ between two WWE Superstars known to be the face of the sport in their respective careers, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson instead emerged victorious after defeating John Cena via pinfall.
The grudge match was a long time coming, with altercations between the two dating back to early 2011 when Johnson labeled Cena a “big fat bowl of fruity pebbles.” Since then, back and forth jawing and trash-talking ensued, building up enough backstory to make their match at Wrestlemania XXVIII meaningful.
The inevitable showdown in turn was highly anticipated. From the sound of the opening bell, it was fireworks as both superstars never held back.
‘The People’s Champion’ surprised Cena with some powerful, signature moves such as the Spinebuster and the snap-DDT. Cena was inclined to return the favor with his own arsenal of flashy maneuvers like the Shoulder Block and STFU. Both men exchanged heavy blows with Cena showing better strength and power while Johnson displayed better experience and athleticism.
In the end, it was Johnson who pulled away with the victory, landing his finishing move ‘The Rock Bottom’ in the final moments of the match. ‘The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment’ was instantly drowned in adulation of the capacity crowd as Cena quietly exited the ring, humbled by defeat.
Calls for a rematch were immediate. You can’t help but feel that this may be the first match out of a series of matches as the rivalry continues, even given Johnson’s part-time status – Johnson is of course an accomplished crossover film star and arguably the most popular figure in the history of the WWE.
In any case, no ‘passing of the torch’ was made. The Rock comes away clean with the win, sending John Cena back to the drawing board.
The streak continues
You can’t talk about great rivalries unless it involves ‘The Undertaker’ and ‘Triple HHH,’ who have shared the ring and the spotlight on more than one occasion.
If there was an all-time pound-for-pound list of best wrestlers in the history of the WWE, it would have Taker and HHH listed as #1 and #2, albeit interchangeably. Throw in Shawn Michaels as a special guest referee and you have yourself the makings of an instant classic.
The story goes back far for this one. “The Streak” as it’s called, refers to the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania. To this date, no one has been able to defeat the Undertaker at Wrestlemania in any match including Shawn Michaels and Triple H who have both lost to Taker in years prior.
In a match involving a 20 ft. high steel cage encasement, an iron sledgehammer and some of the most punishing wrestling moves ever recorded, both the Undertaker and Triple H did not disappoint.
The two superstars and future Hall-of-Famers, battled it out to the finish and left fans with an experience that will echo throughout all of WWE history.
In the end, despite Triple H landing his signature “Pedigree” early on in the match combined with Michaels’ “Sweet Chin Music,” The Undertaker used Triple H’s weapon of choice -– the sledgehammer -– against him which he then followed up with his finisher, “The Tombstone Piledriver” securing him the victory.
With the win, The Undertaker improves his streak to 20-0 and remains undefeated.
The match ended with all three WWE Superstars –- “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels, Paul “Triple H” Levesque and Mark “The Undertaker” Calaway –- riding off into the sunset, and to loud cheers from the audience.
The three who were the icons of the WWE’s “Attitude Era”, could perhaps have spent their final moments in the ring together on the sport’s grandest stage.
Wrestlemania 28 broke gate and attendance records, as announced by the WWE in a press-release immediately following the show.
The WWE announced that Wrestlemania 28 broke three records. The event, which was held in Miami, Florida, became Sun Life Stadium’s largest attended event and highest grossing entertainment event in history.
According to the WWE, the event grossed over $8.9 million and is also the highest grossing live event in WWE history. – Rappler.com