April 1, 2012.
The biggest night in wrestling. The largest event in the world of Sports Entertainment. The Road to Wrestlemania 28 has officially begun. The Rock vs John Cena. Triple H vs The Undertaker in a Hell in A Cell Match. Chris Jericho vs CM Punk for the WWE Championship. Those three matches could singularly headline a Wrestlemania, however they are ALL main events at this Wrestlemania, which leads me to question: Could this be the greatest Wrestlemania of all time?
It certainly has the potential to. Although we are only one week into the buildup for Wrestlemania, it’s already surpassed countless past Wrestlemanias in star power, match line-up, and planning. For the first time ever in professional wrestling history, the main event was announced a FULL YEAR in advance. The Rock vs John Cena, which had been a dream match for many(not for this guy however lol) was announced the night after Wrestlemania 27. It sent shock waves through the entire industry, the WWE Universe, and fans abroad.
It was unprecedented and something that affected every WWE fan in numerous ways. You were either excited about the match happening and the chance of a year-long build up, or you were disappointed that WWE would make the fans wait a full year for this match. Either way, the fans knew that by planning such a huge match a full year in advance, they were going to see something that they hadn’t seen before. Both The Rock and Cena took to Twitter to continue the feud and keep the hype building(whether it worked or not is not the point lol) up until April 1st. I can honestly attest to the fact that I never knew how fast a year could pass by because it seems just like yesterday that I was watching The Rock stand across from John Cena in the middle of that ring(say it like Booker T). Now, the time is here.
Wrestlemania 28 has already earned a spot next to some of the other great Wrestlemanias before it’s even taken place. Never before have there been two dream matches(Cena vs Rock, Punk vs Jericho) that have so much history, so many implications, and so much buzz. Jericho vs Punk is a wrestling aficionado’s dream match. Two men who can not only put on a classic match, but also can cut a classic promo as well. This match was speculated about for months and months until Chris Jericho returned to WWE on January 2nd of this year. As soon as Jericho returned, all social networks and dirt sheets were buzzing about Jericho vs Punk happening at Wrestlemania.
Now, we have it. Although WWE has been criticized for not giving the fans what they truly want(there is some merit to this), the WWE has done a wonderful job of putting together matches that should please just about every fan. Triple H vs The Undertaker is of course, a repeat match(from Wrestlemania 17 and 27), but the difference in this one from the last two is that it will be a Hell In A Cell Match. I, personally, was not interested in seeing HHH/Taker 3 unless there was some special gimmick or unless Shawn Michaels was the special guest referee. Oddly enough, Shawn Michaels has once again been entered into this feud and is scheduled for a slew of upcoming RAWs which could only insinuate that he’ll have some type involvement in this match, which will certainly add to the fervor of this match. There’s also a bit of irony in the World Heavyweight Championship match that’s currently set: Sheamus vs Daniel Bryan.
I’m sure most fans will remember that Sheamus and Bryan had a feud last year for the U.S. Championship leading into Wrestlemania 27. Their match was mostly expected to open the show, but instead they were forced into a dark match that later got turned into a battle royal that neither man won(The Great Khali actually won it… I know, I know..). Now, just one year later, these same two men are set for a showdown in one of the main events of this Wrestlemania. That, folks, is an example of what hard work and improvement will get you. Sheamus has solidified himself as one of the top babyfaces in the company, while Daniel Bryan is the current World Heavyweight Champion and the top heel on Smackdown. And now, they’ve arrived to the top of the mountain and you can bet that both of these men will give it all they have come April 1st. Actually, that could be said for every star on the roster. Each superstar knows how important and career-defining a Wrestlemania match is, and every one of them will put it all on the line when the time comes. This is why I believe Wrestlemania 28 could very well be the greatest Wrestlemania of all time. There aren’t many Wrestlemanias that truly delivered or had the potential to deliver something epic like this one. Let’s take a little journey, shall we?
From the beginning, 28 years ago, when Wrestlemania debuted, it was treated as a spectacle with a load of celebrities in attendance(and performing as well) and at times, the actual wrestling fell to the wayside of the extravagance. Wrestlemania 3, which is the biggest Wrestlemania of all-time(in terms of crowd attendance) is remembered solely for two reasons: Hogan vs Andre and Steamboat vs Savage. While both those matches are great for two entirely different reasons, the rest of the Pay Per View was honestly forgettable. It’s been 25 years since that event, and no one brings up “classic” matches like Butch Reed vs Koko B. Ware or Billy Jack Haynes fighting Hercules. The same can be said for a large number of the Wrestlemanias that followed. Wrestlemania 4 featured the first ever WWE Championship tournament that was won by Macho Man Randy Savage, but that’s only true memory that we’re left with from that event.
The same can be said for mostly every Wrestlemania that followed in the 90s, including the Attitude Era. The only Wrestlemania that bucked this trend in the 1990s was Wrestlemania 14, which featured great matches such as The Rock vs Ken Shamrock, Triple H vs Owen Hart, Kane vs Undertaker, The New Age Outlaws vs Mick Foley and Terry Funk, and a great, but short match between light-heavyweights Taka Michinoku and Aguila. That’s one hell of an undercard if I can say so and notice I didn’t include the main event of Shawn Michaels vs Stone Cold Steve Austin with Mike Tyson as the Special Enforcer. This Wrestlemania honestly set a standard and should be known as one of the best Wrestlemanias of all time. The 2000s however attempted to ALWAYS buck the trend and make every Wrestlemania a classic. Some succeeded(17, 18, and 19 are all amazing and stacked with a great roster/matches) and some have failed(20, 21, 22, and 23 all had their moments, but either the Undercard or the Main events themselves were severely lacking). For the last few years however, WWE has attempted to go above and beyond with each Wrestlemania and once again, they’ve had success, and they’ve had their failures.
Wrestlemania 25 featured the greatest match of all time in Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker, but also featured a 21 second Rey Mysterio vs JBL match, an embarrassing Divas battle royal that was won by Santino in drag and a fairly boring legends match which featured Chris Jericho beating three old wrestlers in about 5 minutes before getting knocked out by Mickey Rourke with one punch(I know, I know…). Wrestlemania 26 had the hype behind it, with Bret Hart vs Vince Mcmahon, Shawn Michaels’ retirement match, John Cena vs Batista for the WWE Championship, and Edge vs Chris Jericho for the World Heavyweight Championship. Unlike, the previous Wrestlemania, this one delivered(mostly). The only true misfires of the night were the Bret vs Vince match(which went almost 12 minutes I believe) and the CM Punk vs Rey Mysterio match(which was only 6 minutes and should’ve been longer). However, Wrestlemania 26 could truly be seen as a victory for WWE(despite the buys being lower, it delivered on the action). Wrestlemania 27, however is a different story.
The WWE was blessed with a gift when The Rock returned after a 7-year absence to be the Guest Host of Wrestlemania 27. The fans were buzzing, the excitement was swelling, and you just knew that the WWE was about to deliver an event that would truly stand the test of time. Then reality hit. The title match of John Cena vs The Miz was horrible, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler actually wrestled at the event(against each other no less), and Snooki(yes, that Snooki) took part in a match alongside Trish Stratus(who returned, but certainly was underwhelming with her performance). Not to mention, The Rock was truly off as the host of Wrestlemania. His opening promo was only mildly “electrifying” and the rest of his bits during the night were equally as frustrating(except for The Rock/Stone Cold Steve Austin 15 second exchange, which gave most fans goosebumps). It almost seemed as if Wrestlemania 27 was just used as fodder to build to the next year’s Wrestlemania, and in many ways, that can be seen as true.
The Rock vs John Cena was announced the next night on RAW, and for the first time ever, fans already a match to anticipate for the following Wrestlemania. The rest of the pieces fell into place organically. CM Punk, burst out of nowhere and became the new top guy in the company, just as his contract was coming up. Triple H became the on-air COO and for the first time since his Evolution days, wore a suit. The Undertaker disappeared for almost a full year, cutting his hair completely off while away on hiatus. Chris Jericho returned after a near 2-year absence. Daniel Bryan rose up to the main event. Sheamus solidified himself as a full-time main eventer and won the Royal Rumble. Randy Orton continued to showcase why he’s one of the greatest of his generation. Of course, through the year, there have been some misfires, some missteps, and some mistakes, but now that Wrestlemania season is upon us, it all seems worth it. There are rumors of other matches that will take place, such as Cody Rhodes vs his brother Goldust(though it seems a bit unlikely at this moment), the Money in The Bank ladder match returning, and some involvement with Shaq. There are so many unanswered questions as well for this event, such as what will newer stars such as Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, and Kofi Kingston be doing this year at the event? What will veterans such as Randy Orton, Kane, Big Show and others be doing this year? The possibilities are endless this year and that is why I believe we could be getting ready to witness the greatest Wrestlemania of all time.
The main events are huge. The implications are even bigger. Can CM Punk prove that he’s the Best In The World(Chris Brown notwithstanding) and defeat Chris Jericho in what would be, his first Wrestlemania singles match win? Will The Rock win the dream match in his hometown or will John Cena win and continue to add to his Wrestlemania record? Will the fans begin to respect Cena more IF he wins? Is this the end for The Undertaker and Triple H, two of the greatest superstars in the history of this business? All those elements combined in ONE night, for ONE event, for ONE moment in time, leads me to believe that Wrestlemania 28 will truly be, the Greatest Wrestlemania of All-Time. Now if only April 1st could get here, so I can be proven right LOL.
Until next time,
Peace and Blessings
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Written on February 22, 2012