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Live Mania had many moments
By The MASKED WRITER -- SLAM! Wrestling


The Rock enjoys his moment in the spotlight. Photos by Mike Mastrandrea

MIAMI - Live, WrestleMania 28 gave the fans in Sun Life Stadium a little bit of everything -- some head-scratching confusion, the end of an era, tremendous scientific wrestling, lots of Mommas, and an epic encounter that won't soon be forgotten.

The match between John Cena and The Rock had been a year in the making, and the crowd in Miami was more than amped -- they were electrifying.

The WWE's addition of personalized introductions for both men was a nice touch and added that much more hype to the match. Surprisingly, there we a good portion of Cena fans in attendance. It was nowhere near split, but probably 70/30 for The Rock.

"The Great One" showed the Survivor Series was no fluke, as he hadn't missed a beat. Rocky took the action to Cena with the high-octane offense. The crowd really got on Cena when he bailed out of the ring at one point. Perhaps a sign of pressure? Frustration? You be the judge.

The false finishes had the fans on their toes, but Cena made the cardinal sin of becoming complacent and attempting to one-up his adversary. It burned him in the end, because he ate a Rock Bottom and lost the match.

The sheer disappointment was evident on Cena's face, as he stormed up the ramp directly after the match. He sat there with his hands in his head like he just lost the biggest match of his life, but that nightmare became a reality, as The Rock stood tall in front of his hometown fans. After the PPV ended, The Rock circled the ring, thanked the fans, and even signed some autographs. He then approaches a fan holding a sign reading, "If Cena loses, we riot." I have to agree with The Rock, who quipped, "I don't think that's gonna happen."

As for the rest of the show, it had its moments live:

  • Daniel Bryan entered the ring as the World heavyweight champion, but Royal Rumble 2012 winner Sheamus had other plans, quick plans. And when I mean quick plans I mean one brogue kick. And that's it. Seriously. It seemed a lot of people were confused with the match. A lot expected the match to be restarted, but it never happened. A stunned Sun Life Stadium witnessed a new champion in Sheamus.
  • Chants of "YES!" were easily the chants of the night. You could combine all the "Rocky!" "Cena sucks!" and "Let's go Cena!" chants and they would not equal the support Daniel Bryan received before, during and after the show. If you ever believed anything a masked man told you, believe this -- "Yes!" will become the new "Woooo!"

  • Triple H had stated the Undertaker died at last year's WrestleMania. If that were true, tonight was the resurrection. The brutality of Hell in a Cell had more than 78,000 fans on their feet as the Undertaker and Triple H took them on quite the journey. Things at one point looked much like last year's Mania. Triple H went "Stone Cold" (ala WrestleMania 17) on the Undertaker. As the Deadman kept moving forward, the punishment he was taking was becoming too much for referee Shawn Michaels to watch. HBK pleaded with the Game to let up, but it was to no avail. Triple H became fed up with his best friend and even shoved him out to the floor. But a one-sided beating became a back and forth war. Multiple times, both future hall of famers looked to have the upper hand. A torn Michaels intervened to help his DX stablemate, but not even that could stop Taker. Much like Michaels' WrestleMania retirement match, Triple H was defiant until the end. A thunderous tombstone pushed the streak to 20-0. The fans showed their respect for all three men. And in a show of class and sportsmanship, The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels assisted Triple H to the locker room. There was indeed an end to an era. An era of three stars that will never, ever be duplicated or replicated again.


    The wrestlers entered through this elaborate setup.
  • Sun Life Stadium is used to watching football games, and Team Teddy Vs. Team Johnny seemed much like that. The general managers playing the role of head coaches, the participants wore matching shirts, and flag bearers resembled mascots. Each superstar got their spots in and the crowd woke up in the second half of the match after being drained by Hell in a Cell. Zach Ryder was cleaning house and looked to be on the verge of victory when Eve got in the ring, and perhaps distracted Ryder long enough for Miz to pick up the win for Team Johnny. To add even more embarrassment, Eve low blowed Ryder and walked out on him. So Eve burns Ryder again, but more importantly Big Johnny is in charge of both shows. May God have mercy on all of us.

  • Sun Life Stadium employees did a great job at keeping things very organized. Thousands of fans showed up hours early to taildate before the event, and workers kept everything in order. There were still a few thousands seats open only minutes before the start time, but they were quickly moved into their seats assignments faster than I'd expected.

  • The crowd was hot for the tag team title dark match. It looked as if the Usos intro was slightly botched. The music didn't start properly, but they recovered and still received a nice pop. Oh, and the males like Rosa Mendes. A lot.

  • I found it to be a little surprising the show didn't start with an opening pyro. Granted, I know it's bright outside at bell time, but we've still seen them do it before.

  • Before the main event, the crowd was given a few extra minutes to recharge themselves, and we were treated with an appearance from Brodus Clay, his dancers, his momma, and her momma clone army. It was a fun little comedy spot in the show. WrestleMania 28 had few comedy spots -- because the Flo Rida/Heath Slater bit wasn't funny at all -- so this was something for everyone to have a little chuckle with.

  • Merchandise stands were packed at every set up. Surprisingly, I think there was more Mania merchandise available at Axxess over the actual show.

  • During Divas action, with Beth Phoenix and Eve taking on Kelly Kelly and Extra host Maria Menounos, the fans were restless, and the Daniel Bryan chants are picked up again. (People were NOT happy with that outcome.) An errant collision between Eve and Phoenix on the apron allowed Menounos to roll up the Divas champion to secure a victory for herself and Kelly Kelly.

  • "The Viper" Randy Orton walked into hellfire and brimstone as he gave the "Devil's Favorite Son" Kane everything he could handle. In true Orton fashion, he never backed down. A massive powerslam followed by a pattened second-rope closeline, Orton could smell blood in the water. But when he looked for a superplex, Kane surprised him with a giant hand across the throat and a top rope chokeslam for the victory.

  • People seemed to enjoy a positive Big Show Mania moment, with his Intercontinental championship win over Cody Rhodes.

  • Leaving the building, it had a similar atmosphere. I would expect it would be similar to the new Miami Marlins making the playoffs this year. It wasn't sheer pandemonium, but people went home with big smiles on their faces, probably because the home team -- The Rock -- just won.

  • The "Best in the World" match for the WWE Championship between Chris Jericho and CM Punk had been noted as the possible show-stealer for this year's Mania. Jericho had a strong following through out the evening, but Punk garnered one of the biggest reactions of the night. The match started with both men attempting to outdo the other, and really take claim to being called the best. There was a great mix of different styles in the bout. Both contributed with their mat skills and put on a wrestling clinic. Punk added his high-flying ability, while Jericho attempted to counter by zoning in on the Walls of Jericho. The ending sequence of submission reversals left the crowd feeling the match could go either way at any given point. Punk forced Jericho to tap out and claimed the match, the title, and the right to be called, "Best in the World." Both men deserve lots of credit for delivering such a strong match.

    RELATED LINKS
  • More on WrestleMania 28
  • WrestleMania 28 photo galleries
  • Countdown to WrestleMania 28

    The Masked Writer doubles as a Masked Photographer in Miami. Be on the alert -- he might be standing next to you right now and you may not know it!