SLAM! Sports SLAM! Wrestlemania 29
   November 24, 2014



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WrestleMania 29: The Live Report


Here's our recap of WrestleMania 29, as it happened. The participants included SLAM! Wrestling Producer Greg Oliver (from a bar in Toronto), and site founder John Powell (watching at home). Plus Bob Kapur, Pat Laprade and Nick Tylwalk (in the press box) were all at WrestleMania itself in New Jersey.

JOHN POWELL, at home: Cena and Rock, another war of attrition with the expected outcome. Another well worked and booked match ending the show on a positive note. WrestleMania 29, a solid outing for the WWE. Very strong matches across the board. A very consistent and lively show even if the outcome of some of the biggest matches were predictable. It is just a shame that so much of the talent was left backstage while the WWE wasted time with countless promos. There were many who have been working hard and deserved to share the spotlight at the year’s biggest show.

BOB KAPUR, at Mania: Boy did they ever win the crowd back. Very good match at the end of the day. May have turned a lot of Cena haters too.

Not sure where PPV ended. After the match, Rock and Cena shook hands and hugged and made their separate ways back up the ramp. On the entrance stage, they raised each other's arms in a show of respect and fireworks went off.

JOHN POWELL, at home: Like them or not, Cena and Rock put on a great show. Kudos to JBL for saying the Cena you are seeing now has evolved since he fought him. This match is another forgone conclusion unfortunately but should still be a slobberknocker ... as JR would say, if he was there .... which he should. If you can bring back Taker, HHH for WrestleMania why not Jim Ross?

BOB KAPUR, at Mania: The gorillas seem to be Cena backers. I wouldn't have guessed. I figured they'd hate his character because he is pure like Ivory soap. And clearly they hate soap.

Worst. Sharpshooter. Ever.

They're working hard to wake up this crowd. For all the anti-Cena sentiment exhibited before the match, the crowd was pretty subdued for a lot of the match.

Make it 80,675. I just had a heart attack after the pyro on the ramp went off 5 feet beside me.

GREG OLIVER, at the bar: The Rock against John Cena is up now, which means the show has run long and the eight-person tag bout has been completely bumped. Or it means they need enough time for Dolph Ziggler to cash in after the match. Either way, The Rock will not be leaving with the WWE title.

JOHN POWELL, at home: My Lesnar Rage Quit Meme: https://vine.co/v/bTE1wT5U9I9

GREG OLIVER, at the bar: They just announced that it is a record crowd for MetLife Stadium of 80,676.

JOHN POWELL, at home: Lesnar and HHH definitely stole the show. What a work rate by these two warriors. One of the most hard-hitting matches I have ever seen. Not on the scale of Foley – Funk but they would be both proud of the effort here. They are both gonna be bruised and so sore tomorrow. You know Brock Lesnar’s growls during the match are gonna be the new rage quit meme. WWE 13 was right on the money. 4 / 7

BOB KAPUR, at Mania: Brock should have nipple twisted him. Bet HHH would have released the hold if he did.

Inside the arena notes. As guys come down the entrance ramp, there are four or five camera guys that are in front of them, walking backwards. And three other guys that wrangle the camera cables so nobody trips.

NICK TYLWALK, at Mania in the press box: Ricardo Rodriguez taking in the end of the card with the press. The media members enjoyed that HHH-Lesnar match, especially the spots involving he steps in the ring.

GREG OLIVER, at the bar: Triple H beat Lesnar with a pedigree on the ring steps, which Brock had brought into the ring. So HHH gets to keep wrestling ... once or twice a year. Both seconds, Paul Heyman and Shawn Michaels, interfered at various times.

BOB KAPUR, at Mania: HHH training montage video. Now they should be playing the "Rocky' music.

A guy across from me has a sign that reads "Long life Triple H." Way to go, New Jersey State Board of Education.

Does anyone know what Shawn Michaels actually says during his prayer on the ramp? Please let me know if you can.

"Sure, but I loosened it up for you," said Punk backstage.

The French guys behind me are doing commentary for this one. Plenty of excited "non non non non NON!" Or "ooh la la la LA" every time Brock is doing a move on HHH. The gorillas hate it and are turning around to shoot him dirty looks and making snide comments about him. Against the gorillas, I'm siding with him.

Did you see Shawn run away from Brock? Maybe he's one of those French people Zeb didn't mention. (Again, all meant in fun, so calm down).

NICK TYLWALK, at Mania in the press box: The walls between the press and talent are starting to melt away up here. I just waited in the cookie line behind Mil Mascaras, and Sheamus stopped by to talk to a few people.

JOHN POWELL, at home: This is one of those WrestleManias where the undercard seems to have stolen the show for the most part. The main events all seem too predictable in their scope. Do we really need another Cena – Rock promo? We already bought the PPV, folks. What’s with all the WWE charity back-patting tonight? Geesh, is Stephanie gonna run for office? HHH versus Brock Lesnar? This one better be bloody and brutal. I remember seeing Brock Lesnar for the first time at a Fan Access promo match here in Toronto at WrestleMania 18. How far he has come. Bring on the pain but Lesnar doesn't have a chance. HHH ain't going anywhere.

BOB KAPUR, at Mania: Well that was tremendous. Not necessarily a classic like Taker's matches against HHH and HBK. But still a stellar performance by all three guys (l'm counting Paul Heyman, as he was great on the outside).

JOHN POWELL, at home: CM Punk lost. Big surprise. Yawn. What took Taker so long? What is with WWE tables? They just don’t break any more. WWE 13 got this one right. 3 / 6. Where is JR? WrestleMania ain’t the same without him.

BOB KAPUR, at Mania: Kept waiting for a true "WrestleMania moment" and but for an unco-operative table, that would have been it.

In other news, Hulk Hogan just tweeted that he and that table once wrestled in front of 250,000 people.

"Zees ees awesome" chant from the French guy behind me. It actually ees. What a great sequence.

GREG OLIVER, at the bar: Undertaker won with a tombstone, to go 21-0 at Mania. But the real story was how Punk did all Takers moves and facial expressions. It was great.

GREG OLIVER, at the bar: Everyone here popped for Punk turning the tables and doing the rope walk.

BOB KAPUR, at Mania: On a technical note, the use of pyro on this show has been amazing. A few guys have had great fireworks during their entrances. Taker's fire pillars were stellar. Great job, WWE. And now back to your regularly scheduled immature comments.

GREG OLIVER, at the bar: We have Undertaker versus CM Punk now.

JOHN POWELL, at home: I still maintain the ending of Raw was utterly disgraceful. A new low for the WWE bookers, who have run some awful angles in their time. It makes no difference if the family agreed to the angle or not. It was disrespectful. Taker is my third fave of all time but I have no interest in this match at all. CM Punk is not a serious threat to the Undertaker. Triple H. Shawn Michaels. Ric Flair. Sure. CM Punk? You might as well have Zack Ryder trying to end The Streak. The performance of Living Color is the highlight for me. They are still awesome after all these years. Rock on.

JOHN POWELL, at home: Where was all this praise for Del Rio when he was a heel? I still fascinates me how quickly the WWE turned him into a face. Well-paced and well-worked match between Swagger and Del Rio. Zeb was the third star of the match though. The ending kinda came out of nowhere though. A shame, the finish kinda killed the energy and momentum. WWE 13 blew it again. 2 / 5.

BOB KAPUR, at Mania: Berry died though battery shows half full. On MetLife wireless. Sketchy but will try to send stuff.

After his DUI and drug arrest, did anyone think Swagger would really be booked to win the title? Weed the people.

NICK TYLWALK, at Mania in the press box: The guy two seats down from me in the this part of the press box went for a drink and ran into... Bruno Sammartino!

GREG OLIVER, at the bar: Del Rio made Swagger tap out.

BOB KAPUR, at Mania: During the vignette for the World Heavyweight Championship match, Jack Swagger and Zeb Coulter came down the ramp in a jeep. Jobber entrance?

Fortunately not. They cut a great promo in the ring. Except he forgot to mention the French. They're the worst. (Note - that comment was meant only as a joke. Save your hate mail for things more important than pro wrestling.)

JOHN POWELL, at home: I see Zeb dressed up for WrestleMania. Nice tie, dude. And Del Rio has a fancy new robe too.

NICK TYLWALK, at Mania in the press box: Alberto Del Rio takes the lead as the favorite performer in the press box so far. A large contingent from the next box over just started cheering and clapping when he made his entrance and again when Lilian introduced him.

GREG OLIVER, at the bar: After Diddy's performance, we're on to the next match, the World title bout between Alberto del Rio and Jack Swagger.

BOB KAPUR, at Mania: Don't know if it aired on the PPV, but they just showed a video using the training montage music from "Rocky". Then went into some rap song just as the music would have kicked into the most dramatic part of the song. What a tease into a disappointing letdown. Reminds me of my prom.

I ask this one black guy in front of me if this is Diddy. He looked at me pityingly because he thought I said "Biggie." I may be out of touch, but not that badly. And I'm not racist by asking the black guy, by the way. All the fat white guys around me had left to get themselves more nachos.

JOHN POWELL, at home: Oh, gawd no. It is time for the annual WrestleMania rap. Yo. Yo. Yo. Time for a beer. Why do they chew up satellite time with this crap? Werd.

BOB KAPUR, at Mania: A loud bass riff was heard from the entrance ramp. Presumably, they're setting up for Living Color. Does that mean Punk-Taker is up next?

The French kid and his grandpa behind me were losing it during this entire match, excitedly talking throughout in support of Jericho, even at one point praying in French that he'd win. It's still vrai to them, dammit.

JOHN POWELL, at home: Fan-doofus? Could the guy exaggerate or overplay his character any more? What’s with all the heavy breathing? You think he was having a perpetual asthma attack. Quit trying so hard, dude. You are becoming a joke. WWE 13 had no prediction because Fandango apparently brings about the Rings of Death. 2 / 4.

GREG OLIVER, at the bar: Fandango rolled up Jericho for the win. There were times he looked a little awkward, but a good debut.

BOB KAPUR, at Mania: Fandango just became the winner of the award for Best Entrance ever. The more scantily clad women the better, I say. Runner up is Lex Luger at WM9. Brodus Clay's "dancing Mama's" from last year doesn't count.

NICK TYLWALK, at Mania in the press box: Jericho's showy entrance reminds me that John Cena said during the presser that his entrance will be toned down somewhat from previous WrestleManias. He hinted that some other wrestlers might have some grandiose plans though.

GREG OLIVER, at the bar: Jericho vs Fandango is up now. Fandango has a whole team of dancers this time round.

JOHN POWELL, at home: Ziggler, Langston versus Team Hell No: Why does Langston always look like he is about to go swimming. Lose the silly trunks, dude. You look like a goof. Ziggler and the Money In The Bank suitcase ... I thought you had to use it before the next WrestleMania? How long is he gonna carry that case around? Speaking of which, with all of the main talent missing from the Mania card, why isn’t there a Money In The Bank match or at least a battle royal? Wasted talent sitting on the sidelines. WWE 13 got this one wrong. 2 / 3.

GREG OLIVER, at the bar: The tag team title bout is up next. Team Hell No retains in a pretty decent bout. Big E Langston did a little more than just power moves.

BOB KAPUR, at Mania: Ryback did manage to impress the crowd by lifting up Henry. Except the fat guy in front of me. He mouthed off to Ryback as Ryback was going back up the ramp and Ryback told him to "F*** off, you fat f***." Then Ryback got halfway up the ramp, stopped and came back down to say it again, "You fat f***." He forgot to add "smelly."

JOHN POWELL, at home: Battle of the heavyweights: Henry vs Goldberg…I mean…Ryback. Good to see Ryback has gotten over that mysterious sore throat of his. Henry has gained my respect over the years. Like or hate him, he is a wrestling industry survivor. Anyone who can overcome the “Sexual Chocolate” persona, can accomplish just about anything in the WWE. As expected, a hard-hitting encounter and a text book battle of the big men. Laughing out loud at Ryback being squished like a bug. In case you didn’t know…this feud has just begun. WWE 13 predicted Henry. Two for two.

BOB KAPUR, at Mania: Judging from the people around me, "Feed me more" is the New Jersey state slogan.

The over-under on actual moves in this match is 6.5. So far, I've counted: punch, clothesline, bearhug, and kick.

GREG OLIVER, at the bar: Usually if a heel loses the bout, he gets his heat back with a beat-down after the result. What does it accomplish by having Ryback get heat back after losing to Henry? Makes him look like a sore loser!

NICK TYLWALK, at Mania in the press box: Ryback lifting Mark Henry got a huge audible reaction here in the press box. First time the media has really come to life so far.

GREG OLIVER, at the bar: Mark Henry vs Ryback is on now. Ryback took a pretty nasty bump off the ring apron; well, nasty for him. Nothing compared to the ROH-style dive that Seth Rollins did in the first match. Ryback's clothesline of Henry was awesome. Shell Shock gone wrong though... Henry falls on Ryback, crushing him, then scores the pin.

GREG OLIVER, at the bar: I never understood why they air commercials for the upcoming bouts on Mania, during the show.

BOB KAPUR, at Mania: Watching Randy Orton's patented boring offense, I have to ask myself if people are really clapping for him, or if they're simply slapping themselves in the face to stay awake while he's in there.

JOHN POWELL, at home: Sorry, folks. Orton has talent and skill but his persona is so dusty. Nice to see The Shield come out on top. WWE is really investing in their future with these three. Fantastic WrestleMania debut in a pretty good opener. Oh, yeah. I believe in The Shield. Predictable ending though. What in the world does the WWE have in store for Big Show, Orton and Sheamus? The three of them seem to have no momentum. Just floating in the angle void. WWE 13 predicted The Shield would win. Nicely done, Xbox.

BOB KAPUR, at Mania: The Shield wins! Roman Reigns spears Randy Orton, Ambrose covers. Story is that Orton prevented The Big Show from getting in the ring

JOHN POWELL: I have a funny feeling that The Shield will grow by another member at the end of this match. Why does Dean Ambrose remind me of Heath Ledger so much? These three superstars have such a bright future if they can each build themselves as individuals as well as a stable in the WWE.

BOB KAPUR, at Mania: At some WWE PPVs I've been to, they sell headsets where you can hear the live commentary. At this one, it's better to hear the guys around me. New York hecklers are hilarious. They don't only take shots at the talent, but also fellow fans. Two guys beside me just ripped some guy a new one for five minutes for sitting in the wrong section.

GREG OLIVER, at the bar: The six-man Shield match starts off the show. It didn't take long for Sheamus to work longer than last year!

BOB KAPUR, at Mania: Huge reception for announce team (Cole, JBL, and Lawler), Lillian Garcia, and the Spanish announce team. After they came to the ring, the Undertaker's music started playing and got cut off immediately. Crowd was teased huge.

NICK TYLWALK, at Mania in the press box: While we were waiting to be credentialed, Diddy did about a half dozen sound checks. He even practiced saying "New York!" and "New Jersey!" If he doesn't have his performance down pat by now...

NICK TYLWALK, at Mania in the press box: I'm enjoying the fact that they are using about four different sets of announcers during the pre-show. I can't even tell from the press box where they are all located.

BOB KAPUR, at Mania: There are grey clouds overhead. They don't look dark enough that it will rain... knock wood. It would not be a fun night if it rained.

Went to go get a pretzel before the show but couldn't find a snack stand without a huge line. New Jersey should be re-nicknamed the Olive Garden State. Went back to my seat dejected and sans pretzel.

On the way back to my seat, I ran into Chuck Zito. That was cool.

Halfway through the Intercontinental Title match, it started to rain. Vince can't be happy about that. God getting revenge for that angle a few years back.

The crowd loved Miz winning the I-C belt. Huge reaction for Barrrett tapping out to the Figure Four. Honestly, I don't get the Miz' appeal, at least not as a babyface.

JOHN POWELL: 20 minutes until the SuperBowl of wrestling: WrestleMania. SuperBowl? Well, that remains to be seen. Tonight's card has potential but will it live up to Mania's past? Let's see.

NICK TYLWALK, at Mania in the press box:The press box at Met Life is big enough that the media and the wrestlers' family and friends are all up here - separated, of course. Pre-show media spread has two kinds of chicken, hot dogs, turkey chili and salads.

On a separate note, the set is absolutely incredible, even from way up here.

PAT LAPRADE, at Mania: It's now starting to rain here...F***
False alarm, only a few drops, but the sky is really grey. Looks like it will rain for real.

PAT LAPRADE, at Mania: So far the WiFi seems to be working well. Free WiFi that is. There's a lot of advertising on all of the screens about WiFi and being able to interact with the Universe and the Superstars. WrestleManiaXXIX is the network to use.

PAT LAPRADE, at Mania: I'm sitting in the nose bleed sections and it starts to get cooler and cooler. Hopefully I have my hoodie, a jacket and I brought my tuque and gloves too. in a few hours, I'll need all of this.

I bought a Mania Soda Cup and a Cheesesteak and spent 20$ for it! Can't wait to be in Vegas where you lose money, but get a kick out of it!!

BOB KAPUR, at Mania: Seriously, how can you afford 9th row seats but not deodorant?

The entrance stage really cool. It's built up to look like the NYC skyline complete with a Brooklyn Bridge and Empire State Building. Oh, if only New Jack were here to do a dive.

The technical crew are all posing for pictures on the ramp near the ring. One girl slipped off the edge and fell about a half a foot to the ground. I start a "She's hardcore!" chant.

The referees all came out to pose for a group picture on the entrance stage. They got a huge ovation.

The pre-show kicks off. Crowd is jacked for this one. Should be a fun, rowdy night.

Any mention of Cena is getting a major chorus of boos. Picture the cheers for Hulk Hogan circa 1987. Yeah, it's the complete opposite of that.

They are doing a pre-game show like it's an NFL game with Jim Ross, Kofi Kingston, and Dusty Rhodes joining your buddy Scott Stanford in the analysis booth.

PAT LAPRADE, at Mania: Montreal indy wrestler Chris Cruze proposed to women wrestler Sassy Stephie right here at MetLife Stadium. She said yes, and of course, because it's wrestling, a loud Yes chant erupted in the section. Congrats to both of them!

BOB KAPUR, at Mania: Sitting in my 10th row seat. Beside the entrance ramp, 2 away from the actual ramp. I'm surrounded by a bunch of people who look and smell like gorillas. And those are just the New Jersey girls! Seriously, the guy in front of me is so fat his suit jacket isn't even done up and it's splitting at the seams.

Temperature-wise, it's about 10 degrees Celsius, and dropping. They have heat lamps in the lighting rigging over the ring. Too bad, we could have had a Glacier run-in. Or Kaz Hayashi. If you get that reference, you probably don't have a girlfriend.

RELATED LINKS

  • More on WrestleMania 29
  • WrestleMania 29 photo galleries