The 29th installment of WrestleMania, the Super Bowl of scripted, male grappling, took place at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. The character-rich event was every bit the spectacle you might expect when 80,676* wrestling fans converge on one location with the emotional fire of previously imprisoned boars.
The Cena/Rock chants that erupted on the train ride from Penn Station set the hilariously spirited tone, making those Taste Great/Less Filling jousts from the old Miller Light commercials feel uninspired. Think St. Paddy’s Day, but with far less green and so many more replica championship belts.
Below are some thoughts on various aspects of the evening.
Let’s just get this one out of the way. The theme song for WrestleMania XXIX was “Coming Home,” so Diddy was on hand to perform. To put it mildly, it was a memorably atrocious live performance. It almost felt like someone was spoofing P. Diddy. Or maybe he’s always been spoofing himself. Nonetheless, the cast of Rampage defecating on a massive crowd of screaming, helpless commuters would’ve been less offensive to the ear than whatever the hell that was.
The dead man’s streak remains intact and now stands at 21-0, but your mom could have accurately predicted that one. The real story here, whether you happen to be a fan of wrestling or not, is just how must-see The Undertaker’s chilling entrance is in person. I’m not exaggerating when I say it is truly a sight to behold. Prolonged entrances, especially the boring march Goldberg used to do, are generally pretty pointless and often take the air out of an excited crowd. But what we had here was masterfully crafted and executed, both in the sense of technical production and the dude’s commanding presence. Simply unforgettable. The Undertaker is one of the last great ones that manages to bring out the kid in all of us.
Spanish Announcer’s Table Goes Off Script
The Undertaker’s match against CM Punk also happened to be the most entertaining of the night, thanks in part to the Spanish announcer’s table taking a courageous stand and refusing to break. While this faction of wood has taken a world of abuse throughout the years, losing a ton of its brothers along the way, going off script with the Undertaker laying on top took grapefruits the size of basketballs:
They made up for the Diddy fumble. Awesome.
Triple H does not have to retire!!!! I’ve always adored the “must retire” stipulation. Even when I was seven years old watching this stuff I found it humorous. It’s almost as funny as when someone “dies” on a soap opera. Alas, Triple H beat Brock Lesnar. And that’s a shame, really. Losing would’ve allowed him to spend more time with his family, particularly that father-in-law of his that he so valiantly protects.
Lesnar’s version of a primal scream and his “I enjoy pain and really enjoy inflicting it” grin were extra special last night. Give that man an award. Or at the very least, feed him an extra grizzly bear.
Honestly, Vince, give this man a healthy raise. Heyman sold his role better than Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman last night. He’s a lot like Newman in the sense that he’s not getting tons of camera time, but when he does he sends it to the moon.
He lost to John Cena and the two embraced afterward as though The Rock had just put his loyal dog to sleep. Perhaps they hugged it out because the crowd was asleep for half the match. But that was definitely the last we’ve seen of the People’s Champ in a wrestling ring, until the next time we see him in the wrestling ring.
Random Sighting of the Night
Waiting for the elevator with X-Pac and Sheamus. X-Pac looks and sounds exactly like someone that has wrestled for 26 years with a few thousand parties sprinkled in-between. Holy crap.
Those WrestleMania Chairs They Kept Advertising
The number of people who exited MetLife Stadium carrying a $129.99 WrestleMania XXIX chair and eventually lugged it onto a train was astonishing. I presume this will be the go-to seat for in-house chair shots. Amazing. The WWE simply prints money to an absurd degree. As usual, the fascinating genius that is Vince McMahon has absolutely no end in sight.
Finally, I leave you with two photos that aptly summarize the WrestleMania people-watching experience.
I need to see the official numbers on how much money the WWE is making off of replica belts. Every third person had one. Those who actually had them fastened to their waist were the true heroes.
Yes, the gentleman third from right is wearing wrestling trunks, knee pads, wrestling boots, a championship belt, and is holding a WWE microphone. Having said all of that, no, he is not actually a wrestler.
*The attendance figure marked the second largest in WWE history, falling short of WrestleMania III that saw 93,173 pack the now Pontiac Silverdome, a place that now plays host to crap you’ve never heard of. That record will obviously come crashing down like a cooperative Spanish announcer’s table when Jerry Jones invites Vince and friends to his palace in Dallas.