WrestleMania XXX: New Stars Emerge as WrestleMania Triumphs

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WrestleMania XXX, held at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, and drawing an attendance of 75,167 people, took place on Sunday night, 6 April 2014. The WWE’s flagship event continues to expand in scope. Aside from the now well established week-long series of engagements which precede the event proper – autograph signings, fan meets and television appearances culminating on Saturday evening in the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony – this WrestleMania was the first to be broadcast via the company’s recently launched WWE Network, and it also offered an enlarged, two-hour-long pre-show. Yet where the two preceding WrestleMania’s had been headlined by The Rock, returning to fight John Cena for the WWE Championship, and had seen performances by celebrity musicians including Diddy, for the occasion of the thirtieth WrestleMania there was a relative lack of star power scheduled. Hulk Hogan was to host the show, but the focus was very much towards the in-ring action, centring on Daniel Bryan’s quest to overcome Triple H and become WWE Champion. With this focus and a relatively concise card, WrestleMania XXX surpassed many expectations, and can lay genuine claim to the title of greatest WrestleMania. As several bouts vied for match of the night, and with no match palpably inferior or serving no apparent purpose, the event succeeded in shocking and satisfying wrestling fans, and enhanced the majority of the wrestling talents who appeared.

The first hour of the pre-show functioned predominantly to build towards the event. An entertaining panel, hosted by Josh Matthews and featuring Booker T, Shawn Michaels, and Mick Foley, discussed the impending matches, interspersed with video packages hyping what was to come.  The panelists spoke essentially in character, with Matthews a solid host, Michaels excellent at enthusing over the matches, and Foley – arguably the best speaker the business has seen – offering the unique insight he always brings to such affairs. The second hour of the pre-show, exclusively broadcast via the WWE Network, saw Jimmy Hart replace Foley, then later Trish Stratus replace Hart; and it featured a match for the WWE Tag Team Championship, as The Usos defended against The Real Americans, RybAxel, and Los Matadores, in a four-way elimination bout. The match adopted a lively pace, as teammates double-teamed their opponents in the ring, and frequently took matters to the outside. Los Matadores performed planchas onto the mass of their opponents on the floor, before being eliminated when Jack Swagger forced one of their member to submit to the Patriot Lock. After more back-and-forth, RybAxel were eliminated when Cesaro gained the upper hand on Ryback, and hit the Neutralizer for the pinfall.

Cesaro is rapidly becoming one of the wrestlers most over among the fans. His rise has been organic and built on solid foundations: without a lot of time on the microphone, he is physically impressive, a supremely lithe 6 feet and 5 inches; he has an amiable personality whether heel or face; and he is exceptional in the ring, able to excel with any opponent, and with a highly distinctive moveset. The Neutralizer, Cesaro Swing, and all the variations upon his European Uppercut comprise some of the most cheered moves today. After The Usos performed dives to the outside on Cesaro and Swagger, The Real Americans won the advantage in the ring, only for Cesaro to inadvertently bump Swagger out to the floor. With Cesaro at the mercy of The Usos, they landed a double splash from opposite turnbuckles and pinned Cesaro to retain their titles. After the match, Zeb Colter proved unable to reconcile his team: Swagger snapped, and put the fallen Cesaro into the Patriot Lock, before relenting; but Cesaro was not inclined towards forgiveness, and threw Swagger with the Cesaro Swing before leaving the ring, effectively disbanding The Real Americans.

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WrestleMania XXX could not have opened more strongly. Inside the Superdome, the stage and the setting befitted the magnitude of the event, with a Shakespearean purple and gold colour scheme offset by white ‘WrestleMania’ lettering. Hulk Hogan made his way to the ring to open the show, to a great reception; and despite erring when he twice referred to the Superdome as the ‘Silverdome’, he usefully put over his bodyslam on Andre the Giant at WrestleMania III. He was interrupted by Stone Cold Steve Austin, returning to WrestleMania for the first time in three years. Austin came down the ramp to a tremendous reception. He joked with Hogan, but affirmed his respect for Hogan’s achievements and for his legacy in building the event; before focusing on the current crop of superstars, and on the importance of putting in a substantial WrestleMania performance. While Austin’s appearance had been announced several days before the show – and he and Hogan had sat next to one another during the Hall of Fame ceremony the night before – one of the surprises of the night occurred when The Rock’s music hit, to a roar from the crowd. As The Rock spoke and the three men cycled through their catchphrases, beyond the sheer enjoyment of seeing the three together in the ring, they successfully added weight to the wrestling at hand. Their appearance together constituted an unforgettable moment in its own right; but it was also a rousing demonstration for the fans and for the wrestlers in the back regarding the meaning and the value of the event.

After Stephanie McMahon took to the ring, and introduced Triple H – whose elaborate entrance saw him carried out, accompanied by three women, on a throne and wearing a skull helmet – Daniel Bryan and Triple H opened the show. Whoever emerged victorious from the match would proceed to face Randy Orton and Batista in the main event, for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. An excellent match saw Triple H repeatedly work on Daniel Bryan’s injured left arm and shoulder. Both men pushed themselves outside their comfort zones: Triple H introduced several new moves to his arsenal, including a tiger suplex on Bryan; while Bryan utilised frequent aerial attacks, with dives from the top rope and through the ropes to the outside. In the ring, he held onto Triple H for a double German suplex, and hit a sunset flip powerbomb from the turnbuckle, before Triple H turned the balance of the match with a huge clothesline which sent Bryan spinning in the air.

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The booking of this encounter seemed obvious: Bryan would grab the victory, but receive such punishment at the hands of Triple H that his chances in the main event would be cast in doubt. Prior to the show, some fans had hypothesised that a drawn finish or some added stipulation would turn the main event into a four-way match. The sensible conclusion received its due, as Bryan picked up the clean victory with the running knee, only to be assaulted after the match by an irate Triple H. Bryan’s left arm was wrapped around the ring post and struck vehemently with a steel chair.

One of the slighter matches on the card followed, as The Shield took on the teaming of Kane and The New Age Outlaws. While part of a broader ‘Authority’ storyline, the rationale for the match was predominantly to allow The Shield and Kane a place on the show. Still, it was mildly disappointing that it received so little time: quickly disintegrating into a free-for-all, Kane was speared to the outside by Roman Reigns, allowing The Shield to take the victory after an innovative triple-team powerbomb on both Road Dogg and Billy Gunn. Nevertheless The Shield – and particularly Reigns, who landed two Superman punches and two spears – looked strong and posed proudly after the final bell. The three men continue to progress and are so over with the fans, especially after their recent face turn, that there is no imperative to split the group in the near future.

The next match was the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, announced by Hulk Hogan several weeks ago on Raw. Apparently comprising thirty-one participants, the battle royal was inevitably but exceedingly messy until the numbers dwindled. It then became a highly entertaining showcase for several superstars. Sheamus clubbed away with zeal at Fandango, who had hitherto been dancing on the ring apron; Rey Mysterio hit Alberto Del Rio with a 619; and Dolph Ziggler too briefly shone, before all were eliminated. Kofi Kingston achieved another of those feats which characterise his appearances in the Royal Rumble: thrown over the corner turnbuckle by Cesaro, he landed on the outside with his feet still touching the steel steps; and as they had not touched the arena floor, he was able to reenter the ring and continue to participate in the match. Alas, Kingston too would be eliminated. Kofi must live year upon year in fear that he will botch the often exceedingly difficult manoeuvres by which he remains, for just a little bit longer, in battle royals. When Sheamus and Del Rio were eliminated as a pair, Cesaro and Big Show were left as this occasion’s final two participants. Reminiscent of Wrestlemania III, and receiving a tremendous response from the audience, Cesaro scooped up Big Show and bodyslammed him over the top rope to emerge the victor. Cesaro celebrated in the ring, on his knees with the oversized memorial trophy.

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After a video montage, Bray Wyatt and his Wyatt Family emerged from the darkness, as Mark Crozer – a solo artist and a guitarist for the reformed The Jesus and Mary Chain – performed live Wyatt’s theme music. John Cena followed, running down the ramp upon entrance, and the match between John Cena and Bray Wyatt was quickly underway. This was in some ways a difficult card for this match to feature on: with Daniel Bryan presumed to be involved in two matches, and with The Undertaker facing Brock Lesnar, it was perhaps only the fourth most anticipated match on the show. It was necessary for it to take a slower pace, and to eschew some of the overt physicality and extreme out-of-the-ring action which would characterise the other bouts. More, the very scenario of the match was itself intriguing yet challenging: one of the clearest examples yet of a match in which there was neither an accepted nor a posited face or heel. While Cena remains the figurehead of the WWE and overtly a face, he receives many jeers in spite of the respect many fans have for him. Meanwhile Wyatt – who might be perceived as occupying the traditional sphere of a heel – is not really being pushed as a bad guy, and is attaining vast support among a curious and appreciative fanbase.

Where the opening match between Bryan and Triple H had been strategic, this match was richly psychological, playing on the idea that Cena could be discombobulated and even brought to an ill-fitting rage by Wyatt’s mind-games. So Wyatt began the match on his knees, pleading that Cena give in to his darker urges and ‘finish’ him. With some of the bizarre postures Wyatt adopted throughout the match – including an instance where he disrupted a Five Knuckle Shuffle by lifting himself into a stretched position, upside down, supported by his hands and feet, looking backwards at Cena, half-crab and half-spider – and with the overly sombre announcing, the match sometimes risked seeming a little too much of a gimmick; but the action was solid and it ultimately told an effective story. With The Wyatt Family frequently getting involved on the outside, Wyatt kicked out of an Attitude Adjustment; but then Cena, after being cradled in Wyatt’s arms, kicked out of a Sister Abigail, to Wyatt’s evident distress. Wyatt encouraged Cena to hit him with a steel chair. Cena hesitated, but came away with the pinfall victory after a second Attitude Adjustment.

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Cena triumphing perhaps wasn’t the preferred outcome for many wrestling fans, who would have liked to see Bray go over. In truth, especially given the standing of the match on the card, neither man desperately needed the victory. Wyatt’s star is rising rapidly, and he came out of the match not only unscathed by but enhanced in defeat: he was part of a strong presentation, given arguably the event’s outstanding entrance, and coming close to victory while proving difficult to beat. If Cena gained little by virtue of the win, still it is standard practise to only make your figurehead do the job when it really matters. Cena emerging victorious did, however, pose an interesting problem within the context of the night: for it suggested the likelihood of a washout for the babyfaces. With Bryan, The Shield, Cesaro, and Cena too all on the side of virtue and positioned as fan favourites, and The Undertaker and Daniel Bryan assumed as the winners of the remaining two men’s bouts, it seemed that there might be no male heel victor at WrestleMania XXX.

A superbly produced video package, narrated by Paul Heyman, preceded the match between The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar. Heyman at once exhorted his man, spoke for his strategy and commitment to the task at hand, and forewarned wrestling fans regarding the outcome: ‘Eat, Sleep, Conquer, Repeat’, Heyman pronounced again and again, before concluding that Lesnar would be the man to ‘Conquer The Streak’. The Undertaker, of course, went into the match undefeated at WrestleMania, with a 21-0 record extending back to WrestleMania VII in 1991. After Lesnar and Heyman came out to the ring, The Undertaker began a prolonged entrance, featuring a coffin which burst into flames and a new, studded, red-highlighted felt cowboy hat.

It would be fair to say that the fans responded lukewarmly to this match throughout its early stages. There were immediate reasons for this: there had been a long pause in the action after the Cena/Wyatt match, as this year’s Hall of Fame class – including The Ultimate Warrior, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, Razor Ramon, Paul Bearer (represented by his two sons), Carlos Colon, Mr. T, and Lita – appeared on stage to receive the fans’ applause. Lesnar too is something of a curiosity, in that he is undeniably a major attraction, without appearing particularly ‘over’ in a conventional sense, or drawing a hot response from the crowd in his own right. In his scattered appearances over the last few years, he has sometimes made little attempt to engage the fans beyond his supreme physicality. Paul Heyman has been the bearer of his heat. More, while a decisive match between the two has been years in the making – it was prefigured as far back as UFC 121 in October 2010, when The Undertaker, in the audience, confronted a competing Lesnar – their feud leading directly to WrestleMania XXX proved relatively brief, extending only over the last month.

Indeed, the feud between The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar rested on a simple premise: that Lesnar’s aggression and his background made him an unequivocal and unparalleled threat to The Undertaker’s record. Where Taker’s matches against Shawn Michaels invoked the psychology of the streak, and his bouts against Triple H were intensely physical engagements, with lots of false finishes, this match was slower and took on a different perspective. After a few forays to the outside, Lesnar worked extensively on Taker’s legs, and the match briefly became a mat-based, submission-wrestling affair, as The Undertaker twice locked in the Hell’s Gate, only for Lesnar to power out and respond with the Kimura Lock. The Undertaker and Lesnar had earlier traded near falls, courtesy of a chokeslam and an F-5. Now Lesnar caught Taker again with an F-5 as he went for the Old School from the top rope; but again, Lesnar could draw only a close two-count. As his frustration grew, The Undertaker countered his blows with a Last Ride, and it looked like the streak would remain intact. Yet Lesnar reversed The Undertaker’s attempt at a Tombstone Piledriver, hoisting then dropping The Undertaker with a third F-5: and Lesnar covered, and the referee counted to three.

The disbelief amongst those in attendance was immediate: people’s mouths hung agape. As Paul Heyman raved in the corner of the ring and Lesnar took on a self-satisfied smirk, the arena remained silent, until eventually a 21-1 graphic was displayed as if to confirm the result. Lesnar and Heyman returned to the back, while The Undertaker lingered: but despite some chanting in support of The Undertaker, and several fans booing the conclusion, the audience looked on largely subdued, and The Undertaker maintained a look of strained shock as he struggled to the back – defeated, but neither vengeful nor conciliatory.

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The debate regarding the ending to this match can and will twist and rage endlessly. The result largely overshadowed the match itself, and can be interpreted apart from it; but it is true to say that the match, while it improved as it progressed after a sluggish opening, was far from a classic. The Undertaker has been in the ring for the last six WrestleMania’s with ring generals: Edge, Shawn Michaels and Triple H twice apiece, and last year CM Punk. For all of his talents, Lesnar does not control a match like these wrestlers, and with The Undertaker’s growing age and increasing lack of mobility, a great match required somebody who could dictate the right spots and the right tempo. Many will argue that, if the streak was to end, it ought to have ended against a more fitting opponent: against someone like CM Punk, who built an excellent encounter with The Undertaker one year ago; or, alternately, against a talented up-and-comer, a Bray Wyatt or Roman Reigns, for instance, who could have achieved a strong match while being established in the main event by virtue of victory. There is some feeling that Lesnar, aside from being an ill-suited opponent for The Undertaker in the ring, does not deserve to have ended the streak because he didn’t need the victory, and because he has not been a full-time wrestler since departing the company in 2004.

On the other hand, while there was some disappointment over the quality of the match, the immediate effect of its conclusion was to make momentous an occasion which might otherwise have been considered a relative failure. It has been speculated that The Undertaker himself determined, several years ago, that the streak would end at Lesnar’s hands; and certainly the rationale behind this is clear. For the sake of realism, it makes sense that an ageing Undertaker would fall at last to a physical phenomenon, still young, with many accomplishments within wrestling and with a successful recent run as a legitimate fighter in the UFC. The Undertaker is a UFC fan, and seems to buy into the notion that Lesnar’s successes there translate effectively into the world of professional wrestling. It is perhaps ironic that this man – famed worldwide for a gimmick that seems to demarcate the world of wrestling from that of other sports – seems to hold to such a notion of ‘legitimate’ toughness; but there is no contradiction there, and the rationale is eminently understandable.

More, perhaps The Undertaker and the WWE were increasingly aware of the tension inherent in building WrestleMania around the streak, while at the same time the streak appeared unlikely to ever be broken. It is difficult to make fans buy wholeheartedly into a match where defeat for one of the participants seems impossible. The conclusion to The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar certainly positioned the WWE one step ahead of its fans, who were forced to respond emotionally to an occasion that perhaps risked becoming too calculated.

There are those who will continue to argue that the streak should never have been broken. Jim Ross and Steve Austin are among those who argued in the past for never breaking the streak. This view essentially maintains that the legacy of an undiminished streak would have been best for the long-term future of the wrestling business: a cap on The Undertaker’s unsurpassed career; a facet adding value to and interest towards future WrestleManias; something evoking deep feeling and deep attachment in wrestling’s followers, a memory that could persist and would bind fans to the WWE. Some might lament what they perceive as a shock for the sake of shocking. Some have even speculated that the decision must have been made late in the day, owing to The Undertaker’s declining physical strength. There are other views too regarding how the streak should have been booked.

Lance Storm, several years ago via his website, outlined a concept for the streak which would have seen The Undertaker announce decisively that the streak would end – and that he would keep competing until somebody ended it, wanting to challenge himself to the fullest extent of his career. This announcement would have served several purposes. It would have made the streak even more of a draw, as fans clamoured to witness what could result in The Undertaker’s decisive retirement. It would have forced the fans to invest in the match at hand, knowing that defeat for The Undertaker was a real possibility. And it would also have softened the blow of The Undertaker’s eventual, inevitable defeat. One of the arguments against his loss on Sunday is that it cast a pall over the crowd which persisted well into the main event. Questions remain over The Undertaker’s future, while there is anticipation regarding the plan of action for Brock Lesnar: logically, he would become a monster heel on the back of the result, and could engage in a potentially era-defining feud with Daniel Bryan; but this depends on Lesnar being embraced as a villain by the WWE audience, and requires Lesnar to be willing and able to work a fuller schedule. Whatever, the end of the streak on Sunday well demonstrated that ‘anything can happen’ in the WWE; it made WrestleMania XXX profoundly, searingly memorable; and it restored a certain primacy to the value and the realities of winning and losing a wrestling match.

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This sense would carry through to the main event. First, a pleasant enough interlude saw AJ Lee retain her WWE Divas Championship in the Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational. Of the fourteen contenders, Natalya, Tamina, Naomi and AJ materialised from a chaotic opening as the invitational’s most probable victors. With the former two wrestlers fighting on the outside of the ring, AJ took the win by forcing Naomi to submit to the Black Widow. Earlier in the show, a locker room segment featuring Sgt. Slaughter, ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan, and Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat had culminated entertainingly enough in a Ron Simmons ‘Damn!’. Now an indecorous backstage bit brought together the participants from the very first WrestleMania’s main event. Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff argued with Hulk Hogan, who was joined by Mr. T, with Mean Gene holding the microphone and Pat Patterson interceding. The segment did not seem an exceptional use of the talents involved, and perhaps owing to time constraints was largely insensible; but the group emerged from it as firm friends, former differences cast aside and largely forgotten.

So the main event saw Randy Orton defending his WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Batista and Daniel Bryan; which posed problems of its own, for two of the three participants have struggled over the last couple of months to win a strong response from the fanbase. To an extent, Randy Orton and Batista have suffered from not being Daniel Bryan, as the enthusiasm which has both accompanied and impelled his rise has become encompassing. But there is the understandable perception that Randy Orton has been at the top of the business for a long time, without evolving as a character and without the promotion of suitable challengers; whereas Batista returned in January perhaps miscast initially as a face, but also conceived as past his physical peak, while his passion for the business has sometimes been laid open to question. Batista attained superstardom as part of a well conceived and sustained angle, winning his first WWE title at WrestleMania XXI in 2005, as he broke away from Evolution and defeated Triple H. His current shaven-headed look allied to the natural processes of ageing make him appear today somewhat generic and slightly sordid. Certainly a singles match between the two – which seemed pencilled in for the event initially – would have been hard to reconcile. But the main event was invigorated by Bryan’s involvement.

Randy Orton made his entrance first, as the band Rev Theory performed his theme music. Batista made his way to the ring next; and finally came Daniel Bryan. Within the context of the two match-ups, the contrast between Triple H and Randy Orton’s entrances and Daniel Bryan’s was marked and surely deliberate: where Triple H and Orton appeared grandiose, and therefore apart and conceited in their power, Bryan’s entrance was straightforward and one with the people, as he turned to them and pumped his arms focused, amid the soaring ‘Yes!’ chants, on the task ahead of him.

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Bryan was marginalised in the early stages of the bout, as his opponents took advantage of his injured arm and worked on each other in and out of the ring. As Bryan gained the ascendancy, Triple H and Stephanie appeared through the crowd – a slightly strange choice for the co-owners of the company, but suitably malignant. Interposing their own referee, the crooked Scott Armstrong, a quick count threatened as Batista dropped Bryan with the Batista Bomb. However, Bryan kicked out on two-and-a-half, and amid the recriminations which followed, his dive to the outside took down all of Triple H, Stephanie, and Armstrong. An enraged Triple H brought out a sledgehammer from underneath the ring, and he climbed onto the apron preparing to strike; but Bryan countered, and taking the sledgehammer from Triple H, clubbed him in the head sending him tumbling to the arena floor.

As Triple H and Stephanie were escorted from ringside, the match continued with the original referee revived. Triple H and Stephanie’s appearance – and it is worth noting that they, as the acknowledged co-owners of the WWE, gain heat whenever the fans become distressed over a booking decision – and Bryan’s use of the sledgehammer had revitalised the crowd, still in a state of stupefaction following The Undertaker’s defeat. It had momentarily seemed that the main event would be compromised by a subdued audience; but from this point the noise in the Superdome rose steadily across a perfectly booked and executed finish. Orton and Batista now determined to see off Bryan together. Their double-teaming on the outside of the ring climaxed with a Batista Bomb into an RKO, through the announce table. This was a double-team move which was almost too preposterous to be fully appreciated: it is not clear that the Batista Bomb alone wouldn’t have caused Bryan more pain and suffering: the RKO arguably broke Bryan’s fall, and it certainly cost Orton, who landed on one of the television monitors and lacerated his back. Still, the move was rewarded by the response of the crowd; and it had succeeded in damaging Bryan’s neck, for the medical personnel who came to check on him put him in a neck brace, and began to remove him from ringside on a stretcher.

With Bryan immobilised, Batista beat on a depleted Orton, only for Orton to turn the tide with a hangman’s DDT from the ring apron onto the floor. Before Bryan had been rolled all the way up the ramp, he summoned the will and the strength to tear off his neck brace, to climb off his stretcher, and to struggle back towards the ring. He applied the Yes Lock first to Orton, then to Batista, but both holds were broken. With Bryan tossed to the outside, Orton caught Batista with an RKO, but Batista kicked out at two and three-quarters. Bryan returned to the ring, and stunned Orton with a running knee. Batista prevented him from taking advantage, however, and tossed him again to the outside, stealing the cover on Orton – but again managing only a near fall. So Batista raised and then dropped Orton with a Batista Bomb, but as he looked up, Bryan was there once more with a running knee. Instead of the cover, Bryan put Batista in the Yes Lock, and he tapped, making Bryan the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

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Thus there was a triumphant end to the show, with Bryan raising the two heavy Championship belts amid ‘Yes!’ chants and falling purple-gold confetti. Credit for the main event must go to Bryan most of all, for it is he who has engaged the fans over the last year with his energy and aggression in the ring, and with his earnest entertainment outside of it: his achievement gave the event its shape and allowed it to be so successful. But credit goes too to whoever booked the match, with its climactic false finishes, and with the application of the Yes Lock – rather than a pinfall victory – allowing the fans to savour the moment and cheer; and also significantly to Orton and Batista, who pulled out such capable performances. Bryan is now established as a major star, and should be a fixture in the main event for years to come.

And yet Bryan was not the only or even the most enhanced superstar on the night of WrestleMania XXX. The event was monumental for Cesaro, who excelled in the tag match during the pre-show – which also made The Usos look strong – and broke from The Real Americans; then won the Memorial Battle Royal, showcasing his incredible strength and producing a genuine ‘WrestleMania Moment’. He pushed Bryan close for the accolade of WrestleMania XXX’s most valuable performer. The Shield picked up a WrestleMania victory and built momentum, and the character of Bray Wyatt too was elaborated, as a presentation and as regards his in-ring psychology. Putting in solid performances on such an effective card, the WWE’s older stars, Cena, Orton, and Batista, were gently invigorated.

Raw on Monday night saw more superstars emerge while continuing to propel the main storylines of WrestleMania XXX. There was a successful return to the ring for Bad News Barrett against Rey Mysterio; a debut singles victory for Alexander Rusev; and the return to the WWE of Rob Van Dam. WWE NXT Women’s Champion Paige appeared on the main show to a substantial reception, and she produced the surprise of the night when she beat a quarrelsome AJ for the WWE Divas Championship. Meanwhile The Wyatt Family opened the wrestling with a victory over the team of John Cena, Sheamus, and Big E. Cesaro not only confirmed his split from Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger: he revealed himself a ‘Paul Heyman guy’, Heyman’s new protégé, which is intriguing not least because Cesaro is igniting such a strong face response from the WWE audience. How Cesaro and Lesnar cohabitate alongside Heyman should prove an immense source of interest from here on. Raw closed with a stare down between the old and the new, as Daniel Bryan and The Shield fended off the attacks of Triple H, Kane, Randy Orton, and Batista. The mood outside of the wrestling ring shifted sadly late on Tuesday night, upon the announcement of the death of The Ultimate Warrior.