It's time for the biggest single event in professional wrestling - WrestleMania 29. The event will take place live from MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands of New Jersey. 70,000 plus spectators and millions around the world will watch as The Rock defends his WWE Championship, Triple H faces retirement as he battles Brock Lesnar, and the Undertaker tries to extend his unbeaten WrestleMania streak.
Tonight's card is as follows:
Main Show Card:
Show coverage will start with the pre-show, which kicks off at 6 p.m. EST. Results and reaction will be updated periodically throughout the evening, so be sure to refresh for the latest updates!
We get the video from Friday where Vince McMahon revealed the set design for WrestleMania. It includes the Statue of Liberty at the ring, as well as Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building at the entrance stage.
They take it to ringside where Matt Striker and Josh Mathews check in. They hype up Wade Barrett vs. The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship during the pre-show and all the ways that the show can be watched tonight. They claim this will be the most interactive WrestleMania in history.
They throw it to Scott Stanford, who is with a panel composed of Dusty Rhodes, Jim Ross and Kofi Kingston. They run through some various comments about WrestleMania and the excitement.
They feed it into a hype video package for Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger.
This "pre-game" show format really makes it look like a legitimate sporting event. It adds a special feeling. Will they do it beyond WrestleMania? We shall see. It would fit well on their network for sure.
They come back to the panel and they chat briefly about the match. Dusty says he thinks this is Swagger's moment to achieve the American dream and win.
They show the WrestleMania video package with various fans featuring the 'Mania theme.
Striker and Mathews hype up fans sending in Touts. They may get used on the pre-show. Then they also announce a text contest to win tickets to WrestleMania 30 next year. From there, the announcers feed it into a package to hype up the Triple H/Brock Lesnar match.
They go back to the panel and they chat about the match between Triple H and Brock. JR refers to Paul Heyman as "Dr. Heymanstein."
Tony Dawson is shown out in the parking lot with tailgating WrestleMania fans.
The Miz is with Snooki backstage. She is the social media ambassador for this night. Wade Barrett walks in and tells Snooki to text something else but she tells him it's more than 140 characters.
Barrett talks about introducing Miz to a different reality and Snooki says "really?" Miz tells her to text that he will win the Intercontinental Championship tonight. Barrett leaves and Snooki compliments Miz's spray tan.
Striker and Mathews talk again at ringside and they feed it to a hype video for Mark Henry and Ryback. The panel talks about that video package after it airs.
They show highlights of the WrestleMania press conference from Thursday.
The panel then moves on to talk about the WrestleMania match between Undertaker and CM Punk. They feed it into a video package highlighting this feud. The panel discusses the video afterward and JR says Punk won't be the one to get it done tonight.
They show another shot out in the parking lot and talk to fans after panning the inside of the stadium. They then air various Touts of favorite moments from fans.
We get a highlight package for The Shield vs. Randy Orton, Sheamus and Big Show. They send it to Scott Standford and the panel to discuss the video. Dusty and Kofi talk about it mostly, but they do include JR.
Match #1 - The Miz vs. Wade Barrett (c); WWE Intercontinental Championship
Miz hits Reality Check and gets a two count. Barrett tries for Wasteland, but Miz counters out and goes for Skull Crushing Finale. Barrett counters out of that. Miz sets up for his running corner clothesline, but Barrett hits him with Winds of Change for a near fall.
Barrett hits Wasteland and gets a near fall. He complains to the official. He tries to get the Bull Hammer Elbow but Miz ducks and takes him down for the Figure Four to a lot of "woo!" from the live crowd. Barrett breaks it at the ropes the first time.
Late, Miz lands a kick and takes Barrett down to put him in the Figure Four again, and this time Barrett taps.
Winner - The Miz to capture the Intercontinental Championship
A good pre-show match, but the finish was a bit odd. The Figure Four came somewhat out of nowhere. The fans were receptive to the change - something I didn't think would happen.
In the press box, Scott Stanford, JR, Kofi and Dusty talk about the main event of The Rock vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship. JR feels if the match goes 30 minutes or less, The Rock retains, but if it goes over 30 minutes Cena will win. They feed it into a video package for that story that closes out the pre-show.
Wrestlemania 29 - Live from Met Life Stadium, The Meadowlands in New Jersey
They open with footage from Hurricane Sandy, narrated by New Jersey governor Chris Christie. He closes the video package welcoming viewers to WrestleMania 29. They feed it to another video package with the narrator telling us that this is WrestleMania.
Cole introduces the show and the camera peels back to show the set with the Statue of Liberty and various New York skyline features as the stage. Jerry Lawler and JBL are also at the commentary position.
Match #1 - Sheamus, Randy Orton and Big Show vs. The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns)
A sign can be spotted in the crowd that says "If Cena wins, we complain online." You bet we will. Reigns sells early on. Show hits his slaps to the chest on one of the guys in The Shield as Show's partners smile.
The camera guys were ready for this, but there was a neat spot where Rollins ran to the face corner and hit a drop kick on Orton to knock him from the apron. Sheamus hits Rollins with his sledgehammer-like blows to the chest in the ropes. Sheamus tries to go to the ropes but gets pulled down to ringside.
The Shield isolates Sheamus and sets him up for the triple powerbomb, but Big Show hits a spear from nowhere and takes all three men down to break the move. Sheamus crawls over for the tag to Show, but Orton tags himself in.
Orton teases the RKO on Ambrose. Rollins jumps from the ropes behind Orton and eats an RKO for his troubles. Reigns hits a spear on Orton and Ambrose covers for the win. The Shield exits through the crowd.
Winners - The Shield
Afterward, Show gets in Orton's face and complains about the tag moment. Orton can be heard saying "ok, ok, ok...". Show hits Sheamus with the WMD Punch in the corner then on Orton. Show leaves the ring with the other two men lying. Cole says you have to feel bad for Orton because he went to bat to get Show on the team, but JBL defends hiim saying things were fine until the tag.
A good opener with the right result. The Shield needed to win here. And they gave the Shield the win without the dissension until after the match, which made the Shield look better. Let the "Orton's turning" talk start with the way he tagged into the match.
They show a video package that focuses on Cena's "down year" that's followed by The Rock looking strong in the end. They show former "Jersey Shore" star Snooki in the crowd with her boyfriend.
Match #2 - Ryback vs. Mark Henry
The two behemoths meet mid-ring and jaw at each other. They do the typical shoulder block spot where neither man falls. They repeat that. They trade punches and the fans do their "yay!/boo!" bit with Ryback getting booed though not intensely. Henry hits a powerslam to get the early advantage.
Ryback tries a suplex, but Henry counters and puts him on the apron. Henry runs Ryback into the ringpost then hits a clothesline that sends Ryback to the floor. Henry maintains control back inside the ring with punches and kicks, then locks on a bear hug.
Ryback eventually takes control and puts Henry in position to hit Shellshocked. Henry grabs the ropes though and falls onto Ryback to get the victory.
Winner - Mark Henry
Trainers come out to check on Ryback but Henry shoos them off. Ryback hits a spinebuster on Henry then hits Shellshocked to leave Henry laying. Ryback gets some "feed me more" chants going.
A decent big-man match but it did fall a little flat. The finish was surprising as I would have figured Ryback to go over given his PPV losing streak. He didn't lose anything but he didn't gain anything either.
Not a lot of heel love going, just yet. Ryback didn't get booed out of the building but there were some audible boos at times.
The announcers play with action figures. JBL pounds on the Rey Mysterio one, presumably in revenge for his 21-second loss at Mania 25.
Lilian Garcia introduces representatives of Special Olympics, along with Stephanie McMahon. They wave from the stage.
Notable by its televised absence, Lilian singing "America the Beautiful"...
Match #3 - Kane and Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston (w/AJ); WWE Tag Team Championship
They tease the "18 seconds" thing from last year with Bryan hitting a roundhouse kick on Ziggler and going for a cover almost immediately. Neat moment.
Langston and Kane end up going at it early. Langston shows off some power by lifting Kane up and slamming him over his knee a couple times.
Later, Ziggler catches Kane with the Zig Zag in a good near fall. Dolph tries to use the MITB briefcase as a weapon, but Kane ducks. Kane hits a chokeslam on Ziggler then Bryan follows with the top rope headbutt to get the win. Bryan leads "yes!" chants afterward.
Winner - Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan and Kane) to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship
Not long enough to be memorable, but an entertaining affair. They did a good job with showing the height Kane got Ziggler to on that chokeslam.
We get a video package for John Cena promoting Make-A-Wish.
Match #4 - Chris Jericho vs. Fandango
Fandango comes out first as his music plays. A group of dancers in purple dance to the stage and do their thing, while Fandango and his dancer (who is in white) come out behind the ladies in purple. The lights go out in the stadium for Jericho's entrance, which looked really cool with the pyro effects.
Loud Y2J chants as this gets going. Fandango does a dance but Jericho takes him down only to have Fandango take a powder. Jericho gives chase and they head back into the ring where Jericho takes him down again and throws more punches. Jericho kicks Fandango in the ass and drops him on the ropes out of a suplex position.
Fandango does his dance bit again but takes the Codebreaker for his troubles. Fandango's momentum takes him out to ringside. Jericho has a small cut opened up on his forehead. He hits a dive from the top rope onto Fandango at ringside.
Fandango starts going on offense after Jericho misses a corner charge. He hits his top rope leg drop, but Jericho kicks out on two. JBL says it would have been the biggest upset of sports entertainment history. Jericho mounts a brief comeback but gets taken down with a clothesline.
Fandango goes up top again but Jericho recovers and knocks him off. Jericho perches Fandango on the ropes and tries a superplex. Fandango fights him off and headbutts him to the mat. Fandango tries the top rope legdrop but misses. Jericho tries the Lionsault in return but misses when Fandango puts his legs up. Jericho goes for the Walls but Fandango rolls him up in a small package for the win.
Winner - Fandango
The announcers really hyped this up as a "big upset" which is the way to position it for casual fans. Hardcore fans assumed Jericho would be taking the loss as he did. The entrances were a nice addition and helped things to feel more important.
This first hour and some-odd just haven't felt WrestleMania big but it has been a good show.
The announcers recap The Miz winning the Intercontinental Championship on the pre-show then swing to a video package on The Rock, featuring fans saying "I am one of the millions..." It ends with Rock holding the title and his voice saying "And I am The People's Champion.
Things go dark again. We get a collection of classic footage with various high spots and big names from past and present. Sean "Diddy" Combs is elevated out from under the stage and he delivers his musical presentation.
This writer is not a "Diddy" fan, so I'm biased when I say it was terrible.
The announcers talk at ringside and mention that Combs is a social media ambassador for the Be A Star campaign.
They swing to a video package of Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger, then Alberto Del Rio looking at the Statue of Liberty and waxing patriotic.
Match #5 - Alberto Del Rio (c, w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter); World Heavyweight Championship
Zeb and Swagger are already in the ring, but they failed to show the entrance with the camouflaged vehicle they drove in. Colter cuts a promo complaining about all the foreigners in New York City and how people who speak in foreign languages in the US. He insinuates they plot "God knows what against us."
Colter asks if the fans are too gutless to do anything about it. He says Swagger will begin to reclaim the country by winning the title from Del Rio.
Ricardo comes to the stage and introduces Del Rio. He's wearing a white robe with gold trim and red white and green fireworks go off from behind the stadium. Lilian handles the in-ring introductions for this match.
They end up at ringside early in this one, Del Rio running on offense. When they get back in the ring, Colter stands on the rope and causes a distraction. Swagger gains control of the match.
Later, Del Rio has a pin on Swagger but Colter reaches in and puts Swagger's foot on the rope to break it. "I didn't do it!" Colter yells. Ricardo hobbles over on his crutches to confront Colter. Colter kicks his bad ankle and takes a crutch. Del Rio heads out to ringside and Swagger jumps him from behind.
Swagger roughs up Del Rio and tosses him back in. Swagger follows him in but Del Rio is able to lock in the Cross Arm Breaker immediately for the submission win. Michael Strahan, formerly of the New York Giants and now a talk-show host, is shown going crazy while Colter seethes.
Winner - Alberto Del Rio to retain the World Heavyweight Championship
Colter tried to get some heat but the fans didn't much care. The match itself wasn't terrible but it wasn't memorable either. I am sure lots were waiting for a Ziggler cash in, but it didn't happen.
This has been a very ordinary show inside a huge venue with an amazing stage set. It just does not feel like WrestleMania to me.
They show a National Guard commercial, and ring announcer Justin Roberts thanks the military personnel in attendance and watching.
We get a video package for CM Punk and The Undertaker.
Match #6 - Undertaker vs. CM Punk (w/Paul Heyman)
Living Colour comes out and performs "Cult of Personality" as CM Punk makes his entrance. He and Heyman come to the ring with the urn, and Paul is be-bopping along with the music. Funny moment.
Undertaker makes his entrance next. Punk lets out a primal scream when the gong hits.
Punk's scream was a nice touch, actually. So often we get that "look of fear" from Taker opponents rather than something that signifies a fight.
Punk plays with the urn pre-match. Taker goes after him, but Punk dodges then slaps Taker across the face. Taker chases, and Punk dodges then fires away with repeated shots in the corner. Finally, some life out of the fans.
Taker grabs Punk by the throat, but takes a kick to the head. Punk runs the ropes but takes a boot from Taker. Taker throws him out to ringside and follows after. He whips Punk into the timekeeper's area. Taker rips apart the Spanish announce table, then picks Punk up and rams his back into the ring post.
They work back into the ring and Punk takes control. He takes Taker by the arm and backs to the corner. The fans know what's coming next and they get going again. Punk hits Taker's trademark "old school" spot.
Punk keeps the offense on Taker's shoulder. Taker punches back, but Punk hits a swinging neckbreaker. Heyman yells encouragement, telling Punk he's a half-second away from ending the streak and gaining momentum.
Punk is in old-school Taker colors. He goes up top for Old School again but it didn't work this time. Taker knocks Punk to the floor. Heyman yells that Punk has to get up. Taker teases a dive over the top but Heyman gets on the apron and stands in his way. Taker grabs Heyman but Punk attacks from behind.
Punk hits a top-rope elbow for two, then calls for the GTS. He loads it but Taker counters and hits a chokeslam. Punk kicks out at the last moment. Taker goes on a run of offense and hits Snake Eyes in the corner. Punk manages to catch Taker with a leg lariat out of that.
Punk clotheslines Taker out to the floor. He takes the last monitor off the Spanish announce table but Taker catches him and sets up for the Last Ride. Punk counters out and hits a kick that leaves Taker on the table. Punk eyes the top rope.
Punk goes up and hits the Macho Elbow on the table. No table break, though. They show a replay and Punk took a shot on the hip and ankle there. It takes a nine count to get Taker back in the ring. Taker gets in and locks Punk in Hell's Gate. Punk rolls it over into a pinfall attempt to break it.
Punk locks on the Anaconda Vise, but Taker sits up. Punk tries the GTS but didn't get all of it. Taker hits the Tombstone and covers with his classic cover, but Punk kicks out at the last possible moment.
Both trade punches on their knees. No favorite in the "yay!/boo!" cheer here. They fight to their feet and Taker grabs Punk by the throat. Punk flails his arms around and manages to knock the official down. Taker goes for the chokeslam, but Punk hits Taker with the urn.
Punk makes a cover in Taker's "tongue out" style, but Taker kicks out. The fans bought into that near fall. Moments later, the two fight for position in the ring. Taker gets the better of the exchange and hits the Tombstone Piledriver for the win.
Winner - Undertaker to run his Streak to 21-0.
Afterward, Taker takes back the urn and sits it down in the ring. He does his one-knee pose while fireworks go off and 21-0 appears on the screens.
Match of the night, and it's not close. However you felt about the build up to this match, the two had a great match that had the fans buying into the near falls. They definitely earned the "this is awesome" chant that was heard at times.
We get a Slim Jim commercial, then The Miz, Kofi Kingston and Kaitlyn talk about a donation that Slim Jim made to the USO. The announcers talk at ringside, then we get another video package about John Cena and redemption.
We get a video package for Brock Lesnar and Triple H, and they're next.
Match #7 - Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Triple H (w/Shawn Michaels); No-Holds barred, and if Triple H loses, he is forced into retirement
Shawn Michaels gets his entrance first, then Brock Lesnar with a smiling Paul Heyman behind him. Lesnar is looking cut like he never has before. He also has a bruise on his cheek.
Triple H's music hits last after a long pause. He comes out through a prop reminiscent of 80's metal and ends up with this white powder on him. It actually became a bit distracting during his entrance with the lighting as it was.
They brawl right away. The fans aren't quite into this just yet after that Taker/Punk match. Lesnar gets an early cut on his temple.
Lesnar hits a suplex on the floor. He picks Trips up and drops him on the announce table. He slams him through the Spanish announce table that didn't break during the Taker match.
Lesnar lets out this yell then hits another suplex onto what is left of the Spanish announce table. He laughs, then lets out another yell. The crowd reacts to the big spots but seems quiet otherwise.
Back in the ring, Lesnar keeps hitting suplexes. He looks at Michaels and smiles. Heyman yells in at Trips "why do you put yourself through this? Stay down!"
Lesnar's got a big scrape on his chest and some blood at his mouth. He keeps up the domination, though, until H hits a clothesline that knocks Brock to the timekeeper's area. Triple H pulls out a chair and wears Lesnar out with it. Lesnar hits another suplex back in the ring.
Shawn climbs up on the apron. Heyman gets up as well and tells Lesnar to put Michaels down. Brock knocks Shawn off the apron with a forearm but eats a spinebuster from Trips. Brock goes for the F5, but Shawn runs in.
HBK tries Sweet Chin Music but Lesnar catches his foot and hits him with the F5. Trips was waiting for Lesnar, though, and hit him with a Pedigree (he had to do it twice). Trips goes out of the ring and gets a sledgehammer. He tries to hit Brock but Brock ducks and hits the F5.
Brock throws in a section of the ring steps. The announcers say Lesnar is out of control at this point. Lesnar waits for H to get up and grabs the ring steps. He hits Trips with them and covers but only gets two.
Trips punches his way back and tries a Pedigree, but Lesnar locks in the Kimura lock. They were in the ropes, but JBL points out the ropes don't matter in a no holds barred match. Brock wrenches in on the hold and sits on the rope to put more pressure on the arm.
Trips powers up and slams Brock from the ropes to the mat. Lawler calls it amazing but he might be the loudest fan in the building. Brock recovers and charges at H but misses. Brock hits a low blow in retaliation.
H hits Brock on the elbow with a chair, then hits another shot on Brock's arm on the ring steps. He locks on his own Kimura on Brock and Brock is stunned. Brock teases tapping but Heyman yells at him not to. Heyman gets in the ring with a chair, but Shawn gets in the ring and hits Heyman with Sweet Chin Music.
Brock teases the tap out and the fans are into it. Brock drives himself up and slams H on the steps. H locks the Kimura back in, though. Rinse and repeat with the pick up and slam for Brock to break the hold.
H goes back to the Kimura a third time and Brock teases another tap out. He drives up again but this time H hits him with a DDT instead of getting slammed on the steps. The announcers quickly replay that as Trips catches Brock with the sledgehammer.
Trips calls for the Pedigree and hits it on the ring steps still there in the ring. Hunter covers for the win. Shawn Michaels gets in the ring and celebrates with Trips.
Winner - Triple H
This was miles better than their SummerSlam encounter as far as the work in the ring. The fans might still have been coming down from Taker/Punk as far as the crowd reaction was concerned, or they may never have bought in on the retirement stipulation. The guys worked hard and had a good physical brawl. Definitely the second best match of the night.
We get ads for Extreme Rules on May 19 and Rock's "Pain and Gain" movie that opens on April 26.
They give a recap of the Hall of Fame ceremony from last night and spotlight the USA special this coming Tuesday.
Howard Finkel comes out and they introduce the inductees to the Hall of Fame: Trish Stratus, Mick Foley, Booker T, Bob Backlund, Donald Trump and Bruno Sammartino. They change the music to spotlight Bruno as the headliner of the class.
Good round of applause for all but Trump, who got booed heavily.
We get a hype video for WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans next year. Justin Roberts tells us that the official attendance is 80,676 and fireworks go off over the stadium.
They cut the eight-person mixed tag from the show. We're going right to the main event.
Match #8 - The Rock (c) vs. John Cena; WWE Championship
Cena was booed heavily as he comes to the ring. Rock gets a big pop. Justin Roberts handles our introductions for this main event matchup.
Cena takes Rock down with a shoulder block. The two men take turns in the first several minutes of the match. Audible "boring" chants can be heard. The match takes a slow build here and the announcers point that fact out that neither man has opened things up yet.
The pace begins to pick up as the two work a series of moves and counters. Rock locks in the sharpshooter for a good reaction. Cena escapes and hits a slam that gets booed. Cena just smiles and the announcers say he feeds off of it.
Cena does his "you can't see me" bit and has some fans chanting along. He tries the Five Knuckle but Rock counters by hitting him with a DDT. Rock sets up the Rock Bottom but after a bit of an awkward transition, Cena locks on the STF. It isn't enough to put Rock away.
Cena slams Rock and does his "you can't see me" bit again. This time he hits the Five Knuckle to boos. Rock teases the People's Elbow and the crowd roars approval, but Cena reaches up and counters into the STF. Rock powers out as the announcers say no one else has ever powered out of that move.
They get to their feet and Rock hits the Rock Bottom for two. They get up and Cena hits the AA for a two count of his own. Lawler sells it as Cena playing possum to lure Rock in for that move sequence.
Cena's up first and he goes to the top. He tries a top rope leg drop but Rock moves and hits a spinebuster. He delivers the People's Elbow for a two. The fans count along but Cena kicks out and rolls to the floor.
The two trade punches to the "yay!/boo!" reaction, with Rock getting the "yay!" side of that. He gets the better of the exchange and runs the ropes to hit a cross body. Cena catches him. Rock slips out and hits the Rock Bottom again for two.
Rock sets up the People's Elbow but decides to mock Cena's "You Can't See Me" gesture. Cena pops up and hits the AA on Rock after he runs the ropes. Cole points out Cena toying with Rock the same way last year and it cost Cena that match, and it nearly cost Rock here. Good story work from Cole.
Rock and Cena trade punches again with the yay/boo reaction. Cena slides around and rolls Rock up for two. They jockey for position and Cena hits a Rock Bottom on Rock for two. Nice spot.
Cena thinks about the "you can't see me" gesture but stops. Cena teases doing Rock's routine instead. The announcers assume he thought better. He runs the ropes but Rock pops up. Cena stops, does the "you can't see me" and loads the AA. Rock slips out and hits the Rock Bottom again for another near fall.
Rock kicks Cena in the midsection and hits a DDT. Rock waits for Cena to get to his feet. Cena gets up, and Rock tries the Rock Bottom but Cena ducks it and hits the AA for the win.
Winner - John Cena to win the WWE Championship
Afterward, the official hands Cena the belt. Cena looks at it, and Rock gets back to his feet. They meet mid ring and exchange words, which look positive. Rock says he came back for this moment. They shake hands and hug. That gets booed.
Cena leaves the ring with the belt. Rock plays to the fans and says thank you. He goes to ringside and hugs his mom, daughter, and other family and friends. He walks up to the stage where Cena is still standing.
Cena salutes him at the stage and Rock returns the favor. Cena raises Rock's hand and Rock points to Cena with the other. Fireworks go off outside the stadium as Cole sells it as a "main event for the ages." Cena yells "the champ is here" to close the show.
This started slow, but was entertaining down the stretch with all the big-match "near fall" moments you would expect. It never felt as important as last year's match though even with the belt on the line. it was entertaining, and felt like a main event, but all the AA and Rock Bottom spots felt repetitive. Solid, strong effort by both guys, but it just wasn't hot to me in this second offering.
Overall, this show felt like the three-match card it was on paper. There were matches on the undercard that I was looking forward to, but they were presented in a very throw-away fashion so they lost their WrestleMania feel.
Taker/Punk was definitely the match of the night and it's a shame it didn't get to close out the event. It was flat-out awesome. If possible, get a replay.
The post-match with Rock and Cena will drive Cena haters nuts. I also don't get what happened there in that it seems Rock was sort of giving a "passing the torch" nod to Cena, something Rock specifically said he would NOT be doing. Very, very odd moment there.
Join us here tomorrow night for all the fallout on Monday Night Raw, starting at 8 p.m. EST. Thanks for following along tonight.