Ten years ago, The Rock faced off against Hulk Hogan in an Icon Vs. Icon match at WrestleMania X-8 (aka WrestleMania 18) in front of 68,000 fans at the Toronto SkyDome – and I was one of them. It was a magnificent atmosphere to be a part of, and even though our seats were in the fifth deck, and the ring was so small we could be cover it with our thumb if we closed one eye, it was still worth going just to experience that match live.
Ten years later, The Rock found himself involved in another epic encounter against John Cena. The Rock, who hadn’t wrestled a singles match in nine years, returned to the WWE from a flourishing movie career in Hollywood in order to give the fans something they were yearning for: The Rock Vs. Cena. The face of the company during the Attitude Era against the face of the company for the past decade in a match dubbed, “Once in a Lifetime.”
It was at WrestleMania 27 that The Rock got himself involved in the main event match between John Cena and The Miz, and arguably cost Cena the title (I say arguably because, well, it was The Rock who restarted the match that Cena had technically already lost.). It was the next night that The Rock and Cena made it official, that in one year, the two would meet one on one at WrestleMania 28 in The Rock’s hometown of Miami, Florida, to settle their differences once and for all.
That year of build-up, trash talk, promos, videos and sing-alongs came and went, with The Rock and Cena even teaming up at one point to take down The Mix and R-Truth, and all that was left was WrestleMania 28. Did they deliver? And maybe more importantly to those looking to purchase this Blu-ray for the replay value, did the rest of the card hold up under the weight of such a high profile, hugely anticipated main event?
Let’s take a look at the matches and find out.
The first disc of this two-disc set has Wrestlemania 28 in its entirety, as well as a few special features.
World Heavyweight Championship Match:
Daniel Bryan Vs. Sheamus
The show is being held in the Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida, so the first few matches are set in the daytime. The announcers hype up how big the crowd is and continuously say that people are still filing in. Well, I feel bad for those people, as they very likely missed what can’t really even be called a match. Sheamus takes Bryan out moments after the bell rings with the Brogue Kick, and the match is done 18 seconds after it began. This was done, of course, to further Bryan’s storyline more than it was a way to bury him. Still, even at 18 seconds, this will be one you likely won’t be sitting through when it comes to revisiting certain matches.
Randy Orton Vs. Kane
If there’s something I recommend the WWE do, if not with their live PPV broadcasts, then at least with their home video releases, it’s that they show one of those extremely well edited story montages for the upcoming match before it takes place. They just get you caught up on everything, and they’re so well done that the intensity carries over from them and into the PPV matches themselves. Kane and Orton is a decent battle, though it lacks any real emotion or payoff, and just is what it is as the first part of the card struggles along.
Intercontinental Championship Match
Cody Rhodes Vs. Big Show
I actually really enjoyed this match. The Big Show dominated the early portion, really using his brute strength to take the much younger, more agile Rhodes out of the equation. Rhodes did fight back, taking out Show’s legs midway through, but in the end, a knockout punch by Show gets him his Wrestlemania moment and the Intercontinental title. It’s a solid finish to a solid match, and the emotional look on Show’s face after it’s done, as he holds the belt and says, “I told you I could do it,” really hits home.
Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos Vs. Beth Phoenix & Eve
Kelly Kelly is quite a talent, and her athletic abilities really help give these Diva matches some life. Her work here with Phoenix and Eve is great, with some beautifully choreographed maneuvers taking place throughout, making this a match that’s definitely worth seeing again.
Of course, like any celebrity addition for a Wrestlemania match, Menounos (the co-host of Extra) is the weakest link here. She doesn’t do a bad job, and I don’t expect her to learn how to wrestle in the small amount of time she has to train; however, selling something is probably the easiest thing to learn for the moves she had to sell, and she really did a horrible job of doing so. Even a look of pain on her face would suffice in this instance, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Still, this is definitely a match worth checking out again.
End of an Era Hell in a Cell Match
Triple H Vs. The Undertaker (w/ Special Guest Referee Shawn Michaels)
Interesting fact pointed out by Cole during this match: there have been 24 Hell in a Cell matches in WWE history, and these two have been involved in 19 of them. People are calling for this to be the match of the year, and it very well should be up there simply for the story told. There are some huge bumps taken in this one, and one in particular made me cringe in pain. It was so simple, yet so unexpected that I wondered how Undertaker could’ve prepared himself for it. It was the simple slam Triple H gave him onto the steel steps, and the thud his body makes when it hits them is eye opening.
The emotion in this match is extremely well played out, with both sides struggling to keep the other down. If there has to be a heel in this one, it’d be Triple H, who quickly resorts to using a plethora of chair shots in order to take Undertaker out once and for all. Of course, the tides change when Taker also begins to use weapons in order to take the resilient Game out of commission as well. Through it all, Shawn Michaels is torn as to how to call the match, and whether or not he should get involved. After Taker attacks Michaels in order to stop him from ending the match, Michaels nails Taker with Sweet Chin Music in return, which causes Taker to get Pedigreed immediately after. Of course, this has to be it, right? No. Taker kicks out at two, and the reaction of Michaels is priceless.
It’s an epic bout that’s definitely worth watching again, simply for the incredibly well told story that plays out in the ring. It could be argued that this match could have been a “No DQ” match and still worked just the same, as the cell was never really taken advantage of; however, the idea that these men were trapped in this hellish place that they’re both so accustom to does seem fitting, so in the end, the choice makes sense.
Team Teddy Vs. Team Johnny
Booker T, R-Truth, Great Khali, Santino Marella, Kofi Kingston & Zack Ryder Vs. Jack Swagger, Drew McIntyre, David Ortunga, Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler & The Miz
This was the first twelve-man tag team match in Wrestlemania history, and it was exactly what one would expect from a twelve-man tag team match. It was a bunch of back and forth between multiple mid-card players until the moment came where everyone began to take one another out until only two remained for it to end. That’s not to say there weren’t any entertaining spots (the triple flip over the ropes onto Team Johnny was quite impressive, and Ziggler continues to be one of the best sellers in the industry!) it’s just that it isn’t one you’ll likely be watching again.
On a side note, I still say that Drew McIntyre should be main eventing, or at least playing near the top of the card, as the guy just screams top tier heel.
WWE Championship Match (If Punk is disqualified, he loses the title to Jericho)
CM Punk Vs. Chris Jericho
Jericho has a brilliantly fun strategy to start this match, and that’s simply walking up to Punk and slapping him in the face, then cowering back into the corner so Punk can pummel away on him. It’s genius because Punk almost gets disqualified multiple times by this action. It’s a fun match that’s well choreographed and well played out, with multiple high points throughout. One of the best ones is when Jericho taunts Punk about his father and his sister, and then when Punk grabs a steel chair, Jericho points to his head, begging Punk to hit him. There’s some really classic heel Jericho to be found here, and a great match all around.
Once in a Lifetime
The Rock Vs. John Cena
A really great promo package setting up The Rock Vs. Cena plays before the match, and it features multiple wrestlers giving their perspectives on the two, mixed with clips of their history that really helps set the stage before the main event.
Speaking of setting the stage, Wrestlemania has always been about celebrity presence, and being a huge spectacle and they didn’t let down on this night either. There are two amazing intro performances by Machine Gun Kelly (singing alongside the very talented Skylar Grey) for John Cena and Flo Rida (who sang alongside Sia) for The Rock. Even if you’re not a fan of the music, you’ll likely find yourself tapping your foot and nodding your head to the beats delivered by these artists.
And it’s all a part of the main event. When you watch Cena Vs. Rock down the road, it’s those performances, and the promo package that will be revisited right along with it, as they’re all one in the same. The match between Cena and The Rock is one of brute strength, which was very well placed after a more technical Jericho/Punk bout.
Speaking of well placed, it seems as though the WWE learned from past mistakes, as after Hogan Vs Rock at Wrestlemania 18, the crowd was spent. There was so much emotion put into that match, that for the remaining two matches (including the main event between Jericho and HHH) there just wasn’t anything left to give. Smart move by the WWE to put this match last – though it’s not as if they really had a choice.
The match is a back and forth bout, with both men pulling out all the stops. The Rock looks great for not having been in the ring more than once in nine years, and Cena is as strong as ever. There are some awesome spots here, including when Cena catches The Rock, rolls over, lifts him up and gives him the Attitude Adjustment just like that. There’s also some wonderfully played out drama in the end, where Cena just can’t seem to keep The Rock down, and in a frustrated state, he decides to give The Rock the People’s Elbow. This proves to be his undoing, as a perfectly timed Rock Bottom by The Rock during this move gets him the win.
It was a great match, and definitely one worth revisiting. The right man won, as The Rock adds to his legendary status, and Cena gets to continue an interesting storyline for himself in the coming weeks. If Cena had won, it’d be right back to boring status, and nobody wants that.
In the end, there was more to enjoy throughout Wrestlemania 28 than there was to hate on, and that makes this a worthy purchase from a replay point alone. While Big Show Vs. Cody Rhodes, and the Divas matches made the mid-card entertaining; it’s Punk/Jericho, Triple H/Taker and The Rock/Cena that will keep you coming back.
Hall of Fame Ceremony – This is the entire 2012 Hall of Fame ceremony that runs at just under three hours in length and allows you to witness the inductions of Edge, Yokozuna, Mike Tyson, The Four Horsemen, Ron Simmons and Mil Mascaras. There are some really great inductions this year, and watching people like Yokozuna get recognized is really great, and wonderful to watch in its entirety. His nephews, The Usos, induct him and tell a really fun story when doing so.
Edge’s induction from his best friend Christian is hilarious and full of jokes, almost as though he’s roasting his friend. This leads in to quite a big speech by Edge where he goes ahead and pokes fun at himself and many others. It’s a great watch, and as someone who has been a fan of Edge since he first debuted in the WWE, this was a fantastic watch. Any fan of any of these inductees will have a great time watching their talents get recognized in this three-hour extravaganza.
The audio portions of this Blu-ray are fantastic. The crowd reactions, the wrestlers yelling at one another in and outside of the ring, the theme music, the musical performances all came out wonderfully. The video looks crisp, and the transition from day to night in the stadium is flawless, and the matches look amazing. Definitely the way to watch Wrestlemania if you have the choice!
The special features are broken up across two discs, with the Blu-ray exclusives being found on disc two.
Triple Threat Tag-Team Championship: Jimmy & Jay Uso Vs. Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd Vs. Epico & Primo Vs. – Just under 10 minutes long, this tag-team match took place prior to the first match on the Wrestlemania card.
Wrestlemania Press Conference – This featurette is just under 16 minutes in length and we find out that those covering the Wrestlemania press conference are an incredibly boring group of people. There’s barely any laughing, or clapping, and it’s just ridiculous how those covering this event don’t seem to enjoy themselves. It comes off sounding like a golf event, which is basically all you need to know.
The History of The Undertaker & Triple H End of an Era Match – This is a quick featurette just under five minutes in length, but it’s well put together and gets you pumped for their match.
Undertaker Seeks Vengeance on Triple H (Monday Night RAW, Feb. 20, 2012) – This is a 20-minute promo that has The Undertaker and Triple H going back and forth until Triple H finally accepts the challenge for Wrestlemania 28, and says that he’ll only do it if it’s Hell in a Cell.
Best in the World (Monday Night RAW, Feb. 27, 2012) – This is a 12-minute promo where Chris Jericho and CM Punk go back and forth with one another leading up to Wrestlemania 28.
The Rock Comes Back to Portland (Monday Night RAW, Feb. 27, 2012) – This is a 24 minute promo that sees The Rock doing what he does best on the mic leading up to his match with John Cena at Wrestlemania 28.
John Cena Returns Home (Monday Night RAW, March 5, 2012) – This is the solid four and a half minute promo that Cena gives inside the empty arena leading up to his match with The Rock.
John Cena & The Rock Have Their Final Confrontation (Monday Night RAW, March 26, 2012) – This is what it says it is: The final promo between Cena and The Rock leading into their once in a lifetime match.
WWE Home Video presents Wrestlemania 28. Featuring: The Rock, John Cena, Triple H, The Undertaker, CM Punk, Chris Jericho, The Big Show, Cody Rhodes, Kelly Kelly, Kane, The Miz, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, Drew McIntyre. Approx. Running Time: 9 Hours. Rating: TV-PG. Released on DVD: May 8, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.
Tags: chris jericho, cm punk, Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan, Drew McIntyre, john cena, kane, Kelly Kelly, randy orton, shawn michaels, sheamus, the big show, The Miz, The Rock, the undertaker, triple h, wrestlemania, wrestlemania 28, WWE