The flickering lights, the boisterous fans, a capacity crowd of over 70,000 were indications that the events of the evening would be filled with excitement and intense action. The loud entrance music signaled the arrival of someone popular. Roars erupted as he made his long walk to the ring. With microphone in hand, he welcomed fans to what he promised to be the “best Wrestlemania of all time.” Cheering and emotional fans chanted “Fruity Pebbles”( in relation to comments made about John Cena’s ring attire) and “Rocky”. Huge colorful signs popped up across the arena. It was the Rock’s presence that brightened the Georgia Dome crowd.

There were many interesting matches. The highlights included two championship matches, and a contest between two future WWE Hall of Famers. It was certainly not a night for just casual watching.  It was Wrestlemania 27 – the wrestling event of the year – an event that attracts fans from around the globe. I must admit though, that the WWE’s choice for the opening match of the evening, shocked me, and probably stunned the fans as well.

For the first time in the event’s history, fans witnessed the World Heavyweight Championship on the line, as Edge defended the belt against the winner of the 2011 Royal Rumble Match, Alberto Del Rio. Most of the challenger’s offence focused on the already weakened arm of the champion. Alberto “injured” the arm on a previous episode of Smackdown. After escaping a submission hold by Edge, Del Rio thought he could sit in a corner and recuperate. As soon as he rose to his feet, Edge utilized his finishing move – the Spear, for the pinfall to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. Once the match was over, Edge and Christian (who accompanied the champion to the ring), made their way to Alberto Del Rio`s car, (which was parked at the entrance ramp,) and destroyed it, as Alberto watched in horror and cried. Obviously, it was done to build additional drama for a future re-match, which hopefully Del Rio will win. WWE officials have done a great job of pushing him up the ladder in the short space of time he`s been with the company. I hope they continue this push, and give him a chance in the future to have a `run` with the championship. With his potential, he has a great future ahead of him.

There was a hush in the arena as the crowd awaited the next contest. They got on their feet and erupted in loud cheers to welcome Randy Orton. Then, they refocused their attention on the entranceway, and booed the entrance of C.M. Punk. Like the opening contest, this matchup focused on a previous injury. Punk went right to work on Orton`s knee, which was injured a previous episode of RAW. Near the end of the match, Orton tried his punt (kick to the head) on Punk. Unfortunately, the pain was too much, and Randy fell to the canvas. C.M. Punk rolled to the outside and began smiling and laughing at his opponent`s misfortune. Punk then got on the ring apron, and was preparing to execute a flying clothesline to finish off Orton. But, Randy quickly got to his feet, and caught his foe with an RKO in mid-air. Fans were screaming at this amazing move. Orton covered Punk for the pinfall and earned a hard-fought victory. I wanted Punk to win – I just thought Randy would not be able to move like he`s used to, because of the injured leg. These competitors had a tremendous battle which the fans enjoyed throughout, and I am sure the WWE will feature more matches between these two athletes in the near future.

In a match that was built up very well in the weeks leading up to the event, but in hindsight, should have never happened, Michael Cole battled Jerry “The King” Lawler. This match went way too long. But, it was about Lawler wrestling his first ever Wrestlemania match. “Boring” was heard several times during the match. The referee was the one who heralded a huge roar from the fans – the man himself, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.  As the match progressed, Cole attempted to lock in the “Anklelock“ submission, but “the King“ pushed him away and Michael fell into a corner. Jerry then repeatedly kicked his opponent, causing Jack Swagger (who was Cole`s “trainer“ for the match) to throw in a white towel. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin picked it up, wiped some sweat off his head, and tossed it outside the ring, infuriating Swagger, who rushed into the ring, only to be victimized by Austin`s finishing move – the “Stone Cold Stunner.“ Cole became upset with what transpired, and as he and the referee were arguing, Lawler punched his opponent again, climbed the second rope and connected with a fist drop. Jerry then applied the Anklelock causing Cole to submit. Jerry “The King“ Lawler won his first ever Wreslemania match. Or, so it would seem.

The “Anonymous RAW General Manager“ sent an e-mail, which was read by Josh Matthews (the play-by-play announcer) stating that because the referee became physically involved in the match, Lawler was disqualified, making Michael Cole the winner. Jerry was furious, became physical with his announcer friend  and threw him into the ring, where Austin surprised Matthews with `the Stunner“ to the absolute delight of the crowd. My complaints for this match are:

1. The match should have been completely dominated by Lawler.

2. Austin should have “stunned“ and thrown out Swagger at the beginning, since he was interfering.

3. The “General Manager“ should not have overruled the decision.  It makes me think that Cole and the “G.M.” have some sort of friendship, and they concocted this whole scheme.

Unfortunately with the win, we will have to hear Cole on commentary every week bragging about his victory, and about how he`s 1-0 at Wrestlemania. As a result, it will likely lead to Lawler challenging Cole to a rematch in the future. If the rematch was to occur, the hope from the fans would be that Lawler completely dominates Cole.

The stage was set for the second of the three main events.  Body bashing, and intriguing are two words that capture this phenomenal showdown. Going 18-0 at an event like this is an amazing feat. At Wrestlemania 27, the Undertaker had a chance to go 19-0. His opponent in the “No Holds Barred“ match was Triple H. It was a very physical and hard-hitting battle, which brought out the best from the two well-recognized veterans. The frustrations were evident throughout the match. There was a really uncomfortable point in the match, where Tripe H repeatedly hit the Undertaker with chair shots to the back and one to the head and telling `Taker to “stay down.“ The Undertaker took a while to get back to his feet, and Triple H`s face had a look of utter disbelief.  He then utilized `The Dead Man`s` own move against him – the Tombstone piledriver. But `Taker kicked out at two and a half. Again, Triple H expressed his surprise.  Fans were chanting `this is awesome“ – and it truly was awesome. Triple H rolled to the outside of the ring, and retrieved a sledgehammer. As he re-entered, Undertaker locked his opponent in his “Hell`s Gate“ submission finisher. Triple H, battered and exhausted, fought with every iota of energy left to release himself from the hold. The Undertaker had to will himself to keep his opponent in the hold. It was evident that Triple H was fading. With no power left, the strong and skilful Triple H submitted. Fans were on their feet. The noise was deafening, and it was evident that everyone appreciated the determination, courage, and performance by these two talented wrestlers.

The Undertaker, unable to move, remained on the mat for a long period of time, and was carried off on a stretcher. Triple H, looking legitimately concerned, wanted to help, but the referees told him to stay away. Coming back from the numerous chair shots, showed how much this winning streak meant to the Undertaker. He is now 19-0 at Wrestlemania. He goes for number 20 next year. I believe that if he wins next year, he should retire. The past three matches at this event have taken a huge toll on him, and if he wins at Wrestlemania 28, he would retire knowing that he holds a record that may never, ever be broken in the WWE.

The Main Event for Wrestlemania 27 featured The Miz defending the WWE Championship against John Cena. The ending of the match was rather interesting. The two battled on the arena floor. Cena clotheslined his opponent over the barricade (which protects the fans). The Miz returned to his feet, stood on the barricade, and was about to jump back onto the floor, but Cena speared the champion, causing both men to land close to the fans. However, while all this was happening, the referee started to count, and reached ten. So, the WWE title match at Wrestlemania 27 ended in a double countout. To me, and to a lot of fans, that was not the way to end a title match, especially at the biggest event of the year. Something else had to happen, and it certainly did.

The Rock came down the aisle and stated that it wasn’t over. He re-started the match under “No Disqualification“ rules. The bell rang, and the Rock was still in the ring. He applied his “Rock Bottom“ finisher on John Cena. The Miz crawled into the ring, and pinned his opponent to retain the WWE Championship. The fans approved the decision. The Rock then punched the Miz, hit a spinebuster, and ran the ropes to land “The People`s elbow.“ The Rock stood tall as Wrestlemania ended.  I wanted the Miz to retain. I am enjoying his run as champion. He is great with the microphone, and his wrestling skill is improving. He still needs to work hard to get to the levels of the Undertaker and the other veterans, but he is slowly getting there. I anticipated the Rock’s move, and it cost Cena the belt.

What an eventful night. Fans had their fill of excitement, along with an action-packed show. The end of the WWE title match leaves the door open for a match that everyone wants to see – a battle of two generations – The Rock vs. John Cena. I think it will happen. Every match had its reason for being on the card, although some of the matches left a lot to be desired. Let’s hope that the WWE will continue to plan and execute events like this, and please the fans. I am sure that next year’s Wrestlemania event will bring more excitement, and if the Undertaker manages to achieve his twentieth victory, it will be an unforgettable moment in WWE history.

Azeem Kayum

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