WWE Wrestlemania 29 DVD Review

Wrestlemania 29 CoverThe following review where possible will try to avoid spoilers.

Wrestlemania; it is referred to by many as the showcase of the immortals and every year the best talent from the world’s premier sports entertainment company, the WWE, compete in a series of matches with the goal of having their Wrestlemania moment. A moment that will last a lifetime and in doing so forever cement their place, their legacy, in the annals of sports entertainment history. 

This year’s event, the 29th annual, took place in the MetLife stadium and attracted 80,676 fans, becoming the second most attended event in the company’s history (behind Wrestlemania 3). This event also marked the fifth time that Wrestlemania had returned to New York and the third time it had taken place in the New Jersey area and as such the WWE used a theme of coming home in some of its promotion leading up to the event. The WWE also carried this love of the New York area over into the event’s fantastic set design, which was spectacular and featured several replicas of landmarks that included the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building and of course the obligatory Statue of Liberty.

Traditionally, as previously mentioned, Wrestlemania is all about securing that all important Wrestlemania moment and as such the WWE build the contents for the event using a variety of match types that range from traditional one-on-one matches, to tag matches, to six man tag team matches, all of which can also have a stipulation added to them. This has lead in the past to a plethora of these Wrestlemania moments and has helped the event not only grow in infamy but also establish careers and legacies.

This year however the event changed slightly in that the company decided to add a stipulation to only one of the show’s eight matches and in doing so gave this year’s crop of competing superstars the chance to make their moments using only their mat and fighting skills. An interesting choice especially when you have eight matches that feature a total of twenty-eight superstars (managers/valets included), this can lead to the possibility of the action being repeated and thus the audience might not find it very entertaining.

The Wrestlemania 29 Arena Set

That said the event began with two more fantastic examples of what the WWE is good at, aside from providing good in ring action that is, and promotional video packages. These two packages were used expertly to invoke a sense of emotion and pride not only in being an American but also in being able to overcome extreme challenges and bond together (Surviving Super Storm Sandy for example). They were also used to build a sense of anticipation to the event’s matches and, in this reviewer’s opinion, provided what is certainly one of the best Wrestlemania openings in a long time.

The event then began in earnest as we are treated to the first of the night’s eight matches and this is where the real balancing act begins for the WWE, as they know they have to provide their viewers with a balanced story (or matches in this case) to keep them entertained on their way to a fantastic climax. Traditionally the WWE has managed to do this by placing the matches that fans might want to see the least at the start and then building up to the big matches from there on. This year however seemed to be a bit different, as the WWE started the event with a match that featured three Wrestlemania and indeed WWE Rookies (The Shield) against three WWE veterans and former Wrestlemania main eventers (The Big Show, Randy Orton and Sheamus). A move that felt odd due to the fact that it would have been better suited later on during the card, especially considering the fact that there are other matches (Team Hell No v Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston for example) that could have replaced it at the start, but were instead further up the card. That said, the match itself wasn’t awful so at least the event did not begin with a whimper, granted the much sought after Wrestlemania moment was the actual result of the match, which did feel slightly underwhelming when compared to past Wrestlemania moments.

Another thing that the WWE have added to this year’s event is the idea of breaking up the matches with a series of short promotional videos. Granted the company does have sponsors to satisfy and has to recap month long feuds for those casual viewers who may have missed the previous weeks of build-up. However, having videos between almost every match does get rather tiresome and will have you reaching for your remote control to skip to the real reason you are watching the event, the matches themselves. Normally this reviewer would be more forgiving of their usage but when you consider that at least one match was cut from the evening’s events due to time running short, then their usage in such volume is not something that is fair to the audience and the athletes themselves. Granted on the DVD/Blu-Ray you have the option to skip through them, but it is still a shame as doing so takes you out of the Wrestlemania experience and constantly having to do this would also become irritating.

It is also worth pointing out that not all of the breaks in the action are video montages. One is a mini concert from the man who provided one of the event’s promo tracks, Coming Home; New York’s own P.Diddy. Not only does he perform a medley of his hits but he also ends with the aforementioned promo theme all without the aid of any lip-synching, which in these times is a rare and impressive feat.

Over the course of the proceeding matches we are treated with a mixture of single and tag team matches featuring the likes of Ryback, Mark Henry, Daniel Bryan, Kane, Chris Jericho, Fandango, Jack Swagger, Alberto Del Rio, Big E Langston and Dolph Ziggler. They all provide us with matches that are best described as average, largely due to the fact that the WWE appear to have decided for the early matches to partner up some of their veteran athletes with some of the newer athletes in a bid to help them better learn their craft; a risky move especially at the company’s biggest event of the year. Sadly for the WWE this move failed. Take for example the match between legend Chris Jericho and newcomer Fandango, in which Fandango shows little or no wrestling ability despite Chris Jericho’s best efforts to make Fandango look like he should be there; all he ends up doing is saving the match from being a total loss. This veteran versus newcomer formula is then repeated on varying levels throughout the other matches and as such, whilst providing us with a build up to the main event matches, they are only lackluster matches at best and it is no wonder that you can hear the fans chant boring, more than once.

Once these matches are out of the way however we are on to the final three matches of the evening and despite the real main event being the last fight on the bill traditionally, each one of these matches is referred to as being a main event. Which is fair enough when you consider that each of the six participants in the three matches has easily enough star power to main event the show. But whether it is the fantastic ring entrance of The Undertaker, superb heel performance of CM Punk, the brutality of both Triple H and Brock Lesnar, the never say die attitude of John Cena or just the sheer electricity of The Rock, fans will find it difficult not to be entertained by one (if not all) of these final three matches.

A special mention must also go to the live crowd for this event as they are so loud in parts that you would almost consider them to be the fourth commentator, as they do a lot to help add to the atmosphere. Speaking of commentary, the commentary team of John Bradshaw Layfield (JBL), Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler once again do a stellar job of conveying the action to the viewer through a mixture of playful banter, metaphors and even the odd insult or two.

The DVD/Blu-Ray comes packaged with a whole host of extras and special features that include the full WWE Hall of Fame ceremony (the annual reveal of these inductees is also featured in the actual event towards the end), the Pre-Show match that was not shown fully on TV between The Miz and Wade Barrett, the Wrestlemania Post-Show and much more. Worth mentioning too is that the Mick Foley Hall of Fame induction is worth buying the set for alone as it runs for over twenty minutes and features everything from an impromptu match with Chris Jericho to an appearance from (minor spoiler) Jolly Saint Nick!

So in conclusion despite the WWE’s best efforts, this year’s Wrestlemania was by no means as epic as those past, with the final three matches saving the card from being a complete disaster. Despite this the DVD/Blu-Ray versions do actually serve to make up for this by providing extras that give the WWE fan a more complete Wrestlemania experience than they would have had if they watched the show on pay-per-view.  

WWE Wrestlemania 29 is available to buy on DVD/Blu-ray on June 17th and can also be downloaded for your digital device from iTunes and Blinkbox.

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