This article contains spoilers - so please don't read just yet if you are planning to watch Wrestlemania later today...
The dust is yet to settle on the Superdome but Wrestlemania 30 continues to send shockwaves through the wrestling world. The Undertaker has lost. The 'Deadman' who had beaten 21 Wrestlemania opponents was hoisted upon the shoulders of 'The Beast' Brock Lesnar and 'F-5'd to his first loss, leaving many a head in hands. There are reports that Taker was injured early in the match and has spent the night in hospital but this is said not to have impacted on the result of the match. We had speculated that the Undertaker's weakening hips might lead to a 'Mania loss but it's a shame that 'Taker's legacy can't be an unbeaten WM record. Without wanting to speculate too much, it is possible that Sting (yet to return, but hinting strongly that he'll be at WM31) wants to beat the Undertaker in his final match and that 'Taker didn't want his first loss to be to Sting. Time will tell.
Undertaker was one of many long-standing wrestlers to appear at WM30. As highlighted in our previous blog, the Hall of Fame saw Jake 'The Snake' Roberts and the Ulimate Warrior immortalised in WWE history together with celebrity inductee Mr. T whose speech which was predominantly and somewhat oddly focussed on his mother, was cut short for over-running. The best surprise of the evening was a short segment with Hulk Hogan, The Rock and 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin. If nothing else, WWE knows what its fanbase wants and to have tens of thousands of fans chanting 'this is awesome' as the show takes the air is no bad thing.
Elsewhere, Wrestlemania was used to build for the future. Antonio Cesaro (known as Claudio Castagnoli in Ring of Honour and Pro-Wrestling Noah) finally split from his 'Real American' tag-team partner Jack Swagger, giving him the 'Big Swing' for effect. For those that haven't seen the Swing, imagine one grown man swinging another in circles whilst holding his feet, it's certainly a dizzying finale. Cesaro then went on to win the inaugural Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, defeating the Big Show in the final moments. This is huge for Cesaro, whose recent name shortening pointed to big things in his future. He is an exciting talent and we expect to see more of him in the coming year.
The best developmental story for WWE in many a year and the final realisation of an underdog's dream sits with Daniel Bryan. Whilst it was somewhat predictable that Bryan would have his Wrestlemania moment, the route to there was rather impressive. Bryan fought a gruelling match against WWE mainstay Triple H and claimed victory albeit with a HHH inflicted arm injury. This automatically guaranteed Bryan a place in the title match, making him one of only a select few to fight two matches in one night at 'Mania. In the finale, Bryan locked the recently returned Batista in his 'Yes Lock' submission hold and won the championship launching 75,000 fans into deafening 'Yes!' chants.
Other matches on the card also demonstrated potential for the future. Although he lost, Bray Wyatt put in a strong showing against John Cena whilst the Shield somewhat hampered by underwhelming opponents still demonstrated their ability to excite.
All in all, WM30 delivered. There were solid matches and nostalgic high points. The most interesting development though is the clear direction of WWE from past to future. The streak is broken, new talents are starting to emerge and the future is exciting. Roll on raw...