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[2014-04-06-WWE-Wrestlemania XXX] Randy Orton vs Batista vs Daniel Bryan

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Crowd finally recovers in this one for D-Bry, although they never truly recovered from having the air sucked out of them. The Authority come out to try to spoil it all for D-Bry, attacking him and bringing back the supposedly fired ref Scott Armstrong, who is clearly taking orders from them and revealing he had been in cahoots with HHH at Night of Champions 2013. D-Bry takes them all out and gets them to fuck off so he can focus on regaining the prize that he had continuously been getting screwed out of for months.

The match itself wasn't super special, as it was about the moment. Unlike Taker vs. Lesnar though, this was still incredibly fun with a great story. Orton & Batista went after the injured D-Bry early to take him out, both to prey on him for being weakened, and also knowing he was on a white-hot roll that had been ongoing for almost a year. They took him out with a powerbomb neckbreaker combo on the commentary tables at ringside, with Orton taking a bad bump and hurting himself in doing so.

Before that spot, Orton and Batista though had a good fight with D-Bry knocked out, with Batista getting backdropped on steel steps when attempting a powerbomb. With Batista down, Orton saw D-Bry regaining consciousness, so Orton attacked him to keep him down before the big double-team spot I detailed in the prior paragraph. Amazing that Batista could still go after that steel steps bump.

The crowd though didn't care for obvious reasons when the heels went at it, so when D-Bry finally came back into the action, they truly woke up with excitement. Nothing would keep him down, not even doctors trying to take him away from ringside on a stretcher. They had a nice finishing sequence for the last few minutes, with Orton being knocked out of the ring. In the meantime, D-Bry got Batista in the Lebell Lock, leaving the Rumble winner with no choice but to tap out. I'd have liked a couple false finishes with that before the tapout, but I'll take it.

For anyone not to see this finish coming, that's a clear indication of their lack of instinct as this was telegraphed at the end of Elimination Chamber 2014. This match was very fun with everyone working hard, ending with a moment on par with the Seahawks winning Super Bowl XLVIII for me. For fans of independent wrestling during the 2000s decade, the only more rewarding moment that could've taken place on this night would've been Punk vs. D-Bry in the main event, unifying the titles. Seeing Bryan Danielson holding both title belts to close out a landmark WrestleMania inside such a historic venue was rewarding, vindicating, and a defining reason on why I love pro wrestling despite all of its bullshit and disappointment. ***1/2

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Does the match slow to a crawl when Bryan isn't involved? YES.

 

Is it a work of pure storytelling to tell the ultimate underdog story? YES.

 

Are there spectacular spots that build the tension and are visually impressive? YES. (That table spot was nuts).

 

Was the finish earned, inspiring, and cathartic? YES YES YES YES YES YES YES

 

Do the positives outweigh the negatives? For me, YES.

 

****

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Awesome match. Filled with drama and excitement. Some great, great wrestling too. Bryan fighting two on one, but enough time is given to Batista vs Orton too. So it helped the match structurally. I did think the pacing was off a bit which means it dragged but I really did love the match. ****1/4

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Bryan winning the title is my favorite wrestling moment of all-time, so of course I love this, but the match, even without the moment is really tremendous, too. Bryan is of course amazing with his magical babyface work, but Orton really brings it as well, with a great big match performance. Love the usual viciousness between those two - Batista is clearly the weakest performer, but he doesn't get to do anything boring, because there's always Orton & especially Bryan ruling things. Love the HHH, Steph & that CROOK Armstrong invading bit, only for them to get their asses kicked by Bryan, and I do love the stretcher job as well. Was really well done, and then there's the finish which is just perfect w/ Batista tapping out. ****1/2

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WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton vs Batista vs Daniel Bryan 

Wrestlemania XXX

It is amazing how much of an emotional impact this match still has. It has not been deadened one iota by the disappointing aftermath. In fact, I think it resonates only more strongly because it reminds that no matter what the future holds, he will always have this. We will always have this to remember the night that an impossible dream came true and to put a smile on our faces.

Thank all that is holy, that Batista vs Orton was not the main event of this show. I actually like Orton just find as an in-ring heel. I think his work usually looks good, he knows when to bring a match up and down and everything feels like it has a sense of purpose. I can leave Batista at the door. We saw snippets of the Bastista/Orton singles match it was just so bland. They were just going through the motions. I loved how Daniel Bryan would come flying into our screens from outta nowhere. First, it was the missile dropkick to both of them and then flying headbutt. It was the perfect way to reintroduce Bryan whenever he was off selling his arm injury for extended periods of time. The match really picked up when HHH & Steph brought out Scott Armstrong to put the screws to Bryan. It is funny how all the shitty booking up until this match actually made all these nearfalls credible. It is strange how shitty booking actually enhanced the drama of this match. Would they really be that stupid? The answer is yes they really could be that stupid. I just love how invested this crowd is in the Daniel Bryan story. It is not about MOVEZ~! It is not about Daniel Bryan winning clean. Fuck, we will take a goddamn fluke rollup just give him the damn title. I loved it! Bryan cleaning house on the Authority only to get double teamed by Batista/Orton was a great last ditch attempt to make people believe that Bryan maybe not be winning after he got RKO/Powerbombed through an announce table and was put on a stretcher. Damn, does Orton have the worst luck with gimmicks or what? That looked gnarly as fuck landing on the monitor like that. I really thought Orton was good in this match in being violent. I think they could have milked the Bryan on the stretcher for even longer to really freak people the fuck out. Instead they get everybody pretty good with Batista wiping out Bryan by accident and Orton hitting the RKO on Batista for a close nearfall. I think that was the loudest collective sigh of relief of all time. True to form, Bryan come flying into our camera to hit the Exploding Knee, but Batista looks to steal his glory. Ooooooooo another good one. Orton get taken out by a Batista Bomb and Exploding Knee. to Batista! YESLOCK~! The rest is glorious history!

The purely joyous response of the crowd is so overwhelming and still moves me to this day. . Also, I love how it started the tradition of one wacky Attitude Era-overbooked clusterfuck per PPV, which is just good popcorn fun that is easily differential from the normally sterile product. This match is the cure to any malady or bad day ****

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