WrestleMania Rewind: WrestleMania 28 – The Miami Screwjob

Welcome to the latest edition of our WrestleMania Rewind series, written by yours truly, exclusively for everyone here at SLTD Wrestling. The aim of WrestleMania Rewind is to review every […]

Welcome to the latest edition of our WrestleMania Rewind series, written by yours truly, exclusively for everyone here at SLTD Wrestling. The aim of WrestleMania Rewind is to review every WrestleMania in roughly 2,000 words. Click here to read the series so far.

We’ve only had to go back a couple of years for today’s article, because it concerns WrestleMania 28, which took place on April 1st, 2012 from the Sun-Life Stadium in Miami, Florida in front of 78,000 fans.

It was a slightly smaller card than usual, but it had been built around two specific matches – HHH/Taker III – This Time It’s Terminal and Rock/Cena – Once in a Lifetime. Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler had put aside their differences over the last 12 months, and handled commentary for the event. OK folks, it’s showtime!

Match 1: World Heavyweight Championship Match – Sheamus vs Daniel Bryan (c) (w/AJ Lee)

The bell rings. Bryan gets a kiss from AJ, then turns round into a Brogue Kick from Sheamus for 3.

Opinion: Bret Hart thinks he got screwed at Montreal? That was NOTHING compared to this. I still don’t understand the point of this screwjob of Daniel Bryan. Ridiculous.

Match 2: Kane vs Randy Orton

Orton’s all over Kane early ‘til Kane counters the draping DDT and gets a 2-count off a big boot. Kane’s dominant and gets a couple of 2s from a side – then vertical – suplex. Orton gets back into it with an inverted backbreaker, then a powerslam and sends Kane shoulder first into the ringpost.

Orton lands his draping DDT. Kane counters the RKO with a big boot for 2. Orton counters a top rope clothesline with a dropkick in mid-air. Kane counters the punt kick with a chokeslam for 2. He counters again, this time it’s a Superplex into a chokeslam from the top rope to get the win.

Opinion: This was back when WWE were trying to re-establish Kane as a monster, and this match did a great job. He really shone here and Orton was terrific too. Perhaps the sleeper match on the card?

Match 3: WWE Intercontinental Championship Match – Cody Rhodes (c) vs Big Show

Show manhandles Rhodes and he’s utterly dominant early until he misses a splash to give Rhodes the advantage. Rhodes works Show’s left leg. He hits one Beautiful Disaster kick, but Show counters a second with a Spear and follows up with the KO punch for 3.

Opinion: A decent, albeit quick match. Good heat for Cody and once again, we got to see a giant cry. Cos who doesn’t love that, right…

Match 4: Beth Phoenix & Eve Torres vs Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos

Kelly gets an early 2 from a headscissors. Menounous makes a tag, and the heels isolate her. She makes the hot tag to Kelly, who lands a headscissors takedown and a neckbreaker. She follows that with a somersault seated senton for 2. She counters the Glam-Slam into a bulldog. Tag to Menounos. Kelly gets involved again. They shove Beth into Eve and knock her off the apron, allowing Menounos to roll Beth up for 3.

Opinion: I said it last time and I’ll say it again. I’ve got no fucking clue why they insist on having celebrities wrestle. Surely to fuck there was an ACTUAL Diva they could’ve used. I’m not saying don’t have celebs appear. That’s fine. I understand that. But Maria should’ve been in the corner, not the ring.

Match 5: Hell in a Cell Match – Triple H vs The Undertaker

Shawn Michaels is the special guest referee, which means good times for all!

Taker has the best of an early fistfight and sends H outside, where he continues his assault, using the cell as a weapon. Back in the ring, Taker no-sells a facebuster from H and lands Old School before dumping H outside and nailing him with the steps. He follows that with a legdrop on the apron. H gets back in it with a DDT, then rattles Taker’s head off the steps. Taker counters a Pedigree on the steps with a back bodydrop.

H AA spinebusters Taker on the steps, but Taker puts H in Hell’s Gate. H powers up and drives Taker to the mat for 2. H is working Taker’s back now and rattles Taker with a series of chairshots to get a 2-count. H drills Taker with a sledgehammer to get another nearfall. Taker puts Michaels in Hell’s Gate, allowing H to blast Taker with a sledgehammer. Taker puts H in Hell’s Gate, and H passes out. Another ref comes out.

Taker rattles H with a chokeslam for 2, so he takes the other ref out. H counters the Tombstone, and Taker turns round into Sweet Chin Music, then receives a Pedigree for 2. Taker makes his comeback, Snake Eyes and all! He gets a 2-count from a Tombstone. An exchange of right hands leads to H countering a Tombstone with the Pedigree for another nearfall.

It’s Taker’s turn to wipe H out with the chair now, and he gets a 2-count. H gives Taker the DX crotch chop, so Taker blasts him with the sledgehammer and follows it up with a second Tombstone for the win.

Opinion: What a fantastic wrestling match. It had everything – drama, psychology, storytelling and emotion. Wonderful stuff. The piece of the jigsaw that was missing from the previous year was obviously Shawn Michaels. Easily the best pro-wrestling storyteller of all-time. Without a doubt. Just fantastic.

Match 6: Team Johnny (w/John Laurinaitis, Vickie Guerrero & Brie Bella) vs Team Teddy (w/Teddy Long, Hornswoggle, Eve Torres, Nikki Bella & Aksana)

***Team Johnny – Drew McIntyre, Mark Henry, Miz, David Otunga, Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler. Team Teddy – Booker T, Khali, Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Santino and Zack Ryder***

Team Johnny work Booker for most of the match. A melee leads to Kofi, Truth and Ryder taking most of Team Johnny out with somersault planchas. Booker makes the hot tag to Santino, who Cobras Miz, but Ziggler breaks the pin at 2. Ryder comes in and Rough Ryders Ziggler. He sets up to deliver the Broski Boot. Eve gets involved and distracts him, which allows Miz to get the win with a roll-up.

Opinion: The final shafting of Zack Ryder took place in this match. HOW DARE HE GET OVER ON HIS OWN WITHOUT THE MACHINE! All this was, was a way to get 12 men on the WrestleMania card.

Match 7: WWE Championship Match – Chris Jericho vs CM Punk (c)

Punk has the best of the opening five minutes and lands a flying clothesline outside. Jericho gets back in it with a dropkick and clotheslines Punk back in the ring from the apron. Jericho then suplexes Punk outside and rolls him back in for 2. Jericho works Punk’s back. Punk gets back in it by countering a bulldog and gets a 2-count from a swinging neckbreaker.

A series of counters leads to Punk getting a 2-count from a kick. Jericho gets his knees up to counter a top rope elbow and Codebreakers Punk, which sends him outside. Punk’s back in it and hits the GTS for 2. He gets another from a powerslam. Jericho gets a nearfall from a Lionsault, then counters a top rope hurricanrana into the Walls of Jericho! Punk gets to the ropes to force the break, then elevates Jericho outside, following him with a suicide dive.

Punk lands a high knee on the ringpost, but he springboards back in the ring into a Codebreaker for 2. Jericho blocks the GTS three times and puts Punk back in the Walls! Punk counters into an inside cradle for 2, then puts Jericho in the Anaconda Vise. Jericho tries to escape, but can’t, so he taps.

Opinion: A terrific wrestling match that actually felt WrestleMania worthy. Great storytelling and it gave you a reason to care. Jericho’s just awesome as a heel. His facial expressions and mannerisms are second-to-none. Punk’s under-rated as a babyface too. A really enjoyable match.

Match 8: John Cena vs The Rock

There’s a fairly even start, with Rock just shading it. Cena lands three shoulder-charges and a clothesline. There’s some ringside action that leads to Cena has the best of, working Rock’s ribs. Cena lands a belly-to-belly for 2, then goes back to working Rock’s ribs with a bearhug. Rock fights out with right hands and a DDT for 2. He also lands a flying clothesline and a spinebuster.

Cena avoids the People’s Elbow and hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle. A double clothesline takes both men down. Cena blocks a right hand with the AA for 2. Rock replies with a Rock Bottom for a 2 of his own. Cena gets a nearfall off a side suplex, then a top rope legdrop for another. Rock puts Cena in the Sharpshooter, but Cena gets to the ropes to force a break.

The action heads outside again, where Cena sends Rock into the steps. Back in the ring, Cena Sunset Flips into the STF. Rock gets to the ropes to break. They’re both down after a Samoan Drop. An exchange of counters leads to Rock hitting a spinebuster and the People’s Elbow for 2. Cena gets a 2 off a small package, then catapults Rock into the top rope to get a 2 from a roll-up. Cena rolls through a top rope crossbody into an AA for 2. Rock counters the People’s Elbow from Cena into the Rock Bottom for 3.

cenaonhisarseOpinion: Controversial opinion coming here. This match highlighted the difference between being a true superstar – i.e. The Rock – and a WWE superstar – John Cena. When Rock came out, you felt like you were watching a big star. You don’t (or at least I don’t) get that feeling with Cena. Or any current WWE superstar for that matter.

I was FUCKING DELIGHTED that The Rock won, so much so that I started a Twitter war of words with TV’s Joel Ross! I guess now Cena knows what it’s like for someone to kick out of all your moves at 2.

This was really entertaining and both guys deserve credit for putting on a very good match. Not quite the spectacle that Hogan/Rock was, but it was still something to see. If only for the fact that it spawned the image above.

Summary: Overall, the show flowed together really well.

The Kane/Orton match was surprisingly good and HHH/Taker was sensational, thanks to Michaels. Michaels sold that match as well with his facial expressions and body language as the two guys working the match did. Terrific stuff. Aside from that, nothing else really stood out to me. It was all good, but just didn’t feel like a big deal, aside from the matches I’ve mentioned.

I’ll always remember this WrestleMania for one reason – Daniel Bryan getting screwed. I touched on this earlier, but Montreal was NOTHING compared to this. WrestleMania 28 will forever be known – to me at least – as the Miami Screwjob. Purely for what happened to Daniel Bryan.

Hopefully you enjoyed that quick look back at WrestleMania 28. Leave your comments/feedback via the usual channels, and join me again tomorrow to revisit WrestleMania 29!