Last night, I attended WWE Live: Road to Wrestlemania at Madison Square Garden in New York City. It was a non-televised house show. This was my second time seeing WWE live at their home base, Madison Square Garden, and I can not describe the energy and feeling you get from seeing it in that building.
I'm going to go through the card and give my thoughts on each match.
Ryback and Curtis Axel vs. Tag Team Champions The Usos vs. Cody Rhodes and Goldust
This was a really entertaining match. The Usos are fresh off their Tag Team Championship win and were on fire. Their entrance got a huge pop. There were lots of high flying spots from The Usos and Cody Rhodes. The Usos did the "Flying Usos" onto all 4 of them. Cody did a perfect moonsault from the top rope at the end of the match and we all went insane. Ryback is way over as a heel and totally knows how to work the crowd. The Usos won with a big splash off the top rope.
The Miz vs. Justin Gabriel
This match was kind of a snooze which is unfortunate because Justin Gabriel is actually really great in the ring. The match just didn't really have much to it. However, there were definite spots in the match where Miz totally had the crowd going. The best part was the end where Ryback came back out! He beat the crap out of them both, for no reason. However, they gained the upper hand and The Miz gave him the Skull-Crushing Finale and Justin Gabriel gave him the 450 Splash. It was pretty spectacular.
Cameron vs. WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee with Tamina Snuka
This started off as a dance-off. They did this really bogus thing prior to the show where they had the arena vote on their phones for if they wanted to see a Divas dance-off or a Divas Championship match between Cameron and AJ Lee. It started off as 30% to 70%. Then it gradually started approaching 50/50 and people were booing like crazy. As it tipped toward the dance-off, people booed, as it tipped toward the Championship match, people cheered. There is no way that voting was legitamate because no one wanted the dance-off, but that's what we got at first. Cameron started dancing and Tamina quickly knocked her down. AJ and Tamina went to leave but Cameron called her back and they actually had the Divas Championship match.
Unfortunately, I now regret that they didn't have the dance-off because Cameron really sucks. She missed so many moves and made so much of it look like crap. It's unfortunate because AJ is a pro and a great in-ring performer. AJ did what should could but the match was a total stinker. AJ won. It was absolutely fantastic seeing AJ live because she's such an amazing performer from the second she steps out through the curtain to the second she goes back through it.
Damien Sandow vs. Kofi Kingston
This was a solid match. Sandow came out and of course got a lot of boos. He then got on the mic and started bashing New York. He told us that he's going to walk back through the curtain and come out again so that we could give him the proper welcome. He did and everyone booed harder. The match itself was just a good wrestling match. Kofi won. No complaints.
Corporate Kane with Triple H in his corner vs. Daniel Bryan
OK. This is what I was looking forward to most. Triple H came out first. He gave an awesome promo about how Madison Square Garden is where so many A+ players have main evented such as Bruno Sammartino, Bob Backlund, Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and him. He then went on to say that Daniel Bryan would never main event The Garden or Wrestlemania.
Kane came out. Then Daniel Bryan came out. HOLY SHIT. We went absolutely bonkers. He walked out, threw his hands up, and the entire arena started chanting "YES! YES! YES!". When I say the entire arena, I mean EVERY SINGLE PERSON. I have never ever been a part of something like that in my entire life. The energy is absolutely unreal. There is such a strong connection between Daniel Bryan and the fans. He is by far, without a doubt, the most over, popular guy with the fans. I don't care how that translates into merchandise sales. When he walks in front of the fans, they show him the most love, support, and reaction. No one else came close to getting a reaction from everyone like he did. The crowd broke out into at least 10 more YES chants throughout the match and I threw my hands up and screamed for every one of them.
The match was great. Kane is a great wrestler, Daniel Bryan is a great wrestler. It's exactly what you'd want to see. Triple H was playing dirty on the outside and even knocked Daniel Bryan off the top rope at one point by pulling the ropes. The end of the match was awesome and something that should be done on RAW or even a PPV. Daniel Bryan was about to win and Triple H knocked out the ref. Then another ref ran down when Kane got the upper hand. Kane pinned Daniel Bryan for a 2-count. Then, Kane knocked that ref out! Kane grabbed a chair and Daniel Bryan knocked him down. Daniel Bryan picked up the win with the running knee to the face.
After the match, they teased Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H at Wrestlemania XXX by having Daniel Bryan get on the mic and taunt Triple H. He asked why they don't just have a match right there in Madison Square Garden. Eventually, Triple H got so heated he took his shirt off and came in the ring. Triple H is still in crazy good shape. Then, Stephanie came out and demanded that this does not happen and said that Daniel Bryan will never face Triple H or main event Wrestlemania.
People are mad that Daniel Bryan is not the Champion or in the main event spot at Wrestlemania, including me, but this angle with Triple H really makes sense. The dynamic between the two is so emotional and it would really mean a lot if Daniel Bryan, the ultimate underdog, puts Triple H in his place on such a grand stage. I'm all for this match at Wrestlemania XXX.
Los Matadores vs. NXT Tag Team Champions The Ascension
Vickie Guerrero came out and said she had a surprise. The surprise was the NXT Tag Team Champions The Ascension. This match was really slow. The Ascension are really good and won with their finisher. At the end, El Torito charged into Vickie's ass.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio
This was the match of the night by far. Dolph Ziggler is WAY over with the fans. In the ring, he's extremely intense, energetic, and puts on a great show. He gets a lot of pops with his moves which isn't easy when you see it in person. I learned a lot about Alberto Del Rio during this match. This man is a true performer. He knows how to really work the crowd and he is fantastic in the ring. I was so impressed with everything the both of them did. Seeing these two in person was absolutely unbelievable and makes me sad that they aren't both in a main event spot right now. This was one of the best matches I've seen in 2014 so far.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt vs. Batista and John Cena
This match was really, really good. Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt are at the top of their game. Basically, the way the match went was Randy and Bray had the upper hand 90% of the time. At the end, after getting beat for 10 straight minutes, Cena finally got to the corner to tag Batista and Batista refused, turning on Cena. Cena then got the upper hand on Orton and threw him to the ropes but he smashed into Bray Wyatt, knocking him to the floor. Then, Bray Wyatt got into the ring and turned on Orton, giving him a few punches to the face and Sister Abigail. That probably got the second loudest pop of the night. John Cena picked up the win though.
Bray Wyatt is very over with the crowd and Batista got the loudest boos of the night. Cena's chants were 50/50 and we broke into "LET'S GO CENA, CENA SUCKS" chants at least 5 times throughout the match. I really can't say enough about Randy Orton. I know Daniel Bryan is the fan favorite to be Champion, again, including with me. But Randy Orton is so deserving of those titles. He does not miss one step in that ring and it may be cliche for me to say but he is truly an artist in a professional wrestling ring. He works the crowd when he needs to. He moves so smoothly through the match. When the match picks up he becomes extremely intense and you can feel the energy in the room. When he does the Viper coil and the DDT off the middle rope, the crowd goes crazy. I'm a huge fan of Randy Orton.
Overall, it was an unbelievable night and I had such a great time. I've been going to WWE shows for over 20 years and I still say it's the greatest performance on earth. I have more pictures from last night and you can check them out here!