John Cena beats The Rock, wins WWE title at WrestleMania 29


Miami Herald Writer

John Cena avenged last year’s loss to The Rock by winning the WWE championship at WrestleMania 29 on Sunday before a record-breaking 80,676 fans at MetLife Stadium.

Fans from around the world converged on East Rutherford, N.J. to witness Cena take home the gold for the 11th time in his career. The leader of the CeNation got a more than mixed reaction throughout the course of the main event but managed to pin the Hollywood star in the middle of the ring after hitting his signature Attitude Adjustment finisher.

The big pay-per-view ended with Cena giving a salute to The Rock, which followed with an embrace between champion and challenger as they celebrated in the entranceway amid fireworks. The gesture of good sportsmanship and mutual respect is rarely seen in the world of sports entertainment.

CM Punk, managed by Paul Heyman, put up the fight of his life but fell short in ending the streak of The Undertaker. The Phenom’s legend now stands 21-0, ending with the legendary figure retrieving the urn and paying tribute to his late manager Paul Bearer. The Undertaker’s also wore tights that read “Rest in Peace PB” in remembrance of his longtime friend who recently died.

Heyman’s other client, Brock Lesnar, also failed in his attempt to end the career of Triple H in a physical battle. The match also had Heyman take Sweet Chin Music from Shawn Michaels, who was in the corner of The Game.

World champion Alberto Del Rio with Ricardo Rodriguez fended off Jack Swagger with Zeb Colter.

Daniel Bryan and Kane (Team Hell No) also successfully defended the tag team belts from Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston with AJ Lee, a native of New Jersey.

Mark Henry took down Ryback.

It was a good night for the new stars of WWE with Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns defeating Randy Orton, The Big Show and Sheamus.

It will be hard to forget the name Fandango after the dancer/sports entertainer’s successful in-ring debut over the Dancing with the Stars alum/sports entertainer Chris Jericho.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie narrated an opening video to kick off WrestleMania 29 displaying the resilience of the state and New York in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

Bruno Sammartino joined other 2013 WWE Hall of Fame inductees Mick Foley, Trish Stratus, Booker T., Bob Backlund and Donald Trump in being introduced to the live crowd.

The Miz regained the Intercontinental championship from Wade Barrett during the preshow.

Brodus Clay and Tensai (Tons of Funk) and Naomi and Cameron (the Funkadactyls) versus Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow (the Rhodes Scholars) and the Bella Twins was advertised but was bumped off the event.

P. Diddy performed a medley of his hits, and Living Colour played Punk to the ring. Snooki, Michelle Beadle, Michael Strahan and Pee-wee Herman were among the celebrities in attendance.

• Notes and Opinions

WrestleMania 29 was solid, yet predictable. There wasn’t a John Cena heel turn nor did Dolph Ziggler cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase. I think this may have disappointed some people, but the matches that were supposed to deliver did just that.

Cena winning the gold didn’t surprise me or upset me. The Rock has summer movies to promote, and Cena hasn’t been champion in nearly two years. With that said, it’s time to pull the trigger on Ziggler. He is a star ready for the main event spotlight.

I really feel for Tons of Funk and the Funkadactyls versus the Rhodes Scholars and the Bella Twins, whose match was cut from WrestleMania. Haven spoken to Naomi and Clay in Miami days before the big show, you could hear how excited they were to perform at the biggest spectacle in sports entertainment. I’ll blame P. Diddy, whose song set maybe shouldn’t have gone so long. I know why WWE brings in celebrities and musical performances, but more times than not, the crowd does not respond well when a mini-concert takes valuable time on a wrestling show people pay a lot of money to see.

That said I enjoyed Living Colour playing its former hit single and Punk’s theme “Cult of Personality” live. An example of using a musical act effectively.

I was surprised WWE didn’t have anyone perform “America the Beautiful.” I guess the Three Man Band was asking too much money.

Kudos to WWE for once again outdoing itself with the WrestleMania set, which this year featured a replica of the iconic Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.

I loved watching Jim Ross, Scott Stanford, Dusty Rhodes and Kofi Kingston during the WrestleMania preshow. It reminded me of the NFL or College GameDay with analysis. It was also great to see WCW alum Rhodes and Ross reunited. Although I think it would have been a well-deserved recognition to Good Ol’ JR’s 20-year anniversary in WWE to hear him call a WrestleMania match.

It was great to watch Paul Heyman in his element at WrestleMania. I believe he really added to Punk versus The Undertaker and Lesnar against Triple H. Despite being in the middle of the card, the Best in the World versus the Streak was the real main event as far as I’m concerned. It delivered on every level. Lesnar and Triple H also told a great story. Sometimes I wonder if Lesnar forgets he is in WWE and not UFC. Since returning last year, the grappler’s matches have brought a new level of intensity. Who says you can’t have blood in the “PG era”?

It was nice to see the new blood getting their time to shine. Fandango became a star tonight courtesy of Chris Jericho, who gets ‘IT’ and is not above putting someone over. We will never forget the name Fandango, which is now more than an online ticket purchasing service. Langston and The Shield were also impressive in their first WrestleMania appearances. This is just the beginning for these rising superstars.

• Let the countdown begin. WrestleMania XXX will occur on Sunday, April 6, 2014 from Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

• Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN,!/smFISHMAN, where I post links and information. Opinions expressed reflect no other entity. I can also be found tweeting incessantly during wrestling shows weekly.

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