Here’s Part 28 of our WrestleMania Retrospective series, looking back at past WrestleMania events as we march towards WrestleMania 29 on April 7th
WrestleMania 28 (2012)
Tagline: “Once in a Lifetime”
Date: April 1, 2012
Venue: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
America the Beautiful: Lillian Garica
The Undertaker’s Streak: 20-0 (Def. Triple H)
World Heavyweight Championship Match
WrestleMania XXVIII was the twenty-eighth annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by WWE. It took place on April 1, 2012 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. It is the highest grossing PPV event in professional wrestling history.
World Heavyweight Championship
In January 2012, at the twenty-fifth annual Royal Rumble pay-per-view, Sheamus won the thirty-man Royal Rumble match, giving him the right to challenge either the WWE Champion or the World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania XXVIII. Sheamus announced on SmackDown that he would decide who he wishes to face at WrestleMania after the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. At the Elimination Chamber event in February, Sheamus attacked Daniel Bryan, after the latter successfully retained his World Heavyweight Championship in an Elimination Chamber match, thus declaring his wish to challenge Bryan for his title at WrestleMania. The match was officially announced the next day on WWE.com.
In the first televised match, World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan defended his title against Sheamus. After receiving a good luck kiss from his storyline girlfriend AJ, Bryan was surprised by Sheamus, who hit a brogue kick and pinned him to win the title. With only eighteen seconds, this was one of the shortest title matches in WWE history.
End Of An Era
A second main event, billed as the “end of an era”, featured the Undertaker against Triple H in a Hell in a Cell match. The previous year at WrestleMania XXVII, in a No Holds Barred match, The Undertaker defeated Triple H via submission, in their second encounter at a WrestleMania (the first being at WrestleMania X-Seven in 2001, where the Undertaker won as well). However, in the post-match events, due to the harsh physicality suffered during the bout, the Undertaker, for the first time in his career, was carted away from the Georgia Dome by the medical staff on a stretcher. After a near ten-month long hiatus, The Undertaker returned on the January 30, 2012 edition of Raw, confronting and challenging Triple H to a rematch at WrestleMania XXVIII. The Undertaker, having been dissatisfied of his post-WrestleMania match scenario the previous year, stated that he “did not want ‘that scene’ to be a lasting memory” of him and was willing to give Triple H “another chance at immortality”.
After Triple H refused to accept the challenge the next week on Raw, his close friend and WWE Hall of Famer, Shawn Michaels appeared on the February 13 episode of Raw to instigate him in accepting The Undertaker’s challenge, which was in vain as Triple H stated he was willing to put his ego and personal agendas aside for the future of WWE, and viewed The Undertaker’s 19-0 undefeated WrestleMania streak as a “brand” to cash-in for the company, finally ending the argument saying he would not be the one to end it. Then, on the February 20 episode of Raw, The Undertaker still remained adamant in getting a WrestleMania rematch with Triple H, going so far as to label Triple H as a “coward”, and comparing his abilities and career to that of Shawn Michaels.Enraged by these comments, Triple H finally accepted The Undertaker’s challenge at WrestleMania XXVIII, saying that if “he [Undertaker] wanted an end, they would go all the way”, and proposed that they would compete in a Hell in a Cell match. On the March 5 episode of Raw, Michaels confronted Triple H again, this time expressing his views on the debate of who was better than the other (Michaels or Triple H), and predicting Triple H’s chances of defeating The Undertaker, in addition to announcing that he would be the special guest referee in their Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania.
The first main event match was a Hell in a Cell match between Triple H and The Undertaker with Shawn Michaels as special guest referee billed as “the end of an era”. The match started off with the two going back and forth. The match moved to the outside where The Undertaker dominated. Now back in the ring, Triple H assaulted Undertaker with the steel steps and even countered a Hell’s Gate. The match would intensify when Triple H brought steel chairs and a sledgehammer into the ring. After multiple big moves and weapon shots on each other the two men repeatedly kicked out.
After being hit with multiple Pedigrees, a Sweet Chin Music, and multiple chair and sledgehammer shots, Undertaker managed to
comeback and execute a Tombstone Piledriver, however Triple H managed to kick out. Triple H hit one more Pedigree before the Undertaker kicked out, took back control, hit another Tombstone, and won the match to extend his undefeated streak to 20-0. After the match, Undertaker and Michaels helped Triple H out of the ring and made it to the entrance stage where they embraced.
Once In A Lifetime
The main event of WrestleMania XXVIII featured The Rock wrestling against John Cena. On the February 14, 2011 episode of Raw, The Rock was revealed as the host of WrestleMania XXVII, and upon his return to WWE, began a feud with John Cena (and Cena’s opponent at that WrestleMania, then-WWE Champion, The Miz), which continued for weeks in terms of verbal insults, until the March 28 episode of Raw, where Cena delivered the Attitude Adjustment to the Rock after he fended off attacks from the Miz and Alex Riley.
At WrestleMania XXVII, the Rock got involved in the main event WWE Championship match, which initially ended in The Miz’s favor via a double count-out.
After the match was restarted under no disqualifications, no count-outs rules, the Rock delivered a Rock Bottom to Cena, thus enabling the Miz to win the match. The next night on Raw, Cena challenged the Rock to a one-on-one match; Rock accepted and proposed that it be held at WrestleMania XXVIII. The following week, Cena announced his intent to defend the WWE Championship against The Rock in their match at WrestleMania XXVIII.
On the May 2 episode of Raw celebrating the Rock’s birthday, Cena, whilst holding the WWE Championship, confronted the Rock and declared his intent to keep the title until their match. At Survivor Series in November 2011, Cena teamed with the Rock (who made his in-ring return in a match in WWE after nearly eight years, last competing at WrestleMania XX), and billed as “the most charismatic tag team”, and defeated the Miz and R-Truth, collectively known as Awesome Truth. After the match, The Rock gave a Rock Bottom to Cena. As Cena did not hold the WWE Championship heading into WrestleMania, it wound up being a standard singles match.
The Rock and John Cena both had hip-hop artists perform as part of their entrance. Machine Gun Kelly who was introduced by P. Diddy, opened for John Cena, performing Invincible. Flo-Rida performed on behalf of The Rock and performed Wild Ones and Good Feeling. During the match, John Cena and The Rock viciously went back-and-forth with each other throughout the match. The Rock kicked out of two Attitude Adjustments, Cena out of a Rock Bottom and People’s Elbow. When Cena attempted a People’s Elbow on the Rock, he ran into another Rock Bottom, which allowed the Rock to pick up the win.
WrestleMania XXVIII Results
Pre-show Primo and Epico (c) (with Rosa Mendes) defeated Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd and The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) Triple Threat Tag Team match for the WWE Tag Team Championship 05:11
• Sheamus defeated Daniel Bryan (c) (with AJ) Singles match for the World Heavyweight Championship 00:18
• Kane defeated Randy Orton Singles match 10:56
• Big Show defeated Cody Rhodes (c) Singles match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship 05:18
• Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos defeated Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres Tag Team match 06:49
• The Undertaker defeated Triple H Hell in a Cell match with Shawn Michaels as Special Guest Referee 30:50
• Team Johnny (David Otunga (captain), Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, The Miz, and Drew McIntyre) (with John Laurinaitis, Vickie Guerrero and Brie Bella) defeated Team Teddy (Santino Marella (captain), R-Truth, Kofi Kingston, Zack Ryder, The Great Khali, and Booker T) (with Theodore Long, Hornswoggle, Eve Torres, Nikki Bella and Aksana) Twelve-man tag team match to determine the General Manager of both the Raw and SmackDown brands. 10:38
• CM Punk (c) defeated Chris Jericho via submission Singles match for the WWE Championship with the added stipulation that Punk would lose the title if he was disqualified. 22:21
• The Rock defeated John Cena Singles match 33:34
The Next Night On Raw
The next on Raw, at the end of a wild night. Brock Lesnar made his return to the WWE in 8 years. Attacking John Cena with an F5. He would later go on to face John Cena at Extreme Rules.
Although Daniel Bryan would lose his World Heavyweight Championship the Red Hot Miami Crowd would crown a new star, by incessantly chanting Yes! Yes! Yes! the whole night. It was after Raw went off the air, that the crowd got the payoff they deserved with a match featuring Daniel Bryan.
Daniel Bryan spoke with the crowd after.