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WrestleMania XXVIII

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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, Florida. There were eight official matches on the event's card.

Production

The city of Miami Gardens was one of the two major contenders for hosting WrestleMania XXVII along with Atlanta, Georgia. Ultimately in February 2010, Atlanta was awarded the right to host the event. According to the Miami-Dade Sports Commission, WWE management felt that Miami's planning for the event would have been too hectic with many other sporting events held in the area around the same time of the planning, such as Super Bowl XLIV. However, the Miami area was reportedly considered for the next event due to its international ties, facilities, airports and experience of hosting previous major events.

Bidding documents were sent to seventeen cities in consideration for hosting a WrestleMania event between 2012 and 2014, with fourteen replying in interest. Other cities under consideration for WrestleMania XXVIII included Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Toronto, Detroit, Tampa, Vancouver, St. Louis, Jacksonville, Orlando and Houston. The city of Dallas also showed interest but had to pull out of bidding for the next two years due to hosting events such as the NCAA Final Four.

On February 9, 2011, it was announced by The Miami Herald that Miami had won the right to host the event. WWE would later officially announce the event in a press conference held at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. WrestleMania XXVIII will be the second Wrestlemania event to be hosted in the state of Florida, the fourth open-air event, and the third event to be held entirely outdoors. For hosting the event, WWE will receive a $250,000 cash incentive from the Miami-Dade Sports Commission raised through grants and sponsorships. Along with WrestleMania XXVIII, a series of events grouped as "WrestleMania Week" will be held in the week preceding the event including WrestleMania's annual WrestleMania Axxess fan convention at the Miami Beach Convention Center, the 2012 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony at the American Airlines Arena, the finals of the WrestleMania Reading Challenge, and a Celebrity Pro-Am Golf tournament.

Background

WrestleMania will feature professional wrestling matches that involve different wrestlers from pre-existing feuds, plots, and storylines that will be played out on WWE's primary television programs. Wrestlers will portray villains or heroes as they follow a series of events that build tension and culminate in a wrestling match or series of matches.

The main event heading into WrestleMania XXVIII, would feature The Rock going up 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 the WWE, began a feud with John Cena (and Cena's opponent at that WrestleMania, the WWE Champion, The Miz), which continued for weeks in terms of verbal insults, until the March 28 edition 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 count-out, and after restarting the match under no disqualifications rules, he delivered The Rock Bottom to Cena, thus enabling The Miz to pin the latter and win the match. On the next night on Raw, Cena challenged The Rock to a one-on-one match at WrestleMania XXVIII. With The Rock subsequently accepting, the match was officially announced on WWE.com. At Survivor Series in November 2011, Cena teamed with The Rock (who made his in-ring return in a match in the WWE after nearly eight years, last competing at WrestleMania XX), and billed as "the most charismatic tag team", they defeated The Miz and R-Truth, collectively known as Awesome Truth. After the match, The Rock gave a Rock Bottom to Cena.

A second main event match scheduled for WrestleMania would pit The Undertaker against Triple H in a Hell in a Cell match. Last 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 the harsh physicality suffered during the bout, The Undertaker failed to leave the venue (Georgia Dome) on his power, as he was carted away by the medical staff on a stretcher for the first time in his career, while Triple H left on his own accord. 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, reason being The Undertaker having been dissatisfied of his post-WrestleMania match scenario last year, stating "he did not want that scene to be a lasting memory of him". 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 edition 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 the 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 due to 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 July 17, 2011, at the Money in the Bank event, Daniel Bryan defeated seven other wrestlers to win the SmackDown Money in the Bank ladder match. On the July 22 edition of SmackDown, Bryan declared his intentions of cashing-in his Money in the Bank contract at WrestleMania XXVIII. However, despite this claim, he attempted to cash-in his contract briefcase on the November 25 episode of SmackDown. He pinned the reigning World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry to supposedly win the title and began to celebrate, but SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long informed Bryan that Henry was not medically cleared to compete, and declared the match void, thereby returning the briefcase to Bryan and the title back to Henry. The next week on Raw, Bryan acknowledged that he went back on his word, saying that headlining WrestleMania was his dream and that his "plans changed"; that the briefcase "doesn't guarantee [him] anything", since he could be put out of action at any time. WWE, however, continued to maintain the advertisement for WrestleMania, until Bryan successfully cashed-in his Money in the Bank contract briefcase on Big Show at the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs event on December 18, 2011, to become the new World Heavyweight Champion.

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 PPV. 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.

Another match booked for WrestleMania is from the Raw brand, which would see CM Punk defending the WWE Championship against Chris Jericho. Calling himself the "best wrestler in the world", Punk went on to successfully defend the WWE Championship numerous times. On the January 2, 2012 episode of Raw, after extensive hype through several viral vignettes proclaiming the "end of the world as we know it" on that day, Chris Jericho returned to the WWE after over a year, and established a villainous persona over the next several weeks. On the February 13 edition of Raw, Jericho accused Punk in an in-ring segment of being a copycat of him, and that he (Punk) stole his proclamation of being the "best in the world". While competing in the Raw Elimination Chamber match at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, Jericho was knocked out by a kick to the head by Punk, rendering him unable to compete any further, and Punk went on to win that match. This incident further fueled Jericho's animosity towards Punk. On the February 20 edition of Raw, Jericho last eliminated Big Show to win a ten-man battle royal to determine the number-one contender to face Punk for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania XXVIII. In subsequent promos, both wrestlers expressed their desire to prove who is "the best in the world."

Another title match scheduled is between Cody Rhodes and The Big Show for the former's WWE Intercontinental Championship. Their feud gained increased momentum week after week when, over January and February 2012, Rhodes began mocking Big Show's less than stellar performances at WrestleMania over the years, calling him "a reverse Undertaker" (a direct reference to The Undertaker's undefeated 19-0 record at WrestleMania, compared to Big Show's 3-8 record) also citing the ridiculous nature of some of his matches such as his match against Akebono at WrestleMania 21 in a Sumo match and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at WrestleMania XXIV. Rhodes also cost Big Show a chance at the World Heavyweight Championship, by eliminating him from the SmackDown Elimination Chamber match at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view in February, and a shot at the WWE Championship at WrestleMania, when he pulled Big Show over the top rope, aiding in his elimination by Chris Jericho in the end of a number-one contender's battle royal on the February 20 edition of Raw. On the March 2 episode of SmackDown, General Manager Theodore Long announced an official match between Rhodes and Big Show for the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania XXVIII, where the latter has vowed "to win at all costs."

At the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view in February 2012, Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Interim Raw General Manager John Laurinaitis and his legal counsel David Otunga expressed Laurinaitis' desire to be become permanent General Manager of Raw, as well as General Manager of SmackDown. Alberto Del Rio, Mark Henry, and Christian all came out and voiced their support for Laurinaitis over SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long. Later that night, Long agreed with Laurinaitis' desire for only one man to run both brands, but believed that it should be him. On the February 21 edition of Super SmackDown, the two General Managers got into an argument following a match between Raw's WWE Champion CM Punk and SmackDown's World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan that ended in a draw, with each man supporting the opposing brand's world champion. The two were then given the chance by the WWE Board of Directors to run the other show for one night in order for the Board to evaluate them, with Long running the March 5 edition of Raw and Laurinaitis in charge of the March 9 edition of SmackDown. On March 12, the Board of Directors announced that a 12-Man Tag Team Match would take place at WrestleMania XXVIII, with the General Manager of the winning team being awarded stewardship of both Raw and SmackDown. That night on Raw, Long appointed his assistant Santino Marella to be the captain of his team, while Laurinaitis appointed Otunga to be the captain and named Mark Henry as a member of his team. On March 15, it was announced that R-Truth had been added to Long's team. On the March 16 edition of SmackDown, Christian officially joined Team Johnny, and Kofi Kingston was announced as Team Teddy's newest member. Prior to the March 19 edition of Raw, Laurinaitis and Otunga announced on WWE.com that (Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger) had been added to Team Johnny.

Another match scheduled for WrestleMania is between Divas Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres taking on the team of Kelly Kelly and Extra co-host Maria Menounos. The feud between Phoenix and Menounos began on the October 12, 2009 edition of Raw when Menounos accompanied then-Access Hollywood host Nancy O'Dell, who was the guest host of Raw that night. Phoenix, angered over having been traded to the SmackDown brand by O'Dell, barged into their office and got into a confrontation with both women, leading to a Six-Diva tag team match later that night in which Menounos' team defeated Phoenix's team. On the 2011 edition of Tribute to the Troops, Menounos made an appearance, this time in an Eight-Diva tag team match, winning the match for her team by pinning Phoenix. Kelly and Eve, on the other hand, had a falling apart of their friendship after Eve admitted to having used Zack Ryder and John Cena to further her own career. On the March 15 episode of Extra, Phoenix and Eve interrupted an interview between Kelly and Menounos, which resulted in a confrontation. Phoenix would then challenge Menounos to a match at WrestleMania, which the latter accepted. Later that night, it was announced on WWE.com that WWE officials had sanctioned a tag team match pitting Phoenix and Eve against Menounos and Kelly for WrestleMania XXVIII.

Another rivalry heading into WrestleMania is between Randy Orton and Kane. On the March 2 edition of SmackDown, Kane interrupted Orton's match against Daniel Bryan, causing Orton to lose by count-out. The two men then brawled, with Orton ultimately being chokeslammed by Kane. Orton got his revenge on the March 5 edition of Raw by delivering an RKO to Kane, who had just defeated R-Truth. On the March 9 edition of SmackDown, Orton and Kane once again brawled at the end of the show with no man appearing to gain an advantage. The next week on SmackDown, Orton demanded Kane to explain his intentions. He referred to his handshake with Orton after a Street Fight on the July 22, 2011 edition of SmackDown, in which Orton had defeated him. Kane, explaining that the handshake made him look weak and "human," claimed that this "wretched" self was now gone, and announced that he would challenge Orton at WrestleMania XXVIII.

On March 30, WWE announced on their website that a Triple Threat Tag Team match for the WWE Tag Team Championship between the defending champions Primo & Epico, The Usos (Jimmy and Jey), and the newly formed team of Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd (see Tyson & Justin), would be streamed online free before the pay-per-view on both WWE.com and the official WWE YouTube channel.

Match Preview

The Rock vs. John Cena Preview
Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus Preview
CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho Preview
The Undertaker vs. Triple H Preview
Cody Rhodes vs. The Big Show Preview
Team Teddy vs. Team Johnny Preview
Randy Orton vs. Kane Preview
Beth Phoenix & Eve vs. Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos Preview

Results

Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
(c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.

Other on-screen talent

Commentators
Interviewers
Ring announcer
Referees

See also

DVD release

External links

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History of WrestleMania
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WrestleMania
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