15. Brock Lesnar vs Triple H (No Holds Barred, WrestleMania XXIX)

Triple H has announced his retirement from wrestling, meaning that his last WrestleMania match was against Batista at WrestleMania 36. I liked that match, probably more than most, but it would be a stretch to say it is underrated. However, this match against Brock Lesnar is underrated. Of the forgotten HHH ‘Mania matches, I think this might be the most sorely overlooked. For some reason, it was placed straight after the high of the Punk/’Taker match (‘Taker’s last great ‘Mania bout that didn’t take place in a Boneyard!).

The crowd were exhausted, too tired to muster up any enthusiasm for this bout. Apart from the closing moments and a few spots here and there, the crowd are mostly dead. Which is a shame, because this is one of Lesnar’s best bouts since returning.

Was it because the outcome was clearly telegraphed? I mean, you don’t put HHH’s career on the line and expect ‘The Game’ to lose, do you? The same tactic failed to work for his ‘Mania bout against Batista. Or was it that this bout headlined the previous year’s Summerslam, and the feud had run out steam in the half a year since that PPV? But the lack of a raucous crowd does hurt the bout

Like I said, it’s a shame. This is a hard-hitting bout and the highlight of their feud (they would go on to have a decent cage match at the following PPV, and their Summerslam clash was alright…). Yes it may be slow to start off (another reason why the crowd weren’t into the match?), but the methodical pace suits a Lesnar-dominant match. I’d say the ‘No Holds Barred’ stipulation isn’t a well-utilised as, say HHH’s ‘No Holds Barred’ match against The Undertaker at WMXXVIII, but there’s still a lot to like, even love about this match.

With five minutes shaved off and a different placement on the card, this could have rivalled Punk/Taker for match of the night. As it stands, it’s a very good bout, a forgotten one in both HHH’s and Lesnar’s ‘Mania resume.

Hammy’s Rating: **** (out of 5)

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