WrestleMania happened and it was, as far as I am concerned and with a few small flaws, the best WrestleMania ever. Unfortunately a number of these flaws happened at the very end, but when the screen faded to black I was very much satisfied. It is still not as good as WrestleKingdom, but it is in my book the best american PPV event ever produced. Can not wait for RAW and Smackdown.
First match is Austin Aries vs. The King of the Cruiserweights Neville on the Kickoff show. Kind of unfortunate that this was bumped to the Kickoff because if you don’t push the Cruiserweight Division it will just stagnate the way it has. However, the two put together a very good match that could have been a show-stealer at lesser events. Neville retains after, very ironically, put his thumb into Aries eyes.
The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, lovingly referred to by the Internet as “The ArMBaR” (you figure it out). Essentially this is a clusterfuck to have a lot of people on the lower card at WrestleMania. Unfortunately a lot of deserving talent such as Sami Zayn, Braun Strowman, and Luke Harper also had to be in there because the WWE had nothing better for them to do. Notably it also featured The Big Show after Shaquille O’Neil pulled out of their mania match a couple of months ago. To the Surprise both Big Show and Strowman were eliminated quite early. It was won, to everyone’s surprise, by Mojo Rawley with an assist by NFL player Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski who got involved in the match. Apparently Mojo went to University with Gronk’s brother and thats how they knew each other.
Intercontinental Title match between Baron Corbin and Dean Ambrose. This was a bit of a nothing match and didn’t really serve the feud all that much. It is also unfortuantey that Dean was bumped to the kickoff show considering that he fought Brock Lesnar at Mania last year, was world champion in between and reportedly worked two house shows a day when Roman Reigns was suspended last year. At least he got to retain and I hope they do something more with the title.
Wrestlemania proper kicks off with AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon. This feud was built rather quickly but quite effectively with Styles putting McMahon through a car window and McMahon dropping a massive elbow onto Styles on the announce desk a week later. And the match itself was far better than anybody thought it would be. It involved a ref bump allowing for some trash can to be involved, a conceit for McMahon’s Coast-to-Coast finishing move, but it worked quite well.
Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho for the United States Championship. A bitter feud developed out of the best gimmick of 2016 and the insane “festival of friendship” segment earlier this year. It was quite a good match but kind of lacked the wow factor. Of course Owens was going to win because Jericho is on his way out for another tour with his band Fozzy. He also deseres it for how good of a talker and in-ring performer is. Owens now only needs a tag title and he already becomes a grand-slam champion.
Bayley, Charlotte Flair, Nia Jax and Sasha Banks, a.k.a. the entirety of the RAW women’s division, in a four-way elimination match for the RAW Women’s Championship. The other three women had to team up to eliminate the massive Nia Jax and from there it became a quite regular match with somewhat obvious results. Charlotte eliminated Sasha Banks and Bayley subsequently eliminated Charlotte with a top-rope Macho Man elbow, finally legitimizing her title reign after receiving the title and defending it at Fastlane through the help of Sasha. Still think it would have been better if Charlotte had come in as the champion and Bayley had first won the title here, also conquering Charlotte’s PPV streak here, but it still got Bayley a WrestleMania moment.
ThreeFour-way Ladder Match for the RAW Tag Team Titles. Originally this was between Enzo & Cass, Gallows & Anderson and Shaemus & Cesaro, when after the three teams made their entrance The New Day show up on top of the massive entrance ramp. They announce that instead of three teams there would be four teams in the match. Heel commentator Corey Graves already has a fit about how dare The New Day insert themselves into the match when the music of THE FUCKING HARDY BOYZ hits and the whole Stadium goes nuts. From there the match quickly devolves into a spotfest as ladder matches are want to do (and I love them for it). Everyone got in some good stuff but the Hardys walk out with the titles, which I’m sure was a condition for their return. Nobody knows whether their Broken gimmick will continue as they didn’t talk either before or after the match. Can’t think WWE creative is giving them free reign the way TNA did, but I hope for the best. Also of note is that the Hardys worked a ladder match for Ring of Honor against The Young Bucks the day before and they were ushered into the arena in complete secrecy.
John Cena and Nikki Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse in a mixed tag team match. This came out of nice little feud and really great heel work by Miz & Maryse making fun of Total Bellas and Cena’s house rules. Look it up, it’s really funny. The match was pretty decent, though I think the wrong team won as The Miz deserved the win for the absolutely incredibly year he had since WM32, and it wouldn’t have lessened what followed, but oh well. After Cena and Nikki win by simultaneous finishers, Cena proposes to Nikki, and while cheesy it was still very nice, particularly when celebrating with their families at ringside.
Seth Rollins vs. Triple H in an “unsactioned match”. The storyline is that Seth Rollins was betrayed by Triple H way back in the summer to make Owens champion. Rollins then reinjured his knee shortly after the Royal Rumble when the storyline heated back up making this an unsanctioned match that Rollins participates in freely and he can’t sue the WWE or the McMahon family when his career is over. Out of Kayfabe Rollins is of course cleared. Trips had one of his ridiculous entrances again with Steph as his biker bitch on a massive trike he rolled in on together with a police escort. Rollins, not to be outdone, came with a massive torch, holding it to the entrance ramp, the display board of which then came “ablaze”. The match was very good with some nice selling by Rollins and a lot of foreign objects involved. Steph went through a table and Rollins finally got Trips into a pedigree. Also to my surprise no outside intereference in this match as I expected at least Samoa Joe and Mick Foley to show up.
Randy Orton challenging Bray Wyatt for the WWE Championship and writing another chapter in the most insane storyline leading up to Mania. The match itself was also quite insane with multiple times the camer switching to an overhead view and the ring being projected with squick out imagery of earhtworms, maggots and insects when Bray had the upper hand. Bray looked about to win when of course, RKO out of nowhere. In my opinion kind of unfortunate because Bray should have won in my opinion because he deserves a Mania moment. At the very least they should have Eric Rowan and Luke Harper show up and carry Bray out of the ring like the Wyatt family once did to the Undertaker.
Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg for the WWE Universal Championship. Everybody knew this was going to be quick match, mostly because Goldberg is fifty and just doesn’t have the stamina, plus both are kind of one-trick ponies at this point with the spear+jackhammer combination of Goldberg and Lesnar taking everyone to Suplex City. However they did a lot with the limitations within that match. Lesnar came out strong but Goldberg hit multiple spears after recovering inculing one on the outside and completely demolishing a ringside barrier (probably gimmicked though). Lesnar would gain the upper hand though after kicking out of a Jackhammer, hit Goldberg with a total of ten german suplexes and an F5 to become Universal champion.
At this point I was wondering what had happened to the six-way match for the Smackdown Women’s championship. Originally that match was slated for the pre-show but was reportedly bumped up to the main card but at this point we were already in overtime according to the schedule of the WWE network and I thought the match was dropped entirely. They fit it in though even if just Barely. Naomi returned on the go-home Smackdown show and also walked away Champion after submitting the reigning champ Alexa Bliss in a very, very short match. It is kind of unfortunate that the match was cut so much to the bone because nobody really got to show what they can do but at least its nice to have a Wrestlemania Moment for the hometown hero here.
And finally The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns. This match was very long and grueling and kind of showed that The Undertaker is done as a wrestler. My biggest beef here is that Reigns was again over-strongly booked as the WWE allowed him to kick out from a sequence of him getting chokeslammed onto a chair followed by a Tombstone Piledriver. Roman’s gonna Roman I guess. From there on Reigns got the upper hand but just couldn’t put away the Undertaker who refused to stay down, only finally managing to pin him after a massive spear with added momentum from multiple rope-runs. I just hope the WWE finally uses this as a catalyst to turn Roman heel.
After the match concluded The Undertaker took off his gloves, coat and hat, left them in the ring, and the commentators thankfully shut up during the entire sequence. The screen faded to black with him standing on the entrance way, his back to the audience. The Undertaker, the most old-school of old-school guys, took his leave after putting someone else over.