Well there it was again, the biggest event on any pro wrestling fan’s calendar for the year has been and gone. Overall I’d say it was a very confusing show and in my opinion a lot of matches ended with the wrong people winning.
Wrestlemania is basically wrestling’s season finale, it finishes off all of the current storylines so they can start fresh the next night on Raw. But it’s also a time when the most eyes are back on the WWE. Whether it be lapsed fans who want that yearly nostalgia bump or perhaps new fans who’ve been caught up in the excitement and want to be part of the conversation. So with this in mind you’d think WWE would go out of their way to create a feel good show but that’s not what they did this year.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with subverting expectations but when that comes at the expense of a fun show maybe that’s not the right call for Mania.
Kevin Owens(C) vs Dolph Ziggler vs Stardust vs Sami Zayn vs Sin Cara vs The Miz vs Zack Ryder in a 7-Man Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship
What seems to be becoming an annual tradition we have a big cluster muck of a ladder match involving anyone they couldn’t fit anywhere else. The only real story going into this match was the feud between Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. Owens had previously injured Sami so we were all expecting it to be a one on one match between them to settle the grudge. Both of them have a huge history together from their early days of wrestling and they have both worked extremely hard to get to where they are today. So that alone would have made an awesome match, instead they decided add a bunch of unrelated losers last minute and make it a painfully forgettable ladder match.
The only big moves that spring to mind were Stardust taking a nasty body splash through a ladder from Sin Cara and Kevin Owens getting suplexed painfully onto a ladder by Sami Zayn. But after all of this the biggest loser of them all Zack Ryder who hasn’t won a meaningful match in years gets the belt. Straight away I felt this was a totally pointless victory and that was confirmed when he lost it to Miz the next night on Raw. This was the first in a night full of confusing choices by WWE and a disappointing open to the show for me.
Chris Jericho vs AJ Styles
Unfortunately this is the 4th time this year these guys have fought so it does suffer from diminishing returns but at least they tried to add some new dimensions to the match. This is the first time they’ve faced off with Jericho being a full on bad guy.
Even though he’s a respected legend from the 90s he still knows how to piss off a crowd when he needs to. He shows no respect to AJ by slapping him, holding submissions on after the ref has called for the break and even busts out his cocky pin from his WCW days. This match also shows that both men have been learning from each other on the previous bouts. Both get chances to reverse each other’s signature moves, the ending coming from Jericho catching AJ out of an aerial dive into his Code Breaker finishing move to get the win.
At the time I thought that Jericho didn’t need to win this match especially now that AJ Styles became the no.1 contender for the title on Raw yesterday. So I think it would have made more sense for AJ to win here then go one to have a successful Raw too but maybe they didn’t want to give him a Mania win because he’s a newcomer to WWE.
The League of Nations vs The New Day
The New Day are inarguably the biggest stars the WWE has right now. So big that they got to do a special entrance that involved them falling out of their own big custom cereal box dressed as Saiyans from Dragonball Z. Yes you heard that right, New Day have really captured the attention of the internet generation and it’s helped rocket them to super stardom.
They really deserved a better match than this one, taking on a bunch of boring bad guys who’ve been shoehorned into a team isn’t really Mania worthy in my opinion. Also New Day are the tag team champs, they should have been defending the gold against an impressive tag team.
So despite The New Day being the absolute favourites WWE decides The League of Nations should beat them in a forgettable match. At least they won by cheating so New Day still looked like the better team. Another pointless win that really took the air out of the atmosphere after New Day’s legendary entrance.
So after the match the League of Nations get on the mic and make the age old wrestling mistake of declaring no one can beat them which every wrestling fan knows immediately summons a super team of legends to prove you wrong. In this case it was HBK Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley and Stone Cold Steve Austin coming out for nostalgia’s sake. It was pretty entertaining we got to see everyone do their finishers. We got a Sweet Chin Music, the return of Mr. Socko and the crowd favourite Stone Cold Stunner. Then New Day got back in to try and persuade the legends to dance with them to which Stone Cold politely declined with a Stunner for Xavier Woods.
Brock Lesnar vs Dean Ambrose in a Street Fight
The Beast Incarnate vs The Lunatic Fringe in a no holds barred street fight. This match should have been awesome but it was very one sided with Brock Lesnar dominating for most of it. Now this is perfectly understandable because Brock is a terrifying monster of a man in real life but this is wrestling, none of that matters in this fake world. The crowd and me included really wanted Dean to finally get his big win because he’s been losing a lot lately but Brock pretty handily destroyed him. For a street fight the weapon usage wasn’t really anything special either, Dean had even been gifted a barbed wire bat from the Hardcore Legend himself Mick Foley but he didn’t even get to use it! Brock dodged it and that led to him hitting the F5 for the win.
Charlotte(C) vs Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks for the WWE Women’s Championship
It feels great to be able to say with 100% certainty that this match was the best on the show but again it fell victim to a weird and unsatisfactory ending. However this was a pretty important match in WWE history, for year the female wrestlers have been branded Divas while the men got to be called Superstars which never seemed fair to me. But they’ve somehow managed to get Vince to give up this sexist term and now everyone is a Superstar and the Diva’s Championship has been renamed the WWE Women’s Championship.
For years now the women’s matches have been pretty bad at most events but they’ve finally got the talent to really turn things around. Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks are absolute stars and they really led this match. Early on there were lots of fast paced move combinations involving all 3 women and the pace never really slowed down which was great. There were also some great top rope moves highlights being a huge moonsault to the outside by Charlotte and out of nowhere frog splash from Sasha which was a tribute to her favourite wrestler Eddie Guerrero.
Unfortunately this was all ruined by Ric Flair’s interference at the end. His cheating helped his daughter Charlotte pick up the win and forever have to accolade of first WWE Women’s Champion. I wouldn’t have minded this outcome if it was a fair match between the 3 women but the fact that they had a man interfere just ruined it for me and tainted the new serious direction they’re trying to go with women’s wrestling.
The Undertaker vs Shane McMahon inside Hell in a Cell
No, this isn’t a joke. I haven’t accidently put in a match from 2000. They actually decided to pit the 46 year old Shane McMahon against the 51 year old Undertaker in no holds barred match inside a giant steel cage! And yes it was as stupid as it sounds.
First of all Shane is not a formally trained wrestler, granted he’s had a lot of high profile matches and he’s known for some amazing high flying moves which have been genuinely impressive and endeared him to the fans but he’s not a wrestler. The only reason they put this match together was for some reason Shane was ok with jumping off the near 30ft Hell in a Cell cage through a the announce table. Now this was an amazing jump that I didn’t think they had the guts to actually do but it was all for nothing! Shane lost to the Undertaker because he moved off the table just before Shane hit, it was an awful landing too, there was some kind of cushion but he didn’t really hit it straight on but he also didn’t die so that’s something right?
The match before that was pretty boring because of the slow pace and it was long too, clocking in around 30 minutes in total. Undertaker was always my favourite wrestler but I wish he would retire soon, he’s just not the same. Give the old deadman a rest already!
The Andre The Giant Memorial 20-Man Battle Royal
It’s telling that this match was a 30-man battle royal last year but WWE’s had a bad year for injuries and the roster was a bit think this year so we have this 20-man match full of nobodies. Big Show and Kane were the only wrestlers of note announced before this started and the rest of the made up with random tag teams mostly.
The winner of this match was Baron Corbin a relative unknown from NXT which was actually a surprisingly good choice because no one was excited for this match. And it was a strong main roster debut for Corbin. It’s always good to see them supporting the new guys, I was worried they’d just give to Kane or something after the previous decisions.
The Rock vs Erick Rowan
This was a really pointless segment, The Rock got a huge stupid entrance with the Dallas cheerleaders dancing around him and he was shooting a flamethrower for some reason. So comes out to chat with the crowd for a bit but then he gets interrupted by the Wyatt Family who (for the uninitiated) are a band of mystical voodoo hillbillies who have no previous connection with The Rock as far as I remember. So The Rock rips his clothes off revealing he’d been wearing his wrestling trunks all along(maybe he always does?)!
This wasn’t even a match, the bell hit and Rock hits his Rock Bottom finisher and that was it. Then the enraged Wyatts try to beat him up but the John Cena comes out to save him! They both do their signature moves and the Wyatts slump back to their swamp shack.
Roman Reigns vs Triple H(C) for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
So here we go, our main event between the King of Kings Triple H and Roman Boooooooooooo.
Seriously the boos for Roman during this match were deafening. Bit of backstory on Roman Reigns, he’s Vince McMahon’s golden boy at the moment and he’s being given all the high profile matches and title shots but the problem is he’s not a very good wrestler. He can do big power moves fine but the rest of his moves are just boring strikes and instead of thinking of new stuff he just repeats his same moves ad nauseum. He also has almost no charisma, I literally have no idea what the higher ups see in him. The crowds have completely turned on him because he’s being shoved down our throats as the guy we’re supposed to cheer.
Triple H tries his best to drag Roman through this match but it was really boring, it probably didn’t help that at this point we were past 6 hours of wrestling if you include the pre show. But their job is to keep our attention no matter how long the match goes but unfortunately Roman just stinks it up too much. We all knew he was going to win too, Triple H shouldn’t be champion for too long because he’s the COO of the company (in real life and the story) so we knew it could only be Reigns at this point.
So he hits his Spear finisher and Triple H goes down for the 1-2-3 leaving Roman to celebrate in front of a booing and hissing crowd. It was pretty hilarious, I just kept thinking “someone has got to come out and save this, right?” But they never did. It was seriously the flattest ending I’ve ever seen at a Wrestlemania. They’ve got a lot of work cut out for them if they’re set on making this guy a star, on raw he showed some signs that they might start playing him off as a bad guy which is probably their only option at this point.
So yea that was it, a disappointing end to a disappointing show. The only way to save the show for me would have been to have the women’s match on last and ban Ric Flair from ringside. But no matter what happens we’ll probably all watch it again next year. Overall I’d give the show: