Wrestlemania 32 Review & Recap – 04/03/16
Ladies and gentlemen, its the Wrestling Classic here, and I’m going to review my thoughts and opinion on this years Wrestlemania. However before we go on to talk about that, I want to briefly talk about the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony of 2016.
Hall of Fame Ceremony
I originally never planned on going to the Hall of Fame this year, just out of preference. I was not sure if I wanted to pay to listen to a bunch of speeches, mainly when they’re were maybe only three speeches I really cared to listen too. However we were already in Downtown Dallas and debating if we should just uber back to our hotel to change to go out to hit the local bars or maybe see if we can score some cheap tickets to the Hall of Fame last-minute like we did for NXT, we decided to try the latter first. If it didn’t work out we could always go back to plan A. In the end, we ended up getting tickets to the Hall of Fame for 35$ for decent seats, and it was totally worth every dollar. We got to our seats as soon as Stan Hansen was just wrapping up his speech, therefore we already missed the Godfather as well. I didn’t mind too much as I only really wanted to hear the Fabulous Freeboards and Sting get inducted, as well as see what Snoop Dogg was going to say.
Overall, I enjoyed it. Jacquline was humble and grateful. Big Bossman’s family made you almost want to cry because you knew how much Traylor would have loved that honour to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The Warrior Award recepient Joan Lunden was inspirational. The introduction of the Legacy Class of the Hall of Fame was wonderful, honouring wrestlers from the early 20th Century that paved the way for the business as an attraction. It allowed those superstars who are no longer with us as way into the Hall of Fame, where they belong, without having to induct them one by one over the years. It included superstars such as Frank Gotch, George Hackenschmidt, Pat O’ Connor, Ed “The Strangler” Lewis, Lou Thez, Art Thomas and Mildred Burke. Snoop Dogg was great as he recited a rap he wrote for his speech, and we very respectful when he talked about his love for the wrestling business. It was also cool for him talking about how he considers the WWE his family and shouting out his lil’ cousin Sasha Banks.
Moving on to the headline inductions, Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin stole the show with the induction speech for the legendary and innovative group from Bradstreet USA, the Fabulous Freebirds. They shared so many memorable stories, as well as bringing out the sons of the late Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts, two of the other Freebirds, whom are no longer with us, to speak on behalf of their fathers. I was shocked on how much time they got for their speech, but they deserved it. They even brought our Kevin Von Erich, in honour of having one of their greatest feuds in Dallas against the Von Erichs. Damn, can Michael Hayes still entertain, with all his dancing and singing. Finally, there was the man called Sting. He gave which was a perfect Hall of Fame induction speech. He talked about every period of his career, including bringing up his “Joker Sting” gimmick from TNA. The only thing I noticed Sting didn’t do, was mention his very close friend for many years, Lex Luger. Other than that, it was a wonderful speech. In the end of the speech, Sting officially announced his retirement, which was not a shocker due to recent rumours but still pretty upsetting. The fans chanted for one more match and they chanted the Undertaker’s name, in hopes for that one last match with the Phenom. However Sting let us know that this was the one thing that was for sure about Sting, and that was that he was going to retire. He ended it off by putting on his sunglasses, grabbing his pattened black baseball bat and saying “This isn’t goodbye. It’s just see ya later”. In the end, the whole Hall Of Fame Ceremony was great and you could see all superstars, legends and Divas looking a spiffy as ever. Im glad we decided to go and we didn’t miss out on that great Freebirds speech and Sting announcing his retirement.
Image via WWE.com
Now back to the granddaddy of them all, the showcase of the immortals, the biggest show of the year and the Superbowl of professional wrestling, that is Wrestlemania. I actually achieved a goal this year, to knock off my bucket list, which was to attend a Wrestlemania live in person as an adult. It was truly one hell of an experience, and since I experienced the event live, my views and thoughts on the show may vary from those who just watched it from home. Now lets dive right into it and talk about the show. Are you ready?
I said…..ARE YOU READDYYY?
WRESTLEMANIA 32 Kick-Off
Image via WWE.com
The day of Wrestlemania arrived, and I woke up knowing it was a special day. As soon as we woke up, it was non-stop just getting ready to leave for the Stadium and to get to Wrestlemania as soon as possible. We left the hotel as soon as possible, got dropped off at a restuarant close to the bar to quickly eat. The place was filled with wrestling fans, all who were just chanting popular phrases and just as excited as us. As soon as we got our food, we gobbled it down and drank a couple of beers, and got out of there as soon as possible to walk to the Stadium. As we got to AT&T Stadium, the house that Jerry Jones built (as my friend would refer to it all weekend), the place was packed.
There were tailgate parties all through the parking lot and a sea of wrestling fans for as far as human eyes could see. We kept walking towards the stunning stadium trying to find the line to enter the building. I noticed that were a lot of people just standing in one place as if there was a line up that we were just walking along side of. I stopped and asked one guy what they were standing in line for, and ensured me that he was not sure but he believed in was the line to get in. My buddy Paul, kept on walking through the crowd of 100 thousand people even as I stopped to ask the guy that question, so I caught up with him. Next thing I know, I was jumping through a barrier gate that somebody broke open, and beside me was non other than the WWE superfan, “Brock Lesnar Guy”. I was just following the crowd and my buddy, and this is where it lead me. As soon, as I got through the gate, the security guards came to close the gap someone made by breaking the gate and to hold people back from trying to break it again to jump through. Little did I know we actually got away with skipping this hour long line up to the entrance, I didn’t realize until a conversation I had with the “Brock Lesnar Guy” over social media once I got back. We basically saved ourselves a long wait to get to the entrance and within the next 5-10 minutes of continuous traffic, I was in the building. I later heard that people had a hard time getting into the Stadium, due to the long line ups and issues with wireless ticket scanning devices. Thankfully, I didn’t have to deal with any of that.
As I got to my seats, there was actually quite a bit of time before the pre show matches began and the Stadium was very slowly filling up. I spent time taking pictures, admiring the stadium, the massive screen in the AT&T stadium and talking with other wrestling fans. I didn’t expect the pre show matches to start when they did, but I guess since they were on a time-based schedule with a live pre show and already expecting to go over time with the main show, they went ahead and began the show before the Stadium really even looked half full. It’s a beautiful but massive stadium, therefore it was going to take time to fill up regardless. I was always curious why they had kick-off show and not just extend the actual show the extra hours, so at least everyone can say they were on the Wrestlemania card, but I assume its to avoid situations like this, where they would have to live with the show starting with the seats barley filled.
United States Championship
Kalisto (C) def. Ryback
This match was one of those matches, that I personally didnt care for much. I feel like ever since Kalisto has won the belt, he’s been booked odd. He’s still on the losing end of tag matches when tagging with Sin Cara but he’s the United States Champion. I like Kalisto, and I hoped for more when he won the belt. Now, I just think some other superstar on the roster could hold the US title and it could be benefitting them with their career or feuds, instead of Kalisto, who seems to be holding it for no apparent reason at all. That being said I expected Ryback to go over here.
These two went back and forth, playing off the size different and utilizing the whole David vs. Goliath formula. There was a point where the action slowed down, and I assumed the kick off might have had commercials, which I wasn’t able to tell since I was there live. As soon as I got to watch it back when I got home, I realized I wasn’t wrong because the WWE Network did take a commercial break during that same time, I thought the action slowed down live. There were a lot of counters from Ryback’s signature moves by Kalisto which lead to near falls. At one point, Ryback tried dragging Kalisto from the corner and when doing so, Kalisto tore off one of the turnbuckle pads when fighting back. This lead to Ryback later missing a running charge at Kalisto, hitting the exposed turnbuckle and Kalisto hitting the Salaida Del Sol to retain the belt.
It was a solid opener, and got the fans who were actually in the stadium going. I didn’t expect Kalisto retain, but he did. Therefore, I hope they actually have plans for him moving forward as champion. As for Ryback, I’m not too sure where he goes from here, but considering the last two weeks of Raw, I don’t think creative does either. Near the end of this match, the Stadium was a little more full but there were still empty seats.
RATING – **1/2
Team Total Divas (Brie Bella, Natalya, Paige, Alicia Fox & Eva Marie) def. Team B.A.D & Blonde (Lana, Naomi, Tamina, Summer Rae & Emma)
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to this match. I was actually kind of bummed it got kicked to the pre-show. I’m usually not a fan of multi team divas matches, but in the past few years, I’ve really began to be more invested in the division. I wanted the best for all these women at Wrestlemania. It was also rumoured to be Brie Bella’s last match before she leaves to become a Mama Bella, and start a family with her recently retired husband Daniel Bryan. Possibly retiring herself, if she never decides to return after having children. It was also a significant match because it was the first time we were going to see the Ravishing Russian Lana in action. I originally thought it was going to be Brie vs. Lana, but soon figured it was going to be a multi team match. I wasn’t disappointed because at least this way, all these women could compete at Wrestlemania.
The girls all had special gear and stuff done that was Wrestlemania worthy. I actually just got back in time from the bar, when the Total Divas just made it to the ring for their entrance. I was surprised with the amount of time this match got. I thought it was going to be one of those quick multi team divas matches, that quickly breaks down in chaos and each Diva hits their signature or finisher moves until quick finish. Instead though, we actually got a decent tag match, where everybody got a little in.
Alicia Fox and Summer Rae started off until all the Divas got into the ring and faced off. I almost thought the brawl to end it all quickly was going to start there but the referee regained order. I soon found out, that was sent off for the WWE Network commercial. Eva Marie got a ton a heat even though she was on the babyface team and has shown improvement. It’s almost as if the fans are never ever going to take her seriously. They then allowed Natalya and Naomi, to work together and this lead to a cool spot where Natalya and Paige hit the Hart Attack finisher, made famous by the Hart Foundation. From there on Paige took the beating from Team Lana, for them to gain heat. We finally got to see Lana get in the ring, and she did some impressive kicks, but not much to totally judge her wrestling ability yet. There was a cool spot where Paige hit a high cross body, that got a decent pop. Finally Paige got to make the hot tag to Brie, which lead to a near fall after a Bella Buster, until Lana made the save. This then lead to the signature/finisher fest, where everyone gets there moves in.
It came down to Naomi and Brie, after everyone got their shit in. Naomi missed a split leg moonsault, that looked kind of sloppy. It looked as if Brie never got her knees up in time to show that she blocked it, but you sort of could tell that was the plan. Brie went into full Brie Mode, and as she was going for her missile drop kick from the top tope, Lana pushed her off. However Brie overcame that with this awesome looking transition into a Yes Lock, thus making Naomi tap.
I was shockingly surprised with this match and the time it got to be more than the what I expected. The only issue was the lack of confrontation between Lana and Brie, since a feud between the two of them is how this whole match came about. Nikki Bella made surprise appearance to a pretty awesome pop, coming down the ramp with her neck brace on, to join the Total Divas celebration. After the Bella twins embraced, the girls hoisted Brie Bella up on their shoulders to celebrate her victory in her farewell match. It was a sweet moment that they cut off quick on the WWE Network, but we got to enjoy a bit longer being there live. Thank you Brie Bella for the years you sacrificed for this business and for our entertainment. I hope Bryan and you have beautiful and healthy babies.
RATING – **1/2
Image via WWE.com
The Stadium was actually pretty full now and you didn’t spot many empty seats anymore. There were still tons of people walking up and down the aisles between sections trying to find their seats or leaving to quickly grab food and beverages before the show starts. Even with all these people filling the stadium, it still looked massive.
As we were just sitting there talking and assuming they’re doing kick-off panel stuff, Lita’s music hit. I then noticed in the ring a pedestal with something covered by red cloth. I immediately assumed it was a new Women’s title, after the rumours that were spreading the last 48 hours about the Divas Division being rebranded into the Women’s division again with a new belt. It’s a coincidence that before I left on my Wrestlemania trip, I published that blog on how I would have booked the Divas Triple Threat’s road to Wrestlemania, right here on thewrestlingclassic.com. In that blog, I mentioned how I enjoyed everything about the build up besides the lack on emphasizing the fact that this match could be a huge step in revolutionizing the division and the state of women’s wrestling in the WWE. I talked about how I lost faith in the WWE dropping the Diva term, but the most they could do was introduce a new title belt. Now, with this announcement, I ended up being both right and wrong, because they did end up dropping the term “diva” for the division and they did introduce a new belt. It almost makes me feel if they didn’t have it planned all along but just in those 48 hours, that someone might have read my blog. Hmm…
However, thats unlikely since they already had a belt made. Lita talked about the history of women’s wrestling and how the current division of divas are more than just divas but they’re superstars, just like the men. Lita then unveils the new Women’s title and let all of us know that the winner of tonights triple threat match, will become the first ever WWE Women’s Champion, under this new tenure. I dig it.
Image via WWE.com
The Usos def. The Dudley Boys
This was the last match of the kick-off show, and because there was a timer showing how much time was left until Wrestlemania started, we kind of knew how much time was left. It started off as brawl that led to the Dudley’s being in control. The Dudley’s worked their usual style by getting heat with clubbing blows and yelling when talking trash. The match went back and forth briefly, until the Dudleys got the apprehend again. Once they went for the tables they got cut off by super kicks simultaneously by the Usos. The Dudleys got the upper hand again, almost hitting a 3D until getting caught with a supper kick yet again. The match ended with another super kick and that was about it. It was alright, but nothing too special. After the match the Dudleys attacked the Usos and got the tables. The Usos fought back and put the Dudleys on the tables and hit them with splashes off the top rope at the same time to put them through the table. It kind of just felt like something you’d see on an episode of Raw or Smackdown. Even being there live, I wasn’t really into it. However, the fact the little kid sitting behind me with his dad got really excited for the table spot, it kind of made me happy. It might be played out to me, but hell if it’s putting smiles on kids faces, I can’t complain.
RATING – *1/2
That was it for the kick-off and now the stadium was a sea of humanity as we rolled into the main show.
Image via WWE.com
The show opened first, with popular girl group Fifth Harmony singing America the Beautiful. It was pretty cool to see them live, after recently discovering and listening to some of their stuff the past few months. They’re a talented bunch of girls.
This was followed by a video package to open Wrestlemania, which showcased the importance of the event and highlighting tonights match ups. This was followed by pyro and pageantry to open the show. Immediately followed by the first match beginning
Intercontinental Ladder Match
Zack Ryder def. Kevin Owens (C), Sami Zayn, The Miz, Stardust, Dolph Ziggler & Sin Cara
If they wanted to keep the crowd hot after the excitement of the opening pyro with fast pace hard-hitting action with a mixture of high spots, this was the best match to open the show with. I still wish they did a multi man match for the US title, and worked on finding time for Owens vs. Zayn on the main show for the IC Title. Despite that though, I knew this match was not going to disappoint and I was happy for all the guys that were involved in this match. Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Zack Ryder got the largest pops in that exact order. The crowd pop for Kevin Owens was one of the biggest pops of the night for an entrance to be honest. It was cool to see everyone wearing special gear for Wrestlemania and stuff. Sin Cara going all Mistico and Stardust incorporating polka dots to his gear in honour of the late great Dusty Rhodes, his father, was awesome.
The match started with a brawl that just left Owens in the ring. This lead to a little Zayn and Owens confrontation and brawl as the only two in the ring early on, which lead to a huge ovation. It didn’t last too long as everybody else and the all the ladders got incorporated into the match pretty quickly. Things escalated pretty quickly as everyone started getting their ladder spots in. One of my favourite ones from early on, was when Sami Zayn hit a somersault dive under the set up ladder to the outside on all of his opponents, followed by a diving DDT to Owens on the outside. The fans were really behind Sami Zayn, which I really thought was cool since he’s fairly new to the main roster. I guess I need to consider this is a Wrestlemania crowd, which is filled with hardcore fans from all around the world. Ziggler had his own super kick party by hitting super kicks on everyone until Owens and him super kicked each other at the same time. There was another cool spot where Sin Cara was climbing the ladder, the ladder gets shoved and he springboards off the ropes onto the opponents outside. Stardust brought out a polka dot ladder in honour of his father, and used it Terry Funk style taking out his opponents, until he was stopped by the Miz and a skull crushing finale on the ladder. Owens then gains the advantage again and throws the polka dot ladder out of the ring.
It gets back to Owens and Zayn back in the ring, which led to this awesome spot where Kevin Owens hits a frog splash on Sami Zayn who is laid out on a ladder that was balanced on the bottom rope. It sent Sami right through the ladder and the “this is awesome” chants began. That move both looked amazing but painful. At this point, everyone was getting a chance to shine, with high spots. I thought Zack Ryder was having his Wrestlemania moment when he hit a flying elbow off the top of the ladder. Sin Cara was shoved off a ladder by Owens falling onto Stardust who was laying on a ladder that was bridged between the ring and the barricade, sending Stardust through the ladder, breaking it in half. This got a huge reaction from the crowd, however I think it’s a spot we’ve seen a lot in the past few years, with the ladder breaking in half when its set up like that. However, in no means am I taking away from the spot, because that has to hurt and these guys are killing each other in this match for our entertainment.
Owen’s looks as if he’s going retain his title, only to be stopped by Zayn. The two fight each other until Zayn hits Owens with a Dragon Suplex onto a ladder. To the crowds pleasure, it looks as if Zayn was going to win the match, until he got pushed off the ladder by the Miz. The Miz goes for the win but wastes time being cocky on top of the ladder. Zack Ryder comes from behind and pushes him off to grab the title for the win. I was shocked with Ryder winning, as he was the last person I would have guessed to win. I thought the elbow drop was his Wrestlemania moment, but I was wrong. Ryder’s dad comes in the ring to celebrate with him and the crowd was really behind Ryder winning. I totally didn’t see it coming at all. As much as I wanted Owens or Zayn to win, to continue their feud, making the IC title seem important, I didn’t mind this too much. It may have not been your technical, art of storytelling ladder but more of a spot fest, but I was okay with it. These seven men put it all in for this match and I couldn’t appreciate it enough.
RATING – ****
Image via WWE.com
Chris Jericho def. AJ Styles
I thought the video package showing the build up for Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles, was very well done. Both men got a good reaction from the crowd. I grew up Jericho fan, so I was glad he was working this particular Wrestlemania that I was attending live and against an opponent like AJ Styles. Speaking of AJ Styles, I never thought the day would come where I would witness AJ Styles compete in the WWE, not only that, but at Wrestlemania live. I was honoured to be there for AJ Styles Wrestlemania debut, it felt special watching him walk down that ramp. I was so lost in my thoughts, thinking about what he must be thinking and feeling, I totally forgot to record the moment for my Instagram page and Snapchat. Not only was Styles making his Wrestlemania debut but he’s facing another one of the best wrestlers in the world, competing against the legendary Chris Jericho.
This being their fourth match against each other in the last couple of months, I was curious to see how they would make their Wrestlemania match stand out compared to their previous battles. It started off going back and forth between the two talented stars. The story of the match, played off the story of their feud with Jericho getting frustrated with Styles, especially showing frustration when Styles hit the springboard dropkick that is a move made popular by Jericho himself. Jericho soon was back in charge after that, locking in a Walls of Jericho and trying to get the win early. Styles regained the advantage after hitting Jericho with a asai DDT for a near fall. The live crowd and I were really into the match, whereas when I watched it back on the WWE Network, I was struggling to find the same energy they had in their previous matches. Styles goes for the Pele Kick that was caught by Jericho leading to the Walls of Jericho – great counter right there. Jericho has always been one of the best in terms of countering holds. After Styles broke free, he applied his Calf Crusher submission, but Jericho fought out of it. Styles went for a Styles Clash, Jericho got out of it and then Styles went for a springboard attack. He jumped off the ropes, Jericho moved and Jericho hit the Codebreaker. Jericho made a slow cover, so Styles managed to kick out. Styles came back with a suplex into a face first slam for two.
I should mention that towards the end of this match, we could see the giant Booty O’s cereal being put on the stage. It was quite the distraction as a lot people began to focus that way to get a quick picture or video of the set up. The match continued in the ring and Styles connects with a hurricanrana. He then hit a succfessful Styles Clash (so much for the rumours that the move was “banned”) and Jericho kicked out at two. I thought that was the finish and so did the live crowd. Styles got his knees up to counter a Lionsault. Styles connected with a Springboard 450 that was good for only two, one again shocking the live crowd. Styles hit a brain buster and still no success in keeping Jericho down for three. Styles was getting frustrated. He went for a springboard forearm, but then Jericho hit the Codebreaker for the win.
I immediatley along with many in the live crowd were shocked with the result, because I didn’t expect Styles to lose in his Wrestlemania debut. I don’t understand why they would bring him in directly to the main roster, spend all that money and have him lose his first big match at the biggest stage of them all. I know it may not be Styles last Wrestlemania, but it was still his first. However, I am not going to complain about Jericho winning, as he regularly puts talent over. If it was someone else he was facing, I think I would have been more shocked. At least now the win score against each other is tied at 2-1.
I just think I was more disappointed in the fact that I had really high expectations for this match and I feel like it just didn’t get there. However, when I watched the match over again at home, I think that was my own fault, comparing it to their previous matches and going into the match with such high expectations, because the match was pretty good. However, I don’t think I’m being to harsh, when I say it just did not get to the next gear in intensity and drama to be great or amazing. I know I enjoyed it live, but the outcome played a huge part in throwing me off on how I felt about the match. Its going to be a repetitive statement throughout this review, but the matches are top quality, but it was the final booking decisions that left you confused about the overall match.
RATING – ***1/2
Image via WWE.com
A commercial aired for Total Divas. Next, they showed celebrities at ringside, such as Stephen Amell, Bill Simmons and Maria Menounos, who did an interview backstage. Maria Menounos, wearing a Shane O’ Mac shirt interviewed Ryder. Ryder called his win tonight the greatest moment of his life. He spoke about seeing Razor Ramon winning the IC Title at WrestleMania 10 and then the story of getting a pic with Razor holding his title, and how now he was going to get a picture with Razor, but this time, he’ll be holding his title. He said if he retired today he’d be a happy man because he lived his dream.
The League of Nations def. The New Day
The moment Big E’s voice played in the Stadium with the monologue he says before their music hit, the place popped. The Booty-O’s box tilts over and the New Day comes out of the box dressed in Sayian Armour from Dragonball Z, to a huge pop. They did their usual entrance antics as they got to the ring. They were followed by the League of Nations, who came out to some boo’s. Interestingly enough, this match was not for the tag team titles and was changed last-minute from a 4-on-3 handicap match, to a six man tag match with Barrett being the odd man out.
I personally went to the washroom during this match, where there was a long line up to get in, thus not catching any of it live from the moment the bell rang. I did however watch it over as I got back home. It was pretty back and fourth match, that actually seemed pretty fast paced and hard-hitting. In the end the numbers advantage got to The New Day because with the help from a Bull Hammer from Barrett, Sheamus was able to level Woods with Brogue Kick following it for the win. A few highlights from the live show was supposedly on the jumbo-tron they were trying to liven the crowd up by trying to get them to start a “New Day, Rocks!” chant by showing images that you could chant a long with. I totally missed this because I wasn’t at my seat. It was a good match, but it felt like something you would get on a weekly episode of Raw or Smackdown.
RATING – **
Following the match is when the real Wrestlemania moment happened for these two teams. It was the mark out moment for me of the night. The League of Nations stayed in the ring following the match, where Barrett cut a promo saying The Lads have won. He went on saying that there are no three men in history that could ever go toe to toe with this unit. He said they’re three of the meanest, toughest, baddest…and he was cut of by the sound of Shawn Michaels music.
I had just walked back out from the lobby area where the washroom was, and was standing by the production teams set up as Barrett was cutting his promo. I was more focused on the fact that all the WWE employees, NXT superstars and divas as well as injured stars such as Patt Patterson, Bayley, Carmella, Neville were right there next to me and I was standing next to them, that I wasn’t paying attention the to promo. Therefore, when Shawn Michaels music hit I began marking out but at the same time tried rushing back to my seat to get back to my buddy, so we could mark out together. Once Foley’s music hit, I tried to maneuver my way calmly to my seat, but then the glass shattered and I completely lost my shit. The Stone Cold pop is for real people, and I was looking forward to hearing that glass shatter a lot coming on this trip. I ran pass my section onto the wrong set of risers, to only have to run back to the right ones, all while trying to record this moment with my phone in the air and my eyes on the ramp and trying to focus on where I was going. I finally got back to my seat by the time the three legends started walking down the ramp.
The link below, it the video I recorded as I was trying to find my seat. Its the perfect example of why marking out and trying to make video at the same time doesn’t work. Yes, folks I was holding my phone up because I was trying to witness this moment with my eyes. Also, this is the unedited, uncut version of the video of exactly how it was recorded before I used an app to rotate it horizontally before I posted it on Instagram.
Marking out, running and trying to record all at once.
Image via WWE.com
Anyways, Shawn Michaels came out to a great ovation in wrestling gear and looking in great shape. It was followed by Foley’s music and he came out dressed up in Cactus Jack wrestling gear as he received great reception from the fans as well. It was then followed by the glass shattering to a massive pop; the loudest pop of the night when “Stone Cold” Steve Austin came out, in jeans and a “Dallas 3:16” shirt. The crowd legit went wild, for the Rattlesnake and for the three of them standing there on top of the ramp together. They then made their way down the ramp to confront the League of Nation.
The three legends got into the ring. The New Day yanked Barrett out of the ring to even the odds making it 3-on-3. Foley unleashed on Sheamus with some fists, then the running knee and he slapped on the Mandible Claw with Mr. Socko on Sheamus. Michaels followed with a Sweet Chin Music superkick on Del Rio. Austin then hit the Stone Cold Stunner on Rusev, who sold it with perfection.The live crowd was eating all of this up and all on their feet. I was in total mark out mode myself still. Barrett was thrown back into the ring, and then he took Sweet Chin Music, Mr. Socko and a Stone Cold Stunner as well.
The legends began to celebrate in the ring, when the New Day got back into the ring. The New Day’s music hit and they began to do their dance, trying to invoke the legends to dance along. Kingston got Shawn Michaels to twerk, or whatever you want to call what he was doing and Big E got Mick Foley to try out his gyrating dance moves. Woods tried getting Austin to dance, who looked at Woods with a smirk and looked around himself in confusion. Soon enough Woods got Austin got to dance a long with slow motion “Carlton” like dance move where they were snapping their fingers, which was immediately followed by Austin giving Woods the Stone Cold Stunner. Kingston and Big E checked on Woods and immediately exited the ring, leaving the Legends in the ring to celebrate. The Legends did exactly that with a classic beer bash, drinking some Broken Skull IPA.
In the end, the live crowd, including myself loved this moment. I’ll admit it was my favourite segment of the entire show. It had all 100 thousand people excited and cheering. It was the segment that received the loudest pop as well. However, some might say the newer talent got buried by the Legends for this nostalgic segment. That it made the League of Nations look weak and the New Day look silly in comparison to the old school legends. I have to say I disagree, as it was most likely a mark out moment for the fan within those stars to share that moment with those Legends they also grew up watching at Wrestlemania. Also, it was just a way to pop the crowd in the stadium, to give us a big moment we won’t soon forget and to cater to the casual fans as well. This segment worked really well in my opinion. That reaction for Austin was a special moment. I’m glad he was a part of the show and I was glad I was there to witness it.
This was followed by a quick commercial for upcoming WWE Network programming.
No Holds Barred Street Fight
Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman def. Dean Ambrose
They aired a video package showing the build up to this Street Fight between Lesnar and Ambrose. In my opinion, this match had the best build up going into Wrestlemania. The match however didn’t live up to that build up, which is the complete opposite of some of the other better matches on this card. Lesnar made his way out to the ring first to a sweet ovation, as regardless if he’s a heel or not, Lesnar is an attraction. He followed by Dean Ambrose who came out to a loud ovation as well. I was really looking forward to this street fight expecting chaos. I should point out that on the giant video screens above the ring, they had a counter up to show the number of suplexes that Lesnar hit during the match.
Lesnar hit a German Suplex almost immediately after the bell rang and quickly moved on to the second one. Lesnar hit a third German Suplex leading to Ambrose rolling out to the floor. Ambrose attacked Lesnar with a kendo stick with several shots to the body. Lesnar came back with knee lifts followed by two more German Suplexes. There were “Let’s go Ambrose/Suplex City” chants from the crowd. Lesnar broke a kendo stick instead of using it and then hit his 6th German Suplex. Lesnar with a vertical suplex, so that’s his 7th suplex of the match. Ambrose on the ground tries to reach for the Kendo stick, but Lesnar stepped on a kendo stick to prevent Ambrose from getting it. Lesnar hit German Suplex number 8. Ambrose tried to come back, but Lesnar nailed him with the 9th suplex – another German one. Ambrose hit a low blow to cheers from the crowd. The typical strategy we’ve seen used time and time before to slow down the Beast. Ambrose destroyed Lesnar with the kendo stick followed by a suicide dive outside the ring. Ambrose grabbed a chainsaw from under the ring. He couldn’t start it in time. Lesnar gave Ambrose a belly to belly suplex on the floor, so that’s #10. Ambrose hit Lesnar in the head with a laptop and a chair to the back. Ambrose then sent Lesnar into the ring. When Ambrose was on the top rope, Lesnar hit a popup superplex to take him down. A throwback to Lesnar’s matches with Kurt Angle. It reminded of when I went to Wrestlemania 19 when I was 12 years old, and the main event was Lesnar vs. Angle.
Moving forward with the match, Ambrose sprayed a fire extinguisher in Lesnar’s face followed by about eight body shots with a chair. Ambrose jumped off the top with a chair and connected with it, which only led to a near fall. Ambrose tossed several chairs into the ring, in typical Ambrose fashion. Lesnar gave Ambrose a German Suplex that sent Ambrose over the chairs while Lesnar’s back actually hit the chairs. Im not sure if that was how it was supposed to be or just totally botched. When you’re there live and you don’t have commentators trying to make sense out of these situations, you’re left to make the judgement call yourself. Ambrose then countered a F5 into a DDT onto a chair for two. The crowd popped for that spot, thinking Ambrose was going to win but he only got a near fall. Ambrose did a Lesnar like flex, showing he still had some fight left in him. Ambrose got the barbed wire bat from under the ring and sadistically kissed it, as if it was his guilty pleasure for lust. Lesnar got back to his feet and dodged the attack from the barb wired bat and hit a German Suplex onto the chairs, which was the 13th suplex . Lesnar hit a F5 on Ambrose directly onto the chairs and covered him for the victory,
That was it. I know for a fact, I wasn’t the only person in the live crowd shocked that it just ended like that. I expected so much, with so much more brutality. Don’t get me wrong, I did not expect tons of guts and blood. I also did not expect Ambrose to successfully use the chainsaw, but I at least thought he would get a shot in with Barbie. Nobody went through a table, a barricade or landed on a bunch of thumbtacks. Even if that was too much to ask for, the match left you underwhelmed, with a lack of drama. I expected it to be brawl that lasted a t least 20 minutes, where Ambrose looked strong because he took an ass whooping but didn’t stay down. I would have had Ambrose at the start getting near falls, pulling fast ones and bringing it to Brock to slowly just getting his ass beat but not staying down for the three, because he was trying to prove his toughness and will to keep fighting. Even when he knows he can’t win, he keeps trying to stand up. I would have Brock feeling sympathetic for him in the end before finishing him with one last F-5. Then have Brock give Ambrose the nod when leaving the ring in a show of respect the fight he put up. That way making Ambrose still look like a badass and legitimate threat to others. They rely on him so much when they need a main event or championship contender, yet they did nothing here to make him look strong.
I totally agree and understand the booking decision to have Brock win, but I was hoping the story of the match would make it a classic and have Ambrose walk out looking like a star. Instead, it really did nothing for Ambrose. In the end, it just made Ambrose look weak. It portrayed Dean as this Lunatic who thought he could take on a Beast, just to get a few near falls but in the end ultimately fail and get pinned after one F5. Thus, making it seem like he never really had a chance. Maybe it’s because all of Lesnar’s most recent matches follow the same formula of multiple suplex’s, but the story of this match lacked depth. I just thought they had great chemistry in the Fastlane main event in February. It just didn’t match that level of intensity even though you would think that would happen at WrestleMania. It was still a good effort from both guys, but it was a bit disappointing. Nowhere near what I expected from this match, but watching it over again at home on the WWE Network, it was still enjoyable.
RATING – **3/4
Image via WWE.com
They did a Snickers commercial spot with Ric Flair, Zack Ryder, Dolph Ziggler and then Ryder turned into Charlotte after he ate a Snickers.
A video package aired for the Hall of Fame. I didn’t watch it. The Hall of Fame class appeared on the stage with Sting getting the biggest spotlight. I guess we ended up seeing him sooner than later….get it? LOL
A clip aired of Lita earlier in the ring when they announced the new WWE Women’s Title that will replace the Divas Title.
WWE Women’s Championship Match
Charlotte (C) def. Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch
It was time for one of, if not the one match I was looking forward to the most; no longer for the Divas Championship, but now for the Womens Championship, it was time for the Divas Triple Threat match. I wrote a whole blog here on thewrestlingclassic.com on how I would have booked the Road to Wrestlemania for this match, having the build up put more significance on changing the course of women’s wrestling in the WWE, by revolutionizing it with this match here tonight. Also, suggesting they change the design of the divisions tops title. An idea for the match to feel so much more important and a route which the WWE did end up going, but not until the very night on Wrestlemania with Lita on the kick off show introducing the new Women’s Championship belt. I expected these three women to all pull out off the stops for their entrances for their collective Wrestlemania debuts.
Lita was standing in the ring with the new championship belt. Becky Lynch made her way out in special gear and got more steam and such which made her entrance feel bigger, but not a lot special to it compared to the entrances that followed. Sasha’s cousin Snoop Dogg and Raven Felix performed Sahsa’s theme. Raven Felix was horribly pitchy and not very good at all, which is easy to look over, but I personally love Sasha’s theme and wish they just left Sasha’s voiceover playing instead. Overall, for Sasha’s entrance, it all worked out with a party like atmosphere, equipped with a pink confetti explosion suited for the sassy Boss. Sasha also has gear on inspired by the late great Eddie Guerrero, paying tribute to her hero, inspiration and all time favourite wrestler on her in ring Wrestlemania debut. Charlotte is wearing robe, made with pieces of Ric’s Mania 24 robe. Charlotte’s entrance was complete spectacle filled with pyro and class, totally done with Flair. Sasha got the loudest pop from my experience being there live, Becky with the second loudest and Charlotte with a great amount of heel heat.
The opening minute was all three trading pining combos, leading to them trying to keep the pacing up and work some three-way spots. Banks did a springboard head-scissors takedown followed by an Eddie-like shimmy. They went for a sunset flip spot from the corner, but Banks didn’t connect with Lynch – they were able to make up for it. Charlotte picked up Banks outside the ring and sent her back first into the ropes. Lynch took control by getting Charlotte with a forearm, and then a reverse DDT for a near fall. Charlotte came back with a backbreaker on Lynch for a near fall. Banks tried getting back into the ring to fight, but Becky sent her over the top to the floor. Lynch applied an armbar on Charlotte only for Banks to break it up, but then Banks got sent out of the ring once again. Charlotte applied a Figure Four on Lynch and Banks capitalized on that with an Eddie Guerrero-like Frog Splash on Charlotte for two count. That frog splash was something I hoped Sasha would do in a big match situation or at Wrestlemania and I had mentioned it on social media over the past year many times. I really marked out when she hit it. There was a really cool spot when Lynch hit a German Suplex on Banks. Lynch continues with her momentum with a pumphandle in a slam for a two count that was broken up by Banks. Banks with a double knee attack to Lynch and then she hit a dive on Charlotte through the ropes. It looks like she hit her feet on the ropes, but she was still able to land safely by tucking her body and making it look like a somersault dive. It was followed by Lynch doing a a dive for Banks, but Banks pulled Flair in the way so Becky ended up nailing Flair. Flair getting taken out got a huge ovation. Now that Becky and Sasha were on the floor, Charlotte went to the top rope and hit a moonsault on both women that connected perfectly. It was truly a thing of beauty, as it was a flawless moonsault. It was really that impressive. Charlotte’s such an incredible athlete, that she has the ability to perform such moves so flawlessly like nobody else can in the current women’s division.
Back in the ring, Charlotte hit a double Natural Selection on both women at the same time, and got nearfalls on both women after that. Charlotte had Banks on her shoulders, so Lynch jumped off the top with a missile dropkick, only to receive a two count. Lynch applied the Disarmer submission on Charlotte. It’s amazing how much time of this match was spent with Becky Lynch in control, she really seemed like the bigger threat in this match. Banks broke it up and followed it with a Banks Statement submission on Lynch that was broken up by Charlotte. Charlotte followed that with a Figure Eight on Banks until, Becky pulled on Sasha’s arms to break it up. I never realized it, but its sweet how all three of these women have submission finishers, because it made the drama during this sequence go up a notch. All three women were down selling fatigue followed by a spot where they exchanged chops and forearm smashes. I really enjoyed this spot, as it made it seem like all three of them were giving it their all. Charlotte nailed Banks with a Spear outta nowhere, which lead to Sasha rolling to the outside. Becky and Charlotte battled on the top turnbuckle, soon with Sasha joining them. It ended with Lynch hitting a superplex on Charlotte. Sasha got the Banks Statement on Lynch again. Charlotte would break it up and tossed The Boss out of the ring. Charlotte put Lynch in Figure Eight submission. Sasha tried to break it up, but Ric held onto her to prevent her from interfering. Lynch tapped out to give Charlotte the win and to be crowned the first ever Womens Champion under its new tenure. Charlotte celebrated on the ramp, with a whole pyro and firework display as she held the title up.
I really, really loved that match. It was exactly what I expected it to be. These three women put on a classic. The frog splash by Sasha and that moonsault to the outside by Charlotte were both Wrestlemania moments, I won’t forget from this match. Becky spent the whole match being the biggest threat to Charlotte, as the Boss would appear at the most opportune moments looking to steal a win. In the end, Becky was the one who tapped out to Charlotte, thus leaving Sasha still undefeated as a singles competitor on the main roster. Since her debut on the main roster, she had yet been pinned or submitted. I enjoyed how the commentators referred to the three of them as “Superstars” rather than “Divas”, as they’re trying to drop that term for the division.The crowd bought into the nearfalls as well as the submission spots, as we were on the edge of our seats thinking the match was over. Sometimes the crowd doesn’t care when a match is booked this evenly, but in this case they were into it in a major way. I think it’s arguably one of the best women’s match in the history of main roster divas division and arguably the best women’s match in Wrestlemania history. There have been better on NXT, but for main roster and Wrestlemania, this one was great.
Watching it back on the Network, I was disappointed with the production team not being on the right camera angles for Sasha Banks’s tributes to Eddie with the shimmy and Frog Splash. Mainly for Frog Splash, as it was something I truly was looking forward to and hoped she would do. They had to show a replay to really capture it. The other thing, that originally had me shocked was that Charlotte retained. Once again to me it was another quality match with an odd booking decision for the finish. I’m totally okay with it, being a huge fan of Charlotte as well, but I think my mind was set on Sasha walking out as the new Women’s champion. I just totally did not predict Charlotte winning, and thats not because she’s not worthy of it, but just because I was expecting Wrestlemania to be the night the division started completely fresh. Now the last Divas Champion, is the first Women’s Champion, and that’s not a bad thing, but its doesn’t really scream new beginning. Im okay with the Ric Flair interference at the end, mainly because it was No DQ, Charlotte’s a heel and he was out there anyways, but we could have done without it. It is what it is, and it doesn’t hurt the final product of the match for me at all. In my opinion, it was best match of the night.
RATING – ****
Images via WWE.com
The Hell in a Cell structure was lowered.
Hell in a Cell
Undertaker def. Shane McMahon
A video package aired to set up The Undertaker’s match with Shane McMahon. Shane McMahon made his entrance first. I pop every time I hear, “Here comes the money!”. There were dollar bills that dropped from the stadium rafters with Shane’s face on them. The lady sitting in front of me who caught a few, gave one to my friend and I. Shane brought out his three sons to dance on stage with him, which I thought was really cool. It was a special moment that we got to see the next generation doing the Shane O’ Mac shuffle and walk down to the ring their father. Shane left the boys with his wife and mom at ringside before getting into the devils structure, waiting for the reaper of souls. The Undertaker made his entrance to the ring. Nothing too special about the presentation, but it’s always cool to see him walk that long WrestleMania aisle. It was truly a moment where I felt like a kid again. It gave me goosebumps and chills. I was close enough to the stage to really strongly feel the heat from his flaming pyro as well. It usually takes him about four minutes to get into the ring.
The match started off slow with Undertaker using his power to his advantage to dominate early on. Taker dropped Shane face first on the turnbuckle with snake eyes, but Shane came back with a back elbow. Taker threw Shane into the side of the cell followed with Undertaker hitting his leg drop on the apron move. Taker connected with the Last Ride powerbomb for a two count. Undertaker brought the bottom part of the stacked steel steps into the ring as if he was going to end it early, but Shane caught the Undertaker in a triangle choke for about a minute. Undertaker broke free from it after Shane let go when his own shoulders were down. Taker came back with a Chokeslam on the steps for a two count. Shane really putting up a fight, the way I hoped Ambrose would have earlier in the night. The Undertaker missed an elbow drop on the steps, which gave Shane the advantage. Shane signaled Undertaker to bring it and then Shane nailed a DDT on the Phenom directly onto the steel steps for a two count. Shane then landed an elbow drop for a near fall. Undertaker applied the Hell’s Gate submission move but Shane was able to fight out of it and applied a Sharpshooter although it didn’t look that great. Regardless, I always mark out for the Sharpshooter. Shane pounded on Taker with fists in the corner as a way to weaken him. Undertaker ended up being in position for a familiar Shane O’ Mac move. Shane realized and brought out a trash can. Shane put the trash can in front of Undertaker, climbed the ropes on the opposite side of the ring and nailed the Coast to Coast dropkick into the trash can. That’s still a really cool move that is always going to pop the crowd like it did here. I know it had my whole section on their feet, I don’t think we sat back down or the rest of the match.
When Coast to Coast, didn’t keep Taker down for three, Shane started getting creative. Shane had bolt cutters as he tried to cut open a part of the cell. Undertaker picked up Shane and then drove Shane into the cell to break it open where Shane had cut some of it open already. That was a predictable spot, but it worked to get the superstars where they needed to be. Undertaker cleared off some of the English announce table as well as the Spanish announce table. Shane applied a sleeper hold on Undertaker by this staging area near the announce table after countering what I believe was going to be a leaping tombstone through the table. Undertaker still drove Shane through the Spanish announce table back first. Shane found a tool box that he used to hit Undertaker in the head with and followed it with a another tool box shot to the head by Shane. He looked up to the top of the cell, foreshadowing the wild spot, we were all expecting . Shane gave Taker one last shot in the head with a TV before getting him in position on the table.
Shane climbed up the side of the cell by the announce tables. The crowd was going crazy for this while the announcers were freaking out. That cell is a legit 20 feet high if not more – probably closer to 25 feet. It is a larger and bigger cell than the one Foley got thrown off of. Shane stood up at the top of the cell as he looked down on Undertaker laying on the table. If you were in the crowd and you weren’t standing before, you were standing now for sure. Shane jumped off with an elbow drop but the Undertaker moved and Shane went crashing through the table! One of the biggest bumps in the history of wrestling just had taken place, and I was fortunate enough to witness it live. It looked silly as he was laying there while Cole was reading his comments off a sheet: “For the love of mankind, Shane just exploded through our table.” They replayed it a couple of times. It was fairly obvious and very silly, but truly a great call. Undertaker brought Shane back into the ring. Shane still showing some life telling the Deadman to bring it and the Undertaker showed some sympathy for Shane O’ patting his face out of respect. Undertaker then hit a Tombstone and covered Shane for the win. Taker walked out after, leaving Shane to be attended to by EMT’s. As Shane was carted off on a stretcher, he gave a thumbs up which got a great ovation.
I don’t care if the table was padded beneath the set, the dude is a 46-year-old man who did not have to do that for our entertainment, yet he did, thus cementing his legacy as the daredevil McMahon that we remember from our childhood. I respect the fact that he did that for his children and us. Shane really hasn’t lost a beat, and you almost forgot he’s aged at all, when he was in there tonight. I did think the match went a little longer than it really needed too but I understand they wanted to tell story in that ring with stakes being so high for both guys and wanting to slowly build to the big spot. This was a prime example of a match that’s a lot more fun when you see it live compared to the television broadcast. The crowd was so ready for this match and it felt like it should have been the main event because the interest in the match was so high. I get why it didn’t go on last, but it should have. Watching again later on the WWE Network once I got home, I can understand why some people might have felt the match dragged on and was slow at points, but being there live, I don’t think anyone from the floor seats to upper bowl seats was even sitting down.
My only issue with this match, once again, was the final booking decision. Originally, I was disappointed Shane lost, because I thought the idea of him running Raw, was gonna spark a whole new era in the WWE, and Taker would still find a way to have a match a next years Wrestlemania. However when Taker won, I was kind of left disappointed, because it kind if made the whole build up to the match really feel like last-minute decision, because a lot of the uppercard roster was injured. It even made less sense because the next night on Raw, Vince allowed Shane to run Raw anyways, which he continued to do this week as well. Undertaker will most likely not be seen again until next years Wrestlemania season. I just think it would have been more appropriate to have Shane win at Wrestlemania, because at least it would have progressed storylines logically. Than again, its hard trying to book a way for Shane to win, after that crazy bump.
Imagine that when Taker brought Shane back into the ring after the jumping off the cell bump, the lights went out and Sting came out to the ring. He takes out Undertaker and lays Shane’s arm over him, giving Shane the win. They would never even have to the Undertaker vs. Sting match, but at least we would get that confrontation and a creative way for Shane to still get control over Raw. Of course, Mr.McMahon could find a way by the Summer to regain his legacy and take control back from Shane. Instead of what they’re randomly doing now. Thats was just my fantasy booking.
RATING – **3/4
Image via WWE.com
The PPV Kickoff Panel of Renee Young, Booker T, Lita and Corey Graves talked about the show and their favourite moments.
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Winner: Baron Corbin
There were 20 men in this match with two surprises at the end. A lot of the stars came out at once, and the moment I saw Baron Corbin amongst that group, I immediately told my buddy that he wouldn’t be here, if they weren’t going to have him win. Mark Henry, Kane and Big Show all had their own entrances. DPP came out as one of the surprise participants, which I marked out for. Right after that Shaquille O’Neal came out as the second surprise entrant. Shaq and Big Show immediately faced off but they ended up hitting a double Chokeslam on Kane. Henry hit a KO Punch on Henry. A lot of guys went to the floor. Fandango danced in front of Show and Shaq, so Show dumped Fandango. Damien Sandow stood up to them, got a big ovation and Shaq tossed Sandow out. Big staredown from Show and Shaq. The crowd was into it. They choked eachother, so the other guys in the match capitalized on that by dumping both guys over the top to the floor. DDP hit a Diamond Cutter on Viktor and then dumped him out. Konnor eliminated DDP shortly after that. Goldust and R-Truth did a double clothesline to get rid of Konnor. Tatanka was in the match, so he did his warpath spot against Adam Rose with a bunch of chops. It barely got a reaction. Corbin tossed out Tatanka.
Kane with a back body drop on Swagger. Truth nailed a jumping side kick on Curtis Axel, but then he was eliminated by Slater and Dallas. Axel and Dallas eliminated Goldust. The Social Outcasts foursome did a celebratory victory lap in the ring. Kane dumped Axel, Corbin sent Rose out and then Kane gave Corbin a Chokeslam. Henry was back in there after being on the floor for most of the match. Henry dumped Slater out and then a Gorilla Press Slam by Henry eliminated Breeze. Kane dumped Henry with an assist from Darren Young. Kane dumped out Young and Dallas at the same time. Corbin snuck up behind Kane to eliminate him, which gave Corbin the win.
Once again, the moment I saw Corbin, I called the fact that he was going to win, otherwise they wouldn’t have called him up yet. I believe they’re very high on Corbin backstage. I like the idea of the Andre the Giant Battle Royal having surprise participants. I hope its something they continue doing, as long as this Battle Royal is apart of Wrestlemania. I enjoy Battle Royals and I enjoyed this one also. Shaw teased facing Show at next years Wrestlemania in an interview after the show, which would be interesting to see if that actually happens. Hopefully, Corbin will be the first winner to make it mean something.
RATING – *3/4
A video showed that WrestleMania 33 will take place in Orlando on April 2, 2017. I’m already saving and planning my trip for next year. Hopefully everything follows through, and Ill be in Orlando next year.
The Rock’s Special Appearance
Image via WWE.com
The world-famous Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders danced on the stage. They were interrupted by some guy that’s kind of a big deal all around the world…The Rock. The friend I went to Wrestlemania with is a huge Rock fan, so he was basically marking out like I was when Stone Cold came out. I’m also a huge fan of The Rock, have been since I was a kid. I love everything he does out of the WWE, in Hollywood and so on, but personally a little bored of him coming back and doing his same schtick every time. The same goosebumps, the same catchphrases and making today’s stars like ridiculous. I personally don’t think I’m over him ending the CM Punks WWE Championship reign at the Royal Rumble in 2013. I don’t get why Cena vs. The Rock II needed the title to be on the line. Also, why couldn’t just have held off, and had Punk defeat Rock at the Royal Rumble and have Rock defeat Punk at Elimination Chamber? It still bothers me, but I do like the Rock and some of even with his whole same old schtick, sometimes he goes on script and makes me laugh.
The Rock comes out, and feels the goosebumps. He goes back and grabs a flame thrower, because why the fuck not, he’s The Rock. He makes sure that AT&T Stadium stays lit, shooting off the flame thrower, until he eventually sets his name on firreeeeeee! Why you may ask? Once again, why the fuck not? He is The Rock. I know a lot of you who watched it on TV, complained about how “dumb” it was, but being there live, it was pretty cool and for sitting through almost 4 hours of a 5 hour show, it kept things exciting. Finally he walks pass the beautiful Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders to get to the wrestling ring, because if you forgot with all that flame thrower/cheerleader stuff, this is a wrestling show.The Rock did his usual “finally” line about coming back to Dallas. He put over the huge crowd saying there were a lot of smiling faces out there while saying there would be a lot of WrestleMania babies out there after tonight because everyone is so giggidy giggidy. Following what felt like a Saturday Night Live monologue, the Rock lets us know his sole purpose here was to announce 101,763 in attendance record, which is a new attendance record for the WWE and that was that. The actual number was reportedly 97,769 according to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, who obviously has the resources to get those numbers. It’s nice that WWE only added about 4,000 to the actual number instead of a lot more than that. Going over 100k makes sense as it’s a very impressive number and it won’t be beat because there isn’t a bigger NFL sized stadium in the US right now.
Anyways, we needed 10-minutes to do that, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. I was actually satisfied if that was it for this Rock appearance. That was until, one of my other predictions came true, when the Wyatts hit the ring to confront the Great One. It was truly an awesome sight seeing all the phone lights during Wyatt’s entrance in the AT&T stadium. Bray Wyatt introduced himself to The Rock. He got in the ring with Strowman and Rowan while Wyatt told Rock that he represents a lie. He put over The Rock as the People’s Champion, but it’s not Rock’s moment – he said it is his (Bray’s) moment. He made more threats as Rock looked a bit nervous.
The Rock responded to Wyatt by saying that instead of Wyatt being nice to him, he said he’s there to eviscerate his soul and then have some waffles at Cracker Barrel. Rock said that Wyatt was talking like he was hitting the bong after eight days. Rock said that clearly Rowan’s parents are related and Strowman looks like he’s been breastfed since he was 26 years old. Both jokes drew laughs. Rock put over Wyatt saying he’s got it all – the ability, the charisma, he’s a revolutionary and talked about how 100,000 people had their phones out for him. Rock told Bray that he’s knocking on a door he doesn’t want to enter. Rock said that Bray thinks he’s the eater of worlds, but Rock thinks he’s the eater of Hot Pockets. I found that last joke pretty cheesy, but some people in the crowd bought it.
Wyatt said he’s there to kick down a door and that Rock has no idea who he is fooling with. Rock took off his shirt saying they’re not going to have a fight – they’re going to have a match. A referee showed up. Rock said he’s going to face Bray or one of the “inbred Duck Dynasty bitches” right now. Rock tossed off his pants to show he had his Rock tights and boots on. The Rock appearing in wrestling gear got a huge pop. It was Erick Rowan that stepped up and the Rock defeated him in 6 seconds after a Rock Bottom, to set some new record. I personally don’t want to consider this an actual match.
The Wyatts surrounded the ring as the Rock was still in there and as I predicted seconds before, John Cena’s music hit. Another huge reaction for a surprise return. The crowd, along with myself serenaded him with “John Cena suuucks” while he seemed okay with it. He ran down to the ring. Rock and Cena fought side by side. Rock dropped Strowman with a Rock Bottom. Cena hit a spinning slam on Rowan followed by a Five Knuckle Shuffle and the Attitude Adjustment. Wyatt went for Sister Abigail on Cena, but Cena shoved him off directly to the Rock who hit punches on Wyatt, followed by the spinebuster and the most electrifying move in sports entertainment People’s Elbow. Rock said “Welcome back” to Cena and ended it with “if you smell what The Rock is cooking.” After the in-ring action, Rock went over to greet his daughter and his mom at ringside. Cena went up the ramp first. Rock followed him. They posed on the ramp to end it.
I enjoyed the segment live, but it’s not something I care to watch again for a while. The Rock did put Wyatt over before taking the whole family out with the help of Cena. I did predict this weeks before Wrestlemania, when I realized they didn’t have plans for Wyatt and the Wyatt family. I was just worried that The Rock was going to bury them with his jokes and beat down without even really putting them over, and that would be the last thing the Wyatt Family needed after the way they have been booked the past few years. I actually was grateful that Cena appeared, it felt weird having a Wrestlemania without Cena. It kind of scares me that I feel that way, but what can you say? He is John Cena. He’s not fully cleared to return yet, but it was nice seeing him. I actually don’t mind Cena just making appearances, rather than being their on a weekly basis. The Rock and Cena took zero bumps and bromanced about it at the end of the segment. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was my friends favourite segment. It was a fun and memorable segment for those who are massive Rock or Cena fans. It really did bring the energy back in the Stadium before heading into the main event, and thats possibly why they placed it at this part of the show.
Image via WWE.com
WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Roman Reigns def. Triple H (C) w/ Stephanie McMahon
The video package aired for the main event: Triple H vs. Roman Reigns. Stephanie McMahon did a monolouge on the stage while wearing some leather outfit as she talked on a throne. It was a pretty cool set up, and Triple H has recently really been making his Wrestlemania entrances something to look forward too. Stephanie basically called people blind sheep and that they own us. It was a bunch of this all hail Authority stuff. Triple H soon made his way out for his entrance. No fancy entrance gear for him this year. He let his wife do it. However, Triple H’s water spit is iconic enough for me to get excited for his entrance. There were a lot of boos for Roman Reigns during his entrance. There was some pyro for him as he put his fist on the ground by the stage. It didn’t help the fact that he was being boo’d nonstop. It was what everyone expected with Roman being boo’d and Triple H being cheered. I’m being completely straight forward and honest when I say, there were a handful of people from almost every section leaving before or mid way through this match. I wouldn’t say a lot but a decent amount. I personally find that kind of dumb, because if you bought a ticket for the show you might as well stay until it ends.
The match began and Hunter dumped Roman to the floor with a hip toss over the top. Reigns mocked Triple H with a bit of a DX chop. JBL was fed to say that Roman Reign’s is not a bad guy, not a good guy but just wants to be a good guy. Interesting enough over the last couple of weeks on television since Wrestlemania, Roman has been using that line but stating that he is simply “the guy”. Anyways, Triple H knocked down Reigns a couple of times with forearm shots to the back. Reigns came back with a couple of clotheslines followed by his Drive By dropkick for a two count. Stephanie distracted the ref, so Triple H had the chance to kick Roman in the balls. Hunter punched him a lot followed by a spinebuster. The fight went to the outside and Hunter slammed Roman head first into an announce table at ringside and then Roman did it to him. I was there live, but watching it over again, I don’t remember any of this. I think I either just wasn’t interested or just burnt out from the whole experience at this point. It was well over ten seconds by this point, but I guess you don’t count out your boss right? JBL just covered for it saying the ref was giving them a lot of leeway for a championship match. Hunter gave Reigns a neckbreaker off the announce table on the floor. Knee to the back by Hunter off the middle rope got a two count, he went for it again and Reigns nailed him with an uppercut. Reigns nailed a Samoan Drop for two.
When Reigns set up for a Superman Punch, Hunter rolled out of the ring to avoid it. Reigns nailed him with a leaping clothesline off the steps. Hunter tossed Reigns into the steps and then Hunter tossed Reigns over the announce table. Reigns came back with a huge Spear through the barricade at ringside. That was a big spot that kind of stopped fans from just booing Roman briefly. Reigns began favoring his left arm. It actually looked bad when it happened, but he got through the match fine, so he was just selling. Good job Roman. The ref finally started to count as Reigns brought Hunter back in to break the count. Hunter applied an armbar on the injured left arm of Reigns. That lasted for over a minute until Reigns powered out with a Powerbomb style slam for a two count. I personally think long holds was the last thing this match needed. Reigns took off the glove on his left arm as Hunter applied another armbar. Reigns powered out again as the crowd booed him some more. There was nothing but heat anytime Roman was in charge. Hunter wanted a Pedigree, but Roman powered out with a back body drop. Triple H nailed a forearm to counter a Roman’s attack but Roman still found a way to hit a Spear. Stephanie pulled the ref out of the ring. Then the ref went back in to count and Hunter had enough time to kick out.
Stephanie went into the ring to argue with the ref. It was pretty obvious what was going to happen here but it still got a huge pop. Hunter got up, Reigns charged in, Hunter and the ref left, so Reigns hit a huge Spear on Stephanie. That led to the biggest ovation of the match. Hunter capitalized with a Pedigree for a great nearfall. Reigns came back with a Superman Punch as he started to get some momentum until Triple H came back with the running high knee to the fans ovation. That gets a two count for Hunter. Stephanie gave Hunter the sledgehammer as Cole said that if Hunter is disqualified he retains the title. That could be the worst finish in WrestleMania history. Reigns nailed a Superman Punch and then another one. The crowd boos heavily both live and on the Network. Reigns ducked a sledgehammer shot, ran the ropes and hit a Spear for the victory, to a chorus of boo’s live and supposedly cheers before fading into boo’s on the WWE Network.
I don’t hate Roman Reigns, but I don’t like the way he’s been booked and been getting pushed. It didn’t work, but they keep trying. I didn’t hate this match, but I still didn’t like it. Whether it was the atmosphere or just because the match actually was not that good, I found a hard time getting invested in it. I wouldn’t say its the worst Wrestlemania main event of all time, but it’s nowhere near the best. Roman Reigns is now a three-time Champion, and throughout all three reigns as Champion, they could not get the fans behind him. If the last couple of weeks of Raw indicate anything, maybe we’ll see Reign’s slowly turn heel for a bit. As for Triple H and Stephanie, I stayed in stadium until they pretty much had already taken down the ramp and ring. I had a hard time leaving because I love this business. I saw Triple H and Stephanie leave the ring off the air to a chorus of cheers. they first went and embraced their family and headed to the back. Im pretty sure we’re not going to see them on the air for a while. However, that just means when they do return, it’ll be important.
RATING – **1/4
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WWE US Title Match: Champion Kalisto defeated The Ryback @ 8:58 via pin [**1/2] Natalya, Paige, Alicia Fox, Eva Marie and Brie Bella defeated Lana, Tamina, Naomi, Emma and Summer Rae @ 11:25 via submission [**1/2] The Usos defeated The Dudley Boyz @ 5:20 via pin [*1/4] WWE Intercontinental Title Ladder Match: Zack Ryder won the IC Title @ 15:30 [****] Chris Jericho defeated AJ Styles @ 17:10 via pin [***1/2] The League of Nations defeated New Day @ 10:07 via pin [**] No Holds Barred Street Fight: Brock Lesnar defeated Dean Ambrose @ 13:00 via pin [**¾] WWE Women’s Title Match: Champion Charlotte defeated Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch @ 16:07 via submission [****] Hell in the Cell Match: Undertaker defeated Shane McMahon @ 30:10 via pin [**3/4] Baron Corbin won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal @ 9:47 [*3/4] WWE Title Match: Roman Reigns defeated Champion Triple H @ 27:05 via pin [**1/4]
In the end, no matter how I look it at, my rating for being there live and watching it at home on the WWE Network are going to be completely different. The live experience just makes everything so much more better. If I was to rate Wrestlemania as a show, based on my live experience, I would say it was a 8/10 or 9/10. Find me anyone who’s gone to a Wrestlemania, who will rate their live experience anywhere below a 8.
However, watching it over again on the Network, my overall rating would be a 6.75/10. The show had memorable moments, quality matches, highlights that will be used for years now, it set a new attendance record and doing so while having a lot of top stars injured in the past few months. Therefore, forcing a lot of last-minute changes for this years original Wrestlemania plans. One thing that hit me as soon as I left the stadium was that this Wrestlemania did not have you leaving the building with the urgency to want to watch Raw the next night for any other reason other than the hype behind the Raws after Mania. The show accomplished nothing, that would make Raw the next night feel like it was new beginning of something new or must watch. Shane wasn’t going to be in charge, the Women’s champion is the new name but the champion is the same, Zack Ryder is IC Champion, the legends won’t be on the Raw, Ambrose isn’t as badass as we thought and Roman Reigns is the new WWE Champion. I ended up going to Raw the next night in the American Airlines Centre, and that show itself did more than Wrestlemania to get you excited for the future of the WWE. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for this Wrestlemania because it was the first one I have attended live as an adult. That may be the only reason I’ll ever wanna come back on the Network and watch it time and time again. It wasn’t a bad show, it was amazing live, and good fun entertainment on the Network. There have been better Wrestlemania’s, and there has also been worst Wrestlemania’s, but one thing you can’t deny, is that you are gauraunteed a couple of gems, whether their moments or matches, at every Wrestlemania. Now, I just hope I never have to listen to “My House” by Flo Rida again. Dig It?
Final Rating – 9/10 (Live)
6.75/10 (WWE Network)
Finally, I would like to say Thank you to the State of Texas for having me. All the people I meet from from Dallas to Fort Worth and from all around the world, for their kindness and hospitality. I also would like to thank the WWE for a great experience with everything they had going on in the city for an unforgettable Wrestlemania Weekend.
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Thanks for reading.
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If you want to see live videos from my Wrestlemania Weekend, go on Instagram and search the hashtag #TWCMania.
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