After 16 matches, we’re beginning to wake up with an almighty hangover from the events of WrestleMania. Some of these matches were more than worthy of the Grandest Stage of Them All. The best of which all featured in the first part of a seven and a half hour marathon. The same can’t be said for the second half, but tiredness when viewing it here in the UK plays a huge factor on the overall enjoyment of a PPV that was almost as long as an actual working day.
Welcome to the most must-see Vulture Hound review in history; welcome to… The ‘WrestleMania’ Review.
– (Pre-show) Tony Nese beat Buddy Murphy for the Cruiserweight Championship.
– (Pre-show) Carmella won the Women’s Battle Royal.
– (Pre-show) Curt Hawkins breaks his losing streak to win the RAW Tag Team Titles alongside Zack Ryder.
– (Pre-show) Braun Strowman won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
– Seth Rollins captured the Universal Championship by beating Brock Lesnar.
– AJ Styles defeated Randy Orton in a singles match.
– The Usos retained the SmackDown Live Tag Team Championships in a Fatal 4-Way.
– Shane McMahon beat The Miz in a Falls Count Anywhere match.
– The IIconics won a Fatal 4-Way to become the new Women’s Tag Team Champions.
– Kofi Kingston defeated Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship.
– Samoa Joe squashed Rey Mysterio to retain the United States title.
– Roman Reigns beat Drew McIntyre in a singles match.
– Triple H won a No Holds Barred match against Batista to keep his in-ring career going.
– Baron Corbin embarrassed Kurt Angle on the latter’s farewell match.
– Demon Finn Balor claimed the Intercontinental Championship from Bobby Lashley.
– Becky Lynch took home all the spoils by beating Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey for the SmackDown and RAW Women’s Championships.
It’s a YES from me:
Both Nese and Murphy went at it, maintaining a fast pace, filled with thrilling spots and some nasty looking bumps. The best moment came when both men were on opposite sides of the ring, exhausted, staring at one another. It was a great way to build the drama and slow the pace down, but the crowd reaction was the vindication for both men. Ultimately it would be Tony Nese that would claim his first Cruiserweight title. – Humza Hussain.
Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins got their WrestleMania moment and, more importantly, broke the losing streak. This was more than deserved for the two veterans, but given Ryder’s track record of very short title reigns, we could see them lose the belts on the RAW after Mania.
Rollins winning the Universal Championship was long overdue. The decision to have the match on first came courtesy of Paul Heyman who was excellent in interrupting Hulk Hogan and Alexa Bliss as they introduced us all to the MetLife stadium. It took three Curb Stomps to eventually slay the Beast who will be wondering what’s next for him after losing his payday.
AJ Styles and Randy Orton put an underrated match that people might come back to over the years. Likewise, Shane McMahon and the Miz had a very entertaining Falls Count Anywhere match that, at one point, saw the Miz’s Dad square up to Shane. George got his ass handed to him and it was hilarious. The match ended with the Miz suplexing Shane off a lighting rig but Shane claimed the victory as he landed on top of Miz for the three-count.
Usos retaining the SmackDown Live Tag Team Championships was yet another underrated match with strong storytelling. The main highlight saw Cesaro swing Ricochet around 32 times! The IIconics were also victorious in a great match for the Women’s Tag Team titles. They fully deserved their win and stole the pinfall in wonderful heel fashion by rolling Beth Phoenix out of the ring to pin Bayley following a Glam Slam off the top rope.
KofiMania ran wild in the most dramatic match of the night which had plenty of near falls and false finishes. This was storytelling perfection with both men exchanging stiff blows as Bryan did his absolute best heel work to put Kofi over as the ultimate babyface. At one point, Kofi made it to the ropes to release a LeBell lock before being smashed with a running knee. The near 3-count worked the crowd into a frenzy of support for Kofi who eventually hit Bryan with a devastating Trouble in Paradise. The moment was made all the more special as Kofi’s kids joined him and the New Day in the ring to celebrate. They even brought back the former WWE Championship belt to put around his waist. If you would have told me last year that Kofi Kingston would win the WWE Championship against a heel Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania, I would have laughed hard in your face. Now, here we are less than a day removed and it’s all I’ve ever wanted!
A much-needed break for comic relief saw Elias’ musical set interrupted by none other than the Doctor of Thuganomics, John Cena. Word Life played throughout the stadium as the 16x World Champion proceeded to hit Elias with hot take after hot take from the mic. Cena finished off his segment by slamming Elias with not the AA but an FU.
The second half of the show fell a bit flat but it could have been forgiven if Becky winning was as monumental as they had hyped the matchup to be. The awkwardness of the finish meant that the first ever women’s main event also suffered from a somewhat empty feeling. As Ronda picked up Lynch for a Rowdy Buster, the former UFC Champion fell backwards with her shoulders slightly raised from the mat. The ref did the three count and that was it. Despite Becky not quite winning cleanly, this could mean they’re not done with the story and has the potential of Becky and Ronda finally facing each other in a definitive singles match at next year’s WrestleMania or at least at SummerSlam.
Ah hell no:
Both Battle Royals served largely as pointless filler for an already stacked card and we could have done without them in order to shed the run time of the event. Asuka has been left out to dry by not even being in the final two of the Women’s match with Carmella stealing the victory from an unexpected Sarah Logan. Braun Strowman did what Braun Strowman does best and flattened everyone before finishing off Colin Jost and Michael Che of Saturday Night Live. It was pretty fun to see them come down to the ring to the Weekend Report theme music though.
Although Samoa Joe is finally starting to look like a ruthless beast, the squash of an apparently injured Rey Mysterio was disappointing to see. All mention of
Eddie’s Rey’s son Dominic was dropped and served as an indication that something had changed from the original plan for this match. If Rey was injured they could have found excellent replacements in Andrade or Kevin Owens or even both of them!
Triple H should have lost to save us from whatever outdated pop culture entrance he will have next year to boost his massive ego. At this point of the night, where the fans and everyone at home started to tire, the match did not need to go on for as long as it did. Trips won the match after Ric Flair handed him a sledgehammer to smash across the skull of poor old Dave.
Roman Reigns fell straight back into his role of Vince’s boy and made Drew McIntyre look like a B+ player. Sure, it was a great singles win for Reigns returning from a terrible illness but a loss wouldn’t have damaged him as much as it has McIntyre.
Baron Corbin is now the next big heel on RAW with any sort of momentum. The sad part is you can’t really see him as a threat for Rollins who just made Brock Lesnar look like a b*tch -please don’t hurt me, Brock. Angle had a largely disappointing final run with the company that was made all the more poignant by an embarrassing loss to Baron Corbin. It’s a great result for the Lone Wolf but after years of stop-start booking on the main roster, it’s done more damage to Angle’s reputation than it has for Corbin’s main roster status. Most will feel that the Hall of Famer deserved a better send-off but if Corbin does emerge as a great heel champion out of this then maybe it was the right decision in the long run.
The Demon Finn Balor beat Lashley in the penultimate match of the night but it was all a bit “meh”. The spectacle of seeing the Demon is starting to wear off the more he has average matches in the persona and this 4-minute match wasn’t really worthy of the Demon’s presence.
It was a very enjoyable show for the most part but, like many recent WrestleMania, the night suffered from fatigue. Especially once Triple H had finished swinging his dick around.
It’s a huge learning experience for the company who could make this a two-day extravaganza in the future as the roster continues to expand. Promoting a first and second-night main event would do well for ticket sales and you could, of course, do both nights as a package deal. I see the dollar signs in Vince’s eyes already.
The RAW after WrestleMania will definitely be interesting. We’ll be looking to clarify the murky circumstances of Becky’s pinfall of Rousey and we will be asking important questions like, how quickly will Ryder and Hawkins drop the titles? What is it like to have a working Universal Champion? And, is Word Life Cena back for good?