Another year, another time to go meet up with my friends and watch some ‘Mania. This year featuring the first ever women’s main event as Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey fight for both the Raw and Smackdown Women’s championships.
Kickoff Match 1 – WWE Cruiserweight Title Match: Buddy Murphy (c) Vs Tony Nese
Really good match. A lot of nice action on the go and few bigish spots. Great little nearfall too Nese getting his foot on the rope after Muprhy’s law.
In the end Nese wins the belt with running Nese.
Nese has been around since the start of 205 Live, so this was a nice little moment for him to have for sticking around and working well.
Winner: Nese (via Running Nese) ***1/2
Kickoff match 2 – Women’s Battle Royale
Pretty average battle royale that was quite sloppy and didn’t have a whole lot going on. At the end Sarah Logan looks like she won but Carmella was hiding outside and eliminates her to win instead.
Winner: Carmella – **1/4
Kick off Match 3- Raw Tag Team Title Match: Curt Hawkins/Zack Ryder Vs. The Revival
Really solid match, Revival control alot of it which goes on a little too long but utlilised well enough. Then once the hot tag is made we get an exciting if maybe too short finishing stretch which ends with a beat up Hawkins managing to catch Dawson in a small package and get three count, officially ending Hawkins’ losing streak and making him and Ryder new Raw tag champs. Another nice feel good moment.
Winners: Hawkins/Ryder (via small package) ***1/2
Kickoff Match 4 – Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale match.
Another very average battle royale filled with generic rumble brawling, but it did a few nice eliminations particularly Luke Harper and Ali’s suplex off apron bump.
Of course you also had the whole SNL guys/Braun stuff which they left til the very end, which was kinda amusing I suppose. Braun eliminates them both to win.
Winner: Braun Strowman – **1/2
– Main show starts with WM host Alexa Bliss coming out, says she can make her own Wrestlemania moment by clicking her fingers and out comes the Hulkster to say a few words before they pose together with his music…Not really sure that’s much of a moment for her and was pointless filler, so that I guess WWE can say that Hogan can turn up whenever and not just for HOF inductions or to remember someone who’s dead.
– After that Paul Heyman waltzes down to the ring and proclaims that if Lesnar’s match isn’t last, then they’ll get their business out the way with right away.
Match 1 – WWE Universal Title Match: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Seth Rollins
Good shout to have this open. They get right to the point and it ends up being short and sweet.
Lesnar just beats up Rollins from the start. Rollins then starts making a come back, the ref gets knocked out, Rollins uses a low blow, hits three curb stomps in a row and wins the Universal Title. Did exactly what it needed in a short enjoyable manner. Now let’s hope that’s the end of Lesnar getting any more title reigns.
Winner: Rollins (via Curb stomp) ***
Match 2 – Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles
Solid match. Just a well laid out back and forth affair with a lovely RKO fakeout and a nice little finish where Styles gets ready to springboard for the Phenomenal forearm, Orton goes to grab him , Styles hotshots Orton instead and hits the forearm to win.
Main issue this had was the crowd were complaining about a bright light being shone in their faces, which dampened the atmosphere a little, but it’s a fair complaint to make, if it’s blinding you so you can’t see shit. Still a good match though.
Winner: Styles (via Phenomenal Forearm) ***1/4
Match 3 – Smackdown Tag title Match: The Usos (c) vs. The Bar vs. Rusev/Nakamura vs. Aleister Black/Ricochet
Very good match. Had lots of fun action on the go and kept a good pace with everyone doing nicely. I think Cesaro even attempts a record for how many rotations he can get from a giant swing on Ricochet which was fun.
Usos end up retaining with a double diving splash.
Winners: Usos (via double splash) ***3/4
Match 4 – Falls Count Anywhere Match: The Miz vs. Shane McMahon
This was a lot of fun you had Miz’s Dad hilariously trying to square up to Shane, them brawling around the stadium and Shane sliding off golf cart onto concrete, Miz giving one hos best performances as a fiery babyface and it ends with Miz superplexing Shane off a scaffold. However in doing show Shane’s arm ends up on top of Miz so ref counts to three making Shane the winner. I like the finish as it makes it sneaky win for Shane and potentially allows the feud to continue, even though it’s usually best to end things at ‘Mania. Still enjoyed the match a helluva lot though.
Winner: Shane Mcmahon (via accidental pin) ***3/4
Match 5 – WWE Women’s tag title Match: Bayley/Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax/Tamina vs. Iconics vs. Natalya/Beth Phoenix
Solid match. I think everyone worked pretty well and kept a decent pace.
Iconics were pretty consistent as a team too and end up stealing the win after Beth hits glam slam off top on Bayley making them the new tag champs.
Winners: Iconics (via stealing the pin) ***
Match 6 – WWE Title Match: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Kofi Kingston
This was something special. I loved the build up to this and was all in on Kofimania and the last few minutes were absolutely beautiful and had me on the edge of my seat shaking as Kofi struggles out of the Bryan’s Lebell lock and Bryan keeps trying to pull him back in, but eventually Kofi gets out and stomps Bryan’s head following it up with a trouble in paradise that wins him the WWE World Title in a highly emotional moment.
Even the lead up to all that was great too, with Bryan playing his heel role perfectly, getting control where he could targeting Kofi’s back and Kofi even kicking out of the running knee which made for a very impactful nearfall.
Ok a few things didn’t go 100% smoothly, but the fact is this match had all the emotional investment in the world and that is arguably the most important aspect in wrestling. Everyone biting onto the hope of seeing Kofi Kingston finally win the big one after years of never getting much of a shot. It is one of the most wonderful things in wrestling when pulled off correctly and right here it was, creating the most feel-good and emotional moment of ‘Mania. I loved it, excellent stuff.
Winner: Kofi Kingston (via Trouble in Paradise) ****3/4
Match 7 – United States Title Match: Samoa Joe (c) vs. Rey Mysterio
This was over and done with in about a minute with Joe locking in the Coquina Clutch to win. It was fun while it lasted, but I know Rey suffered an ankle injury earlier in the week so that’s probably why they kept it so quick, plus they didn’t really build this match at all anyway aside from Rey getting interviewed with his son, so I was ok with them just getting it out of the way.
Winner: Joe (via Coquina Clutch) NR
Match 8- Drew McIntyre vs. Roman Reigns
Solid match but it was in a tough spot, especially with the crowd dying down since the Kofi win. but I think they worked the match well enough still albeit in a formulaic fashion with Drew being dominant throughout and Reigns coming back to hit the spear to win. Seen someone compare it to a Raw main event which I think is a fair shout, though the whole thing was just so Reigns could get his first singles win since returning even though it derails some of Drew’s momentum for a push which they were buliding up quite well over the last few weeks.
Winner: Reigns (via Spear) ***1/4.
– Elias does starts his performance but is interrupted by ‘Doctor of Thuganomics’ John Cena complete with theme music, who does a little rap to tear down Elias in a very fun segment.
Match 9 – No Hold Barred Match: Triple h vs. Batista
Not gonna a lie I really enjoyed this. both guys took some big bumps and did some fun hardcore bits, as well as a had few callbacks to previous matches like the kryptonite crunch from WM 21 and the finish of their Hell in a Cell Match. They put their ageing bodies through some punishment and I enjoyed witnessing it.
In the end Ric flair comes out and hands triple h a sledgehammer and Batista so that Triple H can smash him with it and hit a second pedigree to get the win.
So Triple H’s in-ring career continues whilst Batista on twitter announced he was done for good.
Winner: Triple H (via pedigree) ***3/4
Match 10 – Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin
A simple throwaway match that Corbin wins so that they can get it out of the way and Angle can retire. Not exactly a satisfying way for the retirement to go down. but it was getting difficult to watch Angle wrestle, so I guess it’ll have to do. Match was ok.
Winner: Corbin (via End of Days) **
Match 11 – Intercontinental Title Match: Bobby Lashley (c) Vs Finn Balor
Very fun sprint, they just went straight at it back and forth and it was enjoyable.
At this point in the night, this was exactly what it needed to be and they made the right choice just doing something quick.
Demon Balor ends up winning the belt with the Coup De Grace.
Winner: Finn Balor (via Coup De grace) ***1/4
Main Event – WWE Raw and Smackdown Women’s title Match Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Ronda Rousey (c)
A roughly and ready compelling match-up that wasn’t the smoothest of affairs but was still physical, unpredictable and very engaging. Certainly had a main event feel to it too. None of the women pulling punches and just constantly went at each other trying to grab limbs for submissions and whatnot with momentum shifting evenly between them all.
There’s even a table bump at the end, but the table doesn’t break which seems like just Charlotte’s luck with her rocky relationship with tables.
At the end Ronda goes for piper’s pit but Becky turns it right into a crucifix which gets her the pinfall and makes her the new Raw and Smackdown Women’s champion, ending the show on another feel good moment.
Finish itself was a roughly executed and a bit anti-climatic, but it was also a surprising one which is somewhat a good thing.
Anyway I enjoyed its chaotic nature and found it to be very compelling.
What a special moment for Becky too and a well deserved one.
Winner: Becky Lynch (via crucifix pin) ***3/4
All in all, I found his to be quite a good ‘Mania. Yeah not everything was perfect and it certainly has faults, but it was a ‘Mania full of feel good wins, well established babyfaces that the majority of people want to see win, getting those victories and I like that a lot. Certainly makes a change to some of the downers that Wrestlemania has been providing over the last few years. there certainly ain’t nothing wrong with giving people a bunch of happy endings. Kofi/Bryan in particular felt very special and I’ll never forget it.
When wrestling really gets you in those feels, that’s where it is most worthwhile.
Thanks for reading.
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