Wrestlemania Review

Tom Rodenburg, Staff Writer

So another Wrestlemania has come and gone, but this year’s was just what the tagline said: It was the ultimate thrill ride. It was filled with great matches, retirements, returns, and for some reason, John Cena proposed to his girlfriend. There were title changes, stars were born, and at the end of it all, we saw The Deadman ride off into the sunset. Now it’s time that I express my opinion about Wrestlemania, even though nobody asked.

First, we’ll talk about the pre show. It was a two hour show where a panel of former WWE wrestlers talk about the show, and what they think the outcomes to matches will be. It was fine, but then there were three matches. There was the Cruiserweight Championship match which saw Neville retain his title against Austin Aries, a great technical match that saw two exciting performers do what they do best. Then came the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal; it was a fine match, but WWE completely wasted the use of Braun Strowman in this. For a guy that is supposed to be built like a monster that nobody can stop, he didn’t really last all that long. In the end, Gronk (of the NFL’s New England Patriots) made an appearance tackling Jinder Mahal for some reason, and Mojo Rawley won. Finally we have the worst moment of the entire show. The Intercontinental title match. It wasn’t that it was a horrible match (which it was), but it was the fact that this title’s prestige has been built up so much over the last year and it just gets moved to the pre show. Basically, the title went from feeling more prestigious than the WWE title at one point, to feeling less than the now phased out Divas championship. And not only that, WWE missed another opportunity to make a new star in Baron Corbin. This would have done wonders for his career, to win the title at Wrestlemania, but instead they just fed him to Dean Ambrose.

Now onto the main show. The show kicked off with the match of the night in my opinion, AJ Styles vs Shane McMahon. This match went from nobody wanting to watch it, to the build being incredible and people kind of wanting to see it, to being the best match on the Wrestlemania show. Oh, and AJ Styles won a Wrestlemania match, so that’s another plus.
Then, we saw Kevin Owens face Chris Jericho for the United States Championship. This match was as fun and exciting as it was brutal. Even though WWE is PG, Owens still gives off the same vibe that he did when he was on the indies by the name of Kevin Steen. He doesn’t care about anything but championships and he will do anything to win, and break his opponent in half while winning. He did just that as he won the US Title after powerbombing Jericho onto the side of the rind apron.
Up next, we saw the Raw Women’s Championship match that saw Bayley defending against Nia Jax, Sasha Banks, and Charlotte. This whole story has been filled with missed opportunities, from Bayley winning the title too early to Sasha being able to turn heel. Just think of the reaction if Sasha Banks cheated to win, turning her back on Bayley and the fans in the process. It would have been awesome. In the end though, Bayley retained her title in what was a great match that felt like something was missing.

Ok, now we have come to the moment of the night. THE HARDY BOYZ ARE BACK IN THE WWE!!!! After the three teams came out for the tag team ladder match for the Raw Tag Team titles, The New Day came out and announced that there will be one more team in the match. Teasing that it was actually them, the Hardy Boyz theme song hit and the crowd went nuts. It was the first time in seven years that any Hardy was in the WWE, let alone Wrestlemania. Then, the won the freaking match. So the Hardys are back, and they are the Raw Tag Team Champions.

We now go from the most exciting part of the night, to yet another missed opportunity. John Cena and Nikki Bella vs The Miz and Maryse. This rivalry was based on the point that Cena and Bella aren’t married and might never get married but the Miz and Maryse are, making them a better couple. The build was incredible, but the match just kinda fell flat. And in the end, we saw John Cena winning and then proposing to Nikki Bella. I don’t know if this is mean of not, but I didn’t care, and I don’t think anybody really cares about their engagement but hey, they spent an absurd amount of time celebrating their engagement in the ring, so I guess we know why the Intercontinental title match was moved to the pre show.

After this, we moved back over to Raw and saw Seth Rollins face Triple H. It was master vs protege, Past vs Future, Pedigree vs Pedigree, The man of 3 H’s vs Crossfit Jesus. This match was a match that has been three years in the making, ever since Rollins turned on the Shield in order to join Triple H and The Authority. It was rumored to be a headliner of last year’s ‘Mania, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case due to Rollins tearing his ACL, MCL, and PCL. This year was the year, and they put on a great match. This match featured some of the best storytelling of the night, as Triple H kept on working Seth’s knee. The match ended with Stephanie McMahon going through a table followed by Rollins hitting the Pedigree on Triple H for the win. The match was a rejuvenation for Rollins in his career, as we can now expect him to return to the World title scene.
WWE is known for building more than one main event for each Pay Per View, even though there is really only one. The first one featured Bray Wyatt defending his WWE Championship against Randy Orton. The build for the match to put it in light terms, sucked. The match wasn’t better than the build. The match was slow, boring, and featured some very strange projected images on the ring mat that showed leaches, bugs and other creepy things. The crowd was notably out of the match and it ended with the very predictable and equally disappointing result of Randy Orton winning the WWE Championship. Hopefully, there will be better matches and stories for the WWE title in the future, but this just was horrible.
The next “main event” was for the Universal Title. It had Goldberg defending against Brock Lesnar in another match where the outcome was predictable because Goldberg’s contract was up the following night. Even though the outcome was obvious and the match ran about 5 minutes, it was still an extremely exciting match. It was fast paced, and hard hitting and it was the best we’ve seen of Goldberg since coming back. In the end though, Goldberg lost the title to Lesnar and we can all move on from Goldberg and the chant GOOOOOOOOOLDBEEEERRRRG.

Finally, the real Main Event of Wrestlemania. The match that pitted Roman Reigns up against the Undertaker. Wrestlemania has been the Undertaker’s show for more than 20 years as he was undefeated at the show up until WM 30 when he lost to Brock Lesnar, ending his streak at 21-0. Since then, the question on everybody’s mind was when his last match would be. With the real life Undertaker needing a full hip replacement surgery, this year seemed like it was the year… and sadly, we were right. In what was, in my opinion, the best storytelling done throughout the entire show, Reigns bested the Undertaker. The story that these two told in the ring was as real as it gets. It was a young powerhouse and an old vet that could just not go anymore no matter how hard he tried. In the end of the match, Reigns kept hitting spear after spear but the Undertaker just wouldn’t stay down for the three count, not wanting to give up. It took about five spears to finally put the Dead Man away. After Reigns left the ring, the Undertaker took his gloves, jacket and hat and left them in the middle of the ring, signaling that it was his last match in the WWE. He then walked up the ramp, and held his fist in the air one last time.

This year’s Wrestlemania was a very good show, but it wasn’t a great show, as most matches felt like something was missing. Whether it was another wrestler or a stipulation, most of these matches felt like they needed something else. This Wrestlemania was a time of new beginnings, new chapters, and the closing of a very long and amazing story. All I can say is, I can’t believe it went seven hours.

* photo via Google Images under the Creative Commons license