Wrestlemania 31 Review

WM31Date: March 29, 2015

Venue: Levi’s Stadium, San Clara, California

Attendance: 76,976

Quick Ratings (to avoid spoilers)

Cesaro & Tyson Kidd (w/Natalya) vs. Los Matadores (w/El Torito) vs. the New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) vs. the Usos (w/Naomi) 8/10

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal 5/10

7-Man Intercontinental Title Ladder Match 8/10

Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins 9/10

Sting vs. Triple H 6/10

AJ Lee & Paige vs. the Bella Twins 6/10

Rusev vs. John Cena 8/10

Bray Wyatt vs. the Undertaker 5/10

Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Roman Reigns 8/10

On the Pre-Show

Tag Team Title Match: Cesaro & Tyson Kidd (w/Natalya) vs. Los Matadores (w/El Torito) vs. the New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) vs. the Usos (w/Naomi)

The Build-Up: After winning several matches against former champions the Usos in both singles and tag action, Cesaro & Tyson Kidd finally won the Belts at WWE Fastlane on February 22. There’s not much story here other than the other tag teams all want the titles so they’ve all been fighting each other for the past few weeks. There is friction between Natalya, Tyson Kidd’s wife, and Naomi, Jimmy Uso’s wife, but it’s not at the center stage of this “feud”.

The Match: Cesaro and Kofi Kingston start things off. Jey Uso gets knocked off the apron and injured, leaving Jimmy to fend for himself. After putting Kingston in a headlock, Cesaro tags in Tyson Kidd. Cesaro swings Kingston into a dropkick from Kidd. Jimmy Uso tags himself in and starts dominating, hitting everybody with superkicks and running hip splashes. Big E tags himself in by tapping Cesaro, who uppercuts Jimmy Uso and goes for a pin. However, he can’t get it since he is no longer the legal man. Big E throws Kingston onto Cesaro. After some more fighting Big E ends up on the apron. Cesaro manages to suplex him back inside the ring. One of Los Matadores ( I seriously can’t tell Diego and Fernando apart. With the masks they look too alike) kicks Cesaro onto Big E. Jimmy Uso gets suplexed onto both of them. One of Los Matadores hits a Senton Splash on Cesaro before getting him with a sweet backbreaker/powerbomb combo.

Tyson Kidd saves Cesaro from getting pinned. The fight spills to the floor. Kingston boots Kidd. El Torito hurricaranas Kingston into the barricade only for Natalya to lock him into the sharpshooter and make him tap out. JImmy and his wife Naomi both dive to the outside to bowl over the other participants. Naomi knocks down Natalya. Big E and Kofi Kingston hit the Big Ending on one of Los Matadores, but their pin attempt is broken by Cesaro and Jimmy Uso. Everyone starts running into each other’s signature moves before, in the best spot of the match, Cesaro and Big E both suplex two guys at once!  Jimmy Uso hits his signature splash for the pin, but Cesaro knocks him off and steals it, letting himself and Tyson Kidd retain the titles.

Thoughts: Really fun match! The closest it got to having a dull spot was a brief headlock near the beginning. Pretty much all the moves I wanted to see were in this match, and they came up with some uinique spots like having Big E and Cesaro suplex a bunch of guys at once. It was also nice seeing Cesaro and Tyson Kidd, two of the best in-ring performers pick up the win. I wish Big E wasn’t stuck in this New Day gimmick because he was pretty awesome here. While there wasn’t any drama, I’m going to give this match a very high rating. 8/10

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

Participants: Adam Rose, Alex Riley, Big E, Big Show, Bo Dallas, Cesaro, Curtis Axel, Damien Mizdow, Darren Young, Diego, Erick Rowan, Fandango, Fernando, Goldust, Heath Slater, Hideo Itami, Jack Swagger, Jimmy Uso, Kane, Kofi Kingston, Konnor, Mark Henry, the Miz Ryback, Sin Cara, Titus O’Neil, Tyson Kidd, Viktor, Xavier Woods, & Zack Ryder

Build-Up: Basically, everyone not in an important match at Wrestlemania wants to win the second Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. There are some feuds between participants in the match. Kane and Big Show, as members of the Authority, have had some dissension for the past few weeks. Jealous of his stunt double Damien Mizdow, the Miz turned him into his personal assistant and is now treating him like garbage. After beign robbed of his Royal Rumble spot, Curtis Axel went off the deep spot and started proclaiming that there is a wave of Axelmania, and that he was definitely going to win the battle royal. Also, Hideo Itami want a mini-tournament against other top NXT stars to get into the battle royal.

The Match: Curtis Axel rips off his Axelmania shirt and starts bragging, which convinces everybody to gang up on him and, after carrying him around for a while, throw him out. Adam Rose and Fandango both wind up on the apron and eliminate each other. The Miz is attacked by his former henchman Alex Riley, but current henchman Mizdow comes to his aid and Riley is eliminated. Bo Dallas eliminates Zack Ryder and runs a couple celebratory laps around the ring, acting like he’s just won the whole thing. Right after he gets back in the ring Hideo Itami kicks him out. Itami faces off with the Big Show and is eliminated. Kane eliminates Los Matadores. Cesaro eliminates Sin Cara and Mark Henry tosses out Tyson Kidd. The Ascension take out Mark Henry. Soon after Ryback clotheslines both of them out at once. Half the participants are gone.

Ryback is now on a tear, taking out Darren Young, Heath Slater, and Titus O’Neil. The Big Show takes out Jack Swagger. All three members of the New Day gang up on him and with some nice teamwork get him over the top rope. The Big Show actually hangs on and gets back in to eliminate the entire faction. Erick Rowan also falls prey to the Big Show. There are eight guys left. Ryback stops the Big Show’s dominance and then eliminates Goldust. Cesaro lifts up Kane and throws him out. The Big Show eliminates Jimmy Uso. Cesaro tries to repeat last year’s feat of bodyslamming the Big Show to the floor, but this time he fails and is tossed out instead. It’s a final four of the Big Show, Damien Mizdow, the Miz, and Ryback. Ryback dominate the Big Show, even getting him with a spinebuster. The Big Show turns things around and chokes the Big Guy to the floor. The Miz tells Damien Mizdow they need to team up on the Big Show, but Mizdow finally has had enough of being bossed around and eliminates the Miz! The fans are excited, but it was a dumb move on Mizdow’s part. Seriously, team up to take out the large monster and then get revenge on the Miz. Anyways, despite being the underdog Mizdow almost eliminates the Big Show twice, but winds up being dropped to the floor.

Thoughts: This was a pretty fun battle royal, though not as good as last year’s. I thought Sheamus was going to make a comeback for this one, but that didn’t happen. What keeps this from getting a higher rating is the ending. The fans obviously wanted to see Ryback or Damien Mizdow win, but both wound up getting eliminated by the Big Show, who at this moment is well past his prime and considered boring by many. The moment when Mizdow hit the floor was a real buzzkill. Having him win the Andre trophy would have helped his storyline with the Miz, who would have had yet another reason to be jealous of him. 5/10

On the Main Show

7-Man Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Title

Participants: Bad News Barrett (c), Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Luke Harper, R-Truth, & Starudst

Build-Up: For the past few years the Intercontinental Title has been devalued. Whoever holds the belt winds up losing most or maybe even all of his non-title matches. What was once a prestigious belt for promising up-and-comers or popular wrestlers outside of the main event can now end up on anybody. Last year Wade Barrett returned as Bad News Barrett, a loudmouth who would proclaim “I have some bad news” and then run down his opponent or the fans. This gimmick actually ended up being pretty popular and despite being a heel he got choruses of cheers. Then,after winning the Intercontinental Title and winning a lot of matches, he suffered a separated shoulder and was out of action for months. Shortly after returning at the end of 2014, he won back the title in a 2 out of 3 falls match against Dolph Ziggler.

Unfortunately, the WWE tried to have fans boo him by getting rid of all of his popular characteristics. Instead he received no reaction. He also started losing almost every match where his title was not on the line, even to the likes of Sin Cara and R-Truth. After winning by DQ (yes, not by pinfall or submission) at Fastlane, his title was stolen by Dean Ambrose. R-Truth then stole the title from Ambrose and for weeks a horde of midcarders were stealing the belt from each other while making Barrett look like an idiot. One good thing did come out of this, and that’s a seven man ladder match at Wrestlemania featuring some of the best wrestlers (namely Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler).

The Match: There are a couple of things of note during the entrances. Barrett comes out to almost no reaction. Stardust wears the cape of X-Men villain Mr. Sinister, which is pretty cool. The match itself starts with everybody being tossed one by one over the same top rope. R-Truth dives onto all of them save Ambrose, who decides to climb a ladder set up by the ramp.. From there he jumps on all of his opponents. Some of the participants get back into the ring. Bryan backs Barrett into a corner and places a ladder over him. Stardust winds up in the same corner and Bryan starts hitting them with repeated running running knees. Harper stops this by slamming a ladder right into Bryan. Harper tries to climb for the title, but Bryan hits him and he hangs upside down. Stardust brings out a special glitter ladder! Howver, he is attacked and never gets it into the ring. Luke Harper dominates for a couple minutes.

Stardust climbs for the title, but gets superplexed off by Barrett. Bryan and Ziggler both climb up, but Ambrose does his signature off-the-ropes clothesline and they fall with the ladder. In the most brutal moment, Harper powerbombs Ambrose right out of the ring into a ladder, which breaks in two. Dolph Ziggler hits Harper with the Zig Zag. Ambrose is attended to by medics and is pretty much out of the match.Barrett goes on a Bullhammer rampage until Bryan finally stops him with a running knee. Bryan and Ziggler, the two most popular participants, climb up the ladder and slug it out. Bryan wins out with a couple headbutts, sending Ziggler falling to the mat. He grabs the belt and becomes the Intercontinental Title.

Thoughts: This was a fantastic match! There were a lot of awesome, brutal spots and Bryan and Ziggler always deliver. My only complaint is that the match could have been at least five minutes longer. A couple of the participants didn’t really have a chance to do much, especially R-Truth and Dean Ambrose. Still, this is a great opener to the main show. Hopefully having the most popular star hold the Intercontinental Title restores its prestige. 8/10

Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins (w/Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury)

Build-Up: Randy Orton and Seth Rollins were the two top dogs of the Authority in 2014. This led to them butting heads, with Orton tiring of Rollin’s arrogant, entitled attitude. In October Orton lost his match at Hell in a Cell, while Rollins was successful. Rollins rubbed this in Orton’s face. The Viper snapped, but the Authority teamed up and beat on him until Rollins Curb Stomped his head through concrete blocks. Orton returned at Fastlane in February to chase Rollins out of the arena. The next night Stephanie McMahon smoothed things over between the two and convinced Orton to rejoin the Authority. Or so it seemed. On one episode of Raw most of the Authority was out of the arena. Seizing the opportunity, Orton turned on Rollins in the middle of the main event and delivered a ten-minute beatdown. A match was thus set for Wrestlemania.

The Match: There is a little back-and-forth for a minute before Orton actually sets up for an RKO. Rollins shoves him off before he can complete the move. After they countered each other for a few seconds Orton got in control for the rest of the early going. Rollins got some momentum back and hit his opponent with a running powerbomb into the turnbuckle. Orton regains control quickly, prompting J & J Security to run in. Orton takes down both of them. He gets out of the ring and drags Rollins’ henchmen into a Double DDT off the apron, Rollins dives into Orton and starts to dominate. There is another spot where they counters several of each other’s moves, ending with Rollins getting powerslammed. Orton goes for his elevated DDT. Rollins manages to flip him outside of the ring and hits a moonsault. Rollins actually hits his back on the announcer’s table while doing this.

Rollins gets Orton back into the ring and goes on the turnbuckle. Orton knocks him off and goes for a splash. Rollins counters it into a pin. Orton kicks out and hits him with a DDT. RKO! But he only gets a two count. J & J Security finally recover, but end up running intro RKOs. Rollins uses the distraction to Curb Stomp Orton. Orton kicks out at two. Orton rolls out of the way of a moonsault from the turnbuckle, but Rollins rolls onto his feet and kicks Orton, setting up another Curb Stomp. As his foot goes on Orton’s head, the Viper suddenly rises, shoving Rollins into a midair position and RKOing him! Orton gets the win.

Thoughts: I would say this was the best match of the night! Orton and Rollins had counters prepared for every signature move. The final RKO was amazing and may be the best one Orton ever delivered. It was also nice to see Orton break away from his slow-paced wrestling style, meaning there was never a dull moment to be had. Even his  usually slow entrance went by faster. Great match! 9/10

Sting vs. Triple H

Build-Up: Sting, who stuck with WCW through thick and thin, had a chance to go over to the WWE after WCW went belly-up. However, fearful (and judging by how other WCW stars were treated rightfully so) that his character would be ruined, he instead wound up in TNA, which he faithfully served for about a dozen years. Last year he made a shocking appearance at Survivor Series, helping Team Cena defeat COO Triple H’s Team Authority lose. The stipulation of the match was that if Triple H’s team lost, he and Stephanie McMahon were gone from the WWE. Although he weaseled his way back in a month later, Triple H was still angry at Sting. The vigilante made a couple other appearances to screw up HHH’s plans, so the leader of the Authority challenged him to a face-to-face confrontation. At Fastlane they decided to have a match at Wrestlemania. Not only was Sting finally going to fight in a WWE ring, he was doing so at the biggest stage of them all.

The Match: The entrances here are a bit bizarre. Sting’s music is accompanied by a group playing Japanese drums, even though there is nothing Japanese about his gimmick. Things get even weirder for Triple H. After a video package showing the San Francisco bay area, there is static followed by an image of a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Suddenly rising from the stage are Terminators, including Triple H in a Terminator costume! They’re promoting Terminator: Genysis in the middle of a wrestling match! Why? I guess Sting was saved by Robocop back in the day. Anyways, after the Terminator theme plays Arnold Schwarzenegger shows up on screen and says “It’s time to play the game”, leading into Triple H’s familiar theme and entrance. Well, that was entertaining at least.

Sting dominates the early going, even no-selling HHH’s signature knee smash. He even delivers a dropkick (Sting is 55 years old right now). Triple H turns the tide and the match slows down as he beats up his opponent. He finally goes on the turnbuckle and jumps down at the dazed Sting, who stops him just at the right moment and applies the Scorpion Deathlock. As Triple H screams in pain, the DX music hits and X-Pac, Billy Gunn, and Road Dogg rush down to the ring. Sting manages to stop them all from entering the ring with a bunch of punches. Triple H takes advantage of the distraction to set up the Pedigree, but Sting flips him to the outside. Seeing DX huddled together, Sting takes a dive outside and takes them all out! The numbers game finally overwhelms Sting and Triple H hits the Pedigree on his second attempt. But Sting kicks out.

Triple H brings out the sledgehammer, only for the NWO (Scott Hall, Kevin Nash,and Hulk Hogan) to make their way down the ramp. NWO vs. DX breaks out! This doesn’t really make sense, though. The NWO was obsessed with destroying WCW, and Sting was their arch-enemy for over a year. Not to mention that Hall and Nash are always showing up on Raw as big buddies with DX. Anyways, Sting hits the Scorpion Death Drop, but HHH kicks out. Sting applies the Scorpion Deathlock again, but Triple H makes it to the ropes. Shawn Michaels runs in and hits Sweet Chin Music on Sting. Sting barely gets his shoulder up before the count of 3. DX hands Triple H the sledgehammer while the NWO gives sting the bat. The bat cleaves the sledgehammer in two! Sting hits Triple H with a Stinger Splash. He goes for a second, but is intercepted by the head of the broken sledgehammer. Triple H pins him. After the match they shake hands.

Thoughts: This was a fun match, even though a lot of things didn’t make sense or were really goofy, especially the Terminator entrance. I think Sting should have won here, but I guess WWE wouldn’t let Triple H lose to the face of WCW. Barely watching any TNA, I was shocked by how well an over-the-hill Sting moved, even delivering a dropkick and an outside dive. This gives me confidence that he can be in a few more dream matches before he quits wrestling for good. I would have given this match an extra point, but having Triple H win and then have him and Sting, who obviously despised each other in the build-up, shake hands, seemed a little off. 6/10

In-Between Matches

We get a ton of commercials, mainly for shows on the WWE Network. There is then a concert featuring Kid Ink, David Guetta, and Skylar Grey. I’m okay with concert entrances for wrestlers, but I really think a regular concert has no place on a wrestling show. Couldn’t they feature more wrestling instead? The commercials and concert take up about half an hour.

AJ Lee & Paige vs. the Bella Twins

Build-Up: Nikki Bella betrayed sister Brie at last year’s Summerslam, beginning a feud that featured the worst acting ever and an appearance by Jerry Springer. Nikki Bella later won a match at Hell in a Cell which bascially turned Brie into her slave for a month. Somehow they became best buddies again, with Brie helping Nikki cheat to win and afterwards retain the Diva’s championship. They started feuds with AJ Lee and Paige, setting up a tag team match.

The Match: Paige and Nikki roll around a little to start things off. Nikki knocks AJ Lee off the apron and onto the floor. She hits Paige with the Alabama Slam. Paige is dragged into the Bellas’ corner and double-teamed. Brie is tagged in and continues the beatdown. AJ Lee crawls back onto the apron, but is immediately knocked back onto the floor. Nikki is tagged back in. Paige finally turns the tide, tossing around the Bellas and tagging in AJ Lee. She gets Nikki with the Thesz Press, followed by a Tornado DDT off of the top rope. She locks on the Black Widow, but Brie breaks it up. A little later she trips up AJ, prompting Paige to throw right into the steel steps. AJ Lee locks on the Black Widow again and NIkki Bella taps out.

Thoughts: This was a fun, if too short, match. There were some pretty nice spots, mainly from AJ Lee. You also have to give kudos to Brie for taking that nasty bump into the steel steps. A good match hindered by a short running time. 6/10

In-Between Matches

We get a recap of the 2015 Hall of Fame. The inductees stand on stage. For some reason Kevin Nash gets to come out to his music. We also get a lot more commercials It’s been about an hour and all we’ve gotten is a seven minute Divas match. Shouldn’t Wrestlemania have more wrestling?

Rusev (w/Lana) vs. John Cena for the US Title

Men in Russian soldier uniforms stand on stage with artillery. The Russian National anthem, which sounds awesome, plays as they fire off the artillery pieces. Then Rusev comes out riding a freaking tank! He finally gets out and waves the Russian flag, accompanied by Lana and marching Russian soldiers. A pro-America video with iconic footage of American workers and soldiers plays, backed by parts of speeches from various American presidents. John Cena comes out with surprisingly, no American-themed attire, not even a flag. Rusev demands that Lilian Garcia introduce him first.

Right out of the gate Cena clotheslines Rusev. Shortly afterwards Rusev hits a flying wheel kick, followed later on by a hard-hitting suplex. After further tearing into Cena, Rusev grabs the Russian flag and starts waving it around. This gives Cena the time he needs to mount a comeback, kicking Rusev in the shoulder. He hits the five-knuckle shuffle, but fails to hit the Attitude Adjustment. He locks in the STF, but Rusev gets to the ropes. Rusev sets up Cena for a superplex off the turnbuckle, but Cena knocks him off and hits him with a double leg drop. Rusev gets out of an Attitude Adjustment  and superkicks Cena. Cena kicks out of a pin and the match goes back and forth some more.

Rusev knees Cena in the face and slams him on the mat for a two count. Cena locks in the STF. Lana throws in a shoe, but it doesn’t really help Rusev, who has to grab the ropes instead. Rusev hits Cena with a headbutt, but Cena comes back with a springboard stunner off the ropes! Rusev kicks out at two and overpowers Cena, putting him in the Accolade. After a very long time Cena manages to stand up and ram back first into the ringpost, getting Rusev off him. Cena applies the STF, but lets go when Lana distracts the referee on the apron. Cena senses Rusev charging him from behind and gets out of the way. Rusev collides with Lana, sending her to the floor. He winds up walking into an Attitude Adjustment and Cena gets the win. Rusev has finally been pinned!

Thoughts: To be honest I was rooting for Rusev, especially after that awesome entrance. Still, this was a great match, like their previous one at Fastlane. It wasn’t as back-and-forth, but momentum did keep shifting. There were a lot of counters, some I didn’t mention, but the best was Cena’s springboard stunner. It’s interesting to note that Rusev was somewhat protected in defeat, as Cena was only able to get him with his finisher after he had collided with Lana. I wonder what direction Rusev is going to go now that his “undefeated” streak is over. 8/10

Authority Segment

Triple H and Stephanie McMahon come out to announce record-setting attendance record of 76,976. They start bragging about how they control the WWE and how they own every wrestler and, worse, every single fan. This gets them a lot of boos. The Rock’s music hits and as usual it takes him forever to start talking because the fans won’t stop cheering and chanting his name. The Rock and Triple H go back and forth on how they perceive the fans. Stephanie McMahon tells the Rock that he, Dwayne Johnson, would be nothing if not for Vince McMahon. The Rock tells her she would be nothing without her father’s Johnson. Stephanie slaps him and tells the Rock to leave, pointing out that he wouldn’t hurt a woman.

As the Rock starts to leave, he remembers something: UFC women fighter Ronda Rousey is in the front row! He invites her to step inside the ring with him. Stephanie McMahon tries to convince Ronda not to hit her and that they were friends. She tells her to leave her ring, that it is the McMahons’ ring. Rousey says any ring she’s in is hers and dares Stephanie to make her leave. Violence finally breaks out. The Rock punches Triple H, who is whipped out of the ring by an arm drag from Rousey. Rousey puts a painful arm lock on Stephanie McMahon and she makes a retreat. This was a fairly fun segment, though it dragged on way too long with the Rock’s five minute entrance and an over-long verbal battle. In literally an hour and a half there has been about half an hour of matches, less if you take out the entrances.

Bray Wyatt vs. the Undertaker

Build-Up: After defeating Dean Ambrose several times and giving a strong performance in the Royal Rumble, Bray Wyatt started to deliver promos aimed at an unknown opponent, asking him to “find me”. Fans easily figured out that it was the Undertaker, as Wyatt referenced a demon who had died and needed to be revived (this referenced the end of the Undertaker’s streak at Wrestlemania 30). The Undertaker never showed up and Wyatt had to do all of the work. He claimed he would put the Deadman out of his misery and become the new face of fear. He finally sent a lightning bolt to set Wyatt’s rocking chair on fire, accepting his Wrestlemania challenge.

The Match: Wyatt brings scarecrows to life as he makes his way to the ring. They even shuffle after him! After a long pause the Undertaker’s gong strikes and he makes his usual epic entrance. Right after the bell rings, Wyatt runs straight into a big boot. Taker hits him with a few strikes in the corner. He twists his arm and follows up with a clothesline. He also hits Old School. Wyatt finally hits Taker and knocks him to the outside. The Deadman lands on his feet and pulls out Wyatt. He then leg drops him across the neck as his head sticks over the apron. The momentum shifts in Wyatt’s favor when he cuts off a charge. Wyatt dominates his opponent for a couple minutes, taking the fight to the outside and ramming his head into the steel steps.

Back in the ring Taker Tries to apply Hell’s Gate, but fails. Wyatt hits him with a sideslam. He goes for Sister Abigail, but winds up getting chokeslammed. Taker hits the Tombstone Piledriver. Wyatt kicks out and soon connects with Sister Abigail. The Undertaker kicks out of that. Wyatt goes into his spider walk. As he does the Undertake sits up and they stare at each other! Awesome! Wyatt goes for another Sister Abigail, but it is countered into a Tombstone Piledriver. Taker wins.

Thoughts: This was a so-so match. As with last year the Undertaker’s age and years of injuries really showed. They managed to get all of his more athletically challenging moves out of the way early before he started to wind down. There was a lot of basic beatings that wasn’t really exciting. Things picked up at the end with the finishers and the spider-walk vs. sit-up, but it wasn’t enough to make this a good match. It would also have been neat to see Bray Wyatt win and become the new supernatural presence of the WWE now that the Undertaker only shows up once or twice a year. Where exactly does he go from here? 5/10

Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Roman Reigns

Build-Up: As a third of the Shield, Roman Reigns became quite popular, a badass with power moves that would destroy his opponents. He was also being groomed as the next John Cena. Then he suffered a hernia that put him out for several months. When he came back, he was doing ridiculous promos (believed to have been written by Vince McMahon) and became an unlikable and boring character compared to other top faces. Then Daniel Bryan returned in time for the Royal Rumble match. The winner of said match would get a title shot at Wrestlemania. Everybody wanted Bryan to win, but WWE stuck to its guns and had Bryan get eliminated halfway through the match. Roman Reigns came in and delivered a strong performance, but the fans rejected him, booing him mercilessly even when his cousin the Rock came out to offer his support.

WWE tried hard to make Reigns look better. He beat Daniel Bryan at Fastlane to cement his No. 1 contendership for the World Title. Then Bryan talked about how awesome he was. Then Heyman said that Roman Reigns could and would beat anyone from Hulk Hogan to John Cena, with the exception of his client Brock Lesnar. But no matter how hard they tried, the minds behind WWE couldn’t get enough fans to support their new hero. Thus Brock Lesnar was getting all the cheers when Wrestlemania finally came.

The Match: Roman Reigns’ entrance takes longer since he has to walk through a stadium instead of an arena. Brock Lesnar also takes longer, walking around the whole ring instead of just getting in. Paul Heyman refuses to let Lilian Garcia announce Brock Lesnar and does it himself, because he’s awesome on the mic. Once the bell rings Lesnar goes right for the German suplex. Reigns manages to stop him from executing it, but not for long. After his first German suplex of the night, Lesnar delivers the F-5. Rather than go for the pin, Lesnar toys with his opponent, kneeing him in the ribs, giving him hard punches, and of course delivering a lot of German suplexes.

While tangling in the ropes, Reigns manages to get in a few hits, but he ends up being knocked off the apron and into the barricade. Lesnar hits another F-5 and covers Reigns. Reigns kicks out at two. Lesnar starts slapping Reigns, who actually laughs back at him! Lesnar delivers two more German suplexes and hits a third F-5. Reigns kicks out again and Lesnar takes him outside the ring. Reigns manages to shove the world champ into the ring post. Lesnar’s face is cut open and he’s bleeding. It looks like he actually hit the post face first for real! After getting back in the ring, Lesnar gets hit with a stream of Superman punches, but he just won’t fall down. After two spears Reigns is able to cover the Beast, but he kicks out at two. Reigns runs at him for what is probably another Superman punch, but is caught and F-5’d. Lesnar can’t get himself up to pin him.

Suddenly Rollins’ music hits and he runs to the ring. He cashes in his Money in the Bank contract. This is now a triple threat match! He Curb Stomps Lesnar. He goes for a second, but Lesnar pops up and lifts him up for an F-5. Reigns spears Lesnar and knocks him out of the ring. Rollins Curb Stomps Reigns and gets the win. New WWE World Heavyweight Champion!

Thoughts: This match actually delivered some surprises. I thought for sure Roman Reigns wasn’t going to get tossed around like John Cena at last year’s Summerslam. Having Rollins cash in his Money in the Bank contract and pin Reigns to end the match was a smart move that got the title off of Lesnar without making him look weak and made sure that the unpopular Reigns didn’t become World Champion. It was a pretty good match, but Reigns could have proved himself more if he did more than his two finishing moves. 8/10

Overall Thoughts

This was a pretty solid Wrestlemania, not near as good as last year’s with the whole Daniel Bryan story. The opening matches were great, Sting vs. Triple H was fun, Cena vs. Rusev was great, and the main event was fantastic. The pre-show matches were fun, too. My main problem was that there was over an hour of non-wrestling fluff. The Hall of Fame rundown was nice, but the concert is  waste of time and the segment with the Rock went on far too long. A lot of the entrance were dragged out, too. You don’t have to have a ton of hype built up before the start of each match! That being said, there were some amazing entrances. Even Triple H’s shameless Terminator plug was entertaining. WWE also continues to be over-reliant on nostalgia, bringing out the Rock, Undertaker, and a bunch of DX and NWO guys.

I will give this PPV a pretty good rating. I highly recommend it, because all of the matches save the Undertaker bout were at least good. Next year they should cut down on the fluff and maybe put the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal on the main card.

Final Rating: 8/10

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