Well, it’s time to review this year’s incarnation of the grandest stage of them all, WWE WrestleMania Play Button. And, with the incredible lack of hype going into tonight’s show, I must say they pulled out a mostly good show. Sure, it definitely had some flaws, and it’s not anywhere near as bad as some people I listen to talk about wrestling seemed to think it was going to be. And to be fair, I knew the show was not going to be anywhere near that bad – no one can look at the card that it did have and say “Oh that’s terrible.” Most people just had a completely different card in mind and decided since that wasn’t it, the one we got was automatic shit. If you keep telling yourself something is going to be shit, then you’re going to watch and only find the show’s flaws, and then it’s going to be shit because you said so. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Now, again, not everything is perfect on the show, and it’s certainly not going to be the best WrestleMania of all time either, but it was enjoyable.
First and foremost, I must say the atmosphere was really different than most shows, because the stadium was not only outdoors, but being in California meant the show started at 4 PM local time and thus it was sunny out for most of the show. I’m not sure if it’s the “most” outdoor WrestleMania there is because 28 seemed pretty similar, maybe 24 as well, but it was so obvious this year because it was barely dark by the last hour. It was dark quickly for 28 and 24 since those were in Florida and started at 7 PM local time there. The amount of sunlight kind of threw me off for a bit.
The first match on the preshow was the Fatal Four Way Tag Team Championship match between the Uppercats, the Usos, New Day, and Los Matadores. The match was fun, and more chaotic than most fatal 4-way tags have been of late. They took out the injured Uso immediately so he didn’t get injured even further, which is good. (I really don’t know which one has the injured shoulder, so sadly I cannot specify. EDIT – it was Jey) That being said, the match was so chaotic at one point that I was literally screaming at the tv “WHO THE FUCK IS LEGAL?” because I just didn’t know. I’m glad after Cesaro got the pin that they showed him actually tag in because I didn’t see it happen, I just accepted the three count as the team that should have won winning without really believing they were. Cesaro did an apronplex at one point from the middle of the ropes while two of the others were on the turnbuckle, then someone did an inverted suplex off the rope right next to it to slam someone on whomever was apronplexed or something. The double tower of doom was awesome, although I was hoping Cesaro was going to Powerbomb both Matadors and not just done. And they tried several times to make it look like LOLUSOSWINANYWAY but thankfully Cesaro picked up the win.
The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal was, well, a typical battle royal. Curtis Axel was eliminated first by everyone. Hurray. I noticed everyone from the tag team match was in the battle royal too, because double duty. I would like to know who eliminated Hideo Itami because the it froze. Ryback took out the Ascension at the same time because fuck him. Cesaro tried so hard to eliminate Big Show again but Big Show body slammed him out of the ring this year – it’s almost like Cesaro never won it last year. Big Show eliminated all of the New Day while he was on the apron and they were in the ring. Sandow eliminated the Miz but Big Show won because reasons. I’d be mad but look at what they did with Cesaro last year. Sandow is on his own now, does him winning the battle royal really need to happen to continue that story? Who knows. But fuck Big Show.
The show started with some kind of weird opening video package involving LL Cool J, who did not sing which is what he was expected to do. Some guy named Aloe Blacc sang America the Beautiful, whom I think I only know because somebody probably sang something of his on The Voice or he was a vocal coach or something. I don’t know – WWE’s propensity for getting the most irrelevant music acts and putting them on their programming is pretty pathetic. And they’re surprised when NO ONE REACTS to them. More later.
The first match was the Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship. It was a good match, although I can’t really say it was one of the most memorable ladder matches I’ve ever seen. But thankfully, Sheamus didn’t show his face, so we don’t have him as a pointless champion. I mean, really, was there any spots in this that we haven’t really seen before? Ambrose dove off a ladder onto everyone outside, Harper did that ladder catapult with Ziggler they did at TLC but it didn’t look as good, Ziggler had the Sleeper on someone while on the ladder (I think it was Stardust), then they fell and it looked like he hit a Zigzag, Ambrose got slammed through the ladder on the outside and broke the ladder, several people got Bullhammers, Barrett took Bryan’s Knee, and Bryan and Ziggler headbutted each other on top of the ladder before Dolph fell off and Bryan won, so hurray. Ambrose never wins. I am sad.
Next was Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins in a good match. It started off a little slowly, perhaps, but when it started hitting its second gear it got really good. Orton hit a Diving Cross Body which I think is the first time he’s done it since 2008 (I could be wrong, but I know he stopped doing it after his collar bone injury so if he has done it, it’s very infrequent.) Rollins hit a nice Springboard Moonsault. Both of them exchanged finishers – I think it was after the RKO kickout that the match got good, because I could’ve seen that first RKO being it. But, that RKO out of that curb stomp….Epic. It’s hard to be mad at an Orton win when the RKO is that ridiculous.
Next up was Sting vs. Triple H. Sting had some people in Sting masks playing some drums before his entrance, which was what it was. Triple H’s Terminator entrance was not nearly as cool as his entrance last year. I don’t know what there really is to be said about this match – I’m tempted to call it worst match of the night just from a match standpoint, but I was entertained by the DX and NWO shenanigans. That was mainly from my disinterest towards this match going in, though, that I welcomed the random run ins. The DX one was fine, the NWO one was fine although I was expecting X-Pac to switch shirts. I also thought Sting was against the NWO, and Nash and Hall are Triple H’s friends too so that didn’t make much sense. And both of these factions were friends the Raw before Rumble. So that was weird. And HBK shows up and Sweet Chin Musics Sting right in front of the referee, no DQ. Sting hits HHH with a bat, no DQ. HHH hits Sting with broken sledgehammer, no DQ. And in fact, Triple H won from the sledgehammer. I’m not really sure what to give this, because the actual wrestling before the shenanigans was nothing special, runins led to a Pedigree and kickout and Scorpion Death Drop and kickout. But blatant disregard for the rules of a match are stupid. And I don’t understand Sting losing. At all. It’s just another Vince vs. WCW thing that shows that anything outside of WWE is crap to them.
Rating: **1/2 (EDIT: Apparently the match was No DQ even though that was never stated. Maybe they just decided it during the match. I’m sticking with the rating, but I no longer think **1/2 is generous.)
Next was the second pointless music act of the night. I know this is the theme song of the PPV, which they’ve played enough that it’s become one of those songs that’s played so many times that even though I don’t like the song or I feel like I shouldn’t like the song, I can’t help but like it anyway just because it’s catchy enough to the point where I do and I hate myself for it. Songs like Mups (My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark), Radioactive (Actually would be a good song if it wasn’t vastly overplayed), Shake it Off, and Bang Bang – the last two of which I’m very ashamed to admit I like. But these artists are virtual unknowns – you can say they’re Grammy-nominated however many times you want, if I don’t know them, they’re not relevant. The Skylar Grey chick I want to say was the same chick who sang with Puff Daddy at WM29 or maybe she was with Flo Rida at 28, I don’t know. But the Rise song is by someone whose name is “David Guetta” and he was nowhere to be found, and there’s no male vocals anyway. Where the hell did he go? Who the hell is he? Who the hell cares? I mean, if you’re going to get music acts that few people know, and especially if you’re in the San Francisco area, at least get Kat Robichaud because she’s actually good and deserves that kind of exposure. But yea, keep going with the ones no one knows and the crowd will continue not to respond.
Next was A.J. Lee and Paige vs. the Bella Twins. Random gripe – please, when giving A.J. and Paige separate entrances, give Paige the second entrance so we can listen to her theme more than A.J.’s. It’s better. A lot. (A.J.’s theme song is on my guilty pleasure song list like those songs listed above. It’s not good, but I like it anyway.) Anyways. It was a good match, should have got more time. There is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY A.J. would’ve been down for as long as she was after whatever the hell Nikki did to her. It was basically just a heat segment and a hot tag, though. It was nice to see Paige kick out of the Dumbest Finisher in Current WWE, though. And I would’ve liked to see both A.J. and Paige both have their submissions on one Bella at a time, and I would’ve liked to see some kind of PTO/Black Widow combination submission – I think it can be done. And as much as it fills my heard with glee to see Nikki Bella tapping out to A.J. Lee, showing that everything in the world is in proper order, I do believe it should have been Paige to get the submission victory for their team. (And her music would have played.) Ideally the finish would’ve had both Bellas tapping to their submissions, but I would’ve liked for Paige to have gotten the win. With the way the women are booked, you never know how many chances they’re going to get for their own WrestleMania moments, and while Paige won, the actual submission being hers would’ve been nicer. A.J. has indeed had one.
Rating: ** (It may be rated lower than HHH/Sting but I still enjoyed it more because of what it represents, A.J. and Paige putting the Bellas in their proper place.)
Next was Rusev defending the WWE U.S. Championship against John Cena because ‘Murica. Rusev’s entrance was cool, I thought. Also, is it sad that I knew the music played in the ‘Murica video that played before Cena’s entrance was the music in the WrestleMania 18 opening video? Because it was. Anyways, I kind of paid less attention during this match because I didn’t really care too much. It seemed like pretty standard stuff from them, really. Lana threw her shoe at Cena at some point while he had the STF on Rusev but missed. I did notice a nice looking Springboard Stunner Cena did which was cool. Rusev hit a Diving Headbutt or something, which surprised me as I didn’t expect it to hit at all. I don’t really care that Cena won, but I kind of question Rusev losing just from running into Lana and getting the FU. Did he kick out of one FU? Or was that the only one. I’m not sure.
Next was the only other part of the show that really annoyed me, which was Triple H and Stephanie in the ring cutting a boring promo only for the Rock to show up. Stephanie slaps him, so he goes and gets Rhonda Rousey from the crowd to get in the ring with him. I wouldn’t have a problem with this, except it just took SO DAMN LONG. If they cut five minutes off of it and sped things up, it would’ve been okay. But this, I’m sorry, bored me. Everything on this show that involved Triple H wasn’t that good.
Next was Bray Wyatt vs. Undertaker in a good match. Bray’s entrance was pretty cool with the scarecrows. Undertaker looked really good compared to what we know happened last year. It was a good, solid match – basically everything I expected to see from it. Good to see Bray kick out of the Tombstone. And as much as I’m sad that Bray didn’t win, I can’t really be mad – it’s the Undertaker. Good match – it’s not a classic or anything, but it was fun.
And finally, Brock Lesnar defending the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Roman Reigns, the much maligned main event of the evening. And I must say, the match was a little spoiled because they said the world champion would be on the today show tomorrow, and I knew Brock wouldn’t be doing that. But, that being said, Brock beat the living shit out of Reigns. It looked like Brock/Cena from SummerSlam all over again, just with different moves. Reigns did kick out after a third F-5 because you gotta make him look strong. But it definitely got to the point where I couldn’t buy Reigns winning. He did mount a comeback, though, after pushing Brock into the post and busting him wide open – the most blood we’ve seen in a while, definitely. And then he hit three Superman punches and two Spears for a nearfall. He tried another punch only to get F-5’ed but Brock couldn’t capitalize. So, Seth Rollins comes out and cashes in, throws Reigns out, tries a Curb Stomp on Brock only to get lifted up for an F-5, but Reigns hits a Spear, then Rollins Curb Stomps Reigns for the three count and Seth Rollins IS THE NEW WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOO!!! Reigns got his ass kicked and Seth Rollins is WWE Champion and no one’s beating Punk’s 434 day reign anytime soon (Yea, with all the talk people were having about Brock beating that reign or someone else, I had to go there, sorry.) (And finally when I did my predictions post thing where I said “X vs. Y is fighting and the ‘My Winner’ was Z,’ Z finally won!! Hurray! So, do I call this a triple threat match or what? But this marks the first time the MITB was cashed in at WrestleMania and also in the middle of a match, which I never thought was a thing that could be done. (Even though he tried it at Night of Champions.)
Overall, I enjoyed the show a lot. The Triple H/Sting match and promo were the only things that really detriments of the show, as well as the musical performances. But at the end of the day, while the rest of the show was definitely enjoyable, the only real thing I thing this show will be remembered for years from now would probably be Rollins cashing in during the main event like a thief and winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Compared to other WrestleManias that I’ve watched, 16 to present, I would definitely put it in the middle. But you won’t hate yourself for watching it. So, let’s see where we go from here. Extreme Rules is in Chicago and I’m going, maybe we’ll get a Rollins/Reigns/Lesnar/Orton match or something.
Overall Rating: ***1/2
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