Well it’s the end of the biggest week in professional wrestling! We get the name sake and what should be the crown jewel. Andrew gives ratings and analysis on WrestleMania 35!
WWE tends to prioritize moments over matches a lot of the time, but you would hope this “New Era” would mix things up a little.
Kofimania and the women headlining the show are the two biggest stories. Miz being a convincing face opposed to Shane is another one. Batista forcing Triple H to put his career on the line are some of the bigger stories, culminating at WrestleMania 35.
Does it disappoint? Does it outdo TakeOver? Let’s find out!
- Cruiserweight Title: Buddy Murphy (c) vs Tony Nese: Nese wins via Running Kneese @10:40 – ** 3/4 – TITLE CHANGE!!
- Women’s Battle Royal: Carmella wins @10:30 – **
- Raw Tag Team Championship: The Revival (c) vs Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins: Hawkins wins via Inside Cradle @13:20 – *** – TITLE CHANGE!!!
- Men’s Battle Royal: Braun Strowman wins @10:20 – **
- WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs Seth Rollins: Rollins wins via Stomp @2:30 – * 1/2 – TITLE CHANGE!!
- Randy Orton vs AJ Styles: Styles wins via Phenomenal Forearm @16:20 – ****
- SmackDown Live Tag Team Titles: The Usos (c) vs Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev vs The Bar vs Aleister Black & Ricochet: Usos retain via Double Uce @10:05 – *** 3/4
- Falls Count Anywhere: Shane McMahon vs The Miz: McMahon wins via…Superplex Shenanigans? @15:25 – *** 1/2
- Women’s Tag Team Fatal 4 Way: The IIconics vs Tamina & Nia Jax vs Boss & Hug Connection vs Divas of Doom: IIconics win via Avalanche Glam Slam @10:45 – *** 1/4 – TITLE CHANGE!!
- WWE Championship Match: Kofi Kingston vs Daniel Bryan (c): Kofi wins via Trouble in Paradise @23:45 – ***** – TITLE CHANGE!!!
- United States Championship Match: Rey Mysterio vs Samoa Joe (c): Joe retains via Coquina Clutch @1:00 – N/A
- Roman Reigns vs Drew McIntyre: Roman wins via Spear @10:10 – ** 1/2
- No Holds Barred: Triple H vs Batista: Triple H wins via Pedigree @24:45 – *** 1/4
- Kurt Angle Retirement Match: Baron Corbin vs Kurt Angle: Corbin wins via End of Days @6:00 – **
- Intercontinental Championship Match: Bobby Lashley (c) vs Finn Balor: Balor wins via Coup de Grace @4:00 – *** 1/4 – TITLE CHANGE!!
- Winner Take All Raw & SmackDown Women’s Championship Main Event: Becky wins via Crucifix Pin @21:30 – **** 1/2 – TITLES CHANGE!!!!!
The perennial Pre-show participants, the Cruisers have a match. It was alright for what it was, but felt flat, never really got out of first gear and really felt like nothing special. So I don’t know. Not the best showing from either, so it makes Murphy’s loss look fairly weak.
Well this Battle Royal was a mess. Sloppy spots, awkward spots and Carmella doing a heel style tactic is a little odd. Most faces don’t dip out and take advantage of the one on one when the one person thinks they won the match. Maybe this is a Carmella going back to being a snotty brat, or they were really just trying a misdirection spot, that no one reacted to. It tried, but it was lame.
A lot of personality in this match. Revival kept verbally running down Hawkins and obviously didn’t take them seriously. But all things considered, it wasn’t a bad match. A few solid near falls, a big outside suplex car crash kind of spot. Hawkins then seemed to play a little possum, and caught Dawson with an Inside Cradle for the upset victory!
The fact the Saturday Night Live guys hid under the ring immediately made sense, but there wasn’t really much story telling in this. The brief period of Luke Harper and Braun having a stare down was irrelevant when it just turned into a dog pile moment. Andrade got paired against the luchadors mainly and eliminated himself. So yeah, the therapist was stupid, but it was different and fit the story. But yeah, no twist hear, just Braun looking scary and destroying most of the participants. Slightly better than the women’s, but still nothing to care about.
Alexa and Hulk Hogan open the festivities and the crowd is fairly welcoming to Hulk. Not a huge explosion but it sounded more positive than negative. It’s a nice surprise.
So Heyman wanting the match to start immediately makes sense, fits the Lesnar persona of not wanting to spend more time there than necessary. And then we just get a mauling from Lesnar, and by the time the match officially starts it’s a few suplexes, a ref bump, low blow and three stomps. Was it a surprising enough moment, sure. The pop seemed pretty big since people are bored of Lesnar. But as a match it was really nothing. But it got the desired reaction.
Our first really good match of the night! Randy and Orton go back and forth nicely, showing some familiarity and playing back to previous encounters. Randy shows more desperation in the match as he goes to the top rope, which isn’t really his wheelhouse. This gives AJ the opening he needed to put together the last necessary moves to squeak out a victory. Really good match.
This four way was surprisingly solid. The extended Big Swing and Beats of the Bodhran moment was fun, I hate the over use of the Tower of Doom spot in multi person matches, but they added a neat wrinkle. Ricochet rolling through and having a very close near fall was fun. Usos overcoming the odds and the punishment for doing the right thing was the right way to tell the story. Good match.
We see Shane take an early advantage after putting his hands on Miz’s father to get him chasing. It was nice to see Miz’s father get involved in the match which helped add some visible emotional weight and fire up Miz. Miz then beat Shane from pillar to post, Shane bounced off a golf cart, they climbed a lighting rig/trellis. I would’ve liked to see Shane Spartan Kick Shane into the pit of death, but he decided a Superplex was the way to go. Because of how they landed, when Charles Robinson got down there, Shane was technically on top, so Shane won. I’m not mad at the match, it was fine, we get to see more of the Miz than we previously were aware of, and it wasn’t too bad. Some may argue that Shane kicked out too often, but his last name gives him some plot armor.
Okay so I expected this match to be awful, but it was mapped out well. The Samoans were knocked out kinda early and only showed up for power spots, the IIconics were better than usual, and Divas of Doom/Boss & Hug did most of the heavier lifting in the match. I do like how Paige kind buried the stupid references to Eddie every time Sasha sneezes by pointing out that Peyton’s gear was inspired by Eddie as well. And let’s be honest, the fact the IIconics snuck in the tag and ninja’d that win away from Beth. Lie, Cheat and Steal. That’s the Eddie Guerrero way. But the match wasn’t bad. Good job.
Wow. This was one of those quintessential WrestleMania moments. A fantastically wrestled match with Daniel being a step ahead for most of the beginning and then Kofi figured it out as the match went on. Kofi showed great resiliency, the rest of the New Day took out Rowan and Kofi’s heart helped him keep the edge as the match went long. Just a tremendous match, great ending, great moment, great great great.
Mysterio’s story is that he was dinged up but was cleared to wrestle. So an early flurry from Rey, with a chance for him to win quickly…turned around for Joe to put him to sleep in a minute, is good for him. I think I said something similar either in the write up or at Supercard, but having a short match is part of the fun as long as it makes sense. This makes sense.
Drew and Roman was a bit more plodding than I would’ve liked. Lots of space between moves, with little effect on the crowd or the overall story. Drew was fairly in control until a slap “woke up” Reigns and he went back to Superman mode. This whole time I was hoping they would’ve played on the sympathy and not given Reigns the win in his first singles match back from cancer and a concussion. Match was alright but nothing special. Some things don’t change, but I’ll give WWE enough credit that the crowd still mostly cheered Roman. So it should be interesting if we go back down the old rabbit hole, or if they pivot a little.
WWE has made me generally sick of Elias now. The crowd still seems to respond well enough to him…but can they please give him a story? Just…please?
Wait instead we get a Babe Ruth clip…wait…Word Life? Old school Cena? Well I’ll be damned. He runs down himself, gets in a lot of his product endorsement, uses IWC nod nicknames like Golden Shovel…and embarrasses Elias for the second year in a row. I feel dirty saying it wasn’t bad, I kind of liked it. I also liked how he even made the nod to his finisher being called the FU instead of Attitude Adjustment and even did the sneaker pumps before it. Fun moment, but I still wish Elias had a story. Yes him being involved in any capacity with Cena is a bigger spot than most get, but I’d personally like to see more matches and less moments for Elias.
HHH had another cool entrance and Batista tripped over the rope. Well…foreshadowing? The beginning of the match was mostly Triple H making an example of Batista, even ripping a nose ring out of his face with some pliers. The rest of the match had some back and forth, Batista fired up at times and we got glimpses of the Animal, but it was a slow match. Ric Flair showing up to hand Triple H a second sledgehammer and distract Batista a little popped the crowd and helped to forgive the painfully plodding pace at times. A few cool spots and the German announce table seems to be the new Spanish announce table, but yeah, this was alright.
Well now, I guess they were giving Corbin the ball to keep rolling down Heat Street. No one expected a classic, but most, myself included, were hoping for more of a swerve. But Kurt did the right thing by going out on his back, and I guess now we wait and see if Corbin does something with it.
Hmm…okay Balor must’ve listened to some criticism since he came out with an adjusted move set for The Demon. A few Finn Balor classics, but things like the Flying Axe Kick, a Powerbomb on someone of Lashley’s size and a few other quirks were nice to see. It was a short match, but fast paced, fun and both men didn’t have a hiccup.
This triple threat had everyone holding their breath before the bell rang. We’ve become so conditioned to expect WWE throwing us a fast one, that they worked us, by not working us. The match was fantastic, a few nit picks. Like Charlotte not selling the Piper’s Pit on the outside, sloppy crucifix and a few of the double moves looked odd, but that’s nit picking. Great match by all three women, and it’s cliche to say, but the right person won.
Overall Score: 8.5/10
Great WrestleMania! HappyMania even? Or I suppose not quite since Corbin did beat Angle which left some people a little sour. But yeah this was a hell of a show.
Yes I give it the same score as TakeOver because where TakeOver is more in-ring focused, this involves everything and there weren’t too many rough spots honestly. Nothing was out right bad. Some stuff was slow, or didn’t really assist such a long show…but honestly it was a pretty easy 7 hours, from home. Cena doing the Doctor of Thuganomics throw back, Hogan resurfacing, Ric Flair getting a pivotal moment, Hall and Nash popping back up for the backstage segment. And those are just the nostalgia pops.
Damn good all around show. WrestleMania lived up to it’s name, and will be very hard to take anyone seriously who says this show was bad.
AJ’s Controversial? Wrestling Opinions 10.12.21
AJ feels like spouting off about a few wrestling topics that bug him. How controversial are they though?
As Eric Bischoff, President of WCW once said, Controversy Creates Cash…no I’m serious; it’s even the title of a book that he did. Everyone has their hot takes on professional wrestling and some are always wide eyed and kind of shocking to some. There are some of us that will have same opinions or chastise me on a show or an article maybe but hey, don’t hate the player, hate The Game.
Maybe there are some that the readers at home agree with or you want to also be the one to chastise me, @PhenomenalAJB on Twitter. This one is going to be fun!
#1- There are more things than just WWE/AEW and are better majority of the time
There are many people that will rant, rave and complain that the mainstream product is so bland and boring and the classic, “Who even watches this trash?” Whether you love the flippy dippy do’s like I don’t or long drawn out storylines that peter out very quickly because fans aren’t invested in a story or character. To those people, I will say something very bold, very confusing and very… very controversial…
THERE ARE OTHER COMPANIES YOU CAN WATCH ON VARIOUS PLATFORMS IN VARIOUS MEANS ON YOUR OWN TIME!
I don’t know how and I don’t know why that this is even a topic. “TNA has been dead for years” No it hasn’t. Pay $1 USD for Impact Plus on YouTube so you can watch it without commercials at 8:30 Eastern. “Two hours is too long!” NWA and MLW both go for an hour on their respective YouTube Channels as well and if you want to watch, you can hop in at any time. Everyone has something for everyone and you might find your new favorite wrestler in a matter of minutes into an episode. I would never have known who Eli Drake (now LA Knight on SmackDown Live), Alexander Hammerstone or even in the early stages of TNA Impact, AJ Styles, was! You can watch more than what is broadcasted on your TV. Is it easier? Of course but, there is so much more than just the popular option.
#2- Belt Collecting now is just redundant and moronic
Back in 1996, Ultimo Dragon famously has a picture of him holding TEN championships looking like an amazing superstar with amazing defenses. What people don’t know is, that was because eight championship belts were united in a tournament called “The J-Crown Championship” with the adage of ‘All or Nothing’. He lost them one by one but, it was to show that he was the best Junior Heavyweight (or Cruiserweight/Light Heavyweight) out of everyone in various promotions.
People after that really haven’t belt collected other than unifying championships to a grand caliber… then Austin Aries showed up. Aries kind of revised the gimmick and brought it back to light. Newer fans might have thought this was cool but older fans kind of groaned and grumbled. I was one of them but, nothing is original in anything anymore so it’s a fresher concept at the time back in 2018. He did surpass Ultimo with ELEVEN championships but it seemed everyone started doing it to an extent after. Matt Cardona, after being released from WWE, started doing it, getting up to six championships before dropping them. As of right now, not necessarily solo belt collecting, The Bloodline has a stranglehold of the World Championships for both Singles and Tag Teams, we had Becky Two Belts, Bayley wanted Dos Straps but nothing makes this worse than Kenny Omega’s stint as a belt collector.
I am not and will never be a Kenny Omega fan. I don’t see the appeal, I don’t see the amazement or anything like that out of him. I’m impressed he did three 35+ Minute IWGP Championship matches against Okada because that takes a lot of stamina to do so but, that’s about it. When he won the AEW Championship, alright. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that since he helped build the company up. The Triple A Megas Championship… nothing too wrong here. I hate that he had five defenses in two years but he vacated it due to his injuries. It wasn’t until Don Callis and Omega popped into Impact and made the Hogan Era of TNA look like a dream… okay ALMOST but still. Kenny defeats Rich Swann and Moose in two different matches and has everyone else carry the belts while holding the AEW Championship. I understand heel tactics and mentality but at one point in an interview about going for the Impact Championship, he compared it to a common Comic Book and the AEW Championship as Superman Issue #1. I understand trying to be a heel in this story but you boost your clout, not rain on what you are going after. Heel or Face, belt collecting has just been a cluster within itself in the past four years and it honestly needs to stop.
#3- Overuse of Certain Moves
This one is a more recent problem that I have seen and no, I wish EC3 paid me to say this but it is true and very annoying to even bring up but here I am, wishing for Carter money and a fifth Rum & Coke…
Stop. Overusing. Moves. Because you think. They were cool.
If I had a shot for every time a Canadian Destroyer, Superkick, Suicide Dive, Avalanche (Insert High Spot here), Dual Dropkick spots where they cancel each other out or opposing members do back to back high spots on the prone partner spot… I would not have written this article due to death… even if it was water, I would have died due to drowning. They don’t look cool anymore when everyone does it. It’s bland. When Petey Williams wrestled in his last return to Impact, the Destroyer looked very… stale. Superkicks are the new DDT apparently (another Finisher turned common everyday move) and most people that do dives mess it up in some way shape or form whether it’s their feet get caught in the ropes, they didn’t get a full launch or they overshoot it. Having your own move special to you is difficult now but different wrestlers do their own styles or the pay homage to a family member or a wrestler that they interact with or ask permission… or asked to stop.
How’d you feel if you watched WCW and WWF in 1997 and saw DDP do the Diamond Cutter and HHH did the Pedigree Pandemonium and say they do the same move? That is exactly what happened too if Dallas didn’t ask Hunter to stop using it. We might not have the RKO out of nowhere or an iconic move that seldom bigger names use today.
That’s my list. I said before if you agree with my list and if you don’t and want to throw hate my way… @PCTunney is the hate mail account so enjoy!
AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns
With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?
With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?
With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.
With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.
1. Johnny Gargano
Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?
WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.
2. James Storm
This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.
Watch your Money and your Alcohol.
Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”
3. Big Cass
Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.
Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.
4. Bronson Reed
The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.
Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?
5. Bray Wyatt
And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.
To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.
– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!
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