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.