WWE’s biggest night of the year had a lot of match, with a lot on the line. Titles, careers and legacys were all at stake so did the show live up to it’s illustrious legacy?
Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Tony Nese – WWE Cruiserweight Championship match
Result: Nese wins via pinfall – New champion crowned
Thoughts: Another frustrating moment as both Murphy and Nese showcased why they should be nowhere near the pre-show; the Cruiserweight title match was a very hot and intense opener to the show as a whole. Really early on – Murphy seemed to get a big cut above his left eye which looked awful and we really hope he’s ok but Buddy didn’t let it stop him in the slightest. Both men looked fantastic and, whilst I personally would have preferred Murphy to retain, Tony Nese is a fantastic star who I feel will be a great champion.
Women’s WrestleMania Battle Royal
Result: Carmella lastly eliminates Sarah Logan
Thoughts: This…really wasn’t that great. I don’t ever really enjoy Battle Royal’s due to the frantic nature and the fact you can’t really work out what’s happening for the first two-thirds of the entire match and this was a fantastic example of said issues. Clunky, a bit ragged- people like Candice LeRae being eliminated off camera and never even mentioned and a winner who never should have won; I didn’t really enjoy this. I feel like Sarah Logan would have been a great winner. Carmella does not need this win whereas it could have built Sarah Logan up that little bit more. Shame.
The Revival (c) vs. Hawkins and Ryder – WWE RAW Tag Team Championship Match
Result: Hawkins wins via pinfall – Streak is broken and new champion crowned
Thoughts: Aw it was a nice moment wasn’t it? Curt Hawkins FINALLY picking up a win and it happens to be for a championship, on the grandest stage of them all, alongside his best friend in their hometown. It’s nice. Yes – it means that Revival are just…we don’t know what’s next for them (AEW) but we need to wait and see. Fun match with a good ending.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Result: Braun Strowman eliminates Colin Jost
Thoughts: This was a lot better than expected to be honest. Both Colin Jost and Michael Che played their parts incredibly well and weren’t too intrusive, it allowed Braun to look like an absolute monster again, it had some terrifying spots – looking at you Ali, hope you’re ok- and a winner that makes complete sense. Braun winning was obvious but obvious in a positive way. ONTO THE MAIN SHOW.
Brock Lesnar (c) vs Seth Rollins – WWE Universal Championship Match
Result: Rollins wins via pinfall – New champion crowned
Thoughts: Well this is, potentially in terms of the gravity of the match and the two individuals involved, the biggest WrestleMania opener ever. It was absolutely genius in every aspect. Heyman enforcing the fact that; ‘If Brock isn’t the main event, why should we wait to be anywhere else?’ and then just absolutely battering Rollins for about…10 minutes before the bell actually rang. The decision to have Seth win is, of course, absolutely the right one. And it’s actually a breath of fresh air to see Lesnar sell, lose-relatively- clean, and be done with it. The match only lasted two and a half minutes so there isn’t THAT much to say but god- I can’t remember a WrestleMania with a hotter opener since Daniel Bryan vs Triple H at Mania 30. Fantastic stuff.
AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton
Result: Styles wins via pinfall
Thoughts: I really enjoyed it. It was certainly methodical and a stereotypical ‘Randy Orton’ match but I felt it suited the style. The entire point of this feud was essentially ‘WWE vs the Indies’ so why wouldn’t Orton adopt the WWE style throughout the match and slow everything RIGHT down during it? Styles winning is absolutely the right move here- I’d really like to see him go to RAW this time next week in order to feud with Rollins. I think that would be a fantastic move for him and I feel Orton can shine in this role of, almost, the ‘gatekeeper’ of WWE talent. Really fun and both men delivered on the grandest stage of them all.
The Usos (c) vs. Aleister Black and Ricochet vs. The Bar vs. Rusev and Nakamura – WWE Smackdown Live Tag Team Championship Match
Result: Usos retain via pinfall
Thoughts: Personally, I would have liked to see this match go a little bit longer. It felt like a sprint of a match – in the best way possible- but I just felt we could have had a bit more time dedicated to it as everyone involved here is great. There are far too many spots here to mention but the two big ones that stick out in my mind was the eight-man Tower of Doom spot that Ricochet rolled through and Cesaro swinging Ricochet for what felt like nine years. Usos retaining is absolutely the right decision; they’re debatably the best tag team in the world right now and deserve to have a Mania moment where they win after all these years. Good stuff.
Shane McMahon vs. The Miz – Falls Count Anywhere
Result: Shane McMahon wins via pinfall
Thoughts: What is it with Shane McMahon and having great singles matches at Mania? Facing his dad at Mania X-Seven, facing off against Styles at 33 was one of the best matches on the card and now we had an absolutely brutal, insane, energetic, intense blood feud for the best part of nearly twenty minutes. Shane is absolutely fantastic as a heel and, in the biggest surprise of the year, Miz is absolutely fantastic as a face. He’s so, SO
1. Oh my god, that was terrifying.
2. No-one can ever call The Miz a coward again because LOOK AT WHAT HE DID
3. It gives Shane a win without making Miz look terrible.
Shane got lucky but now the eldest McMahon can run with this moving forward. Absolutely incredible and one of the best matches on the show.
Boss N’ Hug Connection vs. The Iiconics vs. The Divas of Doom vs. Nia Jax and Tamina
Result: The Iiconics win via pinfall – New champions crowned
Thoughts: The Iiconics won. THE IICONICS WON. I’m so happy. They’re, easily, my favourite tag team in WWE today- male or female- and are consistently entertaining. I still hold the belief that they should have been the inaugural champions but then, I guess, we wouldn’t have this moment to talk about. I know seeing my reaction and then looking at the grade may not make sense- how can I be this happy but the grade’s one of the lowest I’ve given so far? The only reason I’m doing this is because I didn’t really enjoy the match as a whole as it felt rushed and ragged for me in a lot of places but WHO CARES. THE BELTS ARE NOW…ICONIC. The emotion on the faces of both Peyton and Billie showcases how much this means to them. Really, really delighted for them.
Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Kofi Kingston – WWE Championship Match
Result: Kingston wins via pinfall – New champion crowned
Thoughts: It’s…it’s really hard to discuss this moment. Because it’s up there for one of the best Mania moments of all time, easily. I’m going to hold my hands up- I never thought this would happen. I was DESPERATE for it but I didn’t think they’d pull the trigger. But when Kofi Kingston won over the crowd in that gauntlet match the week before Elimination Chamber- everyone started to believe. It was a feeling that hasn’t been felt, poetically, since Daniel Bryan at the end of 2013/beginning of 2014. If Kofi hadn’t won here- the rest of the show would have been hijacked. This was EASILY the best thing on the entire show. Kofi Kingston, eleven-year veteran, the man who did everything that was asked of him and nearly quit three years ago- is the first ever black WWE champion. And that’s important. I’m not going to pretend however I fully understand what this means. Yes; I’m absolutely delighted and I went insane when it happened. But I’m a white, Scottish guy who doesn’t PROPERLY understand what this means to the black community as a whole. If you want to know – go and watch Josiah Williams, Montez Ford, Angelo Dawkins
Samoa Joe (c) vs. Rey Mysterio – WWE United States Championship Match
Result: Joe retains as Mysterio passes out
Thoughts: Joe won in exactly one minute. Fantastic and exactly what needed to happen. Makes Joe look a monster which is how he needs to look going forward. Not much else to say apart from Rey’s entrance as Mysterio from Spider-Man made me pop so hard. Quality.
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre
Result: Reigns wins via pinfall
Thoughts: Drew McIntyre got a bagpipe entrance to the ring. I’m Scottish…I wanted him to win so badly. ANYWAY. Much like before- you can’t really say much about this as the match wasn’t the main focal point here. Roman Reigns competed in his first singles match back since beating leukemia and won. A really heartfelt, emotional moment that he fully deserves. Nothing else to say – apart from Welcome Back Big Dog.
Elias vs. The Doctor of Thuganomics
Thoughts: RIGHT WAIT. Before you all go insane at this grade…hear me out. It’s well, well…WELL documented my love for Elias so I know this is going to sound like I’m biased which…I absolutely am but I just don’t feel like this segment was beneficial for anyone involved. Yes – it was undoubtedly cool to see ‘Word-Life’ John Cena come back but I felt it made Elias look stupid and – it didn’t bury him – but when there’s a line like ‘We all know about my golden shovel, so I’m gonna bury your push’, it’s not a great look. But hey – it was a fun moment for everyone so I’m not complaining too much. Just wasn’t for me.
Triple H vs. Batista – No Holds Barred, if Triple H loses; he has to retire from in-ring competition
Result: Triple H wins via pinfall
Thoughts: This was very, very slow but in some ways – it absolutely worked. Seeing Batista’s entrance again was amazing, Triple H apparently watched Mad Max last week and just went ‘I’m having that like’ and Batista fell twice getting in the ring. What a start and the bell hadn’t even rang yet. Both men clearly went all out as it was Batista’s last WWE match and there were some absolutely brutal spots- most notably, Triple H ripping Dave’s nose ring with pliers. That was horrific. The main issue with this is that- it was the longest match on the card during a point where the entire crowd were drained. Those in the arena had sat through six hours of wrestling at this point- including a Seth Rollins and Kofi Kingston win- and knew they still had another ninety minutes left at this point. Neither man’s fault but it clearly hurt the match. Hunter eventually wins with the help of Ric Flair, which was a cool moment and, with that, Batista’s wrestling career is over. Easily one of the best ever and a personal childhood favourite of mine. I’m really going to miss him.
Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin – Kurt Angle’s Retirement Match
Result: Corbin wins via pinfall
Thoughts: Well this is when the show properly began to flag. Easily the worst segment on the show- Angle lost clean to Corbin in five minutes. And listen; I actually REALLY like Corbin. I think he’s great and it’s not his fault he’s been put into this situation. But good god, what are they thinking? How is this the send-off Kurt Angle – one of the greatest talents ever to step foot within WWE – gets? Just really, really sad to see.
Bobby Lashley (c) vs. ‘The Demon’ Finn Balor – WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Result: ‘The Demon’ wins via pinfall- New champion crowned
Thoughts: This, again, was just a glorified RAW match that we’ve seen one hundred times before. Yeah, Finn’s entrance was cool – as were Bobby Lashley’s contact lenses – but that’s it. Finn won clean. That’s a positive. But still. Moving on.
Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Becky Lynch – WWE RAW and Smackdown Women’s Championship Match- Winner Takes All
Result: Lynch wins via pinfall – New champion crowned
Thoughts: This was a real, real shame. The first ever Woman’s main event should have been the biggest thing ever…but it just felt drawn out, the crowd were exhausted and the finish came out of nowhere which took away from a lot of the drama. With rumoured reports that the finish was botched – Ronda was supposed to kick out and the finish would have been Becky tapping out Charlotte for the win- it did feel incredibly sudden and underwhelming. But hey- the finish is what everyone wanted. Becky Lynch won in the first ever Woman’s Main Event. That’s an amazing image, moment and concept. The three big matches all had the babyface wins we all wanted. Great stuff…just a shame about the execution.
Overall Thoughts: Before the final hour-ninety minutes, this was easily up there for the best Mania of all time in my opinion. Every match/segment delivered and was scattered with feelgood moments. The last bit does drag it down which is unfortunate however I’d still argue it’s in the top five WrestleMania’s ever. A must-watch show.
Overall Grade: A-