So, here’s the big one then…
I wasn’t looking forward to this show going in, as I’ve not been a fan of the last few Wrestlemania’s. I’m not a fan of long ‘supershows’ nor I am really interested in returning part timers. I want to see the current crop of superstars tell their story.
Also not helping my lack of enthusiasm is the WWE Network trying to make me start the show half way through. This show is like, five hours long, I don’t need more delays!
I enjoyed the opener of The Miz vs Seth Rollins vs Finn Balor for the Intercontinental Title (3.5/5). As stated previously, I’m not a fan of multi man matches, but this one was all action, with little resting and tons of big moves. To the wrestlers’ credit, all the moves were very slick and nothing went wrong. I imagine these are the types of matches that can fall apart easily and there’s no return once they do, so full credit to all involved. Potentially one of the best WM openers ever?
Asuka vs Charlotte for the Smackdown Women’s Title was a great Wrestlemania moment (3.5/5). It was a fine match (albeit one I thought was little short) that ended with a shock Charlotte victory. I loved the crowd reaction and Asuka’s reaction to her loss – her congratulations to Charlotte was almost like a video game ending, like Charlotte had beaten the big boss at the end. I also laughed at John Cena getting told Undertaker had arrived and racing off to get changed – couldn’t he have worn his jorts to the show?
The US title match between Randy Orton, Rusev, Booby Roode and Jinder Mahal was about what I expected (2.5/5). A serviceable match with lots of the resting that the opener avoided and four wrestlers you can’t really cheer for (Rusev seems to be a heel this week, Roode is basically a heel who fights heels, Jinder is a heel and Randy should be a heel.) I can’t believe Jinder won either – he’s the least over guy in the match and his world title reign wasn’t a success either. I know the US Title is a step down, but you don’t see more talented people like Tye Dillinger or Chad Gable get these types of opportunities, do you?
I was shocked how much I enjoyed Triple H and Stephanie McMahon vs Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey (3.5/5). Sure it did drag and there were a few sloppy moments, but this was WWE style Sports Entertainment at it’s best. I’m not a fan of Triple H or Stephanie and I had doubts on Angle and Rousey, but I had no need to worry. HHH and Stephanie were great as the smarmy heels and Angle held his own, but Rousey was the star for me. She looked like she’d been wrestling for years. The crowd were completely into this match too…a complete success in my eyes.
The Smackdown Tag Title match was alright. (2.5/5) The action was fine…I’m just not a fan of The Bludgeon Brothers. It’s a silly gimmick and watching them dominate two of the best teams in WWE is a bit disheartening.
John Cena vs The Undertaker was more a collection of crazy angles than a match, but it certainly entertained me. (3/5) From laughing at Elias’ song to watching The Undertaker’s full epic entrance, I was gripped. The match itself was a complete squash, but that added to the entertainment value – when have you ever seen John Cena beaten so quickly?
Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan vs Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn was a fine comeback for Daniel Bryan. (3.5/5) There was nothing complicated here, but there didn’t have to be – the crowd were here to see Bryan return and this match was perfect. Zayn and Owens beat down an injured Shane after taking out Bryan, only for Bryan to return and clear house. The question now is, who next for Bryan? There is a long list of potential dream matches…AJ Styles, Nakamura, Johnny Gargano, Aleister Black, Almas…
Nia Jax vs Alexa Bliss for the RAW Women’s Title was what I expected. Nia dominating, Bliss cheating, but Nia coming through for the win. I reckon it’s about 2.5/5 overall – nothing special and a definite buffer match, but nothing offensive either. I was glad to see Nia win – I think she’s improved a lot since debuting and it was time she had a run with the title.
AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura had a lot to live up to, namely a highly regarded Wrestle Kingdom match from a few years ago. I feel like I’m going against popular opinion and I’ll blame tiredness, but I wasn’t too into this match. I’ll say 3/5, with the highlight being the surprise finish and excellent post match, which saw Nakamura turn heel on Styles. I’m excited by this – I think Nakamura has been treading water for a while, so this really intrigued me. A rematch with Styles would be great, as would a match against Bryan…I’m now interested in Nakamura for the first time in two years..
Braun Strowman vs The Bar…I have no words, just a 3/5 and sore ribs from laughing. Braun selecting a child as a tag partner was great – I’m hoping we get further vignettes of the team training, planning their defences, etc. Some might complain that this might damage the tag titles prestige…but let’s be honest, we’ve seen worse teams over the years.
I’ve spent my wrestling viewership following the smaller, flashier competitors and rolling my eyes at the lumbering giants..but I think Braun is incredible. He’s a believable threat, great at comedy, attacks vehicles and is seemingly indestructible. In my opinion, Braun should have been the one to dethrone Brock…
…so Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar….I’m not fussed on either to be honest. I think Lesnar has outstayed his welcome as part time champion and Reigns to me is the chosen one that everyone feels has been forced down their throat. Both can go in the ring though, it’s just the predictability of this match that’s the problem. The crowd were not into Reigns at all and haven’t been for some time. Even the recent portrayal of him as an everyman standing up to the privileged prima donna Lesnar hasn’t helped. I think fans have seen through the latest attempt to get Reigns over and like to cheer Lesnar regardless of how often he turns up anyway.
The story was Reigns kicking out of repeated F5’s from Lesnar. The F5 has been protected as a finisher for the past eighteen month, so to kick out of five of then is a big deal…if the crowd cared about Reigns, which they don’t. The attempts to paint Reigns as a heroic underdog (blood, being dominated) failed and Lesnar’s victory was cheered by the crowd. I was surprised Reigns lost after all this, but I think it was the right decision. 2.5/5 for the match, but I’m pleased by the outcome. The big win for Reigns would have ended the show on a low and I’m intrigued to see where WWE go next.
Overall, Wrestlemania scores 3.00/5.00, which is higher than I thought it would have scored and definitely more than I would have scored the last few Wrestlemanias. There wasn’t a bad match on this show and I found myself to be entertained the entire show, which is some achievement on a five hour show.
Next up for WWE is The Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi Arabia….I’m looking forward to it – a 50 man Royal Rumble sounds amazing and the rest of the card looks great too!