It’s WrestleMania Sunday! And you know what that means… The Biggest WrestleMania in History. Although by the time it ended, I don’t think they had originally planned for the longest WrestleMania in History!
Initial reports from outside the AT&T Stadium – fifteen minutes before the WWE Network go-live time – indicated that power issues were preventing the stadium from letting fans inside. This should make for an interesting pre-show. Empty arena matches, anyone?
The inside of the stadium looks really empty at the start of the pre-show – nothing much of substance. Earlier in the weekend, the HHH/Roman Reigns match had a no-disqualification stipulation added to it.
United States Championship: Kalisto (c) vs Ryback
My word, the stage is massive, and Kalisto has a wacky horned costume that Rey Mysterio would have worn back in the day. The stadium looks maybe a third full thanks to the technical issues that plagued AT&T Stadium, and Ryback’s WrestleMania gear is… a black t-shirt. Oh, and a load of Goldberg chants too.
Kalisto gets swatted by Ryback in the early going, and gets squashed to the canvas with a shoulder tackle. Kalisto gets a near-fall from a second rope bulldog, before a double knees to the chest of Ryback on the floor angers the Big Guy, who then tosses the champion into the barriers. Ryback carries Kalisto in a military press, walks the ring steps, and throws him into the ring, before another military press elevates Kalisto well above the ring, as we cut to an ad break? Seriously?! I guess they want to advertise to that guy who’s watching on YouTube and not the network…
Back from break and Ryback’s gotten a near-fall on Kalisto… and Ryback goes for a stalling superplex off the second rope, but Kalisto switches during the drop and gets a near-fall as he landed on top of Ryback. Kalisto blocks a Jackhammer attempt into a DDT, then scores a near-fall with the short huracanrana. Corkscrew forearm gets Kalisto a near-fall as Kalisto rips off a turnbuckle whilst fighting off Ryback… and almost immediately, Kalisto sends Ryback into the buckle, hits the Salida del Sol then scores the pin to retain!
In the first hour of the pre-show, Lita announced that there’d be a special announcement that she’d be making just before WrestleMania. New Women’s title belt?
The Total Divas (Brie Bella, Natalya, Alicia Fox, Paige & Eva Marie) vs Team B.A.D. & Blonde (Lana, Naomi, Tamina, Summer Rae & Emma)
Team Total Divas come out to the show’s theme… that reminds me, I’ve never seen that show. If they get another series, this’ll probably be a focal part of it, no doubt. Lana’s ring gear is… quite something. Expect a lot of booing when Eva gets in!
Summer and Alicia start with a tie-up, and some vicious elbows, as Summer counters with a DDT with a roll through to some ground and pound. Tilt-a-whirl gets Alicia a two-count, and in comes… who? We have a ten-diva face-off, and we’re off to an ad break to promote Total Divas. Eva Marie is in after the a break and we have boos!
Headscissors by Eva Marie, and a snap suplex, and boy, the boos keep coming. Early “you can’t wrestle” chants, and I bet the top brass are glad this stadium isn’t full yet. Eva forgets how to tag, then slaps Natalya in. Unsurprisingly, Emma/Naomi and Natalya is pretty good, at least until Naomi gets to those goddamned quick kicks. Paige comes in for a Hart Attack clothesline, but Naomi cuts her off with something close to a codebreaker, before she dives and hits the middle rope. HARD.
Lana makes her tag in and hits a kick to the back of Paige’s head, and there’s a smattering of boos. Trish Stratus-like bicycle kick follows, and Lana’s taunting in Brie, before tagging in Tamina to get an easy two-count…. and we have our stereotypical tower of doom spot, or at least we would, had Naomi not cleaned house. Paige knocks Tamina and Naomi to the floor, then dives onto them with a flying cross body.
Paige drops Emma into the bottom turnbuckle with a schoolboy-like rollup, and then tags in Brie who cleans house. Daniel Bryan kicks to Naomi set the crowd alight, but Lana breaks up a pin-fall. It breaks down for a while, and Eva Marie hits the Sliced Bread #2 on Tamina (good job training, Brian Kendrick!), but gets floored by Summer Rae. Spot spot spot. Naomi hits the Rear View on Paige, before taking out Brie with a dropkick. Brie gets the knees up to a split legged moonsault, but Lana knocks Brie off the top as she prepared to do something. Naomi went for the fallen Brie, but fell into the Yes Lock, and we have a tap-out – the Total Divas squad wins.
Post-match, Nikki Bella comes out in her neck-brace to celebrate, as the Total Divas hug, and they lift up Brie for what looks to be her farewell… but WWE cuts away to the concourses instead.
New Women’s Title Belt Revealed!
They’re now preparing for Lita’s announcement in the ring. There’s a podium and a cloth. This usually means title belt… and yes, hiding under the red cloth is… something that looks awfully like the WWE title. And sure enough, the 10-women tag match seems to be the end of the Divas title, as Lita announces that the winner of the Charlotte/Sasha/Becky match will receive the new WWE Women’s title. They’re killing off the divas branding (to the point where the male and female wrestlers are now all called Superstars). The new belt is a white leather strap, and looks a lot like the existing men’s title. Looks really nice – and thank God they’re getting rid of the Butterfly Belt!
The Usos vs. The Dudley Boyz
This is our last stop before Mania… and the Dudleyz get a nice pop. Despite being heels. The Dudleyz jump the Usos early on, and it’s all Dudleyz. Bubba Ray announces that they’re beating the Usos up, “just like we used to do to your daddy, Rikishi”. Needless to say, that sparked something of a comeback – superkick, Samoan drop, but Bubba cuts it off, and we have the Wazaap headbutt onto An Uso.
The crowd boos when the Dudleys are superkicked by Another Uso, who promptly gets the alternative 3D for a near-fall. An Uso comes into superkick both Dudleyz as they set up for the regular 3D, and D-Von takes the fall. Nothing spectacular, as you’d guess.
Post-match, the Dudleyz beat down, and they grab the tables! Double superkicks get the Usos free – and a lot of boos – before splashing the Dudleyz through the tables to get their WrestleMania (Pre-Show) Moment™.
To wrap up the pre-show, they’ve announced the Triple H vs. Roman Reigns will close out the show. Good luck with that!
WrestleMania opens with the standard singing of “America The Beautiful”, this year sung by Fifth Harmony. I’ve never heard of them, but they were apparently formed on the X-Factor, and are not One Direction. This year’s Awesome Opening Video was voiced over by Kelsey Grammar – and wasn’t anywhere near as grating as last year’s intro…
People are still queuing to get to their seats, to the point where there’s photos on Twitter of people streaming the Network inside AT&T Stadium whilst trying to get to their seats. Ho-hum.
Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Kevin Owens (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz vs. Sami Zayn vs. Stardust vs. Sin Cara vs. Zack Ryder
The Miz’s coat is nice and golden… and Sami Zayn’s pop is infinitely louder than what he had at NXT on Friday. That’s what a crowd almost 10x Friday gets you… Stardust’s gear has polka dots on it… good lord, what is Zack Ryder’s ring jacket? At least it got him on TV!
WWE pans across all of the foreign announcers, including Funaki for Japan, and we start with Zayn and Owens with a ladder, which they dump and exchange punches. Usual ladder insanity, as Owens decks Ziggler with a ladder, before Stardust slams Sin Cara, before getting a neckbreaker onto the ladder.
The Miz is the first one to start climbing, but he gets shoved off by Ziggler and Zayn. Owens gives Zayn a back body drop onto a ladder in the first painful spot of the night. Zack Ryder lays out Owens with a Rough Ryder, but gets booed as he climbs the ladder… Stardust shoves Ryder and Ziggler off the ladder then goes to climb himself, only for Sin Cara to shove the ladder (and Stardust) into the ropes). Everyone’s on the floor, as Zayn slides back into the ring… and the Miz is grabbing the ladder to stop Zayn from moving it… so he responds by diving through the ladder for a tope con hilo… then a cross-corner DDT on Kevin Owens. Holy crap!
Sin Cara knocks Zayn off the ladder then goes to climb, but Zayn tips the ladder and sends Cara onto the top rope… where he springboards himself into a senton dive onto the pile on the floor. Ziggler superkicks get cheers, and Ryder gets booed as he gets a Rough Ryder blocked and thrust into a ladder by Ziggler.
Ziggler sets up the ladder, but Kevin Owens comes in to block, and they hit a dual superkick. Stardust pulls a new ladder out from under the ring – a Dusty Rhodes Tribute Ladder! Stardust does the Terry Funk ladder windmill spot on a few guys, before taking Miz’s Skullcrushing Finale onto the ladder. Kevin Owens follows up with a small package neckbreaker onto Miz, them tosses the ladder to the floor, to a chorus of boos.
More Zayn/Owens now, but Owens blocks a Helluva kick with a big boot, before connecting with a frog splash on Zayn onto a ladder. Owens lays out Miz with a pop-up powerbomb, as Zack Ryder goes up top and connects with the El-bro drop off the top of the ladder onto the Miz. That got a cheer, which was followed by boos as Ryder went up to climb for the belt, but got cut off by Ziggler headbutts a la Daniel Bryan.
Ziggler hops up the ladder, but gets caught by Owens for a powerbomb off the ladder. Stardust hits the Queens Crossbow on Owens, and Sin Cara drops Stardust on a ladder draped across the barrier outside. Instead of climbing for the belt, Cara moves the ladder, but gets blocked by Zayn, and Owens tips the ladder to send Cara on a one-way big splash through Stardust on the outside.
Back to Zayn and Owens at the top of the ladder, they exchange fists, but Owens uses a thumb to the eye to get Zayn off the ladder, and Zayn drops Owens onto a ladder with a half nelson suplex! Ouch spot number two. Owens is not moving, and Zayn is climbing the ladder… but the Miz cuts it off and sends Zayn to the ropes. More boos as Miz climbs, but he’s cut off with the title in his hand, as Zack Ryder climbs up… and grabs the title. Zack Ryder is the new Intercontinental champion! And that is not an overwhelming positive reaction to Long Island Iced-Z’s win!
Well, it’s weird given that Ryder has largely been tagging with Mojo Rawley in NXT and largely forgotten in WWE until recently, but he got his WrestleMania moment at last! Even if it may only be a transitional deal…
Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles
Jericho’s light up jacket has learned a new pattern or two! By the way, it’ll never not be weird seeing AJ Styles at a WrestleMania – especially given that he was wrestling in front of a crowd of fans who got in for free at TNA as recently as two years ago.
The crowd is definitely behind AJ, despite Jericho’s trunks reading GOAT (I assume Greatest of All Time, as opposed to showing his animal preferences). AJ and Jericho do some sweet sequences, with Styles winning a battle of “leaping onto the apron and hitting a kick to the floor”, but Jericho took out Styles as he tried a slingshot dive to the floor. A flying back elbow onto Styles gets Jericho a two-count, before locking Styles in a Dragon sleeper.
After some more neat sequences, Jericho rolled through a wheelbarrow attempt into a Walls of Jericho, with Styles eventually grabbing the ropes. Styles eats a big boot as he tried a running forearm into the corner, but he responds by shoving Jericho into the middle turnbuckles, and follows up with a forward superplex, dumping Jericho on his face in the middle of the ring. A crucifix roll-up gets Styles a two-count, but Jericho catches a Pele kick and turns it into the Walls of Jericho again, but he reverses it into the Calf Crusher. Jericho teases tapping as Styles sinks in the hold, but Jericho rolls through into a pinfall attempt for a two-count.
Jericho blocks a Styles Clash by dumping Styles onto the apron, and as Styles misses the Phenomenal Forearm, he turns into a Codebreaker for a very near fall. They go back to trading blows, and Jericho mocks the Styles Clash… but AJ’s able to block it. AJ then connects with the Styles Clash proper for a two-count. Jericho blocks a running diving forearm with boots to the head, but his effort at following up with a Lionsault sees him land in Styles’ knees. Styles responds with a springboard 450 Splash for another two-count, before planting Jericho with a brainbuster. Styles sets up for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Jericho catches him in mid-air with the Codebreaker and that’s it for AJ. Jericho wins!
This started really slowly, but got going at the end… not sure that the right man won, but if this ends this feud, then I’m all for it.
Maria Menounos interviews Zack Ryder backstage, and Ryder’s left eye is swollen badly. Scripted promo 101, but it seemed to work.
New Day Rocks! They’ve got a giant box of Booty-Os cereal… and some giant cereal hoops come falling out of the box when it tips over… as do the New Day! They win the award for the best in-box prize in a cereal packet!
The New Day vs. The League of Nations
Someone’s got to wear one of those giant Booty-O’s in this match, right? So much gold in the ring gear for this match… and this looks to be a six-man, with Wade Barrett on the floor, as opposed to wrestling.
It’s all New Day… at least until Xavier Woods comes in, and then he becomes the designated whipping boy. The crowd is silent when New Day aren’t on top, and there’s even a few boos when Del Rio takes down Woods with a tiltawhirl backbreaker. Sheamus traps Woods in the ropes for the crossface-style punches to the chest, and even a leaping senton splash by Rusev cannot wake this crowd.
Woods tries to fight out of the League of Nations corner, and starts to eat the ten-count corner punches from Del Rio. Kofi tags in but ends up prey for a Sheamus cloverleaf, but Sheamus changes his track and lifts up Kofi for a stiff kick to the head by Rusev. The crowd does waken up when Big E comes in to hit some overhead belly to belly suplexes, before doing his through-the-ropes spear to wipe out Sheamus, Rusev and Barrett. Woods flies in with a double stomp, but eats a backstabber from Del Rio… who then stomps Kofi off the apron to the floor with a double stomp of his own.
Woods clears the ring and gets a roll-up on Sheamus, but eats a Bullhammer from Barrett, then a Brogue Kick from Sheamus, and the League of Nations get the win! Barrett brags on the mic after the match, and the crowd continues to boo.
Woods clears the ring and gets a roll-up on Sheamus, but eats a Bullhammer from Barrett, then a Brogue Kick from Sheamus, and the League of Nations get the win! Barrett brags on the mic after the match, and the crowd continues to boo.
Not a good match, and the lack of crowd reaction desperately hurt it. Well, that was until a certain Shawn Michaels came out! Shaved, and in his ring gear to boot! Then Mick Foley! Then Stone Cold! What was that about “no three men can beat the League of Nations”, Mr Barrett?
Austin, Foley and Michaels march to the ring, and as the League of Nations note “there’s three of you and four of us”, the New Day grab Barrett out of the ring, and it’s the Legends demolishing the League. Mr Socko on Sheamus! Sweet Chin Music on Del Rio! Stone Cold Stunner on Rusev! And then Barrett takes all three of them as a parting gift. That’s one way to waken up the crowd – and a different way to use these guys.
Speaking of different, Kofi Kingston talks Shawn Michaels into twerking… Big E gets Mick Foley’s hips swivelling, and Stone Cold finally cuts a rug… well, he just teases and stuns Xavier Woods. Well, that got a reaction!
Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose
Ambrose forgot his red weapon-filled wagon, but he’s down in jeans for this street fight, whilst Lesnar’s in his standard ring gear. Double-leg takedown by Lesnar into the corner, followed by suplexes one, two and three. The crowd’s counting along here. Ambrose rolls to the outside and grabs a kendo stick, and there’s our first flurry of offence by Ambrose, at least until Brock hits a knee to the midsection and takes our suplex count up to five.
Ambrose runs for more weapons, and this time has two kendo sticks… except Lesnar commandeers them. Only to break them over his knee, and give us suplexes number six and seven (as they count it on the big screens, apparently). Brock stands on a kendo stick that Ambrose was trying to grab, and we go to suplex number eight. Ambrose slaps Brock then goes in with a flurry of punches… which gets him suplex the ninth.
Brock’s got a kendo stick now, but invites Ambrose to grab it. Ambrose goes low when Brock stands on the stick again, and now we’ve got a whipping – four kendo stick shots send Brock to the floor for cover, as Ambrose joins him with a suicide dive. Ambrose grabs the chainsaw! But he doesn’t get to start it, and Lesnar uses an overheard belly-to-belly suplex for a Tye Dillinger-pleasing tenth suplex.
Ambrose waffles Lesnar with a laptop from the German announce table, before using a steel chair. Ambrose is caught up top, and a superplex takes us to number 11… and now Brock has the Kendo stick. A blast of a fire extinguisher dazes Lesnar, allowing Ambrose to hit a bunch of steel chair shots, including several jabs to the midsection followed up with a diving dropkick in the corner.
Still with the chair in hand, Ambrose goes up top for a chair-assisted elbow to Lesnar for a two-count, and Ambrose throws some more chairs into the ring. The ring’s starting to resemble that ECW show where the Public Enemy got buried under chairs, as Ambrose is building a stockpile of them… but he takes suplex number 12 into the chairs, this time of the German variety. Lesnar goes for the F5 into the chairs, but Ambrose blocks it and lands a DDT into the chairs for a near-fall.
Time for more weapons, and this time it’s Mick Foley’s barbed wire baseball bat, which Ambrose is able to hold close to himself but not get cut. Brock ducks a shot, and another German suplex into the chairs makes it number 13. F5 into the chairs, and Lesnar gets the glorified squash win. Entertaining, but given how many losses Ambrose has had lately, there was no way he was taking this.
A pre-recorded promo with Ric Flair and Zack Ryder followed – given that Ryder was in his gear (and didn’t have a swollen eye)… it’s an advert for Snickers. Of course, Charlotte, when she’s hungry is Zack Ryder. That explains everything.
Hall of Fame recap segment followed, then the obligatory segment with the new inductees in front of the crowd. Also known as Howard Finkel keeping his streak going – now at 32 consecutive WrestleManias for the Fink!
WWE Women’s Title: Charlotte (c) vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks
Well, I can’t call it the Divas title anymore… Sasha got Snoop Dogg to help her entrance to the ring, and what a reaction for Sasha (and her cousin). Sasha’s gear is apparently inspired by Eddie Guerrero, which usually means that this is going to be a loss for her… Meanwhile, Charlotte’s ring gear is inspired by Dalton Castle, and made of some of the robe Ric Flair wore in his (WWE) retirement match eight years ago.
This has to be a special moment for all three women, given how far they’ve all come since NXT (and in Becky’s case, a lot further back from that!)
Sasha and Becky shove down Charlotte at the start, and they quickly exchange some cool near-falls among the three of them in the early going. Banks takes down Charlotte with a rope-assisted huracanrana, but then takes some shoulder charges in the corner, before nearly capitalising by being in the right place with a near-fall on Becky via a sunset flip. Charlotte knocks Sasha loopy with an Alley-Oop on the floor, catching Sasha’s neck on the bottom rope. Charlotte scores a near-fall on Lynch with a backbreaker off the second rope, before Lynch recovers to send Sasha flying to the floor as she tried her double knees in the corner on Charlotte.
Lynch goes for the Disarm-her, but Flair interferes to distract the referee, only for Banks to slide in to break it up. Banks gets dispatched to the outside once more, and Charlotte finally goes for the Figure Eight, only for Sasha to come flying off the top onto Charlotte with a frog splash for the near fall.
Lynch gets a near fall on Charlotte with an almost-a-Rock Bottom (thanks, Michael Cole!), before going after Banks trying to lock in the Disarm-her. Banks drills Charlotte with a tope con hilo through the middle ropes, almost landing on her head on the outside. Becky takes out Ric Flair as he was too busy whoo-ing at Banks, and the crowd goes wild for it! Charlotte followed that up by climbing up top and landing a picture perfect moonsault to Banks and Lynch on the floor.
Back in the ring, Charlotte hits a double Natural Selection on both challengers, getting near falls on the pair of them. Charlotte throws Lynch shoulder-first into the ring post, then tries to powerbomb Banks, and Lynch just about connects in time with a Doomsday Device-like dropkick and gets a near-fall on Charlotte. A Disarm-her on Charlotte comes next, but Banks runs in to lock in the Banks Statement… Lynch makes the ropes, but Banks rolls through, and is left open for Charlotte to lock in the Figure Eight.
Banks reverses the Figure Eight, and Charlotte moves it back again, and Lynch pulls Banks out to break the hold. All three are on their knees now and trade chops, and that disintegrates into Banks and Lynch double teaming Charlotte before knocking each other down with simultaneous blows. Charlotte snaps Banks in half with a spear, but Lynch takes Charlotte into the corner to prevent her from even going for a pin. They go up top, and Sasha joins for a Tower of Doom… but she ends up in a Tree of Woe as Becky takes down Charlotte. Banks reverses out of a back suplex and hits the Banks Statement again, only for Charlotte to return and throw her out. Charlotte locks in the Figure Eight on Becky, and as Ric restrains Sasha, Charlotte retains/wins the Women’s title by tap-out.
In spite of the result, this was the best match so far… but by God, yet again, the wrong person won. Charlotte got an internal and external fireworks celebration as she became the first (revived) WWE Women’s Champion.
Hell In A Cell: Shane McMahon vs. Undertaker
This is weird – the match to decide the future of the company (supposedly) is third from the top? Shane’s kids (all three of them) are accompanying him to the ring – remember the young ‘un he held at the WrestleMania 20 opening video? All grown up now!
Undertaker’s entrance is epic as always, and Shane sells like he’s genuinely fearful of what it about to befall him. Particularly when the Dead Man slams the cell door shut behind him…
Shane connects with a bicycle kick early on at the Undertaker, and he tries to pepper him with his oh-so wonderfully looking punches. Undertaker sends Shane to the floor briefly, but gets caught with punches as he returns to the ring… before booting Shane to the mat. Shane no-sells a Snake Eyes in the corner and drills Undertaker with a flying back elbow. Shane gets thrown into the cell wall, and out comes the plunder, as Undertaker separates the steel stairs.
Shane returns to the ring, but gets dragged out again and shoved into the cell wall. Back in the ring, Shane eats the Last Ride for a near fall, but after a long break where the Dead Man slid the ring steps into the ring, catches the Undertaker in a Triangle choke. Of course, Undertaker powers up, and lifts Shane up for a chokeslam onto the steps for a near fall. Shane rolls out of the way as Undertaker gets nothing but steps with an elbow drop, before Shane suckers the Undertaker in for a DDT on the ring steps for a near-fall.
Another elbow drop gets Shane a two-count, and they go into the sit-up spot that Undertaker and Lesnar had, minus the goofy laughs. Hell’s Gate sees Shane fade, but somehow he slithers out and locks in a Sharpshooter. Not quite sure how that works in reality, but my disbelief is remaining suspended via the means of alcohol right now!
Shane peppers Undertaker with shots as he’s sat in the corner, before grabbing a trash can… and it’s shades of WrestleMania 17 as Shane goes Coast to Coast on the Deadman! Shane rolls over the Undertaker and gets a solid two count out of that. Shane looks up to the heavens, and this is foreshadowing…
From under the ring, Shane grabs some bolt cutters, and frees himself from the Cell… or at least, he does with a little help of the Undertaker, who drills Shane into the German Announce Table. Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. Undertaker dismantles the English announce table, before kicking off Shane’s face. The Spanish announce table gets the same treatment, as Shane gets drilled by a TV monitor. They wander into a suspiciously-placed platform by ringside, as Undertaker goes for a Tombstone, but Shane slips out and locks in a sleeperhold, and Undertaker staggers/jumps off the platform and lands through the Spanish Announce Table. Ouch.
Shane crawls over to another suspiciously-placed item – a toolbox – and drills Undertaker in the head with it. Another shot from the toolbox sees its contents scatter across the ringside area, and Shane’s looking up again. Undertaker is out on the announce table, and Shane. Is. Climbing. Undertaker rolls away, and Shane plummets through the announce table… folding himself in half as he landed. This is a car wreck.
The Undertaker is stirring, and gets back to his feet as Shane lies prone. The crowd that was largely silent before now chant “this is awesome” (really, it took a death-defying leap to wake you up?), and Shane begs the Undertaker for more… so Undertaker picks him up, drags him back into the ring. One Tombstone later, and that’s it. Undertaker wins – match built around one spot, and by God, it delivered. The spot, that is, not the match. Up until the Coast to Coast, this was really dull, but if you came for a spectacle, you got it, I guess.
Shane gets an applause for breaking his body into millions of pieces, and unlike NXT on Friday the medical team don’t get booed.
And from two men nearly killing themselves, and the threat of WWE being changed forever extinguished (for now) we move to… Booker T and Lita dancing by the pre-show panel!
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
So, we have Baron Corbin, Mark Henry, Heath Slater, Adam Rose, Curtis Axel, Bo Dallas, Viktor, Konnor, Fandango, Jack Swagger, Damien Sandow, Darren Young, R-Truth, Tyler Breeze, Goldust, Kane, Big Show, Tatanka! DDP! Shaquille O’Neal?! The hell is Shaq doing in this?
Kane grabs Show and Shaq, but they combine to chokeslam him, as everyone goes after Big Show and Shaq, and we’re left with the two facing each other off… until Fandango goes in to dance, and gets eliminated by Show. Damien Sandow comes in for a pop, but Shaq tosses him (to a chorus of boos). Show grabs Shaq by the throat, and Shaq returns the favour, and they all go to toss them out… and Shaq is the third one out, followed by Big Show.
Viktor gets a Diamond Cutter then thrown out, as Konnor tries to get his own back on DDP… and he finally elimates Page, before R-Truth sends Konnor out. Adam Rose is the victim to Tatanka hulking up, only for Baron Corbin to give Tatanka a hand as he misses Rose with a charge and gets eliminated. Kane eliminates Swagger, and Rose and Slater get rid of Truth.
Axel and Dallas get rid of Goldust after he’d been thrown onto the apron, and the Social Outcasts do a victory lap in the ring… only to walk into the path of Kane. And Baron Corbin. Kane tosses Axel. Corbin tosses Rose… who tries to springboard back in only to be punched out. Chokeslam on Corbin by Kane, as Slater decides to jump onto Mark Henry, who catches him and dumps him over the top to the floor.
Tyler Breeze’s attempt to attack Henry fails, as he leaves in the same way Slater did, and Mark Henry goes out courtesy of Kane and Darren Young. Dallas and Young get eliminated by Kane, and Baron Corbin comes out of the corner to eliminate Kane… Big Baron Corbin is your surprise winner! Hopefully his push is more sustained after this than Cesaro and Big Show’s were after winning!
Where were the Wyatt family? I’m guessing injured Luke and sore back Bray meant they withdrew the whole clan, rather than just have Erick “Winemaker” Rowan and Braun Strowman expose the whole act? At least they’ve used the Battle Royal to make a new star, but Corbin? Well, it’s a new star, so it’s a start…
Time for the Rock to make his WrestleMania appearance – and this is why the show’s going to bleed over the four hour mark. He’s got a t-shirt gun with him… oh God, he’s going to shoot everyone who’s going to boo Roman Reigns. This may take us a while. Wait, it’s just a flamethrower. That’ll make toasting all of Roman’s detractors quicker…
Instead, Rock just sets fire to a sign made out of his name, and walks to the ring through the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. Oh, and the Rock announces the crowd number… this year’s fake number is: 101,763. Just a teensy-bit inflated…
And here come the Wyatts! Holy crap, that visual of all of the lights! It’s Bray, Erick and Braun representing tonight. Bray’s gone from John Cena, to Undertaker, to no match. So sad. Wyatt introduces himself to the Rock, and it’s standard Wyatt fare. And standard Rock fare, as they cut down yet another guy from the full-time roster to please someone who’s irregular at best. At least Rock put him over as having ability and charisma… and this turns into an impromptu match.
The Rock vs. Erick Rowan
Well, this is the Vintner’s WrestleMania Moment. Never thought I’d see Erick Rowan vs. The Rock anywhere, let alone at WrestleMania. Rock Bottom, Rock Wins. That’s it. Does that count as a match? Six-seconds long… Rock has his own record, I guess.
The Wyatts surround the Rock, and out comes… John Cena? The hell? The crowd’s happy to see him, but he still gets the “John Cena Sucks” chants. Strowman eats some shots from Rock and Cena and takes a Rock Bottom, before Rowan takes the Five Moves of Doom, finishing off with the AA… then Wyatt comes in to take a few right hands from the Rock, a Spinebuster, and the People’s Elbow.
What was that about the Rock not being allowed to wrestle?
We’re now past 4am in the UK, and we’re not even close to the main event starting… but hey, at least we now know that Camp WWE starts in May.
WWE Title: Triple H (c) vs. Roman Reigns
The ring entrances don’t even start for this until 4.08am in the UK, a solid six-plus hours after the pre-show started. Weird Triple H entrance video starts, seemingly inspired by Slipknot. Stephanie’s wearing the Hunter skull and is atop a platform as she openly decrees the fans as “blind sheep who follow”. Kayfabe or not?
Triple H, Stephanie and a horde of faceless minions (who may as well be developmental trainees from the FCW days) holding WWE title belts come to the ring. Roman Reigns gets booed as he comes down the aisle… and of all people to miss on, they miss his pyro as he punches the stage floor. Pretty much everyone inside AT&T Stadium is booing Roman Reigns it seems – your next main babyface, everybody!
You can barely hear Lillian Garcia announce Reigns, and Triple H is getting something resembling cheers…. and at 4.18am (UK time), our main event is finally underway!
Reigns gets booed big time when he takes down Hunter with a shoulder tackle, and Hunter gets a good cheer when he tosses Reigns over the top. Hunter connnects with some arm wringers and arm breakers, and in the middle of this, JBL forgets the no-disqualification stipulation. Aside from boos whenever Reigns gets in offence, there’s shockingly little reaction for this WrestleMania Main Event. Even Reigns’ dropkick from the floor to the apron got nothing.
Triple H kicks Reigns low as the referee was distracted, and I’m fighting to stay awake, as it seems that WWE has all but muted the crowd audio. A swinging neckbreaker off the announce table sees Reigns struggle to beat the count-out, as he’s met with a running knee to the face on his way back in. Loud boos when Reigns gets a two-count from a Samoan drop, and Hunter rolls out of the ring to avoid a Superman punch. Reigns gets a run-up from the floor, and mounts the ring steps to take down Hunter with a clothesline as WWE picks up the only fans chanting for Roman.
Reigns keeps on top of Hunter with a spear through the crowd barrier, then drags Hunter back into the ring (just beating the count), and they’re acting like Roman sprained his wrist dragging Hunter. The crowd are now chanting for Nakamura as Hunter trips Reigns during a Superman punch, locking him an armbar, with added finger-joint manipulation.
Hunter segues into a Triangle choke, but Reigns lifts up Hunter and connects with a powerbomb for a near-fall as WrestleMania (including the pre-show) sails past the 400 minute mark. Another armbar by Hunter, and again, Reigns lifts up and powerbombs Hunter to free himself. Reigns counters a Pedigree attempt by giving Hunter a back body drop to the floor, and by now the bored fans are just entertaining themselves with chants.
Stephanie pulls the referee out of the ring to save a Hunter pin, and she climbs into the ring to admonish the referee… and Steph eats a high spear by Roman Reigns. There’s the pop. A Pedigree on Reigns only gets two-count in the aftermath of that, and Reigns retaliates with a Superman punch.
Hunter counters another spear attempt with a knee to Reigns’ face for a two-count. Stephanie passes Hunter his sledgehammer, and it’s clear the no-DQ stipulation got chalked off ages ago, but Reigns connects with two Superman punches, followed by a spear, and we have a new WWE champion. Such a loud pop from such a motionless crowd.
What a horrific match. Boring, and unfortunately the two outcomes would have either a) upset the fans or b) not told the story WWE wanted. Tonight they went with option a), and what the company thought would send fans home happy ended up with WrestleMania ending against the backdrop of a loud chorus of boos.
- Thanks for sticking with us for almost seven hours of WrestleMania coverage tonight! I’ll be back on Monday over on BackBodyDrop.com with some thoughts from the weekend, and coverage of some more of the WWN live shows once they’re available.