WRESTLEMANIA 35 Review

WrestleMania 35 was an odd one. I think it tried so hard to be one of the best WrestleMania shows of all time and if you see the results of the show on paper you may look at it and consider it up there. And for sure it certainly had moments that were of the GOAT level, but there were a few things on this show that just left me with a tad sense of dissatisfaction. Kofi’s win felt huge watching, Seth’s big but the sheer insanity of it being FIRST on the main card I think caught us all off guard… which thinking back now not long after the show finished is a sad ironic thing to say when it comes to the main event. The moment that should have been one of the biggest in all of pro wrestling history was less of a grand finale and incredible moment, and more of a WTF moment. And for the main event of WrestleMania, particularly THIS of all years, to finish with a surprise winning moment did not feel right at all. It didn’t allow for us to explode as everyone wanted to. They dropped the ball on the finish but I guess at least we got the 3 main things I’d say the large majority of the watching fans wanted; Seth then Kofi then Becky ALL winning championships.

———————————

The pre show had your usual mix of the panel talking about the upcoming main show matches, we had so many different people on this panel that changed personnel fairly regularly throughout as well as them cutting to various people around the stadium that talked up various aspects of the show. We also had FOUR matches as opposed to the advertised 3, although given which one the “bumped down” pre show match was it kind of made sense.

Tony Nese defeated Buddy Murphy to win the Cruserweight Championship

The general consensus with the people I was with was that Murphy had no challengers left as he’d beaten everyone else, yet none of us had Nese to win… it was a good match but way shorter than the 205 Live guys usually get, which on of all the shows was most disappointing. Murphy hit his finish but Nese got his leg on the ropes, and Nese won with the running knees to the corner.

***1/2

Carmella won the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal

This had basically everyone from the main roster of the women that wasn’t on the main card aside from Alicia Fox. We also had Kairi Sane and Candice LeRae from NXT. Kairi did have significant moments in the match but you easily could have missed that Candice was a part of it which was a little sad. There was no Lacey Evans in the match either, but there was the return of Ember Moon from injury. People we’re son angry in the arena when Lana of all people got rid of Ember. Dana Brooke also was very over. The finish saw a final 3 of Sonya Deville, Sarah Logan and pre-match favourite Asuka. Eventually and very surprisingly it was Logan who outlasted the others… only for (in what was essentially the repeat finish from last year with Bayley and Naomi) Carmella to reappear having never been eliminated. She eventually super kicked Logan to the floor below for the win. This was… a battle royal…but better than I thought which in all honesty my expectations were very low

**1/4

Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins defeated The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) to win the Raw Tag Team Championship

The match itself was fairly good in parts but as I called in my blog, as a result of them basically missing or forgetting to do the entire build to this match, the match as it was going on didn’t have half as much heat as it could and maybe should have had. The finish did get a decent pop with Hawkins finally ending his long losing streak with a roll up pin. I’d presume they’ll lose the titles fairly soon possibly right back to The Revival on Raw it maybe even a new team from NXT or a team that comes to Raw in the Superstar shake-up next week.

***

Braun Strowman won the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal

This was decent in ring but just showed how many people WWE have and yet they still can’t fit everyone on a show with a crazy number of matches. Strength in depth maybe? Lack of direction for most? You decide… anyway of course the two SNL guys hid from Braun pretty much right away and for the entire match almost. Until Braun was the last man standing so they both reappeared and tried to throw him out. After plenty of teases that the impossible was going to happen including it seeming to be down to just Braun and Matt and Jeff Hardy as Colin Jost and Michael Che hid, and also one of them introducing to the ring a guy which he claimed was his therapist (which was funny). Braun chucked them both out. I guess it was fairly sound logic the biggest name should win here, but by that logic why didn’t Asuka win the women’s? Good accolade for world-championship shy Braun I suppose…

**1/2

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The main show began with the anthem being sung, a pretty great WrestleMania video package being played before finally our host for the evening Alexa Bliss came out. She finished by saying she could have a WrestleMania moment at the click of her fingers… so she clicked her fingers and out came HULK HOGAN! I’m not a Hogan guy myself but seeing him at Mania again was kind of cool and the live crowd loved him. He made fun at himself for getting the stadium name famously wrong at Mania 30, and did his usual Hogan speech and then posed with Bliss.

As the two were posing out came Paul Heyman marching to the ring (I hear this was a very very very very late change as this next match was not planned to go first until literally the show began…hmm…). He got in and grabbed a mic and basically said if Lesnar wasn’t in the main event he wanted to be out of here fast, and to be able to go to Las Vegas where he is appreciated (Las Vegas is essentially the home of the UFC so I’m sure that wasn’t coincidental). So Lesnar came out followed by Rollins and we had the Universal Championship match IN THE OPENING MATCH of the WrestleMania 35 main show!

Seth Rollins defeated Brock Lesnar with Paul Heyman to win the Universal Championship

If you could have booked this match however you wanted you probably couldn’t have done it better than this. Brock beat down Seth around the ringside area before the bell had even rung, tossed him in the ring then out again, did a few suplexes as the match properly got underway, the ref took a bump as Lesnar went for an F5, Rollins hit a low blow, a superkick, THREE Stomps and pinned Lesnar in about 2 1/2 minutes. Seth Rollins pinned Brock Lesnar to win the title in the first match on the card. Just let that sink in. Crowd loved all of this. ***** for the booking, but of course the match itself was only a few minutes.

**3/4

AJ Styles defeated Randy Orton

Jerry Lawler came out to join commentary for this one. Styles won clean with a Phenomenal Forearm. It was fine as a match but I was expecting a little better. Both did most their big moves, Orton even hit an RKO but it was not enough to win. Good for AJ to get a big win, be interested to see what both these do going forward. Could see this being the first in a series. This was deliberately wrestled at a slower pace it seemed which makes me think they’ll wrestle each other again.

***1/4

Lacey Evans came out. Then she left again… I don’t know anymore either…

The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) defeated Rusev with Lana & Shinsuke Nakamura, The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) and Ricochet & Aleister Black to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championship

This was pretty good and really fast paced. Was amazingly cool to see Black and Ricochet compete on this stage. Most memorable spot of the match was Cesaro doing his swing on Ricochet for an absurd amount of time whilst Sheamus was hitting everyone else with his forearm smashes he does. A close 2nd was everyone in a big tower of doom when they all were part of a duplex off the top yet Ricochet nearly landed on his feet and it was crazy how he even came close to landing on his feet. Finish came with basically everyone hitting their finish on one another before being thrown out, until finally the Usos did a double splash combo move on Sheamus.

****

They introduced the Hall of Fame class with DX coming out last. This was really cool.

Shane McMahon defeated The Miz in a Falls Count Anywhere Match

This was really what you’d expect for better or more so worse. They brawled for the whole match and went right into the crowd area as they did it. Miz’s Dad got in the ring and went at it with Shane at one stage which was… a sight… and also Shane went to do the elbow through the announce table to Miz but George Mizanin got in the way leading to their… erm… fight… The finish came when they were in the crowd area on top of a platform, Miz superplexed Shane off it and they both fell onto the floor (crash pad but shush it’s wrestling). Bizarrely it was Shane who put himself over Miz for the pin fall. Shane’s punches again where beyond belief bad. God knows what they’ll do with Miz or even Shane now…

**1/4

The IIconics (Billie Kay & Peyton Royce) defeated The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection (Sasha Banks & Bayley) (C) , Nia Jax & Tamina and Natalya & Beth Phoenix to win the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship

Paige did guest commentary. This wasn’t of the level or even close to the men’s 4 way tag match. But this surprised me not one bit. Beth and Natalya came out dressed like the Hart Foundation and Bret even joined them on the stage which for a giant pop. Beth Phoenix looked decent in-ring considering, and the finish saw her hit the Glam Slam on Bayley off the turnbuckle before The IIconics threw her out and Billie Kay got the pin. They were both very emotional at the win. People watching seemed happy enough despite one of the heel teams winning. But this was not good.

**

Kofi Kingston with Big E & Xavier Woods defeated Daniel Bryan with Rowan to win the WWE Championship

Remember when I said Rollins vs Lesnar was everything we could have wanted in our dreams? This was the same. Kofi was a megastar to everyone watching, Bryan was hated. The match was really really good and by a mile match of the night. Everything has so much heat behind it as you’d expect. The finish was great too, with Kofi escaping from Bryan’s submission and beating him down before hitting Trouble in Paradise for the win. This got the reaction you’d expect… which was extremely loud. New Day unveiled the new title belt after… which was the old title belt before Bryan’s eco friendly one. Kofi had his kids in the ring as they, Big E and Woods celebrated. This really was everything we wanted. A really great match and a proper all-time amazing moment at the end. I don’t want to talk about this but it happened… basically Big E revealed some new t shirts to commemorate Kofi being champion… it turns out WWE were already advertising them online as the match was still going on. So to those who saw it WWE spoiled one of the biggest matches on their biggest show. I personally didn’t see it so if a Tree falls and nobody hears it, does it still make a sound? I’ll leave that with you… nonetheless… Kofi Kingston is the WWE Champion. What a time to be alive. The afters of this match honestly were incredible, and if you watched NXT Takeover you saw an all time great aftermath of a match with the Main event. This will go down in history amongst the best feel good Mania moments of all time. Daniel Bryan was exceptional as always in this match but this was all about Kofi. Superb stuff.

****3/4

The two SNL guys were backstage with Alexa Bliss. Suddenly Kevin Nash and Scott Hall appeared as doctors ready to give them a Prostate check. This was so weird.

Samoa Joe defeated Rey Mysterio to retain the United States Championship

Joe won a complete squash after Rey hit a 619 but Joe caught him off the Senton with the Coquina Clutch and eventually the ref checked Mysterio and called it off. Just under 1 minute. I’d presume Rey wasn’t fully healed after all then? There was nothing to do with Dominic Rey’s son who had appeared on tv recently. Massive boost for Joe mind you given it was his Mania debut. Booker T was guest commentator.

N/A

Roman Reigns defeated Drew McIntyre

This was very underwhelming. McIntyre was played out by a band and Roman had so much fireworks as he came out it was crazy. Drew looked like a monster in the match, Roman didn’t look as good in the ring as he did with The Shield at Fastlane. Drew battered Roman at various points. Roman won after a Superman Punch and a Spear. Crowd was kind of flat and clearly still worn out emotionally from the Kofi stuff. Reigns hid his face after the win and was very emotional. When you think about it this HAD to be the result of this match. Amazing that during a WrestleMania match nobody really cared good or bad for Roman, so much so a Mexican Wave was going on in the upper decks. It wasn’t Roman being booed it was people boing the end of the wave. Christ.

**3/4

Then came one of the best parts of the show. And If I began by saying it was the Elias segment you will be shocked right? So Elias does this thing where he appears on the big screen playing drums, then a second one of him playing base, then he was in the ring for real doing his usual thing. Suddenly a film on Babe Ruth played… he’s the GOAT in baseball so we really if you listened closely to his most recent run you should have known who was coming out… out comes John Cena… with The Doctor of Thuganomics gimmick!!! He was wearing a Number 3 Yankees jersey, which was Babe Ruth’s number. This got probably the biggest reaction he has got in years and certainly the first Universally positive one on this stage for a while. I know where I was we all went absolutely crazy for it. Cena then, as he did all the time in this gimmick, absolutely ripped Elias apart on the mic. He said he felt like he was watching his movies because this whole thing sucks, called Elias a wasted wrestling experiment, said he’s not half a dog but a little piece of shitsu, your face looks like my nuts but you’ve got a hairier bush and finished with saying ‘no AA, but you’re going to get the FU’ and then he hit him with the mic, the 5 knuckle shuffle and then the FU/AA. This was… brilliant!!! Whoever came up with this isn’t paid enough.

Triple H defeated Batista in a No Holds Barred Match with Triple H’s in-ring career on the line

I enjoyed this. Some didn’t as much. It was very long and late in the show and slow paced. But I personally had fun watching. It was a weapons based fight rather than a wrestling match which it should have been so that was good. Both guys particularly Triple H looked in INSANELY good shape. Batista tripped on the ropes as he came into the ring, that was not so good. Triple H had a cool ‘Mad Max’ (shout out to Dan as I’m not cool enough to watch films like that so didn’t get the reference) entrance. One big spot was HHH removing Batista’s nose ring with pliers. Very babyface of him… HHH also speared Batista through an announce table which was a good looking spot. Triple H of course bought a sledgehammer in to it… leading to a finish where Batista had it, only for Ric Flair to come down and hand Triple H a second sledgehammer. Triple H used the steel steps that were in the ring as almost a boost and jumped off then to hit Batista with the sledgehammer. He then hit a Pedigree for the win. Triple H kicked out of the spinebuster, Spear and Batista Bomb. Batista kicked out of the first Pedigree. This earlier on in the show would’ve been so much better received imo. Batista announced his retirement on social media after the show.

***

Baron Corbin defeated Kurt Angle in Kurt Angle’s farewell match

JBL did guest commentary. Yes the match happened. No interference, no funny business. Corbin pinned him clean and then Kurt took in the applause one last time. Crowd was deathly silent when ref counted the 3. Corbin got the win with the End of Days after Angle missed a moonsault. It was what you’d think. Kurt thanked the fans and asked for a “You suck” chants one last time. I think they might put Corbin against Rollins. This was not a fun watch aside from being able to pay tribute to Kurt before and after. In one of the more poetic moments of the show there was a sign in the crowd you could see when Kurt told people to do the You Suck chants. The sign read “you never sucked Kurt”. He was correct, Kurt Angle has never and will never suck.

**

Demon Finn Balor defeated Bobby Lashley with Lio Rush to win the Intercontinental Championship

Again pretty much what you’d expect. The demon entrance was cool, and he won in less than 5 minutes with a powerbomb (yes, Finn Balor did that to Bobby Lashley) and then the Coupe de Grace. Lashley earlier hit a crazy spear through the ropes to the outside and also the spear in the ring that Finn kicked out of. Exactly what it should have been, particularly given how late it was and it was just before the main event.

**1/4

Alexa came out again in her umpteenth different outfit of the show. She announced the absolutely factual attendance of 82,265. Eventually she bought out R Truth and Carmella who did a dance break.

Becky Lynch defeated Ronda Rousey (C) and Charlotte Flair (C) in a winner takes all match to become the new Raw Women’s Champion and the new Smackdown Women’s Champion

Yes they botched the finish or at least aspects of it. Yes it spoilt the match and the moment. Charlotte came to the arena in a helicopter in homage to a previous entrance of her Dad’s. Ronda was played out by Joan Jett which was cool. Becky was cheered by the crowd but I think they were all so exhausted. They were not alone let me tell you. The match itself was actually pretty good. Charlotte has blood coming from her right arm, apparently from when she had Rousey in the Figure 8 and Becky came off the top with a leg drop. Lots of nearfalls and submissions being broken up throughout. Flair screamed at Ronda for calling wrestling fake and slammed her head into a table that had been set up in the corner multiple times (ILY Charlotte). Becky and Ronda teamed up to throw Charlotte into the table in the corner, then they traded strikes, eventually she went for the Piper’s Pit but Lynch rolled her over for the backslide and the pin. Everyone was caught off guard by this so it didn’t get nearly the pop you’d expect. Ronda’s shoulders were definitely not down fully for the whole 3 count. Worked or botched … regardless the finish to me sucked. Ronda was pissed afterwards and left the ring sharpish and appeared to head in the direction of her husband who was in the crowd. The match was good and the crowd were more alive for it than anything since Kofi winning the title. Becky held both belts up to close the show. Ronda broke her hand during the match. And she IS leaving I hear. She COULD be back but as of now she’s done. Why this didn’t end in a submission if there’s no guarantee she’s coming back and it’s the main event of WrestleMania I don’t know? I heard it was originally going to be a submission but they switched it. I don’t know there reason and I don’t get their logic either.

***

I missed out but there was a backstage thing with Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel and Alexa Bliss and Ron Simmons came in and ofc he said DAMN (apologies for missing a minute long backstage segment in a 7.5 hour show). Oh and just an FYI: no Undertaker, no Ambrose, no Kevin Owens. As I said before I liked the show, but it was way too long and there were way too many matches. It was once again a WWE PPV more of moments than great matches. It’ll be historic for sure, 8 titles changing hands will do that for sure. Raw will set up Seth’s next opponent and a Ronda promo where she says she quits. And SD we get Bryan and Kofi setting up their next one. Of course we have the superstar shake up next week too so it could all change again. But this was a very long show with amazing moments with a bizzare finish to the main event. But we got our big 3 babyfaces winning. So at least we have that.

And just to clarify… that finish in the main event was supposed to happen. What wasn’t meant to happen was Ronda’s shoulder coming up part way through it. Commentary and the replays after point it out was odd with that in mind. Ronda didn’t shoot. She’s leaving so everyone chill. Thanks.

Josh.

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