Date: March 29, 2015
Location: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Jerry Lawler
I haven’t watched this one in a few years so it seemed like a good way to go for the redo this year. This show feels like a lifetime ago and is built around Roman Reigns’ rocket push towards the main event where he will challenge Brock Lesnar. Other than that, we have the insane to imagine Sting vs. HHH showdown, which I’m sure will be a mat classic. Let’s get to it.
Before we get into the Kickoff Show matches, an interesting note: since Peacock has taken away the Kickoff Shows, I went to WWE’s YouTube page to watch the Kickoff Show matches there. The Kickoff Show is available…..but the matches have been edited out, despite the talking heads hyping them up. Unless I’m mistaken, the matches aired on YouTube in the first place, so who in the world decided to edit them out here? I’d love to hear the rationale for some of WWE’s decisions at times, because they can be downright baffling.
I say it every time I see anything from this show but DANG that stage is huge.
Kickoff Show: Tag Team Titles: Usos vs. Tyson Kidd/Cesaro vs. Los Matadores vs. New Day
Kidd and Cesaro, with Natalya, are defending, one fall to a finish, Naomi is here with the Usos, El Torito is here with Los Matadores and it’s Big E./Kofi Kingston for New Day. The outdoor light is still weird to see but it’s a cool visual. Cesaro and Kofi start things off but Diego tags himself in. That’s too much for Cesaro, who drives Jey into the barricade to take him out (with JBL confirming a shoulder injury almost immediately).
Kofi monkey flips Diego down for two and it’s Cesaro coming in as Jey is taken out. Cesaro grabs the chinlock but Kofi is up in a hurry as they can’t waste time here. The Cesaro Swing into Kidd’s dropkick rocks Kofi and Kidd kicks Kofi over for the tag to Jimmy. With four people in a corner each, Jimmy hits a bunch of running Umaga Attacks, leaving Kofi to hit a heck of a dive off the top to take out Fernando.
Jimmy superkicks Kidd for two but a Big E. blind tag lets him launch Kofi into a double stomp for two on Cesaro. Back up and the apron superplex brings Big E. in again, this time setting up a slingshot splash from Diego. Los Matadores hit a sunset bomb/Backstabber combination for two on Kingston, leaving the seconds to get into it on the floor. Natalya gets the Sharpshooter on Torito, setting up Naomi and Jimmy to hit stereo running dives.
Back in and the Big Ending gets two Diego with a few people making the save. Big E. suplexes Fernando but Jimmy breaks up the Big Ending with a superkick. Kofi comes back in for Trouble in Paradise to Kidd and everyone goes to the corner. That means the required Tower of Doom, leaving Jimmy to Superfly Splash Big E…..but Cesaro comes in to steal the pin at 9:58.
Rating: B-. This is one of those matches that works every time I see it because they had a bunch of people in there flying around as fast as they could for about ten minutes. It worked very well because of the talent involved and it’s nice to see Cesaro get another big Wrestlemania win. Really smart choice for the opener here (much like the previous year’s four way tag) and the stage (even the really big one) is set for the rest of the night.
Kickoff Show: Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Curtis Axel, Diego, Kane, Jack Swagger, Titus O’Neil, Goldust, Tyson Kidd, Alex Riley, Erick Rowan, Ryback, Mark Henry, Fandango, Fernando, Xavier Woods, Darren Young, Jimmy Uso, Cesaro, Damien Mizdow. Viktor, Hideo Itami, Adam Rose, Konnor, The Miz, Big Show, Big E, Heath Slater, Zack Ryder, Bo Dallas, Sin Cara, Kofi Kingston,
Axel stops to tear off the Axelmania shirt and is quickly sent out by the mob. Rose and Fandango eliminate each other and Show chops Itami, who won a tournament in NXT to get his spot. Miz and Mizdow (in the stunt double phase) double team Riley for the elimination and Dallas dumps out Ryder, only to get tossed by Itami. Show puts Itami out with the big right hand, earning a lot of booing.
Kane gets rid of Fernando and Diego and Cesaro does the same to Cara. There goes Kidd as the eliminations are coming in a hurry. The Ascension manages to dump Henry (possibly their main roster highlight) but Ryback tosses both of them. Ryback tosses Young and Slater but Titus runs him over. That earns Titus an elimination and Show knocks out Swagger.
New Day triple teams Big Show, who eliminates all three from the apron. Rowan and Goldust are out as well and Kane chokeslams Miz and Mizdow (not out). Cesaro slams Kane out ala Show last year and Show gets rid of Uso. That leaves Cesaro to go after Show but he can’t slam him this time, allowing Show to dump him out. Ryback drops Show but charges into the elimination.
We’re down to Ryback, Miz and Mizdow, with the fans going nuts for Mizdow. The split is teased and Mizdow listens to the fans by dumping Miz and shouting that he quits. That leaves Show vs. Mizdow and the fans are right behind him again. Mizdow skins the cat to avoid an elimination and gets Show upside down on the top….but then Show powers him up and out for the win at 18:07.
Rating: D+. They kept it moving despite how much time it had, but between Itami being completely wasted in the whole thing and the storyline of “Big Show has never won a battle royal” (except he had) and the fans BEGGING for Mizdow to get the win, this was a hard one to sit through. Show would use his newfound momentum (which he totally needed) by not winning another match for two and a half months.
Aloe Blacc sings America the Beautiful.
The opening video is narrated by LL Cool J, who talks about how we have all been connected for years. It has been the case from radio to television to the internet but the one constant has been us. We have those moments where we can all connect to, when we look at each other and say that was awesome. That is what Wrestlemania has done for us to shape our history. These men and women will take the biggest stage in live entertainment to move us and shape us to connect us. This is Wrestlemania. Awesome stuff here from LL Cool J, who sold the heck out of this thing.
Intercontinental Title: Daniel Bryan vs. Bad News Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Luke Harper vs. Stardust vs. R-Truth
Barrett is defending in a ladder match and this is the result of the rather stupid “a bunch of people steal the title” deal. Bryan is still crazy over, as you might have guessed. It’s so bizarre seeing Brandi Rhodes as a run of the mill (yet talented) ring announcer. It’s also weird seeing Cody Rhodes as….whatever Stardust was supposed to be. Huge pop for Ambrose here too. It’s a big brawl to start with some of the people being knocked out to the floor.
Ambrose hits a suicide dive onto Harper and Barrett throws a ladder. Truth hits a running flip dive to drop Barrett but Stardust dives onto a bunch of people. Harper backdrops Ziggler onto even more people and then hits almost everyone with a dive of his own. Ambrose is the last man standing so he climbs a ladder to dive onto the pile as well. It’s Truth up first with a ladder but the fear of heights lets Barrett come in with some ladder shots.
Bryan knocks Barrett down and crushes him with the ladder in the corner. Stardust and Barrett get crushed in the corner but Harper shoves the ladder at Bryan to cut him off. This includes tying Harper in the Tree of Woe for some YES Kicks but Ziggler makes the save with a superkick this time around. Ziggler and Ambrose pull each other down and then Barrett pulls them both down at once. With Barrett dispatched, Ambrose, Ziggler and Truth go up at the same time so Stardust dropkicks the ladder out.
The CODY chants mess with Stardust so he throws the ladder over the top to hit Harper in the head for a big knockdown. With no one else up, Stardust pulls out…Exo Atmospheric Starbird, which means a glittery ladder. Barrett breaks a rung off and starts beating people with it, only to have Ambrose knock the ladder onto him. Ambrose and Harper get in the ring with some normal sized ladders but Harper goes simple with a big boot. A catapult sends Ziggler face first into a ladder and Ambrose gets dropped face first onto a ladder in the corner.
Harper puts the ladder around his neck to blast a few people until Truth takes him down. Truth busts out the huge ladder but Barrett breaks it up. Stardust goes up but the ladder isn’t in the right place, meaning Barrett can superplex him down for the huge crash. Ziggler, Bryan and Ambrose go up at the same time with Ambrose being knocked down, allowing him to turn over the ladder to knock both of them down.
That leaves Ambrose to go up but Harper hits a heck of a powerbomb through a ladder bridges between the ring and the barricade. Ziggler grabs a sleeper on Harper, who climbs anyway, until Ziggler pulls him down with a huge Zig Zag. Medics check on Ambrose as Barrett has to pull Ziggler off the ladder into a Bull Hammer.
There’s another one to Stardust and another to knock Truth off the ladder. Bryan breaks that up but Barrett and Ziggler knock him off as well. Bryan’s running knee drops Barrett (which is not how he won the title last year Cole) and, after winning a slugout with Ziggler on top of the ladder (including a nasty exchange of headbutts), wins the title at 13:49.
Rating: B. This worked too, if nothing else for the sake of giving Bryan a prize to let the crowd have something to cheer about for later. Bryan is still one of the most popular stars in the company and it makes sense to start off like this. As for the match itself, it was the wild carnage that a huge ladder match like this should be, with enough people in there to keep things moving. Fun opener, which is the right way to go here. Unfortunately Bryan would have to vacate about a month and a half later and then go on the shelf for three years.
Quick bit of trivia: this is Bryan’s fifth Wrestlemania and the fifth different title he has competed for (United States, World Heavyweight, Tag Team, WWE, Intercontinental). That has to be some kind of a record/one time occurrence.
We recap Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins. Orton was the future for a long time but then HHH changed his mind and made Rollins the new future. They were both part of the Authority but HHH chose Rollins, meaning Orton was kicked out of the team. This included a Curb Stomp onto the steps to put Orton out. It’s revenge time.
Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins
Rollins, Mr. Money in the Bank, has J&J Security with him. They trade headlocks to start until Orton hits a dropkick. It’s too early for the RKO so Rollins snaps his throat across the top. Orton is right back with right hands to the head but has to deal with Security….by hitting a double hanging DDT to the floor. Yeah that should work, or at least it should as Rollins uses the distraction to hit the suicide dive.
Back in and Rollins gets two off a suplex and we hit the chinlock. That’s broken up and Orton ducks a sprinting to start the clothesline comeback. A t-bone suplex of all things sends Rollins flying but he nails an enziguri to put Orton on the floor. That means an Asai moonsault can drop Orton again and they’re both down. Back in and Rollins gets caught on top but blocks the superplex attempt.
That’s fine with Orton, who backdrops him down, setting up a high crossbody for two. The hanging DDT plants Rollins again and the RKO connects for two. Security comes in to block the Punt so it’s a pair of RKOs, which allow Rollins to hit the Curb Stomp for two of his own. Rollins has to roll out of a Phoenix splash so he tries another Curb Stomp, which is LAUNCHED into the air and pulled down into the RKO (that was GREAT and one of the best RKO counters ever) for the pin at 13:16.
Rating: C+. The match was pretty much a Raw main event but dang that ending stayed on the highlight reels for a while, as it should have. They timed it perfectly and Rollins falling down into the inevitable was great. Orton winning is a little odd as Rollins seems to be the future star, but it’s not like losing to Orton is some kind of a career killer.
Ronda Rousey is here.
We recap HHH vs. Sting and I’m still not sure I know what this is about. They said it wasn’t about WWE vs. WCW, but then Stephanie McMahon insisted that of course it was and you can’t question her, so that seems to be where we are. Or maybe it’s about Sting being the vigilante against the Authority. It’s just a big mess all around, but that’s the best thing that you can do when Sting can barely move.
HHH vs. Sting
Sting gets this big, kind of odd Japanese drum entrance. It certainly looks cool, but I have no idea what the connection to Sting is supposed to be. That’s a bit too cool though, so HHH gets a full Terminator entrance, complete with Terminators rising from the stage, armor for HHH, and a cameo from Arnold Schwarzenegger himself. Cole: “Wrestlemania is brought to you by Terminator: Genisys!” This is also a street fight (or at least pinfall/submission only), likely for the sake of things not going south in a hurry.
We get the big staredown to start and the fans instantly deem this awesome. Ok fair enough after the entrances. They stare each other down for a good while to start until Sting nails a shoulder for a knockdown. HHH is back up with a headlock takeover as they are taking it very slowly to start. A shoulder puts Sting down for a change but the crotch chop is enough to bring him back up for a dropkick. There’s the YOU STILL GOT IT chant as we’re somehow three minutes into this already.
HHH punches his way out of the corner as Cole and JBL debate Super Bowls (with Cole somehow saying that the NFL winning two of the first three meant things were even). The facebuster has no effect on Sting but it’s too early for the Scorpion Deathlock. Instead Sting whips him into and over the corner but the Stinger Splash hits the barricade (traditions are fun). JBL says this is where you find out if Sting was ever that good in the first place, because you take shots at WCW whenever you can, a mere fourteen years after the company went under.
HHH hits a delayed vertical suplex and drops the knee for two. We hit the chinlock as commentary still tries to make it about WCW, which is a pretty good illustration of why younger fans don’t watch WWE as much these days (You would have to be……twenty here to have any vague memory of Sting in WCW? Thirty for when he was still good?). HHH comes back with the spinebuster for two but Sting grabs the legs and puts on the Scorpion (not a great one but still better than the awful ones in TNA)….and here’s DX, this time in the form of the New Age Outlaws and X-Pac.
Sting lets go to beat them up and then backdrops HHH out to the floor. That means the big Sting dive, easily the best looking thing that he has done so far (and one of the best in years). Cole: “WE WERE BEGGING TO SEE THAT IN THE MONDAY NIGHT WAR!” Yeah picture lines like that for the whole match. Back in and HHH hits the Pedigree (JBL: “HE LOST TWO WARS!”) for two, giving us the stunned look on the kickout.
HHH busts out the sledgehammer but the NWO (Hollywood Hogan/Kevin Nash/Scott Hall, all close personal longtime friends of Sting of course) taking their very sweet time, comes out for the save. As weird as it is to see Hogan punching X-Pac, the distraction lets Sting hit the Death Drop for two. We hit the Deathlock as everyone gets in a brawl on the floor (with Nash going down and grabbing his leg, which has to be a rib). HHH finally makes the rope (JBL: “THIS IS US VS. THEM!”) and here is Shawn Michaels to superkick Sting.
That gives HHH a delayed two as the fans deem this awesome. HHH gets the sledgehammer again so Sting backs up, allowing Hall to hand him the baseball bat (that’s a great visual, but I don’t think a wooden bat would have much of a chance). A bat shot to the ribs puts HHH down and another breaks the sledgehammer in half. Sting unloads in the corner and hits the Stinger Splash but a second attempt is knocked out of the air by the sledgehammer for the pin at 18:37.
Rating: C+. I’m really torn on this one as I loved the heck out of it live but egads this doesn’t hold up on another viewing. The huge leaps in logic around the NWO, commentary being a complete nightmare and Sting losing in his big WWE debut (which led nowhere) made this a mess. The nostalgia is enough to carry it, but my goodness they did everything they could to suck the fun out of this.
Post match (and two minutes after the sledgehammer shot), Sting is up to shake HHH’s hand. Cole: “Do you think it has finally been put to bed?” The thing has been put to bed, fallen asleep, woken up and is getting ready for college by this point.
Here’s what’s coming to the WWE Network.
Daniel Bryan (interviewed by a Bushwhackers shirt wearing Maria Menunos) is proud of his win, and is congratulated by Pat Patterson, Roddy Piper (who kisses him on the head), Ricky Steamboat (who does a bad Randy Savage impression), Ric Flair (for the WOOING) and Bret Hart, all of whom do a YES chant. Ron Simmons comes in and says the catchphrase, leaving us to start YESing again. I love these wacky cameos.
Now for something I don’t love: Skyler Grey and Kid Ink. Give us a mini concert of the show’s theme song.
Some troops are watching in Tacoma, Washington.
Paige/AJ Lee vs. Bella Twins
Not much of a backstory here other than Paige/Lee being wrestlers and the Bellas being….well the Bellas. Nikki and Paige start with the brawl until Nikki grabs the Alabama Slam for two, followed by a forearm to knock AJ off the apron. Brie comes in with a missile dropkick for the same and we hit the chinlock.
The BRIE MODE running knee knocks AJ off the apron again and it’s back to Nikki for the Rack Attack. Paige fights back and knocks the Bellas to the floor for a running flip dive, setting up the hot tag to AJ. Nikki rolls through a high crossbody as Paige and Brie fight on the floor. The Black Widow has Nikki in trouble but Brie makes the save, only to get superkicked by Paige. Another Black Widow makes Nikki tap at 6:39.
Rating: C-. Another nothing match here, but this one was at least a bit more interesting as it would be AJ’s last match as she walked away after getting one more Wrestlemania payday. The match itself was just above Raw level but it’s so weird to see Paige and AJ these days. They seem like such relics of the past as the Divas Revolution just completely blew them away (even if Paige was part of it) a few months later.
We get a tale of the tape for Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns, with Cole saying a supercomputer calculated them. It took a supercomputer to tell us the titles they won, their heights and weights?
It’s time for the Hall of Fame recap and presentation for the stadium. Alundra Blayze pulling the Women’s Title out of a trashcan was a great moment. Also: “With triumphant jubilation, we celebrate his name. Finally the Macho Man is in the Hall of Fame.”
Here’s the class in the stadium:
Rikishi (nice reaction)
Larry Zbyszko (not sure how many people today will care)
Alundra Blayze (just call her Madusa already)
Family of Conor Michalek (for the Warrior Award, which isn’t what Warrior wanted it for but it’s a nice moment)
Bushwhackers (biggest reaction so far, though Butch looks ancient)
Tatsumi Fujinami (I’d say he earned it)
Randy Savage (represented by Lanny Poffo, to a nice response)
Arnold Schwarzenegger (not much of a response)
Kevin Nash (gets the full music entrance)
We recap Rusev vs. John Cena for Rusev’s US Title. Rusev actually beat Cena by knockout at Fastlane so Cena is fighting for a rematch and AMERICA. After Rusev started insulting America, Cena put him in the STF until Lana finally agreed to the title match. I think you know where this is going.
US Title: Rusev vs. John Cena
Rusev is defending….and comes out in a Russian tank (where he and Lana allegedly had some rather personal time), complete with the full military band introduction. Yeah we’re not topping that one tonight, or for a long time to come for that matter. Cena gets a Ronald Reagan speech, with clips of great American innovations and sporting moments. The crowd is not exactly thrilled to see Cena here (make your own jokes). They knock each other down for an exchange of early near falls and Rusev gets two more off of a gutwrench suplex.
The Cannonball…mostly connects for two on Cena and it’s time to wave the Russian flag. Cena is back up with some flying shoulders into the ProtoBomb and the Shuffle. It’s too early for the AA but Rusev knocks him down for two more. Rusev’s swinging spin out Rock Bottom gets two but Cena breaks up a superplex attempt. There’s the top rope Fameasser for two more as the LET’S GO LANA chants start up.
Rusev hits the jumping superkick for two, followed by Cena’s tornado DDT for the same. Back up and a jumping knee to the head drops Cena again but Cena picks the ankle into the STF. Lana throws in a shoe, which is enough of a distraction to break the hold and let Rusev hit a fall away slam. Rusev goes aerial with a top rope headbutt (that looked good too) but the kickout frustrates him even more.
The Accolade is blocked and Cena busts out a springboard Stunner of all things, which only gets another RUSEV chant. Another superkick sets up a wheelbarrow faceplant and we hit the full Accolade. This time Cena powers out and drives him into the corner, setting up another STF. Lana gets up for the distraction but Rusev runs into her by mistake and it’s the AA to give Rusev his first loss and Cena the title at 14:32.
Rating: B. This felt like a big time match and the power of AMERICA wins in the end, which is all you can ask for. Cena winning is the right call (I think), though the collective gasp if Rusev had kicked out of the AA would have been great. This would kick off the John Cena US Open Challenge though, which gave us some of the most compelling WWE TV in years so I think we can call it a success.
Post match Rusev yells at Lana as the split seems likely. JBL declares Cena’s win a win for everything that is good as we flash even further back in the 80s.
Wrestlemania XXXII is in Dallas.
Long Kickoff Show recap.
Here’s the Authority (HHH/Stephanie McMahon in this case) to announce the attendance record. Stephanie talks about being eight years old at the first Wrestlemania where her friend Andre the Giant (they pushed the heck out of that around this time) made it feel like a huge show. We hear about how globally available Wrestlemania is and thanks the Authority for making all of this possible.
HHH says he beat Sting tonight and he feels like he beat every fan here too, plus millions around the world. They owned Sting, just like they own everyone in the back and everyone here tonight because the Authority always wins. And here’s the Rock to blow the non-existent roof off of the place. Stephanie: “Ok you’re happy to see him.” Rock says the Authority doesn’t own the people or the Rock because the Rock is an East Bay Boy, as he was born in the East Bay around here.
HHH has two choices: go dress up like Terminator again or have a Wrestlemania Moment right here. The guys go fast to face and HHH talks about beating Rock most of the time, meaning he has nothing to prove. Rock says that just like he left his heart in San Francisco, HHH left his testicles in Stamford, Connecticut. That gets HHH’s jacket off and but Stephanie gets between them and says they made Rock.
Therefore Rock can leave, which he does, by slowly walking around the ring….and finding Ronda Rousey (with Shayna Baszler next to her). Ronda jumps the barricade and gets in the ring with Rock as JBL freaks out about Stephanie being in danger (don’t worry though, because she trained for the armbar and could block it when they had their match, because Stephanie). Rock says he would never hit a woman, but he has a friend who would be happy to.
Stephanie doesn’t think much of Rousey because she is a big fan of hers. Rousey doesn’t look impressed so Stephanie tells Ronda to go sit down and enjoy Wrestlemania like a nice little fan. Rousey: “Any ring I step into is mine.” She tells Stephanie to make her leave and there’s the death stare. Rock stops things to warn Stephanie what that look means. Rock: “That look Steph, means that if you keep running your mouth, she’s going to reach down your throat, and pull your insides out and play jump rope with your Fallopian tubes.”
After one of my favorite lines ever, and Rock mocking jumping rope, HHH is tired of this. The fight is on and Rousey flips HHH so Stephanie gets in her face, earning herself and arm….well just cranking because of UFC but it’s enough to make her run so Rock and Rousey can pose. This was great and the big WWE welcome to Rousey, but it would be a little while before anything came from it. Till though, awesome segment and you could feel every bit of Rousey’s star power.
We recap Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt. The Streak was broken last year and Undertaker was shaken up, so now Bray wants to be the new face of fear. Undertaker: “I’m not dead yet.” This screams bad idea but let’s do it anyway. Three notes here: I don’t believe this aired on the original broadcast due to time (and I have no notes on it elsewhere) and Bray sprained the heck out of his ankle during the intros. Also, the Peacock version of this actually includes the music, which I never would have expected.
Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt
Bray’s entrance is another odd one, as he walks by several scarecrows who come to life and follow him. The entrances are cool of course, but they lose quite a bit in the daylight. They also take the better part of ever because Bray is hurt and Undertaker is Undertaker, though that guitar solo on Bray’s entrance is always great. Also, Undertaker has grown his hair out a bit and put on some muscle for a big improvement.
After about eight minutes of entrances, including Bray looking a little scared once Undertaker actually gets in the ring, we’re ready to go. Bray shouts that this is his and gets booted in the face before the bell. Undertaker strikes away in the corner and wastes no time in starting in on the arm. Old School connects and the fans say Undertaker still has it. A clothesline puts Undertaker on the floor but he lands on his feet and pulls Bray outside as commentary talks about Undertaker being the best ever.
The apron legdrop connects and sets up Snake Eyes but Bray is ready for the big boot. Bray unloads in the corner and manages a running splash for two. We hit the chinlock for a bit, followed by a ram into the post to keep Undertaker down. Bray is limping pretty badly as Undertaker pulls him into Hell’s Gate, which is broken in a hurry. The release Rock Bottom into the backsplash crushes Undertaker again as commentary thinks this might have been a bad idea.
Sister Abigail takes way too long to set up so Undertaker grabs the throat (Bray’s OH S*** look is awesome) for a chokeslam. The Tombstone connects for two and, after Undertaker is done panicking, Sister Abigail gets the same. Bray spiders up but Undertaker sits up and glares at him with a “boy what are you thinking about” stare, sending Bray crawling back. They slug it out with Bray getting the better of things, but Undertaker counters Sister Abigail into the Tombstone for the pin at 15:12.
Rating: C. It just wasn’t all that good with neither guy looking overly impressive. Undertaker looked WAY better than he did last year, but that isn’t exactly a hard bar to clear. The other problem is that Undertaker is just kind of an old legend here instead of having the Streak be the be all and end all deal. The match was fine enough, but this one isn’t remembered for a reason.
Chris Jericho is going to do a special podcast on the Network (because Steve Austin was out with shoulder surgery) with special guest John Cena.
We recap Roman Reigns (who looks so young here) vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Title. Reigns won the Royal Rumble to continue the rocket push and suddenly was ready for Lesnar. Brock and Paul Heyman didn’t seem to agree and it was time to put Reigns in his place. This felt like a fight instead of a match and that is the only way it should have been billed.
WWE World Title: Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar
Lesnar is defending and the fans DO NOT like Reigns here, even as he makes the long entrance. The fans even go along with Paul Heyman’s intro of Lesnar to make the affiliation clear. Reigns charges at him and gets driven into the corner to start. Lesnar is bleeding from the cheek so it’s the first German suplex into an F5 in less than thirty seconds. Lesnar spends longer than that stalking Reigns and pounds away in the corner, setting up the release fisherman’s suplex.
The referee is already asking Reigns if he is sure about this so Reigns slugs away but Brock just stares at him for trying a clothesline. Another German suplex has Lesnar bouncing but Reigns is smiling at him. Some forearms to the back set up a belly to back suplex, allowing Lesnar to debut “SUPLEX CITY B****!” As WWE starts printing the t-shirts, Reigns hits some hard right hands but gets caught in a German suplex.
Reigns smiles at him again so there’s another German suplex to send Reigns flying. Lesnar drapes him over the top and fires off knees, with the fans deeming it awesome. A running forearm knocks Reigns off the apron and into the barricade, with Reigns barely being able to sit up. Back up and Brock charges into a knee, followed by another knee to the face. Reigns kicks him in the face so Brock SMASHES HIM with a clothesline out to the floor.
Lesnar is bleeding from the mouth now as he takes Reigns back inside for another suplex. Brock suplexes him back over the top rope so the crowd starts chanting EIGHT for the number of suplexes. The F5 gets two and Heyman’s eyes bug out as Lesnar smiles. Lesnar takes the gloves off and slaps Reigns in the face but Reigns keeps smiling. That’s too far for Brock, who snaps off more German suplexes. Another F5 gets two and now Lesnar has had it.
They head outside where Lesnar gets posted to bust him open from the forehead as well. Back in and Reigns has the look in his eyes and hits back to back Superman Punches. A third is countered into a German suplex but Reigns fights out and hits a bunch of headbutts. There’s the Third Superman Punch to FINALLY knock Lesnar down, followed by a pair of spears. The third is countered into an F5 to put everyone down…..and here’s Seth Rollins to cash in Money in the Bank and make this a triple threat!
WWE World Title: Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar
Lesnar is still defending. Rollins sends Reigns outside and hits a Curb Stomp on Lesnar. Another is countered into an F5 attempt but Reigns runs in with a spear to Lesnar. Rollins hits the Curb Stomp on Reigns for the pin and the title at 16:43 (plus a “thank you very much” to Reigns).
Rating: A-. This took a lot of time to get going but this was pure gold as soon as Lesnar got mad. It was one great moment after another with both of them giving it everything they had. That’s all you needed it to be and it played perfectly into the idea of a main event fight instead of a match. It’s also a great example of some brilliant booking, as WWE wanted to keep both of them strong and needed a way out. For one of the only times ever, the Money in the Bank briefcase was the perfect choice to get them out of the problem they have. It was an awesome moment to wrap up an outstanding match and easily the best thing on the show.
Rollins celebrates on the stage to a bunch of pyro to end the show.
Overall Rating: B+. This is kind of an odd show as there is nothing truly bad, but aside from the main event and maybe Sting vs. HHH, what is remembered here? It’s one of those Wrestlemanias that is very good on its own but had almost no long term consequences or impact. You get those every now and then but it still makes for a pretty awesome show on its own. This is definitely worth another look and I had a lot of fun with it, as long as you aren’t expecting any game changers.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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