Monday, March 30, 2015

Wrestlemania 31 Review

Photo Courtesy of WWE.com
Last night, WWE put on their annual show-of-shows, Wrestlemania 31, live from Levi’s® Stadium in California. A show of this magnitude, I did not believe prior that WWE's creative team had the proper build for the entire card. Turns out, most of the card absolutely did not need it.

In this review, I will recap the event's matches and face-offs, and provide a prediction for what I think is next for certain parties.

On the Wrestlemania pre-show, WWE kicked the event off with the 4-way tag team championship match, in which Tyson Kidd & Cesaro defended against The Usos, A New Day, and Los Matadores. I was a bit surprised to see the match moved to the pre-show, and the superstars in the ring must have felt disrespected, because they put on a helluva match, with Kidd & Cesaro ultimately retaining their titles. In the coming months, I'd be interested in seeing a new tag team in the title picture. Perhaps The Ascension?

Then there was the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, which was, well, what you expect. Once the fat was trimmed and NXT-representative Hideo Itami was eliminated, we were left with The Miz, Mizdow, and Big Show. Mizdow turned on The Miz and eliminated him, and then had an awesome 1-on-1 with The Big Show for about 5 minutes. The crowd was even more alive for MizSandow than they were the tag match and the battle royal prior. In the end, Sandow was eliminated by Big Show, much to the crowd's dismay. But looking to the future, Sandow may have some serious momentum, and Big Show may end up going after one of the single's titles.

The Intercontinental Championship 7-way ladder match kicked off Wrestlemania 31's main card. With superstars like Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, CodStardust, and Dean Ambrose, you just knew it was going to be a major spot-fest. Throughout the match, there were 1-on-1 brawls that made you think "they really should have put these two in a singles match," but fans were still treated to a great battle. At the end of the match, Daniel Bryan had fought off all others and became the new Intercontinental Champion. Also, the crowd chanting YES! along with Daniel Bryan during his celebration ended up being the biggest chant of the night for what it's worth. Going forward, I would expect to see WWE finally give us the long-rumored feud between Daniel Bryan and a heel Sheamus.

Photo Courtesy of WWE.com
Next up was Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins, and this may have proven to be match of the night. J&J Security had a presence in the match early, but Orton took care of that. Orton and Rollins ended up having a solid back-and-forth with both men controlling for a fair part of the match before exchanging momentum and finishers. Orton was a step ahead, however, and after landing the most impressive RKO spot we have seen to-date, pinned Rollins in the middle of the ring. Moving forward, I fully expect to see Orton in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship picture. Especially if he is cutting promos like this:


Following Orton and Rollins was The Icon Sting and Triple H. Sting's entrance was not anything too fancy in-terms of props, but he had a group of percussionists wearing his face paint in a clear and cool homage to The Crow. Triple H however, spared no expense. The Game ascended from beneath the stage in an Exo Suit, surrounded by ascending Terminator droids. Then the T-800 Model 101 Terminator, Arnold himself, showed up on screen declaring it is time to play the game. Triple H's entrance was bad-ass if I must say so myself. The crowd was insanely into the theatrics and the moment, as a "This Is Awesome" chant filled the stadium. The match was not too fast-paced, but The Game and The Icon played psychologically perfect with the crowd. As things started to get chippy, Degeneration X made their way to the ring in order to help Triple H. Then came Hogan, Hall, and Nash as the nWo to even the odds. Shawn Michaels broke up the Scorpion Death Lock with a Sweet Chin Music, and then it was back to 1-on-1. In the end, The Game used the remnants of his sledgehammer to knock out Sting for the pin. After the match, the two were in opposite corners with their respective groups and Triple H offered his hand to Sting and the two shook and embraced. I do not have a prediction going forward, other than that I do not believe this was Sting's last match with the WWE, or his final Wrestlemania appearance.

Photo Courtesy of WWE.com
To follow WCW vs. WWE, we had The Bellas vs. Paige & AJ Lee. I did not find much reason to care for this match going into Mania, but in the end, after some awesome spots, I'm glad they gave these ladies enough time to do a little. I'm still not a fan of the Bellas, but AJ and Paige did a great job carrying this match and making it watchable. Next up from these ladies? It's time for Nikki to drop the title, and I expect Charlotte to get the call-up after Vince McMahon witnessed first-hand on Friday Night 5,000 NXT fans chanting "THIS IS WRESTLING" to Charlotte and Sasha Banks' match.

Next was the United States Championship match, as Rusev defended against John Cena. After the theatrics from both for their entrance, they got into a physical contest and both men repeatedly locking in their submission holds. Lana, who made her return after a few weeks of absence, was on the apron and took a nasty bump from Rusev to the outside. Cena took advantage of the moment and beat Rusev to become the new United States Champion. There will be a rubber match at Extreme Rules, but I would not be surprised to see Big Show get a shot at the US Title vs. Cena at some point.

Stephanie McMahon and her husband Triple H hit the ring to tout the crowd turnout. Then Stephanie and Triple H ran down the crowd, saying they owned the people. All of a sudden, "If ya smelllllll" and out comes The Rock and the crowd at first erupts, then boos a bit, then goes apeshit. Rock makes his way to the ring and cracks a few jokes and insists he's ready to fight Triple H. Stephanie gets in the way, slaps him, then tells him to leave her ring, since he won't hit a woman. Rock exits the ring, then stops and starts walking around ringside, and invites the baddest woman on the planet--Ronda Rousey--over the barricade. The two enter the ring and Stephanie McMahon's tone changes a bit until she realizes her tactics are not working. Rock decides to attack Triple H, Rousey gets a shot in on The Game, then she manhandles Stephanie's arm. Rousey and Rock celebrate in the ring in front of the crowd. This would be a fun mixed tag match next year at Mania, but I think we're likely to just see Rock vs. Triple H. Regardless, WWE is making a lot of fun headlines at the expense of UFC and Dana White this past week.

Photo Courtesy of WWE.com
The scene was set for Undertaker and Bray Wyatt now. Bray made his way to the ring with a bunch of scarecrows lined up, coming to life after he touched their head and escorting him to the ring. The only thing that would have made this entrance any better is if it was dark in the outdoor stadium when it was happening. Then came The Undertaker, who at first look appeared to be in the best shape he has been in since his second match with Shawn Michaels 5 years ago. Undertaker controlled the match early, and hit Old School and landed firm with the rope flip to the outside. So much for all those rumors once again of Taker having no hips or knees left to stand or walk on. Deafening "You still got it!" chants ring out directed at Undertaker, who could be seen at one point smirking at the suggestion. After some exchanges and kickouts from each other's finishers, Taker nailed one final Tombstone and pinned Bray Wyatt in the middle of the ring and celebrated with the WWE Universe. It would not thrill me to see Taker leave for another 12 months right now, so I would expect to see him soon to at least do something to write him out of storylines. Maybe even let Bray finally get the upper hand and put him down for a while until Sting resurrects Taker himself for Wrestlemania 32.

Photo Courtesy of WWE.com
Finally we got to the main event. Roman Reigns' music hit and he came through the crowd, shoving some hostile fans. Reigns had more security for this entrance than any of his others. He hit the ring to boos. Brock's music hit and the place erupted. The two had a staredown, Heyman took the mic to introduce his client BROOOCK LESNARRR, and we got underway. Brock dominated Reigns for the first 5 minutes with suplexes and stiff punches. He even landed an F-5 thirty seconds into the match. Reigns started landing some stiff shots to Brock, but it just always seemed to make Brock more aggressive. Reigns, however, took each suplex and punch and smiled, begging for more. He kicked out of a second and third F-5. Reigns started getting the upper-hand after pushing Lesnar into the post on the outside. Lesnar bleeding the hard way. Reigns with a couple Superman punches, and a couple spears, but Brock still managed to kick out. Brock countered a third spear attempt with an F-5 but couldn't make the cover. Seth Rollins' music hits and he comes out to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase. Brock tries to F-5 him, Reigns spears Brock, Rollins curbstomp to Reigns and pins him to become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. I'm interested to see if Brock cashes in his rematch on RAW or even at Extreme Rules. Reigns didn't lose his 1-on-1 so I expect him to be in the title picture. Orton beat Rollins earlier in the night, so no chance in Hell he does not try to insert himself into the title scene. Ultimately, we may see a Fatal 4-Way at Extreme Rules. Or we may not have Brock around until SummerSlam. No matter what, RAW tonight will be incredible.
Photo Courtesy of WWE.com




20 comments:

  1. Dope write up. I won't lie, I've gotten so out of the WWE picture(really stopped keeping up after Mania 18, missed 90% of the brand warfare era and everything else after that).. Copped WWE 2k14 for my little bro and I saw all the Shawn Michaels matches I missed in the 30yrs of Mania mode. I missed a LOT haha. I needed that WCW v WWE match in like '98 lol, but that was a cool throwback. Hard to carve out time for TV these days but your post and the video game engaged me a bit, I might start watching again. :^:

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