Monday, March 30, 2015

WrestleMania 31 Review

Somewhere, possibly on A1, WCMB and/or Twitter, I said that I thought this Mania might end up being "sneaky good." Based on what I am seeing online it would appear that despite the underwhelming build to this WrestleMania the show delivered.

If you follow me on Twitter (@S_ATL_Wrestling) you already know that I missed the beginning of the show.  I hope to go back and watch the missing matches tonight and will fill those reviews in after viewing.  Here's Jason Powell's WrestleMania 31 review from DOT NET and his Kickoff Show review as well if you want an alternate perspective on Mania.
  • Brock Lesnar (c) vs Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Title--This was a really fantastic match.  Roman Reigns received the exact welcome you would expect from the Mania crowd.  Not sure if I liked his updated gear or not, but I do like the idea of having special attire for The Show of Shows.  The match was brutal in a good way and set Roman up to "look strong," but not in the negative connotation that usually implies.  He took a beating from Lesnar, barely got any offense at all until Lesnar got posted outside the ring.  The blood was a nice touch and went a long way into selling the brutality of the match and Reigns' rally came off as completely legit.  When both guys look like they've given it their all here comes Seth Rollins to cash-in the Money in the Bank contract.  My first thought was that Reigns would end up pinning Rollins so that they could move the title from Lesnar to Reigns without Lesnar taking the loss.  They went with Rollins successfully cashing in however and it really worked.  The did a great job getting out of a tough situation booking-wise with that one.  It made the post-Mania Raw even more of a must-watch event and left some intriguing questions as it relates to Reigns and Lesnar. 
  • Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt--This did not work for me.  Bray Wyatt kicking out of a Tombstone was pretty cool.  Bray Wyatt's scarecrow entrance was absolutely perfect.  Undertaker? I kind of liked the back to basics look he had, but it was odd seeing him with regular hair.  They didn't do anything special with his entrance which added to the back to basics feel, but was a disappointment and the match itself just didn't click for me.  In large part that was due to his complete absence during the build to the match.  It's hard for me to care about a guy coming in once a year and wrestling a single match now that The Streak is broken. 
  • The Authority Segment--It looked like our standard "Let's talk about how big the crowd is" deal, but when Stephanie and Triple H started heeling it up hardcore you knew something was up.  Sure enough The Rock comes down to interrupt.  After Stephanie slaps the taste out of his mouth he goes to ringside and gets Ronda Freaking Rousey to handle Stephanie.  The Rock attacks Trips who also gets a judo throw from Ronda and then Stephanie gets manhandled by Ronda as well.  All-in-all a satisfying segment that got some mainstream attention which was a good thing.  Ronda really is the best.
  • Rusev (c) vs John Cena for the WWE US Title--Undertaker's entrance was disappointing, but Rusev's absolutely was not.  That entrance was amazing and perfect for that guy.  Cena's was fine with the ultra-patriotic theme to it and WWE does a great job with that kind of production as usual.  I said before the match that John Cena would win and it wouldn't bother me that much.  He did and became the US Champion and it didn't bother me much.  The match was excellent I thought and Rusev still looked like a million bucks.  I did not care for the tease that Rusev and Lana could be splitting though.
  • Bella Twins vs "Frenemies" AJ Lee and Paige--The Frenemies busting apart at the seams is what I expected, but I was dead wrong about that.
  • Triple H vs Sting--Sting won the battle of entrances in my mind.  His was far more simple, but I didn't dislike Triple H's Terminator deal nearly as much as some did.  Finally getting to see it did make me appreciate The Rock's crack on Trips a lot more.  I also didn't mind the DX and nWo interference and gave that a nostalgia pop.  The crowd was electric as well.  That always helps.  I also agree that they probably didn't need the smoke and mirrors of the DX and nWo run-ins, but I enjoyed the shenanigans.
  • Randy Orton vs Seth Rollins--Really good match although I wish I didn't know the outcome before I finally got around to it.  That Curb Stomp attempt into an RKO was masterfully done.  Orton breaking out elbow pads and the bright trunks was interesting as well. 
  • Intercontinental Title Ladder Match--A delightful disaster of a match just like I wanted and expected.  I agree with those who took issue with Dean Ambrose's bump through the ladder, but man it was cool looking.  The right guy won of course although I'd be fine with many of the guys in that thing winning so long as WWE hopefully gets serious about how they book that title.
  • Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal (Kickoff Show)--I liked Big Show getting the win here  believe it or not.  Mizdow getting his moment was the highlight by far. 
  • Kidd & Cesaro (c) vs The Usos vs Los Matadores vs The New Day for the WWE World Tag Titles (Kickoff Show)--The right team one.  Only The Usos were over enough to deserve the straps, but Cesaro & Kidd are a lot fresher and are heels which makes them better suited for the straps right now.  The decision becomes a no-brainer with Jey Uso's injury that they covered for early in the match.  
WrestleMania had an awful build, but was one heck of a show.  Aside from the Bray Wyatt/Undertaker match which never really clicked I would say every match was successful.  The main event is one of my favorite matches in a long while.  The backdrop of WrestleMania makes it that much better of course.  Context is everything I always say and that was definitely the case here.  It may be due to lowered expectations, but I really thought this WrestleMania was a grand slam.