Monday, April 8, 2019

WrestleMania 35 Review

WrestleMania 35 is in the books, and I thought it ended up being an all-timer.

The biggest news coming out of it was that all three of the big faces won their respective titles (Becky Lynch the Raw and SmackDown Women's, Kofi Kingston the WWE Title, and Seth Rollins the Universal Title).

With that we got the feel-good Mania many of us hoped we'd get or HappyMania as it was referred to at points.

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole show, and did not really buy the complaints that it was too long. It is a lot of wrestling, but it's one day a year and I had a good time taking it all in.

I know it's tougher when you're in the stadium (my WrestleMania 33 experience in Orlando, FL confirms this), but for the home viewer I thought it was a largely overblown complaint.

Let's look at each match (after the jump!)...

  • Becky Lynch v Ronda Rousey (Raw Women's Champion) v Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Women's Champion) in a Winner Takes All Match - This match did not completely live up to my expectations (especially the finish), but I believe it delivered and I liked Ronda being involved in the finish instead of Charlotte taking the fall.

    Since the conversation is out there...my position is that they did the exact finish they wanted and they are floating the "botched finish/Ronda's not happy" thing to take this story to the next place. 

    That bump Ronda took to the outside was scary, and I'm glad she's apparently OK. Becky winning was the right call no matter how many "extend the chase" takes I saw too. It also put this one over the top as the happiest Mania ever.

    (Winner and new Raw and SmackDown Women's Champion: Becky Lynch)

  • "Demon King" Finn Balor v Bobby Lashley (c) for the Intercontinental Championship - Actually went a bit longer than I thought it would. Not a huge fan of Demon King (I prefer regular Balor), Bob's contacts were cool. The opening part of Finn's entrance was freaking wild.

    (Winner and new champion: Balor)

  • Baron Corbin v Kurt Angle in Kurt's Retirement Match - This one shocked me as I thought Angle got Corbin in part because Corbin could afford to take the loss as opposed to someone like Drew McIntyre. Either way, Kurt was Kurt, but it was great to see him in the ring one last time.

    (Winner: Corbin)

  • Triple H v Batista (No Holds Barred) - This was such a beautiful and gorgeous mess. Batista was out there taking bumps like you would not expect. The nose ring spot made me squirm, and I kind of knew Trips would win, but it was nice to see Batista's return (he officially retired via social media after the show). This was everything a pro-wrestling spectacle should be. Bonus points for looping "Nature Boy" Ric Flair back into it.

    (Winner: Triple H)

  • Musical Performance with Elias guest starring "Doctor of Thuganomics" John Cena - Elias was solid as usual and the old school version of John Cena we got was a nice treat. Well-played.

  • Roman Reigns v Drew McIntyre - Being completely honest this one did not live up to my personal hype BUT it was great to see Roman in the ring in a singles match after his return AND to see him victorious.

    It's a nitpick, but I'm just not a huge fan of that headbutt to Superman Punch spot. I don't care for those in general and that was part of my issue here. I liked the earlier stuff with Roman trying and failing to hit moves like the Driveby.  Someone said Roman "played the hits and that's what matters." I think that's a solid take.

    (Winner: Roman Reigns)

  • Samoa Joe (c) v Rey Mysterio for the US Title - Short, dominate win for Joe. Commentary leaned hard on Rey not being 100%. Joe should hold that US Title as a bully for a while if you ask me.

    (Winner and still champion: Samoa Joe)

  • Kofi Kingston v The New Daniel Bryan (c) for the WWE Title - Best match and moment on the card. Never realized how badly I needed this for Kofi until his gauntlet match performance that kicked #KOFIMANIA off. New Day was brilliant throughout this build, and Daniel Bryan managing to be an honest to goodness heel in 2019 is not something I ever saw coming.

    (Winner and NEW WWE CHAMPION: Kofi Kingston)

  • WWE Women's Tag Team Championship Match: The IIconics v Bayley & Sasha (c) v Samoan Slaughterhouse (Nia & Tamina) v Natalya & Beth Phoenix -Missed a good bit of this. Nice moment with Bret "The Hitman" Hart escorting Nattie's team out there. I love the IIconics, and I'm glad they won. They also had great entrance attires.

    (Winners and new champions: The IIconics)

  • SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos (c) v Aleister Black & Ricochet, The Bar, and Shinsuke & Rusev -The Usos are absolutely legendary. This was fun. The Bar got a great moment with them hitting their signatures at the same time for that extended period. Thought Black and Ricochet would pull it out.

    (Winners and still champions: The Usos)

  • Shane McMahon v The Miz (Falls Count Anywhere) - THIS WAS A FANTASTIC PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING SPECTACLE. Shane and Miz overdelivered in a unique match that had so many cool moments. The ending spot was tremendously done, and Shane "winning" made it even better." Big props to George Mizanin (father of The Miz) for his role in it.

    (Winner: McMahon)

  • AJ Styles v Randy Orton - Enjoyed this, but oddly found myself rooting for Orton because he brought the superior banter to this build. Big fan of both AJ and Orton. Good match.

    (Winner: Styles)

  • Seth Rollins v Brock Lesnar (c) for the Universal Title - This was a great way to start the show, and I am so very glad the "Beast Slayer" Seth Rollins got the win. There's value in Brock (although Heyman bores me at this point), but I want him around as special attraction and not champion.

  • Alexa Bliss introduces Hulk Hogan - I hope Big E's Tweet is a sign that Hogan is making an earnest effort at earning redemption. That's all I will say about that.

  • KICKOFF SHOW: Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal - The BRAUN and Che/Jost stuff was fun and I like that kind of celebrity involvement at a Mania. That suplex spot with Harper and Ali was scary.

    (Winner: BRAUN)

  • KICKOFF SHOW: Ryder & Hawkins v The Revival (c) for the Raw Tag Team Championship - Hawkins breaks the streak and the local guys win the straps. I actually liked Hawkins Jets-inspired gear although the number on the back looked silly.

    (Winners and new champions: Hawkins & Ryder)

  • KICKOFF SHOW: Women's Battle Royal - Was happy for Logan for getting what appeared to be the big W. Was happy that Mella ended up actually getting the big win. She's an incredible entertainer.

    (Winner: Carmella)

  • KICKOFF SHOW: Tony Nese v Buddy Murphy (c) for the Cruiserweight Championship - These guys put on a show, and I was happy to see the local guy get his big win. Interested to see if Murphy moves on to main roster or NXT. Doesn't seem much reason to keep in 205 Live anymore.

That's IT! I thought it was a great WrestleMania, and I'm sure my son agreed. My wife even seemed to enjoy what she saw. I don't get the negativity about it at all, but I honestly believe some fans just flat want to complain. I know there's a bunch of journalists who just don't enjoy WWE and would ignore it if they could. I wish they would because they generate a lot of this hostility and it's just completely unnecessary.