The Day After: WrestleMania

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What an absolute bonkers 5 hours of WrestleMania yesterday, one of the best ever IMO.  From Luke Harper killing Dean Ambrose (only figuratively I hope) to the shocking conclusion, for a show that everyone complained about its build…it overdelivered.  Let’s get right to the results.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase MID MATCH turning Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns into Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins.  Rollins went on to pin Roman Reigns and become the NEWWW World Heavyweight Champion.

Let’s start with Reigns-Lesnar.  One of the most bemoaned WrestleMania main events in history prior to the event, Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns were telling a great in-ring story of Reigns refusing to quit/trying not to die at the hands of the man who has rag dolled everything in his path in the last calendar year.  A violent, violent affair from the get go with Lesnar being busted open under the eye moments into the contest.  Suplex City and three F-5’s and the Samoan would not be put down, smiling through his punishment.  Finally before the moment that shocked us all, Reigns was able to rally by reversing Lesnar into the steel ring post, opening another cut on Lesnar’s head, his third of the match, and finally staggering the Beast with Superman punches and spears.  And it still wasn’t enough.

Enter Seth Rollins. Rollins changed the whole paradigm of what we think the Money in the Bank briefcase is by calling his shot when both of the potential champions were down rather than picking the corpse over after a match.  After turning in his briefcase, Rollins attempts to curb stomp, Lesnar, who reverses it into an F5, who is then speared by Reigns.  With all three men down, Seth Rollins recovered enough to nail the curb stomp on Roman Reigns to win the title.  What a sequence.

Brilliant, brilliant ending to a fantastic night that sets up so many WWE Championship main event scenarios for the next year. Orton vs. Rollins, Reigns vs. Rollins, Lesnar vs. Rollins, Lesnar vs. Reigns vs. Rollins, hell you even have the possibility of Ambrose vs. Rollins (to make up for the fact that were he not broken in half in the opening match, Ambrose surely would have tried to break up the cash-in as promised). The timing of Rollins finally cashing in…perfect.  Plus all three men come out smelling like roses, you can’t ask for more from the close of WrestleMania.

The Undertaker defeated Bray Wyatt with a tombstone following a Sister Abigail reversal. 

In a vacuum,  this match was pretty solid, if not spectacular for a guy who hasn’t wrestled in a year and another with a rumored ankle sprain.  It wasn’t a barn burner like the Taker-HBK series or as violent as HHH-Taker, but it was methodical and still had some great moments like the Spider Walk/Sit Up spot.  Being a Wyatt mark I would have loved a Wyatt victory but I also get you can’t have Taker go into his presumably retirement next year on a two loss Mania streak.  The atmosphere/entrances would have been way better in a darker setting too.

Ronda Rousey & The Rock confront the Authority.

If Triple H selling that judo throw from Ronda Rousey didn’t pop you I don’t know if you have a heart, so fun.

The Authority were out before the final two matches to gloat and take credit for the success of WWE and WrestleMania in classic Authority form.  Stephanie is SO good at making you hate her, it swings my feelings into loving her and her “cool mom” insults.  This brought out a surprise appearance by the Rock to counter their arguments to a massive pop.  Ultimately, Stephanie slapped the Rock and goaded him into retaliation, instead he brought in Ronda Rousey from ringside to counter her because while he won’t hit a woman, Ronda would gladly.

WWE United States Championship: John Cena defeated Rusev after a Rusev-Lana collision and an Attitude Adjustment. 

Rusev’s entrance was the tits. Preceded by a Russian National Anthem that would make Nikolai Volkoff proud, Russian Soldiers, Lana in full regalia, Rusev entered on a goddamned tank. Amazing.

Despite losing, Rusev put in a great performance in this match so I doubt one loss to John Cena is going to torpedo his career.  There was more tension between Rusev/Lana here so that should be Rusev’s next story arc coming out of WrestleMania. It’s going to be interesting to see how they handle two of their biggest main eventers, John Cena & Daniel Bryan holding the mid card titles.

AJ Lee & Paige defeated the Bella Twins when Nikki tapped out to the Black Widow submission. 

Fine match by the divas and say what you will they got much more of a chance than the quick multi-woman matches of Mania’s past.  My smark sense was tingling and I almost thought something CM Punk/punishment related was going on when AJ spent a good portion of the beginning of the match on the floor but luckily it played into the story they were trying to tell.  And at the risk of sounding sexist, Paige looked fantastic.

Triple H defeated Sting after a sledgehammer shot on an attempted Stinger Splash. 

The Crow versus The Terminator.  This was the first match of the night we started getting some amazing entrances.  It was crazy, it had a ton of interference, and it was AMAZING.  Nostalgia washed over me like a wave as two staples of my childhood, DX & the nWo, waged war behind the two generals inside the ring Triple H & Sting.  Both guys got to hit their finishers multiple times, Sting looked to be in the best shape he’s been in years, and Triple H only beat Sting through some last-ditch effort chicanery.

No one expected any of the stuff that happened in the match and I think that’s what made it so entertaining. We romanticized the Attitude Era a lot these days and this was a straight up tribute match.  Hall bumped. Hogan bumped.  Nash grabbed his quad to troll the nerds. Fantastic. Did it make a ton of sense that the nWo was sticking up for Sting?  Although he was in the Wolfpac, not really. Why were Hall & Nash on opposite sides of their Kliq buddies?  Don’t care.  A billion stars.  Super fun.

Randy Orton defeated Seth Rollins with the damnedest curb stomp reversal into the RKO. 

Looking back a day later, this match is going to get lost in the Rollins win but it was also damned entertaining with an amazing finish.

WWE Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Daniel Bryan wins the Intercontinental Championship. 

Very entertaining with lots of great spots. Luke Harper eliminated Ambrose from the end of the match after a powerbomb through a bridged ladder.  Lip readers could later see Ambrose telling the ref how much it hurt.  Also enjoyed Barrett’s bull hammer fest and Stardust’s falling star splash to the outside.  The finish came down to Bryan and Dolph Ziggler headbutting the sh*t out of each other until Dolph took a nasty fall and Bryan grabbed the strap. Shoutout to Stardust’s Mister Sinister cosplay entrance attire.

Big Show won the Andre the Giant Battle Royal last eliminating Damien Mizdow. 

Lengthy battle royal with a lot of cool spots.  It came down to Mizdow, Miz, & Show.  Mizdow finally broke ties with the Miz by spurning his attempt at teamwork to take out the Big Show and tossed the A-lister.  Mizdow then nearly eliminated Show twice before ultimately getting tossed. I guess I get the

I guess I get the gripe on having Big Show win here, but I’d counter, with the complaints of how Cesaro was used last year it’s good to give this to an established star this year so the stigma of that push is gone for future winners.

WWE Tag Team Championship: Cesaro & Tyson Kidd defeated Los Matadores, The New Day, & The Usos. 

Jey Uso, he of the injured shoulder, was taken out early into the match so Jimmy worked the match alone. The right team retained in this fast paced spot filled tag match. Fun stuff.

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