Another WrestleMania is in the books! Let’s run down the results, give some commentary, and most of all #ThankYouTaker.
Roman Reigns defeated The Undertaker in a No Holds Barred Match
Shortly before the entrances, it was announced that this match had been changed to a No Holds Barred Match and there would be a special guest commentator, Jim Ross. A very nice surprise to see/hear Good Ol’ JR in the house to call the Undertaker’s final ride.
Reigns scored the victory after a triple criss-cross spear for the final 1-2-3 of The Undertaker’s career. Undertaker was in control early on throwing Reigns through an announce table, but the tide turned soon after when Reigns returned the favor with a spear through another announce table. The crowd was solidly behind The Undertaker, as expected, cheering him on with every kick out but the sheer number of spears and a beat down with a steel chair became too much for the Deadman.
The end of this ‘Mania, however, won’t be remembered for this match itself, but the aftermath of The Undertaker calling it a career. After Reigns’ fireworks and a replay package, we returned to the ring to find Taker back in his full entrance gear. As Orlando looked on, Taker removed his gloves, coat, and hat, leaving them in the ring to signify the end of his legendary WWE run.
One note on Reigns, I don’t think Reigns is a “bad wrestler” as people like to label him, but he’s got to change-up his matches. As of late, they’ve devolved into a million spears and a million Superman punches one after another and I think those two moves are the source of a lot of the burnout people have when it comes to Reigns. He’s had plenty of good matches in his singles run and I find myself defending him a lot, but unless they are going to fully lean into his recent heel tendencies he has to change it up.
Naomi defeated Alexa Bliss, Becky Lynch, Mickie James, Carmella, & Natalya in a Six-Pack Challenge for the SmackDown Women’s Championship
Naomi made Alexa Bliss tap out to a double armed submission to regain the Championship she relinquished a few weeks back due to injury. For eagle-eyed or clock watching viewers, the length of Naomi’s entrance told you all you needed to know about the result of this match before it even began.
Brock Lesnar defeated Goldberg for the WWE Universal Championship
A short but exciting and entertaining match, IMO, perfectly crafted to both men’s skill sets. We knew Goldberg wasn’t working a 20-minute classic with Brock, so this was a nice example of everyone getting their bits in effectively. After charging Goldberg and hitting three german suplexes, Lesnar was quickly put back on the defensive with a trio pair of spears from Goldberg, the last on the outside through a barricade. After kicking out of the Jackhammer, Lesnar was able to turn the tide with 7 more german suplexes and an F5 for the title win.
Randy Orton defeated Bray Wyatt for the WWE World Championship
As noted Bray Wyatt devotees here at CDW, I’m sure I speak for many when I say we had a lot of problems with this match. The introduction of the special effects showcasing Wyatt’s powers was visually groundbreaking and piqued my interest in what they were setting up for a finale…before Wyatt fell to an #RKOOutofNowhere and dropped his title unceremoniously. Whaa? If you’re going to build that element into the “main event” match on the biggest show of the year, give us a payoff. On a normal show I’m usually fine with the “let it play out” mentality. But this is WrestleMania, if you’re not paying it off here, when? As evidenced by his entrance last night, Wyatt has a huge fanbase, but his character has been continually jerked around with character development starts and stops.
Seth Rollins defeated Triple H in an Unsanctioned Match
Rollins was able to vanquish The Game after a Pedigree following a superkick that knocked Triple H into Stephanie McMahon, who was then knocked through a table set up at ringside. Of course, the story here was Triple H working over Rollins’ injured knee at every turn. A very solid and well-done match but the crowd didn’t seem very into it after the emotional high of the Hardys and cool down of an in-ring wedding proposal. I was also very surprised there was no involvement from The Destroyer, Samoa Joe.
John Cena & Nikki Bella defeated The Miz & Maryse
Cena & Bella got the victory with a double Five Knuckle Shuffle and an Attitude Adjustment & Rack Attack 2.o simultaneously on their opponents. The match was rather inconsequential and really a set piece to get to what I’m sure WWE was hoping was Macho Man/Elizabeth for a new generation (it wasn’t), with Cena proposing to Nikki in the ring. The Miz was way over with the Orlando crowd receiving the largest backing in this match at times.
Matt & Jeff Hardy defeated Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, Enzo & Cass, and Sheamus & Cesaro in a Ladder Match to win the Raw Tag Team Championship
One night after dropping the Ring of Honor Tag Team Championships in a Ladder Match to the Young Bucks, Matt & Jeff Hardy made their surprise return to WWE on the grandest stage of them all to capture another tag team championship. The end came after Brother Nero returned to his spot monkey ways with a Swanton bomb from the highest ladder onto Sheamus & Cesaro, opening the door for Matt to snag another set of tag team gold for the duo. Before the match started, the New Day teased inserting themselves into the match before announcing the returning
House Hardy Team Xtreme to the delight of Camping World Stadium and the millions watching at home.
Bayley retained the Raw Women’s Championship in a Fatal Four Way Elimination Match
Much like Saturday’s NXT Tag Team Elimination Match, enemies joined forces to attempt to get rid of the larger threat to start this match, only this time it worked. Nia Jax was the first person eliminated after Bayley, Sasha, & Charlotte partnered up for a triple power bomb and a gang pile pin on the dominant Jax. The Sasha Banks heel turn that seemingly had been hinted at for weeks was cast aside as Banks was eliminated unceremoniously by Charlotte after being thrown from a roll up into an exposed turnbuckle by the Queen. This left Bayley and Charlotte as the last two combatants with Bayley hitting a top rope elbow to retain her championship.
Kevin Owens defeated Chris Jericho for the WWE United States Championship
Very nice back and forth match with counters and signature moves left and right. Jericho finally fell to Owens after a brutal apron powerbomb and the 1-2-3. Chris Jericho put himself in contention for entrance of the night with the giant List of Jericho and his leather light-up scarf. Truly a fashion icon.
AJ Styles defeated Shane McMahon
AJ Styles got his first WrestleMania victory after Shane McMahon missed a shooting star press allowing Styles to set McMahon up for the Phenomenal Forearm. Shane had some goofy/sloppy MMA moves in this match which subtracted from my enjoyment slightly, however, the stunt show aspects more than made up for it. McMahon played the hits, nailing the coast to coast dropkick, missing an elbow drop to an announce table, and the aforementioned Shooting Star Press. This match was the start of WrestleMania proper and the first in a strong stretch of matches early on the card.
Dean Ambrose defeated Baron Corbin to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Ambrose was able to escape the End of Days to hit Dirty Deeds for the win after having his ribs worked over for the majority of the match. This match traded places with the SmackDown Women’s Six-Pack Challenge Match. With Naomi regaining the SD Title in that match, it might have been nice to cap off the Kickoff Show with a championship victory celebration leading into the main card. It certainly would give the women more of a “chance” than being the cool down between the Universal Title and The Undertaker’s huge moment.
Mojo Rawley won the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Rather than go with the conventional wisdom of rebuilding Braun Strowman here, the powers that be went with the SportsCenter Moment of New England Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski jumping the barricade (Somebody smarten up that security guard!) to aid his pal Mojo Rawley in taking this year’s #ATGMBR. Gronkowski shoulder tackled Jinder Mahal, because…football, allowing Rawley to gain the momentum to eliminate NXT’s Killian Dain and Mahal to win the match.
Also of note, Luke Harper made an unannounced appearance in the match as well.
Neville defeated Austin Aries to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Solid opener. The finish came when Aries had things in hand, locking Neville in the Last Chancery, however, Neville used a Greco-Roman finger to the eye to escape and hit the Red Arrow for the win. After the attack to Austin Aries’ surgically repaired eye, it’s clearly not over between The King and The Greatest Man That Ever Lived.