The Grandest Stage of Them All. The Show of Shows.
Whatever you want to call it, WrestleMania romped through Orlando, Florida Monday Sunday night [Monday morning GST], billed with the latest promise of being the ultimate thrill ride as wrestling’s Mecca arrived in the theme park world’s equivalent.
And, for the majority of the show, it delivered a show befitting the illustrious history of both venue and show.
Among the best of what the show had on offer were shocks, championships switching hands and surprise comebacks.
The worst offerings, however, were predictable and rushed.
Here, we go through the entire card rating each match either a HIT or MISS depending on how we saw it.
AJ STYLES BEATS SHANE MCMAHON – HIT
This was a complete mismatch between one of the greatest all-round Superstars in wrestling history and the male heir to the WWE throne, so often underrated for his ability in the ring.
But, against all odds, it delivered a great opening to the show, a match filled with aggression, ingenuity and all the hallmarks of both competitors’ arsenal of attack, a real sign of things to come on the card.
KEVIN OWENS BEATS CHRIS JERICHO TO WIN US TITLE – HIT
This one was never going to fail, the two former best friends’ chemistry and in-ring ability simply unable to miss the mark.
Owens getting the win was probably right and there is still plenty of legs left in this feud which could run for some time to come.
BAYLEY RETAINS RAW WOMEN’S TITLE – HIT [SORT OF]
The action in this was incredible, the four women flying out of the traps and delivering some of the best action seen by women at WrestleMania.
However, as you’ll see again later on, they were robbed of a greater running time, this feeling shamefully rushed.
HARDY BOYZ WIN RAW TAG-TEAM TITLES – HIT
Possibly the greatest moment from the entire card was delivered early on as the Hardy Boyz’ rumoured return was confirmed in incredible fashion.
Goosebumps were followed by typically epic Hardy bumps before their fairytale return was completed, deleting their new rivals in the division to claim the gold.
JOHN CENA & NIKKI BELLA WIN THEN GET ENGAGED – MISS AND HIT
The match between Cena & Bella vs The Miz & Maryse was painfully predictable in its outcome and exchanges in the ring – a definite MISS.
The engagement between WWE’s true power couple at the end was sweet and actually felt genuine and not contrived – a definite HIT.
SETH ROLLINS BEATS TRIPLE H – HIT
Like the Owens-Jericho matchup, this one could never fail, such was the intensity of ill feeling and ability of both Superstars.
They were brilliant, brutal and while the finish may have missed the mark somewhat [how can Rollins kick out of a Triple H pedigree and not vice versa?], it was still a cracker.
RANDY ORTON WINS WWE TITLE – MISS
This may be contested by more than a few people as the action wasn’t that bad and the weird graphics in the ring a nice, new touch.
However, this didn’t seem to add anything to the storyline or serve up anything new to either man’s weaponry, instead a rather typical bout of RKO vs Sister Abigail.
LESNAR FINALLY BEATS GOLDBERG, WINS UNIVERSAL TITLE – HIT
A rival to the Hardyz’ win as the best of the night, this was an absolutely thunderous joy.
Goldberg’s four spears and single jackhammer lost out to Lesnar’s ten German suplexes and sole F-5 which was enough to secure Lesnar a first win over his bitter rival, all of which was orchestrated and celebrated by Paul Heyman whose promo at the start was the best spot on the card.
This was intensity captured in a bottle.
NAOMI REGAINS SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S TITLE – HIT [SORT OF]
Another women’s championship, another incredible match from all involved, the action moving at a frenetic pace and the exchanged ridiculously good from all parties.
Unfortunately, it was another example of being too rushed and it was the women – after such a breakout year or so – who will have left WrestleMania feeling a little neglected, if not cheated.
ROMAN REIGNS BEATS UNDERTAKER – MISS
How on earth the WWE decided to end the show on this note will forever be a mystery, the whole match feeling like one big kick in the nether regions.
That man Reigns was once again forced down the WWE Universe’s throats with a sloppy win over The Undertaker that we were told was brutal and physical, putting to bed The Deadman with a mixtures of spears, Superman Punches and chair shots.
That’s right, the Superman Punch and spears overcame a man delivering Tombstone Piledrivers and Chokeslams.
If this is, as the post-fight drama suggests, ‘Taker’s farewell do then it is certainly not the in-ring send-off one of the greatest wrestlers in history deserved.
Instead, the WWE Universe gave him that with an incredible standing ovation to close out the show.