Wrestlemania is in the rear view mirror again, as we move further into 2016. Man, my predictions were embarrassingly incorrect. I’ve seen a lot of negativity about this show, some of it warranted and some of it not. It’s far from the worst Wrestlemania they’ve ever put on, and from an in-ring perspective, it was actually very solid. But booking wise, it was questionable. Still, we have Raw to look forward to and see how WWE sets itself up for the post-Mania season. It looks like The Authority is around to stay, and the Roman Empire will stay the babyface course whether the fans like it or not.
Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Hit
Your typical fun multi-man ladder match with a surprise finish. Everyone was pretty great and there were some awesome spots. Everyone was trying to leave their mark on this show. Honestly, I would have put good money on Owens or Zayn leaving with the title, I never thought Ryder stood a chance here. Zack Ryder is your new Intercontinental Champion. I have a feeling that it won’t be a lengthy title reign, maybe a month, or maybe only 24-hours. We’ll see what happens. But it was still a nice moment for Ryder who has been criminally under-appreciated by the WWE brass for his entire career.
Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles: Hit
I think this was the best match of their series so far and one of the best matches of the night. Very good match, Jericho and Styles just click together. I’m not sure Jericho winning was the right way to go, but my guess is that they have a blow off gimmick match next month. If not, then Jericho definitely shouldn’t have won here. Still, despite the loss, it was a strong Wrestlemania debut for AJ Styles.
League of Nations vs. The New Day: Botch
The New Day’s entrance was awesome, I loved the giant Booty-O’s box. And the match was perfectly fine, but it wasn’t that different from every other New Day/LoN match we’ve seen over the last couple of months. The heels win, which I guess is fine, but for one thing, they’re likely not going to be pushed coming out of this. And secondly, they were crushed after the match. Post-match, Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley and Steve Austin came out for a big pop, and they destroyed the heels. Then Xavier Woods ate a Stunner. So who gets over here? The white hot babyface trio that just lost at Mania? The hated heel faction that just got their asses handed to them by a few retirees? Or the old retirees that we likely won’t see until the next Wrestlemania? Fun Wrestlemania moment for the live crowd, but it does nothing for the current active tag teams.
Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose Street Fight: Hit
This was a disappointing hit. The match was shorter than expected, and it wasn’t the star making Ambrose performance that I thought it might have been. The crowd was into it though and both Ambrose and Lesnar were great, and I did enjoy the match. It was just disappointing when you think of what the match could have been. It definitely could have used some blood, and the weapons Ambrose collected on the way to this match ended up meaning nothing (although obviously the chainsaw was never going to be used). Ambrose did well, but despite one near fall, he was never believable as a guy that could potentially beat Lesnar. He ate an F5 over a pile of chairs and that was that. WWE had the chance to elevate Ambrose here but they didn’t take it. Good enough match, but not the best ending.
WWE Women’s Championship Triple Threat: Hit
Finally, FINALLY, that abbhorent Diva’s Championship butterfly belt has been canned. We now have the WWE Women’s Championship again, and it’s about time. The term “diva”, which has come to feel derogatory and take away from the ability of the women, seems like it’s only going to apply to the reality show now. Charlotte, Sasha and Becky put on one of the best performances of the entire night, they completely delivered. Their entrances were brilliant, especially Sasha’s with Snoop and Charlotte’s tribute to her father. No I am not a fan of the ending – Charlotte gets yet another heel win thanks to her dad, it’s acceptable 364 days a year but at Mania I think we should have seen a cleaner win and a cleaner way to introduce the new title. This probably should have been Sasha’s moment, but the match was still great. One of the best women’s matches we’ve ever seen on the main roster.
Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker: Botch
Yes, Shane’s dive from the top of the cell was a huge inshane (see what I did there) highlight, the gifs of which will be shared around until the end of the internet. But I didn’t like this match. It was slow and plodding in places, and 46-year-old family and businessman Shane McMahon, got an astonishing amount of offence against The Undertaker. It was hard for me to suspend disbelief and accept that Shane was more or less outwrestling The Undertaker in places. The guy kicked out of some major finishing moves early on that most full-time wrestlers in their prime wouldn’t be allowed to do. And ultimately, it’s deflating to think that change still isn’t here. Unless we get some big angle on Raw, it seems like Shane will disappear and none of this will have ultimately mattered. At the very least, The Undertaker is sticking around for another Mania, and if anyone retires him, it shouldn’t be Shane McMahon.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal: Hit
It was a big mess of a match and it was hard to care about this late in the show. Only a couple of guys got entrances. But Shaq’s surprise appearance was kind of fun and well received, even if it did feel a bit silly. Baron Corbin winning was a great move though. There was no one else in that match that really would have benefitted from this. Anyone on the main roster would likely still suffer from the same weak booking, at least an NXT guy can go somewhere with this win. And Baron Corbin is a guy that I’ve really started to like over the last few months of NXT shows.
The Rock sets records: Botch
The Rock’s much hyped appearance was pretty bad. He came out with a flamethrower, for some reason, then he cut your typical Rock promo. He was interrupted by The Wyatt Family, which led to a completely pointless match, which was won by The Rock in six seconds purely so commentary can say for the next decade that The Rock vs. Erick Rowan is the shortest match in Wrestlemania history. John Cena’s return was fine and sort of expected. Cena and Rock standing tall over The Wyatt Family is the typical Mania moment that we’ll see cut into highlight reels for years to come. Only, with all the time they had to come up with a segment for The Rock, I feel like they could have done much better than this. In much the same way that they tried to get the retired legends over after the LoN/New Day match, the goal here was to put The Rock and John Cena over The Wyatt Family – who at this point are desperate for any kind of win. The segment was long too, and considering how long this show dragged for, a thirty-minute Rock segment maybe would have been better placed earlier in the show. I do like the idea that The Rock always has his wrestling gear on underneath his clothes wherever he goes though.
Triple H vs. Roman Reigns: Botch
The match was acceptable, but not great. It was more of a slow, methodical type pace for Triple H, but so late in the night, the crowd wasn’t having any of it. As everyone knew and expected, Roman got booed out of the building. The big question here was how WWE would handle it. Would they turn Reigns heel? Would there be a double turn? Would we have some kind of swerve or run-in happen? Or would they just go off the air with Roman getting booed while he celebrates with the title and pyro goes off around him? They went with the latter. It was a weak ending to a show that really needed to send people home talking and speculating. Instead it sent people home irritated with a clear message from WWE – “we know what you want, and we don’t care.”
All photos via WWE.com