Monday, March 30, 2015

WrestleMania 31 Review

The first WrestleMania in the history of my blog happened last night and it was a long affair. The two hour Kickoff Show featured an hour of talking before jumping into the action. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro defended the WWE Tag Team Titles against New Day, the Usos and Los Matadores. Early on, Jey Uso was taken out by Cesaro, which was a way to get him out of the match due to a legit shoulder injury. After that this featured non-stop action. There was pretty much no slow down at all and everyone brought their A game. I appreciated how the managers of the bout, like Xavier Woods, Natalya, Naomi and El Torito were incorporated into things. Kidd and Cesaro retain, which is for the best, though I wasn't a big fan of the fact that they had to kind of steal it. Still, a ton of fun. ***1/2

At this point, I'm thinking "even though I wasn't pumped for this show, maybe it will surprise me." Then came the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Like most battle royals, it was a big clusterfuck but a few things stood out. Unfortunately, Curtis Axel was out first. Then Bo Dallas and his stupid goatee had the next cool spot with his awesome gimmick. Things went downhill from here as Hideo Itami was tossed out by Big Show, giving me repeat feelings of the putrid Royal Rumble. It didn't end there as Show also tossed out New Day and Ryback. The final three were Show, Miz and Mizdow. Mizdow finally had the big face turn on Miz and turned his attention to Show. The crowd wanted it badly so what did they get? They got the fucking Big Show winning this shit. Why is this man still relevant and winning important things in 2015? It's embarrassing and the booking is terrible. Worst thing on the show. DUD

The official show itself opened with the Intercontinental Title Ladder Match. Bad News Barrett, Dolph Ziggler, Stardust, and hell, even Luke Harper had new attire. Though Harper's was just black jeans instead of blue. Everybody got in on the high flying and the brawling. People took big bumps, especially poor Dean Ambrose whose Pay-Per-View losing streak continued. I appreciate that all seven men worked their asses off to show off on the big stage. Daniel Bryan is able to retrieve the belt and pick up the victory in under 14 minutes. The booking of the belt and champions has been dreadful but with Bryan holding the gold, maybe they may even go full Shinsuke Nakamura with it and have it be built up to where it's near World Title level. Really good match but I don't think it should have opened since there are so many straight singles matches coming up. ****

Moving on, we get Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins. I felt that even with the poor build, it had the chance to steal the show. Orton was wearing some elbow pads which looked weird. However, I really enjoyed this match. It wasn't a match of the year candidate or anything but it was damn good and entertaining. They worked some crisp counters and pretty much everything in the match looked sweet. Especially the finish as the Curb Stomp countered into the RKO was one of the absolute greatest RKOs in history. He's had some great ones against Evan Bourne and Dolph Ziggler, but I don't think this will be topped. I jumped out of my seat and was stunned at it. Orton got the pin after that in 13 and a half minutes. ***3/4

Surprisingly, it's only the third match of the card and it's time for Sting vs. Triple H. Sting's entrance was supposed to be grand but was actually incredibly odd. He had a gong and a bunch of weird drummers and they didn't even play his shit theme. Triple H's was even stranger with the Terminator gimmick and looked absurd. The match itself wasn't very good. People went nuts for the arrival of DX and the nWo during the match, but I didn't see the point. Sting went out of his way last week to say that this wasn't about WCW vs. WWE, but then you book the match around that? They overbooked it, which was smart since the match itself didn't deliver. The nostalgia was a big factor here. The finish sucked though as Triple H actually beat Sting. Whatever. 18 minutes, fun nostalgia but nothing more. **1/4

After a good old fashioned WrestleMania concert, we move to the Divas match. I have to say, I disagree with the match order so far. The girls weren't just given a really short amount of time so that was fine. They got six and a half minutes, and did alright with it. I was surprised to see AJ Lee get the hot tag, since I feel like Paige fits the hot tag role better. Regardless, the girls did good but it was just a fine match. Like, it could have been on any Raw, Smackdown or Main Event. This should have been a Fatal Four Way to be honest. Paige and AJ won with the Black Widow. I also would have preferred Paige be the one to score the win for her team since I get this sinking feeling that AJ may be on her way out of the company before the end of the year. **1/2

The United States Championship match was up next and Rusev got a grand entrance. He came out in a fucking tank. Seriously. Lana was back too, which makes things a million times better. John Cena had an over the top patriotic display. It was sickening at times. Anyway, when they actually got into the match it was good. I've seen a bunch of people give it high praise but I didn't see it. I give Cena credit for trying a few things like the springboard stunner, but it didn't look very good. This wasn't as crisp or good as their Fast Lane match. That being said, it was still solid. After a little over fourteen minutes, Cena ended Rusev's streak and won the US Title. Rusev blamed Lana for the loss after she was knocked off the apron. I guess that's the end of them. **1/2

Even with the concert, we still had to have an in-ring segment. Triple H and Stephanie came out to brag about the attendance record set tonight. HHH bragged about beating Sting and WCW again to massage WWE's ego. The Rock interrupts and tries to goad Triple H into a fight. Stephanie interjects to cut him down because she's an amazing heel. Rock won't hit her, so he goes ringside and gets Ronda Fucking Rousey. She gets in the ring with him, Stephanie tries to say they are friends but Rock and Hunter go at it. Rousey judo tosses Hunter, causing Stephanie to get in her face. She threatens an armbar but goes against it, causing HHH and Steph to leave. I have NO INTEREST in Rock/HHH next year but give me a mixed tag involving Rousey and I'm down. This went on far too long.

In our second to last contest, Bray Wyatt brings The Undertaker back from the dead. I wasn't really interested in this match because I didn't really see the point in it. However, according to an interview, it was Bray's dream match so I'm glad he got to live that out. The match itself was solid. Probably thanks to a lack of concussion, Undertaker looked much better this year than last. They did a cool spot where Bray's weird crab walk is stopped by Undertaker sitting up. It took two Tombstones but Undertaker managed to get the win. I'm not a fan of the outcome since Bray carried this entire feud by himself, literally, but at least Bray didn't look as bad as he did last year either. Still though, another good match but nothing out of this world. ***

Time for the main event, which featured Roman Reigns getting booed heavily. Brock Lesnar may have gotten the biggest pop of the night to be honest. Everyone was curious at how this would be booked. What we got was the perfect booking of this. Brock beat the fuck out of Reigns, hitting over ten suplexes. Reigns smiled though and wanted more, before busting Brock open and hitting a series of Superman punches and Spears. He only got two before Brock hit a fourth F5 on him. With both men down, Seth Rollins theme hits as Mr. Money in the Bank is out! He cashes in, making this a Triple Threat match. He Curb Stomps Brock and goes for a second but is caught for the F5. Reigns spears Brock, and Seth curb stomps him to win! I could not think of a better ending. ****1/4

For all of the shitty build up that this show got, they got the actual booking of the main event especially right. The whole show was good but I wouldn't call it a top five WrestleMania. The main event was expertly done. You had Brock look like a monster, Reigns look like a badass that hit Brock incredibly hard and Seth look like a genius. You didn't hotshot the belt on Reigns and gave it to someone far more deserving. Excellent booking. Basically, it's an enjoyable show with peaks and valleys. For all the good, you get some bad. Great main event, shit battle royal. Fun ladder match, but Sting loses. However, the positives outweight the negatives to make this a recommended show. 7.5/10.