This set is OUTSTANDING. It's only going to look better as it gets darker. There's a god damn ring on top of the ring! There's a roller coaster on the set! The ramp is 80 yards long!
Austin Aries vs Neville WWE Cruiserweight Championship
The first time the cruiserweight Championship has been defended at WM since 2004. I am bothered that AUSTIN FUCKING ARIES is getting a WM match in 2017, even if it is on the pre-show. Of all the great cruiserweights WWE has, 40 year old Austin Aries is the one getting a title match. Unlike the pre-shows of the past couple of years, the crowd is mostly full, so it feels like it's actually WM. Aries somehow manages to spike Neville on his head doing a headlock takeover. Don't worry, Neville will get his revenge. Aries controls the opening minutes of the match until Neville hicks him out of his dive, and then goes on an extended offensive sequence. Somehow, he doesn't break his god damn tailbone getting thrown to the floor. Christ. Neville gets his revenge by dumping Aries DIRECTLY on his head with a German suplex. I mean literally on his head. As Aries hit a flurry and was about to win with the Last Chancery, Neville gouged his reconstructed eye socket. He follows that by kicking the rope in Austin's eye and hitting a brutal Red Arrow that saw his knees just drill Aries in the gut. Title retained. I've been a pretty vocal hater of Austin Aries for years, but this was easily the best thing he's been involved in in a decade. How much of it was because of him is up for debate. All hail King Neville.
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
No weird surprises this year like Tatanka, DDP, or Shaq. The biggest random guy in there was the Chinese talent they signed some time ago, Bin Wang. Otherwise it's just the dudes who couldn't get a real match. Shout out to Goldust wearing WM 12 era gear. Big Show and Braun Strowman (the CLEAR favorite to win) have a staredown and are both quickly eliminated. This comes down to Mojo, JINDER MAHAL, and NXT star Killian Dane, who eliminated Sami. Because Sami is such a loser he can't even get eliminated by a main roster guy. Lol. Well, as it turns out, Mojo's BFF Rob Gronkowski is at ringside. Jinder finds him and throws a drink at him, so Gronk jumps the guardrail. A security guard attack runs after him and tries to shove him back over the railing because she didn't know he was part of the show. LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. A host of refs have to pull her off. Looooooool. What an incredible Wrestlemania moment. Of course, once refs pull the security guard off, Gronk hits the ring and tackles Jinder. Mojo wins! HE HYPE!
Dean Ambrose vs Baron Corbin WWE Intercontinental Championship
God damn, what a fall from grace. From WWE Champion, winner of the Shield triple threat, to WM pre-show in 8 months. Couldn't happen to a shittier talent. Things start out looking like they might have a solid match, and then it completely falls to shit as Dean starts looking like he's TRYING to have a bad match. Not that he has to try, but this looks like a "fuck it" type of performance. Think HBK/Hogan but intentionally sloppy looking instead of goofy over selling. Although that's not to say his selling isn't goofy, but in a bad way instead of funny. Spot of the match is most definitely Baron booting Dean out of his stupid wacky line. And then Dean wins completely clean with the Dirty Deeds after having next to no offense in the match. Title retained. Dean proving that he's pre-show worthy for sure.
The New Day come to the ring to officially open WM. They're dressed as Final Fantasy characters. As if you needed more reasons to be embarrassed that you're watching wrestling.
AJ Styles vs Shane McMahon
Curious to start with the hottest SD match. Also curious that this is a straight match, with nearly 50 year old Shane against the best wrestler in the world. The wind is making it look like AJ is in a shampoo commercial. AJ of course dominates the opening moments, and then Shane surprises him with amateur takedowns and arm drags. Dude out here thinking he's Ricky Steamboat. Then the striking come, and as Otunga says, "You don't want to throw hands with Shane McMahon". That Kru Nurse training, uce. Then, Shane goes full UWF. Rear naked chokes, rolling cross arm breakers, OMOPLATAS. This mother fucker. AND THEN: a 450 countered with a TRIANGLE. Lmao. NOT ONLY THAT, this leads directly into them doing a Suzuki/AJ spot. Yes, Shane McMahon is doing the same spots with AJ Styles at WM that AJ did with Minoru Suzuki in the G1. We're also at a point in time where Shane McMahon is kicking out of the Styles Clash and getting stick in the calf crusher for a minute without tapping. In 2017. The ref gets kicked in the head, so AJ is the one to bring out the gimmicks, attempting a Van Terminator only to get blasted with a trash can. Shane hits probably the best one he's ever hit, but AJ kicks out. Shane misses the leap of faith AND a SSP (probably destroying his knees in the process), and AJ wins with the Phenomenal Forearm. Man, what a shockingly good match. Much, much better than it had any right to be.
Kevin Owens vs Chris Jericho WWE US Championship
This angle really carried Raw for like 6 months, so you'd hope that it can do something special. I mean, it made Chris Jericho enjoyable again, man. It starts out heated but then you remember that as over as Jericho has been again lately, he's still in his mid 40s and slow as shit. So enjoy the extended chinlocks. In this heated blood feud. Enjoy your slow motion spots. Enjoy this feeling like any random 15 minute mid show Raw match instead of this super personal issue. The highlight of the match was KO getting a rope break with one finger. That says it all, really. One apron powerbomb later, KO is the new US Champion. Dull as hell.
Sasha Banks vs Charlotte vs Bayley vs Nia Jax WWE Women's Championship
I guess it says a lot about #DivasRevolution when there are two title matches, but both are multi-lady matches thrown together last minute. Charlotte does Ric's entrance from WM 24, which was held at the same stadium. That was pretty cool, but it makes me wonder why the entrances were completely backwards. This starts with 3 of the Horsewomen putting their personal issues aside to try to go after Nia Jax. And it doesn't work at all. Nia looks like a fucking MONSTER and it's awesome. There's a BRUTAL double backdrop/big boot triple team that looked like it killed Nia, but she kicked out and went right back to destroying this broads. It takes a SHIELD TRIPLE BOMB and triple pin to eliminate her. I wish that had been the whole match, because it was dope as hell. You would have thought Bayley and Sasha would continue to team up to eliminate Charlotte, but Charlotte gets them to fight almost immediately, because they're dumb. Charlotte is just running this shit. Totally on a different level. Sasha is abruptly eliminated after getting sent into an exposed turnbuckle. Bayley and Charlotte only go a few minutes before Bayley wins with...the Macho elbow drop. A mid match signature that she's never won a match with. Weird. Title retained. Started off hot and then felt extremely rushed after Nia was eliminated, but still pretty fun.
The Hall of Fame class of 2017 come out for one last pop.
TO THE BACK. Seth Rollins gets his knee wrapped.
Sheamus/Cesaro vs The Club vs Enzo/Cass WWE Tag Team Championships Ladder Match
Before the match, the New Day come out in their ring gear. As hosts, they're announcing that there is a 4th team being added to the match. Who? WHO? WHO? It's THE HARDY BOYS! WONDERFUL! DELIGHTFUL! "Things are about to be broken! Team Xtreme is back!" DELETE! DELETE! DELETE! Man, what a reaction. What's really crazy is that the Hardys did a ladder match the night before in ROH against another Bullet Club team, the Bucks of Youth. They're also in their 40s, so you'll have to excuse them for seeming a bit beat up. Cesaro gets lucky not to break his ankle getting trapped in the ladder, and I think most of us (at least me) are waiting to see how Enzo dies in this. It comes from getting hit with a Cesaro uppercut after being thrown off a ladder. To the surprise of absolutely no one, Da Club are complete non factors in this. This is basically just a "let's do something while the Hardys rest up for their next spot". One of which is a twist of fate from a ladder that made Matt look like he wanted to die, and Jeff redoing the WM 17 dive on Rhyno/Spike but with Cesaro/Sheamus on ladders instead of tables. And Cesaro took all of the bump. Lol. Matt Hardy grabs the titles. THe OBSOLETE title reign of The Club has been DELETED.
The Miz/Maryse vs John Cena/Nikki Bella
Al Roker is the special ring announcer, and Jerry Lawler returns to call the match itself. For some reason, Cena and Nikki make separate entrances, which kind of proves Miz's point that they aren't a real couple like he and Maryse. Cena makes his run down the entire ramp and spends the next 2-3 minutes catching his breath. Lol. But what's really great about this is that at ultra smarky WM, the crowd is 100% on Miz's side. They're literally chanting MIZ IS AWESOME and unironically doing YES chants. For Miz. At Wrestlemania. This is basically a 9 minute match where Miz dominates Cena for 8 minutes, the women tag in and Nikki destroys Maryse, followed by a double STF tap out for the Cenas. After the match, Cena talks about the time Nikki was loopy under sedation and John could ask her anything he wanted and she wouldn't know what he said. And as the story goes on, it turns out he had told her he was going to marry her one day. And today is that day. So, basically, John Cena proposal raped Nikki and told the whole world. ELIZABIT, WILL YOU MARRY MEEEEEEE????
Seth Rollins vs Triple H
Lmao, after doing an entrance as Shao Khan, a Terminator, and a totalitarian dictator in a cenobite dystopian future, HHH comes out this year as a biker with a police escort. On an adult tricycle. With Steph riding bitch. It's this moment when you realize he's been growing out his beard for months for this one specific shot of him on the bike in his gear with a leather vest on looking bad ass. His logo is the headlight. Lmao. Meanwhile, Seth comes out looking like fucking Goldar, with a torch that sets the whole ramp and ringside on fire. Because he's the king slayer and he's gonna BURN DOWN THE KINGDOM. GET IT? Fuck Seth Rollins. Admittedly, the flame thing was kind of cool, but he looks fucking ridiculous, and why on earth with the production team agree to put this kind of symbolic shit on the biggest stage against their boss?
Seth starts off beating HHH's ass, so at least it's better than how KO/Jericho started. And then HHH starts the leg work. After a DDT on a table. Straight up destroying Seth's leg. So of course, once Seth goes on offense, he climbs to the top rope. And then fucks his leg the same why he did against Kane. Then tries a buckle bomb , but his knee buckles. HHH does more damage to the leg and Seth...hits a buckle bomb. And a dive off the ring post. And a frog splash. This piece of shit literally couldn't stand a few mins ago. Going from not being able to stand or lift someone to deadlifting that someone, doing a dive, and doing a frog splash isn't okay and logical just because you grab your knee for a second afterwards. That's not how that shit works, you twat. After getting hit with the PILLMANIZER, Seth does the superplex > falcon arrow spot. This guy is so great. So glad all that leg work and the 2 months of build up being centered around leg work has done absolutely nothing to stop Seth from doing all of his moves that require a healthy leg. Man, FUCK Seth Rollins. This dude is ruining spots by staring up at the screens to make sure Steph was behind him to grab the hammer. This mother fucker. And Steph really takes a table bump for this piece of shit. Seth kicks out of the pedigree, wins via pedigree, and Steph takes a table bump. And people will still complain about Roman's push.
GIMME THE GREENLIGHT, CUZ I'M READY TO GO
Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt WWE Championship
Jesus Christ, they're really following a 25 minute garbage match and concert with Bray/Orton? Lmao. The death hour is upon us. At least Bray's entrance looks amazing with 75K phones lit up at night. Why they didn't have a helicopter shot of it is beyond me, though. And why he came out first is beyond me as well. About a minute in, Bray does his corner thingy, and the ring has maggots projected on it. The fuck? He does it again, but this time with worms. And then again with flies. And then Orton hits the RKO in what is probably the worst WWE Championship match at WM in history. What the fuck. A straight up SD TV main event that went barely 10 minutes and would otherwise be completely unremarkable in every way without the bizarre mat projections that don't even make sense. Either Bray has actual super powers or he made a deal with the production team. (TM Young Hamtaro). New champion. What a terrible hour this has been.
Brock Lesnar vs Goldberg WWE Universal Championship
Fans pretty much turned on Goldberg after he beat KO in 30 seconds at Fastlane, and everyone knows he's leaving after WM, so there's a good chance this ends up like WM 20. Goldberg's entrance is damn near silent. It's fucking bizarre. They do boo when he gets announced, though. Fuck Paul Heyman for stealing Bruce Buffer's intros. You fat fuck. He's got to be 300lbs+ right now. Christ, take care of yourself, Paul. Positively Hitchcockian. Eat a salad once in while, you putz. Brock starts by immediately hitting 3 German suplexes. Goldberg pops up and hits a spear. FUCK YES. Fucking bombs. Another spear! Spear through the barricade! Another spear in the ring! BROCK LESNAR KICKED OUT OF THE JACKHAMMER. Brock fucking LEAPFROGS a spear. Goldberg hits the turnbuckles. Brock hits 7 German suplexes and a F5. New champion! Man, that was rad as fuck. Absolutely perfect. Under 5 minutes, nothing but bombs, Goldberg doing a clean job in the center of the ring. The crowd that had completely died after HHH/Seth > concert > Randy/Bray is back hotter than ever.
Alexa Bliss vs Becky Lynch vs Carmella vs Mickie James vs Naomi vs Natayla WWE Smackdown Women's CHampionship
We're really only here for Naomi's entrance. This shit was thrown together last second, was almost on the pre-show, and now is between Brock/Goldberg and Taker/Roman. Let's not pretend this is something anyone is supposed to take seriously. I can't get over the noises Becky is making. "WHIPBOOM. WHIPBOOM." Becky did basically all the work in this 5 minute match featuring 6 women, and Naomi makes Bliss tap out. New champion.
New Day come out one more time to announce the new attendance record.
The Undertaker vs Roman Reigns
JR returns to call this match, and for some reason, Cole reminds him that his wife just died. "It's been a rough couple of weeks for you, JR." No shit. What a dick. If you were wondering how they'd get around it not taking 20 minutes for Taker to make it down this ramp, they had him rise from underneath it about halfway down. It still took him 5 minutes. And boy does he look like shit. Dude is clearly wearing a girdle, looks tired before the match even starts. Taker throws Roman out and says it's still his yard. Then again. For some reason, JR sounds like he's doing commentary from Miami. Shit sounds like 2K commentary. As soon as Taker has to start taking bumps, the match goes to shit. Literally after 2 bumps, Taker is gasping for air and can't even fall out of the ring the right way. At this point the crowd has been out there for 7 hours so it's pretty hard to be hot for anything. Roman has bumped on the floor, the ring, the apron, and a table, and it ain't helping shit. This isn't good. Roman fucks himself up spearing Taker from one table to the next, basically spiking himself headfirst on the landing. After a long rest, they get back into the ring and they do the Last Ride set up the way you'd do with Big Show or Mark Henry, and Taker still can't lift Roman up. Shit is sad. Roman was literally standing above his shoulders to start the move and Taker couldn't hit it. Taker is just beyond washed. Almost fell over doing the tombstone. And then he puts his dick directly on Roman's face. Lol at acting shocked at the tombstone kick out. It took multiple tombstones to beat fucking Bray Wyatt in the middle of the show. It's been like...10 years since one tombstone ended a match at WM. There's a TERRIBLE spot where they try the tombstone reversal thing, but it just doesn't work at all and fans start booing. Who the fuck decided to put a 53 year old who needs hip surgery and can't even do cardio in a 20+ minute match? Taker can't even put Hell's Gate on right anymore. Roman starts beating Taker with a chair, hits a bunch of spears, Taker won't stay down. They try to get their bullshit Taker/HBK HBK/Flair "stay down" moment and I'm supposed to buy it as this emotional thing when these two have no history together and this whole match is about who is the alpha. Get the fuck out of here. Roman hits a super duper spear to finally put Taker down. May he retire in Pensacola.
After the match, Taker gets 10 minutes to slowly take off his jacket, gloves, and hat and slowly walk away. All of this feels like bullshit since they did this same thing with HBK at WM 26, and with John Cena at Summerslam. We all know Taker stayed around years too long, and he went out embarrassing himself in front of 75K people at the end of a 7 hour show. It's not some heartfelt moment. It's something that was long overdue and feels like a relief.
Let's maybe cut out these 7 hour shows from now on. Even been long as fuck, and with 4 of the main 5 attractions being shitty, it was still an overall fun show. Definitely needed to be half as long and the match order jiggered around, but what can you do. Match of the night was, shockingly, AJ vs Shane. No idea how that turned out as good as it did even with AJ in it. Seth/HHH was DOGSHIT. Jesus Christ is Seth Rollins is horrible at pro wrestling. He literally got all of his shit in and some extra things despite the whole build being about his bad leg and HHH utterly destroying it throughout the match. Didn't hamper him a bit. Hardys coming back was a great surprise, but I fear that they're no longer BROKEN, and I definitely have no interest in straight ass Hardy Boyz in 2017 otherwise. Goldberg/Brock was perfect.
I don't like the forced emotional shit with Taker, like we're all going to agree to forget he was involved with most of the worst WWE angles over the past 30 years, in some of the worst WWE matches in the past 30 years, and really only had about 2 years where he was involved in consistently good shit before becoming a guy who puts in the effort one night a year to eventually a guy who works one night a year period. This is a guy who they've been trying to tell you is the greatest WWE Superstar of all time since 1997. I didn't buy it then and I don't buy it now. I'm happy to see him go because he wore out his welcome YEARS ago. His retirement isn't like HBK or even Ric Flair. It's like finally getting a surgery you've been putting off for years.