Wrestlemania 33 Recap
Well, it's another year and another Wrestlemania where Flo Rida is happy he got to do the theme song. Going into it, thoughts about the overall card were divided, but it all actuality - it turned out to be a decent show. A difference with this year is that the WWE has a surplus of talent to choose from. Wrestlemania 32 saw a surplus of injuries to talent, so they had to make the best show with what they had.
Neville vs. Austin Aries for The Cruiserweight Championship: In all honesty, this match could have been on the main card. A bunch of high spots, near falls, and the crowd was into the match right from the pre-show. A Double goes for the Last Chancery and then Neville attacks the reconstructed eye. Hits the Red Arrow for the win. Neville has been great as a heel in a cruiserweight division that has not found its footing yet. Perhaps they should keep the division to one show, so that fans could invest in them. Austin Aries is a great foil for Neville. They can build this feud throughout a couple of Pay-per-views.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal: Otherwise known as the "we couldn't get you on the main card Battle Royal: I feel for Sami Zayn. Unfortunately, he just cannot find his footing. I didn't quite understand eliminating Big Show so early in his last ever Wrestlemania match and Braun Strowman right after. You've been building Braun up to be something only to get him out early. This match was more about the celebrity tie-in with Rob Gronkowski. Good on Mojo Rawley for winning. Jinder Mahal made a push there for a second. The question is - what are they going to do with Mojo Rawley?
Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin for the Intercontinental Title: With no build on the Smackdown go-home show, this match feels like this was thrown on the card at the last minute. Baron Corbin basically dominated the whole match from a physical standpoint. Dean would try to rally and then suddenly, hit Dirty Deeds for the pin. Initially, I thought that Corbin would get the win and title since the WWE has been high on him as of late. Now, I don't know where both men go from here. This match seems like it would be the apex of this feud.
Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles: This was the match that everyone hated because it was seen that AJ Styles was taking a step down fighting the 47-year-old McMahon. AJ Styles could make a match with a ham sandwich compelling and entertaining. Shane had his usual big spots, but also added some MMA type holds and a nice counter to the Phenomenal Forearm. Give them credit – they got a good match out of a feud that only had a set amount of time to take hold. AJ will probably challenge Randy, unless they have a rematch planned between him and Bray. There’s also a potential feud with Shinsuke Nakamura that could be done as well.
Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens for The U.S. Championship: One of the most consistent story lines going into Wrestlemania, perhaps would have been better enhanced with the Universal Championship. Chris Jericho is going away for a little bit, but coming off the Shane/AJ match, this was a good follow up that had somethings that kept the story involved. The U.S. Title was almost a forgotten championship on Raw. Kevin Owens will definitely bring some semblance back to the secondary title.
Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax for the Raw Women’s Title: Getting this match together was a mess as they added the elimination stipulation at the last minute. One of the things that the match did right was make Nia look strong in the beginning. It took the collective effort of Bayley, Charlotte and Sasha to eliminate her. Where was the tease of the discourse between Bayley and Sasha? Maybe we will get that going into Summerslam. Bayley picked up the victory, but some of the celebration was taken off given that Charlotte's pay-per-view streak ended at Fastlane. The win may have been more special at Wrestlemania.
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Cesaro & Sheamus for the Raw Tag Team Titles: SURPRISE! The Hardy Boyz (Can we still call them Broken?) came back and made this a fatal four-way; that is two ladder matches within the span of two days, mind you. The tag match was even better for their arrival. All the teams had their moment, culminating with a Jeff Hardy Swanton off the big ladder into two men (well, he missed Sheamus). The Hardy Boyz are the heroes who win the belts and provide a fresh coat of paint on the Raw tag team division. Hope the Smackdown division was taking heed.
John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. The Miz & Maryse: Out of all the matches on the Wrestlemania card, this mixed tag team had the best build up. Both teams utilized their promos, skits and Talking Smack to blur the lines between shoot and work. The Miz is currently on his best heel run of this career. Most of the match had John Cena on the defensive as Miz continued to mock Daniel Bryan. Maryse got almost no offense in. Let’s be honest – the story of the match was what went on after... John Cena finally proposed to Nikki Bella. The 90s’ had Randy Savage and Elizabeth, and while, I don’t think John and Nikki will be having a wedding inside the ring, but it was a great moment. Cena will be gone until at least Summerslam.
Triple H vs. Seth Rollins (Non-Sanctioned Match): I am very happy that this storyline has come to an end just because it was so long in the making. The fact that Seth could go through a full 25-minute match after getting hurt is a testament to how tough he is. Some may have seen this match as a down point. There were some spots where it may have dragged a little bit, however it was methodical and old school. It acknowledged everything leading up to it including Triple H taking apart Seth's leg. Seth even did the superplex into the Falcon Arrow, which was cool. The student got the upper hand on the teacher and won the match; kudos to Stephanie for taking the table spot. It looked like the crowd started to get into the match as it went on.
Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Randy Orton: For a slow burn that had a faction and betrayal, this may have been the most disappointing match of the night. Maggots and cockroaches displayed in a big projector in the ring which gave a cool effect. Yes, Bray was finally going to be the evil entity that we all thought he could be. Then…RKO. Randy Orton wins the title. Bray Wyatt is not 0-3 in Wrestlemania matches (ouch!). The good thing is, the Bray and Randy feud can go on for a little bit longer. Keep in mind that you still have Harper and a returning Rowan that may be into play. Bray should get the title back at some point.
Goldberg (c) vs. Brock Lesnar: Shades of the Wrestlemania XX match rang through my head as this got going. I'm sure there were also polls of how long this match would be (it hit just shy of five minutes) WWE did the impossible - they made the match entertaining where the crowd was into it and gave both men a platform to show their strengths. It's crazy to think that Goldberg just has a two-move set, but he does! Creative managed to make Brock the sympathetic character that you cheered for. I doubt that we will see Goldberg anytime soon, especially after taking 10 german suplexes and an F5. Brock is your new Universal Champion on Raw. Now, what do you do? Finn Balor is coming back and will presumably be in the title picture (rightfully so). You have Seth Rollins, but there's also the matter of Roman Reigns.
Alexa Bliss (c) vs. All available women: This match got what they call the "death spot" right before the main event. You can tell that they were rushing because they were short on time. Naomi, the hometown favorite got most of the spotlight. All the ladies tried to get their respective spots in. Naomi picked up the win and the title - deservingly so. Smackdown’s Women’s division is so deep that Naomi could feud with anyone of the ladies and it be fresh. I would also guess that there would be some trades happening during the draft to freshen up the Raw Women’s roster because it could use it.
The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns: So, you ever think back to the boxer who just overstayed his welcome and gets beat up after their prime? Unfortunately, in his last match, this is what The Undertaker looked like. For a man that was a pillar of the WWE for 25 years, he deserved to go out in a better way. You can disagree on who was supposed to face The Undertaker for his last match, but Roman Reigns is the hand-picked guy. They tried their best to make the most out of this. There were a couple of spots that were bad botches - the attempted reverse Tombstone was the most glaring one. In the end, you had the old wrestler with the fighting spirit and the young wrestler who asked him to stay down. That was probably the good part of the match. Would this loss have been even more meaningful with the streak intact? There's an argument for that. However, Roman beat The Undertaker in his last match in a convincing faction. You didn’t want to upstage Taker’s last match by a heel turn at this moment, but Roman is really embracing that role. No matter how it looked at the end, The Undertaker’s career is a legendary one and he should be immediately put in the Hall of Fame. Thank you, Taker.
Wrestlemania 33 was a good one. Of course, there were some things that could have been done better, but this show was way better than anybody expected it to be. If you can turn the Goldberg/Lesnar match into something that the fans wouldn’t turn on – that’s a success. This Wrestlemania was also a signal of the changing of the guard. The Undertaker was the last beacon of that early 90’s era and carried that larger than life persona for 20+ years. We now have new stars; incorporation of the Indies, and the highest potential the WWE has had in years. Now, let’s concentrate on the booking, letting wrestlers be a bit looser with their characters, and cutting Wrestlemania down time wise next year.