The 31st WrestleMania was another outdoor stadium show in Santa Clara, California at the home of NFL’s San Francisco 49ers. It was Roman Reigns challenging Brock Lesnar for the WWE Title with a surprising twist in the main event.
In addition to that, there were some other stories like Sting competing in his first WWE match ever against Triple H, The Undertaker trying to get a win after losing at the previous WrestleMania and a whole lot more.
I wrote this review live in 2015 and I have added some updated thoughts in blue font as well.
Here are the matches from the Kickoff Show.
Kickoff Show Match #1: Tag Team Titles – Tyson Kidd & Cesaro (w/Natalya) vs. The Usos (w/Naomi) vs. Los Matadores (w/El Torito) vs. Kofi Kingston & Big E (w/Xavier Woods)
Two men in the ring. Others on the apron. First fall wins. There was an attack by Cesaro on Jey where he tossed his shoulder into the barricade. Jey was dealing with a shoulder injury coming in. Los Matadores were working on Kofi. Jey was taken to the back by the trainer while Jimmy remained on the apron. Cesaro did the swing leading to a tag by Kidd and a dropkick to drop Kingston. Great spot. Jimmy tagged in and nailed a Samoan Drop on Kidd followed by superkicks on three guys. Jimmy hit running butt splash on Kidd, then Cesaro, then one of the Matadores and Big E too. Kingston hit a springboard attack on one of the Matadores. Kidd jumped off the top to go after Jimmy, but he ate a superkick too. Jimmy nailed Kidd with a punch. Cesaro cut off Jimmy with a huge uppercut. Big E was legal and he hit a splash on Cesaro. Kingston was launched into Cesaro by Big E and that was good for a two count. They did a corner spot with Cesaro doing the superplex spot on Big E, then Jimmy was suplexed onto Cesaro and there as a double Matadores spot with a Powerbomb into a Backstabber. Things went wild from there with everybody getting involved including Kidd hiding behind Natalya. Torito went for an attack on Woods with a headscissors. Natalya tripped up Torito and applied the Sharpshooter on him outside the ring. Naomi hit a dive over the top with Jimmy to take out two guys. Naomi hit the Rear View (aka Flying Ass) to take out Natalya. Back in the ring, Big E hit the Big Ending on one of the Matadores with Kingston helping to send the guy into the mat. That pinfall ended when others broke it up. There were all kinds of crazy spots by everybody in the match. It was really hard to keep track. The announcers lost track and the fans were probably confused too. They did this double suplex into slam spot out of the corner with three guys involved in each variation of it. Jimmy hit a Frog Splash on Big E. Cesaro tossed him out of the ring and covered Big E for the win. The announcers said apparently there was a tag. The replay showed that Cesaro made the tag on Jimmy’s leg before the splash, so it was legal. The champs celebrated with Natalya. It went 9:58.
Winners by pinfall: Cesaro & Tyson Kidd
Analysis: **1/2 That was a chaotic tag match. It had a lot of fun moments, but it was also tough to keep track of the last few minutes because they were trying to cram so much in there. There were pinfall attempts by guys who weren’t legal and the ref had a hard time keeping track of it too. In the end, the right team went over. Cesaro and Kidd are the best team in WWE, so I’m glad they’re still the tag champs. That kind of finish where somebody steals the pin isn’t that new or fresh. We see it a lot. It was still well done.
(Fun match with a wild finish. I really liked the Cesaro and Kidd as a team. This was early in the New Day’s run and they won the Tag Team Titles for the first time pretty soon after this.)
Kickoff Show Match #2: Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
The match started with Curtis Axel ripping his AxelMania shirt in the middle of the ring. A bunch of guys picked him up and then dumped him over the top, so he was the first guy out. The guys that were in the tag match are in here. There was a double boot spot by Rose and Fandango so they were both out. JBL mentioned that Big Show hasn’t won a big battle royal in his career. Huge chop by Show on Itami in the corner. Miz worked with Mizdow to eliminate Alex Riley, who fought back, but Mizdow was able to toss out Riley. Ryder wanted the Broski Boot, but Bo Dallas eliminated him. Dallas was attacked by Itami, who nailed him with a boot to send him out. There were “Hideo” chants until Show grabbed him, KO’d him and eliminated him. The crowd booed. Both Los Matadores members were eliminated by Kane. Sin Cara was eliminated by Cesaro. Henry dumped Kidd out with a press slam. The Ascension worked together to eliminate Henry. Ryback did a back body drop on both Ascension guys to eliminate them. Ryback nailed a huge clothesline on Darren Young and eliminated him. Ryback sent out Heath Slater with a press slam.
Ryback continued his dominance with a suplex style elimination on O’Neil. Show clothesline on Jack Swagger eliminated Swagger. Three New Day guys worked together on Big Show, but he held on. Show tossed out Big E, KO Punch on Woods to eliminate him and Kofi eliminated with a back body drop over the top. Show grabbed Rowan by the throat and eliminated him. Ryback Spear on Show and then he dumped out Goldust. Kane with double Chokeslam on Miz and Mizdow. Cesaro picked up Kane and sent him over the top in impressive fashion. Show eliminated Jimmy Uso. Cesaro went at Show and picked him up. The crowd cheered. Show was able to fight out and sent Cesaro over the top to the floor.
Final four: Big Show, Ryback, Miz and Mizdow. Ryback took Show down, but Show easily eliminated Ryback. It was Shows squaring off with Miz and Mizdow as the fans chanted for Mizdow. With Miz leading, Mizdow shook his head no. Miz yelled at him. With Miz walking away, Mizdow tossed Miz over the top to eliminate him. Miz was fuming. Huge ovation for that as Mizdow nailed him with a punch. The crowd loved it. Mizdow put up a fight with a clothesline while Show was against the apron, but Show came back with a shoulder tackle. Show charged in, Mizdow ducked and went over the top although he stayed on the apron. Show fought his way back to the ring. Mizdow tried to pull him over with a front facelock, but Show picked him up and dumped out Mizdow for the win at 18:05.
Winner: Big Show
Here’s the order of elimination: Curtis Axel, Adam Rose, Fandango, Alex Riley, Zack Ryder, Bo Dallas, Hideo Itami, Diego, Fernando, Sin Cara, Tyson Kidd, Mark Henry, Konnor, Viktor, Darren Young, Heath Slater, Titus O’Neil, Jack Swagger, Big E, Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, Erick Rowan, Goldust, Kane, Jimmy Uso, Cesaro, Ryback, The Miz and Damien Mizdow.
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a fun battle royal to watch. Mizdow cementing his babyface turn was really well done. The fans were so into it. There were a lot of other fun parts like when Cesaro nearly eliminated Big Show again. I’m a little surprised that Show won it because he really didn’t need a win like that, but I get why WWE did it to make him look like more of a credible heel. Mizdow winning would have been the happier finish that the fans would have loved to see. However, it’s not like every win has to be a babyface finish. Show winning makes sense because he’s the current giant in WWE, so they can have him brag about it as a way to get heat.
Post match, Show went outside the ring and posed with the Andre the Giant battle royal trophy.
(That rating is higher than what I usually give for a battle royal. I liked this battle royal more because they got nearly 20 minutes and had some more fun moments in here. When Mizdow eliminated Miz it was a big deal at the time. Too bad that they never really capitalized on that Mizdow and Miz story with a blow-off match.)
WWE WrestleMania 31
Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California
March 29, 2015
Aloe Blacc sang America the Beautiful on the stage. He’s the guy that sings that “I’m the Man” song. The set is pretty cool like usual. I feel bad for the fans sitting behind the objects that are a part of the stage, but that’s what happens with an outdoor stadium.
There was a two minute video narrated by LL Cool J talking about how entertainment has evolved, but what’s still present is all of us. It was basically him talking about WrestleMania history and how they were all things that connected us.
Levi’s Stadium looked pretty full as the live broadcast began of the PPV portion of the show began. There were ladders all around the ring because the ladder match is up first. Daniel Bryan entered first to thunderous “yes” chants. The announce team of Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to the show. There were shots of other announcers at ringside too.
Intercontinental Title Ladder Match: Bad News Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Stardust vs. Luke Harper vs. R-Truth vs. Dean Ambrose
The first guy that pulls down the IC Title hanging from above the ring is the new IC Champ. Ziggler had his hair braided in the back. Harper took out everybody with a dive when they were outside the ring. Ambrose climbed a ladder with an elbow attack to knock everybody down. Barrett attacked Truth with a ladder and then Bryan nailed a dropkick to knock down Barrett. Bryan hit a dropkick on Stardust, who was against a ladder and then Harper shoved the ladder at Bryan’s face. Bryan came back with some kicks to the head of Harper while he was hanging upside down on the ladder. Huge superkick by Ziggler on Bryan. Double clothesline by Ziggler and Ambrose sent Barrett outside the ring. Stardust hit a dropkick while guys were climbing to take them out. Stardust put out a black ladder from under the ring. The others were all silver. Barrett broke a step of it and attacked him with it. Ambrose attacked Barrett with a ladder. Harper nailed Ambrose with a boot to the face. Harper drove Ambrose face first into a ladder. Truth tripped up Harper and then hit an axe kick. Barrett gave Stardust a suplex off the top of a big ladder. Fans chanted “holy shit” for that. Barrett hit pretty hard on the fall, but looks to be okay.
The popular trio of Bryan, Ambrose & Ziggler battled on top of a ladder with Ambrose knocking them both down. Harper gave Ambrose a Powerbomb over the top onto ladders at ringside that were bridged from the barricade to the ring apron. That was a nasty bump! Great spot. Ziggler was on Harper’s back as he climbed and Ziggler dropped him with a Zig Zag-like move off the ladder. Ziggler climbed up, but Barrett yanked him down and nailed a Bull Hammer elbow on him. Barrett with a Bull Hammer on Stardust. Truth was at the top of the ladder and Barrett nailed a Bull Hammer on him. Bryan almost climbed up for the win, but he didn’t make it. Bryan hit the running knee on Barrett. It was climb time for Bryan, Ziggler sprinted up and they exchanged punches. They even exchanged headbutts at the top of the ladder. Bryan won that battle and knocked down Ziggler. Bryan grabbed the title for the win at 13:47.
Winner and New Intercontinental Champion: Daniel Bryan
The stadium erupted in “YES” chants in support of the New IC Champion. Replays showed some of the big spots in the match.
Analysis: ***3/4 Bryan was the obvious pick and the right pick. He’s going to do a lot of great things by winning that title because he has more credibility than anybody else in the match. There were some really cool spots in the match with each guy getting a chance to really be in control. Ambrose had the spot of the match when he took a Powerbomb onto those ladders outside the ring. He didn’t come back after that. I liked how the bigger guys Harper and Barrett looked strong at different points in the match. It made them look dominant. Bryan didn’t really do anything out of the ordinary to steal the show. He just kept coming back when it looked like he might be out of it. That finish hopefully means there’s a Bryan/Ziggler feud in the very near future because that would be amazing.
(This was a very good match. It’s a smart choice for an opener due to a ladder being exciting. I liked some of the big spots they did although a few of them were very risky too. Bryan’s reign as IC Champion didn’t last that long due to a concussion a few months after this and we didn’t know it at the time, but it cost him three years of wrestling.)
There was a commercial for WWE’s new deal with the Tapout clothing line.
A video package aired to set up the Randy Orton feud with Seth Rollins going back to last summer, then Orton being taken out for four months and returning recently.
Seth Rollins (w/Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury) vs. Randy Orton
It was mentioned by Cole that it’s the 12th straight WrestleMania for Orton, who is in red tights. Rollins did some crazy flip and Orton nailed him with a dropkick. Rollins did the Powerbomb into the turnbuckle, but Orton came back with a clothesline to knock him down. Orton gave J&J double DDT’s off the apron onto the floor outside the ring. Rollins capitalized with a dive outside the ring. Rollins controlled the action in the ring with a dropkick and then he slammed Orton face first into the middle turnbuckle. Orton avoided an attack, nailed two clotheslines and hit a powerslam in a spot where he countered a Curb Stomp. Slick move. Orton hit an overhead suplex. With Orton on the apron, Rollins nailed him with an enziguiri kick to the head. Rollins hit a springboard moonsault to take out Orton outside the ring. You don’t see Rollins do that too much, but he’s such a great wrestler that he has that move in his arsenal.
Back in the ring, Rollins went to the rope, but Orton met him there and gave him a back body drop into the ring. Orton hit a cross body block in a move he doesn’t do that often. Rollins rolled through for two. Orton came back with a DDT off the ropes. Rollins with a rollup to counter the RKO, then a kick to the face. Rollins was going for a flipping neckbreaker, but Orton fought out and hit the RKO for the two count. Everybody thought that was it. Rollins was able to kick out. Orton hit RKO on Noble and then on Mercury when they tried to interfere. Rollins capitalized with a Curb Stomp and Orton kicked out at two. They each kicked out of finishers. Rollins went to the top, turned his back, jumped off and Orton moved. Rollins went for a Curb Stomp, then it looked as if Rollins got higher in the air and Orton nailed a RKO. Holy crap that finish was amazing! Orton pinned for the win at 13:15.
Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton
Analysis: ***3/4 Wow. I didn’t see that finish coming. That was beautiful. They really did it out of nowhere. It helps that Rollins is such a great athlete because not a lot of guys can do a move like that. They have very good chemistry and it showed. I was thinking the match might be longer than that, but it was done at a pretty fast pace. It’s not often you see guys working in the second match and kicking out of finishers, but I’m cool with it because these are main event level performers. Orton winning made sense for the story since he was taken out by Rollins. He should have been the winner. As a fan of both guys, I would have liked another 5-7 minutes just to make it more of a memorable match. It was still very good.
(This match had one of my favorite finishes to a Randy Orton match ever. Rollins going for The Stomp, then Orton launching him into the air into the RKO is one of the most creative finishes I have ever seen. It was their first big match, so it was fresh and the pop for it was massive. The Orton win made sense considering what happened later in the night.)
They showed UFC Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey at ringside with her friends. Rousey’s a phenomenal athlete.
There was a really long video package to set up Triple H’s match against Sting.
Sting’s entrance featured some guys on the stage banging on drums and hitting gongs to give it that special feel. There was a really loud ovation when he appeared on the stage. It’s awesome to see that because he deserves it. He looked around the stadium to soak it all in.
Triple H had a Terminator entrance complete with Arnold Schwarzenegger on the screen talking about how it’s time to play the game. WWE is going to plug Arnold’s next Terminator movie for several months, so that’s why they’re doing. It was okay. A little cheesy, but I didn’t mind it.
No Disqualification Match: Triple H vs. Sting
It was announced that you could win by pinfall or submission only. Sting is not wrestling in a t-shirt. He’s in a singlet. Hunter has “HHH” on his trunks, elbow pads and knee pads had his symbol. Long staredown by both guys with Sting getting the early advantage with a shoulderblock. Hunter got a shoulderblock, then Sting hit an armdrag and a dropkick. Fans chanting “you still got it” for Sting. When Hunter hit a move, Sting did his patented no selling spot and Hunter was stunned. Hunter bailed to the floor. When he went back in the ring, Sting whipped him into the corner and Hunter did his usual bump over the corner to the floor. Sting missed a corner splash out of the ring, so Hunter finally had control. Hunter whipped Sting into the steel steps. Suplex by Hunter brought Sting back into the ring.
Hunter dominated by whipping Sting hard into the corner a couple of times. Hunter did a crotch chop to taunt Sting. Spinebuster by Hunter earned a two count. Hunter went for an attack off the middle rope, but Sting caught him and applied the Scorpion Death Lock. It was interrupted by the New Age Outlaws and X-Pac. Sting dumped them all out of the ring. They all stood outside the ring, so Sting climbed to the top and hit a crossbody block to take them all out. That’s impressive for a 56 year old! Gunn attacked again, Sting hit him with a punch and Hunter connected with Pedigree. Sting kicked out at two. Hunter went under the ring for the sledgehammer.
The New World Order’s music hit as Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Hulk Hogan went down to the ring. There was a huge reaction for them. They took care of the three DX guys by the ring. Hunter just looked at them like a dumbass. Sting hit the Scorpion Death Drop. Hunter kicked out at two. People thought that was it. Sting applied the Scorpion Death Lock in the center of the ring. Hunter tried to get the sledgehammer, but Hogan pulled it outside the ring. X-Pac shoved Hogan into the ring post. Nash took out X-Pac, then Gunn knocked down Nash. It looked like Nash was grabbing his leg and that he got hurt. Road Dogg gave Hall a back body drop outside the ring. Sting’s grip on the Scorpion wasn’t great. Hunter was able to get to the ropes. JBL is really pushing the “us against them” idea. Sting went for the Scorpion Death Lock again, but Shawn Michaels showed up in a DX shirt and knocked down Sting with a superkick. Hunter covered, but it only got him a two count. Great nearfall that the crowd bought into. Hunter was handed the sledgehammer by Gunn while Sting was given the bat by Hall. Sting hit Hunter in the ribs with a bat shot and then Sting used his bat to break the sledgehammer in half. Sting unloaded on Hunter with punches in the corner. Stinger Splash by Sting. He went for another, but Hunter countered with a sledgehammer shot to the head. Hunter covered for the win at 18:36.
Winner by pinfall: Triple H
Analysis: ***1/4 A pretty good match. It wasn’t a great match in terms of the work, but in terms of nostalgia it was a lot of fun. The crowd was really into it especially in the second half. There were times when the action was really slow and you could tell Sting wasn’t going to crank it up because he’s older, but he held up well. I liked the crossbody spot. His Scorpion Death Lock didn’t look that great at times. Hunter going over is definitely a bit of a surprise to me. I don’t really understand the logic of bringing in Sting and having him lose, but it probably means he will wrestle again. There’s really no reason for Hunter to go over. I guess you could say they did it to put the younger guy over. I don’t think this story is over.
Post match, the DX guys helped Triple H get back up while the NWO guys helped Sting. Nash seemed to be moving okay. Good visual seeing all of those guys in the ring. Hunter extended a hand to Sting. Sting looked him in the eye and shook his hand. The other guys backed off. Hunter patted him on the head as if to say good job. JBL was bragging about how “we won again” referring to WWE.
(I thought the decision to put Triple H over Sting was very questionable. Perhaps the thinking was that Hunter needed the win since WWE wanted him in a tag team match with Stephanie McMahon against The Rock and Ronda Rousey in a match that never happened, but at the time, that match was rumored. I just think the first Sting match in a WWE ring should have seen him get the win. It’s not like it was a clean win anyway. The cameos by the other legends were smart and the fans reacted to it well.)
There was a commercial for WWE Network having new content coming soon: Camp WWE adult comedy, a show called Swerved with the producers of Jackass and Jerry Springer’s Too Hot for TV. There’s also going to be another diva search show.
Maria Menounos was backstage in a Bushwhackers shirt. New IC Champion Daniel Bryan showed up. He said it’s incredible and Pat Patterson said congratulations to him. Roddy Piper also showed up. He said every time he thinks he’s got all the answers, Bryan is changing the questions and he kissed him in the head. Ricky Steamboat also congratulated him and said that match ranks up there with the match he had with Macho Man. Ric Flair showed up to offer up a “Woo” in celebration. He even gave a chop to Steamboat. Bret Hart congratulated Bryan also and said they need to think of one word to describe the feeling. They all chanted “yes” together. Ron Simmons showed up to offer up a “DAMN” and then he left. Back to the “yes” chants by the group.
Analysis: That was a fun segment with the legends putting over Bryan. Good cameo spots by all of them. Those kinds of things are great for a WrestleMania show.
There was a musical performance by Travis Barker, Skylar Grey and Kid Ink singing the WrestleMania theme song.
Analysis: It took about five minutes. It was fine, but I was writing and tweeting stuff too.
The announcers Cole, Lawler and JBL were on screen with their Mountain Dew bottles present because WWE loves sponsors. They showed troops in Washington watching the show.
The divas are up next. New outfit for Paige a bit, but still dominated by black and some purple added in. The Bella Twins were in their usual gear with Nikki holding the Divas Title above her head.
Paige & AJ Lee vs. Nikki & Brie Bella
Nikki hit an early Alabama Slam on Paige for a two count. Brie hit a missile dropkick to take down Paige. There’s a “Nikki I’ll give you babies” sign in the crowd. That’s creative. AJ Lee was down on the floor because Nikki knocked her down. Brie nailed a running knee on AJ when she was on the apron and then on Paige when she was against the ropes. Double suplex by the Bellas. The domination continued with Nikki hitting the Rack Attack at the four minute mark and Paige kicked out of Nikki’s finisher. Paige fought back with a kick for Nikki and she elbowed Brie down. Paige sent Nikki to the floor. Paige hit a running dive off the apron to take out the Bellas. AJ finally got back to her feet and received the hot tag. AJ hit a Thesz Press on Nikki, then a clothesline and more punches. AJ hit a Tornado DDT variation that stunned Nikki on the top rope. Roll through on a cross body thanks to a Paige assist on a dropkick for two. Nikki had AJ on her shoulders, then AJ countered with a DDT that didn’t connect that great, but it was good enough. When AJ went for a Black Widow Submission, Brie distracted. Nikki hit AJ with a forearm shot after a Brie distraction. That was good enough for two. Paige took out Brie. AJ made Nikki tap out with the Black Widow submission for the win at 6:42.
Winners by submission: Paige & AJ Lee
Analysis: ** It was a solid tag match. The heels worked on Paige for much of it, then AJ came in and was able to overcome the cheating for the win. That’s the usual time for divas matches on PPV are seven minutes, so it was typical in that regard. No extra time for the girls this time around. AJ getting the win isn’t a surprise because champs usually lose tag matches to set up a future title shot, so look for AJ to challenge Nikki soon.
(It wasn’t a memorable match in any way. The next day they had another tag team match on Raw and it was AJ Lee’s last match. We had no idea at the time that it was going to be the end of her career, but it made sense due to injuries she dealt with and her husband CM Punk leaving WWE one year earlier.)
They showed a Tale of the Tape for the WWE Title match.
There were highlights shown from the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony from Saturday.
All of the Hall of Fame inductees appeared on the stage to salute the crowd. They showed Kevin Nash last. He was in a suit instead of the NWO gear.
The video package aired for Rusev defending the US Title against John Cena.
The lovely Lana carried out the US Title on her shoulders. There were cannons on the stage along with Russian flags and “Russian soldiers” walked Lana down to the ring. Rusev walked to the ring with the flag in his hand.
Analysis: This Rusev entrance is awesome. The man has a tank and Lana. He wins.
There was an “America is the best because we say we are” kind of video for John Cena’s entrance. I love you, America. Please don’t hurt Canada for sending you that Bieber kid. We mean no harm. It was a good video in all seriousness.
John Cena got a mostly positive reaction, but there was that familiar “John Cena suuucks” chant/sing-along that is so fun. Rusev made Eden the announcer introduce him first. Then she introduced Cena. Usually the champ is second, but Rusev yelled at her.
Analysis: I liked the in-ring special entrances for the US Title match.
(In case you don’t know who Eden is, that is Brandi Rhodes – the wife of Cody Rhodes.)
United States Title: Rusev (w/Lana) vs. John Cena
Cena hit Rusev with a clothesline right off the bat, but Rusev was able to come back. Greek flag in the crowd about 8 rows deep. That’s my favorite fan there. Rusev controlled the action with a splash in the corner then a rolling attack in the corner. Kevin Owens does it better. Sorry Rusev. Lana gave Rusev the flag so he can wave it while Cena is down in the ring. Cena made his comeback with the spinning suplex and the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Rusev came back with a back suplex for two. Rusev hit another powerslam variation for two. Cena was able to come back with a Leg Drop to the back of the neck for a two count. Some fans were chanting for Lana. Smart people. Rusev came back with his standing side kick. Cena came back with a big boot as well as a Tornado DDT for a two count. The DDT was a bit sloppy. Rusev: “You can’t beat me John Cena.” Then he kneed him and gave him an Alabama Slam because it’s apparently Alabama Slam night. Cena tripped up Rusev with an STF. Lana threw her shoe in the ring, but it missed. Rusev grabbed the bottom rope.
Rusev caught Cena during a cross body block attempt and gave him a fallaway slam. Rusev to the top rope. He nailed a flying headbutt to Cena’s ribs for a two count. That was an impressive leap. Cena did a spot where he jumped off the middle rope and jumped back with a move that looked like a Stunner for a two count. Rusev came back with a hard kick to the face, then he slammed Cena down face first and applied the Accolade. The crowd reacted to it in a big way. Cena was able to fight out of it by driving Rusev back first into the turnbuckle. Cena applied the STF, but it wasn’t enough. Lana was on the apron yelling. Rusev charged at Cena, he moved and Rusev knocked Lana off the apron. Cena came back with the Attitude Adjustment, pinfall by Cena and that was it at 14:31.
Winner by pinfall and New US Champion: John Cena
Analysis: **3/4 It’s no surprise that Cena got the win. It’s the first time Rusev has been pinned on the main roster. I would have liked to see Rusev kick out of the AA at least to make him look tough to beat. Having him lose just like that didn’t make Rusev strong enough in my eyes. Cena put in a good effort and the crowd liked him for most of the match. I’m still getting used to this “John Cena – midcard champion” run of his career. I’m not complaining. It’s just surprising to me.
(Cena’s run as US Champion ended up being a lot of fun, so while I was skeptical of it, I enjoyed it over the next couple of months. I know a lot of fans were mad about this result because Cena was the veteran guy and Rusev was the younger guy, which meant it could have been the perfect time to put over Rusev in a big way. That didn’t happen, though. I wasn’t surprised by the Cena win at all.)
Post match, Cena celebrated with his title. Rusev yelled at Lana for causing him to lose. Cena greeted his dad at ringside alongside some others. The Rock’s mom and daughter were there.
There was a commercial for WrestleMania 32 next year on April 3, 2016 in the Dallas area.
The Kickoff Panel team of Renee Young, Booker, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton wasted some time talking about stuff from the Kickoff Show.
Promo Time With Stephanie and Hunter Gets Interrupted By The Rock And Ronda Rousey
Stephanie McMahon was in the ring with Triple H to say that the attendance was over 76,976 people. Hunter bragged about how he won earlier in the show and that he owned Sting while also saying that he owned all of you. Cue the appearance of somebody special.
The Rock’s music hit and he marched on the ramp to a thunderous ovation from the crowd. He did a lot of posing on the stage, then he walked down the ramp with a purpose and soaked in the cheers from the fans. Loud “Rocky” chants from the fans. Fans chanting “This is Awesome” before he even said. More “Rocky” chants. Stephanie: “Okay we get it you’re happy to see him. Can you be quiet now?” Stephanie is awesome.
The Rock said that they don’t own them (the fans) and they damn sure don’t own The Rock. He talked about how he was an East Bay boy. He said he was born in the East Bay. Rock told Hunter that there are two choices: Hunter can go back to dress like Terminator again or they can create a WrestleMania right here and right now. Rock fired off some catchphrases after saying that he had one of the best rivalries ever with Triple H. They had a long staredown. Hunter told him that they had a hell of a rivalry and he remembers kicking his ass for most of it, so he doesn’t have anything to prove to him. The Rock said just like The Rock left his heart in San Francisco, Hunter has clearly left his balls in Stamford, Connecticut. Stephanie told Hunter to calm down. She said Rock is there to feed his ego because without The McMahons there would be no Rock. Stephanie brought up Peter Maivia, Rocky Johnson and then said Dwayne Johnson would be nobody without Vince McMahon, Vince McMahon Jr. and Stephanie McMahon. There was also a “Shane O Mac” chant. Awesome. Rock made a smartass comment to her, so Stephanie slapped Rock. Stephanie said that this is her stadium and her people. She told him to leave now.
It looked like The Rock was going to leave. He walked around the ring a bit. He stopped by UFC fighter Ronda Rousey, who is undefeated and a huge star in UFC. Crowd was chanting “Ronda Rousey” for her. She jumped the rail. The Rock brought her into the ring with him. She’s in the new Fast 7 movie with Rock. Fans were chanting “Ronda’s gonna kill you” as Rock paused. Rock said he would never hit a woman, but he has a very good friend who would be happy to. Stephanie said that she and Ronda Rousey are friends. She asked Ronda to tell him. Stephanie put over Ronda as the most dangerous unarmed woman on the planet and she’s the queen of the Octagon. Stephanie said that this is her ring, so she told Ronda to get the hell out of her ring. Ronda grabbed the microphone. She told Stephanie that any ring she steps into is hers and if Steph wants her to leave she should make her. Stephanie told her to get out now. Ronda just stared at her. Rock told Steph that Ronda’s look means she’s going to rip out Steph’s insides and play jump rope with her fallopian tubes. Hunter spoke up to say that’s the last thing Rock will say about his wife.
Rock said fine because he’s done talking. Rock nailed Hunter with punches and then Ronda took down Hunter rather easily. Stephanie tried to strike her. Ronda grabbed her by the arm, then tossed her down and Stephanie bailed. Rock said that’s called being owned and that’s the biggest moment of the night if you smell what The Rock and Ronda is cooking. Stephanie and Hunter went up the ramp with Stephanie holding her arm. The Rock celebrated in the ring with Ronda.
Analysis: That was a long segment that went about 20 minutes, but it was one of those special WrestleMania moments that we didn’t expect and it delivered big time. Rousey came off like a huge star. The Rock’s promo work was entertaining and funny like always. Stephanie may have been the best of them all because she was fantastic as the bratty, egotistical heel that did an awesome job of riling up the fans with her comments. Great work. If you missed the show, check out that segment. It was a lot of fun. Maybe we can pencil in Rock vs. Triple H at WrestleMania 32 although it’s still early for that obviously.
(This was excellent and one of the most memorable parts of the show. The Rock wasn’t advertised, neither was Rousey and seeing Rousey in a WWE ring was cool. It was known by that point that Rousey was a big wrestling fan, so I think most people thought that at some point in her life she would wrestle in WWE. Three years later, she signed with WWE and had a pretty impressive rookie year. Stephanie was great as the bitchy heel that got her ass kicked because she didn’t have women beat her up that much. It was also cool to see Rousey take down Triple H. Credit to him for bumping for her like that and making Rousey look like more of a badass. I also enjoyed the interaction between old rivals Rock and Triple H. As I said earlier, the rumors were to do this mixed tag at WrestleMania the next year, but it didn’t happen.)
Bray Wyatt made his entrance. He had some creepy dudes dressed like scarecrows that were walking to the ring with him. I’m a little surprised that there was no video package for this, but Undertaker never appeared on Raw so it would just be highlights of Wyatt’s promos.
The Undertaker’s entrance was as impressive as always. There’s still some light in the stadium, but it still looked cool as we walked to the ring. He’s got more hair than he did the last few years. He also seemed to have a good tan too. The announcers said he looked better than last year. That’s probably true.
(The build for this was weird. As I wrote above, The Undertaker didn’t appear at all on TV to set the match up. It was just announced that they would have a match.)
The Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt
Undertaker opened up with power early on and then did a shoulderblock to knock down Wyatt. Undertaker hit the old school top rope clothesline. Fans chanted “you still got it” for him. Wyatt took him down, but Undertaker yanked him out of the ring and drove him into the side of the ring. Boot to the face by Undertaker. More vintage Undertaker as he nailed Wyatt with a legdrop on Wyatt on the apron. In the ring, corner clothesline by Wyatt, then he dropped Wyatt on the top rope and Wyatt came back with a running cross body block to take him down. Wyatt attacked with some punches in the corner. Wyatt powered Undertaker in the corner and hit a splash. By the way, there were reports that Wyatt had an ankle injury. He looks to be moving fine. The crowd was silent while Wyatt was on offense. Wyatt sent Undertaker’s head into the post, but as he did it Wyatt also hit his own knee into the steps. That was weird.
Back in the ring, Wyatt went for another attack. Undertaker applied Hell’s Gate submission, but Wyatt fought out of it. Wyatt hit a massive one-armed slam and a splash for a two count. Wyatt was favoring his knee. Wyatt went for Sister Abigail, but Undertaker choked him and hit a Chokeslam. Undertaker wanted the Tombstone and he connected with it. Wyatt kicked out at two. Undertaker wanted another Tombstone, but Wyatt slipped out and hit Sister Abigail for a two count. Wyatt did the crab walk and Undertaker sat up to counter it. Cool moment. Wyatt won a brawl between the two. Wyatt mocked Undertaker with the throat slash. Undertaker countered Sister Abigail, shoved him and hit another Tombstone. This time it’s good enough for the three as The Undertaker gets the win at 15:12.
Winner by pinfall: The Undertaker
The Undertaker is now 22-1 at WrestleMania. He did his pose after the match and the crowd showed him respect.
Analysis: **1/2 The match was solid. Not great. The announcers were talking about it like it was some classic and it wasn’t, but they want to talk about Undertaker like he’s still in his prime. He did look better this year compared to last year. WWE needed to give Undertaker to tell the story that he still has something left because it’s expected that he’s going to wrestle at WrestleMania 32 and that could be the end for him. There are probably people watching that hated it because Wyatt’s the younger guy that shouldn’t be doing the job, but I’m okay with it. Wyatt’s still under 30 years old and has a really bright future. He’ll be fine. He got to work with a legend. Losing is something he can overcome.
(It was just average. They just did it to give The Undertaker another win at WrestleMania after he lost the previous year. The commentary tried so hard to talk about Undertaker as if he was better than ever and it was pretty silly, but they sure tried to drive that point home. Like the Rusev/Cena match, they could have put the young guy over, but this outcome was also obvious with Undertaker getting another WrestleMania win.)
It was announced that Chris Jericho’s podcast with special guest John Cena will be on WWE Network on April 6 after Raw. That should be good because Jericho is great at it, but Steve Austin is even better.
There was a really long video package for Brock Lesnar’s WWE Title defense against Roman Reigns.
Roman Reigns made his entrance by walking in through the crowd like he usually does. It was a long walk because it’s a huge stadium. Reigns punched the mat and fireworks went off in the stadium.
Brock Lesnar’s entrance was met with cheers from the fans. Paul Heyman was with him of course. Lesnar looked to be in great shape like usual. There seemed to be a delay on his pyro because it didn’t go off when he did his signature pose. There was more pyro when he jumped on the apron.
(Going into this match, I thought Roman Reigns was winning the WWE Title. This match was the obvious main event of WrestleMania going back one year earlier and it seemed like a lock that Reigns would leave with the WWE Title. Nope. Plans change, pal.)
WWE World Heavyweight Title: Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Roman Reigns
Reigns got a shot in on Lesnar and Brock had a cut by his cheek. Lesnar hit a German Suplex followed by a F5. No cover from Lesnar. He hit an overhead suplex on Lesnar. Reigns came back with clotheslines, but Lesnar moved and hit a German Suplex. Reigns was smiling and Lesnar nailed him with a hard back suplex. “Suplex city, bitch” says Lesnar. As I was typing that, Lesnar hit another German Suplex. After a few kicks, Lesnar with another German Suplex. Lesnar put Reigns onto the top rope and then hit him with a series of knees to the face. A forearm smash by Lesnar sent Reigns into the barricade at ringside. Reigns was able to stun Lesnar with a knee, then Lesnar crushed him with a clothesline. Wow! What a beast. Lesnar hit a vertical suplex. Lesnar had some blood around his mouth. Reigns was on the apron, so Lesnar gave him an overhead suplex as the crowd chanted “eight” for what was Lesnar’s 8th suplex variation of the match. Lesnar hit the F5. Cole talked like it was over, so of course, Reigns kicked out. Fans booed at Reigns kicking out.
Lesnar took off his gloves and slapped Reigns hard in the face. They replayed the hard slap as Lesnar pounded on him some more. There’s a German Suplex by Lesnar and then another one, which is the 10th Lesnar suplex of the match. Lesnar hit his third F5 and Reigns kicked out again. Reigns shoved Lesnar into the ring post and Lesnar is bleeding. It looks like a legit cut because WWE banned blading years ago. Reigns connected with a Superman Punch. Lesnar didn’t even go down. Lesnar hit another Superman Punch and Lesnar was against the ropes. Lesnar moved out of the way of another punch, but Reigns was able to connect on another attempt. There’s a Spear by Reigns. He went back to the corner. Reigns hit a second Spear. Lesnar kicked out. Reigns went for another Superman Punch. Lesnar caught him. Lesnar hit the F5 on Reigns. Lesnar was too tired to cover. Both guys were out.
Here comes Seth Rollins! Money in the Bank cash-in. It’s officially been cashed-in and it’s now a triple threat match.
Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins
Rollins kicked Reigns out of the ring. Rollins hits the Curb Stomp on Lesnar. With Reigns still outside the ring, Rollins went for another Curb Stomp on Lesnar. Lesnar caught him. Reigns hit a Spear on Lesnar. Rollins hit a Curb Stomp on Reigns and he covered for the one…two…and three! Seth Rollins is the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion! Wow! What a moment!
Winner by pinfall and New World Heavyweight Champion: Seth Rollins
Analysis: **** If I’m calling it all one match then it gets four out of five stars from me. That ending was absolutely phenomenal. I didn’t predict the Rollins cash-in, but know a lot of people that did. Give WWE credit for pulling it off perfectly. Rollins was booked like a smart guy that was out there taking advantage of two guys who put their bodies on the line and he was able to find a way to get the win. That final ten-minute sequence was amazing. Reigns did a fantastic job with his comeback making it look like he was going to win and then Rollins was able to steal it from him. The match may be forgotten a bit because of the moment, but give credit to Lesnar and Reigns for having a hell of a match.
(I think this was an all-time great WrestleMania moment. Rollins was a heel, but that doesn’t take away how awesome it was to see the Money in the Bank cash-in during the main event of WrestleMania. The story is that Reigns was going to win the WWE Title from Lesnar, but due to the fans not reacting to Reigns in a favorable way in the build up to this match, the plan changed and during the show, Rollins was informed that he would do his Money in the Bank cash-in to win the WWE Title in the main event of WrestleMania. There were also stories that members of Roman Reigns were legitimately angry about it because a lot of them were brought to the show to watch Reigns win the WWE Title and then it didn’t happen. If Reigns won, it wouldn’t have bothered me, but this moment was a lot more memorable because we had never seen a Money in the Bank cash-in at a WrestleMania before, so it truly was one of the best WrestleMania moments of the decade and maybe even all-time.)
Rollins posed with the WWE Title at the top of the ramp as the fireworks went off. The first time a Money in the Bank cash-in in WrestleMania history. Awesome finish. The crowd was cheering for Rollins in part because they like him, but also because they got to witness a huge moment like that. Lesnar and Reigns were shown at ringside in a lot of pain while Rollins celebrated with fireworks going off above him. The show went off the air right at 11pmET.
(The show had a run time of exactly four hours. I love that. Every WrestleMania since then has been longer and I don’t know if they will ever keep it under four hours again.)
Analysis: What that Rollins win does is sets things up for the future very well. Lesnar can be booked as a babyface that gets his rematch down the line whether it’s at Extreme Rules or SummerSlam. It was Reigns that got pinned, not Lesnar. They can also put Reigns in the spot as the top contender because he had his opportunity taken from him due to Rollins cashing in there. Randy Orton is another option since he beat Rollins on this show. It opens up so many doors.
As for Rollins, I’m genuinely happy for the guy. He was the best performer in WWE in my eyes last year and now he’s rewarded for it. They gave us one of those WrestleMania Moments they always talk about with him cashing in the briefcase like that. It’s never happened at a WrestleMania before, so that’s awesome to see.
What a fantastic ending to WrestleMania. It doesn’t get much better than that. Awesome job WWE.
This event has a runtime of 3:59:28 on WWE Network.
Five Stars of the Show
1. Seth Rollins – This will always be remembered as a huge night for him. He deserves it.
2. Brock Lesnar – Amazing stage presence. Love watching him wrestle.
3. Daniel Bryan – He’s won every title a male wrestler can win in WWE. Will make a great champion.
4. Roman Reigns – People are hard on the guy, but I thought he did a really good match against Lesnar.
5. The Rock, Ronda Rousey, Stephanie McMahon & Triple H – I cheated by picking four people. However, that segment was gold. It needs to be honored.
It gets an 8 out of 10.
Suplex city, bitch! I love that. I really did.
It was one of the best WrestleManias ever. There weren’t any matches of the year, but the booking was really good all night long. Some of it was really obvious too. That’s okay, though. We like obvious if it means the matches are entertaining.
A big reason why WrestleMania was good is because matches had time. Some good promos were a part of it too. If you rush things it hurts. Let your performers WRESTLE.
It’s funny because I was asked a few days ago how we might remember WrestleMania 31. I really didn’t know how to answer, but after that ending it’s easy to say that we’ll remember this show because it was the night when Rollins became the first match to cash in Money in the Bank at a WrestleMania. It was a very memorable moment.
This goes to show that even if the TV product is poor, WWE can still pull out an excellent PPV show. That’s because there’s so much talent on the roster. On a PPV, they get to perform in the ring. On Raw it’s poorly written dialogue that is boring on a show that is too long.
I enjoyed WrestleMania. There’s a lot to discuss going forward and so many possibilities for Rollins next feud. The future is bright.
Good job WWE. Be proud of this show. It was a huge success.
That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here.
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