WWE WrestleMania 35 Review
WrestleMania 35 took place in 2019 in a familiar venue – MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. It’s the same venue as WrestleMania 29 six years earlier. This was a historic event because it was the first time WrestleMania was headlined by a women’s match as Becky Lynch, Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair competed in a Winner Take All match for both of WWE’s main women’s titles.
This is another review that I wrote live on the night it took place. I have added some 2002 thoughts in blue font for the main show matches as well. The rest remains unchanged.
Welcome to the TJRWrestling review of WrestleMania 35. The biggest WWE event is finally here. There are ten advertised championship matches including the Kickoff Show. There are 16 advertised matches with the potential for more to be added because WrestleMania always has surprises. Thanks for joining me for this review. WrestleMania is sponsored by Snickers while this review is sponsored by ICOPRO because you gotta want it, pal.
In case you missed any of my other reviews from this weekend, here’s my NXT Takeover New York review from Friday night for a show that I gave 10 out of 10 thanks to four of the five matches being over four stars out of five. The main event of Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole was a five-star match to me and it’s the best WWE match of 2019 so far.
The WWE Hall of Fame took place on Saturday and I reviewed it here. There were some fun speeches with DX doing a great job in the main event slot to close out the night. Unfortunately, the event may be most remembered for an idiot fan tackling Bret Hart in the ring. Thankfully, Bret is okay and the dumbass that tackled him was arrested. Bret deserves a lot of credit for finishing his speech celebrating The Hart Foundation with Jim “The Advil” Neidhart. Also, shoutout to Torrie Wilson for the line about helping guys through puberty leading to a huge ovation. That was funny. The DX guys had some great one-liners too. I like the comedy during the speeches because it lightens the mood for an event that ran nearly four hours.
It’s time for WrestleMania. Let’s get to it.
WWE WrestleMania 35
MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey
April 7, 2019
There were four Kickoff Show matches. Here are those matches.
Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy vs. Tony Nese
Murphy was aggressive early, Nese was ready for it and hit him with a forearm to the face. They went to the turnbuckle with Murphy jumping off and he sent Nese ribs first into the top rope. Murphy grabbed a headlock while a WrestleMania commercial aired on the split screen. Murphy had some blood around his left eye. Nese got back to standing ovation with a suplex into a turnbuckle. Nese with a running kick to the face followed by a spinning heel kick. Nese with a running back elbow, Murphy blocked a kick, Nese tripped him up and hit a moonsault on Murphy by the ropes for a two count. Cool spot. Nese with an open palm strike on Murphy by the turnbuckle. Murphy tried for a Powerbomb out of the corner, superkick to the head and Murphy hit a spinning slam off the shoulders for a two count. Nese countered a slam attempt into a pin. Murphy with a slam into the knee, a knee to the face, Nese avoided a brainbuster and Nese hit an inverted hurricanrana that looked impressive as he spiked Murphy on his head. That drew a pop from the crowd. Murphy worked over Nese with kicks until Nese came back with a forearm to the face. Murphy hit a running clothesline that spun Nese around. Nese had Murphy on his back and spiked him down into a pinning predicament for two. Nese went for the running knee, Murphy went to the floor and Nese hit a dive over the top to the floor. Nese went up top and hit a 450 Splash for a two count. Good nearfall there. Murphy came back with a jumping knee to the face and the Murphy’s Law connected near the ropes, but Nese got his left leg on the bottom rope. That’s a nice way to get a two count without hurting a finisher by kicking out. Murphy teased a running knee, Nese with a superkick and a German Suplex into the turnbuckle. Nese hit the Running Nese knee to the face for the pinfall win at 10:40. New champ.
Winner and New Cruiserweight Champion: Tony Nese
Analysis: ***1/4 That was a good match with Nese winning the title for the first time in his career. It was the right time for a title change. The stadium was still filling up with people, but the fans seemed to be into it by the end of the match. Nese was impressive by showing a lot of cool moves. Nese is a good worker like Murphy although I don’t think Nese’s personality is that strong in terms of getting people to be more interested in 205 Live. Nese was my pick to win.
The WrestleMania Women’s Battle royal was next. The women in this match were the main roster ladies that were not in other matches except Alicia Fox wasn’t a part of it. Ember Moon was in it, so she was back after elbow surgery. Good to see her return. They also included Candice LeRae and Kairi Sane from NXT.
WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal
The first woman eliminated was Maria, who doesn’t wrestle much. Asuka eliminated LeRae and Nikki Cross back to back with running hip attacks. Naomi and Moon faced off showing their athleticism with Naomi hitting a springboard kick on Moon. Moon hit an Eclipse off the turnbuckle on Lana. Moon hit a modified Eclipse on Naomi by the ropes to eliminate her. Moon up top and hit the Eclipse the usual way on Mandy Rose. Moon went up top again, so Lana shoved her down to eliminate her. That drew boos as Lana celebrated it in her Wonder Woman style gear. Kairi Sane went after Lana, who kicked Sane and Sane slammed Lana down. Sane went up and Sarah Logan of the Riott Squad shoved her off the top, but Sane held on. Logan hugged Lana, the Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan worked together to help Logan eliminate Lana. Sane with a back first on Logan, who went down in position leading to Sane going up top with the Insane Elbow off the top. Sane sent Morgan over the top, but Riott eliminated Sane with a kick to the floor. Carmella kicked down the members of the Riott Squad. Logan with a dropkick on Carmella, who rolled to the floor, which is key to remember. Morgan hit a flipping neckbreaker on Zelina Vega, Logan with a running knee on Asuka and Asuka avoided elimination as the Riott Squad was taking over. Dana Brooke battled the Riott Squad trio by herself. Brooke tossed Riott over the top to the floor. Brooke also sent Morgan over the top to the floor. The crowd cheered this rush of offense from Brooke. Zelina Vega with knees to the back of Brooke, a kick and a running double knee attack. Mandy Rose kicked Vega down and Rose teamed with Deville to eliminate Vega. Deville pulled down the rope, Brooke to the apron, then Rose and Deville worked together to get rid of Brooke with Deville kicking her out. Rose and Deville went after my favorite Mickie James. Or is Mandy my favorite? I can’t decide. James sent Rose to the apron and kicked her out. Deville followed up with a shoulder tackle to James to get rid of her.
The last three in the ring were Asuka, Logan and Deville although Carmella was still in it because she was not eliminated. Asuka looked dominant against Logan and Deville. Asuka sent Deville to the apron and did a sweep kick to eliminate her. Logan sent Asuka over the top to the floor. Logan thought she won, but Carmella went back in the ring. Logan with a clothesline. Carmella avoided an elimination, she sent Logan over the top to the apron and a superkick by Carmella eliminated Logan at 10:30.
Analysis: **1/4 It was fine for a battle royal. Asuka was the favorite, so when she was eliminated, that was a bit of a surprise. My pick was Mandy Rose and she made it near the end. The finish with Carmella winning is usually the kind of thing they would do to put a heel over because it was cheap, but she’s a face. It would be nice if WWE had a reward for the winner like a title shot. That way it would mean more. Trophies are there, but they don’t mean much in the storylines.
Carmella celebrated the win with the trophy that was at ringside. She hugged her dad at ringside. Her sister was there too.
The Raw Tag Team Title match was on the second hour of the Kickoff Show that was also broadcast on USA Network. Curt Hawkins was in a green outfit to represent the New York Jets, who played in MetLife Stadium. Ryder and Hawkins were best friends that grew up in the New York area. Hawkins had a losing streak gimmick with 269 losses in a row.
Raw Tag Team Championships: The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) vs. Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins
Dawson taunted Hawkins early on with a light slap to the face. Wilder got a rollup for a two count. Renee talked about how Hawkins and Ryder had their families there to support them. Cole noted that he and Graves talked about the grief they received about the location of WrestleMania because they always said New York even though it was New Jersey. Ryder tagged in with a missile dropkick on Wilder. Dawson pulled Wilder out of the way leading to Ryder bumping over the top to the floor as he became the face in peril. Wilder back in with a top rope elbow to the chest of Ryder. Dawson tagged back in with a dropkick to the back of Ryder. The announcers mentioned Zack’s fiancée without saying her name (Chelsea Green in NXT). They got engaged this weekend. Ryder tried to break free, but Wilder trapped him in an armbar again. The crowd was quiet for this match. Ryder sent Wilder into the turnbuckle to break free. Ryder managed to break free with a double neckbreaker on both heels. Dawson knocked Hawkins off the apron. Wilder decked Ryder with a clothesline. Dawson back in with a leg drop to Ryder. Wilder tagged back in leading to Dawson slamming Wilder onto Ryder with a leg drop. Ryder with a belly to back suplex on Wilder, back body drop on Dawson and Hawkins got the hot tag. Hawkins with a forearm on Dawson, dropkicks for both Revival guys and Hawkins yelled leading to the crowd cheering. Hawkins with a backslide pin for two. Jumping kick to the head by Hawkins to Wilder. Hawkins got a two count on Dawson. Double clothesline spot by Hawkins and Dawson. Ryder tagged back in and he hit a Rough Ryder leg drop lariat to Dawson. Wilder and Ryder did a suplex spot over the top to the floor. Hawkins sent Ryder back in, Hawkins tagged in and covered Dawson for two because Wilder pulled Hawkins out of the ring. Wilder with a DDT on Ryder on the floor. Dawson hit a brainbuster on Hawkins on the floor. The crowd came alive cheering “Let’s go Hawkins” as Dawson brought Hawkins back into the ring. Hawkins was selling like he was out while Dawson asked the ref to check on him. Dawson lifted Hawkins back up leading to an inside cradle for the pinfall win at 13:20. New Tag Team Champions and Hawkins’ losing streak ended at 269 straight losses.
Winners by pinfall and New Raw Tag Team Championships: Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins
Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid tag team match with the surprising finish where the inside cradle was used rather than a finishing move. The crowd was dead for a lot of it, but they got into it by the end. That was a cool moment for local boys Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins. I have no problem with the title change, but it would have been nice if WWE built up the story more because Ryder/Hawkins weren’t on TV much at all in the last two months. They should have been featured more to set this up. It will likely be a short title reign for Ryder and Hawkins if I had to guess.
(It was cool for Ryder and Hawkins since they were from the area. I just think it could have been built up a lot better and it would have meant more on the main show.)
— Matt Cardona (@TheMattCardona) April 8, 2019
Ryder and Hawkins celebrated with the titles. The fans were strongly behind them with a lot of cheering. They weren’t into the match that much, but they were happy for Ryder and Hawkins.
Analysis: I’m happy for both guys. They are good workers that have been booked like shit for way too long. I don’t expect a long title reign, but at least they got to have this WrestleMania moment in their “hometown” or close enough to home.
Andre the Giant Men’s Battle Royal
Braun Strowman was dominant early while Michael Che and Colin Jost went outside the ring right away. There were no real surprise entrants other than Luke Harper, who was out for about six months. Titus O’Neil tossed out Heath Slater and Ali eliminated O’Neil soon after. No Way Jose was eliminated by Heavy Machinery hit a double team suplex on Strowman and Strowman was whipped into the ring post to the floor, so he was not eliminated. Karl Anderson was on the top rope and got knocked off to eliminate him. The Hardys worked together against Rhyno. Bobby Roode and Gran Metalik were the next two guys to be eliminated. Andrade did a creative monkey flip on Kalisto to eliminate him. Gable hit two German Suplexes on Andrade, but Andrade managed to eliminate him. Otis did his caterpillar elbow onto both Ascension guys and that eliminated the Ascension. Strowman ran back in, clothesline to Gallows to knock him out, Strowman dropkick on Heavy Machinery and he dumped them both out. Harper had Ali in the air for a suplex by the apron, so Strowman kicked them and knocked both guys down with a rough landing on the floor. Announcer Tom Phillips mentioned Strowman set a record for eliminations in an Andre battle royal without saying a number. Andrade hit a headscissors on Apollo Crews on the apron and they were both eliminated. The Hardys tried to eliminate Strowman by pulling him over the top to the floor. Jost and Che from SNL emerged from under the ring to try to get rid of Braun, but they failed and Braun eliminated both Hardys.
That left Strowman, Jost and Che as the final three. Colin Jost did a promo to say that not everything has to end in violence. A guy in a suit entered the ring with Jost telling him that he was his therapist. The therapist tried teaching Braun some breathing techniques, so Strowman punched the guy in the chest and gave him a Chokeslam. Strowman tossed the “therapist” into Jost. Che stepped over the top to eliminate himself, Braun punched him in the face and that eliminated Che. It’s Strowman and Jost as the final two. Strowman missed a boot, so Jost tried to eliminate Strowman over the top rope. Strowman picked up Jost on his shoulder and tossed Jost over the top onto a bunch of wrestlers on the floor that were there to break Jost’s fall. Strowman was the winner at 10:20.
Winner: Braun Strowman
Analysis: *3/4 It was lame for a battle royal that really focused on three guys at the end while the others looked like idiots. Everybody in the match felt like filler except Braun and the SNL guys, so that hurt the match in my eyes. Strowman eliminated more than half the guys in the match or at least that’s what it felt like. Strowman is in great shape, yet creative had nothing for the guy. The stuff with Che and Jost wasn’t that interesting. It just made them look out of place. Was the point of the battle royal to make me feel sorry for Braun Strowman only being in the battle royal? Strowman is in great shape, yet creative had nothing better for him to do and that’s a shame considering he’s a main eventer. I feel sorry for Braun being wasted in that match. He should have had a bigger role at WrestleMania.
There were about ten minutes left in the Kickoff Show until the main show was about to begin.
WRESTLEMANIA 35 MAIN SHOW
The show began with Yolanda Adams singing “America the Beautiful” on the stage with a choir standing behind her. She did a great job. Obviously. It’s not like they are going to pick a bad singer for that. After the song, there was some pyro, so for those of us that miss pyro, there it is at WrestleMania.
The opening video was pretty cool as they featured wrestlers in some of the biggest matches on the card showing intensity while an energetic song played. I thought it was very well done. It featured phrases like “we are the players” and “we are the storytellers” while ending with Ronda Rousey saying she will take it all.
The stage was lit up with pyro by the giant video screen. Michael Cole welcomed us to the show at ringside with Corey Graves and Renee Young calling the Raw matches. Mike Rome was the ring announcer for Raw.
Alexa Bliss made her entrance in a silver dress on the stage. Bliss said that you don’t just need a host, but a goddess. Bliss talked about how if she wants a WrestleMania moment, all she has to do is snap her fingers. Bliss snapped her fingers and Hulk Hogan’s music hit. Big pop for the Hulkster as he posed and joined Bliss on the stage.
Hogan did a promo saying it’s great to be back here at WrestleMania and right here in the Silverdome, which was a joke from when he said that instead of Superdome in 2014. Hogan said “MetLife Center” even though it’s MetLife Stadium. Hogan asked what we’re gonna do when Hulkamania, Alexa Bliss and WrestleMania run wild on you? Bliss joined Hogan in a flexing routine.
Analysis: It was a simple promo where Hogan only spoke for about one minute and got the name of the stadium wrong.
Paul Heyman walked down to the ring with a purpose. He did a promo saying that if his client is not in the main event then we’re doing this right now. Heyman introduced the Universal Champion Brock Lesnar with the crowd chanting along with the intro.
Brock Lesnar made his entrance with the Universal Championship and there was some pyro for him on his way to the ring. Lesnar is in great shape. The Raw announce team was shown on camera talking about the match starting early with Renee saying Rollins was confident.
There was a cool graphic for Seth Rollins’ entrance and then it said “Beast Slayer” on the giant video screen. Big pop for Rollins for his entrance.
Lesnar went after Rollins outside the ring as he sent him into the barricade. Lesnar hit Rollins with a F5 on the floor. Lesnar whipped Rollins into the side of the ring and the barricade. Lesnar whipped Rollins over the German announce table at ringside. Lesnar grabbed Rollins and tossed him over the table again. They went back in the ring with Rollins selling the attack. Lesnar sent Rollins over the top to the floor again. Referee Chad Patton checked on Rollins again. Lesnar whipped Rollins over the German announce table and crashing into one of the announcers. Lesnar whipped Rollins into the top of the German announce table, which broke. Lesnar tossed Rollins into the ring again and Lesnar wanted the referee to start the match. The bell rang officially as Rollins got back up.
Analysis: That beating lasted about five minutes with Lesnar dominating Rollins the entire time.
WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Seth Rollins
Lesnar picked up Rollins with a German Suplex leading to Lesnar saying “Suplex city, bitches” like he first said at WrestleMania three years ago. Lesnar with two more German Suplexes. Rollins had welts on his back from Lesnar’s vicious attack to start the match. When Lesnar went for a F5, Rollins slipped out and shoved Lesnar into the referee leading to Patton bumping out of the ring. Rollins with a low blow that the referee never saw. Rollins with a superkick and the referee was back in the ring. Rollins hit The Stomp to Lesnar as the crowd popped big for it. Rollins hit The Stomp again and he stumbled into the turnbuckle again. Rollins hit The Stomp on Lesnar for the third time and Rollins covered for the pinfall win and the Universal Championship. The crowd popped huge for it. The match went 2:35.
Winner and New Universal Champion: Seth Rollins
Analysis: ** It was hardly a classic match, but that’s okay because the result was exactly what it should have been. It was more of a story than a match anyway with Lesnar doing the cheap attack before the match and then Rollins making the big comeback to win the title thanks to a low blow giving Rollins the advantage. It was a very creative way of doing a title change without booking a long match. I had my doubts about the title change. I’m happy to be wrong about this because I wanted Rollins to win. As a match it’s two stars, but as an overall angle and story, I liked it a lot.
Rollins was given the Universal Title and he hugged it in his arms. The crowd was cheering loudly for this. Replays aired of the Rollins comeback that led to the title change.
(The story goes that Lesnar asked for it to be on first because if he wasn’t going to main event then he wanted to be on first and likely flew home right after the match. It was a big deal for Rollins to win. The pre-match stuff was a nice way to tell a story of how tough it would be for Rollins to win, but Seth found a way.)
Rollins celebrated with the title on the stage as pyro went off. Rollins spun the title around in the air.
Analysis: I’m genuinely happy for Rollins, who is one of my favorite guys in WWE and I think he’s one of the best guys there. He has been a big name on Raw for the past three years, yet he hasn’t held the Universal Title until now. The Rumble win was the right call and so was the title change here. The crowd reaction to it told the story because they wanted it and they got it.
Jerry “The King” Lawler was introduced as a guest announcer for the next match. Brock Lesnar was shown walking away from ringside. Lawler was there to announce the next match with Smackdown’s Tom Phillips and Corey Graves.
AJ Styles made his entrance for the next match. Nice ovation for him. I like the pyro for some of the entrances. Randy Orton was up next as AJ’s opponent. This is their first ever PPV singles match. The Spanish announcers were shown at ringside.
Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles
There was a RKO tease by Orton early on, but Styles avoided it. Orton did a thumb to the eye after blocking the ref’s view followed by a dropkick. Orton did his stomping routine on the body parts of Styles. They went to the floor with Styles hitting a forearm to knock Orton down. Orton got back in the ring and knocked Styles off the apron into the barricade. Orton slammed Styles’ back into the barricade. Back in the ring, Orton grabbed a chinlock, Styles fought back with a series of strikes, a clothesline and a running forearm. Styles with a corner clothesline followed by the Ushigoroshi knee to the back of Orton for a two count. Orton wanted the RKO, Styles avoided it and Orton hit a powerslam for two. Styles went for the Calf Crusher submission, but Orton rolled through and kicked him in the head. Orton teased the DDT off the ropes, Styles slipped out and slapped on the Calf Crusher submission on the left leg of Orton until Orton managed to get his hand on the bottom rope to break the hold. Styles avoided the RKO, Orton bumped and Styles hit a 450 Splash off the ropes for two. Orton got back into with a modified backbreaker. Orton set up Styles on the top for a superplex and Orton got a lot of height on it. That looked great as Orton covered for a two count about ten minutes into this match.
Orton with a forearm that sent Styles to the apron followed by the DDT off the ropes. The crowd was reacting to something in the crowd (it was a huge light shining during the match), so Orton held his arms up to get them back into the match. Orton teased the RKO, Styles avoided it and hit an enziguri kick to the head. Rollup got two from Styles. Orton hit an RKO on Styles for a two count. Orton was shocked by it. Orton put Styles on the top rope, he teased a RKO off the top, but Styles slipped out of it followed by a Pele Kick to the back of the head. Styles with a springboard attack leading to a Phenomenal Forearm on Orton on the floor. Back in the ring, Styles wanted the Phenomenal Forearm again, Orton wanted an RKO, but Styles fought out of it and Styles connected with a Phenomenal Forearm on Orton for the pinfall win at 16:20.
Winner by pinfall: AJ Styles
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a fine match that didn’t live up to the potential great expectations. Orton was on offense for most of it. When Styles kicked out of the RKO I figured Styles would get the win because that tends to happen in a match where somebody kicks out of a finish early in a match. I picked Orton to win here because I figured there were so many babyface wins that would happen on this show that some heels needed to win, but so far it’s been six faces winning if you count the Kickoff Show matches.
(It was a very good match between two top guys. It didn’t really matter who won either. I liked the finish with Styles getting the decisive win.)
Post match, Styles celebrated the win while the announcers put it over as a hard fought victory.
A Cricket Wireless commercial aired. A commercial for WWE 2K19 was shown.
Lacey Evans made her entrance in a red dress as she walked around the stage and then went to the back. Byron Saxton replaced Lawler for the next match so it was back to the regular Smackdown crew.
The Smackdown Tag Team Title 4-Way match was next. The Usos were up first as the SD Tag Team Champions, The Bar duo of Cesaro/Sheamus were next, Shinsuke Nakamura entered followed by his partner Rusev with Lana. Ricochet and Aleister Black were up last making their WrestleMania debuts.
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) vs. The Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev (w/Lana) vs. Ricochet and Aleister Black
Two guys are in the ring while the other six start on the apron waiting for a tag. The first fall wins.
Jey started with Black, Sheamus tagged himself in and hit a rolling senton on Black. Rusev tagged Sheamus to become legal and Rusev hit a clothesline on Black. Nakamura in with a kick on Black leading to a Rusev slam on Black. Jimmy tagged Black to become legal, Jimmy with a Samoan Drop on Black and Jimmy hit a spin kick to Nakamura’s head. Spin kick by Nakamura. Ricochet tagged Jimmy to become legal with a top rope clothesline on Nakamura. Cesaro tagged in against Ricochet leading to a great move that ended with Ricochet hitting a headscissors on Cesaro. Cesaro with a Swing on Ricochet, Sheamus hit the forearms to the chest of Rusev and Nakamura, so Sheamus hit the forearms to one of the Usos and on Black. Cesaro kept spinning Ricochet for about 35 spins if I had to guess how many. It might have been more. Cesaro slapped on the Sharpshooter on Ricochet with Jimmy breaking it up, Jey with a clothesline on Sheamus over the top to the floor. Black and Rusev tagged in with Black hitting kicks followed by a knee to the face and a moonsault for two as Nakamura broke up the pin. Nakamura with a knee to the ribs of Black, Rusev with a suplex, Nakamura with a knee and Ricochet hit a Shooting Star Press on Nakamura to break up the pin. Ricochet tagged in against Ricochet leading to a spinning slam by Rusev for a two count. Cesaro tagged Rusev to become legal, Sheamus tagged in, The Usos got back in the ring, so there were five wrestlers against the ropes and Rusev/Nakamura joined in for the Tower of Doom spot where Ricochet managed to land on his feet. Black took out Nakamura with a kick. Ricochet went up top and hit the 630 Splash on Sheamus for two as multiple guys broke it up. Great nearfall there. Jey Uso tagged himself in, he jumped off the top, Cesaro with an uppercut and that led to everybody else in the match hitting a big move. The Usos went after Sheamus with a single superkick followed by a double superkick. Both Usos went up top and they hit Double Uce splash off the top for the pinfall win at 10:14.
Winners by pinfall: The Usos
Analysis: ***1/2 It was an action-packed tag team match as you would expect with eight guys involved. The finishing sequence was exciting with all the big moves leading to the finish. That’s typical of a match like this. You’ll see in 4-Way matches when they aren’t teams too because they know the formula works. The Usos retaining the titles is fine with me because they are great champions. It was also the seventh straight match where babyfaces got the win. If this match got another 5-7 minutes it could have been special.
(Lots of action in a match that got just over ten minutes. A good way to get more teams on the show. It’s certainly fine with me.)
A video package aired about the 2019 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony from Saturday night. Read my review here. The comedy routine by DX was one of my favorite HOF speeches ever.
The WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2019 was introduced on the stage: Honky Tonk Man, Harlem Heat (Stevie Ray and Booker T), Torrie Wilson, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart with Natalya representing her dad, the late Jim Neidhart), Sue Aitchison with a Make-A-Wish kid named Maysun Laporte. Degeneration X was up last with Shawn Michaels, Triple H, X-Pac, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn appearing on the stage to a huge ovation. A graphic was shown of Chyna as well. The DX guys were wearing DX shirts and jeans as opposed to suits like the other guys on the stage.
Shane McMahon vs. The Miz is next, so they get a video package recapping this story that started all the way in early November. Shane turned heel on Miz at Fastlane to set up this match.
Shane McMahon made his entrance to boos. When he got into the ring, Greg Hamilton introduced Shane as the “Best in the World” like Shane makes him down. When Shane entered the ring, he made Hamilton do it with more enthusiasm, so Hamilton did a great job of it. Shane acknowledged Miz’s dad George Mizanin at ringside.
The Miz made his entrance. They still say he resides from Hollywood, California even though he moved to Austin, Texas. Yes, I have watched his reality show. Anyway, I guess he must be from the same city for his gimmick. Miz greeted his dad George at ringside and hugged him. Ronda Rousey’s husband Travis Browne was in the same area where family members were seated.
Falls Count Anywhere Match: The Miz vs. Shane McMahon
They can wrestle anywhere they want with referee Charles Robinson there to count the fall no matter where they go.
Shane left the ring to avoid an attack, Shane grabbed Miz’s dad by the head and Miz chased after him. Shane ran away, but then came back with a punch to knock Miz down. Shane taunted George by grabbing Miz by the face and he whipped Miz into the ring post. Shane cleared off the table on the English announce table. Shane hit Miz in the head with a TV monitor to the face. When Shane climbed the turnbuckle, George left his seat and stood in front of Miz to try to stop Shane, so Shane went down. Shane called for George to come into the ring. George held up his hands as if he wanted to fight. Shane kneed George in the knee followed by stomps to the ribs. Miz got back into the ring with a flurry of punches to Shane. They left the ring with Miz whipping Shane into the barricade and Miz tossed Shane over the barricade into the crowd. Miz checked on his dad, who was down in the corner and he wanted somebody to help his dad. Two guys checked on George, so Miz attacked Shane with a running attack over the barricade. They fought over to an area where there was a massive support structure as Miz sent Shane back first into it. Shane hit a DDT for a two count. Miz kicked Shane off the staging area they were on with Shane bumping into a guard rail. Miz stomped on Shane’s left knee. Miz grabbed a chair and hit Shane’s left knee against the guard rail. Miz continued to work over Shane with the chair as they went up the steps. They were in the international row of announcers with Miz whipping Shane into some monitors and by a table. Do something, Funaki! He did nothing. Miz picked up Shane in the air and put him through a table. It was more of a launch through the table. Miz knocked Shane off a level, over a guard rail and Shane landed on a golf cart before crashing to the floor. Miz drove Shane back first into a wall.
They went over to some tech area where several cameras were set up on structures. Miz hit Shane with the Skull Crushing Finale on some wooden staging area with Shane kicking out at two when he got his shoulder up. Shane got some offense when he hit Miz wit ha camera road case. Shane climbed a structure where the cameras were that Phillips called a camera platform and there was a cameraman with a camera up there. Miz followed Shane up there. Shane pleaded forgiveness to Miz, but Miz wasn’t buying it as he unloaded on Shane with punches. Miz hit a suplex off a camera staging area leading to a big bump onto some crash mats and tables. The key thing is that Shane landed on top of Miz. Charles Robinson counted the pin to give Shane the pinfall win at 15:30.
Winner by pinfall: Shane McMahon
Analysis: *** It was an okay match that had a different feel to it because we don’t get to see Falls Count Anywhere matches at WrestleMania. I thought it was very effective in terms of showing a more aggressive side of Miz even though he failed to win. That was an outcome that I didn’t see coming because I figured Miz would win as revenge for Shane’s attack at Fastlane. Nope. The older part-timer Shane O Mac got the victory. That was the first heel win of the show, so I’ll stop mentioning that heel/face thing for every match.
(The stuff with Miz’s dad made me laugh. It wasn’t supposed to, but George Mizanin is very awkward and unintentionally funny. I thought Miz should have won since Shane was the one that turned on heel on Miz. This result surprised me.)
EFWEKJFWREJGWRGJKRWGREWJ OH MY GOD OH MY GOD pic.twitter.com/9nlnYdDqi9
— Pav (@WrestlinGifs) April 8, 2019
A commercial aired for Money in the Bank on Sunday, May 19. Don’t say that date to Kane. A commercial aired for DAZN streaming service.
Paige was introduced to the crowd. She was a guest announcer for the next match joining Cole and Young. At least it gives Corey Graves a little break.
Sasha Banks and Bayley entered first for the Women’s Tag Team Championships match. Nia Jax and Tamina were next, The IIconics duo of Peyton Royce and Billie Kay were next. Nice Aussie flag in the crowd to support them. Beth Phoenix and Natalya were the last team to enter. When Natalya and Beth entered in their Hart Foundation style gear, Bret Hart gave them high fives for good luck. Bret did not go to the ring as the ladies walked down to the ring.
Women’s Tag Team Championships: Boss N Hug Connection (Bayley and Sasha Banks) vs. Nia Jax and Tamina vs. The IIconics (Peyton Royce and Billie Kay) vs. Natalya and Beth Phoenix
There was a brawl to start the match with the women working together to send Jax out of the ring. Phoenix and Natalya whipped Jax into the steel steps. Bayley tripped up Royce in the ring, Banks tagged in and missed a double knee attack leading to Royce getting a two count with a spin kick to the face. Kay tagged in leading to their iconic pose. There was a double team slam by Kay/Royce on Banks for two. Banks with a backslide pin on Royce, knee to the face, Bayley tagged in and Phoenix tagged in. Bayley with a sliding clothesline on Phoenix, Kay tagged in and worked over Beth with punches. Royce sent Phoenix’s head into Kay’s knee. Phoenix hit a double suplex on Royce/Kay at the same time. Natalya tagged in leading to the Hart Attack clothesline that was the Hart Foundation’s finisher, but Bayley was there to break up the pin. Bayley saved Banks from a double team attack. Bayley launched Banks into Phoenix for the Bank Statement submission. Phoenix powered out of it and wanted the Glam Slam, but Banks avoided it. Natalya tagged in, clothesline for Bayley who had gone into the ring and Natalya slammed Banks on Bayley. Natalya did a double Sharpshooter on Banks/Bayley at the same time. Tamina finally did something in the match by hitting Natalya with a superkick. Jax got back into it by slamming Phoenix down. Double headbutt by Jax and Tamina on Phoenix. The IIconics went after Jax and Tamina leading to Jax/Tamina hitting double Samoan Drops. Jax and Bayley knocked down Banks and Bayley with clotheslines. Tamina and Jax each went up top, but Phoenix shoved Jax down. Tamina saw it, so she went to the other side of the ring where Natalya and Beth hit a double shoulder tackle. Bayley with an elbow drop off the top on Phoenix. Banks went up top and hit a Frog Splash on Phoenix for a two count. Natalya saved Phoenix from a double attack with Natalya hitting a spinning Powerbomb on Banks. Phoenix set up Bayley for a Glam Slam by the ropes and Phoenix connected with it, but Kay made the blind tag, Royce sent Phoenix out of the ring and Kay covered Bayley for the pinfall win at 10:45.
Winners by pinfall and New Women’s Tag Team Champions: The IIconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce)
Analysis: **3/4 The match was a bit boring at times early on with the Jax/Tamina barely involved, but they built up to the finish well. It was the classic steal the pin finish where a heel wins a multi-person match after somebody else hit a big move. The Banks/Bayley and Natalya/Phoenix teams were the best part of the match. That was another outcome on this show that I didn’t expect. It meant that Banks/Bayley only held the titles for less than two months. Perhaps WWE will have them on separate shows after the Superstar Shakeup while The IIconics are a pair that will be together long term.
(It was the second 4-way tag team match on the show, so it felt repetitive a bit after the 4-way earlier in the night. With that said, I was happy with the choice of Peyton and Billie winning the titles because I liked them a lot as a team that had personality, they had chemistry together and they’re beautiful as well, so that helps. The title change was the right call.)
Most. IICONIC. #WrestleMania. EVER.
Congratulations, @BillieKayWWE & @PeytonRoyceWWE! pic.twitter.com/jNAsB6LKU1
— WWE WrestleMania (@WrestleMania) April 8, 2019
The Smackdown announcers took over again. They thanked the Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron that flew over MetLife Stadium earlier. The guys flying the helicopters were ringside.
The video package aired for the WWE Championship match with Daniel Bryan defending his WWE Title against Kofi Kingston. The crowd support for Kofi has been great leading up to this match.
Kofi Kingston made his entrance where he was joined by his New Day buddies Big E and Xavier Woods. There were “Kofi-Mania” signs being held up by fans facing the camera. Kingston got a big ovation from the crowd along with loud “Kofi” chants when the music stopped. Big E had a box that he brought to ringside, so perhaps it was a new title.
Daniel Bryan made his entrance as the WWE Champion wore his version of the WWE Title while the big man Rowan was by his side. There were boos for Bryan for his entrance of course, but we all know the planet loves him since he is the Planet’s Champion. Graves did a good job of pointing out that Bryan thrives in this situation. The wrestlers stood in the ring for the special championship intros by announcer Greg Hamilton.
WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan (w/Rowan) vs. Kofi Kingston (w/Big E and Xavier Woods)
There were loud “Kofi-Mania” chants to start the match as they did some mat wrestling early on. Bryan was sent to the floor leading to Kingston hitting a dive to take him out on the floor. They showed some WWE superstars watching the match on a TV backstage. Back in the ring, Bryan blocked a Kingston attack, Bryan grabbed him and set up a surfboard submission. When Kingston got back up, he went for a double foot stomp to Bryan’s face that was more like a knee. Bryan was back in control with forearms to the back. Kingston came back with a jumping clothesline followed by the Boom Drop legdrop. Kingston kicked Bryan under the bottom rope to the floor. Kingston went for a cross body block off the top, Bryan moved and Kingston went ribs first into the edge of the announce table. That was a rough landing for Kingston and he sold it great. Bryan continued his attack with a knee off the top rope while Kingston was against the ropes, which led to a two count. Bryan remained in control with a waistlock that kept Kingston on the ground. There was another shot of the superstars watching the match backstage on a TV. Kingston broke free with elbows to the face, Bryan tripped up Kingston to send him into the middle turnbuckle. Bryan with two running dropkicks and Kingston came back with a double foot attack, but Bryan turned it into a Boston Crab submission on the lower back of Kingston until Kingston broke free. They battled by the turnbuckle with Bryan trying a suplex, but Kingston elbowed him to the mat. Kingston went up top and hit a splash to the back of Bryan leading to a pinfall for two.
They got back to their feet for a classic exchange of punches leading to “yay” and “boo” chants from the crowd as the pace of the strikes picked up. Kingston went for Trouble in Paradise, Bryan went for a Boston Crab, Kofi countered into a two count, Bryan with a two count and Kingston hit an elbow to the face. Kingston with a cross body block off the middle ropes. Bryan went for the LeBell Lock submission, but Kingston fought out and hit a kick to the head. The wrestlers backstage were cheering for Kofi as they watched the match on a TV. The fans rallied behind Kingston as both guys got back up. Bryan with both boots to the face to knock Kingston down. Bryan did the “Yes” taunt that led to “No” chants from the crowd. Bryan set up for the running knee, Kingston avoided it and got a pin for two. Kingston hit the SOS for two with the crowd thinking that might be it. Bryan slapped on the LeBell Lock submission on Kofi as Big E and Woods tried to fire up Kingston. The fans were chanting for Kingston too. Kofi managed to get his foot on the bottom rope to break the hold. The crowd was getting louder as the match went on with Bryan working over Kingston with kicks to the injured ribs. Kingston got back up, urged Bryan to bring more and the fans were standing and cheering for Kingston. Kofi kicked Bryan a few times, but Bryan kicked him too. Kingston managed to pick up Bryan for a reverse suplex into a slam for two. Bryan bailed to the floor near Rowan, who stood in front of Kofi. Woods went after Rowan, so Rowan tossed Woods over the announce table. Rowan decked Big E with a clothesline. Kingston hit a Trouble in Paradise on Rowan. Big E and Woods hit a double team Midnight Hour (sometimes called the Up Up Down Down) on Rowan on the floor. Bryan went for a dive, but Kingston hit him with a forearm. The crowd was going crazy as Kingston went for the Trouble in Paradise, Bryan moved and Bryan hit the running knee for two. Kingston got his shoulder up to kick out at the last moment! The crowd erupted in cheers for Kingston!
Bryan stomped on the face of Kingston repeatedly. Bryan slapped on the LeBell Lock on Kingston for the third time with Graves thinking it might be the final time. Kingston would not quit as the fans chanted “New Day Rocks” for Kingston as Kofi broke his way out of the hold. When Kingston tried to punch his way free, Bryan grabbed the left arm of Kingston. The fans were cheering loudly as Kingston worked over Bryan with punches to the face. Kingston got his revenge by holding Bryan’s arms and stomping away on his face. Kingston was fired up as he set up in the corner and Kingston hit the Trouble in Paradise for the pinfall win at 23:43! New WWE Champion! Phillips: “Kofi did it! Kofi did it! Kofi is champion!”
Winner and New WWE Champion: Kofi Kingston
Analysis: ***** Wow! That was special. That was such a cool match and an emotional battle that you want to see at a show like WrestleMania. I’m going five stars for this. That was the kind of match that you want to see for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. It was an outstanding championship match with Bryan putting on a spectacular performance as the heel champion that worked over the ribs of Kingston for much of the match. They kept building up to the comeback from Kingston, which led to a lot of believable nearfalls and near submissions that could have ended the match at any time. When Kingston kicked out that running knee to the face I figured he was going to win, but I wasn’t exactly sure because you never know. The right decision was a win by Kingston, so I’m glad he was able to win clean after his New Day buddies took care of Rowan at ringside. I thought maybe Bryan would kick out of the Trouble of Paradise to build it up even more, but I have no complaints about Kingston winning with his finisher like that. It was a special moment. The crowd helped the match too because they were really engaged in everything these guys did. If I had to compare it to the Gargano/Cole five star match at Takeover on Friday, I’d rank Gargano/Cole ahead of it.
Kingston was emotional in the ring after the pinfall. The box at ringside was the classic WWE Championship that the New Day guys handed to Kingston. Woods and Big E lifted Kofi in the air. There was a huge pyro display for Kingston’s title victory. Big E and Xavier brought Kofi’s two young sons in the ring to celebrate with their daddy. That was an awesome moment as fans chanted “you deserve it” for them.
(When I watched it again I thought about the finish a lot. Should Bryan have kicked out of Trouble in Paradise? Should Kofi have done more to wear him down to beat him? Maybe. That’s about the only thing about the match that I would think about tweaking a little bit. If they did the Trouble in Paradise and Bryan didn’t kick out, but maybe he was too close to the ropes and he got his foot on the rope to break the count. They battled over some holds for 20 more seconds with Kingston hitting another Trouble in Paradise to win. It would have been even more dramatic. Having Bryan lose to just one Trouble in Paradise kick did put over the TIP as a huge move, though, so that’s probably why they did it this way. I feel like Bryan was masterful as a heel champion, especially in this match. When you consider that Bryan was the most popular babyface five years earlier and even a year earlier when he had his comeback match, it’s amazing to see how well he did as a heel. The same fans that loved Bryan with “yes” chants absolutely wanted him to lose the title here. This was Kingston’s best singles match of his career. I don’t know if he would personally say that, but I have a hard time thinking of others that were at this level. It was the most important match of his life on the biggest stage and when he looks back on his career, he can always be proud of this.)
I wrote a separate column all about this match on TJRWrestling right here.
There was another box that was a present and they were New Day shirts. Kofi’s oldest son celebrated by standing on the turnbuckles and he tossed a shirt into the crowd. The New Day continued the celebration in the ring as Kingston held up the WWE Title in the air. His kids were really excited just like the fans were.
Analysis: Great celebration. Welcome back to the classic WWE Title. It was cool to see Kofi celebrating with his two young sons with his oldest boy looking like he’s a natural in the ring.
The announcers recapped the Andre Battle Royal won by Braun Strowman.
Alexa Bliss was shown talking to Colin Jost and Michael Che in the trainer’s room. They had ice packs on their bodies. The “doctors” in the room were Kevin Nash and Scott Hall for some reason.
Booker T joined the commentary team for this next match with Phillips and Saxton calling this next match. Booker was happy about Kingston’s win.
Rey Mysterio made his entrance. The international announcers were shown from their position in the arena. Samoa Joe entered next as the US Champion.
United States Championship: Samoa Joe vs. Rey Mysterio
Joe went for a slam. Mysterio hit a Tornado DDT. Mysterio hit a 619 early in the match. The announcers talked about Rey’s ankle injury with Booker saying he’s not going to miss a payday at WrestleMania. Mysterio went for a top rope attack, Joe caught him in the Coquina Clutch and Mysterio tapped out at 0:58. Booker joked that he had no time out there.
Winner by submission: Samoa Joe
Analysis: 1/2* Easy win for Joe since Rey was probably hurting with the ankle or WWE just wanted to book a quick match. It’s a shame that it was so short since it was Joe’s WrestleMania debut and he was barely out there. At least Joe was booked like a dominant heel.
(Rey had the ankle injury going into it, so that’s a big reason why it was such a quick match. It made Joe look great, that’s for sure.)
A preview clip aired for the movie Stuber that Batista is starring in.
The video package aired to set up Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre.
Drew McIntyre was up with a serious look on his face as usual. Roman Reigns got a big pyro display on the stage and then when he got in the ring, there was more pyro for him. The announcers noted this was Roman’s first singles match since October.
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre
Reigns started with punches followed by a Samoan Drop. Reigns hit a boot to the face, but McIntyre came back with a spinebuster for two. McIntyre hit a headbutt known as the Glasgow Kiss to knock Reigns down although you can see Drew put his hand up, so it doesn’t look that great. McIntyre wrenched on the left arm of Reigns. When Reigns tried to get going with a Drive By dropkick on the apron, McIntyre moved and Reigns hit the apron. McIntyre hit a suplex off the apron to the floor. Back in the ring, McIntyre hit his reverse Alabama Slam that sent Reigns face first into the mat. McIntyre set up Reigns on the top rope, he told him that he should have said no (to the WrestleMania challenge) and McIntyre did his spot out of the corner where he tossed Reigns off the top to the mat. McIntyre did some trash talk followed by a slap, so Reigns hit a clothesline and kick that knocked McIntyre out of the ring. Reigns with a Drive By dropkick on the apron. The crowd seemed to be distracted by something. Reigns hit a Samoan Drop on the floor. Reigns hit a running clothesline on McIntyre. When Reigns went for the Superman Punch, McIntyre moved, he connected with a headbutt and Reigns came back with the Superman Punch. Reigns did his corner yell and a Spear for the pinfall win at 10:10.
Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns
Analysis: **1/4 It was a basic match to give Reigns the win in his first singles match in six months. There wasn’t much to it and there was no point in the match where it looked like McIntyre might win. They likely kept it simple to keep Reigns from working a really long match as he continues to get back in ring shape.
(It was Roman’s first televised match since coming back from leukemia. He did well here and he was fine after that.)
After the match, Reigns posed on the turnbuckles. Cole said the Big Dog is back and he may be better than ever, so I guess WWE is going to push that idea.
A commercial aired for Money in the Bank on May 19 as the next WWE PPV. It used to be in June.
There was a Snickers commercial featuring Rusev and Lana.
Elias WrestleMania Concert
Elias was shown playing the drums, then he was shown playing a piano in a taped segment and then he was in the ring with his guitar. Elias talked to the Elias clips on the screen with the piano and the drums. He told them to take a bow, so that was the end of that.
Elias asked who wants to Walk With Elias, which drew cheers from the crowd. They held up white lights in the crowd leading to the “Oh Walk With Elias” song to the tune of “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes. Elias said his performance will be the greatest in rock n roll and WrestleMania history. He did his “WWE stands for Walk With Elias” bit as the fans said it right on cue.
They played a clip of New York Yankees legend Babe Ruth, which led to the “Basic Thuganomics” song playing and John Cena made his entrance in a Babe Ruth shirt. Cena got a huge ovation from the crowd as he looked like the 2002-03 of his character with a backwards hat and the silver chain around his neck.
Analysis: In our preview, I predicted Cena for the interruption, so I got that right. It made sense since there was no announced Cena match, but it was known that he would be there. It also meant the Elias concert featured no actual song.
Cena rapped about doing a heel turn and then mocked one of his movies saying this whole damn thing sucks. That was funny. Cena said this Walk with Elias thing really means Wasted Wrestling Experience. Cena ripped on Elias calling him a little piece of shih-tzu leading to a graphic of Elias’ head on a shih-tzu appearing on the video screen. Cena rapped about asking for a duet, but Elias likes to play for himself. Cena said he was there with a golden shovel, then he ripped on Elias mocking his nuts. Cena said there’s no AA together, but he’s about to get the FU. Cena knocked down Elias with the microphone to the head. Cena hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle and the FU/AA put down Elias for good. Cena posed and left to Basic Thuganomics. Cena posed on the ramp to celebrate.
Analysis: That was a nice surprise with Cena busting out some clever rhymes with his rapping. It was hard to write them all out, but they were funny and the crowd reacted to them well. It quick and a fun appearance for Cena. Plus, no bumps for Cena at all. Easy night for him.
The video package aired for the Triple H vs. Batista match.
Shawn Michaels was introduced as a guest announcer for this match. He joined Cole and Graves at ringside to call the match.
There were two cars that were driven onto the stage as guys with suits appeared. Batista emerged from one of the cars and did his pose on the ramp leading to a huge fireworks display. When Batista went down to the ring, he had a staredown with Michaels. They showed actor Kumail Nanjiani at ringside to support Batista since they are in a movie together. Kumail was holding signs. Batista also taunted Triple H’s parents at ringside. Batista actually tripped on the middle rope when he got in the ring, so that was funny.
Triple H made his cool Wrestlemania entrance on the back of some cool-looking car that had skulls all over it. It was usual for Triple H to get a spectacular entrance at WrestleMania like that. Cole mentioned that Batista beat Triple H three times in 2005 while Triple H has never beaten him.
No Holds Barred Match: Batista vs. Triple H
If Triple H loses this match, then his in-ring career is over. This is Batista’s first match in nearly five years and Hunter’s first match since last November.
The action spilled to the floor right away with Batista in control until Hunter threw a toolbox at him. Hunter whipped Batista in the back with a steel chain to the back two times. Hunter choked him with the chain while Michaels had a funny line about how that can’t help Batista’s movie career. Hunter whipped Batista into the steel steps at ringside. Hunter put some pliers on Batista’s fingers and wrenched back on them. Hunter stepped on the hand with Batista selling the finger pain from that. Hunter brought a chair into the ring and hit Batista in the back with it. Hunter trapped Batista under a chair and used the pliers to rip the nose ring out of his ear and Hunter yanked the ring out. Hunter held the nose ring in his hand as if it was a trophy. Hunter went for an attack off the apron, but Batista caught him and slammed Hunter back first onto the announce table. Batista slammed Hunter onto the Spanish announce table as well. Batista whipped Hunter back first into the barricade. Batista slammed Hunter back first onto the announce table again as they showed a replay of Hunter ripping the nose ring earlier. Batista whipped Hunter in the barricade near Hunter’s family. Batista with a chair to the back and they went back in the ring for a two count. Batista hit a corner clothesline for two. Hunter hit the knee to face. Batista missed a corner charge when Hunter moved and Batista came back with a slam. The crowd was into the match at this point.
Batista dumped Hunter to the floor and whipped him into the announce table. Batista grabbed the steel steps leading to the steps hitting Hunter in the face. Batista put the steel steps on the Spanish announce table and cleared off the English announce table. The ref was nice enough to clean off the announce table even more. Batista teased a Batista Bomb through the table, but Hunter gave Batista a back body drop onto the English announce table that did not break. Triple H got up, he did a DX crotch chop and hit a Spear on Batista that broke the German Suplex, which was not cleared off like the other two. That table broke. They were both exhausted at ringside. Triple H went looking for something under the ring and he brought out a sledgehammer from under the ring. Hunter went back in the ring where Batista met him with a Spear for a two count. That was a big nearfall, but the crowd didn’t react to it that much. Batista got the sledgehammer, he charged, Hunter with a boot to the face and Hunter grabbed the sledgehammer. Batista with a boot to the face followed by a spinebuster. Batista picked up Hunter, but Hunter had the sledgehammer in his hands. Batista hit the Batista Bomb for two because Hunter got his left shoulder up. That barely drew a reaction from the crowd. Batista brought the steel steps into the ring. They battled by the turnbuckle with punches from Batista, so Hunter hit a Powerbomb onto the steps. That’s a move from nearly every big Undertaker match where he would do that spot near the end of his matches. Triple H hit a Pedigree for two as Batista kicked out by getting his left shoulder up. Hunter wanted to use the sledgehammer, but Batista countered with a DDT onto the steps. Ric Flair showed up at ringside with a sledgehammer for Triple H while Flair trash talked Batista. Triple H jumped off the steps and hit Batista with a sledgehammer. Triple H hit a Pedigree on Batista for the pinfall win at 24:45.
Winner by pinfall: Triple H
Analysis: **1/2 I have mixed feelings here. They worked hard, yet it didn’t excite me at all. It was a good effort from both guys, but the crowd lost interest as the match went on. That’s partly because the match went on too long. Early in the match where Hunter yanked the nose ring, the fans reacted to it in a big way and then it dragged on from there. They used a lot of weapons, which was expected, but it just felt like a tribute match of their classic battles instead of something that was that interesting. It went too long, which is common for most Triple H matches at WrestleMania. This was likely Batista’s last match, but they didn’t announce it will be the end for him. Batista is done at 50 years old with a movie career to keep him busy. After the show, he announced his retirement.
(Batista’s last match and Triple H’s last match at a WrestleMania. It went on too long, but had some memorable moments at least. Just an average match. It wasn’t at the level of their great matches in 2005)
Post match, Hunter hugged Flair at ringside in celebration.
Alexa Bliss was backstage. The B-Team duo were shilling some Daniel Bryan shirts and Ron Simmons showed up to say “DAMN!” That drew cheap laughs.
John Bradshaw Layfield joined Michael Cole and Corey Graves at ringside for the Kurt Angle retirement match.
Baron Corbin was introduced with Mike Rome reading a paper with a ridiculous intro saying that Corbin was “WrestleMania’s favorite son.” Corbin entered to boos.
Kurt Angle was introduced to a nice ovation from the crowd as his music played and fans chanted “You Suck” for the entrance.
Kurt Angle’s Farewell Match: Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin
Angle hit a belly to belly suplex early. Corbin took control with punches. Corbin mocked Angle’s family at ringside. Corbin missed an attack off the middle ropes leading to three German Suplexes from Angle for two. Angle went for an Angle Slam, Corbin landed on his feet and Corbin hit a boot to the face. Angle with a back body drop leading to a roll through into the Ankle Lock. Corbin kicked Angle away and Corbin hit the Deep Six slam for a two count with Angle getting his right shoulder up. Angle came back with an Angle Slam for two. Angle pulled the straps down like he had done so many times and slapped on the Ankle Lock in the center in the ring. When Corbin got close to the ropes, Angle pulled him back to the middle of the ring and Corbin rolled through to send Angle into the middle turnbuckle. Corbin taunted the crowd with the “You Can’t See Me” taunt from John Cena. Angle punched Corbin in the face and three German Suplexes connected for Angle. The crowd cheered in support for Angle who went up to the top rope and Angle went for a moonsault, but Corbin moved. Corbin hit the End of Days slam on Angle for the pinfall win at 6:06.
Winner by pinfall: Baron Corbin
Analysis: ** The match was okay with some slow moments in there, but Angle looked to be moving better than he was in the last few weeks. It’s not uncommon for a guy to lose his last match, so that’s what happened here. Putting Corbin over will get him more heel heat because he can brag about beating Angle in his last match. I thought Angle should win, but I have no problem with him doing the job on the way out. That’s how wrestling works with a guy doing the job on the way into retirement. It was a competitive match like it needed to be and it was kept short at under ten minutes.
Post match, Corbin celebrated the win like the arrogant heel that he is. The cameras showed shocked fan reactions at ringside.
Angle said for the past 20 years, he had the time of his life in addition to tonight. Angle said that to end this night, he wants to hear those words that epitomized his career. Angle’s music played leading to the “You Suck” chants from the crowd. Angle stood in the ring and received a standing ovation from the crowd. Angle greeted his wife and kids at ringside. There was no Jason Jordan there for those wondering! Angle went up the ramp and stood on the stage saluting the crowd as they gave him the standing ovation he deserved.
(Angle’s last match should have been against John Cena. I understand WWE thought that this story warranted a WM match and Corbin is fine as a heel. I just think Angle-Cena would have been better and Kurt has said that’s what he wanted too.)
Analysis: Good speech from Angle, who is one of my favorite wrestlers ever. The standing ovation was well deserved for Angle and I’m glad he was able to get that final moment as an active wrestler. It’s on to putting on a suit and working backstage for WWE because that’s his new role in the company (he mentioned recently that’s what he’ll be doing). I hope the rest of his life is pain-free because he put his body through a lot and at 50 years old, it was the right time for him to walk away. Angle will always be one of my favorite wrestlers ever. He had no weaknesses and in his prime, he was as good as any WWE superstar I’ve ever seen.
"For the past 20 years, I have had the time of my life."
Thank you, @RealKurtAngle. #WrestleManiapic.twitter.com/18zNuVrmq7
— WWE WrestleMania (@WrestleMania) April 8, 2019
Bobby Lashley was up next with the Intercontinental Championship and Lio Rush by his side.
Finn Balor made his spectacular entrance as “Demon” Finn Balor. He got a big ovation along with some fireworks to add the unique look that he has.
Intercontinental Championship: Bobby Lashley (w/Lio Rush) vs. “Demon” Finn Balor
Balor was aggressive with a clothesline and he sent Lashley out of the ring. When they went back in the ring, Lashley hit a spinebuster followed by a suplex from the apron into the ring. Lashley with another suplex followed by a clothesline that sent Balor from the apron to the floor. Lashley drove Balor back first into the barricade. Balor came back with a Slingblade on Lashley, then a growl for Rush and a dropkick by Balor sent Lashley into the barricade. Balor stared at Rush, so Lashley hit a Spear that knocked Balor off the apron to the floor. That’s a spot that Big E usually does. Lashley with a Spear in the ring that only got a two count. Lashley set up for a Powerbomb, Balor fought out of it, knees to the face of Lashley, kicks by Balor to Lashley and Balor managed to hit a Powerbomb. That was impressive. Balor went up top and hit the Coup de Grace double foot stomp for the pinfall win at 4:07.
Winner by pinfall and New Intercontinental Champion: “Demon” Finn Balor
Analysis: *1/2 Easy win for Balor as expected since he was rocking the “Demon” look. The Powerbomb by Balor was put over as a big move since he’s a smaller guy. This rivalry lasted for a few months and it was boring a while ago, so I hope they can move on from this. This was Balor’s second reign as IC Champion.
(I honestly didn’t have any memory of this or Balor winning in a dominant fashion.)
Alexa Bliss entered the arena again with Graves freaking out for her. Bliss had on a short blue dress. Bliss talked about how we have seen new champions, huge surprises and even a demon.
Bliss announced the new WWE MetLife Attendance Record of 82,265 people.
Analysis: I guess that’s the record for WWE in that stadium until they come back for another WrestleMania in five years. I’m kidding. I don’t know if they are coming back in five years. I have no idea what the real number will be. WWE likes to inflate the numbers.
Bliss said that she thinks it is time for a break, so that led to R-Truth entering with Carmella. They said it was time for the world’s largest seven-second dance break. It went way longer than that.
A commercial aired for WrestleMania 36 next April 5, 2020 with a pirate theme for the commercial since it’s in Tampa Bay at the Buccaneers stadium. Kairi Sane should get a push there.
(Plans change, pal. We certainly had no idea what was coming at this point.)
The video package aired for Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch. It’s finally here.
There was a shot of Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair getting flown in a helicopter as she looked into the stadium. The helicopter descended and two dudes rolled out a red carpet for her as Flair appeared in her ring gear looking ready to go. She handed her robe to an attendant nearby, then was given a more extravagant purple robe that wouldn’t have fit in the helicopter. Flair walked towards the stadium.
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts performed “Bad Reputation” for Ronda Rousey’s entrance. It’s a good song that fits Rousey well. Rousey did her power walk down to the ring with the Raw Women’s Title on her left shoulder. It was hard to hear the crowd due to the live music filling the stadium.
Charlotte Flair was up next with the Smackdown Women’s Championship around her waist. It was a purple look for “The Queen” for this WrestleMania main event. There were some fireworks for her entrance.
Becky Lynch was last as the only babyface in the match and the Royal Rumble. Lynch had a different style and she was dressed in black attire. The women stood in the ring as Greg Hamilton did the intros. The Raw announce team was calling this match.
Winner Take All for the Raw and Smackdown Women’s Championships: Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch
The bell rang at 12:01AM, so it was seven hours after the Kickoff Show started. The first fall wins the match with no disqualifications and no countouts in a triple threat.
Lynch and Rousey got into a slugfest to start the match with Rousey kicking Lynch out of the ring. Rousey kicked Flair out of the ring as well. Rousey drove Lynch back first into the barricade and she hit the Piper’s Pit slam on Flair on the floor. Lynch drove Rousey into the ring post and Flair hit an overhead suplex that sent Rousey into the barricade. Flair and Lynch exchanged punches, Flair kicked at the left knee and Lynch managed a rollup for two. Rousey got back into it with a kick to Lynch’s face and Flair kicked Rousey in the face. Flair held Rousey up for a Powerbomb, but Rousey held on with an armbar. Lynch dropkicked Rousey to the floor with a rough landing for Ronda on her back on the apron to the floor. Flair with a boot to the face of Lynch for two. Flair with a knee drop to Lynch as fans chanted for Lynch. Flair went up top for a moonsault, she jumped, Lynch grabbed her in her armbar, but Rousey got into it with an armbar of hers on Lynch. Flair capitalized on that with a running knee to the face of Rousey. Flair hit a double Natural Selection on both women at the same time for a two count. Flair dumped Lynch out of the ring. Flair chopped Rousey repeatedly, Rousey said she chops like a bitch, Flair chopped her in the face and Rousey came back with a knee to the face. Flair countered an armbar attempt into a Boston Crab. Lynch got back into it with a bulldog on Flair. Lynch hit a reverse DDT on Rousey and a regular DDT on Flair at the same time. Lynch with a spin kick to the face. Lynch and Flair exchanged strikes again, Flair went up top, Lynch went after her and Lynch hit a Bexploder Suplex off the top for two. Rousey went up top and hit a cross body block on both women at the same time for two. Rousey slammed both women down and Rousey slapped on a double armbar. Flair and Lynch countered with a double Powerbomb, then they picked Rousey up again and hit a third double Powerbomb on Rousey. Flair tossed Lynch out of the ring and covered Rousey for a two count.
Flair charged at Lynch on the apron, Lynch with a kick and Lynch with a uranage slam on Flair for a two count. Lynch had a showdown with Rousey leading to Lynch slapping on the Dis-Arm-Her submission, but Rousey reached the bottom rope to break the hold. Rousey sent Lynch back first into the turnbuckle. Rousey charged and Lynch kneed her in the face. Flair got back into it with a kick to the face. Flair punched Lynch on the top rope and they did the Spanish Fly slam off the top rope. That looked great while Flair favored her right knee on the landing. Flair with an overhead suplex on Rousey. Lynch went for the armbar, but Flair sent Lynch into the middle turnbuckle. Flair back up on the apron leading to a kick that knocked Lynch down. Rousey’s left leg had cuts and bruising on it. Flair slapped on the ringpost Figure Four Leglock on Rousey against the ringpost until Lynch kicked Flair to break it. Flair whipped Lynch into the barricade. Flair went for the Figure Eight, but Rousey countered into an inside cradle. Flair slapped on the Figure Eight submission on Rousey, but Lynch broke it up with a top rope leg drop on Flair to break it up. That was well done. Flair was bleeding from the right elbow. Lynch brought out a table from under the ring and she set it up near one of the turnbuckles. Flair whipped Lynch face first into the table. Flair went up top favoring the right leg, Lynch went after her and teased a Powerbomb. Rousey dumped Flair off the top to the floor. Rousey flipped over the table saying “tables are for bitches” leading to boos from the crowd. Lynch avoided the slam, she went for the armbar and Flair hit a double Spear on Lynch and Rousey at the same time for two. Flair set up the table against the turnbuckle. Flair whipped Rousey’s head into the table, but not enough to break it. Flair hit a Spear on Lynch for two. Flair charged at the two women leading to a double arm drag that sent Flair into the table. It only broke a bottom part of the table as Flair bumped to the floor. Rousey and Lynch had a face-off leading to punches from both women. Rousey hit a running knee to the face. Rousey went for her Piper’s Pit slam, but Lynch hooked the arms of Rousey and had her pinned down for the victory at 21:30. As soon as the pinfall happened, Ronda got back up to complain while the announcers reacted like Ronda was really pinned.
Winner by pinfall and New Raw & Smackdown Women’s Champion: Becky Lynch
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a pretty good match that was worthy of a main event for most of it, but the finish was weak. I didn’t like the ending. The right finish was for Lynch to win via tapout on Rousey. Instead of doing what would have been the best ending, they went with that pinfall counter instead. The problem with an ending like that is there was not much of a buildup to it. That’s the kind of finish you do in a TV match to set up a PPV match or even a smaller PPV show, but not the main event of WrestleMania. It should have been a submission win for Lynch. Maybe WWE didn’t want Rousey to lose that way or Rousey may have had issues with it. I don’t know. The work by all three women was great with Flair doing a fantastic job, Rousey took a beating more than she usually does and Lynch kept on fighting with the crowd strongly behind her. I thought Flair had the best performance of the three although all of them did well. It was an enjoyable match that I liked, but it wasn’t as good as some people may have been expecting. The end result was the right call with Lynch as the winner, though. I’m glad she has both titles for now.
Analysis x2: The finish was that Rousey was supposed to have both shoulders down to take the pin, but Rousey had her right shoulder up at the start of the pin attempt. More details on that are here.
(It’s too bad the ending was botched. It’s all I really remember from the match with Cole shouting “shoulders down” but it’s like no, they weren’t down.” By the end they were, but not for the entire three count. Then Rousey went away from WWE, so it was never followed up on.)
After the match, Lynch celebrated with the Raw and Smackdown Women’s Titles while the fans cheered for the result that they wanted although the finish was not what was expected. Rousey complained about it saying her shoulders weren’t down. The replays were shown of the finish with Graves wondering if Rousey’s shoulders were really down. It appeared as though the shoulders were down although there wasn’t a good view of the left shoulder.
Lynch continued the celebration with the two titles, her music played, the pyro went off in the stadium and that was the end of the show. The show signed off at 12:25AM, which was 5 hours and 25 minutes after the main PPV started.
Analysis: This could lead to a Lynch rematch with Rousey down the road, but the rumors are that Rousey is done after this show, so that’s why she lost. If Rousey comes back later this year then there’s an obvious rematch. There are rumors that Rousey wants to start a family, so that’s going to prevent a comeback. I guess we’ll see later this year what happens. Rousey also had a broken hand and she worked through it, so she’ll be out for a while anyway.
(Such a long night. Too long, in my opinion.)
This show had a run time of 5:24:19 on WWE Network. That’s for the main show.
Update in 2022:The show is now 5:19:37 on WWE Network.
Five Stars of the Show
1. Kofi Kingston
2. Daniel Bryan
3. Becky Lynch
4. Seth Rollins
5. (tie) Charlotte Flair
5. (tie) Ronda Rousey
It gets a 7.5 out of 10 from me.
I thought it was a pretty good show thanks to some big wins for babyfaces all night long. I didn’t know if Lynch, Kingston and Rollins were all going to win, but they did, so that’s cool in terms of giving the fans what they want with babyface champions. There were a lot of title changes all night long. Seven title changes out of the nine title matches is a lot. When you decide book that many title changes, it might as well be at a WrestleMania.
The standout match was Kofi Kingston beating Daniel Bryan. It was a classic WWE Championship match with Kingston getting his big moment as the champ while Bryan was fantastic in putting him over. I loved the celebration too. One of my favorite WM moments ever.
The main event with Lynch-Flair-Rousey should have had a better ending. No doubt about that. It’s still a good match and I’m happy for the women that got to be in the main event. I’m also happy that Becky ended the night as the champ as she should be. A tapout win would have been a lot better, though. Just saying.
(I’ll stand by the rating. Maybe a bit too high, but I think it’s fair.)
That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here.
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