Well that was….eventful. There was a lot to be seen at this year’s Wrestlemania and for the most part, I thought the good more than outweighed the bad. There were some major, major surprises and I was shouting at a lot of things, albeit mostly in a shocked way rather than an angry way. Since it might take me a few days to get the review up, here are some live thoughts from throughout the evening.

Here’s the preview in case you’d like to see how many we got right.

My seat was looking mostly straight at the ring post on the right hand side of the ring on the opposite side of the hard camera. Of note: when I was at Wrestlemania XXX, I was in row 27, seat 15. This time, I was in row 27, seat 15.

After a VERY long delay at WrestleCon (Totally worth it this time around. Again, report to come I promise.), I got to the stadium, got inside, bought an overpriced Sprite and got into my seat as the entrants were coming to the ring for the Andre Battle Royal. I like Matt winning, though I was worried Bray would steal it from him. This was Bray’s LONG awaited face turn and hopefully it sticks this time around. He could certainly use it. Nothing to see here, including any major callups.

I’m glad Cedric won the Cruiserweight Title. The guy is that good and the match was entertaining. Ali can get it later, though hopefully not after a heel turn as he’s that good. It was around this time that I started getting into the show, partially because I got some food in between matches to wake me up a bit.

The women’s battle royal….erg. My issue isn’t with Naomi winning but rather Bayley having it won and WWE deciding to go with the surprise. Bayley and Sasha have been in a good feud as of late while Naomi has been doing absolutely nothing. Bayley winning and advancing their feud made sense while Naomi winning felt like pulling a name out of a hat. That got on my nerves, which was better than how uninterested I was throughout the match. Peyton Royce was a nice appearance, but then again when isn’t she?

Hey we have pyro again. It’s about time and I can go with not having it every week, but not having it at pay per views is dumb. AT LEAST for the big shows.

The two women singing America the Beautiful are “the future of music” and they’re doing a cover? Be original people.

The opener was rather strong and I had a good time with it, though I’m not sure what the point was in Balor’s entrance. I’m sure Miz will get it back soon enough and move up the ladder towards the most days as champion. The match was a good choice for an opener as the fans have something to cheer and it’s a nice way to go about things.

Asuka tapping out shocked the heck out of me and I screamed at the finish. I like the choice here as Asuka gets knocked off and makes her eventual title defenses have more of a point. I know the rumored match was Rousey vs. Asuka for the title at Wrestlemania next year, but now you don’t have to worry about being bored because “she has to keep the title until Wrestlemania to protect the streak”. Not so much now, and I like that a lot.

And then we have the big middle finger to the fans. Rusev is one of the hottest things in the company (there was a 12 month RUSEV DAY calendar for sale at the Superstore) and he takes the pin from Jinder to give Mahal the title. Mahal winning is bad enough (though I guessed it because it would be the dumbest winner they could choose) but this was WWE saying “you will not cheer someone we don’t want you to cheer so sit down and bask in what we know is greatness”. People, including me, were ticked off here.

That brings us to the mixed tag and I’m not sure where to start. Let’s get this out of the way: Rousey looked great and my love of her is fully restored (not that it ever really went away). She’s still rough around the edges and needs ring time, but the fire was there and she looked like a killer, which is exactly what she was supposed to do. Other than that you have the proper ending, but you know where I’m going next.

Yes they really did have Stephanie go toe to toe with Rousey and even get the upper hand multiple times, including blocking the armbar. We’re supposed to take this seriously and just roll with Rousey manhandling HHH but STEPHANIE MCMAHON can hold her own. This was at least mostly negated by the ending, but my goodness I was nearly laughing at how ridiculous this was. The match was a lot of fun overall, though it did go one save of a submission too long.

The Bludgeon Brothers winning was fine, though I’m not sure how much of an impact it had. This felt like it was over before it started and while it got its job done, it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping to see. Not bad or anything and the Usos looked good, but I’d have preferred this to be two on two.

I’m not sure what Undertaker vs. Cena means, what it was, or what it was supposed to be. I think I liked it (DEFINITELY liked it more than a 20 minute match) but that’s what we get after all these weeks? Undertaker is awesome and Cena should watch his mouth? It was a bad story and a more confusing match than anything else, but what we got was certainly shocking. Oh and no Undertaker doesn’t still have it, at least not based off of that. We saw him in a three minute sparring session, not a regular match.

On a side note: I know I don’t think much of Undertaker coming back again and again, but that entrance will never stop being the most mesmerizing thing you’ll see at a wrestling show. Oh and one more thing (which I can’t take credit for): Undertaker went from main eventing Wrestlemania to beating up a fan.

Bryan is back….and there isn’t much more to say about this. Shane took a beating, Bryan got the hot tag, the fans loved it, he kicked them both a lot, shrugged off both finishers, and gave Sami his two finishers to win. What else is there to say about this one? See you Monday Sami and Kevin.

I really didn’t like Nia beating Alexa that way. As I said (along with many others), this should have been about a minute long and a complete squash. Alexa is going to get crushed in the end, so let Nia look impressive in the process. At least Nia FINALLY wins a title though, and that’s more than she’s ever managed to do before.

Styles vs. Nakamura was underwhelming, but completely acceptable. The biggest problem though is the post match heel turn. WHY DIDN’T YOU DO THIS AT FASTLANE??? OR ANY TIME BEFORE THE MATCH??? Nakamura was defeated 100% clean in the middle of the ring and now we have a likely rematch (assuming WWE doesn’t put them on different brands and waste another angle) where Nakamura will probably win. Have this be a DQ or something and then do the rematch, or do the heel turn first. Don’t have AJ win and then set up the rematch. Think this through people.

I actually like the Nicholas (who is referee John Cone’s son in case you were wondering whose kid he was) idea as it’s the closest thing they can have to Strowman winning by himself while still having a partner. To those people who say this is burying the belts or whatever other complaints you might have, please stop and think about this for a second. Strowman won them by himself because he’s one of the top stars in the company and needs something to do. This was intentionally being silly, not acting like it’s some brilliant idea. It’s not that bad and it’s not going to last long.

The main event is a case of waiting and seeing, though unfortunately it’s likely going to be waiting and seeing Reigns winning the title next year. I’m sure something is going to happen tomorrow night (maybe a surprise title change or an announcement of another match, but I REALLY hope they don’t just vacate it) but above all else, I like what they did here. Reigns simply wasn’t right to be champion at the moment and while I’m sure we’ll get ANOTHER year long build to his title win (NEXT TIME FOR SURE!), this wasn’t the right time. Lesnar winning is more headscratching than anything else, but I’d like to see what they do tomorrow.

Overall I liked the show, but again it’s too long. Cue the Raw Women’s Title match down to a minute, don’t do the US Title, have Nicholas be in the front row and drop a few minutes off of Rousey’s match and the show is that much better. It’s not a classic by any means, but it was a good show and had a ton of memorable moments. I had a good time and the set looked INCREDIBLE.

A few quite notes:

Beach balls made their return in the main event, along with the Wave. A fan shouted that if the people hate wrestling this much, go somewhere else because there are people who want to see it. He was given a DELETE chant because wrestling fans are stupid.

The small screens in the farther away sections have a bit of a time lapse so if you’re watching them instead of the ring, it’s rather confusing.

Rusev and Bryan were the most over all night by a wide margin.

The shorter ramp is great and needs to be the norm.

I won’t be going to New York as the idea of being in that city makes me break out in hives. There is however another potential big show on my radar, though it’s WAY too early to be for sure if I’m going to I won’t say which one.

It was a good night overall and Raw/Smackdown should certainly be interesting.

Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his Amazon author page with 26 wrestling books. His latest book is the WWE Grab Bag.

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