Tony Nese def. Buddy Murphy (C) – Cruiserweight Championship
I was hoping this would get a slot on the main card, but alas, this year’s card just proved to be too big. Anyways, this was a solid match to open the night.
It lacked the energy and some of the craziness of previous CW matches, probably because there’s only so much they were allowed to do. I’ve seen Buddy have more intense matches.
That said, they did a good job keeping up the pace and the physicality. While I would have liked a bit more buildup to the finish, a decent start all in all. I had Buddy retaining, but I guess they want to go in a different direction. **3/4
Carmella wins Women’s Battle Royal
K. I mean, it’s a battle royal and nothing important was up for grabs. Ember Moon returned so that’s a thing that happened. I’m sure most were hedging their bets on Asuka.
Not only was she robbed out of a title match at WrestleMania, but she doesn’t even win the backup battle royal she was placed into. I personally had Lacey Evans but she didn’t even compete. Carmella is okay, I guess.
But she had nothing going for her up to that point and there were others that could have used the win more. The actual match was kind of dull. **
Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder def. The Revival (C) – RAW Tag Team Championship
We probably knew this would happen the moment the match was announced because WrestleMania is the perfect venue to end Curt Hawkins’ losing streak.
While I do think the heat segment on Ryder was a bit long, the match picked up in a good way down the stretch, especially when they were doing all that craziness out the outside.
The finish was also clever, as Hawkins figured out the only way to ensure victory was to play dead. What a thought. Match would probably be good on RAW. **3/4
Braun Strowman wins Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
This sucked, no easy way to say it. First, what’s with the random returns tonight? First Ember Moon and now Luke Harper? Whatever.
Anyways, I can’t imagine being a WWE Superstar and watch SNL hosts get a WrestleMania entrance. WM is about the draw, but that’s just the thing. They’re not draws. The only reason to watch this match was to see what the payoff for the SNL feud was.
Clearly, nothing worthwhile. So Braun slaps Michael and sends Colin flying out the ring. All the big, scary talk from Braun before the event and he didn’t even hit his finisher. No one else was even made to look strong in this royal. What a massive waste of time all of this was. DUD
Seth Rollins def. Brock Lesnar (C) – Universal Championship
Yeah, so this weird all the way through. I did like the shocker that this went on first. It’s a great way to shock the crowd and to get them pumped for the night. You wouldn’t want a semi-dead crowd at 10 waiting for this to take place.
From a storyline sense it also makes sense because Seth probably wasn’t prepared to face Lesnar this early in the night, which might have led to him second-guessing himself. So in that sense, this was fun.
While Seth winning was a great moment and a bit of a shocker in lieu of the circumstances, a part of me was disappointed that we didn’t get, you know, a match that had a beginning, middle and end.
These matches where Lesnar only has about 7 minutes or so of actual in-ring stuff is disappointing. Seth winning is still a huge deal, and I did like the story of him having to overcome Brock getting the jump on him early.
But in spite of the wounds that developed on Seth’s back, I don’t think this lasted long enough for me to fully absorb the finish. It kind of reminded me of Goldberg defeating Brock at Survivor Series.
Anyways, I’m glad that the right choice was made in Seth winning, and while I wanted a full match, this was an energetic, adrenaline-filled start. The actual match was around 2 minutes, so no rating.
AJ Styles def. Randy Orton
Now this was the match I was expecting to start off WrestleMania. Styles and a game Orton makes for a good match at WrestleMania any day, and we got a solid outing here.
The story that permeated the match was how Orton was going to hit the RKO, Orton’s “one move” and what measures AJ would take to avoid it. Consistency would be key here, and I liked how there were callbacks to precious moments in this feud.
First, there was the mid-air RKO Styles got caught with last Tuesday. He did his homework and avoided that. He also attempted the RKO that he hit on Styles in the Elimination Chamber and Styles managed to fight out of that as well.
Even with all that Orton still managed to hit the RKO. When Styles kicked out of that, Orton essentially knew he was in trouble.
I wanted a bit more attention on Styles working Orton’s legs to build up to the finish and show Orton’s inability to hit it.
The crowd being distracted by something diverted a little of my attention away, but overall, from what I saw, both men carried their weight and it was a solid matchup. I suspect this isn’t over. ***1/4
The Usos (C) def. The Bar, Aleister Black and Ricochet, and Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev – Smackdown Tag Team Championships
This was exactly what it needed to be. A fun sprint that gave the strengths of all of the tag teams away. The work of Cesaro and Ricochet were especially impressive here, but all the teams were great.
WWE is a fan of throwing in all the tag teams in tornado style matches at WrestleMania, so there’s rarely a story here. I can only rate how fun a spotfest it was. I don’t think we got anything too crazy, but I enjoyed what I got. Imagine if this got 5 or so more minutes. ***1/2
Shane McMahon def. The Miz – Falls Count Anywhere
This was sports entertainment at its finest if I ever saw it. This reminded me of all the main event style matches WWE would have in the late 90s and early 2000s where it’s just straight brawling without a specific structure.
However, I found there to be a lot of nonsense in between that interrupted the flow. I mean, the whole deal with Miz’s dad was just unnecessary and didn’t add anything. All it did was waste time.