What a night it was! I’m still marking out over everything that went down – including the stage & ramp. WrestleMania 33 from the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida was more than the ‘ultimate thrill ride’ they advertised. It was an amusement park packed with ride after ride of Mania sized moments we’ll be talking about for years to come.
Here is a look back at the action – don’t worry, I skipped the Pitbull performance last night and I’ve done so again here.
AJ Styles vs. Shane-O-Mac
We started off our ‘trip in the park’ with a ride we knew would not disappoint. Trashcans came out, Shane went flying off top ropes & through a table, per usual, but Styles was just too much for Shane to overcome in the end. It was a nicely worked match and a great way to start things off.
Is there anyone better overall in the ring right now than AJ Styles? He’s truly phenomenal. I don’t get tired of watching his matches. The guy can do it all.
Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho (U.S. Title Match)
In the first title match of the night, KO-Mania 2 got off to a bit of a win-dy start. Is anyone tired of this feud yet? (No one raises hand) GOOD. Cause neither am I! The foiled friendship provided us with a solid match and left Jericho a finger (or knuckle) away from walking away with the United States Championship belt. Instead, all he walked away with was that awesome light-up scarf of his, which we should all acknowledge isn’t all that bad of a consolation prize, right?
KO took the belt from Jericho like he promised his EX BFF he would and has now held every belt except a tag-title in his short WWE career. KO-Mania is real and to that I say – Fight Owens Fight!
Bayley vs Sasha Banks vs Nia Jax vs Charlotte (Raw Women’s Title Match)
I really enjoyed how this one started off. Nia’s physically imposing style took over and it was awesome. I thought it was the equity that her character needed and it made complete sense to have the other three ladies pile up (literally) against her just to get the 1-2-3. I thought that was really well done and smartly written but then the rest of it seemed a bit lackluster. I was hoping to see a bit more from The Boss but I got a feeling she’ll be..turning, things around here soon.
Bayley dropped a Macho-Man inspired elbow from the top ropes to beat Charlotte and retain her championship – spoiler alert: she was the only Champ to do so when WM 33 ended. Kudos to her for overcoming Charlotte and for the elbow on the 30th anniversary of Macho-Man vs. Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania 3. Macho-Man would have dug it – ooo yeaahhh!
Hardy Boyz Return!
I’m not even going to title this one as it should be, there is no other way to explain what might be the Mania Moment of the night for many. I still have chills from hearing that familiar bass-line hit in the Citrus Bowl last night. Talk about a POP!
A ladder match at WrestleMania is like rolling out the red carpet for the Hardy Boyz. It is THEIR match. We all got worked on this one from the moment we were told The New Day would be hosts of WrestleMania 33, and no one could figure out why.
There was nothing S-A-W-F-T about this match, ask Cesaro. All four teams were great but the Hardy Boyz reminded everyone they are on another level of extreme and no one does it like them. It’s going to be great to have them back. The Tag-Team Division on Raw is going to be fun to watch. I’m still smiling as big as Matt Hardy was on the turnbuckle after this one. What a return! The Hardy Boyz are Raw Tag Champs!
The Cena’s vs. Maryse & The Miz
What an amazing moment for John Cena & Nikki Bella. It only makes sense for it all to happen this way for these two. We see so much of their lives unfold in front of the camera, why not this moment too? I thought the match was pretty good in it’s own right and can’t help but enjoy Maryse & The Miz as a heel duo. But I’m a bit bias because..Maryse.
Queue up the wedding dress drama! Congrats again to John & Nikki!
Seth Freakin’ Rollins vs Triple H (Unsanctioned Match)
The Game was off of his game in the beginnings of this one (per Michael Cole) and Seth’s knee didn’t show any problems until Triple H took a steel chair to it. Add on a couple self-imposed moments of anguish and The Cerebral Assassin had Rollins doing his best Dolph Ziggler, “my knee hurts really badly” impersonation, leaving his ability to walk out of WrestleMania altogether at question around the announcers table. Speaking of tables, things took a crashing turn when Stephanie interjected herself into the action.
After knocking his wife off of the apron and crashing through a table via a super-kick from The Kingslayer, Triple H turned right into a Pedigree for the 1-2-3. Seeing Stephanie crash through a table was the only thing that could rattle the Assassin and even the playing field for Rollins just long enough to take advantage of a distracted husband.
The Kingslayer came out with a flame in hand to set fire to the kingdom and he did exactly that. Perhaps its time for Triple H to send the big Samoan after Rollins while he attends to his ailing wife for a bit as we head towards Payback on April 30th.
Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt (WWE Championship Match)
I was excited to see this one, I really enjoyed the development leading up to it and through the Rumble, but it fell flat to live up to expectations for me. Like Bradshaw said during the match, “there’s seventy-thousand people here that don’t know what to make of this”, and nor did I at home. I mean..I get it. Bray can get in the minds of his opponent by walking around backwards on his hands & feet, but whatever happened to just letting him be a good wrestler? He’s talented enough and his character has the crowd captivated, does he have to have all of this sorcery floating around just to win? It just seems a bit over thought to me and kind of broke up the rhythm to me.
Nonetheless, RKO got the win – outta nowhere! Wyatt couldn’t control the voices in Orton’s head anymore and Orton found himself walking out of WrestleMania 33 as a 13-time Champ.
Goldberg vs Lesnar (Universal Championship Match)
It took Goldberg 86 seconds to beat Lesnar for the belt at Survivor Series last year and set all of this in motion. Luckily this match took a bit longer than that, not even counting Goldberg’s walk to the ring. Given the history of their WrestleMania matches, I think we were all assuming this could be a far worse showing than it was, but in my opinion I thought it was actually really well worked and the crowd was into it. It took 10 (TEN! TEN! TEN!) suplexes by Lesnar to beat the biggest obstacle in his career and I thought it was a great way to have this one end. Lesnar had to dig deep (and jump pretty high) to overcome Goldberg and balance out all of the hype the Universal Champ had coming into this one.
Enjoy the time off in Suplex City, Goldberg!
Smackdown Women’s Championship Match
I’ll make this as quick as all of their intros were, combined. Congrats Naomi, that was an awesome moment at home in O-town for you. I love Becky and Alexa’s ring presence and I think both can carry bigger matches for Smackdown’s Women’s Divison. We all started ‘feeling the glow’ of this one a while back and it was pretty apparent how it would end. Again, congratulations to Naomi!
P.S. I still don’t know what Alexa Bliss had on the back of her vest when she was walking down the ramp and turned around to show it off, I was Bliss-fully distracted 🙂
Undertaker vs Roman Reigns
In what will most likely go down as the most memorable moment from WrestleMania 33 after all the dust settles, we were treated to a great match between Taker and Reigns. It was the first time these two matched up together one-on-one and I can’t say I was disappointed, until the end when Taker was put down for the final count. It was the inevitable ending we all saw coming to what is without any doubt a Hall of Fame career. I don’t think many could predict Reigns would get the win or wanted to even say it aloud for fear that it may come true, but it did, and no boos for the overly hated Reigns were loud enough to stop it. He did a great job of working this match with Taker (minus what I thought was a failed attempt at a Tombstone on Taker at one point). Maybe this will be enough to change some people’s outlook on his in-ring abilities moving forward, but I have my doubts.
Undertaker took the business to another level. He was truly a phenom and like no one else when he came onto the scene. For the first time I could see the age on Taker last night but it wasn’t until he sat up off the mat after giving it all he had for the WWE Universe one last time, and for that I am thankful. His final exit was as appropriate and fitting for a character as it gets. The bell tolled for the final time and he went back into that dark hole in which he came out of in 1990 at Survivor Series.
It will always be your yard, Undertaker. Thank you, and may you retire..in…peaaccceeee.