Another WrestleMania has come and gone, and with that, another show on the “Grandest Stage of Them All” has gone off the air to a chorus of boos with a sense of deflation from the crowd. The supposedly sure outcome of the WWE Universal Championship match – Roman Reigns finally defeating rival Brock Lesnar for his third straight Mania coronation – didn’t go the way anybody thought, but not even a shock like that could win over the audience who were paying more attention to a few volleying beach balls throughout the stadium than they were the wrestling during the main event. That being said, WrestleMania wasn’t all bad. In fact, it was quite good for a while, and featured some FANTASTIC moments that’ll for sure be etched in history! Let’s discuss the “Show of Shows”…
Myself and the Heartland crew (left to right: Nick Maraldo, Ty Schmit, Vibbs, Evan Foxy) arrived at the Mercedes Benz Superdome just as Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali were about to hit the ring for their Cruiserweight Championship match, about a half hour or so into the Kickoff portion of the show. We chose to watch the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at our house just a few miles outside the home of the New Orleans Saints, both to miss the rush of the crowd as doors opened and as an attempt to delay the exhaustion we knew would eventually hit us when embarking on a live seven-plus hour professional wrestling show.
As we got to our seats provided by SeatGeek (use promo code: MCAFEE for $20 off your first ticket purchase), we were all in awe at the grand scale of everything. I’ve been fortunate enough to be in attendance for three WrestleManias prior to last night (29, 31, and 33), but the effect is never lost on me the first time I step through those curtains from the concourse to the arena. A feeling hits me every time that says, “Oh my god, I’m actually here. I’m at WrestleMania, the ‘Showcase of the Immortals’. I made it.” I flash back to my four-year-old self (what was that, yesterday?!) watching my first WrestleMania and thinking, “One day, I’ll be there.” and just take a moment to appreciate where this wild world has led me. I don’t know if everyone else in the group had the same sorta sentimental awakening I did, but I do know that they were blown away by everything and stoked to watch sports entertainment at its highest level with give-or-take 76,000 other folk. Being nine rows back from the ring and mere feet away from the entrance ramp didn’t hurt, either.
Cedric Alexander vs Mustafa Ali for the vacant Cruiserweight Championship was exactly what I expected it to be…GREAT. I really enjoyed the storytelling done in this contest, pushing the “Heart of 205 Live” vs the “Soul of 205 Live” angle really hard, not betraying either’s character by having them suddenly show heel tendencies to make structuring simpler, and finding the perfect balance between a spotfest match with no selling and a “Vince McMahon” Cruiserweight match involving a ton of chinlocks and other rest holds. I really got the vibe that the title meant a huge deal to these competitors and that they were willing to do anything to get their hand raised by the referee in the end – something all championship matches should obviously convey, but also something that many seem to disregard when putting matches together. It ended with Alexander hitting his finish on Ali, the Lumbar Check, for the second time, and getting the 1-2-3. Both men kicked out of each other’s finishers once before the final three-count, not overdoing the false finishes but really getting the crowd engaged and ready to go. When Ali was left looking up at the lights, Cedric consoled him and thanked him for the match, and 205 Live General Manager Drake Maverick presented him with the strap.
I actually traveled to Chicago a few Summers ago to see Mustafa Ali wrestle in the back room of a deli for a fantastic independent promotion called Freelance Wrestling, so watching him work his craft with as many eyes as there could possibly be on him…that was really cool for me. I’m very proud of Ali, title or no title. He’s a stand up guy.
The WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal was up next, serving as a lead-in to the main show, and this is when Pat McAfee left WWE’s wonderful catering department backstage and joined us for the show.
There were a shocking amount of NXT girls that got the call-up for this match. I had no issues with it, and actually welcomed it if only for Dakota Kai and Peyton Royce, but I was definitely surprised by how prominent the NXT presence was, banding together and eliminating some of the sharks on the main roster. When it came down to just two women left standing in the ring after everyone else had been thrown over the top rope, we get our first real “Mania Moment” of the night. Everyone in the building stood up, and most participated in the first “YES!” chant at WrestleMania 34 – Bayley and Sasha Banks were the final entrants left, standing eye-to-eye with one another. Sasha, who recently turned heel on Bayley but worked together with her in this match for a bit, extended her arm out for a “handshake”, but Bayley finally didn’t fall for her fuckery. She grabbed that hand and launched the Legit Boss over the top rope, popping the hell out of our group and the ‘Dome altogether. Her music didn’t kick in right away, though, and I didn’t hear a bell, so I started to wonder if something was up, and sure enough, it was. Naomi had been tossed out of the ring (NOT over the top rope) earlier in the match, slid her way back in at the last moment, and hit Bayley with a Rear View before dumping her over the top rope to become the first annual WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal winner. Kind of a weirdly cheap way for a babyface to make history here, but it is what it is.
WrestleMania’s main show then begun, first with a lovely rendition of ‘America The Beautiful’ by Chloe x Halle, then with a massive pyrotechnics display on the stage, and after that, an absolute BANGER of a curtain-jerker for the WWE Intercontinental Championship…
Seth Rollins’ music was the first to hit, and it hit to a massive pop. His attire was entirely inspired by the Night King from Game of Thrones all the way down to electric blue contacts. It was a MAJOR step up from last year’s piss-colored gear with the weird flappy wings all over it. The defending champ, The Miz, entered next with anime-inspired gear (I don’t watch anime so I don’t know if this is true but some people hit me up on Twitter saying that’s what that was). The order of wrestlers making their entrances made perfect sense to me because I assumed Finn was saved for last so he could have an UNREAL WrestleMania entrance as the Demon, buuuuuuut nope! His entrance was actually just an LGBT rally, which is cool and all, but the execution and planning of the entrance was pretty disappointing.
This triple-threat, on the other hand, was the opposite of disappointing. It exceeded all of my expectations, both physically and with psychology. Rollins teasing hitting Finn with the powerbomb into the outside barricade was fantastic, Finn himself shined in his bursts of red-hot offense, and The Miz went from chickenshit heel to legitimate threat in the snap of a finger. He hit a Skull Crushing Finale off the top rope for christ’s sake! Rollins won with a double Curb Stomp to Finn Bálor and Miz, followed by one for extra measure on The Miz. Rollins is now a GRAND SLAM Champion. Congrats cuz!
Up next, we had our potential match of the night. I said going into WrestleMania 34 that my most anticipated matches were…
1. Daniel Bryan/Shane McMahon vs Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn
2. AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura
3. Charlotte vs Asuka
…and you know what? This SmackDown Women’s Championship match outperformed the other two by a looooong shot. There’s only one other match that’s fighting for the “Match of the Night” moniker, and we’ll talk about that in just a bit. As far as this one goes though, I thought it was executed to perfection. Charlotte’s entrance, paying homage to Triple H’s WrestleMania 30 entrance she was a part of, was so amazing that I’ve got chills just writing about it. Every second in this one passed by like it were like an hour, and the tension just kept building between the Queen and Empress of Tomorrow. There were some seriously insane spots, including Charlotte taking a suplex off the apron onto the floor, Charlotte hitting a Spanish Fly, and my favorite of the bunch, Asuka catching Charlotte in a triangle choke out of a huge moonsault. In the end, Charlotte proved she was ready for Asuka, and ended one of the longest undefeated streaks in professional wrestling history by submitting her with a Figure 8. As both a huuuuge Charlotte fan and someone who’s become very friendly with Ms. Flair over the past week, I was ecstatic.
Albeit this likely being the best match of both women’s careers, a pretty decent amount of the WWE Universe was upset afterward over Asuka’s Streak coming to an end the way it did. I understand their frustration, I do, but the idea of Charlotte (the most dominant women’s wrestler of the past three years) proving herself against this undefeated killer who went out of her way to challenge her after winning the Royal Rumble…that’s much more intriguing than anything I could come up with. Plus, think about all of the horrible ways streaks have been broken in pro wrestling – Goldberg’s with a taser, Charlotte’s PPV streak on a random Fastlane show which involved babyface interference – would you really prefer Carmella cash-in her Money in the Bank briefcase to deal Asuka her first loss? Because that’s probably what would’ve happened if this didn’t.
Regardless of how you felt about the finish, I think we can all agree that these two could have a legendary rivalry in store for us over the course of the next few years.
Just as the WWE SmackDown Women’s Champ made her way up the ramp in celebration, a referee rushed towards the ring, jumped the barricade, and bee-lined towards John Cena who, man of his word, was sitting in the crowd watching WrestleMania as a fan. Being there live, we couldn’t hear a word the ref said to Cena, but we could certainly see the “Oh shit. Oh fuck. Oh shit. Oh fuck.” look on his face, which could only mean one thing…The Undertaker is in the building. Cena hopped the barricade and SPRINTED up the ramp faster than any human being has ever ran before, and we were FIRED UP!
Randy Orton’s United States Championship was then put on the line in a Fatal-4-Way match against Bobby Roode, Rusev, and Jinder Mahal, so I decided it was time to grab some fries and a soda with some of the boys, because fuuuuuuuuuck that. You can actually see us walking up the aisle on the broadcast as they introduce the foreign commentators.
I wound up missing the entire match because Vibbs was ahead of me on the concessions line, and when he ordered himself a cold one and presented his ID, the Superdome trotted out out their CSI team to inspect that shit. Legitimate executives in suits were pulled out of back rooms I didn’t know existed to examine young Jeffery’s face because nobody could fathom the fact that he is a 27-year-old man. I felt kinda bad, because he goes through that ALL THE TIME, but it was also pretty damn funny and got me out of seeing Jinder fucking Mahal win a match, so I’m happy about it. Stay young forever, Vibbs. I got your back.
At this point, the time had come for Ronda Rousey to make her long-awaited debut in the squared circle alongside fellow Olympian Kurt Angle, taking on Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in a mixed-tag match. Hunter and Steph received a full motorcycle gang escort to the ring in a similar entrance to the one they had last year in Orlando, but this time around, it teetered more on the side of “BADASS” than it did “CHEESY” on the line he rides with each Mania entrance. Kurt had his standard but classic entrance (if it ain’t broke don’t fix it), and then “Bad Reputation” hit and we were ALL ready for shit to go down.
Ronda’s entrance attire was all “Rowdy” Roddy Piper inspired, the leather jacket, the kilt, etc. and her in-ring gear was a hybrid of that and a fight kit, which she pulled off REALLY well. I was a big fan. Something I haven’t been a fan of for a while now though, are Triple H matches at WrestleMania. They eat up more time on the card than anything else and they’re almost always long, boring, and overly-reliant on Stephanie bumping for a pop. Hunter’s unsanctioned match versus Seth Rollins last year was also a complete disaster from a psychology standpoint and killed the crowd for the night, so I was a tad worried about how this would go.
Before the match eve began, however, I was put at a bit of ease when Team McMahon attacked Team Olympian the second the entered the ring. I wrote extensively during the road to WrestleMania about how this mixed tag had very little room for error in its booking, but this bending of the rules was the first step in hitting the incredibly small target they tasked themselves with nailing…and then they shot off a fucking bullseye.
Seriously, remember earlier in this blog when I said that only one bout on this card could challenge Charlotte vs Asuka as match of the night? It’s this one! The one featuring TRIPLE H, a guy who’s last great match was four years ago. The one featuring STEPHANIE MCMAHON, a 41-year-old executive who’s wrestled maybe a dozen matches in her life. The one featuring KURT ANGLE, a guy who clearly lost a few steps and underwhelmed tremendously in his 2017 WWE return. Oh, and yeah…the one featuring RONDA ROUSEY, a girl who has NEVER WRESTLED A MATCH IN HER LIFE.
Now, I don’t wanna take too much credit here, but as Pat and I were leaving the red carpet at the WWE Hall of Fame on Friday night, we walked right by Ronda Rousey and I hit her with a, “Hey, have fun on Sunday!”, so you’re welcome for easing her nerves, WWE Universe.
All jokes aside (although that’s not a joke, it actually happened), Rousey was leaps and bounds better than she had any right to be. I mean, she literally stole the show at WrestleMania. I don’t think anyone expected that to happen on a show with Daniel Bryan’s return to in-ring action and AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura, but hey, it’s a strange business sometimes. From the moment she got the hot tag from Kurt, Ronda was on fire. She sprinted across the ring, ripped Steph into the ring, unleashed a DEADLY flurries of strikes similar to those that knocked Bethe Correia out, and attempted to lock in an armbar.
Triple H put out Ronda’s fire REEEAAAAL quick to save his wife Stephanie, and much to the referee’s disapproval, accepted her challenge to square up. That’s when homeboy realized he’d made a HORRIBLE mistake.
Ronda just looked like she got it in there, you know what I’m sayin? She had really tiny flubs here and there (I wouldn’t even call them botches) but she also undoubtably put on the greatest first match performance in the history of the business when you take into account the stage in which she debuted. She’s got the selling down, she’s got the timing down, she’s got the bumping down…she’s seemingly got the psychology down, and she brought a really fun and unique offensive moveset to the table. When she finally snatched Steph’s arm and broke her grip with her shoulder, the place absolutely exploded. It was an amazing visual.
Main event WrestleMania 35 with Charlotte Flair vs Ronda Rousey, Vince. YOU WON’T!
MAJOR props as well to Stephanie and Triple H for helping make Ronda look as good as she did. Ronda deserves all of the praise she’s getting but they could use a little as well.
After Rousey tore the house down, a buddy of mine that works for the WWE shot me a text pre-warning me that after The Usos’ title defense against The New Day and The Bludgeon Brothers, Cena would hit the ring. It was very cool of him to give up that heads up, and Vibbs and I thought, “Perfect! We’ll go to the bathroom now and we won’t miss the Undertaker!” but unfortunately the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match was short as shit and we sprinted out of the line and back into our seats because THE AMERICAN BADASS was about to be BACK!
…or so we thought. It wound up being just the same old fuckin’ Undertaker who shows up every year to collect that ‘Mania paycheck. The big reveal of Taker with his gear from last year in the ring was cool when it exploded and wasn’t there, and I thought, “MAN, that’s an amazing symbolic way to show the Deadman is dead but the American Badass is here!” but it was just the Deadman then. Last year’s emotional retirement stands for absolutely nothing now and homedog’s gonna retire at 45-13 at WrestleMania.
He had maybe the longest entrance I’ve ever seen, and then delivered a two-minute and forty-five second match where he dismantled the shit out of John Cena in a squash with all of his greatest hits. Cena hit one move the whole match and just looked petrified the rest of the time. I kinda hated that Cena was playing up the “shitting in his pants at just the sight of The Undertaker” thing as much as he was, because, well, you wanted this Ferdinand. Don’t be scared homie. You called him out.
This likely sets up an Undertaker vs John Cena rematch next year at WrestleMania in New Jersey, which…bleh. Who cares? Career vs Career? Or something? I dunno man. I felt their “match” last night was nothing but a big ol’ waste of time. Poor Ty Schmit had to sit in shame for the rest of the night dressed to the nines in his lime green.
What WASN’T a big ol’ waste of time was this next match…the one where “American Dragon” made his return to the ring for the first time in over 3 years. Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon vs Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn with KO and Sami’s jobs on the line. I obviously cared more about this than anything else on the card, and if we’re just being honest, I lose my mind in the crowd of Daniel Bryan matches. Like, you know how Frankie Borrelli turns into a different, uncontrollable person at Isles games and then snaps out of it and comes back to reality a few hours later? I’m the exact same way…but for something that isn’t real. I can’t help it, but it just BECOMES real when Bryan steps foot in that 20×20. I mean, look at this…
Pretty damn easy to pick me outta the crowd there! I’m the only maniac standing up on my chair while vigorously YES chanting to the moon.
Oh wow Bob, check out the muscle definition in that video. Wow. Tone it down, children read this site. Put the guns away.
ANNND here we have a perfect example of what I mean by wrestling becoming real when Bryan’s involved…Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn ambushed Shane O Mac and D-Bry before the initial bell rang, taking Daniel Bryan out of the equation for a bit…and I’m distraught. I’m not playing it up for the cameras, or acting in the slightest. I’m genuinely distraught.
But then, like he always has, “The Ultimate Underdog” Daniel Bryan rose above the deck that was stacked against him, overcame all odds, and pulled out a HUUUUUGE win in the same building the “Miracle on Bourbon Street” went down in 2014…
That’s genuine happiness, ladies and gentlemen. Call me a nerd, call me a geek, call me a virgin, call me a mark, call me what you want. I don’t care. I can tell you right in that moment, nothing in the world could’ve brought me down. That’s how the professional fucking graps make me feel. THAT happy. I really hope all of you have something in your life that brings you to that level of excitement, the level at which your hands are shaking incessantly and there’s so much euphoria flowing through your body that you get on a life high. Would recommend.
Oh, and how could I forget? Shane O Mac went coast to coast!
So now you’d have to assume that Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are headed to RAW, which is actually a really good move in my opinion. Kevin Owens has always come off as more of a RAW guy to me. Sami could go either way, but it’s smart to keep ‘em together for now and get some new matchups for the team.
The next “WrestleMania Moment” was one that everybody predicted: Nia Jax defeated Alexa Bliss for the RAW Women’s Championship in pretty dominant fashion. I didn’t think this match was all that great, but Daniel Bryan had just put me through such a roller coaster of emotions just a few minutes prior so I probably owe it a rewatch. I also kinda checked out knowing Nia would win, and I wasn’t all about that, but the finish was really sick and looked like it MURDERED Alexa.
There were a few other decent spots as well, now that I’m thinking about it, so maybe I’m not giving these women enough credit. Exhaustion probably just kicked in at an inopportune time.
Now we’ve reached the phase of the show where we have to talk about the elephant in the room: AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura was uhhhhh…uhhhhhhhh…uhhhhhhhhhhhh……not that great! Everyone we talked to all weekend, whether they were an active member of the WWE roster, a commentator, an indie wrestler, a wrestling journalist, or just a fan, named this as their prediction for match of the weekend. Some went as far as saying it’d be match of the year. Pat and the Heartland crew aren’t the biggest fans of Styles or Nakamura, and constantly chirp me with a “We just don’t get it.”, so I was really counting on this match to prove them wrong, but it wound up being a big let down.
Don’t get me wrong – AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura was not a BAD match by any means. I actually think it was good! The issue is though, “good” just don’t cut it on the “Grandest Stage of Them All”. Especially when you’re positioned in a spot towards the end of the night when the crowd is SPENT, and ESPECIALLY ESPECIALLY when there’s hype around your match potentially being the greatest match of all time. At the very least, you have to give the fans something great, and these two men were just unable to deliver that. I don’t know what went wrong, either. I just don’t get it. Everything about this match should have worked. With how smarky the WrestleMania crowd is, they should’ve been getting “THIS IS AWESOME” chants before they even started wrestling. The entrances slayed, didn’t they?
Nita Strauss shredding Nak out to the ring ruled, AJ got major pyro and the Southern crowd singing along to “AIN’T NO-BODY BREAKIN’ THIS REDNECK!”. Did they just try to work a more methodical Japanese-style match in front of an American audience and the story they were trying to convey got lost in translation? I really don’t know man.
What I do know, however, is that Pat McAfee wound up buying all of the beer in the Superdome during this match. No exaggeration whatsoever, the Bud Light vendors yelled for last call, and without seeing how much was left in their buckets, Pat screamed “HEY CUZZO! WE’LL TAKE EM ALL!” and threw a wad of cash at the guys. Everyone in Section H wound up getting free beer (other than the minors, of course, we were fiercely checking IDs) thanks to the guy in the suit who kept introducing himself as Peyton Manning. I think Pat was more over than Styles AND Nakamura in that moment.
Pat’s run with superstardom didn’t last too long after the match though, as that’s when the tide rapidly changed and everyone at the Superdome suddenly paid attention to the two warriors in the ring. Both Styles and Nakamura embraced in the center of the 20×20, and then…
BIG TIME HEEL TURN FROM SHINSUKE NAKAMURA! This moment was very reminiscent of the post-match affair involving Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 19, almost to the point of homage, but it was such a good swerve that it almost made up for the lame match……..almost.
The RAW Tag Team Championships were on the line as The Bar were tasked with facing Braun Strowman and a mystery partner of his choosing. In the weeks leading up to WrestleMania, the question of “Who will be Braun’s partner?!” has been one of the most popular talking points on the internet, with fans suggesting feasible names like Samoa Joe, Big Cass, and Rey Mysterio, all the way to seemingly unfeasible ones like Hulk Hogan. There was a ton of secrecy around this subject internally in the WWE, and most of the employees I spoke with in the days before Mania either had no idea who it would be or shared guesses of their own – a BUNCH of which were actually the Hulkster, so we may be able to take that as an indicator that the WWE is about to be back on good terms with the ol’ bastard.
Braun’s partner, as the entire WORLD knows by now, was not a fun surprise from the past – but he could be the future. 10-year-old Nicholas was plucked out of the crowd “randomly” last night to serve as Braun’s hot tag if he needed one. I put “randomly” in quotes because Nicolas was actually a plant, the little shit. He’s one of the referee’s (John Cone) sons. Get a load of that bullshit. We coulda had Pat McAfee get in that ring for a little “GET THESE HANDS”/”GET THESE FEET” action against Cesaro and Sheamus, we coulda had Warhammer Vibbs stand on that apron lookin’ like a child, and hey! I coulda done that too! But Braun goes with Nicolas? Bullshit!
To be completely honest we were all cheering and chanting “MC-AFEE” as Braun was venturing over near us in the crowd, hoping to get Pat was nice little RAW Tag Team Championship to wear around his waist, and Pat was playing along, but the second he actually locked eyes with the “Monster Among Men” and realized he could potentially be going into the ring highly intoxicated, he had us tone the chants down and sat down from the chair he was standing on. It was like I watched his life flash before his eyes, it was incredible.
So Nicolas is now one half of the WWE RAW Tag Team Champions, the youngest champion in WWE history, and I gotta say…he’s getting this push for NO REASON! He’s being shoved down our throats, he’s green as goose shit, and he’s never drawn a dime in his life. Boycott RAW tonight if he’s on the show. jk imagine hating on somebody that much lmao
FINALLY, about 4500 words into this blog, the time has come to discuss the MAAAAAIN EVENT OF THE EVENING. If you’ve made it this far with me, thank you so much. I truly appreciate you taking the time to read my thoughts on the graps and I’ll work on becoming less long-winded as to not eat up as much of your valuable time in the future.
At WrestleMania 31 in Santa Clara, the expectation leading into the Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns match for the WWE Championship was that the crowd would hijack the match with chants for Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, NXT, and other various symbols and promotions involved with wrestling but not involved with either competitor in the bout. It was the talk of the town all weekend, what people were planning on chanting, or how people were going to turn their backs to the ring, or file-out, and then everyone was proved as the hypocrites they are when the bright lights came on. The crowd clearly picked a side with Brock Lesnar, and wound up being the absolute best possible crowd for a big fight feel atmosphere. There was a small part of me saying that’d happen again last night, but as they showed the pre-match video package, the worst possible thing happened…the Mercedes Benz Superdome fell silent. There were some small patterings of golf claps here and there and maybe a dozen people in the stadium still had the energy to boo, so they did, but I could tell this was gonna be less like Brock/Roman I and more like Brock/Goldberg at WrestleMania 20…and it was…but possibly worse?
Again, when you take a look at the scale of the two matches, one was a kinda whatever throwaway match that – at the very least – involved “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. This one was the MAIN EVENT of WrestleMania, a rematch three years in the making, and see…
In the crowd, we started seeing little beach balls popping up, scattered throughout the arena, and they completely took priority over whatever action was going on in the ring. If someone got a good hit in on one, they’d get a big pop. If security got to one of the balls and confiscated them, they were met with “DELETE!”, “YOU SOLD OUT!”, and “ASSSSSSSSHOLE!” chants. When fans became tired of watching the beach balls, they started getting a little creative with chants including (but not limited to):
-“THIS IS AWFUL!” *clap* *clap* *clapclapclap*
-“YOU BOTH SUCK! YOU BOTH SUCK! YOU BOTH SUCK!
-“CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK!”
-“WE WANT NICHOLAS! WE WANT NICHOLAS!”
-“JOHNNY WRESTLING! JOHNNY WRESTLING!”
-“WRAP IT UP! WRAP IT UP! WRAP IT UP!”
From what I saw of the match itself, it sucked. Not in a Botchamania way, just in a “Who the fuck did acid and put this match together?” way. Roman Reigns kicked out of like six F-5’s and got as much blood as anyone in the past decade, but you see…
Eventually, Lesnar finished Reigns off with a final F-5, much to the surprise of the crowd who actually managed to muster up a pop, and then everyone realized that was the ending of WrestleMania and we filed out of the arena in silence. It was weird and awkward and a complete contrast to the last time they closed out a show at the Superdome…
…and last night displayed the kind of booking that just makes ya go, “Huh!”
I’m definitely ready for Brock Lesnar to go away for a while, and even as a pretty big Roman Reigns defender, putting that on last at WrestleMania is just inexcusable. The Roman “Experiment” needs a complete reboot *coughcough*heelturn*coughcough* because as great as he is in the ring, crowds will never take to him. With the doing-away of single branded pay-per-views later this year, maybe letting SmackDown main event their special events frequently is the way to go. Shove Roman down everyone’s throats early on in the night, we’ll pretend to care, I’ll do the lil “OOOOO-AHHHHH” gimmick for ya, and then close the show out with the likes of Daniel Bryan or AJ Styles. It’s just such a bad look to send crowds home unhappy like they did last night, at WrestleMania more than any event all year. I don’t care HOW much merch Roman’s selling. It comes off like a smack in the face to those who are spending their hard-earned dollars to travel to Mania every year from all over the world. I’ll even go as far as saying if Styles/Nakamura and this match swapped slots on the card, they’d BOTH get much better reactions from the crowd.
I don’t say any of this to promote some kind of anti-Roman propaganda, by the way, I say it because I really like Roman Reigns and it’s just continuously frustrating seeing the people who want him to succeed the most shoot him in the foot. Over and over and over again. When you’ve got the in-ring talent that Roman Reigns has in the year of our lord 2018, it’s honestly not difficult to get over. For Reigns, it’d start with a heel turn that allows him to show personality we’ve never seen before on the mic, no scripts, just bullet points, and eventually when some fine-tuning on the stick is paired with solid booking, you could turn him baby in 8 months and have him be the most over guy on the roster…except Rusev maybe. That guy is O.V.E.R.
That’s about all I’ve got to say on WrestleMania 34 though, folks. You’ve milked me dry. Or, I guess I milked myself dry, because nobody asked for 5500 words on Mania, but I gave it to ya anyway. Overall, I’d grade the show somewhere between “good” and “great”. For a while at the start there I really believed WrestleMania 17 was about to be dethroned at the top of the Mania Mountain, but it definitely derailed somewhere after Daniel Bryan tapped out that ginger fuck Sami Zayn. I would say it was probably the most fun I’ve ever had at a WrestleMania, thanks in part to sharing the experience with the wonderful human beings of Barstool Heartland, the RIDICULOUS seats (shoutout SeatGeek), and being lucky enough to watch my favorite professional wrestler of all time fight for his dreams and return to the ring at the site of the most important win of his career. So in conclusion?
WrestleMania was a fucking hoot! As it always is. See yas next year in our backyard.
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