Watching Wrestlemania as a UK fan is a strange experience. While our American cousins have a normal evening in front of the TV or for a lucky few thousand in the stadium, we have to stay up to four in the morning on a Sunday evening combating sleep. Some years that feels like a huge mistake. As time trickles by and WWE piss you off with their ridiculous decision-making, you can’t help but think of a night in bed rather than on the sofa. Yet, every now and then the stars come together and WWE knock it out the park, last night was one of those occasions.
Now, let’s make some things clear. I wasn’t pleased with everything WWE did last night. There were some booking decisions that I would have done very differently. Two of the companies up and coming heels, Bray Wyatt and Rusev, were beaten by established veterans, men who probably didn’t need it. While in all honesty where WWE goes after the Sting Triple H match is anyone’s guess. It was insanity. However, that didn’t stop all of these matches being brilliantly good fun.
In fact, this was the first PPV I have watched in a long time where I don’t think a single match could be construed as bad. WWE even gave the divas more than a few minutes and unsurprisingly they put on more than a decent match. Five more minutes and I reckon they would have put on a great one, but it’s a start. Going back to the start of the night, the tag title match was wonderful insanity. Four teams putting it all on the line to be remembered when the final bell rang. Even the Andre the Giant Battle Royal exceeded expectations, Miz and Mizdow putting on a more entertaining segment than anything that happened at the Royal Rumble. Big Show wouldn’t have been my choice for a winner, but the decision to put him over justifies the move to the pre-show.
The opening Intercontinental ladder match was something that Wrestlemania has missed for the last few years. It was full of big bumps and shot along at a ridiculous pace. I don’t know if any word has come out on the condition of Dean Ambrose, but that powerbomb spot was brutal. Most importantly, Daniel Bryan’s neck was obviously protected, but without making him look bad and by putting him over, the WWE can hopefully start the long road to making that title important again.
Following that was always going to be tough, but Randy Orton and Seth Rollins did a great job. It was a different style of match, one that built up rather than exploded and it was no surprise that two of the best workers in the company pulled it out the bag. The final RKO was also a thing of beauty and the timing it took from Orton and Rollins to pull it off deserves a round of applause.
As I said above, Sting and Triple H’s encounter made no sense when it comes to long-term booking. Having the NWO help Sting goes against years of history, while Hall and Nash fighting against Triple H the night after they posed together at the Hall of Fame makes even less sense than uber heel Triple H shaking Sting’s hand at the end of the match. Despite all these problems, it was gloriously good fun. It led to moment after moment and sure it might have all been a bit much, but when those legends stared each other down, tell me you weren’t bouncing up and down like a child? When a healthy Scott Hall took a goddamn bump, tell me that didn’t make you happy?
At that point I wasn’t sure what could top it, then Rusev came out on a goddamn tank. Sure he shouldn’t have lost, he is far too good to be fed to Super Cena, but if WWE do the right thing tonight at Raw and make him look strong he’ll be just fine. Him and Lana are so good at what they do, that they will get that heat back. The match was as good as you could expect from these two and would have told a good story, except Super Cena is a story we have heard a million years before.
An even better story was Undertaker and Bray Wyatt. I get that Bray could have used a win at Wrestlemania. He needs something to make him stand out, but I still think he came out of this match looking great. It also continued the process of making the phenom look more and more human. Next year will be his last Wrestlemania, it has to be, and he will go in against whoever they choose to face him against with a massive question mark over his head. Can the Deadman go one last time? Or will age finally take its toll?
If the storytelling was good already, it then hit a crescendo in the main event. Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar tore the house down. Lesnar looked like the beast he was, throwing Reigns around the ring like a rag doll. While the fact that Reigns kept getting up, kept taking that beating, made him look like a total nut job, but in a great way. It was also a match that showed how blood at the right time in the right place can be so effective. I don’t care that much about the lack of blood in the WWE, but that small cut on Lesnar’s cheek and the bigger one on his head told a story that a thousand words couldn’t have. To cap it all off with Rollins cashing in was pretty much perfect. Lesnar and Reigns looked brilliant and Rollins like the smart young heel he is. It was superb booking and going into this ‘Mania who would have predicted that.
This run through off the card doesn’t even include the fun Rock and Rhonda Rousey segment, which saw the hardest women on the planet do a great job in the WWE ring or the wonderful sight in the pre show of The Stooges and J and J Security coming face to face. This was just a great Wrestlemania and is definitely one of the best in recent years. It’s hard to truly define where something stands this close to the event. It will take a month or so before the various ramifications are played out and we can truly decide where this ‘Mania stands in history. However, right here right now, this is some of the most fun I have had watching WWE in a long time and really, as four in the morning hit and I trudged through to bed, that was all that mattered.