Tom’s Takes: WrestleMania 33

They continually billed it as “The Ultimate Thrill Ride” and, for the most part, WrestleMania delivered some exceptional matches, some outstanding moments and arguably one of the best WM cards in recent memory. Sure there was Pitbull but we can’t have everything. Tom’s Takes on WrestleMania 33 begin now…

Wrestlemania Week is in the books for another year, the massive sign has been packed away and stored away somewhere in that massive warehouse they have full of things and we’re left to wonder what’s next in the WWE Universe.

Wrestlemania 33 was a brilliant card for the majority of it, despite its length – a 2 hour pre-show, kick-off thing and a near 5-hour slog for the main card? So much so that I actually tapped out and went to bed before the Undertaker/Roman Reigns match got going – yeah, I’ve watched it now but I’d be damned if I stayed up and sat through all that and then the things that happened afterwards.

Lots to talk about so I guess I shall get on with it…

KICK-OFF SHOW – Cruiserweight Title; Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries

Please someone tell me why this was on the pre-show thing. I mean, seriously, they wonder why there is little to no interest in the Cruiserweight division (do people watch 205 Live? I know I don’t.) when the title match is first on in the pre-show? I guess they can’t put everything on the main show but, ugh.

So, the match. It was genuinely interesting and perhaps the only Cruiserweight match I’ve enjoyed since it became a thing again (the CWC doesn’t count because that was pretty awesome…yet that hasn’t transferred to the main roster). Some great action between both guys, probably haven’t seen the last of it. I mean I probably have because I don’t go out of my way to watch most PPVs…but, hey, someone will enjoy it.

KICK OFF SHOW – Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal; 33 people

Who will follow in the footsteps of The Big Show and Baron Corbin to win the ATGMBR thing?

The obvious choice was Braun Strowman given his massive push in recent times.
Big Show wouldn’t have been a terrible winner either because this was apparently his last Wrestlemania event.
Sami Zayn overcoming the odds and winning it…nope, wouldn’t have hated that either.

So, that being considered, the winner was Mojo Rawley. Yeah. Really? That actually happened? Perhaps just as strange was the fact that the final 2 were him and Jinder Mahal. I guess, given the interference or Rob Gronkowski, the whole Rawley winning thing gives the WWE some media attention and maybe gets people talking – which it did.

Seems like such a waste though. Then again, it’s not like winning the trophy has done much for previous winners…

KICK OFF SHOW – Intercontinental Title; Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Baron Corbin

The once-prestigious Intercontinental championship title gets relegated to the pre-show as well. Wasn’t exactly a good match to watch, had a nice finish where Dean Ambrose took advantage of a cocky Baron Corbin to reverse the End of Days into ‘Dirty Deeds’ to retain the title. 10 minutes, plenty of time. By this time I was just ready for the actual thing to start…good job that it was only moments away once this was concluded.

AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon

I didn’t have particularly high hopes for this match but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by it. Of course we all know how incredible AJ Styles is in the ring but Shane McMahon? He’s more know for crazy, death-defying leaps/falls of things so there was obvious concern that he couldn’t ‘go’ with AJ but he surprised me with his ability.

Sadly Shane didn’t do some crazy thing off of the top of the big ring they had hoisted high above the wrestling ring – looking back, he’d probably be dead now if they did something that mental. Had to settle for the old faithful ‘coast to coast’ leap into a trash can…and, of course, the leap from the turnbuckle onto one of the commentary table. That’ll do for me as far as crazy spots go. Oh, yeah, and his Shooting Star Press that he missed – least it wasn’t Brock Lesnar-like in that he didn’t land on his neck!

Sure, this wasn’t an instant classic, Dave Meltzer 5* classic but hopefully closed this feud and put AJ back into the world title picture. Shane can go back to commissioning things and all will be fine with the world.

US Title; Chris Jericho (c) vs. Kevin Owens

Now this was a match I was very much looking forward to. For the longest time, the Jeri-KO partnership was most probably one of the only reasons I ever had for watching Monday Night Raw and definitely the only thing I went out of my way to make sure I would watch. The ‘Festival of Friendship’ promo they had which kicked off the road to this inevitable matchup was one of the best, most well done moments in recent memory – so, so good.

If I figured out my Top Ten Wrestlers list, I reckon that Chris Jericho would be right up near the top – been a big fan of his for a long, long time and have enjoyed his most recent stint in WWE an awful lot. You just made the list! Kevin Owens is Kevin Owens, just so good at everything. Two great talents together, superb.

Expected this to be good and it definitely didn’t disappoint. Pretty predictable win for KO given that Jericho is going back to tour with Fozzy for a bit, probably do an album and stuff as well so this was probably the easiest pick as to who would win.

Raw Women’s Title; Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax

Rather surprised that this match ended up being put on the event before the Smackdown one but I enjoyed it a lot more than the SD one, which isn’t a surprise given the result of that one. Charlotte is just awesome at everything, really think she’s the best woman they have on the main two brands – would LOVE to see Charlotte/Asuka in the near future. Bayley and Sasha are solid and really, really popular with everyone which makes you wonder how they could possibly turn Banks heel. Nia Jax…meh.

Being an elimination match, it wasn’t that much of a surprise to see Nia Jax being the first eliminated – the trio teaming up to take her out was well done and loved the Shield-like triple powerbomb to take Jax out. Awesome. Also the crazy corkscrew moonsault that Charlotte hit on the other three competitors, that shit cray.

Then Banks going out 2nd, again perhaps not that big of a surprise given the Charlotte/Bayley rivalry that’s been the main focal point in recent weeks. No doubt that’ll be what will carry the division through Payback at least, especially with Bayley retaining.

Hall of Fame Thing

Had the usual Hall of Fame bit where they bring out all the inductees and let them have their own Wrestlemania moment. Kurt Angle’s music hit and the ‘You Suck’ chants from 70k people…incredible. Ah, man. Perhaps the only time you’ll hear a bigger pop is if he enters the Royal Rumble – the whole arena may explode in that instant.

RAW Tag Titles; Gallows/Anderson (c) vs. Enzo/Cass vs. Sheamus/Cesaro vs. HARDYS

So, the triple threat match was about to begin and then The New Day’s music hits. Teasing about a fourth team being added to the match…thankfully it wasn’t them! “OH MY GOD” screams Michael Cole as the Hardy Boyz music hit – I’d have done the same if it wasn’t the middle of the damn night. I did my celebrations quitely.

Last night they were losing the ROH Tag Titles to the Young Bucks in a ladder match and then that night they were looking to win the RAW Tag Titles in the same match. No doubt their bodies were hurting but still they managed some insane spots in the match – just Jeff Hardy Swanton Bomb’ing Sheamus and Cesaro off the top of a 20+ foot ladder, no big deal.

Spots aplenty in this match, broken bodies everywhere but it was Matt Hardy who was able to grab the titles and give the Hardy Boyz the win on their first night back HOME. Not a bad Wrestlemania moment. Love it.

John Cena and Nikki Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse

Up until this point, the action at Wrestlemania was incredible. 4 excellent matches…and then this awful thing stinking up the place. I thought it might be good given the build-up it had got but it turned out I was sadly mistaken. Awful, awful match.

Only purpose of it was to see John Cena ask Nikki Bella to marry him at the end of the match. So much for him being so opposed to the thought of marriage…wait, what? Total Bella/Divas is scripted? Hmm.

Seth Rollins vs. Triple H

An ‘unsanctioned match’ that was good for a large point but felt like it went on a bit too much – at 25 minutes, it was the longest match on the card. Back and forth match with both guys getting the upper hand throughout, from a storytelling point of view it was actually really good – the cerebral assassin trying to take out Seth’s dodgy knee throughout. Seth’s selling of the injury was superb as well.

There were a couple of really good spots in the match as well, like both of them trying to hit the Pedigree but failing. Best one was definitely HHH stumbling into Stephanie McMahon and knocking her through a table on the outside of the ring. After that Rollins was able to Pedigree HHH, pick up the win and slay the king!

Pitbull Sings Some Song

Shit. 0/10.

WWE Championship; Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Randy Orton

You know that feeling when you think they’ve turned the corner with Bray Wyatt and may actually finally be giving him the chance to shine as champion? Well, yeah, that lasted all of a month or so as they make him 0-3 at Wrestlemania with a loss to Randy Boreton. Yay. New Era, Same Old Shit.

I don’t hate Orton, I just find him very boring. At least Wyatt has something about him. This match was pretty boring though; not quite as bad as the terrible intergender tag match but not much better than that.

The projections onto the ring were both interesting and really, really stupid. Perhaps the most memorable thing that happened in the whole contest…which isn’t a good thing. Please end this now.

Universal Title; Goldberg (c) vs. Brock Lesnar

I don’t know if this was good or not. I mean it was 3/4 times longer than previous encounters between the two, so at least it had a bit of longevity to it. Basically consisted of numerous spears, 10 German Suplexes, a jackhammer that Lesnar kicked out of and an F5 from Lesnar to win it – not the most complex of matches…and people complain about John Cena’s “Five Moves of Doom” schtick.

Had Goldberg spearing Lesnar through a barricade, which was a pretty cool spot. As was Lesnar leaping over Goldberg as he attempted yet another spear. But, aside from those things, a very forgettable match. Least it was kept under 5 minutes, important as time approached 4am.

Smackdown Womens Title Six Pack Challenge; Alexa Bliss (c) vs. all

I like Alexa Bliss as champion – since her promotion to the main roster, she has probably been the 2nd best woman on the main roster (behind Charlotte, of course) and has deserved the recognition of being the #1 female on the Smackdown roster. Sure, Becky Lynch is also awesome, but only one can have the title.

So, after waiting the whole night to see this match – they have rushed entrances and just over 5 minutes of match action before the inevitable happens and they give Naomi the title back. Stupid.

No, I’m not a fan of Naomi.

Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns

A battle about a yard or something I believe? This is my yard, now…or is it? I fell asleep during this match last night so didn’t see it until the morning. Honestly, I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did given the condition of The Undertaker. Only one match on the card was longer than this one, not sure if they count the entrances or not.

Roman wins. Everyone boos – probably, think the sound guy probably muted the microphones again – and ‘taker retires. Well, that’s not too shocking given his age; in fact the biggest surprise is that it didn’t happen years ago. He’s done everything he could possibly do in the company, now we have his Hall of Fame 2018 induction to look forward to.

Also, how good was it to have JR back on commentary? What a man. What a voice.

Overall Thoughts

Some good, some bad. A typical WWE event these days. Wish they weren’t so bloody long, especially when you’ve had a 2 hour kick-off show as well.

Now we get the ‘post Wrestlemania’ WWE Raw tonight. That should be good…I hope.

 

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