2nd April 2017 - The biggest event in wrestling...
The grandest stage of them all, wrestling's superbowl, the biggest of the "Big 4", whatever you want to call it, Wrestlemania is the biggest night of the calendar for wrestling fans!
And in honour of this, we are giving you all a chance to win a Seth Rollins Limited Edition Funko Pop! To enter, follow this link!
This year saw the show being hosted in Orlando, Florida, in the Camping World Stadium, where Wrestlemania broke their attendance record with a staggering 75,245, but it's important to note that this was a record for the venue, not for Wrestlemania, which is often a ridiculously high number each year and is often disputed by the online wrestling community.
In my house, we had a few friends over for an all nighter, the preshow starting at 10pm, the main event starting at midnight and going on until 5am. We also got hyped for the night by playing WWE 2K17, reforming The Shield, heel turning the Hype Bros into Tippy Club (in honour of the house cat). So fair to say, we were in for a big night of grappling.
Wrestlemania represented both of the WWE Brands, Smackdown and Raw, and they received a good showing, the only championship not on the line was the Smackdown Tag Team championship, as the champs -The Usos, were part of the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, which was the second match of the three Preshow matches.
A two hour Preshow opened up Wrestlemania 33 in an excellent fashion. Newcastle's own Neville (or Pac, as the Smarks may call him), opened the show defending his Cruiserweight championship against the former TNA superstar, Austin Aries. Neville, a heel champ, raked the eyes of Aries after he performed the Last Chancery, leaving him open for the Red Arrow from Neville, allowing him to retain the belt, giving 205 Live their showing on the PPV in an explosive opening match. The Cruiserweight division has been building a dedicated following, often given matches on Monday Night Raw, and this match was an excellent example of what they can do!
Following the Cruiserweight division, a mass of superstars walked down the (ridiculously long) ramp, stars like Sin Cara, Konnor and Viktor of The Ascension, and Jinder Mahal. Two superstars got their music played, Big Show, who never got his match with former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal after the tease from last year, and Braun Strowman, who was tipped to be the winner of the match. However, after Big Show was eliminated, the roster joined together to put Strowman over the top rope. I was personally hoping Sami Zayn would win, he is in need of a big win as he is not being used to his full potential after the feud he had with Kevin Owens post main roster call up. Jinder Mahal would later taunt New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski at ringside, who was decked out head to toe in Mojo Rawley and Hype Bros merchandise, leading to him jumping the barricade and attacking Mahal. Rawley would then eliminate Mahal, making Mojo Rawley the winner of the match! I hope this leads to an excellent singles run for Mojo, as his Hype Bro, one of my boys, Zack Ryder is currently out injured.
The final match of the Preshow (after the controversy of the Smackdown Womens Match on Preshow which took Twitter by storm) was the Lunatic Fringe vs The Lone Wolf, Dean Ambrose and Baron Corbin, for the Intercontinental Championship. After an attempted End Of Days from Corbin which Ambrose countered with a Dirty Deeds, Ambrose would get the cover and retain the title.
The New Day opened up the main show in Final Fantasy inspired outfits, pushing an ice cream cart with a Chocobo on the front. The New Day would pop up a couple times during the event, but not enough to become annoying, which I liked. They maintained the humour they are known for, even referencing The Fappening 2.0 at one point, showing WWE does have a bit of humour from time to time!
The first match of the main show saw Shane McMahon facing AJ Styles. After the feud starting on Smackdown with AJ being bitter about having no match at Wrestlemania, then attacking Shane, ultimately being Kayfabe fired by Daniel Bryon, Shane would address the WWE Universe and AJ, saying that AJ now has a competitor... Shane.
Now, Shane has always been known for big spots. Jumping off of Cells, being suplexed through glass, all manner of amazing moments. What made this match special was that Shane never did anything like this, other than his trademark Coast To Coast, smashing a bin into AJ's head, and a Leap Of Faith, jumping from the top turnbuckle to the announce table, which AJ rolled out of the way of. One of my favourite spots of this match was AJ attempting a 450 Splash, which Shane would counter into a Triangle Choke Hold (much like in Whatculture's WCPW), which AJ would counter into a one armed Style Clash, which Shane took amazingly. AJ would go on to win the match after executing a Phenomenal Forearm,
The US Championship was put on the line following AJ and Shane. Chris Jericho verses Kevin Owens, the former best friends have had an excellent year, forming JerichKO, holding the Raw Universal Championship and the US Championship between them. KO would turn on YKJ during their "Festival of Friendship" leading to Jericho distracting Owens during his match at Fast Lane, resulting in him losing the Universal championship to Goldberg. This match would end after Kevin Owens powerbombed Jericho on the apron, then pinning him in ring.
Raw's Womens Championship was a strange one. First of all, the champ, Bayley, came down to the ring first. Traditionally, the champ comes down last. In this case, it was Charlotte Flair. Bayley's entrance wasn't much different from her usual one, other than the Bayley Buddies were at ringside. Sasha had a unique entrance and Nia Jax had her standard entrance. The match itself wasn't outstanding, Sasha, Bayley and Charlotte powerbombed and dogpiled Jax, eliminating her. Charlotte would eliminate Sasha, leaving Bayley and Charlotte to fight it out. A Macho Man style elbow drop to Charlotte would seal a victory for Bayley, having her retain the championship.
Raw Tag Team Championship match. There is only one thing to say about this, and I'll just leave it here...
THE HARDY BOYZ RETURNED AT WRESTLEMANIA 33 AND TOOK THE BELTS!!
John Cena teamed with his girlfriend, Nikki Bella against The Miz and his wife Maryse in a mixed tag match. Now, I love The Miz. He's easilly the best heel in the company and has had a couple of the best years of his career, and I hope this match wont put an end to that. The match ended with John and Nikki hitting Miz and Maryse with a Five Knuckle Shuffle and an Attitude Adjustment in tandem. Cena would propose to Nikki after the match, bringing a cross story to an end in the Reality TV show on the WWE Network, Total Divas. The match had a bit of something for everyone, some excellent wrestling, some great heel work from Miz and Maryse (Miz is so good at dealing with the crowd, even though he seemed to be a face in the crowd's eyes, as he was against Cena) and the soap opera ending with a proposal! Wrestlemania has something for everyone!
Seth Rollins (YES!!!!) vs Triple H in a non-sanctioned match! This was my match of the night, but we all know how much I love Seth Rollins. Triple H usually has excellent entrances at Mania, but this year it wasn't as grandiose as usual. He went ringside on a Trike with a police guard on motorbikes, sirens blaring and Steph McMahon sat behind him. Steph would remain at ringside throughout the match. Seth enters the stage wearing a new outfit, a golden, knight style outfit. Holding a flaming torch and "igniting" the ramp (it was a screen all the way down it) Seth headed down towards the ring to a massive crowd reaction. His right knee was clearly bandaged under the knee pad, which is the reason behind the non-sanctioned nature of the match. The match included Triple H's signature sledgehammer, which Rollins would remove from H's hands through the use of an excellent Enziguiri. Seth would retrieve the hammer, but Steph would take it from him, allowing Triple H to hit Seth with a Pedigree. Another Pedigree attempt, but from the top rope, would have Seth counter and perform a Phoenix Splash. Seth Rollins ends the match with a Superkick to Triple H, sending him falling back, knocking Steph through a table. Seth would take his opportunity to Pedigree Triple H and win the match. I marked out so hard as soon as the bell rang.
This point of the night marked, what I considered the downturn of the show. Bray Wyatt vs Randy Orton for the Smackdown championship. Bray dominated the match all the way through, but Orton managed to hit Bray with an RKO and steal the win. I was left disappointed with that outcome. Orton never had the momentum and it makes no sense. It gives the impression that no matter what, Bray just can't get the job done! It's a waste of such a good talent.
Goldberg vs Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship. This match was always going to be what it was. A quick match where the belt would change hands. Interestingly, there were none of the standard wrestling moves performed. It was signature and finisher after another. Brock hit 6 German Suplexes and an F5 to seal the win. This is the first time in Goldberg's career that he has lost clean. Easily a forgettable match, I'm afraid to say, It will be interesting to see how they progress the Brock Lesnar storyline, since he is on a part-time contract with the company.
Smackdown had their women's championship match (which only lasted 15 mins including entrances) where Alexa Bliss would enter the ring first, another strange order, like the Raw women's match, where the champ enters first. The final entrant was Naomi, returning from her injury which had her relinquish the title in the first place. Naomi would make Alexa Bliss tap out through the Slay-O-Mission.
Jim Ross would join the announce team for the final match between Roman Reigns and The Undertaker. The crowd gave the responses you would expect, Roman gets booed and Undertaker gets a massive pop as soon as the bell tolls. The match was a No Holds Barred match. Undertaker hit Roman with a Chokeslam through an announce table, followed by Roman spearing 'Taker through another. Taker would score a near fall on Roman following a Last Ride. Roman hits Undertaker with two Superman Punches, but is then chokeslammed onto a chair and another near fall for Undertaker. Roman was Tombstone Piledrivered but again couldn't get the pin. A second spear from Reigns, followed by a Hell's Gate from Undertaker, which Roman would escape from, then attack with a chair, and hit with a third spear. A fourth. Superman Punch. Undertaker attempts to sit up, but collapses. Roman rebounds off the ropes 3 times before hitting Undertaker with a fifth Spear and takes the win.
The crowd... How they booed.
Undertaker remained in the ring after the match, the crowd cheering for him, thanking him for his work. Undertaker would remove his gloves. Then his Coat. Then his hat. And leave them in the ring...
The final moments of the night, Undertaker walks to his wife, Michelle McCool, sat in the crowd, kisses her, something unheard of from Undertaker, a man who protects Kayfabe with his life, for he is The Undertaker, not Mark Calaway. He then walks halfway up the ramp, to where he entered, his fist raised.
Undertaker has retired after 25 years. And as the WWE Universe chanted on the night of April 2nd 2017... Thank you, Taker.
Was it The Ultimate Thrill Ride?
I felt the night was one of the best Wrestlemanias in recent years. Mojo Rawley has his career ahead of him, and winning the Battle Royal really puts him at the front of people's minds, seeing as his Tag Partner, Zack Ryder was injured in the match they got #1 Contender for the Smackdown Tag Titles, Neville remains a heel in the Cruiserweight division and stays King of the Cruiserweights, and Miz remains the best heel in the company. Seth Rollins could keep the rivalry with Triple H going with the Steph McMahon through a table spot, which could lead to an excellent rivalry with Samoa Joe, who is the new enforcer for The Authority. The Undertaker's retirement was a big moment to close the night out, leaving us speechless in the house.
Wrestlemania 33 was definitely one people will talk about for years to come for all the right reasons.