It’s something that came up quick, and yet took forever to get here. It’s the longest and biggest night of the WWE year, as we have finally gotten to WrestleMania. Live from the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida, we have the grandest stage assembled. A bevy of Superstars are here, some we know, some we will be surprised by, and they are all here to achieve their lifelong dream of having their own WrestleMania moments. So let’s get things rolling, and see who shines when all is said and done.
Best Match of the night:
Much of the undercard was better than the main event portion of things. But the best of the best? The match of the night? That goes to the RAW tag team title match, which became a Fatal Fourway between the announced teams and the returning Hardy Boyz. Simply put, this match was the one that had me feeling goosebumps. It was a return that we all knew was coming, it was a foregone conclusion, but it was still awesome. It was surreal to see the brothers back in their natural element, throwing caution to the wind and using the ladders like they always have. All four teams made this match excellent, and there just wasn’t another match that surpassed it.
I will also add, that AJ/Shane was better than expected, and Reigns/Taker delivered a far better match than expected, even though Reigns won and fans didn’t exactly get to go home with the feel good moment of another Undertaker win.
Worst match of the night:
Now, this is a hard one…not necessarily hard to pick, but hard because it’s such a huge night and people put a lot of effort into things, so it’s almost mean to pick on this night as having a “worst match”. So, for tonight, let’s call it the most disappointing match. And with that in mind, I do have a few options.
The RAW women’s match, a year after stealing the show, did not seem to be up to par. I think Nia was wasted, and the match seemed short to me. But that one doesn’t win the award.
Both major WWE title matches were, dare I say, underwhelming? Orton/Wyatt did not feel special to me, outside of the video during the match. Lesnar/Goldberg was longer than their other clashes, which isn’t saying much, but there wasn’t much to it. Crowd liked what they got, but it did not feel like something new or special or WrestleMania worthy.
Nope, the award goes to the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. Why? Because it’s like mid-carders, jobbers and guys they don’t know what else to do with, and it is approaching the size of the most revered battle royal the WWE offers. Winning it hasn’t done a whole lot for it’s past winners-Baron Corbin may be the exception, but he hasn’t done anything of note since, yet. Having a final three of Mojo Rawley, Jinder Mahal and Killian Dain seems to be questionable-none of these men were on the main roster this time last year (some weren’t even on payroll). That doesn’t mean they can’t be good, but I think they dropped the ball on having someone like Strowman or Zayn win. They could have made it a win that boosted the profile of someone else, and I just don’t see Rawley having the 2017 that rivals Corbin’s 2016. But I could be wrong.
Crowd Chants of the Night:
How you doin’
This is awesome
Let’s go Hardys
John Cena sucks
Miz is awesome
Yes! Yes! Yes!
Let’s go Rollins
Thank you ‘Taker
Star of the Night
Stars, plural. As in, brothers. Matt and Jeff Hardy. Welcome home boys, we missed you and it’s good to have you back!
Spot of the Night:
The triple teaming by Charlotte, Sasha and Bayley.
Charlotte’s corkscrew moonsault off the top to the floor.
Matt with a Twist of Fate from the top of the ladder, and that was topped only by his brother Jeff, immediately after, nailing a Swanton, from atop a 20 foot ladder, onto Cesaro and Sheamus, propped on ladders between the apron and barrier. And yes, the ladder (one of them) folded. Damn.
Hunter knocking Stephanie off the apron and putting his wife through a table. Accidentally, sure, but the crowd loved it.
Goldberg spearing Lesnar through the barricade.
Jobber of the Night:
Nia Jax. Like, hey, great, you made the women’s elimination match. But, you got eliminated first, and before anyone really broke a sweat. So yeah, she was jobbed out tonight.
Upset of the Night:
I really can’t think anyone tops Mojo Rawley winning the latest iteration of the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. I mean, I was shocked that Ambrose actually retained against Baron Corbin, but that’s not an upset. I think a few Nutshells ago I thought that Rawley was getting built up for something and he could have a shot at a push, but I really don’t think I expected this.
Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:
Raise your hand if you expected Rob Gronkowski to be in Orlando, or to be in the ring in Orlando. Or, to see Mojo Rawley win the Battle Royal.
And yes, as had been rumored, Matt and Jeff Hardy have indeed returned to the WWE.
Bray Wyatt’s digital mind games.
Botch of the night:
I have to give the WWE.Com Twitter account a mention here. Why? Because when they were tweeting out about Rob Gronkowski getting involved in the Andre Battle Royal, they mis-spelled Patriots. Whoops.
Naomi had an issue during her Sunset flip into a double suplex move. She didn’t quite have the grip, but did recover well.
And something tells me Roman and Undertaker were supposed to have a cleaner exchange on Reigns’ escape from the second Tombstone.
Commentary of the night:
Here she comes, like a smile on a wrecking ball.
Thing are about to be Broken!
Stop Googling, Cole, you’re at WrestleMania!
That might have been my favorite thing the Hardys have ever done!
Wow, what a run!
I think it’s 85 yards
It took me 17 minutes to do that this morning.
If he hit’s this or not, he’s screwed.
Guts over fear, Seth Rollins is showing the world.
She should take Ellsworth to SeaWorld and feed him to one of the whales
Can you believe he’s at WrestleMania, and without buying a ticket?
LOL Moment of the night:
Al Roker calling himself Chocolate Thunder with a straight face.
Who on Earth thought HHH’s entrance was a good idea? The sirens on the police bikes drowned out the music, or at least competed with it. And the trike, well, to me it just seemed like an odd choice. I know there will be plenty of folks who saw it and liked it, but it only made me laugh. Makes his Terminator entrance from San Fran look much better even.
Tom Phillips becomes just the fifth man to call from the lead position of a WrestleMania. Guess his little scandal a month or so back didn’t hurt him.
Killian Dain a bit of a surprise NXT entrant in the Battle Royal. Then again, I was surprised that Tian Bing, having never even wrestled an NXT television match, much less a PPV match, was getting a shot. Very surprised that Dain made the final three, though the final three were kind of underwhelming, at least they were based on how you see it now.
Matt and Jeff Hardy have come home.
Jerry Lawler got to do guest commentary for the mixed tag match.
As some had speculated, after winning their mixed tag match, John Cena proposed to Nikki Bella, busting out her real name and all.
Reigns gives Undertaker his second ‘Mania loss.
Was not a fan of the Hunter entrance.
The mixed tag match seemed rather anticlimactic. Or perhaps uneventful. Like, Miz looked rather dominant, and then without a ton of return fire, things were over.
Honestly a bit disappointed in the quality of all but one title match. I could give a small pass to the SmackDown women’s title match, as it wasn’t terrible, but outside of the tag title match, none of them felt epic. None should even remotely be considered for match of the year, as none even garnered consideration for match of the night-and I don’t know jack LOL.
Happy that the Rollins/Hunter match did not involve Samoa Joe, as had been expected. Surprised, but happy.
How awesome is it to have Jim Ross as the voice of the main event? The man has had a horrible couple of weeks, but he’s such a pro and just awesome to hear him call the match.
The ladder match. Just awesome.
The aftermath of the main event. The match worked, but it was not anything like what Undertaker had pulled off before. But the aftermath was pretty much a clear indication of Undertaker saying goodbye to WrestleMania, and of course wrestling. He removed his gloves, hat and jacket and laid them in the center of the ring, akin to how retiring amateurs leave their boots on the edge of the mat when calling it a career. While I, and many others, think he should have retired with the Streak unbroken, it was not meant to be. He still walks out as perhaps the most adored Superstar ever, certainly the most adored since Hulk Hogan.
After the final bell:
All in all, a pretty strong, if very long, WrestleMania. Basically, WWE has morphed it completely into it’s SuperBowl, complete with a halftime act. Some of it was very good. Some of it was no more special than what we get on a run of the mill PPV.
The best parts of the night? The Hardyz return. Jim Ross is back. Even Lawler came back (too bad they couldn’t call a match together). Not liking the Undertaker loss, but hard not to get a little emotional about seeing the Undertaker effectively hang ’em up following the loss. As someone who remembers Undertaker’s debut, and has basically watched his entire career, it’s surreal to me. And, worse, it means that I am getting old too.
Cena proposing to Nikki was a bit telegraphed, and because he is so divisive, it didn’t get a huge pop (but, I am a fan of those kinds of things remaining more private than public). But I guess we have a televised wedding in our future? Maybe? Hopefully not…
Now, the big question. Monday night RAW is like, 18 hours away as I publish this piece. After the Hardy Surprise tonight, what could we possibly have in store on RAW that would top it. Anything? I said to Lisnow earlier, that WWE would almost have to trot out CM Punk in order to really shock and awe the RAW crowd. I almost don’t think a couple NXT call ups are enough. We shall find out soon enough!