We all remember WrestleMania 32. We remember how long it was. How soul-killing so many of the finishes felt. How it felt like WWE had utterly lost touch with its fans.
WrestleMania 33 was, well, very much not that.
WrestleMania 33 was one for the ages.
Let’s get right to it.
Full results and coverage of every match on the card from the incomparable ReverandKain can be found here.
Rest. In. Peace.
Roman Reigns defeated The Undertaker in, well, a very bad main event. Not that it was Reigns’ fault by any means—this legitimately felt like a professional wrestling interpretation of Old Yeller. Seeing Taker unable to offer Reigns literally anything when Roman attempted a Tombstone of his own was just depressing.
In the end, it took five spears, the last after Reigns ran the ropes several times before hitting it. By the end, the crowd that hated Roman so much couldn’t even boo. It was sad.
In all honesty, this was long past due. Reigns sold and sold and sold, and gave everything he could on offense, but he may as well have been wrestling an actual deadman.
Obviously, none of this takes anything away from one of the most impressive wrestling careers in history. Tonight was just hard to watch.
The moment we all hoped and expected did indeed happen. After an entertaining match—in which The Miz was wildly over with the ringside fans—John Cena and Nikki Bella gave The Miz and Maryse dual finishers and pinned the “It Couple.”
But it was afterward when the real fireworks began, when Cena grabbed a microphone and told a loving story of Nikki’s comeback, before eventually dropping to one knee and asking her to marry him.
Now that’s a WrestleMania moment, baby.
(She said yes.)
Well, this was far better than anticipated.
Brock Lesnar finally vanquished his personal demon, taking Goldberg to Suplex City—10 times, to be exact—before hitting an emphatic F5 to become the new Universal Champion. This was not a straight squash, though, with Goldberg hitting four spears of his own—including one through the barricade outside—and a Jackhammer, which Lesnar kicked out of. Perhaps the best moment was when Lesnar jumped OVER Goldberg when he attempted another spear, causing the former champion to ram straight into the turnbuckle. From there on, it was largely academic.
The match didn’t take five minutes, but it was extremely well done. Longer is most definitely not inherently better.
A wrestling god
There’s no way this match should have been as good as it was.
Somehow a match that transitioned from Shane McMahon grappling to a series of typically wacky high spots was maybe the second best “wrestling” match of the evening.
AJ Styles is a made man for life in the WWE after putting in that performance with, and then beating, a McMahon. But Shane did his part too!
This was the perfect opener, and put most of the criticisms that AJ should have had “a bigger match” to rest.
The Boyz are back
And they’re not broken tonight—nope, The Hardy Boyz are the new WWE Raw Team Team Champions.
In one of the more incredible moments in recent WrestleMania history, Matt and Jeff made their glorious return on the biggest stage of them all to an absolutely thunderous ovation. The collective WWE Universe could barely contain itself, and a match that felt ho hum beforehand instantly became one of the hottest of the night.
It’ll be interesting to see how WWE handles their characters going forward, but for now we can very safely say: welcome back.
All the rest
Seth Rollins lived up to his new t-shirt and indeed slayed the King of Kings. This match was pretty cleverly worked, with Triple H working Seth’s injured knee and Rollins, being Rollins, simply unable to be anything but himself. His continued insistence on using his usual offensive repertoire seemed like it would come back to bite him several times, but he kept hanging on. Finally, an accidental bump sent Stephanie McMahon through a table at ringside and allowed Seth an opening to hit a Pedigree on Triple H for the victory. The crowd, having just seen the Cena-Bella engagement, was dead for all of this.
Randy Orton won the WWE Championship by defeating former “brother” Bray Wyatt to became a 13-time world champion in the most soulless match on the card. A feud that was built for seven months fizzled with nary a whimper. This was worse than bad—it was hugely, hugely disappointing. Cute creepy crawler graphics on the mat, but otherwise this was dreadful.
Bayley retained the Raw Women’s Championship in a bizarrely subdued Four-Way Elimination Match. Nia Jax was first eliminated early by a Horsewoman triple powerbomb. But then Sasha Banks was removed from the match due to an exposed turnbuckle in short order, and the crowd deflated. The finish, when Charlotte ate her own exposed turnbuckle and then Bayley won with a Macho Man Flying Elbow, was anti-climactic and felt downplayed. This should have been better.
The SmackDown Women, however, delivered despite being put in a dreadful spot between the Universal Championship match and the main event and given barely six minutes. That their match was cut somewhat may have helped it somewhat, as it was all-action right from the bell. Hometown heroine Naomi successfully recaptured the title, tapping out former champion Alexa Bliss.
Kevin Owens defeated his “former best friend” Chris Jericho to win the United States Championship. For a feud that had one of the more memorably crushing segments in recent Raw memory with the Festival of Friendship, this match didn’t have much to it at all. An Apron Bomb sealed the deal for Owens.
Dean Ambrose beat Baron Corbin to retain the Intercontinental Championship on the Kickoff show. This match, well, it happened. Ambrose has been dealt a fairly raw deal the last two years at WrestleMania, first being punked out by Lesnar last year and this year losing his marquee mixed tag match and then having his match bumped to the pre-show. (Though with the utter lack of crowd interest, it’s hard to blame WWE for moving the match.)
Neville defeated Austin Aries on the Kickoff show to retain the Cruiserweight Championship. This was probably the best worked match of the night, and the closing stretch was a masterful piece of storytelling. With Neville locked in The Last Chancery and Aries seemingly on the verge of dethroning the “King of the Cruiserweights,” the champion took a massive gouge out of his opponents’ eye, which allowed him to hit the Red Arrow for the victory. Aries, who has only recently recovered from an eye injury, for months on commentary referenced how what he would do was “stick a thumb” in a hypothetical opponent’s eye. Great callback.
Mojo Rawley won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal after an assist from his buddy, New England Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski, who had his drink thrown at him by Jinder Mahal. Honestly, the best part of the battle royal may have been when an overzealous security guard attempted to stop Gronk from entering the ring before being told by WWE officials that it was part of the match. Also, it took the entire ring to eliminate Braun Strowman, who surely was the favorite of many.
Sure, everyone certainly has minor complaints. Your favorite didn’t win. You didn’t like the booking of some match. You had to watch that horrendously awful WWE Championship match. Et cetera. Et cetera.
But if you could honestly sit through that show and not full pretty darn entertained by the end of it, you might just not like sports entertainment. Which is fine, surely! There are lots of workrate promotions out there offering #GreatMatches (just look for whatever promotions Keith Lee is wrestling for). But if you’ll excuse us, everyone else will be over here enjoying pantheon level shows like WrestleMania 33.