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WrestleMania 35 results, recap, reactions: The Man takes all

For the first time ever, we had a women’s match headline and main event WrestleMania, and from where I stand, I’d say they delivered.

Firstly, Charlotte’s helicopter non-entrance was so extra. We cut to her arriving, having a red carpet rolled out for her, and multiple men at her beck and call to open the helicopter door and help her into her equally extra robe. And again, that wasn’t even her entrance! Rousey got special treatment as well with Joan Jett playing her into MetLife Stadium. As for The Man Becky Lynch? She walked in with little fanfare.

As for the match, it was a fast-paced and brutal affair – of which I’d say brutality was a theme all night long. From Becky dropkicking Rousey out of the ring and onto her head below to Charlotte chopping Rousey in the face, there was plenty of nasty spots to go around. Charlotte also hit a freaking Spanish Fly on Lynch and seemed to land hard on her unpadded knee, but the risk didn’t pay off. Lynch kicked out.

In the end, we had a bit of controversy. Charlotte was disposed of and Rousey and Lynch squared off alone at last. A flurry of fists led to a running knee from Rousey, and the Raw champion hefted Lynch onto her shoulders and got ready for a final Piper’s Pit. However, Lynch countered the move at the last moment and pinned Rousey to the mat. 1-2-3 – The Man is double champ.

Commentary talked up how Rousey’s shoulder might not have been down and I really could have done without that. The crowd also seemed a bit confused as the cheers weren’t nearly as loud as the ones for the match I’ll review next. But at the end of it, I find it hard to complain too much; we got a very good match and the right winner on the Grandest Stage.

The Man closed the show with both titles in hand and the controversy gives us a “what comes next.” I’m content.

WWE Championship Match: Kofi Kingston def. Daniel Bryan ( c )

Folks, I cannot remember the last time I watched a match as tense as I was for this one. I was damn near curled up into a ball. It might have been WrestleMania 30, actually. Huh...the irony.

This match was marvelous. An easy match of the night for me. Everything about it – from the two participants, to the crowd, to commentary, to New Day at ringside – was fantastic.

After a road to WrestleMania that featured a myriad of obstacles thrown into his match, Kofi had to fight through the biggest obstacle of all: Daniel Bryan. After some early offense from Kofi, Bryan used his technical acumen to ground Kofi for much of this match. And this is where I thought commentary was so good for this bout; Graves mentioned panic possibly setting in when Bryan grounded Kofi with a bear hug. And any time Kofi was hit with something particularly lethal, New Day was at ringside screaming as if their lives depended on the outcome of this match.

Bryan hit a Busaiku Knee near the end and it got me. Xavier was at ringside, pleading with Kofi to kick out. He did. It was stuff like that, man. The pacing of the match, the pacing of the emotion behind the the end, I was fighting tears as New Day rushed the ring to hug their victorious brother.

Kofi brought his two adorable sons into the ring to celebrate, and I think that’s extremely important to note as well. This is our first black WWE Champion – at least in this belt’s form. And to see what that meant to his family, and potentially all the children seeing someone who looks like them achieve something so wonderous...that’s what it’s all about. So proud of everyone involved in this story. It’s been one for the ages.

Universal Championship Match: Seth Rollins def. Brock Lesnar ( c )

I think it’s hilarious and perfectly fitting that the Universal Championship opened the show.

And you know what? With how this match went, I’m glad it opened, too. This wasn’t much fun for me. Lesnar did his usual thing by assaulting Rollins before the bell and brought the pain for a good 5 minutes before the bell ever rang. After a few German Suplexes, Rollins countered Lesnar and pushed him into the ropes, which knocked the ref out of the ring.

Rollins used the chance to hit Lesnar with a low blow. Three Curb Stomps later and he was champion.

If you’re a Rollins fan, you take it. If you’re a fan of the main championship being off Lesnar – like me! - then you take it. It’s just...everything about this title sucks. From the fans initially booing it, to Balor shattering his arm, to the Reigns drama, to Lesnar’s runs with the sucks. And I want so badly for it not to suck.

And if THAT’S the goal, well...I can’t think of a better person to hold it than Seth Rollins.

A curtain call


This was brilliant. Shout out to Elias for his part before Cena appeared; he was fantastic, and hearing 80,000 chant for him is something that not everyone accomplished on this show. But with that’s John Cena, man. When Cena’s on his A game, it’s game over for everybody.

And that’s what was so cool about what Cena did here. Decked in a Babe Ruth throwback jersey, he acknowledged what he was about to do. He said in his lyrics early that he was turning heel and brought up the idea that he’s WWE’s “golden shovel.” By the end, he ditched the AA, pumped up the sneakers, and hit Elias with an F-U.

The only sad thing here was the framing. A curtain call implies that this might have been it for Cena with WWE. I really, really hope not.

Triple H def. Batista

Oh Batista. From sitting in your underwear in the back of an SUV to tripping over the middle rope – I love you, man.

So...this match. It was nasty and gruesome, featured the two tables-that-must-not-be-broken, and Triple H wielding tools from a toolbox to wrench at Batista’s fingers and rip out his nose ring. Nope nope nope didn’t need to see that nope nope nope.

If these guys could have worked the match faster, I think it had the chance to be excellent. But that was never going to be a realistic goal for two 50 year-olds. As it was, the match was definitely memorable and I really liked Ric Flair getting revenge for how Batista returned to the show. I’ll take that.

Shane McMahon def. The Miz

Hooooooo boy, I loved this match. It was absurdly comical right from the get go, and the sheer absurdity escalated all the way through.

Shane got the jump on Miz to start the match, so much so that he had Miz laid out on a table as he went to the top rope to seal the deal. You know who stopped him? Miz’s dad jumped the damn rail to protect his son, put his dukes up, and squared up to fight a dang billionaire. I mean it didn’t go well, but still!

Miz, incensed by Shane hitting his father, dragged the man all through the crowd. Shane took multiple chair shots, a throw where he hit his head on the guard rail, a bump through a table as the international commentary teams scurried away in terror, and another bump off the top of a golf cart to the concrete below. He eventually climbed some scaffolding, begged Miz for mercy, but there was none to be had. Miz suplexed him off of the video stand onto the surface a story or two below. However, due to the mechanics of a suplex, Shane fell on top of Miz. Shane won.

I think that decision is great. Miz got vengeance, Shane got the win to justify being an annoying idiot.

Intercontinental Championship Match: The Demon Finn Balor def. Bobby Lashley ( c )

Finally, a distinction between the Demon and Finn Balor.

Corey Graves said his usual line about “a dark corridor in Balor’s mind” or whatever before admitting that he didn’t know exactly how the Demon comes about. Well, what can’t be denied is that the Demon just went above and beyond what leather jacket Finn is capable of.

Balor took a spear through the ropes, another spear in the ring, and kicked out at two. Then, he rallied, powerbombed Bobby Lashley – yes, you read that correctly – and hit the Coup de Grace for the victory. He also used a few unique moves here and there that aren’t part of his usual repertoire. Give us a reason why he doesn’t use the Demon all the time, and we might actually have something fun to work with.

Roman Reigns def. Drew McIntyre

The multiple camera cuts away from the massive amount of fireworks only to zoom in on a crouching Roman cracked me the hell up.

This match didn’t really stick out to me, which is a shame since this was essentially Reigns’ first singles match since returning from his fight with Leukemia. I also heard some boos for him and a less-than-polite chant which is...c’mon guys. Wait six months or something. Sheesh.

In the end, Reigns won without too much fanfare. Good to see ya back, Roman.

AJ Styles def. Randy Orton

Who on earth made Orton’s CGI entrance elements two coiled brown snakes? Did it not cross y’all minds at all what that looks like? Jesus.

With that said, this was a decent match. There was clearly some sort of production issue that plagued the crowd – what other thing would cause them to chant “we can’t see!” - but the story here was Styles’ resilience and his ability to adapt from what Orton’s done in the past. Kicked out of an RKO, wormed out of another on the top rope, countered yet another as he was standing on the top rope.

However, I wouldn’t say that this match lived up to my expectations. Might have gotten my hopes too high with how fun this build was.

SmackDown Live Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos def. The Bar, Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura, Aleister Black and Ricochet

This was a good match where every team got some cool stuff in. Ricochet in particular was his own highlight reel. He backflipped out of a 6-7-however many person powerbomb attempt and hit his signature 630 Splash. The Bar’s spot was really cool as well. Cesaro swung Ricochet for a good 60 seconds while Sheamus bashed any wrestler who tried to enter the ring in the chest.

In the end, the Usos were able to avoid a frantic finisher-fest to hit a double splash on Sheamus to retain their titles. No problem with the outcome here, and probably my favorite match up until this point of the show.

Womens Tag Team Championship Match: The IIconics def. The Boss N Hug Connection, Natalya and Beth Phoenix, The Samoan Slaughterhouse

This match followed the Shane vs. Miz shenanigans and it took quite a while to pick up steam. Actually, I’m not sure it even gained momentum until the IIconics threw Beth Phoenix out of the ring following a Glam Slam to Bayley from the top rope to steal the victory. The IIconics could be some good fun with those titles, but this match didn’t stick out on the card to me.

United States Championship Match: Samoa Joe ( c ) def. Rey Mysterio

Man...Rey got all dressed up to go out and never got out of the driveway.

Coming right on the heels of a supremely emotional WWE Championship match, Mysterio tried to get off to a hot start but was quickly locked in the Coquina Clutch. Joe’s a bad, bad man.

Baron Corbin def. Kurt Angle

There was no bait and switch here. Corbin even mocked the Cena rumors during this match on the way to his victory.

This might have been my favorite Kurt match in this recent run he’s had. He even tried for a damn moonsault! Oh, and Corbin’s such a wonderful idiot. Did you see how happy he was with himself for beating a 50 year-old Angle. Geez, man.

Cruiserweight Championship Match: Tony Nese def. Buddy Murphy ( c )

This was a fun, fast-paced match – which you’d probably expect from the Cruiserweights. However, this served as the first match of the pre-show for a reason. 205 Live is a Network exclusive show, and no matter how skilled these guys are (very skilled) or how fun their matches can be (super fun), this is as high as they’ll go. Hopefully, WWE can find a way to get them some time on Fox with the new TV contract.

Anyway, I really liked how personal this match felt. Nese attacked before the bell and was on the offensive until a really off-putting commercial break. And in the end, he was able to withstand everything Murphy could throw at him on the way to earning his first Cruiserweight Championship.

Carmella wins the Women’s Battle Royal

I thought this was booked fairly well. I can point out several moments that I really enjoyed. Naomi and Ember Moon had a 1-on-1 that was really fun. I think I’d enjoy the heck out of a feud between those two. Nikki Cross was eliminated early and Asuka got booed for it. I think WWE knows that the fans enjoy Nikki and this was a chance organically rally fans to her side.

The Dana Brooke moment was really cool too, especially on the heels of her mini story with Ronda Rousey. The crowd chanted for her and cheered her getting a win over two thirds of the Riott Squad.

In the end, Sarah Logan thought she had won as she threw Asuka over the top rope. However, Carmella slid back into the ring after being knocked through the second rope and finished Logan off to win the match.

(One last thing here: loved seeing Deville get a chance to rep the LGBTQ community with the rainbow handkerchief.)

Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder def. The Revival ( c )

This was our second title change of the night. This honestly felt like your routine Raw tag team match for much of it. The Revival isolated Ryder and mocked Hawkins at ringside. But it picked up once Hawkins received a hot tag and the crowd got behind him. The chaos spilled to the outside before Scott Dawson hit Hawkins with a Brainbuster outside the ring.

Hawkins played dead when Dawson started gloating and rolled the man up for his first victory in....gosh. I couldn’t even tell you. It was a nice moment, but it feels like this is what the Raw tag team division is for: moments where perpetual losers find a way to win some gold. The B-Team, for example. And while that’s fun for a moment, it’s not the best thing for creating a division that fans care about. I hope WWE gives Hawkins and Ryder the opportunity to prove my jadedness wrong.

Braun Strowman wins the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

This wasn’t even satisfying. It all came down to Strowman and the Saturday Night Live guys – like we all assumed – and they didn’t even get crushed satisfactorily. Braun punched Che once and threw Jost. Lame.

Also, the spot where Braun kicked Harper and Ali off the ring apron was extremely scary. Also also, I guess WWE thought Andrade eliminating himself would protect him. He just looked stupid, in my opinion.

Well there you go, Cageside. A 2,500-word review of WrestleMania. Looking back on it, I don’t think we got too many matches that I’d call impressive. 3-4, perhaps. This isn’t really the platform for a wrestling clinic, though. Every match has to do something different to keep the interest of the crowd.

Here’s the thing, though. WWE got the three most important results correct, in my opinion. Rollins, Lynch, and Kingston all picked up victories and are walking out with gold. That’s a successful WrestleMania.

Grade: B+

Phew. I’ll see you all for the Raw after WrestleMania.

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