Powell's WrestleMania 31 Kickoff Show live review: Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro vs. New Day vs. Los Matadores vs. The Uso Brothers for the WWE Tag Team Championship


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Powell's WrestleMania 31 Kickoff Show live review: Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro vs. New Day vs. Los Matadores vs. The Uso Brothers for the WWE Tag Team Championship
2015-03-29 16:00:50


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WWE WrestleMania 31 Kickoff Show
Aired live on WWE Network and pay-per-view
Santa Clara, California at Levi's Stadium

A shot of fans rushing into the stadium was shown, then they cut inside the building. Renee Young hosted along with tuxedo wearing co-hosts Booker T, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton from a high perch in one of the upper decks. Saxton sang "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." Graves said there's nowhere he'd rather be. Booker pimped his book. Yes, really. They spoke briefly about the Kickoff show matches...

Tom Phillips checked in from the Social Media Lounge. He noted that the first hour of the Kickoff show was available on social media, but the second hour is available exclusively on WWE Network... A Rusev vs. John Cena video package was shown...

Backstage, Rusev was warming up when Lana told him she will never show compassion again. Rusev said he will crush John Cena and America dies...

The $9.99 video aired... The pre-show panel pushed the network and the price just in case you missed the bad video... Footage aired of John Cena's appearance on Jimmy Kimmels' show...

Powell's POV: If you just watched the first 15 minutes of the show you would assume that Rusev vs. Cena is the main event.

The hosts spoke more about the U.S. Championship match, then hyped the Triple H vs. Sting match. Eden was shown outside Triple H's office, but Kane told her the office is off-limits. He excused her and said he had to prepare for the battle royal... A Triple H vs. Sting video package was shown... The panel discussed the match. Booker dropped the new company line about how time off is a wrestler's worst enemy, which is the same thing Ric Flair said earlier this week after Triple H said it in an interview...

Backstage, Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury were getting coffee. Noble couldn't find the sugar. Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson showed up with the sugar and said they had taken it for Vince McMahon. Brisco and Patterson called J&J Security "stooges" after they walked away. Funny...

A Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton video package was shown... The panel discussed it, then Philips checked in from the lounge briefly... Young hype the two matches and it sounds like she said they are starting with the battle royal. Hey, wait, I can now rewind live programming on the PS4! Okay, she did say they are starting off with the battle royal, so take that for what it's worth...

A WrestleMania week video was shown that included clips from various functions and Axxess... The panel spoke about the Divas tag match... An Undertaker video package aired and included footage of Lesnar pinning him to end The Streak. Bray Wyatt footage was included and it concluded with Taker saying "I"m not dead yet" followed by the "rest in peace" line...

Saxton said this is Wyatt's defining moment. He said he's been tapping on Pandora's Box, and he may be in over his his head...

Footage aired of Brock Lesnar's announcement on ESPN that he has retired from UFC and re-signed with WWE. Booker said he's going to try to get the match over quickly. He said Lesnar could start questioning himself if the match goes on. Booker said Reigns will push Lesnar to the edge... A Lesnar and Reigns video package was shown... The panel closed the show on the first hour of the Kickoff show, meaning the remainder of the show is exclusive to the network...

Powell's POV: I'll be covering the entire Kickoff show here, then we'll switch over to a separate story on the main page for the actual pay-per-view event. By the way, keep an eye out for Will Pruett's blog that he is writing from the press box at Levi's Stadium.

Young reset the show and reintroduced the panel, then Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler checked in on commentary...

1. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (w/Natalya) vs. The Uso Brothers (w/Naomi) vs. Los Matadores (w/El Torito) vs. Kofi Kingston and Big E (w/Xavier Woods) in a four-way for the WWE Tag Team Championship. Jey was taken out immediately when Cesaro ran him into the barricade. Jey was taken backstage.

Powell's POV: That's obviously not a good sign as far as Jey's legit shoulder injury is concerned.

There was an early "New Day Sucks" chant to the beat of the clap that Woods was doing on the ring apron. Cesaro had Jimmy Uso pinned at 4:50, but Jimmy had tagged in Big E, who performed a senton on Cesaro to break up the pin. Los Matadores had Kingston pinned, but Kidd broke it up with a flying elbow. He then ran to ringside with one of the Matadors in pursuit and hid behind Natalya.

Torito got involved and used a huracanrana to drive Woods into the barricade. Natalya locked Torito in a Sharpshooter. Naomi performed the Rearview on Natalya. In the ring, New Day performed The Big Ending on one of the matadors. Fortunately, it was broken up. Whew, that was scary. Later, Kidd launched one of the matadors into a Cesaro uppercut. He followed up with another on Uso, then caught Kingston with one when he was on the ropes. Cesaro catapulted one of the matadors into Kingston, but the other matador broke it up.

Los Matadores set up for a superplex, which led to the obligatory Tower of Doom spot that took out everyone other than Jimmy Uso, who performed a top rope splash on Big E. Cesaro threw Uso off and covered Big E for the win...

Tyson Kidd and Cesaro defeated The Uso Brothers, Los Matadores, Kofi Kingston & Big E to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship in 10:05.

Powell's POV: The train wreck style match match that you'd expect from these teams and the four-way format. The right team definitely won, and the crowd seemed into the action.

The panel spoke about the tag title match. Booker said he was impressed by New Day, but they need to stop being so nice...

Tom Philips had Lita with him in the Social Media Lounge. She spoke about being with part of WrestleMania weekend again. She also spoke about teaming up with Trish Stratus for Q&A style shows...

Powell's POV: Will Pruett's in-person blog from the WrestleMania press box is live on the main page! I felt the need to include an exclamation point for Will.

The panel checked in again. Booker pimped his book again. The wind was whipping good and could be heard through the mic and seen wreaking havoc on poor Young's hair... Footage of former NFL head coach turned ESPN color commentator Jon Gruden breaking down the Andre Battle Royal was shown...

2. Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. No televised ring entrances for anyone. The match started and Axel stopped everyone somehow to rip off his shirt. The wrestlers ganged up and threw him out, making him the winner of the Sacko Trophy as the first man eliminated. Adam Rose and Fandango were eliminated.

Bo Dallas, Tyson Kidd, defending champion Cesaro, Jimmy Uso, Los Matadores, New Day, and Alex Riley were among the unadvertised wrestlers. Mizdow eliminated Riley. Dallas eliminated Ryder. He then dropped off the apron to run his lap around the ring. Once he got back in the ring, Itami eliminated him. Big Show eliminated Itami with a knockout punch. Los Matadores, Sin Cara, and Kidd were all eliminated.

The Ascension teamed up to eliminate Mark Henry. Yes, really. Ryback backdropped both members of The Ascension over the top rope and got a good reaction. He followed up by eliminating Darren Young. Ryback pressed Heath Slater over his head and threw him onto, well, no one on the floor. Ouch. Ryback eliminated Titus O'Neil, then hit Shellshocked on Jack Swagger, but Show knocked Ryback down and eliminated Swagger.

New Day went after Big Show. Big E nearly eliminated him, and then he took a double dropkick from the other two. Show ended up eliminating all three members of New Day while standing on the ring apron. The remaining entrants were Big Show, Erick Rowan, Jimmy Uso, Miz, Mizdow, Goldust, Ryback, Cesaro, and Kane.

Well, until Show eliminated Rowan by pushing him over the top rope with one hand. Ryback eliminated Goldust. Kane went on a chokeslam run, but Cesaro eliminated him. Big Show tossed Uso over the top. Cesaro tried to bodyslam Show and couldn't hold him, so Show came back and eliminated the first Dre winner.

The final four were Ryback, Show, Miz, and Mizdow. Big Show eliminated Ryback. Show turned and looked at Miz and Mizdow and then laughed. Miz gave Mizdow instructions, but Mizdow shook his head no. The fans chanted "yes." Miz gave him the usual business about everything he's done for him. Mizdow shook his head no again.

Miz threw a tantrum and barked orders at Mizdow, then poked him in the chest repeatedly. When Miz turned toward Show, Mizdow grabbed him from behind and eliminated him. Miz climbed onto the ring apron and took a punch from Mizdow. Miz tried to get back in the ring, but he was escorted away by several referees.

Mizdow looked across the ring and Big Show, who walked toward him and laughed. Show held his arms open. Mizdow kicked his leg and then threw punches and kicks. Show tried to toss him, but Mizdow skinned the cat. Mizdow threw punches at Show and tried to clothesline him over. Mizdow got a running start, but Show knocked him down with a shoulder block.

Show charged at Mizdow, who held the ropes down. Show teetered on the ropes and held on with one hand. Mizdow bit Show's hand, but Show caught him with a shot. Mizdow threw punches and then ran the ropes to get a running start. Show caught him by the throat. Mizdow put him in a choke, but Show recovered and eliminated him to win the match. Show struck the same pose as Andre on the trophy while standing next to it...

Big Show won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal in 18:10.

Powell's POV: The crowd was into Mizdow and popped big when he stood up to and eliminated Miz. They never really convinced me that Show was in jeopardy. I would have had Mizdow go over, but they want to tell the story that he lost his job and the match.

Following a video package, Booker T bragged that he predicted Big Show would win. Booker actually pimped his book again.

Powell's POV: Booker has been given more chances to pimp his book than WWE has given themselves to boast about their charitable work. The night is young.

A video package focussed on Intercontinental Title matches at past WrestleMania events, and then the ladder match... They showed the ladders being set up around ringside. Pat Patterson helped hang the title belt from the hook, and he was introduced by what Eden... One last video played to end the Kickoff show...

Powell's POV: That's it for Kickoff Show coverage. Go to the main page to find the actual WrestleMania 31 live review.

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