By Jason Powell
WWE WrestleMania 33
Aired live on WWE Network and pay-per-view
Orlando, Florida at Camping World Stadium
Ring announcer JoJo introduced Tinashe, who performed “America The Beautiful” in the middle of the ring… A video opened on fans coming from all around the world and from all walks of life in search of the feeling and emotion that takes your breath away. The video turned into the Ultimate Thrill ride theme of the show…
Powell’s POV: A good performance by Tinashe, and a strong video package to open the show. If you missed the Kickoff Show, Neville beat Austin Aries to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship, Mojo Rawley won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal with some help from NFL star Rob Gronkowski, and Dean Ambrose beat Baron Corbin to retain the Intercontinental Championship. Remember, if you’re reading the ad-based version of our website or mobile website, you can quickly convert to the ad-free site for just $2 for one month or take advantage of our best six-month and annual pricing of 2017. See the main page for more details.
WrestleMania hosts New Day made their entrance along with pyro. Big E gave the big backstage introduction. Kofi Kingston pushed the ice cream cart down the ramp while Big E and Xavier Woods danced along side of it. The Raw broadcast team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton checked in and introduced the Spanish and German broadcast teams.
“WrestleMania!” Woods started. He said they were honored to be there because he knows they were looking at a lot of hosts. Woods said the fans would see the swiftest and strongest superstars engage in battle for your enjoyment. Big E said they now officially “pull our levers.” Kingston and Woods acted bothered by the line. “I mean, pull the lever for the ultimate thrill ride, WrestleMania,” E said. He led a New Day rock chant and they danced while Woods played the trombone. They now have rainbow swords.
Cole said the first match would be from Smackdown… A commercial aired for the WWE mobile game… The broadcast team of Tom Phillips, JBL, and David Otunga checked in on commentary for the opening match. They said they were opening things up with a bang with Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles. A video package set up the match…
1. AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon. Shane’s sons were shown at ringside. The stage looked amazing for his entrance. Mike Chioda was the referee. Styles was cocky after after the opening exchange. “I’m going to embarrass him,” Styles said. Styles continued to act cocky after performing a snapmare. Shane came back with a bodyslam. Shane performed a couple of arm drags and then rolled up Styles, who got right out of it and rolled to ringside.
At 3:40, Shane threw punches at Styles in the corner and then hit him with an elbow to the head. AJ used Shane’s jersey to pull him through the ropes to the floor. Styles followed up with a kick through the ropes that sent Shane over the broadcast table. Back inside the ring, Styles continued to work over Shane, who fired back with punches. Shane caught Styles with a kick. Styles came right back and set up for a springboard move, but Shane tripped him.
Shane came back with a punch and then whipped Styles into the rope and caught him with an elbow. Shane suplexed Styles and then performed a rough Angle Slam. At 9:15, Styles applied the Calf Crusher. JBL said to imagine the humiliation that Shane would feel if he had to tap at WrestleMania. Shane countered into a sleeper and then an armbar and then an omoplata. Styles rolled it over, then Shane rolled him over. They performed a double clothesline spot and the crowd cheered.
Styles performed a springboard move and Shane caught him in a triangle choke on the way down. JBL played up the humiliation that Styles would feel if he had to tap at WrestleMania, especially after saying he was going to put on a clinic. Styles stood up and performed the Styles Clash for a two count. Ugh.
Shane and Styles traded punches with the fans saying yay for Styles and booing Shane. Shane kicked Styles into the corner and threw knees. The referee got in the middle of it. Styles threw a kick at Shane, who ducked, and the referee took the kick. REF BUMP!!! Styles went to ringside and grabbed a two trashcans. Styles went for a springboard move, but Shane hit him with the trashcan.
Shane tossed one trashcan to ringside and set up the other in front of Styles. Shane performed the Coast to Coast. He pulled Styles to the middle of the ring. The referee recovered and counted a very good near fall at 16:45. Shane cleared the Phillips broadcast table and then placed AJ on top of it. Shane climbed to the top rope and went for the elbow drop. Styles moved and Shane broke the table.
Styles rolled Shane back inside the ring and then went for the Phenomenal Forearm again, but Super Shane countered into the DDT. Shane went to the top rope and performed a shooting star press that Styles avoided. Fans chanted holy shit, then “this is awesome.” Styles waited for Shane to get up and finally hit the Phenomenal Forearm for the win…
AJ Styles pinned Shane McMahon in 20:35.
Powell’s POV: A very entertaining match if you can buy Shane as a wrestler. I’m sure it was stomach turning for some, but the live crowd clearly enjoyed it. Shane’s MMA holds on high level opponents make me roll my eyes, but this clearly worked for the live crowd and got the show off to a good start.
Kevin Owens made his entrance and then a video package aired on his feud with Chris Jericho, who then made his entrance. Jericho wore a scarf that lit up. There was a giant “List of Jericho” prop on the stage…
2. Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens for the U.S. Championship. The Raw broadcast team called the match. Cole said Jericho and Owens had only met one prior time in a televised event. Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho in the opening segments, but Owens reached the ropes. Jericho kicked Owens to ringside and then leapt off the top rope onto him.
Owens caught a charging Jericho with a superkick and then performed a cannonball in the corner. Jericho rolled to the apron. Owens followed and cannonballed his head into the post. Jericho came back with a nice dropkick at 5:00. Jericho sent Owens to the floor. When Jericho followed, Owens shoved him into the edge of the apron. Owens went for his finisher on the floor, but Jericho backdropped him.
Back inside the ring, Owens performed a sit-out slam for a two count. Owens had a scrape on the left side of his forehead. Jericho caught Owens on the rope and performed a huracanrana. Jericho performed a running bulldog and went for a Lionsault. Owens moved out of the way. Jericho landed on his feet. Owens superkicked him and covered him for a two count.
At 9:00, Owens went up top and performed a frosplash. Jericho put his knees up. Jericho went for the Lionsault. Owens put his knees up. Owens went up top and performed a swanton. At 11:00, Jericho avoided the Popup Powerbomb and performed a Lionsault for a two count. A loud Y2J chant broke out. Jericho went for a huracanrana, but Owens stopped it and countered into a Walls of Jericho. Cole played up the embarrassment that Jericho would suffer if he tapped to his own move.
Jericho eventually rolled out of the move. Jericho caught Owens in the Walls of Jericho moments later, but Owens reached the ropes. Owens hit the Popup Powerbomb for a two count at 14:10. Owens taunted Jericho by telling him he was never his best friend and is a piece of shit while slapping him. Owens went for his finisher, but Jericho hit him with the Codebreaker for a two count.
Owens rolled to ringside. Jericho followed him and Owens superkicked his knee. Owens powerbombed Jericho onto the edge of the ring. Owens rolled Jericho back inside the ring and pinned him. Cole noted that Owens won his first U.S. Championship…
Kevin Owens defeated Chris Jericho in 16:20 to win the U.S. Championship.
Powell’s POV: A good back and forth match. I liked the way they both used the Walls of Jericho. The live crowd was engaged and vocal. Owens going over is not a big surprise if only because Jericho is expected to take some time away for his upcoming Fozzy shows.
An ad aired for WWE Payback on April 30… A video package set up the Raw Women’s Championship match…
Bayley made her entrance and had inflatable tube men at ringside in addition to their usual spot on the stage. Nia made a pretty standard entrance. Sasha rode on the back of a classic car that drove her to ringside. Charlotte had the best entrance of the bunch. She had a green robe and a cool video wall. Cole said it was the same entrance that Ric Flair made for his retirement match at WrestleMania 24 in Orlando. Pyro shot off behind Charlotte. Cole said she went with a peacock theme because it was symbolic for her family coming full circle from Ric’s retirement match to now…
Powell’s POV: But doesn’t her character despise her father? Anyway…
3. Bayley vs. Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax in a four-way elimination match for the Raw Women’s Championship. Nia dominated her three opponents in the opening moments. Charlotte fired chops at Jax, which led to the woooo reaction from the crowd. Nia ran her into the corner and Charlotte did the Flair flip, but landed on her feet. Nia shoved her onto Sasha and Bayley on the floor.
Around 3:00, Charlotte caught Jax with a big boot into a double suplex from Bayley and Sasha. A short time later, Charlotte, Bayley, and Sasha teamed up for a triple powerbomb and then they all pinned Jax. Nia Jax was eliminated at 4:15.
Charlotte rolled to ringside and told Bayley and Sasha to go ahead. They locked up. Charlotte pulled Bayley to the floor. Sasha performed a running flip over the top rope. Charlotte moved and Bayley took the move. Charlotte followed up with a top rope corkscrew moonsault onto both women at ringside.
Sasha and Charlotte returned to the ring. Charlotte avoided a Bank Statement. A short time later, Sasha performed a double knee press off the ropes onto Charlotte and applied the Bank Statement. Charlotte escaped it. Sasha rolled her up. Charlotte kicked out and it ended up running Sasha into a turnbuckle that was exposed earlier. Sasha Banks was eliminated around 8:30.
Bayley avoided a moonsault and covered Charlotte for two. Bayley went up top and jumped at Charlotte, who caught her and then applied the Figure 8. Bayley reached the ropes to break the hold. Later, Bayley was tied up in the tree of woe. Charlotte went to the ropes. Bayley was able to back body drop her. Charlotte sat up and flashed an angry look, then charged at Bayley, who moved, and Charlotte hit the same exposed turnbuckle. Bayley went up top and performed “the Macho Man elbow drop” and got the pin. Cole put over Bayley’s fandom of Randy Savage, which explains her attire, and noted that it was the 30th anniversary of his classic match with Ricky Steamboat…
Bayley defeated Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Nia Jax in a four-way elimination match to retain the Raw Championship in 12:45.
Powell’s POV: They did a good job with the time they were given, but the lack of time was disappointing for a four-way elimination match. By the way, New Day dressed as Final Fantasy characters in the opening segment. I never got into that game, so my apologies for missing that.
A WWE Hall of Fame recap video aired… Ring announcer Greg Hamilton stood in the ring and introduced the members of the 2017 Hall of Fame class, who were on the stage. Kurt Angle’s entrance music played and he came out wearing a tuxedo (hopefully not the milk covered one from the HOF). The fans chanted “you suck” and gave him a big ovation…
After some advertising. they showed Seth Rollins having his right knee taped in a backstage locker room… Cole pointed out the ladders that were set up around the ring for the Raw Tag Title match…
Enzo Amore and Big Cass were out first to a big pop. They did their usual mic work as they made the long walk down the ramp. Cass counted the rungs of the ladder they would climb to win the titles. The fans filled in the “how you doin?'” Sheamus and Cesaro wore sunglasses, black jackets, and black kilts. Cole pointed out the nasty cut that Sheamus suffered on Raw once he took off the glasses. Anderson and Gallows made a standard entrance, but the ramp was cool and lit up with their names…
Just as the match was about to start, New Day walked out wearing their ring gear. They announced that the match would be a Fatal 4-Way. They played up the mystery of who the team would be. The Hardy Brothers entrance music played and they headed to the ring. Matt had a streak in his hair, but he didn’t act broken and was clean shaven. (RIP Broken Universe?). They received a massive pop…
4. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. Matt and Jeff Hardy vs. Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. Sheamus and Cesaro in a four-way ladder match for the Raw Tag Titles. After an initial flurry by the Hardys, the tag champs came back. Sheamus and Cesaro had their moment to shine. Cesaro climbed the ladder. Big Cass knocked it over. Cesaro landed awkwardly with his foot between rungs, but he seemed fine.
The wrestlers set up multiple ladders on the apron to the barricade. Cass was tossed over the ladders and onto Gallows. Back inside the ring, Cesaro performed the Swing on Anderson while Sheamus clubbed Gallows with his forearms. A short time later, Cass pressed Enzo and tossed him onto opponents on the floor. Jeff kicked Cass to ringside and was setting up for an Asai moonsault when Sheamus drilled him with a Brogue Kick. The other wrestlers caught Jeff. Fans chanted “Brother Nero.”
Sheamus and Gallows fought on top of the ladder. Enzo pushed over the ladder. Enzo climbed the ladder. Cass came up underneath him and put Enzo on his shoulders. Gallows broke it up. Gallows and Sheamus slammed Cass onto a ladder in the corner. Enzo made another play for the belts, but Anderson cut him off. Anderson shoved Enzo off the ladder and into a big uppercut from Cesaro. Sheamus and Cesaro tried for a double team move onto the ladders still set up over the apron and barricade, but Gallows broke it up. Sheamus and Cesaro ended up lying on those ladders.
Matt hit a Twist of Fate on Gallows. Matt and Anderson fought on the ladder in mid-ring. Matt performed a Twist of Fate. Jeff climbed to the top of the tallest ladder on the floor and performed a swanton bomb that drove Cesaro and Sheamus through the ladders. In the ring, Matt pulled down the title belts to win the match…
Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy defeated Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, Enzo Amore and Big Cass, and Sheamus and Cesaro in a ladder match in 11:05 to retain the Raw Tag Titles.
The Hardys did the “Delete” arm gestures afterward, but they cut to replays of the match. The broadcast team put over the return of the Hardys in a big way. Fireworks shot off while the Hardys continued to celebrate…
Powell’s POV: I was mistaken about Matt being clean shaven, so ignore that line. He responded to “Delete” chants and then helped lead them afterward, so perhaps the Broken Universe isn’t dead after all. Either way, this was a really cool moment. Hardcore fans knew there was a chance the Hardys would be there tonight or at Raw or Smackdown, but it didn’t make it any less fun. The match itself was carried by the return of the Hardys. It was nothing compared to what the Hardys and Young Bucks did the night before at the ROH SuperCard of Honor event. Go out of your way to check out the replay on FITE TV because it’s something else.
Talkshow host Jimmy Fallon was shown in the crowd. There wasn’t a sketch, so he didn’t start laughing to ruin it… A video package recapped the John Cena and Nikki Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse feud…
Jerry Lawler was introduced as the guest commentator for the mixed tag match. Al Roker introduced himself and said he could be called Chocolate Thunder. The fans didn’t seem happy to see him. Miz and Maryse had a cool red carpet themed entrance video wall. The international broadcast teams checked in. Nikki Bella did her stripper pole entrance dance, then John Cena was introduced and received the usual “John Cena Sucks” singalong from the crowd. Cena ran to the ring and met up with Nikki, who was halfway down the ramp and they ran the rest of the way together and greeted Cena’s mom at ringside…
5. John Cena and Nikki Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse. Nikki and Maryse started the match. The wind blew Maryse’s hair over her face. She tagged in Miz and then laughed at Nikki. There was a “Let’s go Miz” chant. He went to opposite corners and played to the crowd on the ropes, then rolled to ringside and kissed Maryse. Cena chased Miz, who stomped him when he returned to the ring. Miz played to the crowd on the ropes again.
Miz worked over Cena and performed a double axe-handle off the ropes. The fans chanted “Miz is awesome.” He asked if they wanted more and then performed a running boot to the face of Cena. The fans chanted “one more time.” Miz obliged. Miz went for his clothesline in the corner. Cena moved. Cena tried to tag Nikki, but Maryse ran over and pulled Nikki off the apron.
Miz performed a neckbreaker for a two count on Cena. Miz avoided the AA and performed a DDT on Cena for a two count. Miz played to the crowd again by holding up his fingers in Daniel Bryan style. The fans chanted Yes! Miz threw Bryan kicks at Cena and the fans chanted Yes! along with each kick. Lawler heeled it up by saying Miz did those better than Bryan does.
Miz walked over to Nikki and gave her the “you can’t see me” hand gesture. Miz stumbled into Cena, who tossed him to ringsdie. Cena made the hot tag to Nikki (yes, you read that right). Nikki ended up hitting Maryse with a big punch. Cena put Miz down. The fans booed while they did the double five knuckle shuffle. They followed up with their AA and Rack Attack 2.0 finisher and scored the double pin…
John Cena and Nikki Bella beat The Miz and Maryse in 9:40.
After the match, Cena took the mic. Fans started booing and yelling no. Cena told Nikki that this is what she wanted. He said she broke her neck over a year ago and she did everything she could to come back because she wanted a WrestleMania moment. Cena said he was very proud of her. Cena recalled she was loopy before surgery and he could ask anything he wanted and she wouldn’t remember what they talked about.
Cena said he promised he would tell Nikki when the time was right. “The time is right,” Cena said. He recalled when she was being wheeled into the OR. Cena recalled asking her if she knew that one day he would marry her. “I just need you to say yes one more time,” he said. Cena pulled out a ring box, got on one knee, said her full name, and asked her to marry him. She gave him a big hug and kiss. Cena put the ring on her finger. Cena spoke into Nikki’s ear as they embraced and then they kissed again. “She said yes,” Cena mouthed as he raised her hand. They kissed again, then went to ringside and celebrated with family. They walked up the ramp and kissed more…
Powell’s POV: You knew it was going to happen and the only question was just how awkward Cena would be given how awkward he is with her on Total Bellas. Well, he nailed it. It was a nice speech. I just hope he didn’t whisper, “You know this is just for TV” into her ear during their private embrace. In all seriousness, it was a nice moment. The live crowd consisted of men booing and some very high pitched screaming. Will Pruett is weeping in his living room right now. As for the match, it was fun for what it was thanks to the live crowd and the way Miz played to them.
A Seth Rollins and Triple H video package aired… Triple H drove a motorcycle with Stephanie McMahon riding, well, bitch, as the bikers say. They were led to the ring by a police motorcade of motorcycles with their sirens and flashers going off. The cops left and Hunter did his water spitting routine while “The Game” theme song played. Rollins came out carrying a torch. He touched it to the stage and then the stage and ramp did a neato fire theme…
6. Seth Rollins vs. Triple H (w/Stephanie McMahon) in an unsanctioned match. They fought at ringside early. Rollins sold pain in his good knee, which the broadcast team acknowledged. Rollins performed a backdrop on Hunter over the barricade. Graves said Rollins has the flu and had a 103-degree temperature earlier today.
Triple H targeted the bad knee. At 4:30, he hit the bad leg with a chair at ringside. Hunter placed Rollins leg on the broadcast table and then leapt off a chair onto it. Hunter stood on the apron and soaked up the boos. Back in the ring, Hunter clipped the bad leg from behind.
Rollins showed some signs of life around 8:30. He recreated the sunset flip powerbomb spot that led to his first knee surgery and sold leg pain again. Rollins went for a Pedigree. Hunter blocked it. Rollins picked up Triple H and gave him a buckle bomb.
At 11:15, Rollins stood on the ring post casing and performed a cross body block onto Triple H on the floor. Rollins got up selling knee pain, then ran Hunter’s head into two ring posts. Rollins pulled out two chairs and a table (not to be confused with two girls and a cup). Rollins performed a top rope splash onto the back of Triple H and got a two count. It wasn’t very suspenseful given that he hadn’t done anything with the weapons.
Rollins picked up a chair and approached Hunter, who kicked his knee. Hunter performed a spinebuster for a two count. A short time later, Rollins performed a superplex and a falcon arrow for a two count. Hunter came back with his leg lock. Rollins was able to fight out of it. Rollins applied a Crossface. Hunter stomped the injured knee until Seth released the hold.
They went to ringside where Hunter hit Rollins with a chair and then applied his leg lock again. Rollins reached under the ring and started grabbing items out of desperation to throw at Hunter. One of the items was the sledgehammer. Triple H released the hold and picked up the sledgehammer. Hunter followed Rollins back inside the ring. Rollins cut him off with punches. Hunter turned him inside out with a clothesline.
At 20:20, the fans chanted “Let’s go Rollins.” Hunter picked up the sledgehammer, but Rollins caught him with a kick to the head. Rollins picked up the sledgehammer. Stephanie snuck up behind him and took the sledgehammer from him. Triple H hit a distracted Rollins with a Pedigree for a good near fall.
At 22:45, Hunter brought Rollins to the ropes and appeared to be going for a Pedigree, but Rollins backdropped him and hit him with a Phoenix splash for a two count. They both went for Pedigrees. Hunter backdropped Rollins, who landed on his feet and sold knee pain. Hunter went for the move again, but Rollins did another flip and set up for the Pedigree, but Hunter clipped the bad knee. Stephanie reached in and grabbed Rollins. Hunter nearly ran into Stephanie, but stopped short. Rollins superkicked Hunter into Stephanie, who went through the table on the floor. Rollins performed the Pedigree on Hunter for the win. Trainers tended to Steph afterward…
Seth Rollins pinned Triple H in 25:30.
Powell’s POV: The match felt longer than it needed to be, especially given that the crowd seems fatigued. Is it a coincidence that the two matches that have topped 20 minutes thus far both involved members of the family? Anyway, it was still well done. The slow start felt similar to the NXT main event last night. The closing minutes of the NXT match were better but this was well done too and the crowd popped big for the Steph table spot. I’m surprised we didn’t see Samoa Joe, especially since we didn’t see him in the U.S. Championship match.
JoJo introduced Pitbull and the other performers for the musical number… A Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt video package aired…
Bray Wyatt made his standard entrance, as WWE was all about showing the stadium shot of the “fireflies” (phones). Orton had a cool red and yellow entrance with a falling sparkler effect. As he walked to the ring, a viper image on the ramp moved along with him…
7. Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship. Ring announcer Greg Hamilton delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Orton went for an RKO in the opening minute, but Wyatt pushed him off and went to ringside. Orton followed Wyatt and roughed him up on the floor briefly before rolling him back inside the ring. Wyatt caught Orton with a punch when he returned to the ring. Wyatt ran at Orton and headbutted his chest.
They did an overhead shot and the ring had maggot images on the mat. There was a brief but audible “that was stupid” chant. Agreed. It happened again as Wyatt stood in the corner. Ugh. Orton avoided Sister Abigail. “There’s 70,000 people here who have no idea what to make of this,” Otunga said. No kidding.
At ringside, Wyatt slammed Orton’s head into the barricade with what Phillips called Sister Abigail. Orton went for a running clothesline at ringside, but Orton ducked it and then hit the RKO. Back inside the ring, Orton avoided Sister Abigail again and performed the sidewinder backbreaker. Orton hit the hanging DDT. Wyatt hit his finisher out of nowhere for a near fall. Orton looked at the crowd and rows of fans stood up and cheered. He did the crabwalk as the ring switched to an image of insects. Orton hit the RKO out of nowhere and scored the pin…
Randy Orton beat Bray Wyatt in 10:30 to win the WWE Championship.
Powell’s POV: An embarrassing match due to the special effects. I’ve heard of overbooked, but an overproduced wrestling match? And now we’re left with an Orton title reign, which tend to get old in a hurry.
After some commercials, JBL spoke over footage of jets flying over the stadium earlier in the day. The pilots were shown in the front row… A video package focussed on Golberg vs. Brock Lesnar. It was narrated by Paul Heyman as if the story of Goldberg was a fairytale… Pretty standard entrances for both men in terms of being similar to what they normally do…
8. Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) for the WWE Universal Championship. JoJo started to deliver the in-ring introductions for the title match. Heyman took the mic from her and introduced Lesnar himself. JoJo introduced Goldberg, who received more boos than cheers.
Lesnar hit Goldberg with a German suplex and then followed up with two more. Lesnar let out a primal scream. Goldberg took him down and then speared him. Lesnar rolled to ringside. Lesnar followed and speared Lesnar through the timekeepers area. Goldberg brought Lesnar back to the ring and set up for the Jackhammer. Lesnar slipped out and went for the F5. Goldberg slipped out.
Goldberg speared Lesnar and played to the crowd. Goldberg performed the Jackhammer on Lesnar for a near fall. Goldberg looked down at Lesnar in disbelief. The fans came to life. Goldberg backed into the corner for a spear. Lesnar leapfrogged it and Goldberg crashed into the corner. It was Suplex City time. Lesnar performed five German suplexes.
Lesnar got up slowly and performed the sixth in a row and the ninth of the match. Fans chanted 10 and Lesnar obliged. Lesnar hit the F5 and pinned Goldberg. “Brock is back and on top of Raw,” Cole said. Lesnar celebrated with the title and posed on the ropes with it…
Brock Lesnar defeated Goldberg in 4:45 to win the WWE Universal Championship.
Powell’s POV: They did a nice job. You knew this wasn’t going to be a 20-minute classic, but the match was suspenseful while it lasted. Goldberg has the out that he knocked himself loopy when he was leapfrogged by Lesnar and then ran himself into the corner if they want to play it that way. It will be interesting to see if Goldberg announces his retirement tomorrow or if he intends to do more with WWE. He made it seem like he is open to doing more with WWE when he was interviewed this week, but Jeff Hardy also said he and Matt were staying in Ring of Honor throughout the summer.
After some ads, they went right into the entrances for the Smackdown Women’s Championship match. Can you imagine that video package?. The entrances were fairly standard aside from James, who wore a Native American headdress. They saved Naomi’s energetic entrance for last and played up the show being in her hometown…
9. Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James vs. Carmella (w/James Ellsworth) vs. Natalya vs. Naomi for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Becky had some white paint on her face, but I didn’t catch what the theme was. At 2:50, Ellsworth entered the ring and tried to kick Lynch, but she caught him and gave him an exploder suplex.
They set up a sunset flip by Naomi with the idea that that would cause Natalya to powerbomb Lynch in the process, but it was clunky. A short time later, Mickie hit a nice DDT on Lynch and covered her, but Carmella broke it up. Naomi performed the Rearview on Bliss and then performed a dive onto each of her opponents on the floor. Naomi rolled Bliss back inside the ring and springboarded into a big punch from Bliss. Naomi caught her in a submission hold for the win…
Naomi beat Alexa Bliss, Becky Lynch, Mickie James, Carmella, and Natalya in 5:35 to win the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
Powell’s POV: An old school women’s buffer match? It was a little bit more than that, but not much. Naomi going over in her hometown was fine. If you were into that story then the match may have worked for you.
New Day came out to announce the Citrus Bowl (Camping World Stadium) attendance record 75,245. They thanked the fans, saying that without the WWE Universe there is no WWE…
Cole set up the video package for the main event by questioning whether this will mark the changing of the big dog…
The Oklahoma fight song played and then Jim Ross made his entrance. He joined Cole and JBL. Cole said he knew it was a rough couple of weeks, but he said he wanted him to do what he does best by calling the main event of WrestleMania. “Let’s raise some hell and have some fun,” Ross said. JBL responded, “Take us home, JR”…
Powell’s POV: If this doesn’t make your day given everything that JR has been through with the untimely death of his wife Jan, then I don’t know what would.
Roman Reigns made his entrance. He punched the stage and it led to a row of pyro shooting off on the ramp and then there were fireworks at the top of the stadium that followed. Reigns was stone faced during his entrance and then he did pose on the middle rope.
Taker’s gong sounded and there was the usual fire and lightning effects. He was raised slowly from under the stage with a fog/smoke effect and then he walked to the ring while Reigns watched. The broadcast team remained quiet for the entrance…
10. Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns. Ross noted that it was a No Holds Barred match and would not be for the faint of heart. Taker jumped out to the quick start and tossed Reigns to ringside. “You’re in my yard,” Taker said while looking down at Reigns. Roman walked around the ring and climbed on the apron. Taker met him, and Reigns clotheslined him over the top rope. Reigns threw punches at Taker, then clotheslined him over the top rope, but Taker landed on his feet.
Taker pulled Reigns to ringside and ran Reigns into the ring steps. A “Roman sucks” chant started and faded quickly. Cole noted that this was the first ever one-on-one match between the two. He said their only in-ring confrontation occurred when Reigns eliminated Taker from the Royal Rumble match. They fought at ringside again. Taker headbutted Reigns and picked him up on his shoulder, but Reigns slipped off and shoved Taker into the ring post and then delivered a Drive By, which Ross called a toxic kick.
Back inside the ring, Taker and Reigns traded punches. JBL said Reigns appeared to be relishing the moment. Taker no-sold a Reigns kick and then punched him. Taker connected with a running clothesline in the corner and then followed up with Snake Eyes, a big boot, and a leg drop for a two count. Taker signaled for the chokeslam, but Reigns rolled to ringside.
Taker followed. Reigns went for another Drive By, but Taker caught him with a punch. Taker cleared off the Ross broadcast table and JBL jokingly welcomed Ross back. A short time later, Taker chokeslammed Reigns onto the German broadcast table, but it didn’t break.
Taker tore apart the Spanish broadcast table. Taker stood on the table as Reigns crawled onto the Ross table. Taker made the throat slashing gesture only to have Reigns spear him through the table. Cool spot. Ross noted that the referee has the authority to stop the match if Taker can’t defend himself. Reigns entered the ring and the fans booed. Taker suddenly sat up in his typical style at ringside. When Taker tried to enter the ring, Reigns greeted him with knees and kicks.
Reigns threw clotheslines at Taker in the corner. Reigns stood over Taker on the ropes and punched him, then told him that it’s his yard. Taker responded with a Last Ride for a two count. Taker went to ringside and grabbed a chair. He slid it inside the ring and Reigns grabbed it, but Taker blasted him with a kick to the head. Taker slammed the chair over the back of Reigns. Roman rolled to ringside. The fans booed. The broadcast team said it was sound strategy.
Back inside the ring, Reigns hit Taker with two Superman punches. He went for a third, but Taker grabbed him by the throat and chokeslammed him onto a chair for a two count. JBL said it seemed like it was just a matter of time before Taker put Reigns away. Taker scooped up Reigns and put him down with a Tombstone piledriver. Taker covered Reigns with his arms over his chest and stuck his tongue out. Reigns kicked out. Taker sold it with a look of surprise.
Taker went for another Tombstone at 14:50. They tried to do the reversal spot and failed twice (Adam Cole feels a lot better right now as he had the same issue in his match with Marty Scurll last night). Reigns punched Taker and got a two count. Reigns backed into the corner, let out the war cry, and spared Taker at 16:00. Taker reached up and applied the Hell’s Gate submission hold. Reigns reached the rope with his foot while Ross pointed out that the submission had to happen in the ring.
Reigns ended up taking the chair and worked over Taker with it. Taker used the ropes to pull himself up as the fans chanted his name. Reigns waited in the corner and speared Taker once he was on his feet and covered him for a good near fall that the fans reacted to. Cole said Reigns is beginning to understand why Taker is the phenom. Ross said that’s the heart of Taker, JBL said it’s the soul.
Taker pulled himself up again. Reigns jawed at him from the corner and looked upset. “Roman Reigns is going to have to put the phenom down,” JBL said. Reigns let out a war cry and spared Taker again for another two count. The fans roared and chanted Yes! when Taker kicked out at 20:20. A loud Undertaker chant followed while Reigns showed frustration over not being able to put Taker away.
Reigns went to the corner again and this time hit Taker with a Superman Punch. Reigns looked down at Taker and shook his head. Taker sat up, but then fell over. “He tried to sit up, but his body would not allow it,” Ross said. JBL questioned whether Taker’s body was quitting on him, then said he wasn’t counting him out.
Reigns continued to talk at Taker and swatted his hand away when he tried to use him to stand up. Taker said something to Reigns about not having the balls. Reigns threw punches at Taker, then ran the ropes repeatedly, speared Taker, and pinned him clean.
Roman Reigns pinned Undertaker in 23:00.
Reigns left the ring without a major celebration. He stopped halfway up the stage and looked back at the ring, then raised his hands and pyro shot off on the stage and all around the stadium. The broadcast team said Reigns is the big dog and it is his yard. The broadcast team said Reigns earned it.
Taker was still lying on his back in the ring. The fans chanted, “Thank you, Taker.” Taker slowly sat up and the crowd cheered him again. Footage of the match was replayed. They cut back to Taker, who had his hat and coat on again. Taker’s music played and the fans gave him a standing ovation. Fans chanted “Thank you, Taker” as he stood in the ring. Taker removed his gloves and put them in the middle of the ring. He also removed his coat and hat and left them in the ring.
Taker went to ringside and kissed his wife Michelle McCool. Taker slowly walked up the ramp while the fans chanted, “Thank you, Taker.” Taker stopped halfway up the ramp and then turned back as the fans cheered. Taker held up his fist as his music continued to play and the fans continued to chant “Thank you, Taker.” Taker was slowly lowered into the ramp. The gong sounded and the lights went off. The gong continued to sound as the show went off the air. An amazing spectacle to close the show…
Powell’s POV: Forget the failed Tombstone reversal, this was still a good match. The match told a story with Taker putting up a strong fight, but the younger fighter ultimately put the older fighter down. I was hoping the post match angle would feature a Reigns turn, but nothing about the way WWE continues to insist that fans like him and just don’t know they like him suggests that’s coming. I’m still holding out a sliver of hope that Paul Heyman turns on Lesnar in favor of helping Reigns, but seeing his believing at this point. Look for next year’s main event to be all about the two men who defeated Taker at WrestleMania. The big question following the end of the match is whether Taker will also appear on that show. It certainly looked like a retirement. If this is how he chose to go out, good for him. Personally, I think it would be crazy to not have a heavily hyped Last Ride match for Taker, which would sell WrestleMania on it’s own. If this is it, and it certainly looks like it was, it was a hell of a ride even if we didn’t get an advertised last ride. I will have more to say about the overall show in tonight’s member exclusive audio review. Remember, you can sign up for membership for as little as $2 for one month. See the main page for more details.
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