Wrestlemania 33 Results and Reactions

NEVILLE (c) vs. AUSTIN ARIES for the Cruiserweight Championship

Result and match rating: Neville wins with the Red Arrow after gouging Aries’s eyes. *** 1/2

Reaction and payoff rating: This was a solid match to start off the show.  It was great cruiserweight wrestling, start to finish with the heel gouging the face’s eyes to get the advantage which is extra vicious considering Aries just came back from an orbital fracture.  This either ends this feud or allows it to continue for another match or two.  Either way, it was a strong performance by the cruiserweights in their only match on the show and might lead to higher placement in the future if this continues. ****

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

Result and match rating: Mojo Rawley wins the battle royal after eliminating Killian Dain and Jinder Mahal *

Reaction and payoff rating: Getting rid of the two biggest competitors right away was a bad idea for this.  This is probably Big Show’s last ‘Mania, and Braun is your future big man who just lost his first match although it’s unclear if Braun was supposed to go out so early.  And Sami Zayn gets dumped before the likes of Mojo, Killian Dain, and Jinder Mahal.  Hopefully, Mojo doesn’t get a Baron Corbin-like push out of this because that would be painful to watch this year.   DUD

DEAN AMBROSE (c) vs. BARON CORBIN for the Intercontinental Championship

Result and match rating: Ambrose gets the win with the Dirty Deeds.  * 1/2

Reaction and payoff rating: This match didn’t live up to the moderately well-paced build it had over the last month. Possibly this was because they were moved down to the pre-show, who knows.  Nevertheless, Dean couldn’t carry Corbin here, and his stock seems to simply keep lowering.  It’s almost to the point where he might need to turn heel because his move set and character are getting stale to the point even he seems bored with it. *

AJ STYLES vs. SHANE MCMAHON

Result and match rating: AJ gets the pin after the Phenomenal Forearm.  *** 1/2

Reaction and payoff rating: This is the ultimate credit to AJ Styles as he pulled off perhaps one of the top two matches on the card with Shane McMahon of all people.  This match was well-booked, and the story makes sense.  It sets up AJ to “respect” Shane now and possibly set up a face turn in the near future. At the very least, Styles can go back to wrestling actual stars.  ****

CHRIS JERICHO (c) vs. KEVIN OWENS for the United States Championship

Result and match rating: Owens pins Jericho after a Pop-Up Powerbomb to win the U.S. Title. ***

Reaction and payoff rating: Considering this was the hottest match not involving part-timers heading into the show, the payoff feels less.  Placing it second on the card didn’t help at all, especially after AJ and Shane did so well.  The story unfolding well enough, but the match pacing felt like it was in first gear and going through the motions to a degree.  Where this goes now is anyone’s guess – probably a rematch at Payback. ** 1/2

BAYLEY (c) vs. CHARLOTTE FLAIR vs. SASHA BANKS vs. NIA JAX for the Raw Women’s Championship

Result and match rating: Nia was eliminated with all three women pinning her;  Sasha was eliminated by Charlotte; Charlotte was eliminated by Bayley, who retained her title. ***

Reaction and payoff rating: This was another good performance by the women.  The match had some good spots.  Getting rid of Nia early was a good choice, and it allowed the stronger workers to carry on.  Bayley retaining feels right, but wouldn’t this have all been more impressive and feel good had Charlotte still had the title and Bayley won the title and broke the PPV win streak here?  The Bayley-Sasha split up is coming soon, surely. ***

LUKE GALLOWS and KARL ANDERSON (c) vs. ENZO AMORE and BIG CASS vs. SHEAMUS and CESARO vs. The Hardy Boyz in a Ladder match for the RAW Tag Team Championship

Result and match rating: Matt Hardy grabs the suspended titles for win. *** 1/2

Reaction and payoff rating: After a lackluster build in this three-way match, the Hardys surprise was a welcome sight and seeing tens of thousands of people chanting “Delete” was mind-boggling. This was certainly one of the biggest moments of the show. Everyone did well in this match, and it featured a number of great spots.  The Hardys’ return is the most important element though, and this should re-energize the RAW tag team scene a little, especially if The New Day stop making ice cream and start wrestling again.  *****

JOHN CENA and NIKKI BELLA vs. THE MIZ and MARYSE

Result and match rating: Cena and Nikki hit their finishers in tandem for a double pin. **

Reaction and payoff rating: This match did exactly what everyone thought it would do: nothing more and nothing less.  It sets up a new storyline for Total Bellas, which seems to confirm everything The Miz said for the past month. **

SETH ROLLINS vs. HHH:

Result and match rating: Seth Rollins gets the pin after a Pedigree. ** 1/2

Reaction and payoff rating: This match had a good payoff only because Stephanie went through a table.  Everything else about it was fairly poor.  First, this match had the least heat of any match and somehow it was still the longest match.  It went about ten to twelve minutes too long and consisted of way too much “selling the leg” by Rollins.  In the end, Rollins couldn’t even get a completely clean pin as HHH was distracted by having accidentally putting his wife through a table.  Still, Stephanie went through a table, so something good came of this.   WWE should be worried about Seth Rollins as a face.  He’s getting little reaction. ****

BRAY WYATT (c) vs. RANDY ORTON for the WWE Championship

Result and match rating: Randy wins the WWE Title after an RKO. **

Reaction and payoff rating: Bray Wyatt fans seem doomed to suffer.  The hokey images flashing on the ring mat were a cheesy idea, but it would be acceptable if anything was done with it.  Instead, Randy no-sells those “creepy” images, kicks out of Bray’s finisher, and ends his very short title reign.  There is no strength in Bray Wyatt at all.  He just loses over and over and over.  How can he be a credible threat anymore?  And who wants to see Orton as champion?  Sure, he’s needed on Smackdown with Cena going out for a while, but as champion?  The next couple months are going to get real dull, real quick.   DUD

GOLDBERG (c) vs. BROCK LESNAR for the Universal Championship

Result and match rating: Brock pins Goldberg after an F5 to win the Universal TItle. ****

Reaction and payoff rating: This was more enjoyable than it should have been.  This hard-hitting, surprisingly fast-paced back and forth was just what was needed.  The Goldberg comeback was getting tiresome for the fans, and it should with the boos tonight for him and the cheers for Lesnar.  Lesnar’s dominance in the second half of the match reestablishes him as the guy in professional wrestling, at least for now. Sadly, this will be used to put Roman over. ****

ALEXA BLISS (c) vs. BECKY LYNCH vs. MICKIE JAMES vs. CARMELLA vs. NATALYA vs. NAOMI for the Smackdown Women’s Championship

Result and match rating: Naomi makes Alexa Bliss tap out.  DUD

Reaction and payoff rating: The entrances were longer than this total match.  This was a complete afterthought and a showcase for Naomi to win the title in her hometown of Orlando, and many didn’t even care because it was so late in the show, and everyone was awaiting the main event. This whole build, match, and outcome was poorly thought out and executed. **

THE UNDERTAKER vs. ROMAN REIGNS

Result and match rating: Roman Reigns gets the pin after a Spear. *** 1/2

Reaction and payoff rating: This is missed opportunity #1249 to turn Roman Reigns heel.  It was also their best opportunity. Sure, he was doing a few heelish things in the ring at time, smacking at Taker, punishing him with a chair, etc.  However, by the end of the match, he didn’t want to hurt ‘Taker anymore, but ‘Taker practically commanded him to finish him off.  From a storytelling standpoint, this worked well and is an appropriate send-off for the Deadman, who has been around most, if not all, of our lives.  His symbolic removal of clothing and disappearance into the ground worked well.  The most unfortunate thing though is that this leaves fans stuck with a slightly face/tweener Roman Reigns, which they hate.  WWE can make up all the excuses they want, but to continually ignore the fans who are rejecting Reigns is just punishment at this point.  Roman will probably restart his feud with Braun tomorrow, and they’ll wrestle at Payback.  **

Overall Reaction: This Wrestlemania was certainly better than last year, and the first half was great outside of the battle royal and Ambrose/Corbin matches on the pre-show.  However, at some point, the show started to go downhill.  The overly-long HHH/Rollins match following the predictable and uninspiring Cena/Bella match and proposal was the turning point. Bray’s poor booking and short title reign made it worse.  Lesnar and Goldberg delivered more than any other match, but they didn’t need much to do well.  The main event of ‘Taker and Reigns worked, and this will be remembered for a long time for being ‘Taker’s final match.  Nevertheless, it didn’t feel memorable outside of being his last match. ** 1/2

 

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