It feels like it lasted forever. Wrestlemania week came and went.
Wrestlemania time is a great time for WWE wrestling. It’s the finale of a “season” followed by the immediate season premiere the next night. Imagine if that happened for other shows like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones. There’s no off-season for wrestling and while it is exhausting, it gives us a lot to talk about.
Looking back Wrestlemania
Overall, I was pretty happy with the Wrestlemania show itself. I questioned some of the line-up and scheduling, like having the IC title on the pre-show. Original plans, so I thought, had the Smackdown women battle royal on the pre-show but that got bumped up to the main card…and while neither the IC match nor the ladies were hot matches, I respect the legacy of the Intercontinental strap a little more. Sorry, ladies.
I think the AJ/Shane match was a top match of the show. I still think AJ’s skill was a bit wasted on Shane but both of them put it all on the table for that match and it came off great. Hard-hitting and solid. Best of all, there was no “oh my god” moment for Shane. He was limited to a top rope jump and that was plenty. It meant it was a “true” match rather than a spot spectacular.
The other contender for match of the night was the Tag Team ladder match…and when I say that, I mean the Hardy Boys coming back. I had no doubt they would be coming back to WWE but I didn’t expect it at ‘Mania, so I was a bit surprised. The crowd pop was awesome and I did find myself with a big smile on my face. It was a great moment…and officially made it so every match had some 90s-era wrestler in it.
I felt the tag chaos was the high point of the night. It was all downhill after that. That’s not to say they were shitty matches, they just couldn’t hold up against the first half. Although, I think part of that is also because, as a fan, I was exhausted.
Goldberg/Lesnar is what it was…and it wasn’t bad. It was exactly what it needed to be and not a drop more or less. Well booked and planned. The Jericho/Owens match wasn’t what I had hoped. It was on par for a regular PPV match…just not ‘Mania quality.
Orton/Wyatt was certainly the stinker of the night. The mat-as-movie-screen gimmick was neat in that it was new but special effects can’t save a poor match.
Undertaker/Reigns was pretty good and even though it was kind of tough to see ‘Taker at times, plus the piledriver botch, him riding off into the sunset made me forget about the match itself. I’m sure we all wanted more out of that time but we can’t say they both didn’t leave it all in the ring. Legends show always lose on their way out the door, so this was appropriate and he went out like only the Undertaker could.
A new season begins
The Raw and Smackdown following Wrestlemania were both solid and did their jump and kick starting a new “season” of wrestling. I think the best almost-surprise for me was seeing The Revival on Raw. Glad they finally got their chance to step up. Finn Balor coming back was not a shock and he’ll certainly inject some new life into the product. Same with Nakamura over on Smackdown. And the new “shake-up” draft should help that even more.
Meanwhile, over on NXT
Of course, with call-ups to the main roster means NXT is once again bled of talent. The NXT Takeover before Wrestlemania was a solid show and reminder than you can make a quality product within a 2-hour time limit. I wasn’t too enthused with some of the outcomes, like AOP and Asuka retaining their belts, but hopefully it’ll lead to something better.
And so Shinske leaves and Drew McIntyre comes in…? Not exactly an eye for an eye but it’s clear Bobby Roode is a fighting champ that will actually appear on television, so hopefully now that we have two tops guys that can both speak English will make that scene a little more interesting.
I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. It seems like every year after ‘Mania I just want to step away for a bit and shut off the wrestling faucet…but this time I don’t know if I can.