Liam Hoofe reviews WrestleMania 33…
Well, what a night that was. Clocking in at over 7 hours Wrestlemania 33 was quite the endurance test (finishing at 6:10am in my time-zone.) For once, though, the length of the event felt justified and WWE delivered a truly great Wrestlemania that will be fondly remembered for years to come.
With 13 matches to get through, let’s begin my match by match breakdown of last night’s crazy event.
Pre-Show: Neville defeated Austin Aries
This one really should have been on the main show. Neville and Aries delivered a cracking match to get the pre show started and further cemented Neville as the MVP of the Cruiserweight division.
Aries looked really strong in his PPV debut and the top rope spots were awesome, I could watch Neville hit the Red Arrow all day.
Neville retaining through nefarious measures mean we are likely to see more matches between these two in the future. No problem with that at all.
Rating: *** ½
Pre-Show: Mojo Rawley wins the Andre The Giant Battle Royal
Why WWE? Just why? Throwing Braun and Show out so early was a big surprise here, though the latter deserved more of a show in what looks to be his last Wrestlemania but the match never really did anything very interesting after that.
The interference of the NFL guy meant nothing to me as a Brit and the ending was just dragged out. On the plus side, it was nice to see the two NXT guys getting a good showing, especially Killian Dain.
Rating: * ½
Pre-Show: Dean Ambrose defeated Baron Corbin
This being bumped to the pre-show so we could have Pitbull and Flo Rida perform was an insult. Dean and Corbin deserved better than this and the two looked visibly disappointed at the placement on the card.
In the end, the match wasn’t really that exciting. A fairly pedestrian affair that was probably damaged to its late movement that saw Ambrose walk away with the belt, which in my opinion, was the wrong decision.
Rating: ** ½
AJ Styles defeated Shane McMahon
So I began this match with some serious apprehension. AJ Styles is the best wrestler in the WWE right now and he deserves more than a match with a glorified backyard wrestler at Wrestlemania. Despite a sluggish start from Shane though things began to get really good about halfway through.
Apart from Shane taking a Styles Clash quite roughly, the commissioner delivered some pretty great moments for the rest of the match. The coast to coast always looks sweet and the near fall that followed it had me panicking that Shane might actually walk away the winner.
Shane missing the shooting star press prompted ‘this is awesome’ chants from the crowd and was a really cool moment and the ending was exactly as it should have been- AJ picking up the clean win after the phenomenal forearm.
Rating: *** 1/2
Kevin Owens defeated Chris Jericho
Man, this was on early. Watching this match I couldn’t shake the idea that it could have been going on last. In the end , the two delivered a solid match up and Owens taunting Jericho throughout- ‘You’ve got no friends’ was hilarious.
Owens reaching the rope with his finger, or his knuckle as Michael Cole bizarrely called it, was an awesome moment too. Jericho has been at his best for the last year and the fact he can still put on a match of this quality at Wrestlemania deserves some serious credit. Like, the guy is really pushing hard to be in this GOAT discussion right now.
The ending really sold KO’s powerbomb on the outside as a dangerous move as well. Great match and the show keeps on delivering so far.
Rating: *** ½
Bayley defeated Sasha Banks, Nia Jax and Charlotte
This was one of the only ‘meh’ matches of the night for me. I really thought that there was a chance that this could be the match of the night but the booking was a bit messed up and the whole thing was too short. Though, they certainly did their best with the time they were given.
Charlotte is incredible, like, she is seriously one of the best female wrestlers of all time. I’m quite happy for her to just regain the title and hold it forever to be honest. Bayley’s big moment should have been saved for tonight, so having her retain here wasn’t the big emotional moment they were looking for.
Charlotte was amazing, the rest of the match was rushed. The inclusion of Nia Jax seemed so wasted when she was eliminated barely two minutes in. What was the point?
Rating: ** ½
The Hall of Fame class of 2017 came out between matches and it’s worthy of a mention here because of the reaction for Kurt Angle. It’s so good hearing his music at a WWE event and hopefully, we get to see a lot more of him in the coming months, starting tonight on Raw, perhaps.
The Hardyz defeated The Club, Enzo and Cass, and Sheamus and Cesaro
WHATTT!? This was the mark out moment of the night for me. The New Day coming to the ring to announce that the match was a fatal 4 way led us to believe that they were going to enter into the bout, only for The Hardy Boyz to hit the ring to the biggest pop of the night. What a moment.
The match itself was also pretty great and the pair instantly breathed life back into what has become, quite a stale division. Jeff’s swanton off the ladder was typically bonkers and Matt worked the crowd like a pro throughout.
This, along with Rollins Vs Triple H were my contenders for match of the night. Such a feel good moment when Matt grabbed those belts down -this is what Mania is all about.
Whether the Hardys will be broken or not remains to be seen. Matt certainly teased it in the post match interview on WWE.com but I don’t know how well the gimmick will fit in the WWE. I suspect we may see a very toned down version of it to keep fans happy.
John Cena and Nikki Bella Defeated The Miz and Maryse – John Cena proposes post match
Well, this happened. I mean, we all knew this was coming so it just kind of felt like an obligation on the night, but to the crowd’s credit they were respectful and made it feel like a sweet moment.
The match itself was fairly poor. The Miz is so over right now it’s ridiculous and his crowd work was excellent. The two coming down in matching ring gear was a really nice touch and the guy is on a meteoric rise right now.
It’s a shame the match was not much more than a glorified squash, but I don’t think this will damage The Miz too much in the long run actually.
Seth Rollins defeated Triple H
Say what you want about Triple H, but the guy knows how to tell a story in the ring. This match was one of my favourites of the night. Rollins and Triple H brought a great in ring psychology to the match and told the story of Seth’s injured knee expertly.
Triple H’s entrance was suitably ridiculous, while Seth’s was just a bit strange, really. The architect brought what appeared to be the Olympic torch to the ring with him, before sending a flaming visual down the excessively long ramp. It was a nice visual, but it made little sense.
The crowd was clearly getting gassed at this point in the evening, but the slow build up and logic of the match got them back involved and the match’s finish was one of the best on the night; with Stephanie being sent through a table, distracting Hunter so Seth could hit the pedigree.
Triple H also surpassed Shawn Michaels as the man to have lost the most matches at Wrestlemania last night – taking his total up to 12. So much for that shovel eh?
Randy Orton defeated Bray Wyatt
This was easily the biggest disappointment of the night. Randy has had some stellar matches against Styles and Harper in the last month but this one never really got going last night.
Things started at quite the tempo and both men hit early finishers outside the ring, but then the booking staff hit us with a big screw you out of nowhere and Orton walked away with the belt. Lame.
The visuals in the ring were an interesting touch to the match. WWE needs to do this kind of stuff more often with the newer stars at Wrestlemania- it’s a cool way of making these guys more over and memorable to the casual fanbase.
Bray is now 0-3 at Wrestlemania, which sucks. Not sure really sure where they plan to go with Randy as champion right now, a continuation here will be likely for the next month or so but then I’m not sure where. Bray deserved better than this.
Brock Lesnar defeated Goldberg
So, a lot might disagree with me here but this was the best we could have asked for from these two men. A match that involved 4 different moves in 5 minutes is a big step up for Goldberg, who clearly lacks in ring fitness.
Seeing Lesnar just chuck Bill around was pretty sweet and the match did feel like a big occasion, despite its limitations. The two having a grounded, technical affair was never going to happen and it made sense that they would both just be out to end the other.
Efficient and painless enough. Time to move on. See you at Summerslam Brock.
Naomi wins the Smackdown Woman’s Title
A rumour was flying around Twitter that this match had been cancelled, such was the lateness of the show and the match’s bizarre placing on the card. In the end, Naomi won after what was just a bit of a mess really. This reminded me of woman’s matches of old and it never really got going at all. Too many cooks and all that.
Naomi winning was a nice moment, though, I wish Alexa hadn’t taken the fall.
Roman Reigns defeated The Undertaker
What an emotional end to the night this turned out to be. First things first, Reigns winning this was the correct result. Go and tell me in the comments below how wrong I am, but it would have made no sense for Taker to leave as the victor here.
The match, while full of botches, told a story and was a good main event, as they go. Taker really sold the ending well, but seeing him in the physical condition he was in was heartbreaking. The last ride was one of the weakest I’d ever seen and at that point, it became increasingly clear it was time to call it a day.
The post match stuff was heartbreaking, and any wrestling fan who says they didn’t tear up is a terrible little liar. Thanks for the memories big guy.
Rating: *** 1/2
One of the best Wrestlemanias in a long time. It was a night full of nostalgia, emotion and genuine surprises. While a lot of the outcomes were predictable the matches were still exciting and delivered for the most part. Seeing Taker retire was such a huge moment and one that fans will remember for years to come. The Hardys’ return was incredible as well.
Match of the Night: The Tag Team Ladder match – purely for The Hardys
Overall Rating: ****
What did you think of last night’s event? Let us know in the comments below, and let Liam know on Twitter, here- @liamhoofe