If you’ve checked out our podcast “Feed Me Sports” on YouTube, you’ve probably heard me, Louis and Alec explain how unexcited we were about WrestleMania 33. Turns out that the “show of shows” was actually a damn good one and featured a lot of surprises and great entertainment. I’m going to break down each match with a grade and a final reaction.
Kickoff Match: Neville v. Austin Aries (Neville Wins)
Speaking of our podcast, the three of us have all given glowing reviews of the cruiserweight division and this match did not disappoint. Austin Aires came in and while many thought he might steal the victory, Neville wound up retaining in an instant classic. This match really showed just how strong the cruiserweight division has become in WWE and with Neville retaining and continuing that heel persona, there will no doubt be a chance for “A Double” to seek revenge in the coming future
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale Match: Mojo Rawley Wins
This Battle Royale has become quite an interesting event over the last few WrestleMania’s and going into it, I predicted either Big Show, Braun Strowman or a surprise entrant like Samoa Joe to capture the victory. It turns out that when Jinder Mahal throws a cup of coke at New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, Gronk comes to the aid of his friend Mojo Rawley and helps deliver a victory for Rawley through a punishing charging move at Mahal. Given that the winner of this match was someone we least expected, it at least made the match more entertaining. Solid move by WWE giving Rawley a chance to shine.
AJ Styles v. Shane McMahon: (Styles Wins)
Say what you want about Shane-O-Mac, but the man can put on a damn good match and he did it yet again at Mania on Sunday. This match had been brewing for quite some time on SmackDown given AJ Styles attacked Shane behind the scenes which then lead to more and more attacks, finally resulting in Shane booking a match at Mania. I’ve really grown to like not only the character of AJ Styles, but the wrestler as well. You’re talking about someone who really has done it all in professional wrestling and with him taking on an energetic Shane-O-Mac, the two didn’t disappoint. Styles took on some highflying moves as did Shane with a surprising counter coming from Shane towards the end when he had Styles up against the turnbuckles with a trash can pressed against him. No surprise here, but Styles picked up the victory in one of the best matches of the evening.
Kevin Owens v. Chris Jericho for the United States Championship: (Owens Wins)
At long last, the “Festival of Friendship” was broken with Kevin Owens betraying Chris Jericho on Monday Night Raw several weeks ago. The long “friendship” had been one of the most entertaining aspects of Raw with both men playing a strong heel character. Jericho had taken the elusive US belt off of Roman Reigns which mad it the prize of the match. Like always, Jericho being the savvy veteran he is, put on a great match with KO who’s no slouch either. Just when it seemed Jericho had the match after a “Codebreaker”, Owens used the tip of his finger to touch the rope and escape the pinfall. Owens then hit Jericho with the “Pop-Up Powerbomb” and claimed the US title. Jericho might be taking some time off for his Fozzy tour, but I would expect this rivalry to be re-explored by WWE again in the future.
Raw Women’s Fatal 4 Way Elimination Match For Raw Women’s Title; Bayley v. Charlotte v. Sasha Banks v. Nia Jax (Bayley Wins)
I sit here as the biggest fan of what WWE has done with the women’s division in the last two years, especially with how well Bayley has performed in both NXT and WWE (Still her biggest fan) Going into this match, however, I expected something out of the norm to occur whether it was Sasha Banks turning heel and attacking her friend Bayley. Dana Brooke screwing over Charlotte or Nia Jax running roughshot to capture her first championship victory. The match itself was another grand one put on by these women with Charlotte, Bayley and Sasha tripling up to pin Nia and eliminating her first. This is where I thought Sasha would flip on Bayley, but instead, Sasha remained the same as she’s been and went after Charlotte, only to fall victim to the self-proclaimed Queen. It was left to Charlotte and Bayley with Bayley battling through what seemed to be a leg injury to pin Charlotte and retain her women’s championship. It might not have gone as expected, but it was still a great match and I was sure as hell happy to see Bayley retain at her first ever WrestleMania.
Raw Tag Team Championship Ladder Match; Gallows and Anderson v. Enzo and Cass v. Sheamus and Cesaro v. The Hardy Boyz (Hardy’s Win)
This match started as a three team tag match as many, including the three of us at FeedMeSports, expected Enzo and Cass to win the title. The hosts of WrestleMania 33, the New Day, came out and claimed that a fourth team would be added. Many thought the New Day were referring to themselves but then a certain iconic music hit…The Hardy Boyz made their triumphant return to WWE and I don’t think I’ve heard a crowd pop like that at WrestleMania in a long time. Matt and Jeff killed it, giving fans a reminiscent look at the moves like the “Twist of Fate” and “Swonton Bomb”. All the teams looked great and each team looked as if they had a real chance to win until Jeff Hardy set up Sheamus and Cesaro on a ladder, climbed up his own respective ladder and launched a Swonton Bomb onto Cesaro while Matt Hardy climbed up for the tag team titles. Raw’s tag team is looking mighty fine with the Hardy’s back in the picture and The Revival coming up on Monday from NXT. Don’t expect the Hardy’s to drop the belt anytime soon as they look to DELETE any and all who stand in their way
Mixed Tag Team Match; John Cena and Nikki Bella v. The Miz and Maryse: (The Cenas Win)
If you’ve kept up with SmackDown, you would have noticed this rivalry not only looked strong, but took on real life events with Maryse calling out Nikki Bella for not having an engagement ring. This lead to speculation that Cena would finally propose to Nikki if they won the match but nothing was certain going into the battle. Nikki and Maryse both looked really strong going face to face, while the Miz lived up to his heel personality trying to stir up the crowd and poke fun at Cena and Nikki. Maryse got her slap in on Cena and Nikki got her slap in on The Miz which definitely made the match a little more laughable. The best came at the end when both Nikki and Cena hit the “Five Knuckle Shuffle” in unison and then hit their opponent respectively with their finishers giving the iconic couple a win at WrestleMania. At the end while Nikki was celebrating, Cena went off screen and apparently grabbed the ring he would later use to propose to Nikki. It was a special moment and definitely a great Mania moment as the two finally engaged and walked out of the ring together. That alone helps the grade of the match.
Non-Sanctioned Match; Seth Rollins v. Triple H (Rollins Wins)
This rivalry had been brewing since really last summer with Rollins wanting revenge on Triple H and the chance to show that he never needed Triple H to make it in WWE. Both men came out in dramatic fashion with their entrances and put on a great match as both always seem to do. Triple H attacked the injured knee of Rollins and continued putting pressure on it, which lead to speculation that Rollins would eventually give out and lose. With one final effort, Rollins forced H to the ropes where he almost hit his wife Stephanie, only to turn around and get forced by Rollins back to the ropes where he did indeed knock Stephanie off of the ring and through a table. H angrily turned for revenge on Rollins only to get hit by the “Pedigree” giving Rollins the win and sending Stephanie to the disabled list.
WWE Championship Match; Randy Orton v. Bray Wyatt (Orton Wins)
For starters, I was really looking forward to this match only to be let down in the end. Orton is a veteran and has been through the ringer (no pun intended) in his illustrious WWE career, but he seemed out of sync in this match with Wyatt. Wyatt played mind games with Orton having videos of maggots and worms shown on the ring as if that was going to stop the Viper. As I said, this match wasn’t what I had expected as nothing really exciting took place, I mean, even the RKO that won Orton the match looked dull. I’m more surprised WWE chose to take the belt away from Wyatt so quickly, but this absolutely will bridge for a rematch at Payback at the end of the month.
SmackDown Women’s Match; Alexa Bliss v. Naomi v. Natalya v. Mickie James v. Carmella v. Becky Lynch: (Naomi Wins)
Much like Raw’s women division, SmackDown has done a wonderful job highlighting women’s wrestling and the talent that they have. Alexa came into the match as champ while almost everyone predicted her to lose to someone. The match wasn’t a long one which hurts the grade as all the competitors really wowed the crowd. In her hometown of Orlando, Florida, it was Naomi who picked up her first ever championship to start the Glowing Era on SmackDown’s women’s division.
Universal Championship Match; Brock Lesnar v. Goldberg (Lesnar Wins)
There was little reason to have any excitement for this match, as the last three times the gentleman have faced off, it lasted for less than 5 minutes. It got to the point where Goldberg even faced boos as he walked down the ramp to the ring and Lesnar was the one being cheered. Alas, the match actually lasted about 5 minutes with Goldberg delivering several spears, and Lesnar landing 10 German Suplexes on Goldberg and two F5s. At least this match had some excitement given the recent history of the two in the ring as it was Lesnar who knocked off Goldberg to recapture the Raw title, sending Goldberg into wrestling purgatory while Brock and Paul Heyman called out Roman Reigns on Raw on Monday.
Roman Reigns v. The Undertaker (Reigns Wins)
No matter how many times I watch it, no matter how many times we say it’s the inevitable end, I still got goosebumps when the Undertaker made his WrestleMania entrance. The problem here is, that this probably was Taker’s last match in WWE and he went out to someone that is not very over with the WWE Universe. This match did have some excitement and luster to it with it taking every bit of effort from Reigns to take down the Deadman. With 5 spears and roughly 6 Superman punches in him, the Undertaker fell to Reigns and ended his WrestleMania career at 23-2. The Deadman then took off his gloves, hat and coat leaving it in the center of the ring which absolutely signals the end of an iconic era. Taker walked out for the last time at WrestleMania and unfortunately fell to one of the most despised characters in the company right now.
Overall, this was a very good WrestleMania. It just goes to show that lowering expectations can eventually lead to a pleasant surprise. Of course, Monday Night Raw saw the new General Manager Kurt Angle take stage, the Revival debut and the return of the Demon Finn Balor. There is sure to be more surprise and excitement on tonight’s SmackDown so tune in at 8 on the USA Network.
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