As Roman Reigns made his way through a sea of humanity arguably the most hated guy on the card something struck me about Wrestlemania. The shear size of it. The congregation of pilgrims who come together for one night, for one show. For one moment. Many have said that the name Wrestlemania is more of a draw than any match on the card. I would whole heartedly agree. Wrestlemania is the Mecca for pro wrestling fans and it’s the one night where it’s seemingly okay to let go and buy in. To be entertained. It is truly special.
Wrestlemania 31 had no business being as good as it was. I wouldn’t say the show was perfect. Far from it. Questionable booking decisions popped up here and there and at times things dragged on longer than they should have but looking back on the show as a whole it was thoroughly entertaining.
Big Show had no business winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale. I think it would have been better served having Damien Sandow win it but considering how much good it did for Cersaro, I don’t think it ultimately matters at this point. If anything it was a nice nod to this generations Giant.
As we made our way through the card, each match delivered upon albeit low expectations. The ladder match was a fun way to kick off the show and while some competitors in this match deserved more, the match was fun. Rollins and Randy Orton had a great match with an incredible finish and the divas had a solid showing with what was a thoroughly entertaining tag team match. One which boasted some old school tag psychology and was much more than just a strip tease. It could have gone longer but the ladies should be proud about the match they put on last night.
HHH vs. Sting was probably the most baffling match on the card. The entrances didn’t really make sense. I didn’t make the connection between the percussionists and Sting. HHH being the Terminator was cheesy at best. Maybe cheesy is good, I don’t know. It just didn’t connect with me. Sting looked great in the ring for his age. Seeing him make his way down that aisle and step into the ring at Wrestlemania was a historic moment. One that will probably live longer than the match it self. I will admit straight up that I marked out hard for the involvement of DX and the NWO. Call me shallow, call me easy to please, I don’t care. I loved that element of the match. What didn’t really make sense was the handshake at the end. I don’t really care that Sting lost. History told us that he was going to lose. 99.9% (completely accurate statistic) of returning stars or legends lose their feuds. What meant more was the fact that he was there, that was what was ultimately special about that moment. No one really thinks of Hogan losing to the Rock. The memory that lives on is seeing Hogan walk down the aisle to face the rock. I think the same applies to Sting.
Stars were made this year despite some losing efforts. Rusev looked like a true main event competitor with his utterly amazing entrance and solid offence in the match. Rusev picked up a convincing win last month and we all knew Cena was going to win the rematch. Bray Wyatt’s match with the Undertaker was a little harder to predict for me. Undertaker looked so much better than last year and the match had some good spots. It was about as long as it needed to be. A favourite moment of mine was Bray doing his pose only to crumble into a heap of fear and disbelief as Undertaker sat up. I do think Bray needed the win after floundering last year but he still looked good coming out of the match with a loss.
And lastly the other star that was somewhat made was Roman Reigns. I think Roman looked great taking such a beating and not giving up. I was sold on him smiling but I liked the direction they wanted to go with that. There’s still a lot of work to do with Reigns. He’s still the guy that was saying he can and will and even had new merchandise made to fit that belief only to go and lose. He’s still not over with the fans and him taking the pin fall only served to knock his stock even more. WWE put him in an unfortunate position and their only real good out was to have Rollins cash in. I’ve enjoyed Lesnar’s reign but he’s just as much a draw without the title and it was time for a full time champion again. He’s an utter beast and i’m so happy he’s staying with the WWE. I’m happy that he’s no longer champion because it means we can get the utter carnage that Lesnar brings without him detracting from the show by having the World Title absent for long periods of time. Seth Rollins cashing in on the biggest stage in the biggest match was perfect for him and it allowed him to climb those final few rungs he needed to become a fully fledged star.
Every year the WWE holds Wrestlemania and every year millions of us gather round and watch. We’re amazing, sometimes disappointed but always engaged in the build up. Whether it’s negative or positive, this time of year always brings out the passion in us fans. This year was looking to be such a disappointment. WWE’s audacious and brash decision to continue to push Reigns into a position where he was going to be hurt no matter what was questionable. Brock Lesnar and Reigns did a lot of work to turn the tide and they may have succeeded in saving Reigns as a main event player.
It’s difficult not to get excited about the future of the company and the possible matches we may see as we look at the landscape of the WWE. Professional wrestling doesn’t have enough competition. We have some growing competition in NXT and Lucha Underground and even in Japan but currently there is only one dominant country in America and Europe. The WWE are in a position where their fans will believe despite all logic telling them not to get their hopes up. With a Wrestlemania that had no business being as good as it was it’ll be interesting to see where things go from here.
The smart money is to not get our hopes up but the child inside of me is once again excited. I simply cannot help it.
Maybe things will be different this year.