PWP’s Derron Browning is back and he’s here to review WrestleMania 31!
I’m BACK!!!! Derron Browning here to give you the Browning Review as I review the biggest show of the year, WrestleMania. WrestleMania 31 emanated from Levi’s Stadium at Santa Clara, CA. There were seven matches on the card, but two on the pre-show. I normally don’t cover the pre-show but since it’s WrestleMania why not!
Match #1 -Tyson Kidd & Cesaro def. The Usos, The New Day and Los Matadores to retain the WWE Tag Team Championships in a very good, fun and chaotic opening match. I wasn’t expecting much from this match as it was part of the pre-show but I’m glad this delivered! Jey Uso got injured early but it didn’t take away from this match. Everyone did their thing here as they all got involved, even Naomi, El Torito and Nattie Neidhart.
The finish would be Jimmy Uso hitting the splash on Big E., only for Cesaro to steal the victory away in heel fashion to retain! This match goes to show that if given the time and focus, the tag division can be good. The WWE Tag Team Championship match gets a solid B!
Match #2 – Big Show wins the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal after last eliminating Damien Mizdow in a good battle royal. Wasn’t really interesting until it’s closing moments when Mizdow turn on Miz and toss him out. Mizdow would come so close to eliminating Big Show but alas, it didn’t happen. Show tosses him out and the runner-up to last year’s Battle Royal won this year’s. At least it makes sense. I will play the role of “Devil’s Advocate” here.
Granted, not many people are Big Show fans but think of all the terrible angles he’s had to put up with through the years. Think of all the losses he’s had at WrestleMania. Aside from a forgettable Intercontinental Championship run in 2012, he’s never really had that WrestleMania moment and he got it here. I wanted Mizdow to win too but with this win, Big Show is going to win a title anytime soon. C+
Match #3 – We start off WrestleMania officially with Daniel Bryan winning the Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match. With Money in the Bank and TLC having PPV’s dedicated to them, the ladder match concept as a whole has been greatly watered down, in my opinion.
Watchable match but nothing too special out of this other than the guy we wanted in the main event winning a consolation prize. B-
Match #4 – Randy Orton def. Seth Rollins with a Curbstomp countered into an RKO in a solid, back-and-forth grudge match.
Even J & J security got their “Just desserts” with a RKO as well. I haven’t much to say other than WrestleMania is off to a good start. B+
Match #5 – Triple H def. Sting in a great match that reeked of nostalgia Before I talk about the match even further, I want to say is the entrances were amazing. The brawl between DX and nWo mid-match was a pleasant surprise. I say if the match didn’t have those two elements, this match would have been okay but that made it enjoyable. Sting and Triple H was truly a spectable that I wish I was there live for.
However, in the end “The Game” would win by hitting Sting with a Sledgehammer while Sting attempted a Stinger Splash. After the match, Triple H and Sting would shake hands to the crowd’s delight. I have to say during that whole match, I didn’t want to be the “jaded, analytical smart fan” here. I was a fan again as I enjoyed this match from beginning to end as I wasn’t expecting an in-ring classic in the first place. This match gets an A, but the wrong guy won.
After that, Maria Menounos is interviewing Daniel Bryan and is interrupted by many former Intercontinental Champions, congratulating him on his victory. Then, we get a surprise cameo from Ron Simmons who says his famous catchphrase. Then, the legends, Menounos and Bryan celebrate some more. Another nice Mania moment for Daniel Bryan.
Match #6 – AJ Lee and Paige def. The Bella Twins in a decent match. Stopped the stopwatch at 6:30. AJ makes Nikki Bella tap with the Black Widow.
This match was nothing special. Glad the ladies got some time though. C
After this, the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2015 is honored and it’s always a feel good moment.
Match #7 – John Cena def. Rusev to become the United States Champion in a very solid match by pinning him with the Attitude Adjustment. However, I just think that these two’s first encounter should have been at WrestleMania not Fastlane. Their Fastlane match in my opinion, was slightly better.
After the match, Rusev yells at Lana and deserts his comrade as Cena celebrates. If I were to do some fantasy booking here I would have Cena and Bryan hold their respective titles until SummerSlam. Mind you, Cena never beat Daniel Bryan and can use that as an excuse to face him once again and to unify the two mid-card titles. Now, both men don’t need the championships but the championships need them and those titles need the prestige that it once had but I digress. I give this match a B+
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon comes out to say the fans set a new attendance record at Levi’s Stadium then gloat about the win over Sting and cut a heel promo. The Rock interrupts them and he and The Authority trade barbs which comes down to Stephanie McMahon slapping Rock.
Rock calls in UFC Bantamweight Champion, Ronda Rousey. After more verbal barbs being traded, it gets physical between the four with The Rock and Ronda Rousey standing tall. To be honest, they were filling up time and also they teased The Rock vs. Triple H for WrestleMania 32. I’m sure with that segment, WWE is going to have all the media outlets talking, which is always a good thing.
Match #8 – The Undertaker def. Bray Wyatt in a solid outing, between two dark characters that are masters of mind games. Expecting Taker and Wyatt to be a classic is too much given Taker’s age. Bray put on a good match against the Legend but after 2 Tombstone Piledrivers, that was it for Wyatt.
In my opinion, I think the Wyatt/Taker feud would have been better if The Wyatt Family never disbanded. I would love to see a Brothers of Destruction vs. Wyatt Family match but that’s just Fantasy Booking for me. In this match, Taker really showed his age and I’m strongly beginning to think that next year’s WrestleMania is his last. C+
The main event is NEXT!!!
Main Event – Seth Rollins def. Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns to become the WWE Champion in an amazing match. Like SummerSlam last year, Brock Lesnar would dominate the majority of the match, pummeling Reigns. Reigns would eventually fire up and would have Lesnar literally against the ropes.
Just when we think Reigns would defeat “The Beast”, Mr. “Money in the Bank” Seth Rollins would cash in his contract to make the match a Triple Threat match! HOLY CRAP! Rollins disposes both men with a Curb Stomp and pins Reigns to become the new champion. I give this an S GRADE!
Finally, a Money in the Bank cash-in at WrestleMania. Also, for the first time in 16 years, a heel leaving with the championship. This time, everyone likes it as opposed to hating it. Now, the question is since Rollins is “The man”, where will WWE go from here?
To be honest, I had little expectations going into this year’s show but WrestleMania was a good show overall as there wasn’t a bad match on the card. We saw a fair share of nostalgia with the nWo, DX, The Rock, Sting and The Undertaker. We also saw the future shine in Daniel Bryan winning the Intercontinental Championship, Cesaro and Tyson Kidd retaining their Tag Team Championship and Seth Rollins wining the WWE Championship.
Seth Rollins was the MVP of the show as he put on a great match with Randy Orton and lost but came out the winner in the end by winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Even Big Show winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and the Divas Tag match wasn’t bad. I give this show a B+ overall. Honestly, the best WrestleMania I’ve seen since 24. I would recommend watching this show and if you have watched it, watch it again.