WrestleMania 35 Review

Updated 5:19 PM 4/8/19: Corrected rating on Smackdown tag match

Right now, it is about 3:20 PM Eastern time on Monday. I started up the pre-show at 8 AM. 8 AM! Granted, the show itself ended about 20 minutes ago, but that’s after skipping pretty much everything on the pre-show that wasn’t an actual match. I knew this would take forever going in, but yeesh. As a reaction to the fact that this was Too Much Wrestling, most of my write-ups for the matches here will be shorter. We’ve all spent enough time on this shit already.

Tony Nese vs. Buddy Murphy (c) – WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match: Poor cruiserweights. They get no damn respect on the main roster. When was the last time the got to have their match on the main show of any PPV? It seems like it happened sort of recently, but I honestly can’t remember. This was, yet again, a damn good match that got kicked to the pre-show so Shane McMahon can suck. ***1/2

Women’s Battle Royal: Hey look, a decent battle royal, one with multiple story threads going through it and everything! This was totally acceptable, and, I suppose, not the worst way to get everyone involved on the card. And hey look, Ember Moon is back! Except poor Asuka, who as we know got jobbed out to cokehead senility. And then got shunted to this match and still lost. It’s become my expectation that when Asuka has a match on PPV, I’m gonna be all kinds of mad at the end. **3/4

Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder vs. The Revival (c) – Raw Men’s Tag Team Championship Match: Speaking of the terminally misused and perpetually stuck on the pre-show. There was absolutely nothing wrong with this match, but I found it real dang hard not to be incredibly cynical about this while I was watching it. The finish was a foregone conclusion, and good on the crowd for being into the story of it more than I was, I guess. The Revival are very good and total pros, and maybe some day they’ll go somewhere they’re appreciated. And even if they don’t, I hope that all of their paychecks clear. **

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal: I was in no way hopeful that this match, and particularly Colin Jost and Michael Che’s involvement, would be not embarrassing. I was still disappointed, somehow. Unlike the Women’s Battle Royal, this has almost no other story to it, meaning it was mostly just a bunch of dudes standing around and fake punching each other until it was over. I would almost go so far as to call this an insult to the paying customer, but I don’t know how it’s possible to have expected something decent. ¼*

And now, a note on the opening segment. Did I not call this exact bullshit? Fuck Hulk Hogan.

Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar (c) – Raw Men’s Championship Match: This was a cut scene, not a match. As such, I will not assign it any snowflakes. I will, however, state that it was a super fun cut scene, and I could use a supercut (or maybe just a single large .gif) of Brock Lesnar getting whacked in the beans repeatedly. Furthermore, I cannot be more happy with the decision to put this on first. Having the Lesnar quasi-match at the end of Mania last year was a horrific anti-climax. (Side question: so is Lesnar done with wrestling for real this time?)

AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton: Randy Orton has been the exact same dude for over a decade now. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since he has mastered the ins and outs of the WWE “good, but not too good” style. This means that when he is so inclined, his matches are not just a series of headlocks, but rather, a series of headlocks that are being fought over and contested. But seriously, this was very, very good (albeit basic) match, with very fundamentally sound psychology and solid in-ring storytelling. That’s about all I can ask from that guy. ***3/4

The Bar vs. Aleister Black & Ricochet vs. Nakamura & Rusev vs. The Usos (c) – Smackdown Men’s Tag Team Championship Match: Holy crap! I thought for the world that this would be the sort of match that could be good, but then it only gets like 8 minutes, and everyone just tries to get their spots in as inoffensively as possible. I didn’t bust the stopwatch out or anything, but this got more than enough time for everyone to actually shine. It didn’t kick it quite far enough into gear to qualify as one of the all-time great sprints, but few surprises on this bloated show were as pleasant. ****

The Miz vs. Shane McMahon – Falls Count Anywhere: This is maybe an odd thing to say, but my main thought during this match was that it should’ve been more overbooked. They had the right idea at first, with Papa Miz interfering and getting wailed on, but then soon after they went into the crowd for some C- ass brawling. While Miz might be starting to find his footing on the mic as a face, I think his actual face wrestling needs polish. This could have been a total waste of time but wasn’t largely on the strength of a few huge bumps. Also, I saw the ‘twist’ ending coming several miles away, and I suspect most everyone else did, too. **

Women’s Tag: Ok, serious question. Why did the defending champs enter first in just about every title match? First it happened with Brock, and then again with the Usos, and then when Sasha and Bayley entered first it was clear this was on purpose. I don’t get it. I’m not like, mad or anything, but it strikes me as a thing that was done simply to be different, which I think is kinda dumb. Anyway, this matched sucked. It was disjointed as all hell – some stuff kind of happened, and then it was over. The finish was clever and pleased me, but I wouldn’t call it good, exactly. *1/4

Kofi Kingston vs. Daniel Bryan (c) – Smackdown Men’s Championship Match: Now this match! This match was the absolute real shit. Fantastic mat work and psychology from start to finish. Everything that happened in the match happened for a reason. The ramp up in the later stages was impeccable. The finsih and post-match were outstanding, and gave me the actual goddamn feels. It made me, a grown-ass man who knows this shit is fake, choke up on my couch, because grown-ass men know it’s OK to choke up when this many feels are happening. I acknowledge that this match might not have been perfect from a purist, workrate perspective. I also acknowledge that after it was over, I didn’t care about what the purists had to say all that much. *****

Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe (c) – US Championship Match: So uhm…the hell was the point of that? Hulk Hogan’s racist ass gets a segment and this match, which could have been ok, goes less than a minute? I guess Rey is still hurt, huh? No rating for squashes.

Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre: This match was, in some ways, the platonic ideal of what a WEE style match, and has been historically. Two big guys slowly go at it. The heel takes control, the face mounts one or two almost comebacks before making the actual comeback, hitting his/her finish, and then that’s it. That’s all that this match was. It wasn’t offensive, but it wasn’t special either, and it would have fit in nicely on any given episode of Raw. **1/4

Re: The Elias/John Cena segment. I got a good chuckle out of this, sure, but goddammit, why did a seven hour, 16 match show need skits?

Batista vs. Triple H – No Hold Barred Match: This year’s ridiculous Triple H entrance gets a B-. I was actually kind of into this match, as slow and plodding as it was at times. Hey, both of these guys are pretty damn old, so it’s not like this match was ever going to be all that good. Some of the spots were pretty dang gnarly. This match could’ve been way, way worse is all I’m trying to say here. As with Miz vs. Shane, I think it could have used some extra shenanigans, to better hide both guys limitations. I’m gonna give my rating now, and in doing so I acknowledge that this rating is on a curve relative to the Senior Circuit. ***

Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin: Here again is another match that was just about as good as could be expected and no more. I do hope for Kurt Angle’s sake that he actually stays retired. Wrestlers tend to have a problem with that. This also had the right guy winning, which I did not expect. *1/2

Demon Finn Balor vs. Bobby Lashley (c) – Intercontinental Championship Match: I think the pacing of this year’s entirely too goddamn long show was better than the pacing of last year’s entirely too goddamn long show, but that said, it sure felt to me like all the good mid card matches were in the first half, and then most everything between Kofi vs. Bryan and the main event was there to kill time and ensure that the crowd didn’t get too excited about anything. That’s probably not fair to anyone though, since, well…this show was too damn long. There’s no way whatsoever to hold a crowd’s interest for seven hours, and we all knew Balor’s entrance would be the most interesting part of this match, anyway. *3/4

Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Ronda Rousey (also c) – Winner Take All Women’s Championship Match: I cannot praise last night’s crowd enough. They were great all night given the circumstances, and they tried so hard to work up actual energy for this match, and they almost succeeded. I’m also proud of all three wrestlers in this match for the way it was put together. The flow of the match was clever as heck. It still did the normal triple threat thing of one person gets tossed so the other two can pair off, but this was done in way that was less distracting than usual. Here, I feel compelled to address the finish, which the internet tells me was just a botch. My asshole tightened significantly at the time, since I was worried they did an actual, honest-to-God Dusty finish (For the uninitiated, a Dusty finish refers to a match where the face appears to have won, but their victory is overturned on a technicality, either immediately or a day or two later. This is basically always a terrible idea) for a minute or two there. Apparently it was just a straight up botch, though. I wouldn’t have been nuts about this finish even if it had gone to plan, though. Still, make no mistake, this match was damn good, and worth celebrating. ***3/4

WrestleMania 35 was too goddamn long, sure, but it still contained many a highlight, and the booking was generally satisfying. I recommend it as a whole, but do yourself a favor and either skip the lame stuff altogether, or break up your viewing into multiple sessions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s