The build up to WrestleMania 31 has not been all that impressive. It has left many in the WWE Universe feeling underwhelmed heading into the biggest wrestling show of the year. There has been controversy surrounding this year's WrestleMania due to Roman Reigns being in the main-event. Much of the WWE Universe feel like there are superstars on the WWE roster that deserve that opportunity more than Reigns. The future of Roman Reigns just may actually come down to his performance tonight. Over the past few weeks he has failed to get the crowd on his side and that isn't necessarily his own fault. Almost every match on this year's WrestleMania's card has had a poor build up.
It has been a full calendar year since the WWE Universe has seen The Undertaker. At last year's WrestleMania, he looked slow in the ring, but that may have been due to an injury sustained during his match against Brock Lesnar. That being said, whenever The Undertaker walks down the ramp at WrestleMania, it reminds all the fans why they love wrestling. The question is, will The Undertaker be able to deliver a quality match against Bray Wyatt this evening?
Sting and Triple H has had the best build up so far, but it remains to be seen if the two can have a quality wrestling match in the ring. Will John Cena get his revenge on Rusev and capture the U.S. Title, or will Rusev retain and celebrate with Lana under a gigantic Russian flag? Who will leave Wrestle<ania as the Intercontinental Champion? Will everyone be chanting "Yes!" as Daniel Bryan celebrates with the title on top of the ladder or will there be a surprise victor? Will Randy Orton beat up Seth Rollins once again or will Rollins get the upper-hand and walk out of WrestleMania with his head held high? Even though the build to this year's WrestleMania has been lackluster, there is always the possibility that the event could be spectacular.
*Spoilers Follow Below!
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15 The Stage and Setting
It is interesting to note that the WWE is no longer showing which WrestleMania this actually is. Normally, the number 31 would be present somewhere in the presentation, usually in roman numerals. This year it is simply a play button and the logo for next year's WrestleMania has also been revealed and it is a star, simply because it is in Texas. Could this be the beginning of a new trend where they have new logos every year that don't include the numerical values? I guess we had to expect this when they got into larger numbers that don't look cool with roman numerals.
14 The Kickoff Show
The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal went on quite early in the pre-show and I'm betting that many people missed it completely. In the beginning of the match, The Miz and Mizdow were working together. The battle royal featured several NXT superstars which was awesome to see. One of the highlights of the match included The Ascension eliminating Mark Henry, quickly followed by Ryback eliminating both members of The Ascension at once. The final three had The Miz, Mizdow and Big Show alone in the ring. Finally, Damien Mizdow turned on the Miz and tossed him over the ropes, leaving just Big Show left. Big Show winded up winning the battle royal, which makes sense because he is the closest thing to Andre the Giant in WWE today. The fatal four way match for the Tag Team titles also took place during the pre-show. It was a quick but solid way to open the night. Like everyone expected, Cesaro and Tyson kid retained their titles.
13 The Ladder Match
The Intercontinental Championship ladder match was the first match of the night. It started off fast and furious and remained that way throughout the entire match. There were some incredible spots in this match, including Wade Barrett superplexing Stardust off of the top of the ladder. Luke Harper had a very impressive showing in this match, as did every other superstar involved. Each superstar had an opportunity to shine and they all did. It was an awesome finish to the match as well, with Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler trading head-butts on top of the ladder. Daniel Bryan won the match and 70,000 people chanted "Yes!" as he celebrated with the belt. If the WWE wants to return the importance to the Intercontinental Title, they are off to a good start.
12 Orton vs Rollins
This match didn't have the best build up and many felt that the payoff to the feud was already given away when Randy Orton dismantled Seth Rollins on Raw a couple of weeks ago. This was a solid match and for the most part the crowd was into it. The finish to this match featured one of the best RKO's you will ever see. Rollins went for the curb stomp, and Orton reversed it into one of the coolest looking RKO's I've ever seen. This match was entertaining throughout and was the kind of match that deserved plenty of praise.
11 Sting vs Triple H
After the entrances of both superstars, the crowd was visibly hyped. This has been one of the better feuds going into WrestleMania, but I was just worried that the matchup wouldn't be able deliver. The match started out fast and then slowed down naturally. It picked back up again when Degeneration-X came out to interfere with the match. Sting launched himself off the top rope and took out Degeneration X, which is something I didn't think Sting was capable of doing anymore. The nWo also made an appearance and attacked Degeneration-X. Shawn Michaels even showed up. This match was completely bonkers, yet incredibly entertaining. Triple H winds up getting the victory in one of the weirdest matches I've ever seen.
10 AJ & Paige vs The Bella Twins
Many felt that AJ & Paige would turn on each other at WrestleMania, as the WWE had been hinting at that for the past couple of weeks. Turns out that wasn't the case at all, as AJ & Paige went on to defeat the Bella Twins. This wasn't the greatest Divas match of all time, but it was a solid match. The WWE gave the Divas enough time to tell a story in the ring and actually allowed them to perform a match. It was a little strange that the Divas title wasn't defended at WrestleMania, but this match was still solid. Hopefully, the WWE continues to give Divas the time they need in the ring to present a good match.
9 John Cena vs Rusev
Cena did not get a great response in this one. In fact, he was almost booed out of the building. To be honest, I didn't see that one coming. Rusev and John Cena had a good match at WWE Fastlane, yet this match didn't seem to work as well. It may have just been the negative crowd reaction, but it just wasn't as entertaining as I thought it would be. Rusev winded up running into Lana by accident and it led to his demise, in a boring ending that we've seen a million times.
8 Where Does Rusev Go From Here?
Going into WrestleMania 31, Rusev was undefeated. Much like when Lesnar defeated The Undertaker last year, I don't understand the point of him losing to a guy like Cena. In the end, it looks like Lesnar won against Taker so that he could be transformed into an unbeatable beast, but it's hard to see how this really changes anything for John Cena. I was really hoping that Rusev would win this match simply because I found that the WWE has done a poor job of building new stars. Rusev has the potential to be a terrific heel for the foreseeable future, but I think that potential took a big step back tonight at WrestleMania.
7 The Authority Gets Rocked by Ronda
As always, Stephanie McMahon cut an awesome promo here. This time, she made reference to the WWE setting another attendance record at WrestleMania, with that number being 76,976 people. However, she doesn't attribute the success of the WWE and WrestleMania to the superstars in the back, but rather to herself. Triple H then stated that he owned everyone in the audience and all of those watching on the WWE Network. Thankfully, The Rock showed up and shut them up. He then got some help from Ronda Rousey. She's always been a fan of the WWE and looked incredibly comfortable in the ring. Could a Lesnar-like run in the WWE be in the cards?
6 Bray Wyatt vs The Undertaker
There were a lot of reports that Bray Wyatt injured his ankle earlier in the night. I figured that this would be a short match because of the Wyatt injury and The Undertaker not wrestling for a year. The crowd was into this match and rightfully so, even though the build up was poor, but seeing The Undertaker at WrestleMania is always special. In fact, Yhe Undertaker looked a lot better in the ring this year as compares to last year. The Undertaker got the win in a match that was much better than I thought it would be. If Wyatt was injured, that was a great performance by him given the circumstances.
5 Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns
You knew this would be a quick match, given that it didn't start until there was only twenty minutes left in the show. Roman Reigns got a pretty negative reaction when he came out, but Brock Lesnar was loudly cheered. The build to this WWE Championship match was not good at all. I know there are plenty of Roman Reigns fans out there but the fact is that he is not widely accepted by the WWE Universe. Less than a minute into the match, Lesnar hit Reigns with an F-5. Lesnar controlled most of this match but Roman Reigns kept fighting back. Roman Reigns kicked out of two F-5s and taunted Lesnar as he did it. Lesnar subsequently kicked out everything Reigns had to offer. Seth Rollins came out of nowhere and cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase turning it into a triple threat match. Rollins hit a curb stomp on Roman Reigns and won the championship. It was an incredible turn of events and the announcers proclaimed it as "the heist of the century."
4 Best Entrances
Both Sting and Triple H had awesome entrances, but I thought Triple H had one of the best ones of the night. It was obviously part of an advertisement for the new Terminator film, but it was awesome to watch. Rusev had a terrific entrance with Lana being accompanied by marching Russian soldiers down to the ring. Awesomely, Rusev arrived on a tank and stood on top of it waving the Russian flag. However, the best entrance of the night was clearly The Undertaker. Anytime The Undertaker appears, he is going to have the best entrance.
3 Best Matches
I was really entertained by the Sting vs Triple H match, but then again that was just because of the ridiculousness of it. It wasn't necessarily a good match, it was just an insane smattering of cameos from your favorite wrestlers of a decade ago. The best match of the night was the one that kicked off the show. The Intercontinental Championship ladder match was the most exciting match of the night. It had the best moments of the night and allowed all of the superstars in the match to have their moment. There were no absolutely terrible matches that took place, which is rare. Usually there is a terrible match on the card, however everyone performed well at this year's WrestleMania.
2 Bringing Titles Back to Relevancy
Daniel Bryan won the Intercontinental Title to start off WrestleMania. Later in the night, Bret Hart, Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, Ricky 'the Dragon' Steamboat and Pat Patterson all joined Daniel Bryan for a "Yes!" chant. They all proclaimed him to be a great representation of the Intercontinental Championship. However, their celebration was short lived as Ron Simmons interrupted them with his patented "Damn!" This was an important segment because it is clear that the WWE is trying to revive the Intercontinental Championship. I understand being disappointed that Daniel Bryan is not in the WWE Championship picture, but having legends that have held the IC belt praise Daniel Bryan was important. It showed that the WWE is trying to rebuild those titles. Cena winning the United States Championship also proves that.
1 It Could Have Been Worse
With the lackluster build to this year's WrestleMania, I had my worries about this show. I felt that for the most part the WWE had made every wrong decision possible. I thought Daniel Bryan should have been in the main-event and I thought that almost every match on the card was poorly built and had little significance. Monday Night Raw went off air last week with Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns having a tug of war for the WWE title. It was embarrassing and made me even less excited for this year's WrestleMania. However, the show was not as bad as I thought it would be. Overall, it was a solid WrestleMania. There was nothing special about it, but even more importantly there was nothing horrible about it. It wasn't the best WrestleMania of all time, but it wasn't the worst. Seth Rollins left WrestleMania 31 as the WWE Champion and the world rejoiced because Roman Reigns didn't win.
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