Wrestlemania 31 took place on Sunday night in front of 76,976 people in the Levi’s stadium in San Francisco. It featured tanks, terminators and total non-stop action… oops, wrong brand! All things considered, it wasn’t a bad night’s entertainment.
1. Another Yes-tlemania
This year’s Wrestlemania started in the same way as last year’s ended, with Yes-man Daniel Bryan capturing a championship belt.
It had been speculated that Bryan’s career was over after a serious neck injury but after exchanging a series of headbutts with Dolph Ziggler in this 7-man ladder match, he not only proved his neck was in tip-top shape, but he felled Ziggler to claim the Intercontinental belt.
2. Big Show gets big win
Prior to that, in the underbill, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro retained their tag team titles and Big Show won his first ever battle royal as a WWE superstar. He took the Andre The Giant Memorial title after defeating the only other man standing, Sandow, who had earlier in the match severed ties with Miz by chucking him over the top rope. If you’re going to fall out with someone, it’s best to do it in style!
3. Orton hits his best RKO ever
Another superstar coming back from injury, Randy Orton, somehow got the win over Seth Rollins, who had dominated the match from start to finish. When Rollins went for his second Curb Stomp of the match, Orton rose from the dead to deliver a stunning RKO and take the 3 count.
4. Veterans answer the call for Sting vs Triple H
Sting made a memorable entrance with his trademark facepaint going a long way to hiding the fact he turned 56 this month, but it paled in comparison to Triple H’s, who made a Terminator-inspired journey to the ring, complete with well wishes from Arnie himself
In the match itself Sting and Triple H didn’t exactly roll back the clock, but the WWE booking agents did, wheeling out vintage wrestler after vintage wrestler in a bid to breath life into the tired battle. First DX came to Triple H’s aid, then NWO, including Hulk Hogan, came out in support of Sting. To top it off Mr Wrestlemania Shawn Michaels showed up and delivered Sweet Chin Music on Sting. Eventually the former WCW and TNA star was pinned after being felled by a sledgehammer, which wasn’t the only inanimate object in the ring.
The match finished with an embarrassing sight. A ring-ful of out-of-puff old men staring each other out, before shaking and making up so they didn’t have to exert themselves any more.
5. Enough with the cameos
Cringeworthy cameos were to follow from Roddy Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat, Rick Flair, Bret Hart and Ron Simmons who showed up to muscle in on Daniel Bryant’s Intercontinental win.
6. Divas do their best
In the WWE Divas tag match Paige and AJ Lee overcame The Bellas. It was a full blooded contest, but won’t last long in the memory.
I can’t quite put my finger on why the divas don’t do it for me. It should be a match made in heaven, all the thrills and spills of wrestling, but celebrated in the glamour of the perfect female form. Sadly, after viewing the dazzling entrances of the divas, I’d lost interest. A dubious choice of words, but you get the point.
7. Cena ‘tanks’ Rusev
When United States champ Rusev came into the ring in a tank, they should have awarded him the match then and there.
John Cena arrived, not in a tank, but on a wave of sickening patriotism. The match between the Russian bad guy and the All American hero promised much, but failed to deliver as a spectacle with Cena condemning Rusev to his first defeat and winning the title in the process. They should have saved the tank to last.
8. The Rock owns The Authority
The arrival of The Rock created a genuine buzz in the arena. With the Authority blowing hot air, he arrived in the ring to take them down a peg or two.
When challenged by Stephanie McMahon whether he would hit a woman, The Rock proved himself to be a perfect gentleman by pulling UFC fighter Rhona Rousey out of the crowd to do the job for him.
Just in case there’s any doubt, The Rock, who’s always good for a soundbite, declared it “the biggest Wrestlemania moment of the night”.
9. Dead man rises one last time
The Undertaker hadn’t wrestled since losing his unbeaten streak at last year’s Wrestlemania to Brock Lesnar. Most probably thought they’d seen the end of him.
The prospect of him wrestling one of WWE’s hottest properties, Bray Wyatt, was mouthwatering, but given the events of earlier veteran performances in the evening it could have fallen flat.
Thankfully, The Undertaker put everything he had into what is sure to be his last outing and Bray Wyatt showed why he’s the most likely to take over The Undertaker’s torch.
First Daniel Bryant, then Randy Orton, then The Undertaker proved that match fitness isn’t important when it comes to Wrestlemania.
10. A new reign begins
Roman Reigns has been fairly unlucky in rising to the top at a time when a large number of fans are refusing to back the good guys. It stems from the fall out with CM Punk, the result of which is that ‘heels’ like champion Brock Lesnar and Rusev and being favoured at the expense of Reigns and John Cena.
Anyhow, politics aside, the championship match was a proper spectacle. Lesnar beat Reigns senseless, pounding him with suplex after suplex, but the newcomer of the year refused to quit. In terms of soaking up punishment it was like watching Bret Hart or Rey Mysterio, though obviously without the technical wrestling ability.
And then came the comeback. Reigns should have had Lesnar pinned and Lesnar had another chance to win, but with both men lying prone in the ring came the big twist.
Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase and did what was necessary to pin Reigns and take the title.
It mightn’t have been the ended everyone wanted, but it was a helluva way to end the night.
— Seth Rollins (@WWERollins) March 30, 2015