We are less than 24 hours away from the show of shows, Wrestlemania 31. I’ve been starting to get the Wrestlemania bug (finally!) and thought I’d do a two part blog comparing this year’s Wrestlemania to last years. Many feel that this year’s Wrestlemania doesn’t feel as special as last year’s did. To be fair, I felt the same too. But maybe we were all hyped up because of Daniel Bryan’s win that we neglected the rest of the card in the process. So in this first part, I’ll look at each match & give my initial thoughts before it happened & my post thoughts after it happened.
The Usos vs. The Real Americans vs. Rybaxel vs. Los Matadores for the WWE Tag Team Championships
Initial thoughts: This match is a clear thrown together match to get people on the card. I don’t see why they would take talented teams & put them in a nothing match on the pre-show. I didn’t care about this match but it should be good regardless.
After thoughts: A good match but it really served no purpose other than to get good spots in. I really wanted The Real Americans to win but that would be rectified later on.
Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H (winner moves on to the main event)
Initial thoughts: This was the match really sold me on the PPV. It’s the culmination of the 9 month long feud between Daniel Bryan & The Authority. Both guys know how to put on classic matches so there’s no doubt they will deliver.
After thoughts: Triple H is the master of in-ring philology. He just knows what works & what gets the crowd going. Perfect match that sent Daniel Bryan soaring to the top. No complaints. Just Greatness.
The Shield vs. Kane & The New Age Outlaws
Initial thoughts: This match should be a good showcase for the Shield. The New Age Outlaws have shown that they can still go & can put over younger talent. Kane, while still a bit stale in the character department, can still put on good matches when he needs to. The Shield should get a good rub from these three men.
After thoughts: Very underwhelming match. It made The Shield look strong but really left me wanting much more from them. Considering that they’ve put on clinic in past PPVs, this should have gone on much longer than it did. Very disappointing & left a lot to be desired.
The First Annual Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Initial thoughts: I’m not a big fan of battle royals (Royal Rumble being the exception). They always seem to go the same way. A bunch of jobbers mixed in with 4 or 5 legitimate winners. But this is the first one so it should be interesting how they play this out.
After thoughts: A nice match with a well deserved winner. They tried to make it more like the Royal Rumble than anything (Especially with the Kofi spot) but it worked. Cesaro mimicking Hogan lifting Andre was the perfect ending & it really set the tone of what this match symbolized.
Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena
Initial thoughts: I didn’t really know what to expect with this match. You have a fresh up an comer who has less than a year on the main roster taking on the number 1 guy in the company in John Cena. On the one hand you could make Bray Wyatt a big deal by having him go over on Cena. But on the other hand, it’s John Cena & there’s no way he’s going to lose at Wrestlemania to newbie.
After thoughts: What else was there to expect? They put on a decent match but of course Cena went over because “LOL CENA WINS”. They told a good story but it should have ended differently. Nothing was gained from this match but I guess nothing was lost either.
Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker
Initial thoughts: This is a big match. The one thing you have to give Undertaker matches is that they always feel like a big deal regardless of who it’s with. Lesnar is coming off a host streak taking out HHH & CM Punk. You can clearly tell Lesnar is a corner stone of the WWE & they want him to stay that way.
After thoughts: There’s two things that I left this match thinking. 1) That was a very sloppy match. Undertaker is known for quality & that was anything but. 2) The pure shock value is what saved the match from being just “meh”. Had Undertaker won, this match would not be as memorable as it is.
Vickie Guerrero’s Invotational Match for the WWE Divas Championship
Initial thoughts: Another thrown together match with the divas. Nothing really to expect from this one. A bunch of spots all done within a few minutes.
After thoughts: Exactly what I expected. It’s a shame that the divas don’t get the time they deserve. People have been conditioned to not like divas matches & that’s not their fault. It also didn’t help that they had to follow the streak being broken & a completely drained crowd. But it did what it was supposed to do & cooled down for the main event.
Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Batista for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Initial thoughts: For me, this match was WWE rectifying their wrong. Bryan has been the hottest guy on the roster since his Summer Slam match with Cena. They drew out the storyline for months & just dropped it without any reference to it. It was going to be Batista vs. Randy Orton & that match would have most likely been the worst Wrestlemania Main event in recent history. Bryan being added to the match brings a new level of excitement to the match that just wasn’t there prior.
After thoughts: The pefect ending to a not so perfect storyline. In my eyes, everyone won. Bryan got his Wrestlemania moment, the fans got their guy to the top to win the big one, WWE made good money & was pardoned by the fans who were ready to give up. A great contest with great spots. The stretcher call back was a nice addition & it was a great visul seeing Bryan leading a YES chant in from of 75,000 was a sight to see.
Overall thoughts: While I was excited for this Wrestlemania because of the prospect of Daniel Bryan finally getting his due, this PPV was clearly a two match show with them being both Bryan matches. It’s not a surprise really when you look at it. There really was nothing to get excited about except maybe Taker & Lesnar. I think fans may have over estimated how good this PPV was going to be. I do enjoy Wrestlemanias for the sheer spectacle of it all, but if you take Daniel Bryan out of the equation, you’re left with a lackluster PPV. All in all, it was not as great as everyone thought/made it out to be.
Join me next week as give my initial & after thoughts of Wrestlemania 31 to see how it stacks up to last year.
– Jeremy G.