We are less than a week removed from Wrestlemania 31. It’s been a quite interesting to hear all the different opinions and viewpoints coming out of the show. If you listened to the past 2 shows (Which why wouldn’t you have) I have said that this Wrestlemania was really really good considering the buildup that lead up to it. But does this PPV really stack up to its predecessor Wrestlemania 30? (You can read part 1 here)
Let’s take a look at my initial & after thoughts of the show now that I have had time to reflect on what transpired that night.
Tyson Kidd & Cesaro vs. The New Day vs. The Usos vs. Los Matadores for the WWE Tag Team Championships
Initial thoughts: Like last year, there was really no fan fair going into this match. It was yet another thrown together match for the sake of having a match & getting the most people on the card as possible. I get that mentality but it’s Wrestlemania. Regardless of if it’s on the pre-show or the main show, you should have matches that matter.
After thoughts: Again, like last year, a good match that had no consequence. Glad to see Cesaro & Kidd retain as I feel they are better as champions than in the chase. These guys deserve it.
2nd Annual Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Initial thoughts: When they first announced that the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal was going to be a yearly tradition, I had hope that this would be a way to showcase the low tier talent that wouldn’t get a chance to be on the main card. I mean, performing in from of 75,000+ people on the grandest stage should motivate guys to want to move up. And with Hideo Itami winning the NXT tournament, this should be a good match.
After thoughts: What a waste of a match. Not only is there no memorable spots, but you give the win to Big Show? The last person who deserves a push by winning something like this? I get that they wanted to try & tie it to Andre because they are both giants but come on. There were plenty of other competitors that would have definitely benefited from this win like Damien Mizdow. At least they progressed the only storyline going into this match. I sincerely hope this is the last we see of this match at Wrestlemania.
Daniel Bryan vs. R-Truth vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Stardust vs. Luke Harper vs. Bad News Barrett in a Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship
Initial thoughts: When I first found out that Daniel Bryan was going to be demoted from the World Title picture to the IC Title picture, I was very disappointed. This is a guy who had gotten over on his own, puts on a great match every time he’s in the ring with whoever is in there with him, and you put him in a match for a title that hasn’t meant anything in years? And not just any match, a dangerous match that could potentially re-injure him. I wasn’t looking forward to it. But as time passed, I started thinking about the prospects of Bryan actually winning the tile & what it could mean for him & the title. Not only do you elevate the title by having a guy like Bryan hold it, but you are positioning Bryan as the number 2 guy behind the world champion. It should be a good match either way.
After thoughts: I’m glad I was right. Bryan was the only person who could have won the match that could make a difference to the title itself. I give props to Ambrose for taking that horrible bump off the ladder from that power bomb by Harper. I literally cringed when I saw it happened. Also props to Ziggler for hanging with Bryan & making it seem like either one of them could take that title down. Hopefully he stays in that mix for a while. All in all, good match. Could have been better but it was good nonetheless.
Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins
Initial thoughts: While you can say many things about Randy Orton, one this you can’t say is that he’s a bad wrestler. He has something about him that just stands out in the ring. SUre, it may be formulaic at times but he knows what to do to. Unlike Cena who doesn’t have that same feeling to his style. Seth Rollins is a maniac in the ring & just doesn’t stop. He’s really coming into his own & is starting to get the WWE style.
After thoughts: This match went exactly how I wanted it to go. Both Orton & Rollins put on a great match together & showed that they have a good chemistry together. That finish was probably the best RKO finish I’ve seen since the Air Borne finish years ago. This match had good physiology, good athleticism, good pacing, good wrestling, it was just a good match all around. This is the type of match they should show at the performance center to show how you wrestle a good WWE styled match.
Triple H vs. Sting
Initial thoughts: The mere idea of Sting wrestling in a WWE ring still gets to me. Ever since he first showed up at Survivor Series last year, it doesn’t feel real that Sting is finally in WWE after 14 years. This match should be a good showcase for Sting and a chance for newer fans who didn’t watch WCW or TNA to get to know who Sting is and see what he can do. Sure, he may be 57 but I’m confident that with Triple H making him look good, he’ll do great.
After thoughts: Not what I was expecting at all. I get that this is WWE & they’re the ones telling the story. But it reeks of Vince McMahon letting everyone know that WWE is better than WCW ever was. Even the commentary was pandering on the WWE side. But despite the finish, the match was still good. Sting still has it. I didn’t expect the run ins from DX & NWO but it added to the drama in a good way. The handshake at the end didn’t make sense considering the story they were telling in the buildup but it was nice. Was it overbooked? Sure. But the match itself was good and that’s all we asked for.
AJ Lee & Paige vs. The Bella Twins
Initial thoughts: As much as I love AJ & Paige, they should not be tagging together in a Wrestlemania match. I feel like every year the divas get treated like the pre-show matches in that they just throw together whoever & hope it’s good. AJ or Piage should be facing each other or facing the divas champion. It could be a good match but I’m not really expecting much.
After thoughts: I don’t know why this match happened. Wrestlemania should have matches that actually have same fallout to them. This match really didn’t have anything going for it & was over before I could even get into it. It’s really sad that the women STILL get treated this way despite the GiveDivasAChance movement that was supposedly happening.
John Cena vs. Rusev for the United States Championship
Initial thoughts: Rusev is the best example of an NXT call up. Since he debuted, he has been dominant in a way that we haven’t seen since Brock Lesnar. They have protected the hell out of Rusev & it has made him a bigger star. Iv’e said it before & I’ll say it again, I wasn’t a big fan of Rusev in the begining. But WWE turned me around on him & he’s one of my favorites on the roster. Cena has shown more character in this feud than he has in a while. Who knew he cared about the US title so much? Even if Cena were winning, the fact that in one year, Rusev went from NXT call up to headlining his first Wrestlemania with John Cena. It speaks volumes to how over he is.
After thoughts: Great match. As much as I dislike the idea of Cena being US Champion, it actually makes sense & I’m fine with it. Cena pulled out all the stops for this one & made Rusev looked good. I fully expect them to continue this feud into Extreme Rules which I wouldn’t mind. The patriotism in Cena may be a bit too much, especially for the audience overseas, but I liked this match.
Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker
Initial thoughts: Coming out of Wrestlemania last year, Undertaker had many doubters. Not because he lost to Lesnar, but because he just looked bad in the match. Looking out of shape, sloppy in the ring ust turned people off of him. So leading into this Wrestlemania, many were wondering what Taker was going to be like. Bray Wyatt didn’t exactly have the best year last year. Losing to Cena & having boring feuds with Jericho & Ambrose didn’t help him at all. But they did build him up at the start of 2015 & it has done him good. Wyatt is still one of the best talkers in WWE, even if his promos are nonsensical at times. These characters clashing should be a sight to see.
After thoughts: Taker looked SOOOO much better than he did a year ago. The attire he wore fit him & his persona as a deadman & a cowboy. He looked jacked & less sloppy. Wyatt looked good in this match too despite being injured. The match got a bit too slow at times for my liking but you don’t need to have fast pace Undertaker matches anymore because it’s the story that you want to see. I expected Wyatt to to win not only to ake him look stronger, but also so it could set up a potential match between Taker & Sting at next year’s Wrestlemania. But after all is said & done, I’m happy that Taker won because he showed that he could still do it.
Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Initial thoughts: This build up has to be the worst build up to a Wrestlemania WWE title match I have ever seen. Even the Miz vs. Cena match had a better buildup than this one. With the fans turning on Reigns & Lesnar’s contract being up in the air, WWE clealry had no idea what to do. The booking for both men was just weird & didn’t make sense. Heyman was able to salve the storyline & still make it interesting enough for people to at least be curious in this match. But this was just a bad buildup to a match that will most likely disappoint.
After Thoughts: I have never felt this way about a main event before. Who knew WWE would recycle the match Lesnar had with Cena at Summerslam last year & do the same thing to Reigns, their next golden boy. I was on the edge of my seat just chomping at the bit waiting for the next thing to happen. Just watching Lesnar decimate Reigns kept me smiling from ear to ear because it’s good storytelling. Reigns laughing & egging Lesnar on was also a nice touch as well. But I never thought they would have Seth Rollins run down & cash in the breifcase in the middle of the match to make it a triple threat match. I had briefly mentioned it as a side comment to what could potentially happen but seeing it happen really shocked me & got me screaming like a school girl meeting the lead singer of their favorite boy band. Just a great match that told a great story. The actual wrestling was lacking but it more than made of for it with sheer spectacle. Just awesome.
Overall thoughts: This Wrestlemania exceeded all expectations. I don’t think anyone was expecting this show to be a good as it was. During the post show I mentioned how good this PPV was. I honestly felt that night that this might be the best Wrestlemania I’ve ever seen. But after a few days of thinking about it, it was a good PPV that delivered in places where I thought it wouldn’t. That being said, I can honestly say that Wrestlemania 31 was by far better than Wrestlemania 30. Yes, Wrestlemania 30 gave the fans what they wanted in Bryan & told his story perfectly. But it really was at the cost of the undercard. If you take away Daniel Bryan from that show, you are left with a pretty mediocre card. You can take a guy like Bryan, or Cena, or Sting, or Taker out of Wrestlemania 31 & you will still have a great show to put on. If anything, this shows that WWE is competent enough to put on fantastic shows when they want to. Unfortunately they need to be pushed to do so. Hopefully they can continue this momentum going forward into the Wrestlemania offseason.
– Jeremy G.