Wrestlemania 33: The Predictable Thrill Ride

You know the joy you have as a kid waiting for Christmas Day? Imagine how much joy would be sucked out of that occasion, if you had a fairly good idea of what each present was going to be? That was the feeling I had watching Wrestlemania 33 last night. It had all the trimmings, the decorations were impeccable, everyone had on their best outfits and yet, it just didn’t quite deliver on its “Ultimate Thrill Ride” moniker. Mostly because the results were predictable, leaving few surprises to the 7 hour event.

HIGHLIGHTS

Brock Lesnar is your Universal Champion – We all have fond memories of Goldberg, it was fun to see him, but it was also quite obvious that he is no longer able to go at the same pace he did when he was younger. Thought their match was exactly what it needed to be, with Lesnar finally getting a victory over Goldberg and getting back to the top of the mountain. Having Lesnar as Raw’s champion should help elevate the title itself and while I’d love to see a program with Kevin Owens (who still hasn’t had his rematch), I’m hoping they save that for Summerslam.

The Hardy Boyz Returned – After being vanquished by the Young Bucks at Ring of Honor’s Supercard of Honor event, House Hardy showed up as last minute entrants into the Raw Tag Team Title Ladder Match. Noticeably, not as their #Broken selves, but the traditional Matt and Jeff Hardy WWE fans saw for years. They went on to win the titles from Gallows and Anderson, so I’m hoping they’ll be in a feud with the Good Brothers going forward.

Kevin Owens Crowned NEW United States Champion – The former best friends had a brutal encounter, and the Prizefighter once again has gold around his waist. This was my most anticipated match of the night and it delivered. Jericho’s entrance had a giant list of Jericho, his scarf lit up and he reminded everyone just what a top-flight superstar he is. All signs are pointing to Chris Jericho heading out on tour with his band, Fozzy so remains to be seen if he’ll attempt to reclaim the US Title, but having Kevin Owens with a Championship is best for business.

LOWLIGHTS

Women’s Wrestling – The last couple years we’ve seen a bigger spotlight being put on the female competitors and yet somehow this year both brands put forth multiple participant contests with the bare minimum done storyline-wise to get to those matches. What a different atmosphere it could’ve been had Charlotte still been Champion with her year of being undefeated at Pay-Per-Views coming to a close and Bayley winning the title on the grandest stage of them all? But no, they did that at Fastlane, last month. So, instead we got Sasha, Charlotte and Bayley teaming up to eliminate Nia Jax (nice bit of logic since it was an elimination match) and then Sasha doesn’t turn heel in attempting to win the title herself and Bayley ends up retaining via a “Wrestlemania Moment” diving elbow drop. Smackdown had to deal with Naomi’s injury, which isn’t her fault, but it made the ride to that women’s match an odd one. BUT, since Naomi did get healthy and got a full entrance, there was little doubt that Orlando’s native daughter was going to be the one walking out as Champion. I’m all for getting as many of the talents a payday on the biggest show of the year, but one of the complaints of the “Divas” Era was that matches were kind of just thrown together, without a lot of buildup, and I’d hate to see them slide backwards after making the Women such a large part of the show.

The End of the Era of Wyatt – I’m a HUGE Bray Wyatt fan, was so happy that he finally won the Tag Titles and then the WWE Title this past year, even though it was pretty obvious that Randy Orton was going to be the winner on Sunday. Build-up was great, loved the resolution on Sister Abigail and the expansion of Wyatt’s powers in the ring, but after all that it was a simple RKO that ended the Eater of Worlds? Just seemed anti-climactic, given how much had been invested in this storyline going back to last year. With Erick Rowan still out there and Bray seemingly still having some influence over Luke Harper, maybe Bray can reform the family? Or perhaps with a reset and the departure of The Undertaker, they will allow Wyatt to take his place as WWE’s new master of the mystic arts.

The Show is Too Long – I love me some wrestling, but having a show that starts at 5pm and runs until midnight, is not good. Nothing is tolerable for 7 hours (outside of sleep) so it’s crazy that they keep pushing the boundaries of what fans will bear. “But you don’t have to watch the preshow!” Oh, I know, but since I knew there were going to be matches on it, and they didn’t say which ones, as a fan, I had to. Preshow had 3 matches, Neville vs. Ares for the Crusierweight belt, Dean Ambrose defended the IC Title against Baron Corbin and The Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale, ALL of which were for some sort of title. I was really looking forward to Ares/Neville match before the show, but I had to catch the replay as I had missed the first 10 minutes. Also, they had a countdown clock on-screen counting down to 7pm, as the start of Wrestlemania, but the PPV started at 6:30pm on Xfinity, and the Network went live at 5pm so overall it was confusing. The Crowd gets gassed by the end of the night and moments that should be bigger, get lost. With their own streaming Network and the demands of broadcasting in 80+ countries, I can see why the broadcast is ever expanding and doubt it will ever shrink, but they need to tighten it up somehow. Maybe skip the Flo Rida performance? Just a thought…

Random Observations

Great to have “Good Ol'” JR, Jim Ross back on commentary, especially if it was indeed The Undertaker’s last match.

Speaking of, congratulations to The Undertaker on one hell of a career, if this is in fact the end. While his last few matches weren’t up the usual standards, he never completely embarrassed himself and put over younger talents on the way out.” Legend” gets thrown around a lot in Pro-Wrestling, but The Undertaker is the standard by which all should be judged.

Wish they would’ve gone full heel with Roman Reigns in his match with ‘Taker. The 4 spears he delivered last night should’ve been hit in a row with crying fans begging for mercy as Roman cruelly defeated him. Roman’s now “The Guy” who retired The Undertaker, give the fans a legit reason to boo him.

Triple H actually rode a motorcycle! He’s worn biker jackets and hats for years, but I can’t recall ever seeing him ride a motorcycle.

Rob Gronkowski probably won’t need any career advice or new revenue streams, but I’m guessing an opportunity with the WWE is there if he wants it. Also, outside of Big Show, the Andre Battle Royale trophy has done a great job of establishing guys, hope it works out for Mojo Rawley.

John Cena and Nikki are getting married!

Please, please, please, let us get one more run out of Kurt Angle. He looks great, seems to have his issues under control and now that he’s officially a hall-of-famer, give him a proper swan song in the WWE. His old nemesis Brock Lesnar, perhaps?

Full Results:

Neville defeated Austin Ares

Mojo Rawley won the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale

Dean Ambrose defeated Baron Corbin

AJ Styles defeated Shane McMahon

Kevin Owens defeated Chris Jericho

Bayley defeated Nia Jax, Sasha Banks & Charlotte Flair

Matt & Jeff Hardy defeated Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, Sheamus & Cesaro and Enzo & Big Cass.

John Cena and Nikki Bella defeated Maryse and The Miz

Seth Rollins defeated Triple H

Randy Orton defeated Bray Wyatt

Brock Lesnar defeated Goldberg

Naomi defeated Alex Bliss, Carmella, Becky Lynch, Mickie James and Natalya

Roman Reigns Defeated The Undertaker

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