One of the greatest to ever lace up the boots said goodbye for good. Multiple titles changed hands. Two brothers returned home. And Mojo Rawley won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal! These were just some of the most memorable moments from a WrestleMania event that clocked in at just under 7 full hours. Going through this article should only take you a couple of minutes. Welcome to The Best and Worst of WrestleMania 33.
The Best of WrestleMania 33
• The Hardy Boyz Return
We actually get the Hardy Boyz in full on “Delete” mode in the WWE day just 24 hours removed from taking part in one of the greatest tag team matches in history against the Young Bucks in an ROH ring? Sure. Why not?
Everything about this moment warmed my fanboy heart. The New Day teasing themselves as the fourth entrants to the match (we hung on their every word) only to reveal The Hardy Boyz to a chorus of “Delete” chants made for one of the great WrestleMania moments in recent memory. The only shame about the ‘Broken’ Hardys is that more eyes haven’t been introduced to them due to their work being attached to a product that has been synonymous with incompetence for quite some time. That all changes now.
This finishing sequence to this match was incredible. Matt hit a ‘twist of fate’ on Karl Anderson from the top off the ladder and Jeff followed it with a swanton onto two ladders that held Sheamus and Cesaro. Matt climbs the ladders to grab the titles and the crowd absolutely explodes.
Seeing these two getting rewarded for their ‘Broken Brilliance” near the end of their career is quite delightful. Finally, The Hardys are back home where they belong. Can you even imagine how many t-shirts they’re going to sell from the WWE Shop tomorrow during RAW?
• An Ode to a Dead Man
How do you prepare a send off for the greatest character in the history of professional wrestling? Better yet, how do you prepare for it as a fan. You’ll always remember where you were when Brock broke the streak and you’ll always remember where you were when Taker took off his gloves, coat and hat for the final time. WrestleMania won’t be the same without The Undertaker but it was definitely time to go. Now we can celebrate the illustrious body of work without having to worry about him taking anymore unnecessary bumps.
• Shane McMahon versus AJ Styles
Like everyone else, I wanted a bigger match for AJ Styles at WrestleMania. That said, man did these two guys put on one heck of a show. Sure, Shane may have looked beyond worse for wear, but you simply can’t deny that he left every ounce of himself in the ring. The coast to coast and the missed shooting star press (that sell job though) spots were awesome. And what more can you say about AJ Styles? The guy is still the best wrestler on the planet. A lot of folks would argue that the first match (remember Eddie versus Rey at WM 21?) is the most important match of a mega card like this. If that’s the case, you can’t argue that kicking things off with AJ versus Shane didn’t set a good pace for the show. It actually turned out to be one of the most memorable matches of the entire show.
In the end, AJ went over and all is right with the world. Don’t be surprised if doing the bosses son a favor like this doesn’t help secure you a world title match at next year’s Mania. Big picture folks. Everything is going to be ok when it comes to Styles. He’s just too good for it not to be.
• Lesnar and Goldberg tear the house down
When you book two powerhouses for a match at WrestleMania and one of them isn’t exactly know for going longer than a minute it’s tough to give fans something to get excited about. With their brutal showing at WrestleMania 20 now a distant memory, Lesnar and Goldberg needed to go a little longer than the squash match at Surivor Series. They did everything they could to give the fans just under 5 minutes of pure ultraviolence and they ate up every second of it. Goldberg got his licks in (the spear through the barricade was a thing of beauty) before being absolutely terminated by Brock. 10 (count ’em) german suplexes and one F-5 later and we have a new Universal Champion. This was the heavyweight war that WWE has been lacking and it was executed to perfection.
• All Hail the Queen
Yes, we’re aware that she didn’t win the match. That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t continue to stand out each and every time she performs. Charlotte Flair is one of the best pure athletes in the sport today and she certainly sticks out like a sore thumb when it comes to being a cut above the rest. From her entrances to her ring work, watching Charlotte Flair continues to be a treat. She should and will be a WrestleMania fixture for years to come. Charlotte Flair will main event a WrestleMania before she retires. You can quote me on that.
“Frame it, put it in a museum and stare all day.” Corey Graves on Charlotte’s corkscrew moonsault
The scary thing about it is that she’s only been competing in this business for less than a handful of years. If you’re one of those people who simply cannot stand Charlotte Flair, well, I feel bad for you. This next decade isn’t exactly going to fly by so if you’re looking for a spot on the bandwagon, I’m sure there will be plenty of room when you’re ready to bow down to the Queen with the rest of us.
• Mania is Jericho
Can you imagine thumbing through that Giant List of Jericho? One can only hope that it’s alphabetized. I’m always a sucker for fun entrance and this one definitely made my day. The countdown was rad the blinking leather scarf was a nice touch as well.
• Cena proposes
Moments like this were made for WrestleMania. Cena’s delivery was top-notch and Nikki’s reaction was priceless. Cena revealed that he already told a very “loopy” Nikki that he had asked her to marry him as she was heading in for neck surgery knowing that she wouldn’t remember.
“I asked you if you knew that one day I would marry you. You said yes. I need you to say yes one more time.” – Cena to Nikki Bella
Only a true professional could keep a rock of that size secured in his jorts during a professional wrestling matc.We couldn’t of asked for a more satisfying ending to a feud that saw all parties shine.
• Jim Ross graces us with his presence to call Taker’s final match
After losing his wife to a horrific accident less than two weeks, seeing Jim Ross return to all The Undertaker’s final match at WrestleMania nearly brought tears to our eyes. When you really think about it, how could you not have the greatest voice in the history of the sport call Taker’s final match? Here’s to more of Good Ole’ JR on WWE programming in the near future. The man adds an element of authenticity to an industry that needs it. Just imagine JR and Corey Graves as a permanent team. We can only dream
The Worst of WrestleMania 33
• The atrocity that was Wyatt versus Orton
If you’re like me you came into this event expecting a great match from Wyatt and Orton and a throwaway Goldberg versus Lesnar match. We got the exact opposite. Surprisingly, Goldberg and Lesnar tore the house down. Wyatt and Orton on the other hand where do we begin? I usually don’t mind the “Hocus Pocus” stuff if it’s done right but projecting maggots and crickets onto the ring was goofy at best. Can’t they come up with something better for this guy? What purpose did it really end up serving?
As far as the match went, I can’t put my finger on it but it just fell flat. The story reached its peak weeks ago and nothing that these two did, aside from a couple of RKO’s out of nowhere, screamed WrestleMania World Title match. I guess I expected something bigger and more meaningful for this match but in the end, all that we got was a match that wasn’t the worst on the show but it was certainly the most disappointing.
• Mojo Rawley wins the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
I should’ve seen it coming. With his hype friend, 2-time Super Bowl Champion Rob Gronkowski, sitting in the front row…. I should’ve seen it coming. Alright, maybe I did see it coming. I just didn’t want too.
Out of 33 men, including the likse of Braun Strowman and Big Show, Mojo Rawley was the last man standing when the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal came to a close. Thanks to an assist from Gronk (security couldn’t stop him from flattening Jinder Mahal) we’re likely going to see even more of Mojo on SD Live for the foreseeable future. Sorry Gronk, you’re officially guilty by association. Congrats on making the list. It’s a short on. You can find your name right under Mojo’s.
• Ambrose versus Corbin
A while back on Stone Cold Steve Austin’s podcast, Dean Ambrose revealed that he had a ton of ideas for his hardcore match with Brock Lesnar at last year’s WrestleMania. Lesnar apparently wasn’t interested in any of them and essentially we got a nothing match. This year, Ambrose was given a chance to work with a guy in Corbin who by all accounts appears to be hungry to make a name for himself. While it didn’t help that this match got moved to the pre-show, I may have been a better idea to just scrap it from the card altogether and play a couple more Snickers commercials instead. Whatever a ‘Ultimate Thrill Ride’ is – this was the exact opposite. Ambrose continues to underachieve and the Corbin experiment appears to still be a work in progress.
• Lacking that Instant Classic
When a show goes 7 hours you’d think at least a match or three would stand out. That wasn’t really the case with WrestleMania 33. There were moments like the Hardyz returning and The Undertaker retiring. The set looked amazing and there were some great spots and that’s all well and good. What this card did lack was that instant classic. Maybe the timing wasn’t quite right for them this year and we certainly can’t sit here and dwell on the past. That said, it’d be inexcusable if we don’t get a Styles versus Nakamura or a Triple H versus Balor match up next year. Or Styles versus Balor. Or Triple H versus Nakamura. How about Owens versus Lesnar? You get the point. These are the types of matches that have instant classic written all over it. It’d be a shame to not have them somewhere near the top of the card in New Orleans next year.
• When Social Media backfires
When the title match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship was announced to take place on the pre-show earlier this week fans of the division collectively lost their mind. While that may have been admirable, angry fans who aren’t thinking straight don’t understand the structure of a mega event like WrestleMania. If the Smackdown Women’s match would’ve stayed on the pre-show the women likely would’ve gotten anywhere between 12-15 minutes to work with. Instead, they got about five and a half minutes on the cool down portion of the show in between Lesnar versus Goldberg and Reigns versus Taker. The match was rushed and the girls did the best they could with the time they were given.
On a card this stacked putting them on the pre-show wasn’t meant to slight them. In hindsight, it may not have been a bad idea after all, although you could argue that being on the main card versus not being on the main card no matter how much time you’re given is a bigger deal.
I’d love to hear you’re thoughts on that and anything else Mania related in the comments section below or, as always, connect with us on Twitter @Wrestling Desk.
image credit – WWE.com
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