Wrestlemania 35 is in the books and it was, overall, an incredible show. The highs were high and the lows weren’t terribly low. While it was a great show, it was also a long show. Instead of detailing the blow-by-blow of almost eight hours, we’ve distilled it down to 35 thoughts.
Going match by match, here are some takeaways and thoughts on the Showcase of the Immortals.
Tony Nese vs Buddy Murphy
- The show started with the Cruiserweight Championship match, as Tony Nese defeated champion, Buddy Murphy, to capture the belt for the first time. The cruiserweights consistently put on great matches and this was no different. As 2019 moves on, hopefully, they’ll get a shot on the main shows. Their ability to pack a ton of action in a short time makes for exciting matches every time. Nese is going to be a fun babyface champion for 205 Live.
- Pre-show panels are a majority of the two-hour preshow. There’s a definitive hierarchy for hosting them: Charly Caruso and Renee Young are the best, and everyone else is not. Those two should host all panels going forward.
Women’s Wrestlemania Battle Royal
3. The Women’s Battle Royal was won by Carmella after last eliminating Sarah Logan. Neither of these two were the most popular women in the match. Nikki Cross, Naomi, Asuka, and the returning Ember Moon all had showcase moments before being eliminated relatively early. It’s a shame there weren’t spots on this massive show for them to be showcased more, especially Asuka.
4. Lacey Evans wasn’t in the battle royal. She came out two hours later. Why would WWE do this at all?
5. Best custom gear of the night awards: Lana’s Wonder Woman gear, the IIconics angel & devil gear, Rey Mysterio’s Mysterio from Spider-man gear, and Becky Lynch going full Kill Bill in the main event.
— Daniel (@HiiAmDaniel) April 8, 2019
Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder vs The Revival
6. Curt Hawkins had on New York Jets green and looked like Gumby. He did finally break his 269-match losing streak though. Hawkins & Zack Ryder topped The Revival to win the Raw Tag Team Championships. This is the title change that has the greatest chance to be ended quickly.
7. Hawkins’ hot tag was one of the best bursts of offense of the entire show. Now that his losing streak is over, hopefully, Hawkins will be able to let some of his talents show more.
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
8. For the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, Saturday Night Live‘s Colin Jost and Michael Che were in the match. Jost came out in an Odell Beckham Jr. Cleveland Browns jersey. In MetLife Stadium, home of the Giants. The reaction from the New York crowd was pure hatred.
9. Braun Strowman would win the battle royal, eliminating a majority of the field. In the middle of the match, he had a staredown with the returning and criminally underrated Luke Harper. This is a match we need to see as soon as possible.
Seth Rollins vs Brock Lesnar
10. Paul Heyman walked right past Alexa Bliss and Hulk Hogan at the start of the show and demanded his client Brock Lesnar start the show if they weren’t the main event. It was a massive surprise and allowed the show to get off to a hot start. Having three big title matches (Universal, Women’s, and WWE) meant spacing was going to be hard no matter what. This solved the problem off the bat.
11. It took a low blow and three curb stomps, but Seth Rollins vanquished Brock Lesnar to win the Universal Championship. The first match of the main card was a surprising result. Lesnar looked much more human than normal. That will fire up the rumors of him going back to UFC when his contract is up next.
— Seth Rollins (@WWERollins) April 8, 2019
AJ Styles vs Randy Orton
12. AJ Styles beat Randy Orton in one of the matches of the night. When he’s motivated, Orton remains one of the best workers in the world. Styles brought the best out in him and lead to one of his best singles matches at Wrestlemania in years. Also, his scoop powerslam remains smooth as ever.
13. Seriously, what is Lacey Evans? Is she a shared delusion of all of us? Am I imagining her? Will she ever wrestle again?
The Usos vs Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev vs The Bar vs Ricochet & Aleistar Black
14. Some NXT call-ups get lost in the shuffle on the main roster. Ricochet and Aleistar Black will not be like those. They’ve had three tag title shots in the past week. Both got huge pops during their entrances. These two are going to be just fine.
15. The Usos did manage to hold on to their SmackDown Tag Team Titles. They bested Ricochet & Black, The Bar, and Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev. It gets lost because of how consistent they are, but the Usos have a claim to be the best tag team in the world right now.
16. MVP of the tag title match: Ricochet. The man sells hits like he’s just been shot, and his screams of anguish made the stakes that much higher.
Shane McMahon vs The Miz
17. Ring announcer Greg Hamilton being forced to do Shane McMahon’s introduction again was a good heel move by Shane. Hamilton’s ability to hold the word “world” for so long deserves props too. Dude has some lungs on him.
18. Shane McMahon did beat The Miz in their Falls Count Anywhere match. The ending came when Miz super-plexed Shane off of some scaffolding onto boxes below. Shane managed to get his arm on top of Miz in the carnage and pick up the victory. Shane winning is the right call, as now he can add beating Miz to his list of accomplishments as “Best in the World”.
— Ryan Songalia (@ryansongalia) April 8, 2019
Boss & Hug Connection vs IIconics vs Nia Jax & Tamina vs Beth Phoenix & Natalya
19. The IIconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce) managed to pick up the win and the Women’s Tag Team Championships in the process. This match felt disjointed at points and seemed to suck the energy out of the arena. Not really the fault of the eight performers, as there had to be a dip in the energy at some point.
Kofi Kingston vs Daniel Bryan
20. Daniel Bryan hitting the running knee off Kofi Kingston led to the best false finish I’ve seen in a long time. The tension during the match and how protected that move is made it feel like Kingston was down and out. This was the match of the night for me.
21. Kofi Kingston did topple Daniel Bryan and win the WWE Championship tonight. Seeing Xavier Woods and Big E and Kingston’s two young children celebrate with him in the ring made for an amazing visual. He deserves all of the accolades and a long title reign. Kingston has reached the top of the mountain. Hopefully, he’ll stay there for a while.
22. Seeing Xavier Woods tear up at Kingston winning proves wrestling is bigger than wrestling.
Samoa Joe vs Rey Mysterio
23. This was over quick. Samoa Joe made Rey Mysterio tap out quickly to retain his United States Championship. With Mysterio’s apparent injury, this made sense. Plus not every match on a long card can be an epic back-and-forth. This changed the pace up and was much needed.
Roman Reigns vs Drew McIntyre
24. In a fairly straightforward match, Roman Reigns toppled Drew McIntyre. The crowd at MetLife Stadium did not seem to be giving Reigns the babyface reaction some would imagine he’d get after returning from beating cancer once again. It’s hard to tell people how to cheer, but come on. Shouldn’t we cheer for the story of Joe Anoa’i, even if you don’t like the character of Roman Reigns?
25. Elias is legitimately talented and is better than at least one act at every festival lineup across the United States.
26. Seeing John Cena go full mid-life crisis and come back as the Doctor of Thuganomics was a great treat for Wrestlemania. If this was his heel turn, as he rapped, it would be a waste of an iconic moment. Cena turning heel could be bigger than Stone Cold Steve Austin turning at Wrestlemania 17, so to do it here in a skit would be a waste. Still, the bars Cena dropped were hot.
Triple H vs Batista
27. Triple H’s Mad Max-inspired entrance was an interesting choice. Not the most timely, but Triple H does love to be driven down to the ring at Wrestlemania. This at least fit the bill.
28. No one could have predicted how hardcore this No Holds Barred match was going to be. Triple H ripped out Batista’s nose ring and tried to break his fingers with pliers. Tables, sledgehammers, and chains were all used. This was a brawl that had lots of good set pieces. Triple H prevailed over Batista and gets to continue his career thanks to an assist from mentor Ric Flair.
29. Shawn Michaels was on commentary for the match and kept calling Batista by his first name, “Dave”. It was just so weird.
Kurt Angle vs Baron Corbin
30. This was Kurt Angle’s retirement match, and he did the age-old wrestling tradition: went out on his back. Baron Corbin won with an End of Days to mark the end of the days for Angle as a competitor. If anyone is going to be able to be insufferable after retiring a legend like Angle, it’s Corbin. WWE will have to use this to boost Corbin and gain some of his credibility back.
Finn Balor vs Bobby Lashley
31. The Demon paint on Finn’s chest and back looked great, but his plain face paint was a little underwhelming. He had until about 11:30 pm to get ready. Couldn’t there have been more?
32. The Demon’s wrestling, however, was awesome. Finn Balor beat Bobby Lashley to capture the Intercontinental Championship for the second time. Demon Balor showed some differences from Regular Balor, including powerbombing(!!) Lashley and feeling more calculated and vicious. More exploration into why Balor doesn’t go to the demon all the time could give him a needed level of depth to his character. Without it, he just seems like “Irish guy who likes cosplay”.
Charlotte Flair vs Ronda Rousey vs Becky Lynch
33. Joan Jett played Ronda Rousey out to the ring for her entrance. Based on the look on her face, it seemed Jett thought the boos were for her. Worry not, Joan. Those jeers were solely on Rousey as she made her way out.
34. Completing the trifecta of babyface major title victories, Becky Lynch pinned Rousey to win the Raw Women’s Championship and SmackDown Live Women’s Championship. Based on what commentary mentioned, the titles won’t be unified. How Lynch will defend them both now will be an interesting wrinkle to follow.
35. Rousey seemed legitimately upset with the finish of the match. It didn’t look very crisp and came out of nowhere. Commentary even played up Rousey not having both shoulders down for the call. Will a disputed call lead to a rematch? Time will tell.
— WWE WrestleMania (@WrestleMania) April 8, 2019
After eight-plus hours of Wrestlemania, I am tired but satisfied. Wrestlemania 34 felt like a chore to get through. This year, the show had enough variety and peaks and valleys to keep my interest. Matches were very different in style and length, and the three big victories (Kingston, Rollins, & Lynch) were spread out well. The card had the best possible order of matches, which is hard to do.
That being said, I’m glad Wrestlemania comes only once a year. Now, it’s on to Raw and SmackDown Live after Wrestlemania, two of the wildest shows of the year.