If you haven’t watched the latest in the WWE’s biggest pay-per-view of every year, be prepared to have a sore butt. It turns out Wrestlemania 33 is a long show. It’s freaking 5 hours long! And that’s not even including the 2-hour pre-show! Who’s got that kind of time these days? Apparently, I do. I got to watch the 33rd entry to The Show of Shows and there’s no time to waste with this review because I’ve got lots to talk about!
Match #1: Shane McMahon vs AJ Styles
Honestly, I wasn’t feeling all Wrestlemania-y during the entire build up to the event. A lot of the angles just seemed to happen without giving it time to properly develop. This was particularly troublesome for the entire Shane McMahon and AJ Styles match. Thank God, despite the insufficient time given to the entire storyline, the two pulled off a fantastic match. In fact, I’d even say that this was a classic match, with some really great wrestling, hard hitting movies and reversals, fantastic in-ring storytelling and memorable spots.
There are so many things that made this a good watch. There was that spot above where Shane countered Styles’ 450 splash into a triangle choke. AJ Styles attempting to do Shane’s patented Coast to Coast dropkick and getting stuffed. Shane trying to do his classic elbow through the announcer’s table but Styles got out of the way in time. Both wrestlers did a phenomenal (pun unintended) job in working the match to deliver a cohesive fight.
The finish came when Shane tried to do, of all things, a shooting star press. AJ Styles manages to roll out of the way. While Shane was stunned from the missed shooting star press, Styles recovered and nailed the son of Vince McMahon with his WWE finisher, The Phenomenal Forearm, for the pinfall victory.
Like I said, this was a great match. The start was kind of slow but things did pick up a whole lot quick enough. There was a lot of action and I loved how the ref bump, which allowed Shane and Styles to bust out the trash cans for the Coast to Coast dropkick was neatly woven into the proceedings. Great way to start Wrestlemania!
Rating: 8.5 of 10 Coast to Coast dropkicks
Match #2: Chris Jericho vs Kevin Owens for the United States Championship
The pairing of Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens struck me as a little odd when it all started. But it was hard to really be mad at it for long because of how well the two worked well together. So, this would mean that both of them in a match against each other would be instant gold, right? Well…
I will say that, overall, the wrestling was solid with both Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens playing to their strengths and doing their classic moves. Kevin Owens was a joy to watch whenever he would talk trash at Jericho that he didn’t have any real friends. Jericho also teased the crowd with his cocky attitude. While the in-ring psychology was on point and the action was good, the match just wasn’t hard hitting as I wanted.
The finish came when Kevin Owens attempted a pop-up powerbomb on Jericho but the Ayatollah of Rock’n’Rolla reversed the move into a Codebreaker. Jericho went for the pin but Owens managed to drape one finger on the bottom rope, breaking the count. Owens the rolled outside the ring and Jericho followed. But while Y2J was climbing out, KO superkicked him on the knee. Owens then performed a sick looking powerbomb onto the ring apron before rolling Jericho into the ring for the pinfall victory and to become the new United States Champion.
Solid match but I was just expecting more. Both wrestlers put on a good show but I was expecting them to kick it up a notch, especially since the build up did indeed show a lot of bad blood between them. Still worth a watch and I didn’t feel like a waste of time.
Rating: 6.5 of 10.0 fingers on the bottom rope.
Match #3: Bayley vs Sasha Banks vs Charlotte vs Nia Jax for the RAW Women’s Championship in a Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match
Not the kind of four way guys wanted? Well, sort of.
First, I loved how WWE managed to protect Nia Jax and made her look incredibly powerful as Bayley, Sasha Banks and Charlotte realized that they needed to team up to beat her. Honestly, this was the best part of the match. They were very creative in their attacks and triple team moves but Jax still managed to use her power and girth to get the better of all three women who just so happened to hold the RAW Women’s Championship at one point.
The trio did eventually take out Jax after a triple powerbomb much like the SHIELD’s old finisher. Things did slow down after that when it was just Bayley, Banks and Charlotte. There were still some incredible moves, like Charlottes corkscrew moonsault to the outside and Banks’ double knees from the top rope.
The biggest problem was the way the other eliminations were done because they both relied on Charlotte exposing the middle turnbuckle but she didn’t get the pad all the way off. Sasha got eliminated after Charlotte kicked her off into the “exposed” steel. And Charlotte supposedly ran into it (but the camera angle was terrible so it’s hard to say), allowing Bayley to his a Macho Man Elbow from the top rope for the pinfall victory and retain her RAW Women’s Championship.
Suffice to say, I loved the beginning moments where it was Nia Jax vs everyone else. Everything after that was good but not spectacular. Charlotte should’ve worked on the turnbuckle pad a bit more to really show that the steel was exposed because the match pretty much revolved around it. Overall, this was a solid match marred by two sloppy finishes.
Rating: 6.0 of 10.0 not so “exposed” turnbuckles
Match #4: Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs Sheamus and Cesaro vs Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows for the RAW Tag Team Championship in a Triple Thread Ladder Match…
Wait. The New Day appear to be entering themselves into the match! They’re making it a Fatal Four-Way and they look like their about to saunter to the ring… what’s that music?
To be honest, I marked out! I couldn’t believe that The Hardy Boyz are back in the WWE! So…
Match #4: Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs Sheamus and Cesaro vs Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows and the Hardy Boyz for the RAW Tag Team Championship in a Fatal Four Way Ladder Match! Also, Hardy Boyz are back!
This was just a blur for me as I could barely contain myself throughout the entire thing. It certainly didn’t help that it seemed like the director calling which shots to show got a seizure because of all of the quick cuts that happened during the first minute! The action was heavy throughout the entire thing with everyone getting their moment to shine. There were some incredible bumps… which is kind of to be expected when the Hardys are involved. But it just wasn’t the duo that delivered. Everyone pulled their weight in putting on a great show. Even the length was just perfect.
I will admit that the finish was great but rather nonsensical. Matt Hardy blocked Karl Anderson’s ascent up the ladder and delivered a Twist of Fate from the top of the ladder to the mat below. Jeff Hardy, for some reason, decided to set up a really tall ladder, climb up to the top and nailed Sheamus and Cesaro, who just so happened to be lying prone on two ladders, with a Swanton Bomb. Matt Hardy then climbed up to get the belts to become the new RAW Tag Team Champions! The two celebrated by attempting to DELETE the competition.
Like I said, the ending was pretty stupid and the jump cut frentic direction at the start of the match made me feel a little sick. But as far as ladder matches go, this was incredibly satisfying. Good action from start to finish. Some nasty looking spots here and there and, while the finish seems dumb on paper, it was definitely a sight to see. And the WWE definitely delivered the promise of a Wrestlemania Moment with the surprise return of the Hardy Boyz. Best match of the night so far.
Rating: 9.0 of 10.0 Welcome Back, Hardy Boyz!
Match #5: John Cena vs Nikki Bella vs The Miz and Maryse for… the title of WWE’s “It” Couple, I guess
Wrestling is scripted… but are marriage proposals in wrestling pay-per-views? We’ll talk more about that later because that’s what important about this match.
This match didn’t feel like a Wrestlemania match at all and, in all honesty, didn’t make sense. Why the heck was The Miz able to dominate John Cena throughout the majority of the match? Why didn’t Maryse do any offense besides slapping Cena behind the official’s back? It just didn’t make a lick of sense and just made the entire proceedings tiresome and confusing. The finish came when Nikki got tagged in, both her and Cena did a pair of Five Knuckle Shuffles on their foes and then nailing their specific finishers for the pinfall victory. Boring.
But I guess they did this match not because of The Miz and Maryse. No, they wrote this match in so that John Cena can propose to Nikki Bella during the Grandest Stage of Them All. Should I squee? I think I should but I’m just not feeling it.
The entire thing looked soooooooo staged and I blame Nikki for her terrible acting. Oh, look how “surprised” she was when John Cena pulled out that ring box. And was I the only one who noticed that she didn’t even actually say “yes” to the proposal! At least Cena sounded sincere… but that’s because he can act. Cena probably popped the question long ago and used Wrestlemania to make it official. Lame!
Rating: 3.0 of 10.0 fake marriage proposals
Match #6: Seth Rollins vs Triple H (with Stephanie McMahon) in a Non-Sanctioned Match
If it’s non-sanctioned, does it mean that the win doesn’t matter and isn’t recorded? Food for thought.
The match started out good and the ended great. The problem was the whole middle portion. Both the start and the ending portions of this bout was filled with excitement and great spots, like when both competitors reversing Pedigree attempts. The rest was very uneventful. Essentially, from the time Triple H first nailed Seth Rollins’ knee with a chair to the time Rollins dragged out the sledgehammer by accident, things ran pretty mundane.
The finish came after the aforementioned Pedigree reversal sequence. Stephanie McMahon tried to restrain Rollins so Triple H could hit his foe. The Architech wormed his way free and The King of Kings almost struck his wife because of it. However, Rollins nailed Triple H with a kick which sent his foe flying into his wife and knocking her through a table. Rollins then capitalized and hit Triple H with a Peigree to get thr pinfall victory.
If they shaved off around 5 minutes off the middle, this match would be excellent. As is, it definitely could be better.
Rating: 7.0 of 10.0 Pedigree battles
Match #7: Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt for the WWE Championship
Yawn. Sorry, it’s just that we’ve just hit the the 3-hour and 20-minute mark and there are still a lot of matches to go and I’m getting incredibly tired. And that lame Pitbull music segment didn’t help any because it was lame. Oh, and this match was a snoozefest.
The biggest problem is how very normal the match felt and definitely not up to the caliber you would expect for Wrestlemania. Heck, if this match were on a regular episode of Smackdown, I wouldn’t also be all that interested in this. The action was very standard and just didn’t have a big match feel to it. It didn’t feel all that special. The special effects also got old real fast. The first time Wyatt did his inverted face thing and the maggots were projected in the ring was okay. The problem was that, by the 3rd time it happened, it felt overused. It also didn’t help that both Wyatt and Orton kept on teasing their finishers without any buildup to it.
Thankfully, it was a relatively quick match with Orton connecting with an RKO on Wyatt from out of nowhere. Sure, that’s Orton style but it did really feel like it came from out of nowhere, which meant that there wasn’t any drama leading up to it. It’s like they were running out of time or something. Boring as hell and I expected so much from WWE Superstars with the caliber of these two. The only thing that kept it from being absolute garbage were the projected images of various creepy crawlies.
Rating: 3.5 of 10.0 projected insects and other gross stuff
Match #8: Goldberg vs Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) for the WWE Universal Championship
How can you make a match exciting with only four moves? This is how!
Despite being an incredibly short match and Goldberg and Lesnar only doing a total of four moves combined, five if you include the leapfrog Lesnar did to avoid the last Goldberg spear, this was an incredible match. It’s hard to pinpoint why this was better than it should be. I guess a lot of it has to deal with the circumstances of the match, with Lesnar having a humiliating loss to Goldberg at Survivor Series and getting unceremoniously eliminated from the Royal Rumble by Goldberg. It certainly didn’t help that both of these guys are pretty much caricatures of wrestlers, which made the match very easy to understand.
The finish came really quickly as the match was just under 5 minutes. Essentially, after Lesnar dodged a spear from Goldberg, which led to Goldberg ramming himself into the second turnbuckle. The Beast took his opponent to Suplex City. One F5 later, Lesnar is your new WWE Universal Champion!
This is a prime example of the sum being greater than the parts. This would have been an atrocious match but, thanks to the way the story was told, the intensity of the performances and just great in-ring storytelling, this was a great and fun fight to watch. And it certainly woke me up from the doldrums of the previous match.
Rating: 8.5 of 10.0 intense but short bouts
Match #9: Naomi vs Becky Lynch vs Mickie James vs Natalya vs Carmela (with James “Chains” Ellsworth) vs Alexa Bliss for the Smackdown Women’s Championship
Well, this should be a weird kerfuffle…
This match felt ridiculously short and undramatic. While the earlier Triple H vs Seth Rollins suffered from being too long, this Six-Pack Challenge for the Smackdown Women’s Championship felt too short. With so many competitors in the match, they just weren’t given enough time to really get going. You can actually tell that they cut the time for this match because every thing moved at a breakneck pace. They did get to do some creative stuff, like Natalya performing a Sharpshooter on Carmela and Naomi at the same time. But I do think they had more spots planned but they had to make do with the time they had.
The finish saw Alexa Bliss trying to capitalize after a counter to Naomi’s springboard dive. As The Wicked Witch of Smackdown tried a jacknife cover, Naomi reversed it and locked some kind of submission hold to get Alexa Bliss to tap out. With that, Naomi is now your new Smackdown Women’s Champion.
This match just felt rushed. They weren’t given enough time to really let the audience get invested in anything that happened in the ring. It was just okay overall but definitely felt that it should have been better.
Rating: 5.0 double Sharpshooters
Match #10: The Undertaker vs Roman Reigns
Even before the match started, I kinda felt that this would be The Undertaker’s last match. He’s already incredibly old for a wrestler and I would rather see him retire before he gets himself seriously hurt in the trying to entertain the WWE Universe. The only question remained was would he win in his last match or would be be the great sacrifice and let The Big Dog take control of the yard.
Well, I’m sad to say that the match wasn’t all that great. The big problem is that they tried to book it like a classic Undertaker match. It was a slugfest and brutal and the aging Undertaker’s body just couldn’t take the strain of an extended match like this. This made a lot of the spots look bad. There was even a botched Tombstone reversal attempt by Reigns that just had The Undertaker flop around poorly. The only real highlight would be the spear through the table during the middle part of the match.
The finish came when The Undertaker refused to stay down after a spear by Reigns. But, a superman punch and another spear later, The Undertaker succumbed and Reigns got the pinfall victory. I can’t blame Reigns for the match. It’s mostly The Undertaker’s fault as he just couldn’t be The Undertaker of Wrestlemania’s past anymore.
Rating: 3.0 of 10.0 The Streak broken again?
Special Review: The Undertaker’s retirement
The Undertaker has a career that’s actually older than myself, yet I can really feel a twinge of pain to think that The Phenom is not going to be an in-ring competitor anymore. The way he hinted at his retirement was beautiful as we all know what it meant even if he didn’t say a word. He just slowly removed all of his Undertaker garb (fighting gloves, hat and duster) and left it in the ring. He then went up the ramp and slowly raised his hand in the air one more time. Have to say, it almost brought a tear to my eye.
It was a melancholic way to end Wrestlemania but it was great to see The Undertaker honored one more time before he left. RIP Undertaker, finally.
Rating: 9.0 of 10.0 ends of an era
Overall Rating for Wrestlemania 33:
I will say that I mostly enjoyed this year’s Wrestlemania. There were a few matches that just weren’t good, namely the “It” Couple Match and the one for the WWE Championship. But the rest of them had at least something to offer. There are just more highlights than lowlights and you just can’t beat the rush of seeing the Hardys in action once more, the sheer joy of the Goldberg vs Lesnar match and that lump in your throat when realize that this was The Undertaker’s last ride.
Rating: 7.5 of 10.0 RIP Undertaker’s career
What did you think of this year’s Wrestlemania? Let me know in the comments section below!