Welcome to The Wrestling Kennection's LIVE WrestleMania 33 Pay-Per-View coverage!!!
Stay tuned and refresh the page for updates, and make sure to leave your comments and likes below!
Key: (LOCK) - Competitor's Lock of the Night (BIG 4) - "Big 4" Pick (1st, 2nd, 3rd pick, etc.) - Choice for multi-person match
Kickoff Match WWE Cruiserweight Championship "King" Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries
RESULT: Neville wins via pinfall; Neville pinned Aries after the Red Arrow.
THOUGHTS: Great opener to kick off Mania, pun totally intended, with Aries and Neville showing great chemistry with one another. Crisp exchanges by Aries mixed in with some brutal kicks and suplexes from Neville, a close false finish off Aries' 450 and what I thought was a great call back finish with Neville remembering about Aries' injured eye socket, raking it before polishing off Aries with the Red Arrow.
Dirty finish means this feud will continue, and I'm looking forward to the next installment.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 0/19 Brian - 1/19 Greg - 1/19 Julie - 1/19 Nick - 0/19
Kickoff Match Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
RESULT: Mojo Rawley wins the Battle Royal; Rawley last eliminated Jinder Mahal for the victory.
THOUGHTS: Typical battle royal fare; you had the two serious big men in Show and Strowman eliminating fodder after fodder, facing off with one another and Strowman besting the elder giant, then the other competitors putting two and two together and teaming up to eliminate the biggest threat in Strowman.
My New England fandom aside, it was a fun little piece with "The Gronk" getting in the ring and doing his best Monty Brown impression on Jinder Mahal. Good for Rawley on getting the win. Whether short-term or long-term, WWE brass does indeed have some plans for Mojo.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 1/19 (3rd pick; 1 point) Brian - 1/19 Greg - 1/19 Julie - 1/19 Nick - 0/19
Kickoff Match WWE Intercontinental Championship Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Baron Corbin
RESULT: Dean Ambrose wins via pinfall; Ambrose countered End of Days into the Dirty Deeds DDT for the three count.
THOUGHTS: Not quite sure what to make of this; Corbin showed some good aggression, having an answer for a lot of Ambrose's trademark offense, and making few mistakes. Ambrose, as JBL pointed out, really only had a slim opportunity to capture victory, by capitalizing on Corbin's relative inexperience and frustration near the end of the match.
Ambrose's lack of selling takes away from this though, as the ribs were supposed to be a critical factor according to the announce team, yet it was never really shown inside the ring that Ambrose was suffering as such.
It's not clear where they go from here; it would certainly benefit Corbin far more to be IC Champion than Ambrose, so I'd like to see this continue with Corbin getting a defining victory over a main eventer in Ambrose.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 1/19 Brian - 1/19 Greg - 1/19 Julie - 1/19 Nick - 1/19
Singles Match Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles
RESULT: AJ Styles wins via pinfall; Styles pinned McMahon after a missed Shooting Star Press leading to a Phenomenal Forearm.
THOUGHTS: I imagine there will be a lot of divided opinions concerning this match; on the one hand, Shane obviously boned up on his wrestling holds and transitions so his exchanges with AJ could be more believable. It was also clear that they knew there would have to be a hardcore element to any match Shane's in, thus the ref bump so that he could pull out the classic Coast-to-Coast late in the match. I was certainly surprised to see 47-year old Shane pulling off a Shooting Star Press, as was much of the live audience, only to bomb, allowing AJ the opening to pick up the victory. Overall, it was a solid way to open the main show for Mania.
That being said, you had commentary suddenly blowing air up Shane's backside, building him up as some force of nature that Styles should be afraid of, when the buildup to the match was the exact opposite, that Styles would be the one to pick McMahon apart because, realistically, Shane wouldn't beat Styles in a straight-up match. Minor complaint aside, Styles got the win as he should have, and now moves on to his eventual rematch for the WWE World Title.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 3/19 (LOCK) Brian - 2/19 Greg - 2/19 Julie - 2/19 Nick - 1/19
Singles Match WWE United States Championship Chris Jericho (c) vs. Kevin Owens
RESULT: NEW CHAMPION Kevin Owens wins via pinfall; Owens pinned Jericho following a powerbomb on the ring apron.
THOUGHTS: A wonderful match between these two Canadian greats; Owens and Jericho know each other extremely well, so you certainly expect a lot of counter-wrestling and fluid exchanges in this match. Jericho was aggressive from the start, never really giving Owens a chance to get serious momentum going; he had a counter for everything Owens could throw at him, from the pop-up powerbomb to the Bullfrog splash to the corner cannonball. Owens gave back just as well, even using the Walls of Jericho at one point on Jericho.
The end was abrupt, but worked for the match as Owens had desperately needed that one big move to decisively put Jericho down throughout the match and found it in the apron powerbomb.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 4/19 Brian - 3/19 Greg - 3/19 Julie - 3/19 Nick - 1/19
Fatal Four Way Elimination Match WWE RAW Women's Championship Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
RESULT: Bayley wins via pinfall; Bayley last eliminated Charlotte, pinning her after a "Macho Man" elbow drop.
THOUGHTS: The shortest of the WM 33 matches so far, which surprised me somewhat; certainly it wasn't Nia's elimination early on that shocked me, as she looked dominant early on, and the others just HAD to team up to take her down and keep her down.
I thought the other eliminations would've been more spaced out, and I was even more surprised when Sasha ended up being the second elimination, but I can only guess that they're going with a somewhat slow burn for Sasha's heel turn, and also it served to give Bayley that decisive victory her title reign really needed.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 4/19 Brian - 4/19 Greg - 3/19 Julie - 3/19 Nick - 1/19
FATAL FOUR WAY(!) Ladder Match RAW Tag Team Championship The Club (c) vs. Enzo & Cass vs. Cesaro & Sheamus...vs. THE HARDY BOYZ!
RESULT: NEW CHAMPIONS The Hardyz win; Matt Hardy took down the titles to win.
THOUGHTS: First off, I was stoked to see Matt and Jeff back in the WWE. However long they're here for and whatever form WWE has them competing in, it's great to have the "Boyz" back in town.
With that said, this was even shorter than the RAW Women's match, which takes away a bit from the match overall, as it felt like the teams were just going from one spot to the next without any real effective transition.
As for the Hardy's title win itself, it's fine for the short-term and will give the RAW tag division the boost it needs, but I hope that in the long run whomever dethrones a legendary team like the Hardys will get a big-time rub.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 4/19 Brian - 4/19 Greg - 3/19 Julie - 3/19 Nick - 1/19
Mixed Tag Team Match John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. The Miz & Maryse
RESULT: John Cena & Nikki Bella win via pinfall; Nikki pinned Maryse following the Rack Attack 2.0 (Cena simultaneously pinned Miz following an AA).
THOUGHTS: Can't say I'm surprised with the result; at the very least it wasn't the outright burial Cena predicted, but more or less a "classic" Cena match, i.e. Cena taking all of his opponent's offense and coming back with his trademark stuff. Letting Nikki get the win in what may be her final WM was touching, as was the expected proposal, so good for them.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 4/19 Brian - 5/19 Greg - 4/19 Julie - 4/19 Nick - 1/19
Unsanctioned Match Seth Rollins vs. Triple H w/Stephanie McMahon
RESULT: Seth Rollins wins via pinfall; Rollins pinned Triple H after hitting the Pedigree.
THOUGHTS: Full-on entrances with regular ring wear for both men, which surprised me, as past unsanctioned matches usually featured street clothes. I did like Rollins' entrance with the torch, calling back to his claims of wanting to "burn everything Triple H owns to the ground."
It was classically played out between the two men; Rollins had an early onslaught to show the leg was holding up well, only for the crafty veteran in Triple H to pick his spot to start dissecting the bad leg soon enough. Jericho pointed out in a recent interview that leg injuries in a match are the worst since rally attempts often fall short or even backfire because you can't gain any momentum on a bad leg, and Triple H exploited that like a master, countering Rollins' attempts with simple defense, attacking and debilitating the leg through weapons and submissions to take away Rollins' speed and agility.
Rollins stuck through it all, though, even countering Stephanie's involvement, which was thankfully kept to a minimum, and even resulted in Steph going through a table at the (accidental) hands of her own husband (See, male-on-female violence can work in a PG environment, even if indirectly). It was a straight-up finish, with no Samoa Joe or Mick Foley involvement as was theorized; the latter's fine, but it makes me wonder what Joe's "impact" will be at Mania if not here.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 5/19 Brian - 5/19 Greg - 5/19 Julie - 5/19 Nick - 1/19
Singles Match WWE World Championship Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Randy Orton
RESULT: NEW CHAMPION Randy Orton wins via pinfall; Orton hit Wyatt with the RKO for the victory.
THOUGHTS: I'm rather stunned at how anti-climactic this match felt as a whole; the crowd was sapped of energy after the entrances, Bray's creepy video gimmicks (while pretty cool-looking) had little to no payoff, and Orton's win had no impact to it as he didn't really have to exert himself or channel any of the "darkness" he matched against Wyatt over the last few weeks. All in all, just plain not good.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 5/19 Brian - 5/19 Greg - 6/19 Julie - 5/19 Nick - 1/19
Singles Match WWE Universal Championship Goldberg (c) vs. Brock Lesnar w/Paul Heyman
RESULT: NEW CHAMPION Brock Lesnar wins via pinfall; Lesnar pinned Goldberg after 7 German Suplexes and a F-5.
THOUGHTS: This was exactly as I would've expected; Goldberg came out strong as he did at Survivor Series, only for Lesnar to tank the initial assault, and then pick Goldberg apart before putting him away with an F-5. Clear, concise and put the Goldberg-Lesnar feud to an emphatic end.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 6/19 Brian - 9/19 (LOCK, Big 4) Greg - 8/19 (LOCK) Julie - 7/19 (LOCK) Nick - 1/19
Six-Pack Challenge Smackdown Women's Championship Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Mickie James vs. Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs. Naomi vs. Carmella w/James Ellsworth
RESULT: NEW CHAMPION Naomi wins submission; Naomi tapped out Bliss with the Slay-o-mission for the victory.
THOUGHTS: The breather match before the main event, it was little more than six woman scrambling around to get their spots in. I feel like Alexa and company would've benefited from having more time on the pre-show than being crammed in between two top-tier matches. Good for Naomi on the homecoming victory.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 8/19 (1st pick) Brian - 11/19 (1st pick) Greg - 10/19 (1st pick) Julie - 9/19 (1st pick) Nick - 1/19
No Holds Barred Match Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker
RESULT: Roman Reigns wins via pinfall; Reigns pinned Taker after rebounding off the ropes twice into a Spear.
THOUGHTS: Before I really get into this match, let me just say I understand why they considered this match for the main event slot over Lesnar vs. Goldberg and Wyatt vs. Orton (In hindsight, certainly a good thing they didn't go with the latter of the two); WWE and Vince McMahon oh so desperately wanted to get Reigns over in the biggest way possible at Mania, and the best spotlight for that is in the main event. Just as well, if it's truly Taker's last match, then there's no better spot for him to go out on than the main event.
Now that I've said my piece concerning the placement, the match itself was just plain bad. Not bad like being too short or dull or having too many botches (there were a glaring few in the second half of the match, particularly during Roman's ugly attempt at reversing at Tombstone).
No, the big problem was having someone at Taker's advanced age (52) working a 20+ match; after the opening sprint between Taker and Roman, Taker was clearly blown up halfway through, looked lost through a number of spots and transitions and, lest we forget, has been nursing some VERY bad hips for a number of years. Basically, I spent the latter half of this match pitying a wrestler I grew up with since I saw him during my first Mania (X7) in 2001.
I was adamant against two 40+ year-olds in Lesnar and Goldberg, but I can appreciate that WWE was at least aware of Goldberg's limitability and kept his loss tonight to under 5 minutes. Cut out that much time, maybe a couple minutes more, for the Reigns-Taker match and we could've seen a more brutal, concise and appropriate conclusion to Taker's storied career.
I won't deny that Roman is "DA GUY" that WWE is behind at the moment, but haphazard booking, especially on one of the biggest stages such as WM 33, doesn't do "The Big Dog" any favors and will only lead to the crowd turning against him wholly, if they haven't already.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 9/19 Brian - 12/19 (KING OF PPV) Greg - 11/19 (BIG 4 CHAMPION) Julie - 10/19 Nick - 1/19