Winners: Tony Nese, Carmella, Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder, Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins, AJ Styles, The Usos, Shane McMahon, The Iiconics, Kofi Kingston, Samoa Joe, Roman Reigns, Triple H, Baron Corbin, Finn Balor, Becky Lynch.
The Cruiserweight Championship was the first match of the night, with champion Buddy Murphy and Tony Nese brawling on the outside to begin before Murphy took control and kept his challenger grounded. Tony turned things around and threw a flurry of strikes at Murphy but, soon, they were toe-to-toe trading big moves and pin attempts. Nese grabbed the ropes to cut off Murphy’s Law, hit a Superkick and finally put away the champion with the Running Nese to become the new Cruiserweight Champion.
The WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal was next, with Nikki Cross putting the fear of God into everyone before the bell rang and then a massive melee broke out that saw Maria get dumped. Asuka and Naomi tossed a few bodies but Lana chucked Naomi out to shut her down; the Riott Squad then kicked the shit out of Lana (because she’s always got some kind of heat) and threw her out. The Riot Squad then took control of the match before Dana Brooke chucked them out. Eventually, though, it came down to Asuka, Sonya Deville, Carmella, and Sarah Logan; it seemed like Logan had won it but Carmella sneaked out of nowhere to throw her for the meaningless win.
Apparently the WWE heard my complaints about the men’s Tag Team Championships being left off the card so, rather than tell some kind of engaging, interesting underdog story over the last few weeks, then just randomly tossed together a match where Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder somehow got a title shit despite doing nothing but losing matches over and over. While Hawkins and Ryder started off well, the Revival soon dominated the match, isolating Ryder and working the double teams to keep him on the mat. Ryder looked to make the hot tag but Scott Dawson knocked Hawkins off the apron, keeping the pressure on Long Island Z. Ryder wouldn’t die, though, and things descended into anarchy after he hit a desperation Rough Ryder; amidst the chaos, Hawkins played possum and rolled up Dawson to finally break his losing streak, unceremoniously put away the Raw Tag Team Champions like a couple of chumps, and win the shiny new belts. Seriously, we could have seen Ryder and Hawkins struggling and clawing and going through all kinds of trials to earn this shot but, instead, the message is: do nothing, barely be on television, and lose a lot and you’ll get a title shot and win some belts. Shit, I dunno why I’m surprised; after all it worked for Jinder Mahal!
The Andre the Giant Battle Royal was next which, of course, started with a massive scuffle; bodies flew everywhere as Braun Strowman dominated the match without peer until it came down to him and those Saturday Night Live losers. He threw them out and won. Wow.
The actual main card kicked off with…Brock Lesnar facing off with Seth Rollins. Jesus, did Lesnar need double the amount to jerk the curtain? Anyway, Lesnar went right for Rollins and they spilled to the floor; Lesnar hit an F5 and started brutalising Rollins, chucking him all around ringside and messing him up before the bell even rang. Once it did, Lesnar started in with the fucking German Suplexes but, when the referee took a bump, Rollins took control with Lesnar’s biggest weakness: a good old kick to the knads! Rollins hit the Superkick and then took a page out of Roman Reigns’ book and hit three Stomps to finally put away Lesnar and win the belt. Gotta say, though…it was a lot easier for Rollins to beat Lesnar than it was for Reigns; last year, Reigns hit, like, ten Spears and still couldn’t do the job but who cares? The belt is finally off Lesnar; now, let’s keep it that way!
AJ Styles and Randy Orton were up next; rather than brawling, they locked up and AJ threw some chops at Orton before dodging an RKO. Orton took control after poking Styles in the eyes and laying in some stomps but Styles knocked him to the outside, where Orton threw and suplexed him into the barricade. Styles wouldn’t let Orton grind things to a halt and, every time Orton tried to slow and ground the action, AJ answered back to keep the match interesting, which was a breath of fresh air for a Randy Orton match. Despite managing to slip out of the RKO time and time again, Orton eventually hit it but only got a two count (which was pretty crazy as I can’t remember the last time someone kicked out of that…); Orton tried for a Super RKO but Styles landed the Pele Kick, dodged another RKO attempt, and got the win after the Phenomenal Forearm.
The SmackDown! Live Tag Team Championships also made it on to the card (literally, as they were actually on the main show and not just the kickoff show) as the Usos defended the belts against Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura, Ricochet and Aleister Black, and the Bar…which is weird because I though the Hardy Boyz had earned a shot a while back? Whatever. Everyone got a chance to be in the match, which was nice; the NXT guys got isolated throughout the match as Aleister got worked over by Sheamus, Rusev, and Nakamura and then Ricochet got beaten down by Cesaro and Sheamus. Jesus, it’s like every match the NXT guys are in sees them isolated, beaten down, and cut off before they rally back; it kind of sucks away their aggression and presence. Anyway, things broke down near the end as everyone hit their signatures and finishers and, amidst all that, the Usos hit the Double Superkicks and the Double Uso Splash to retain the belts.
Shane McMahon and the Miz were next; because he’s a little pussy, Shane ran away as Miz chased him and beat him up at the start. Shane play-fought with his sloppy little punches and knees and then, sadly, took control after hitting Miz with a television monitor. The Miz’s Dad jumped the barricade to halt Shane’s assault, allowing Miz to toss Shane into the crowd and up to the LED board. Miz attacked Shane with a chair, put him through a table (for a two count…because Shane…), and even hit the Skull-Crushing Finale but Shane kept kicking out. Shane ended up scrambling up a bit of scaffolding (because…of course…) and won the fucking match after Miz suplexed them both off the rigging and Shane just happened to land on top of him. Lame. That’s the Miz’s credibility shot, really.
The Women’s Tag Team Championship was on the line after this was Sasha Banks and Bayley put the belts on the line against the Iiconics, Natalya and Beth Phoenix, and Nia Jax and Tamina. Tamina cleared the ring at the start and, almost right away, everyone decided they wanted a piece of the action; after the chaos died down, the Iiconics somehow found themselves in control and cutting Sasha off. Beth found her way into the ring and her and Natalya took back control, eventually leading to Beth and Sasha going at it. Tamina and Nia decided that the match was putting their best efforts to shame and started throwing Samoan Drops around until they got taken out. In the end, Beth looked to have the match won after she nearly killed Bayley with a huge Glam Slam but Billie Kay came out of nowhere to steal the win and the titles.
The WWE Championship was up for grabs next as Daniel Bryan and Kofi Kingston went at it, with Rowan and the New Day in their corners; Bryan immediately tried to keep things grounded at the start and constantly attacked Kofi’s knee and worked him over with submission moves throughout the match. Kofi kept trying to fight back and ended up smashing himself into the announce table; every time he tried to build some momentum, Bryan masterfully shut him down and tied him up in the Yes! Lock. Kofi fought out, countered the Running Knee, but only got a two count off the SOS and somehow ended up in the Yes! Lock again; Bryan pounded away with the elbows for good measure but Kofi still made the ropes. The New Day took out Rowan with the Midnight Hour but Bryan finally connected with the Running Knee…for a two count! Bryan was incensed and beat Kofi down, slapping the Yes! Lock back on and desperately wrenching away to put Kofi down for good but Kofi fought out, finally landed Trouble In Paradise, and won the belt. They told exactly the right story here, with Kofi absorbing some tremendous punishment and Bryan playing a master tactician throughout; I don’t necessarily agree that Kofi should have won here but it was a great way to do it.
Samoa Joe choked out Rey Mysterio in just over a minute to retain the United States Championship; I’m guessing this is because Rey Mysterio is still injured after last week, and it was a good way to make Joe look like a dominating force, but they could have thrown in (or substituted) Mustafa Ali and had him upset Joe, or something, if only as compensation for Kofi arguably taking his spot. Anyway, Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre were up next and, of course, started their match with a brawl; Drew survived Reigns’ strikes and a Spinebuster and took control with a headbutt. Drew got a two count off the Reverse Alabama Slam and hit a snazzy Spider Suplex out of the corner but they soon ended up throwing blows at each other until Reigns hit the Superman Punch and the Spear to win. Interestingly, Reigns was never really subjected to the usual beat down and didn’t play “face in peril”; instead, they were pretty evenly matched and trading moves with each other…not that the crowd particularly cared, probably (…hopefully…) because they were still a bit exhausted from Bryan/Kofi.
Elias tried to put on a concert but got interrupted by John Cena in his original rapper gimmick, who made him look like a chump and planted him with an Attitude Adjustment. I’m assuming that’s just a one-time thing rather than Cena turning heel and going back to his original gimmick…
Triple H and Batista were up next; both guys got a fancy entrance on little vehicles because…It’s Triple H, what more reason do you need? Batista rushed Triple H into the corner and they ended up brawling at ringside; Triple H hit Batista with a toolbox (…okay) and then whipped and choked him with a chain. Triple H then attacked with a chair and pliers (…okay…), ripping out Batista’s nose ring (…what the fuck!), before Batista finally made a comeback by trying to smash Hunter through the announce table (…but it wouldn’t break). Triple H fought back with the Facebuster but couldn’t hit the Pedigree so they went back outside and countered a Powerbomb with a Back Drop onto the announce table, which still didn’t break. It finally shattered after Triple H Speared Batista through it; he then grabbed the sledgehammer and they fought over it while trading finishers. Triple H hit a Powerbomb onto the ring steps and then a Pedigree….for a two count, which nobody gave a shit about. Ric Flair tossed the sledgehammer to Triple H, allowing him to clock Batista and put him away with a second Pedigree to finally bring this plodding, dull, lifeless match to an end.
Kurt Angle and Baron Corbin were given the unenviable task of following that mess; Angle started like a house of fire, throwing German Suplexes and going for the Ankle Lock right away but Corbin countered with the Deep Six. Angle kicked out and hit the Angle Slam and went right back to the Ankle Lock but, again, Corbin got out of it and got planted with some more German Suplexes for his trouble. Angle crashed and burned on a Moonsault attempt and got pinned by the End of Days soon after. Hardly the most memorable or ceremonious of send-offs for Kurt but it did it’s job and now the WWE have to seriously get behind Corbin to justify this win….though I’m sure they won’t bother to do anything much with it until about four months down the road where they might randomly use this win to justify some kind of title shot or push for Corbin.
Seriously, Lesnar must have asked for triple his pay because not only did he open the show but his championship match went on before the Intercontinental Championship, which got semi-main event status! I am…literally shocked, especially considering Bobby Lashley is the champion heading into this match. Anyway, Demon Finn Balor wasn’t in for any shit tonight; he weathered Lashley’s offense (which of course saw them fight on the outside…). Survived a couple of Spears, and won the title back with the Coup de Grâce in a little under four minutes. It was almost too easy, if you ask me…
But nobody cares about any of that because the Women’s Championship and a women’s match main evented WrestleMania for the first time ever as all the belts were up for grabs! Well, not all of them; I honestly am surprised the WWE didn’t have Becky Lynch randomly show up on NXT and win the NXT Women’s Championship so we could get one champion for the division. Anyway, Charlotte Flair arrived via helicopter (because of course!), Ronda Rousey got played down by Joan Jett, and Becky…walked to the ring with no fuss or fanfare. Ronda attacked them both and, you’ll never guess, sent them out to the floor; Ronda got Becky in a hanging Arm Bar but ended up dumped on the outside so Charlotte and Becky could go at it. Natural Selection only got a two count so Charlotte threw out Becky and squared off with Ronda instead; they traded submission holds until Becky laid them both out with a DDT. Becky got a two count off a Top Rope Exploder Suplex; Ronda tried to take them both out again so they briefly teamed up to Powerbomb her a few times.
Becky got the Dis-Arm-Her on Ronda but she turned it into a Buckle Bomb, missed a charge, and ended up in the Dis-Arm-Her again until Charlotte broke it up and briefly put Becky down with a Top Rope Spanish Fly. With Becky on the outside (…again), Charlotte tried to work over Ronda’s legs with a Figure Four around the ring post and a Figure Eight in the ring but Becky made the save and tossed Charlotte out before getting mauled by Ronda’s strikes. Charlotte hit a Spear on Becky for a two count before getting…kind of…smashed through an announce table. That was finally enough to keep her out of the ring and allow Becky to counter the Piper’s Pit into a crucifix pin and win the titles. The triple threat format really caused this match to suffer as, rather than do anything interesting with it, all we got was one of the girls being tossed outside for a quick one-on-one match before the next one got tossed, which is every triple threat match ever (…except for Vengeance 2002), but hopefully this leads to a new WWE Women’s Championship that is defended across both brands.
The brand-new Universal Champion, Seth Rollins, opened the show to bid a fond farewell to Brock Lesnar, who has taken his ball and gone home for now, and dedicate his win to the fans. The brand split died a little more as the brand-new WWE Champion, Kofi Kingston, showed up with the New Day and the two of them agreed to put both belts on the line in a winner-take-all match in the main event.
The brand-new Raw Tag Team Champions, Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins, defended the belts against the former champions, the Revival, in a rematch from WrestleMania; so…automatic rematches are a thing again? Anyway, surprisingly, unlike the other year, Ryder got to hold his belt a little longer than twenty-four hours as, after a pretty decent bout, he survived the Shatter Machine long enough to tag in Hawkins, who got the win off a roll-up.
Baron Corbin popped out to gloat about defeating, and retiring, Kurt Angle at WrestleMania; Angle gave him his due but then punked him out with an Angle Slam and the Ankle Lock but Corbin was saved by Lars Sullivan. Lars took out Angle and looked all bad-ass and strong but, the question is, will he be just as strong in a few weeks/months when he’s simply known as “Lars”?
Alexa Bliss returned to in-ring action to take on Bayley in a match that was all Bliss, almost depressingly so, as Bayley got matched at every turn and lost after taking a DDT. Becky Lynch came out to hype up her WrestleMania victory and show off her two belts; Lacey Evans finally decided to do something other than just walk out and walk back, though, as she came down and ended up brawling with Becky, presumably to setup her first challenger and all I can say is thank God we’re moving away from Becky/Charlotte, if only briefly. gg
Ricochet and Aleister Black went up against Bobby Roode and Chad Gable next; eventually, after some back and forth, Ricochet ended up being isolated (…there’s a surprise) until finally making a hot tag to Aleister, who ran wild with strikes and swept the ring long enough for Ricochet to pick up the win, for what little it’s worth.
Bobby Lashley got the honour of facing Dean Ambrose in what was billed as Ambrose’s last-ever WWE match; Ambrose chucked a bunch of chairs at Lashley and teased putting him through a table but, obviously, he ended up taking a Spear and being slammed through an announce table in quite the unceremonious send-off.
Sami Zayn finally made his return to Raw and, unfortunately, he’s still a heel; it’s not that he’s not good in that role but I feel like the WWE are missing a prime opportunity to build up a strong underdog face. Naturally, given it’s his first night back, he got to go up against Finn Balor; despite them both throwing high-flying moves at each other, Balor targeted Sami’s arm, which was smart given his past issues with his shoulder. Sami got a near fall off the Blue Thunder Bomb, hit the Exploder Suplex into the corner, but missed with the Helluva Kick and got pinned following the Coup de Grâce.
Elias came out to complain about John Cena and continue his concert, which naturally caused him to get buried by the Undertaker…okay…afterwards, Kofi and Seth went at it in their winner-take-all match but, just as things were starting to heat up, Sheamus and Cesaro also violated the brand split to attack Kofi. This, obviously, changed the match into a simple tag team match, which really pissed off the crowd, who decided to shit all over it despite it being a pretty decent bout that saw Kofi hit Trouble In Paradise and Seth finish the job with the Stomp. Still though, it’s very possible (despite still advertising the Superstar Shake-Up) that the WWE is planning to continue this idea and unify their top belts as well, which I am all for.
Kofi Kingston and the New Day kicked things off with a bit more of a celebration this week; I can’t decide if I like or dislike this trend of modern-day WWE in having newly-crowned champions have big celebrations the week after their wins as they don’t really setup any feuds or do much except heap a load of chants and applause on the champion. The Bar interrupted to claim that they interfered in Kofi’s match on Raw to stop him losing…which is as good a reason as any, I guess. Oh and chuck another shovel of dirty on the brand split because they announced that they’ll team up with Drew McIntyre against the entire New Day later in the night.
Speaking of six-man tag team matches, why have one when you can have two as Aleister Black and Ricochet teamed with Ali against Rusev, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Rusev; you’ll never guess what happened but, in a total change of pace, Ricochet got isolated for a while until Aleister cleaned house! Ali then got to finish the job with the 054 Splash then, afterwards, Randy Orton hit an RKO on Ali and Kevin Owens hit a Stunner on Rusev because….yeah…
R-Truth and Carmella came out to waste some time with their comedy act and hype up Carmella’s WrestleMania win but they got interrupted by Samoa Joe, who attacked R-Truth until Braun Strowman made the save. What is this? Superstars now get to sample each brand before the Superstar Shake-Up? Anyway, afterwards, the brand-new Women’s Tag Team Champions, the Iiconics, messed up some jobbers; good times, man.
Shane McMahon talked some shit and threatened the ring announcer…and then the Usos put the SmackDown! Live Tag Team Championships up for grabs against the Hardy Boyz. The Hardyz had control and nearly got the win in the early going but the Usos soon isolated Matt Hardy, working him over with double teams and quick tags, but crashed and burned on the Uso Splash, which allowed Matt to make the hot tag to Jeff Hardy. One Twist of Fate and a Swanton Bomb later and we have brand-new SmackDown! Live Tag Team Champions; personally, I don’t see the need for the Hardyz to hold the belts as they don’t really need them but it was a cheap good way to pop the crowd, I guess. Oh, and it was completed negated as Lars Sullivan kicked the shit out of them both afterwards…
Becky Lynch’s celebration was interrupted by Lacey Evans, again, with Lacey knocking Becky down with the Women’s Right to further their building issues. Sami Zayn also showed up to talk shit and, honestly, I just give up with the brand split at this point. Anyway, The New Day finished off the night against Sheamus, Cesaro, and Drew McIntyre; the New Day worked the quick tags but Drew decided to take control by damn-near murdering Xavier Woods. Woods took most of the beating but, thanks to Big E levelling the playing field, and a hot tag to Kofi Kingston, the faces got the big win in less than ten minutes.