HomeTelevisionWrestleMania 35 Review

WrestleMania 35 Review

I’m kicking off with it… KOFI KINGSTON IS YOUR NEW WWE CHAMPION!!!

I’ll cover it in order, but I had to lead off with it.

I’ll try to keep on track, this was one loooooong show. It went after midnight. I will admit, I didn’t have any expectations in mind. It’s been a crazy roller coaster of a buildup to WM35. The focus has been on the marquee matches, but don’t count out the undercard. There were some good moments too. I will say, the main event matches did deliver and I will say should have made the fans happy. This one is.

The pre-show kicked off with the Cruiserweight Championship. I haven’t said it often enough, but 205Live does not get enough attention or credit. Tony Nese defeated Buddy Murphy for the title, in a really good match. It wasn’t the typical high-flying spot-fest one might think, but it was a match which took me back to some of the Cruiserweight style matches in WCW.

The first of two Battle Royals, the Women’s Battle Royal saw almost everyone form the RAW and SmackDown women’s rosters, including Kairi Sane and Candice LaRae from NXT. Highlights saw Naomi and LaRae being eliminated early, and Dana Brooke getting a rally eliminating members of the Riott Squad. It came down to Asuka, Sonya Deville, and Sarah Logan. In a surprise, it appeared Logan won last eliminating Asuka, which would have been a nice surprise, but instead, we saw Carmella sneaking back into the ring, and after a brief scuffle, Carmella wins it.

My opinion, Sarah Logan would have been a better option.

Up next, I was happy to see The Revival finally at WrestleMania, however tonight it was all about the ultimate in underdogs, as Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins prevailed to become the new WWE RAW Tag Team Champions. The match was really good, Revival played up the “you’ll never win” bit during the match, and for a while it did seem as though this story was not going to have the feel-good ending.

I did like how Dash Wilder got a bit of an applause when he was first tagged in.

While this was expected after a while, I felt the Andre Memorial Battle Royal turned into a bit of a sham. It was originally thought to be something of an honor, but when it comes down to Braun Strowman, and Saturday Night Live’s own Michael Che and Colin Jost. A comedy spot involving a therapist went south, and in the end, Strowman eliminated the goofballs to win. Good for Braun, should have been a better finish.

Highlights: The return of Luke Harper and the near-death experience of Mustafa Ali.

To kick off the main show, Alex Bliss snaps her fingers and Hulk Hogan comes out to welcome us to WrestleMania.

We get Rabbi Paul Heyman pissed off his charge, Brock Lesnar is not the main event at WrestleMania. Heyman storms out and verbally trashes everything, saying if they’re not on last, then they might as well go first and then get on a plane and go back home to Vegas. Wow. Seth Rollins took a ton of bumps on the outside “before the bell” thus enhancing the whole underdog bit… Except Seth Rollins in anything but an underdog. Lesnar seemed to throw Rollins around for about five minutes before the bell is finally rung. By this point, Rollins has eaten an F5 and thrown through announce tables and into announcers. Finally, the bell is rung, and the carnage continues with German suplexes, until the ref dodges a bump, but enough to allow Rollins to nail Brock with a low blow, delivering three consecutive Curb Stomps, and Seth Rollins is your NEW WWE Universal Champion.

Bye bye Brock. Go home, you’re done.

Up next, a match which goes significantly longer than the official time of the Universal Championship match, and turned out to be pretty decent. I will say, I was impressed with how Randy Orton carried himself during the match, and had some pretty good moments with AJ Styles. A bigtime superplex sent us all into shock. In the end, AJ Styles kicks out of the RKO, and hits the Phenomenal Forearm for the clean pinfall victory.

The Usos defeated The Bar, Rusev & Nakamura, and Aleister Black & Ricochet to retain the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships. This was the best match of the night so far. Everyone was featured, not a 100% spotfest as many predicted. A lot of fast paced action, and a few times I had thought Cesaro and Sheamus might have been getting the titles back. Insane moments, Cesaro spins Ricochet while Sheamus bashed everyone around ringside. I was convinced Ricochet or Cesaro was going to throw up after minutes of spinning around. Really good match.

Following this high-paced match we get a train wreck, car crash, or any Mick Foley-comparing cliche. Shane McMahon defeated The Miz in a match which involved beating up Miz’s father, and fighting all the way up into scaffolding, and ending with an insane suplex by Miz, but somehow, Shane’s arm was on top and the ref counted three in this Falls Count Anywhere match. It was the match we expected it to be. Shane looking out-of-breath within the first few minutes. I was legit worried he was going to collapse. Lots of brawling and big spots, and Shane taking the brunt of them. But, in my opinion, it felt like something was missing. It just didn’t seem satisfying.

In what I think was a big surprise, The IIconics defeated Boss ‘n’ Hug, The Samoan Wrecking Crew (Nia Jax & Tamina), and The Divas of Doom (Natalya & Beth Phoenix). Pretty good match with a dangerous tower of doom spot. Some great in-ring work by Natalya and Phoenix. She still has it. The finish was the big surprise. Phoenix splatters Bayley with a top rope Glam Slam. But the pin is broken up by Peyton Royce and Billie Kay who had blind tagged in. In typical heel fashion, they sneak in and steal the match, and the Women’s Tag Team Championships.

I did not see that coming, and possibly why they went with it.

Forget the essay, I’m coming right out with it. KOFI KINGSTON IS YOUR NEW WWE CHAMPION! He did it, finally!

This was an outstanding match too. Not some obligatory five-minute job. This went over 20 minutes and was a bona-fide wrestling match. You know, not every match needs unlimited high spots or big impact moves. The mat-based wrestling I witnessed tonight kept me at the edge of my seat. You can have an entertaining match without constant super-spots. Bryan controlled the match for a while, wearing down Kofi who would rally back and take the offensive until Bryan would regain. The close of the match saw some similarities to NXT TakeOver, where Pete Dunne and WALTER stomped each other’s heads in. Bryan locked on the submissions, over and over. Kingston and Bryan hit signature moves, but in the end, Kofi kicked out of the running knee, stomped on Bryan, and finally, finally, Kofi Kingston became WWE Champion. Words can’t fully deliver the feeling and the thrill of watching this live.

Samoa Joe defeated Rey Mysterio in the time it took my to type this, and I’m not making this up. The entrances were longer than the match.

Next up, Roman Reigns defeated Drew McIntyre. There was a part of me thinking it would be too obvious for Reigns to win. McIntyre dominated most of the match, but in the end it was the spear for the win. Wasn’t a very spectacular match, lots of punching, boots, running boots, and so forth. Meh.

Elias does a show with two pre-taped musical performances and somehow got it all to work. Was very good. Crowd got into it, from the aerial view you could see “ELIAS” in lights. Suddenly, we go retro with a clip of Babe Ruth, and out comes 2002-2003 season John Cena as the “Doctor of Thuginomics.” He cut a pretty slick promo, making fun of himself and his movies, as well as openly calling himself the “golden shovel” and burying Elias. Ouch. John Cena delivers the “FU” to Elias.

Wonder if that’s the end of that.

Triple H defeated Batista in a No Holds Barred Match

It was what we expected. Flashy entrances, big punches, slams, and the inevitable use of the ring stairs and table-crashing spots. It was the sort of brawling match we expected, and with low expectations, this match thankfully came to an end with an assist by Ric Flair to help Triple H hit Batista with a sledgehammer and pin him for the win. Not much else to say.

Bacon Rorbin defeated Kurt Angle

Sadly, this went how many of us expected it to go. Kurt Angle put Corbin over in his final match. I was impressed as to how much of the match Angle owned, throwing Bacon Bits all over the ring with suplexes. I was shocked Angle went to the top and attempted the BME, but wound up crashing. This allowed Corbin to hit his finisher to end it.

Thanks Kurt for all the years of wrestling. Whether it was WWE, TNA, or anywhere else, you’re always our Olympic Hero.

At this point, it’s 11:30pm, and we’re just starting the entrances for Bobby Lashley and “Demon” Finn Balor. I imagine they had no choice but to make this quick in order to give the Women’s Championship a good amount of time. In about five minutes the Demon plants Lashley with a Powerbomb, and hits the Coup de Grace in the middle of the ring for the pinfall victory.

After lengthy promos and entrances, the clock strikes 12-midnight, and the bell rings for the main event of WrestleMania, Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch in the Winner-take-all-championships match. Match starts off chaotic, everyone attacking, however Rousey takes control early on the outside of the ring. Later, back inside, Charlotte and Becky double-team Rousey, and this results in a nasty spill to the outside. After a flurry of back-and-forth submission attempts, Lynch takes Charlotte off the top with a Becksploder. Rousey attempts and hits a crossbody off the top, but no pinfall victory, so she tries a double submission. For her efforts, Rousey winds up getting dual powerbombed three times to break the hold. Some misunderstanding by the ref and Michael Cole, as the latter explains reaching the ropes does nothing, the ref is making a five count. Lots of near-falls and near-submissions taking us into the 15-minute mark of the match. Camera shot shows Rousey’s leg with massive bruising. Charlotte locks Rousey in the figure-eight, Lynch comes off the top rope and crashes on everyone, and somehow, this slices Charlotte’s arm up into a bloody mess.

If things weren’t crazy enough, Lynch introduces tables into the ring. This is fought over until Charlotte attempts a spear and winds up getting thrown through it. Funny moment when Rousey flips it and says “tables are for b****es.” The action picks up fast and the near-falls are rapid pace now. Rousey then goes for her swinging “Piper’s Pit” slam, which Becky counters into 1… 2… 3! Abruptly Becky Lynch pins Ronda Rousey to become the RAW and SmackDown Women’s Champion! What a finish! Out of nowhere!!

That was the best finish. Not some hyped and predicted submission or big signature finishing move. It was an out-of-nowhere-unexpected reversal which shocked us all.

So there you have it folks. I’d say this WrestleMania was better than expected. Many of the matches went the way we expected. Take the Triple H/Batista match. In the end, it really didn’t matter who would have won. We wound up with the type of match these two are able to put on and that’s enough. The title changes were well done, even then official Brock/Rollins match of less than three minutes. I’d say the best match of the night would be a tie between Bryan/Kofi and the Women’s main event of Ronda/Lynch/Charlotte. I also thought Samoa Joe completely owning Rey Mysterio was done well. Shows how dominant Joe should be.

As always, the fun isn’t over yet. The “Night After ‘Mania” tends to get crazy. We gets returns, debuts, and who knows, maybe a title change or two.

Overall I’d give this year’s WrestleMania a 3.5/5 stars.

Michael Dworkis
Michael Dworkis
Michael Dworkis has been a writer for The Pop Break since 2010. For over a decade he has contributed columns featuring Anime, Comics, Transformers, Television, Movies, and most notably, Professional Wrestling. Additionally, one of the key players in the original Angry Nerds column and a guest on one of Bill's various podcasts. When he is not grinding away at his next feature, or shouting expletives at the television while playing video games or watching wrestling, Michael actually has a full-time job,as a Mental Health Professional, working at a medical practice in New Jersey, and runs his own telehealth private practice. A family man through-and-through, requiring his three children to memorize all the Autobots and Decepticons on the collection shelves while also educating them in all things Marvel and Star Wars. You know, the stuff Disney owns.


Comments are closed.

Most Recent

Stay Connected