Wrestlemania 33: Report Card

Wrestlemania is known as “The Grandest Stage of Them All.” With the 33rd edition of Wrestlemania on tonight, April 2, we decided to share our thoughts on all of the matches and segments of Wrestlemania 33. Think of it as a school report card…

PRE-SHOW

Neville Defeats Austin Aries for the Cruiserweight Championship

This was the first Cruiserweight match since Wrestlemania 20. Neither Neville and Aries disappointed. Both competitors know how to fly and put on a great aerial display. Aries was in control for most of the match but Neville kicked out of multiple pinfalls. Neville took the victory after gauging Aries in the eye and hitting The Red Arrow to continue his impressive heel run.

Letter Grade: B+

Mojo Rawley Wins the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

I truly believe this match could be a lot more than what it has become. It has been relegated to mere jobbers with nothing to do at the real show (basically giants like The Big Show, Braun Strowman, Mark Henry and other random participants whose careers will not advance an iota from winning this thing). I wish the trophy meant more and the only real solution would be to give the match more relevance in the title picture. Maybe pretend it’s the Royal Rumble on a lower scale, and the winner gets a shot at a mid-card title of his choice? Anything other than this garbage. Do we really need to see R-Truth, Jinder Mahal, or the Vaudevillans on a Wrestlemania stage? WWE, fix this. Andre’s legacy deserves better. There were no positives to this match other than Rob Gronkowski’s moment. It was very cool seeing Gronk enter the ring at the behest of security to destroy Jinder Mahal. Gronk’s training partner, Mojo Rawley, won but who really cares? This was awful. Gronk was the only thing that saved this match from being an F.

Letter Grade: D

Dean Ambrose Defeats Baron Corbin for the Intercontinental Championship

I was pleasantly surprised that this match was designated to the pre-show, given where Ambrose was just a year ago. He had been main-eventing pay-per-view and fighting Brock Lesnar at last year’s Mania. His match with Corbin was pretty boring, and I may be in the minority, but I don’t find Dean Ambrose’s character particularly entertaining. He’s been playing with this “Lunatic Fringe” character for way too long now, he oversells more than anybody not named Dolph Ziggler, and his repertoire hasn’t really changed in years. Ambrose retained, but this match dragged and was not a very good one.

Letter Grade: C-

Random Thoughts on the Pre-Show

  • Why are there commercial breaks during the matches? This is Wrestlemania. It is completely ridiculous that WWE put advertisements over the actual match, even if it is only the pre-show.
  • Shawn Michaels has definitely been drinking.
  • It certainly seemed like that female security guard who apprehended Gronkowski had no idea that Gronk was going to enter the ring. She seriously was trying to stop him, as if he was a regular fan who was trying to enter illegally and wasn’t included in the script.

WRESTLEMANIA

A.J Styles Defeats Shane McMahon

While I wouldn’t call this a dream match, it certainly had the makings of an epic one.
Shane proved that he’s more than just a daredevil, as he did a solid technical job.
Styles accidentally kicked the referee in the head so this match devolved into an extreme rules match. I was waiting the entire time for McMahon to jump off something high and this was the perfect opportunity. Styles began taking out hardcore items, such as a garbage can. “The Phenomenal One” tried replicating Shane’s famous move with the can but Shane O’Mac countered and hit Styles in the face with the trash can. McMahon then hit him with that famous can move and then tried jumping off the ring post to put Styles through the announcers table, but A.J moved and Shane crashed through instead. Styles ended the match with a phenomenal forearm.

McMahon has become too much of a gimmick as opposed to an actual wrestler which hurt the match. Still, for an opener, this garnered a high grade in my book.

Letter Grade: A-

Kevin Owens Defeats Chris Jericho for US Title

The battle between former best friends turned adversaries was extremely personal. Owens is the far younger, far better wrestler and it showed. Jericho can still wrestle but he’s nowhere near what he used to be. The match was too fast paced for Owens’ usual speed but the two of them really sold the in-ring storyline and fans could feel the emotion in the match. Owens deservedly won the match and became the new United States champion.

Letter Grade: B

Bayley Defeats Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Nia Jax for the Raw Women’s Championship

This match would’ve be so much better without Nia Jax there to begin with. It’s a good thing she was eliminated quickly. Bayley, Sasha Banks and Charlotte are all excellent wrestlers and know how to put on a great show as they’ve done countless times on NXT. Yet this round was not nearly as great as those matches were. The match felt like it was cut short due to time, which was a major disappointment. These women could have put on the match of the night if given proper time, but the match seemed extremely rushed. It was very nice to see Bayley win the match with the Macho Man elbow.

Letter Grade: B-

Cesaro and Sheamus vs. Enzo and Cass vs. The Club in a Ladder Match for the Raw Tag Team Championship

The New Day came out and introduced the a new tag team to the match… THE HARDY BOYS! The Hardy Boys defeated Cesaro and Sheamus, Enzo and Cass, and The Club. Matt and Jeff, the originators of the ladder match absolutely shocked everybody with their return (the crowd was freaking out). It was a surreal moment for wrestling fans, one that Wrestlemania is made for.

Ladder matches are always enjoyable but they’re something special when the Hardy Boys really involved. There was no more satisfying moment then when Jeff Hardy hit a Swanton Bomb off the ladder 20 feet in the air, crashing through Cesaro and then when Matt pulled down the titles.

 

Letter Grade: A

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John Cena and Nikki Bella Defeat The Miz and Maryse

This mixed tag match had all the makings of something extremely silly. These types of matches are usually dumb, so with expectations so low it was pretty easy for me to enjoy it, which I kind of did. Although, putting John Cena in a Total Divas drama match at Wrestlemania is a major waste of star power. The reason would become clearer later but I still think it’s inexcusable.

Letter Grade: C-

John Cena Proposes to Nikki Bella

It was rumored in the week leading up to Mania that this might happen so I’m not surprised. I am not going to grade this, but I’ll just say it was a beautiful moment, and it was incredible to see a proposal on the grandest stage of them all.

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Triple H vs. Seth Rollins in a Holds Harmless Match

This match had been in the making for a long, long time. It had been rumored for months, and their story began years ago, with the breakup of The Shield. HHH says that he “created” Rollins and that now he’s going to destroy him. It was a non-sanctioned match, anything goes, where Seth couldn’t sue WWE if he were to get injured. But for an “unsanctioned” match, it was actually pretty safe. The lack of crowd noise is really hurt this, and all of, the matches. Wake up Orlando! All I can hear from fans are shrieks. I expected this to be better than it was. It’s hard to explain exactly what was wrong with it, but the lack of enthusiasm from the crowd was really the biggest problem. The end of the match was by far the best part, with Stephanie McMahon going through a table and Rollins beating Triple H, which raised the match a notch.

Letter Grade: A-

Randy Orton Defeats Bray Wyatt for the WWE Championship

This is Wyatt’s best feud since his matchups with Dean Ambrose. Orton lighting Sister Abigail’s house on fire ignited (pun intended) this rivalry to a whole new level. “The Eater of Worlds” tried getting in Orton’s head by having the entire background of the ring turned into a picture of worms by the lighting crew. It was a unique and fascinating attempt by Wyatt, and may be the greatest thing he’s ever tried to pull off. I thought it was genius and I know if I were his opponent I would be shaken by that. I normally think Bray’s in-ring work is less than entertaining and it wasn’t great tonight either. There was also a major lack of action in this match.

Letter Grade: B+

Brock Lesnar Defeats Goldberg for the Universal Championship

Goldberg certainly looked intense on his walk through the backstage area and into the ring. Goldberg had Lesnar’s number in their previous matchup at Survivor Series, when Goldberg beat “The Beast Incarnate” in less than two minutes. The mood was palpable for this epic match, and the crowd finally got loud for this one. Finally, there was lots of action! Lesnar came out of the gate with a trifecta of Suplexes, but Goldberg responded with multiple spears and then and a spear through the barricade. This was like a squash match on both sides. Clearly, Goldberg couldn’t fight for very long, as this match ended rather quickly. If they would’ve kept it up for longer this match could’ve been a Match of the Year candidate, but Lesnar hit Goldberg with 10 German Suplex’s and an F-5 to end this segment. As a Twitter user put it, “I’d rather have 5 minutes of what Goldberg-Lesnar did then 10 minutes of Wyatt-Orton.”

Letter grade: A-

Naomi Defeats Alexa Bliss, Becky Lynch, Carmella vs. Natalya, Mickie James in a 6-Pack Challenge for the Smackdown Women’s Title

Complete and obvious filler, based on where it was placed on the card. The clock was ticking on Wrestlemania as a whole and the only reason this match wasn’t scrapped at all was because of all the backlash WWE would have recieved. Naomi won the title in her hometown of Orlando, but this was a waste of time.

Letter Grade: F

Roman Reigns Defeats The Undertaker

It appears that this will be Taker’s final match, given the main event spot, his age, and the fact that Jim Ross will be announcing. If it is then it will be a very emotional moment for everybody involved. Fans have enjoyed seeing The Undertaker return for his specialty matches these past few years, and his Wrestlemania streak is unprecedented and virtually unbreakable. Win or loss, if this is it, Taker will be missed.

The match was very good, but for the main event it came up short. From a nostalgia aspect, if this is the Undertaker’s final match, then the actual in-ring work will not matter very much. Reigns shockingly beat Taker, much to the chagrin of the crowd. This is the biggest win of his career.

Letter Grade: Going on the assumption that this is his last match I’ll give it an A. From the actual match itself, it wasn’t even close. Taker is finished. He can’t put on a full-length match anymore, but we will miss him anyway. Thank you Undertaker! It’s time to go.

His placing of all his attire at the end of the match, like his gloves, his jacket and his hat was an incredibly emotional moment and a great send-off for one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. The walk-back, and the Undertakers bells tolling in darkness were a chill-inducing moment for every wrestling fan.

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