With another Wrestlemania in the books, the WWE universe once again looks very different going forward. In terms of Wrestlemania 33 itself, it’s hard to fully encapsulate thoughts on everything into a not too long post, but I will try to respond to as much from the show as possible. Note that this won’t include NXT Takeover from Saturday night (post on that coming this week) and will only briefly touch upon the major aspects like the Undertaker situation, for both space and potential future pieces. Without further ado, onto the content.
For a show I was pretty down on, there was a whole lot of good here. Firstly, there were some really fun matches to watch, specifically in AJ Styles v. Shane and Kevin Owens v. Chris Jericho. For the former, AJ is the best worker in the company, so he wasn’t a huge shock, but Shane went out of his way to not only hit ridiculous spots, but also work with AJ on some mat wrestling, which was a nice change. As for the latter, it was just as expected, two excellent workers building off a well developed feud, with the right guy going over. In addition to other solid matches like Neville v. Aries and Rollins v. Triple H (which has incredible selling and storytelling from Rollins), we also got to witness the arrival/return of the BROKEN Hardys, who were a surprise entrant in the Raw Tag Title match. While they were noticeable tired (they had just dropped the ROH Tag Belts in a ladder match the night before), the simple fact that they returned fired up the crowd and added an extra layer to the match. Also, Jeff is still crazy, doing Swanton Bombs through ladders. The Hall of Fame is always nice, but this year was special with Kurt Angle coming out to his music; a scene I never thought I’d see again.
While the rest of the show (except for what will be mentioned in upcoming sections) was fairly solid, the last point that was spectacular was The Undertaker match. Starting with commentary, the greatest wrestling play by play commentator of all time, Jim Ross, came back to call this seminal match. While Take is absolutely hurting, and the match was slow, the story that The Undertaker told, in refusing to give up “his yard” to the young upstart Roman Reigns, was heartbreaking. This goes beyond the tear inducing send off, presumably marking his retirement, and into showing a clinic in actual in ring storytelling that isn’t just a set of spots. Even though I wasn’t too happy with Reigns’ weird demeanor during the match, his disbelief in The Undertaker’s perseverance worked well. Also, in Reigns’ walk up the ramp after his victory, he looked noticeably shaken, presumably due to the enormity of the moment, and he being the wrestler to retire one of the most important wrestlers of all time.
Honestly, there was very little that was outright bad on this show in terms of content. Barring the boring match that ever show has, in this case being Ambrose v. Corbin, most of the moments were solid to acceptable in my eyes. In terms of matches, the only problem I have was in the Cena and Bella v. Miz and Maryse match. The whole thing, excluding the proposal at the end, was a mess; from Al Roker being a ring announcer for some reason, to Jerry Lawler being the inexplicable guest commentator for a match about couples. Also, for a build up so beautifully done by The Miz, the match itself didn’t make anyone look good, as it’s short time frame disallowed standout performances. I know all of these workers are high quality wrestlers, so this will most likely just be a rare miss.
The really big issues came in the timing of the whole show. First off, if you watched the pre show as well as the main show as I did, you were watching around 7 hours of wrestling in a row. I get that this is WWE’s biggest show, but that is extremely long for one shot. With that in mind, both of the Women’s division matches were incredibly rushed, which was a huge disservice to some of the best workers on the card. They all did the best with the time given, but it really hurt the Raw match, in that Bayleys victory seemed to come out of nowhere. WWE seems to make solid headway in terms of the women’s matches, but sometimes trip up with weird moves like this.
The Very Very Weird
If you watched the show, you know where this is going. In the Orton v. Wyatt WWE Championship match, at random points in the match, the stadium went dark and gross scenes of maggots or roaches were projected onto the ring. While really cool technically, and adding a new dimension to a match, the crowd seemed very confused on how to react to it. Add that to the crowd begin noticeably tired by this point in the show, and a cool gimmick shifted into a distraction. It may be because of that that the finish of the match seemed so lackluster. That said, it’s still an interesting idea, and if placed better on the card, it may be very fun for another experiment.
In that vein, the match order of this show made no sense. The two best matches opened the show with AJ v. Shane and Owens v. Jericho, and the matches that immediately followed didn’t really give the audience room to breathe. Due to that, the show was quickly exhausting, and it ended up hurting some of the matches later in the show, notably the previously mentioned Orton v. Wyatt as well as the Smackdown Women’s Championship match. The weird order mixing with the length didn’t do WWE any favors, and made what could have been a great show just solid.
Overall, while the show wasn’t out of this world, it exceeded my fairly low expectations. I know I didn’t mention Lesnar v. Goldberg (not much to say on that) and I’m sure I missed something else as well. If I did, let us know in the comments below, or tell us how you felt about the show!