Records break, seven titles change, & botch
By Chad Cooper
What a night.
Seven new champions.
The Man is a dual champ.
KofiMania ran wild.
Multiple Alexa Bliss outfit changes.
Return of the Dr. of Thuganomics.
What more could you want? Though it was too long of a show, Wrestlemania 35 did not disappoint in front of a new MetLif Stadium crowd of 82,265 fans.
WWE also announced they grossed $16.9 million, which is the second-highest grossing WWE event in history second to only Wrestlemania 32 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Final grade: B+
RAW/Smackdown Women’s Title – Becky Lynch def. Ronda Rousey (c) & Charlotte Flair (c) (21:30)
The women closed Mania for the first time in history. Yes, we are elated that “The Man” Becky Lynch is now both RAW and Smackdown Women’s Champion, but the finish was bad. Lynch countered Rousey’s armbar with a rollup for the 1-2-3 in abrupt fashion and Rousey contested that her shoulders were up. Rousey looked piss All three gave an out-of-this-world effort, yet that finish will linger from giving this match a better grade. The entrances were even amazing entrances as Flair arrived via helicopter like her father Ric did at the 1986 Great American Bash and Rousey had Joan Jet perform her entrance song. Grade: B-
Intercontinental Championship – “Demon” Finn Bálor def. Bobby Lashley (c) (4:05)
Not much to see here. Sadly, someone had to work the match before the ‘Mania main event. Love the Demon gimmick, hated the Lashley’s color contact lenses. Finn with the Coup de Grace for the win. Grade: C-
Farewell Match – Baron Corbin def. Kurt Angle (6:05)
Short match with Corbin finishing off Angle’s career with the Book of Days. Hey, even Ric Flair lost in his final WWE match. Grade: D-
No Holds Barred – Triple H def. Batista (24:45)
Triple H avoided retirement by defeating Batista in a physical match. Let’s face it, both are basically 50-year-olds none-the-less we did see Triple H pull Batista’s nose ring out with pliers. Ric Flair helped out Hunter with a sledgehammer, which he used then plopped with a pedigree finisher. Grade: C+
Elias promised a performance to remember and he did just that. He had videos of himself playing piano and drums, but was interrupted by video of Babe Ruth followed by the return of John Cena. But not just any Cena, but the rapping Dr. of Thuganomics, who buried Elias with verbal burns. Before leaving the ring, Cena delivered the FU (not to be confused with his Attitude Adjustment). Grade: A-
Roman Reigns def. Drew McIntyre (10:10)
A physical match was expected by all as was Reigns winning. Drew did have a bagpipe entrance and Roman had the pyro. Drew dominated most of the match, but Roman won via Superman punch and spear. Grade: C+
United States Championship – Samoa Joe (c) def. Rey Mysterio (1:00)
Squash match. After a 619, Joe caught Rey leaping off the top rope and applied Coquina Clutch. Grade: C-
WWE Championship – Kofi Kingston def. Daniel Bryan (c) (23:45)
What more can you say? The storytelling in this feud was amazing and what made it even more special, the entire locker room was behind Kofi Kingston. KofiMania became a reality after 11 years. This match had everything a fan would want. Kofi fed off the crowd and finished with the Trouble in Paradise for the pin. The 82,000 in attendance popped and fireworks lit the sky.
Women’s Tag Team Championship – The IIconics def. Boss ‘N Hug Connection (c), Nia Jax & Tamina, and Beth Phoenix & Natalya (10:45)
What an iconic moment for Peyton Royce and Billie Kay. Several good spots including Bailey grabbing her tag partner Sasha’s hand from tapping out of a double sharpshooter by Natalya. Finish saw Beth hit Bailey with a Glam Slam off the top rope, but the IIconics slide into the ring to steal the win. Grade: B-
Falls Count Anywhere – Shane McMahon def. The Miz (15:30)
As I mentioned in the Wrestlemania 35 preview, Shane and Miz used a lot of the MetLife Stadium space in this match. Before the big spots, Miz’s father George Mizanin, jumped the barricade to stop Shane from dropping the elbow on Miz through the announcer’s table, but eventually took punches and stomps in the ring. The two made it throughout the crowd and McMahon was tossed onto the roof of a golf cart. After kicking out of a skull-crushing finale, both climbed atop of scaffolding and were suplexed off with Shane putting his arm over Miz for a 1-2-3. Crowd loved this and so did I. Grade: A-
Smackdown Tag Team Championship – The Usos (c) def. Ricochet & Aleister Black, The Bar, and Rusev & Shinsuke Nakamura (10:10)
I don’t know where to begin other than show stealer. Spot after spot after spot — Cesaro with the swing on Ricochet for several minutes; Ricochet 630 splash on Sheamus; and more. Finish saw the Usos retain with a “double Uce” splash on Sheamus for the pin. Grade: A
AJ Styles def. Randy Orton (16:20)
This match didn’t steal the show, but it was very solid for old school wrestling fans like me. Styles avoided several RKO outta-no where attempts and the Viper eventually planted a solid on at the 12:30 mark, which saw a dramatic kick out 2. Finish saw Styles with a chin-breaker and forearm finish. Grade: B+.
Universal Championship – Set Rollins def. Brock Lesnar (c) (2:30)
Paul Heyman darts out to announce to the crowd that if his client, Brock Lesnar, wasn’t going to main event Wrestlemania, then it was time to wrestle so he could head to Las Vegas where he was “ultimately appreciated,” which was a glaring reference to the UFC. Lesnar brutally attacked Rollins before the match with a F5 outside the ring. With the ref outside the ring, Seth gave Lesnar a low blow and the bell eventually rang followed a barrage of German suplexes. Finish came with multiple curb stomps and the Universal Title returns to weekly programming. Lesnar off to UFC for a fight with Daniel Cormier? Grade: B+
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal – Braun Strowman (10:20)
Zero surprises in this match, because it was built up for Strowman and Saturday Night Live co-hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che. I’ll say this – Jost knows how to get cheap heat (OBJ Cleveland jersey). As soon as Jost and Che entered, they hid under the ring until they confronted Braun, who eventually eliminated both. One nice moment came with a quick stare down of Strowman and Luke Harper. The “Monster Among Men” did have several cool eliminations, including kicking both Harper and Mustafi Ali off the apron. Grade: C-
RAW Tag Team Championship – Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins def. The Revival (c) (13:20)
The streak is over! In the first “feel good” moment of the show, Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins stunned The Revival to become the RAW tag team champions (for at least one night) and help snap Hawkins’ 269-match winless streak. One of the highlights of the match came when Dawson hit a brain-buster on Hawkins outside the ring so were the roll-up teasers. Finish saw Hawkins with a rollup of Dawson. The Revival are such good storytellers. Grade: B-
Women’s Battle Royal – Carmella (10:30)
The second bout on the Kickoff Show was the Women’s Battle Royal, which I enjoyed more than their respected counterparts. Several women had strong moments including the Riott Squad, Ember Moon (returning after a 6-month injury), and Dana Brooke, who received a lot of crowd support. Sarah Logan eliminated both Sonya Deville and Asuka and we thought we had a winner, but in came Carmella, who was never eliminated, for the win. Carmella has come a long way. A big win for Mella after being eliminated first in last year’s Battle Royal. Grade: C+
Cruiserweight Title Match – Tony Nese def. Buddy Murphy (c) (10:40)
Tony Nese became the new WWE Cruiserweight champion in the first match on the Kickoff Show. The crowd “oohed” and “aahed” for corkscrew moonsaults, reverse-ranas and a great final sequence that ended with the Running Nese for a pinfall. Hoping this means Buddy Murphy is getting elevated to main roster spot. Grade: B+