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By Tarron “Bamm Bamm” Coalson

Admittedly and in the object of full disclosure, I went into this years Wrestlemania thoroughly thinking that it was one of the most mis-booked cards in wrestling history. As a former independent wrestler of some fifteen years, booking is of ultimate importance to the program. The art of Professional Wrestling always will be the honesty of “the story” & this years lineup for the most part made little sense to me.

Taking into account, the depleted WWE roster because of injury gives them somewhat of a pass, but did anyone really think that Dean Ambrose had a chance against Brock Lesnar? Shane-O-Mac agaist The Undertaker? Really? This is your flagship Pay Per View & the booking & the creativity appeared to be lacking.

Still, I went into the event hoping against hope that somehow the WWE Creative team would be able to pull out some miracles & there were a couple of high spots, but ultimately the show fell weight to it’s mis-booking & poor story lines. Here is one man’s opinion on the events (not counting the Pre-Show) of the evening:

1-America the Beautiful by 5th Harmony actually got the show off to a nice start, so I started off the night in a good mood!

2-Intercontinental Championship 7 Man Ladder Match featuring: Dolph Ziglar, The Miz, Stardust, Sin Cara, Zack Ryder, Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens

The match starts out great & featured Zayn & Owens one on one which the crowd is really popping for. The match had a ton of high spots..Sin Cara spring boarding off a falling ladder to a top rope spring board to the floor. Sin Cara leveling StarDust through a ladder outside the ring. Ziglar super kicking everyone in sight. Zayn flooring Owens with a brutal throw where Owens head appeared to meet a ladder..HARD! In the end, it looked like The Miz would win before his pride allowed who, but…wait for it…Zack Ryder to scale the ladder & win the Intercontinental Championship. My first low point of the night…I’m all for the feel good story of Ryder winning his first title in 10 years of futility at WWE, but Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens is MONEY, it’s MAGIC & the crowd pops EVERYTIME they’re in the ring. Just sad that they won’t be battling over the Intercontinental title. Grade- A minus (downgraded on just the finish)

2-AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho
These two had the misfortune of following a hot opening match & it the pace of the match. They looked like slow motion compared to the first match & add to that the fact that the crowd is always different for Wrestlemania. Much of the same complaints that say The NCAA Final Four shouldn’t be in a football stadium…are the same when Wrestlemania is held, because of the sheer crowd size, it’s a different feel as the crowd noise is noticeably different & they seemed out of this match.

In defense of Jericho & Styles, the match picked up steam & they both had spots & traded submission maneuvers before Jericho surprised everyone by hitting the Code Breaker as Styles was coming off the top rope. This is definitely a bad sign for Styles going forward as he was getting a good push since his entry into the WWE. Grade- C-

3-The New Day vs. The League of Nations
UGH! I’m not going to even give you a move by move for this match, it was too painful to recall. Winner- League of Nations as Shaemus hits a Brogue Kick. Grade-D-

After the match, King Barrett says that no 3 men that beat the League of Nations & out comes Mr. Wrestlemania, Shaun Michaels, Mick Foley is in total Cactus Jack mode & last but not least, Stone Cold Steve Austin comes out & it’s on. Foley gets Mr. Socko, Shaun gets in a Superkick & Stone Cold stuns everyone. Crowd pops! Nice moment for the Legends. Then, New Day gets back in & try’s to get the Legends to dance which ends in Xavier Woods taking a Stone Cold Stunner. This part Grades to a solid B, but lost in it all, is the fact that you take one of the hottest things you have (THE NEW DAY) & make then pretty non-existant for Wrestlemania. Just don’t get it…..

4-Dean Ambrose vs Brock Lesnar with Paul Heyman- NO HOLDS BARRED STREET FIGHT

Well, the good news is that Ambrose went to Suplex City thirteen times. The bad news is that it’s getting to the point where Suplex City is the extent of Brock’s offense & it was obvious that Brock was unconfortable & not liking being in a Street Fight setting. Ambrose tried a Kendo stick (3 actually) & did his best Terry Funk impersonation throwing a dozen chairs in the ring, pulling out a chain saw & a fire extenguisher & Mick Foley’s barbed wire baseball bat. But, in really, this match was doomed to fail & Brock F5’d Ambose on the stack of chairs to earn a victory. Whoever thought a No Holds Barred Street Fight could be this bad..Grade D (even Heyman couldn’t save this tragedy)

5-Charlotte (Divas Champ) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch

It was announced earlier in the show that the winner of this match would be the 1st WWE Women’s World Champion & would receive a snazzy new Championship belt.

Charlotte was accompanied by the Nature Boy Ric Flair & Snoop Dog escorted Sasha banks out. The ladies looked a little uncomfortable at first. Maybe it was the crowd size, maybe jitters, but once it settled down, it continued to show that the Ladies Division in the WWE is trending up…WAY UP! Whatever they’re paying these 3, it’s not enough.

All the ladies got in high spots, great chain wrestling. Sasha Banks went over the top rope to sommersault on Charlotte. Even Becky Lynch went thru the ropes to take out the Nature Boy! The move of the night to this point was Charlotte going top rope to moonsault onto her two opponents on the floor. Charlotte gets the victory with the Figure Eight on Becky Lynch as Ric Flair prevents Sasha Banks from making the save. Grade-A

6-Shane McMahon (Shane-O-Mac) vs. The Undertaker in a Hell in A Cell match.

I’ll be the first to admit it, I just don’t get it..if Shane comes back you think he has to win to continue his Legacy. Undertaker doesn’t really get anything out of it because nobody thinks Shane can win anyway. What’s the point?

The announcers make the right analogy as it’s Cat vs. Mouse with Shane trying to stay away from The Undertaker. Even though both guys tried, the match had the pace of molasses..flowing uphill…just slow & plodding & then there was the camera guys that got too close with the mic’s & picked up some chatting between the two…then Shane cuts the bolts off one of the cage panels so Undertaker can drive him thru it. Then, the one case where “ the high spot” saves the match. Shane places Undertaker on the announce table & climbs to the top of the 20 foot high structure & flies with an elbow drop that misses & he crashes thru the announce table. Although really, not a good got to hand it to Shane-O Mac, he’s got nerves of steel & guts to boot!! A Tombstone pile driver later & Shane’s legacy is history. Undertaker walks out victorious & EMS carts Shane out as he gives a thumbs up going out. GRADE- B- (upgraded from C- just because of Shane’s dive off the cage!)

7-Andre The Giant Battle Royal–
Surprise participants included Diamond Dallas Page, Tatanka (Chris Chavis) & Shaquille O’Neal (yes, you read that right!) The match started with a Big Show/Shaq stare down that eventually ended with all the other guys eliminating Shaq & The Big Show. (Honestly, is any guy on their roster more disrespected than The Big Show…) Finally, with some great eliminations NXT champ Baron Corwin ended up as the surprise winner! Grade- C

8-The Rock announces a new Wrestlmania attendance record at 101,763 & then The Wyatt’s come out to challenge the Rock. It turns out to be a bad move as Eric Rowans gets pinned by the Rock in a Wrestlemania record six seconds. Then, the Wyatt’s surround the ring & the Rock’s demise seems imminent until the famous entrance music starts for John Cena who returns to help the Rock & they chase the Wyatt’s off using all the fav’s (Five Knuckle Shuffle/People’s Elbow, etc, etc… Grade-B

9-Roman Reigns vs Triple H for the WWE Heavyweight Champioship

I’ve been a big critic of Reigns, not of his work, but in how WWE uses him. He does terribly boring promo’s. He’s got a heel look, a heel personna, but WWE continues to push him as a face.

The match start out as a slugfest going back & forth in & out of the ring with Triple H working on Reigns arm to counter the
Superman punch. The match is high intensity with back & forth high impact blows. Stephanie McMahon tries to interfere & gets speared & the crowd gives one of the better “pops” of the night. Reigns lands the Superman punch & Triple H rolls to the edge of the ring where an injured Stephanie hands Triple H the patented “sledge hammer”. Reigns ducks the sledge hammer & spears Triple H to win the WWE Championship. The win gets an initial pop but the crowd settles quickly & you can hear the boo’s mixed in. Grade-B

The Monday Night Raw after Wrestlemania tends to reset storylines, so we’ll see what they can come with. This Wrestlemania ranks middle of the pack for me & certainly didn’t deliver the same surprises & impact as last years event. The highlights of the night were Zayn/Owens, the Ladies match & Shane-O-mac’s dive off the cage but beyond that, this card was set up to fail before it ever started. Tune in tomorrow for the follow up’s!

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