Wrestling’s biggest annual event didn’t fail to disappoint, for the most part, as new champions were crowned in a tradition-breaking night at MetLife Stadium.
In front of over 83,000 people, women’s wrestling went on last in the ‘main event’ of WrestleMania for the first time in history. In a Triple Threat match for both the Raw and SmackDown Women’s titles, Becky Lynch defeated Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair to end what was a night of mostly popular results.
Lynch joined six others to be crowned the new champion in New York. Both the Universal Championship and WWE Championship changed hands, Seth Rollins defeating Brock Lesnar in the first match of the night and Kofi Kingston finally reaching the mountain-top of professional wrestling after beating Daniel Bryan.
Kingston hadn’t had a singles match at WrestleMania prior to tonight, and his crowning as WWE Champion was one of the most popular results amongst fans in a long time, perhaps ironically, since his opponent Daniel Bryan captured the same title on the same stage back in 2014 after several years of performing in the mid card.
But for women’s wrestling, going on as the last match was history in itself, and it firmly puts a stamp on the revolution that has seen WWE continue to push its female competitors as regular main-event stature.
Joined by Rousey and Flair, all three women put on a Triple Threat match that could rival any of the men from past years, although it was a shame that the table didn’t break at the end when it was clearly supposed to be a big spot in the match.
Another high point of the night was the Falls Count Anywhere and No Holds Barred matches.
A huge spot at the top of the camera stand saw The Miz suplex Shane McMahon in a near 20-metre drop, only for McMahon to land on top and get the pinfall. Despite taking the loss, it was a great showing for Miz, a performer who many believe should be main eventing more often, and finally, worthy of a place in the top tier of all-time Wrestlemania matches.
Triple H vs Batista was equally as entertaining, albeit with a feel of just another match to satisfy the short-lived return of Batista, now a regular in Hollywood. Triple H, to the surprise of nobody, coming out on top for yet another WrestleMania moment.
John Cena also returned, but this time as ‘The Doctor of Thuganomics’, one of his original gimmicks as a performer. Kurt Angle’s highly controversial farewell match against Baron Corbin went ahead with the former Olympic Gold Medalist taking the loss, signalling the passing of the torch to the next generation after a career spanning 20-years.
Overall Rating: 7/10 Stars
It wasn’t the best WrestleMania but it certainly wasn’t the worst.
Most of the big matches lived up to the hype, albeit with few surprises other than the scheduling with WWE choosing to put Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins up first. Some of the mid card matches felt forced and the pre-show once again filled as an opportunity to get the entire roster some airtime.
No appearances from Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, or The Undertaker will disappoint and surprise many, and the quick defeat of Rey Mysterio, a WWE legend, further confirms that the company is putting big value on some of its newer main eventers.
WrestleMania heads to Tampa Bay in 2020.
Michael Pulman is a freelance journalist and content producer based in Hamilton, New Zealand. Since starting writing professionally in 2014, Michael has covered professional sports and has had articles on social issues published in mainstream media outlets in New Zealand and Internationally.