In the world of wrestling, it is peak season. All in one three-day stretch, we got the proverbial season finale, and the season premiere. To say that the aforementioned three-day stretch was eventful would be an understatement. Let’s start with the first night, WRESTLEMANIA!
Wrestlemania was an absolute spectacle. The aesthetics were grand. An amusement park-inspired set, with an 80+ yard walkway was probably the best stage setup WWE has ever put together. Mania is and will always be, about grand moments.
On the pre-show, NFL superstar Rob Gronkowski stepped in the ring and got physical. He hit Jinder Maha with a huge shoulder tackle, assisting real life friend and former University of Maryland football player, Mojo Rawley win annual Andre The Giant Battle Royal.
Shane McMahon missed an elbow drop through a table, missed a Shooting Star Press, and landed a coast-to-coast dropkick all en route to a loss AJ Styles, who is universally recognized as the best pure wrestler-entertainer in the business today. Top quality match.
In my eyes, the moment of the night was The Hardy Boys making a triumphant return and winning the tag titles in their first night back on the WWE roster. They returned in a surprise manner in their specialty, a Ladder match. In hindsight, this moment probably stole the show for most fans.
John Cena provided the ‘Awwww that’s so beautiful’ moment of the night, when he proposed to real life girlfriend and fellow wrestler, Nikki Bella after their match vs The Miz and his wife Maryse in mixed tag bout. He gave up having a spotlight match and instead went the Good Morning America coverage route.
Triple H, during his grudge match with Seth Rollins, accidentally knocked his dastardly wife, and most legitimately disliked performer on the roster, Stephanie McMahon through a table. Hopefully that gets rid of her for a good while.
Goldberg vs Brock Lesnar only lasted for five minutes. Man was that the most hard hitting, action packed five minutes of wrestling that I can remember. So simple, yet so awe inspiring. Brock finally defeated Goldberg in a match that felt like a real showcase of immortals.
The main event featured the end of one of the true icons of the wrestling business. The Undertaker lost to ‘The Guy’ Roman Reigns in an OK match. But again, this was simply a moment. After the loss, Taker took off his iconic gloves, coat, and hat in the middle of the ring. A true legend who only loss two times in 25 matches at Wrestlemania. We will never see another wrestler who could pull off a wrestling gimmick the way he did.
Monday nights are for Raw. The new edition of Raw after ‘Mania features quite possible the most raucous crowd of any episode annually. This year was no different. The first 15 minutes of Raw was simply the crowd chanting “Thank you, Taker!”, “F**k you Roman”, and everything in between. Roman Reigns, who again is positioned as the company’s number one guy, was booed unlike anything I’ve ever seen in wrestling. WOW! He gloated about defeating Undertaker by simply saying “This is my yard now!” and dropping mic. Nuclear Heat.
Vincent McMahon later came out to drop two big announcements. The first was that next week, Raw and Smackdown rosters will undergo some type of “shakeup’. Second announcement was that Kurt Angle returned to WWE TV as he was named the new General manager of Monday Night Raw. Was great to see him back in WWE for the first time this decade. Raw also saw Brock Lesnar face off with the huge Braun Strowman, and ended with the return of Finn Balor.
SmackDown saw the much anticipated WWE debut of Japanese sensation, Shinsuke Nakamura. He is the most charismatic dude in world of professional wrestling. He will take the WWE Universe by storm.
All in all, it was a very momentous three-day stretch. They will look to continue the momentum next week as some unknown changes will be made to the Raw and SmackDown rosters. For us wresting nerds, this is pretty much the most exciting time of the year. Lets hope Vince and the boys can keep the momentum going with good, fresh content.