Mark For War: Marked Out/Missed The Mark — Wrestlemania 31
Another Wrestlemania is in the books, my friends.
Let’s get to the recap.
I’ve broken it down for you based on what I liked and what I didn’t.
If I didn’t mention it, I DID NOT forget it happened. I just was indifferent to it.
By the way, I literally predicted all these matches correctly, for the most part, in last week’s article.
Here we go!
Looked great. Big big big show feel. They’ve figured it out. Going big is the only way to go for ‘Mania.
A minor mark out. Typical over-“Oh”ing and “Ah”ing by the hot crowd. Good action, but we’ve seen this before from several ‘Mania ladder matches match in the past. Ambrose’s ladder bump was overrated. He got powerbombed through a ladder. Talk to Jeff Hardy about that. My enjoyment of this match was based mainly on the Bryan/Ziggler interaction. That headbutt fest at the end was outstanding, and I don’t know how they remained balanced on a fifteen-foot ladder during that spot.
IC Champs of Yesteryear Backstage
Why was Flair in this segment, and why do they insist on Steamboat dressing up like a ninja still? Besides that, awesome!
Orton vs. Rollins
Whelp, I called this. Orton winning clean and becoming what I call a “Bowling Pin” : Someone who is set up for the new World Champ to knock down and validate their reign in the short term. Expect Rollins to be Orton’s first victim during his title reign.
Made me think of his rival, and future Hall of Famer, The Great Muta.
Triple H Entrance
I laughed my ass off at this initially. This is rare for me because I usually don’t laugh at things the WWE feeds to me as being “serious.” In hindsight, this entrance, as cheesy as it was, ruled HARD! When Arnold said, “It’s time to play the game,” I got jacked for the match!
Triple H vs. Sting
I’m going to get hate for this, but I think this was the match of the night. Hear me out:
In Step Brothers, John C. Riley says about his collection of old Playboys, “It’s like jerking off in a time machine.” This was the Wrestlemania match equivalent of that. The Attitude Era was based around in ring work taking it back seat to big personas and out of left field booking surprises. Times have changed. This match rewound the watch fifteen years and took all us Attitude Era kids back. The best part? I really think the majority of us didn’t realize they were doing it until the dust settled. Special.
One of the best Wrestlemania entrances ever. Although, I would have liked to hear Rusev’s music play as the tank emerged from backstage, as opposed to the Russian national anthem. It would have been chilling to see the tank roll out Rusev’s hardass theme music began.
First of all, give me props for calling that Rousey should have been involved in this year’s Mania a couple of weeks back.
You could feel the tension in that ring. The pacing was a little too slow. Rock did not say his, “Finally…” line, so that sucked. Besides that, Rock owned and Steph promo’d as only they can do. Trips stood back and let two of the best on the mic go at it like two fencers. Then Rousey came in to play. You could see her “Four Horsewomen” telegraph the segment with their shit eating grins when Rock walked by (Thanks for that, Four Horsewomen). The hip toss on HHH was magic. I was bummed Steph only got armed bared and not punched. However, I assume that was Rousey’s call. I’ve heard UFC people don’t like hitting people outside of the octagon because it cheapens their name. Sort of like Lebron not entering the slam-dunk contest.
Women of WWE Dressed up
Here’s my top five.
1) Stephanie McMahon: Outstanding eye makeup. Color changing contacts. Great hair. Business suit.
2) Lana: Around the Fur on repeat.
3) Maria Muninos: When the girl next door happens to be a wrestling fan. Throw back Bushwhackers shirt and jeans when she could have worn a $6,000 dress. Gotta love it.
4) Michele Beadle: Every Veronica needs a Betty. A close number two for best female celebrity WWE fan. Sat next to Rick Rubin tweeting like hell between matches.
5) Dana Hellwig (Warrior’s Wife): Introduced the Warrior Award and gave a small tribute to her late husband. You can tell she’s a warm soul. She should come back to present the award every year.
Bray Wyatt Entrance
Lesnar vs. Reigns
This match was stiffer than rigormortis. I’ve noticed that Lesnar is becoming the king of the potato match because, coming from the UFC, wrestling combat sees tame to him. To his credit, he is cool with taking what he dishes. Reigns laid in to Lesnar the whole match, and Lesnar acted like it was a casual Friday at the office. I’ve been vocal about this not being the right Main Event, and I still feel that way. But this was still a great match. Ultimately though, I didn’t like the finish, which I will address below.
A great Wrestlemania. Arguably one of the best I’ve seen, if not the best, in the last ten years. It was well-rounded and contained considerable drama. I’d rank the overall show an 8/10, which is pretty good considering the few Wrestlemania’s that outscored it I’d rank a 9/10. I thought last Mania was a 6/10, with the Lesnar/Taker match stealing the show and the Main Event being improperly booked. This Main Event was improperly booked as well, but nowhere near the misbooking that was last year’s Main Event was. Even though I put over the Sting/HHH match, the main event this year was probably the overall best match. Kudos to WWE for that. The best match on an apex show should be the main event, or else they’ve done something wrong.
Missed the Mark
A saw a woman in a wedding dress, a guy dressed like Stardust, and the first-ever “Hulk Hogan” guy. WWE fans at Wrestlemania never cease to annoy. Also, how insecure do you have to be to bring a huge sign with your (or your friend’s) ugly face on it to raise from your $10,000 fifth row center seat?
No Flair, Tyson, Rodman, or Chyna during Sting/HHH
When Michaels came out, I for sure thought Flair would come to help out Sting. He didn’t come out, which is baffling because he was in the next backstage segment. It would have taken him a year to get down that ramp, though. Mike Tyson was a member of DX. Dennis Rodman was a member of the NWO. Can you imagine those dudes squaring off? Lastly, if Chyna would have came out to be the deciding factor in the match (pipe dream) and hugged HHH in the middle of that ring to the close the match, can you imagine the pop from the crowd upon their reconciliation?
The video was epic, I’ll give him that. However, Cena has always had elaborate, show stealing entrances at ‘Mania. Why the hell this didn’t happen this year, I have no idea. I was waiting for him to fly in on a chopper, to be honest. Fuck!
The dude has a new t-Shirt every week, yet doesn’t have a new t-Shirt for the biggest event of the year? A US Flag with “Never Give Up” written below it would have rivaled Hogan’s famous “American Made” shirt. Someone dropped the ball on that one.
Cena vs. Rusev Ending
A slight miss in a very awesome match. I like that Cena won. Lana should have taken a bigger bump off the apron, though. Not saying she should have killed herself, but a harder fall would have been nice. Also, I don’t like Cena winning via pinfall after the AA. He should have AA’d Rusev, and locked him in to a brutal STF ’til he tapped. A couple minutes before, a US flag should have made its way in to the ring. Cena should have wrapped it around his forearm in a non-illegal fashion, and slapped on the hold.
No Lana Upskirt Camera Shot at the End
Hall of Fame Lineup
I don’t like the fact that Randy Savage didn’t get more of a tribute in the arena itself. They should have cut up an old Wrestlemania promo and act like he was cutting it from backstage. Then cued his music, sending us into the next segment. Instead, we had Kevin Nash come out to his lame as Diesel music. Nash goes down as the flagship inductee, when he has no business being in such a class with Savage. Horrible. Also, time to cut down the number of entrants. It should be five a year and the Warrior Award. Not ten a year. At this rate, half the WWE’s current roster will be in the Hall of Fame.
Bray Wyatt Shirt
Dude, can someone tell me why the hell Wyatt wore a lame ass, WWE Shopzone Bray Wyatt shirt to the ring in the biggest match of his career? Why not the plain black wife beater he’s been known to wear, with a slightly different trim or something? Horrible call.
Sucked. Arguably the worst entrance ‘Taker has had at a ‘Mania in the last twenty years. No druids. No coffins. Also, the west coast daylight killed it. But that’s not his fault.
‘Taker vs. Wyatt
Last week I said that Wyatt had no chance of winning this match, and many of you jumped on me. Once the match got rolling, did any of you actually think Wyatt had a shot? I don’t think he had an offensive flurry until about twelve minutes into the match. Unless ‘Taker promised this match to Wyatt when he was a little boy running around backstage, this match served no point. It should have been a confrontation leading to a rematch with Lesnar next ‘Mania. Don’t get me wrong, this match was good, but still was the worst ‘Mania match ‘Taker has had in the last seven years.
Side note: There is no place left for ‘Taker to go. It’s either a Lesnar rematch for redemption or it’s pointless. He has one more match in him and it must be that.
The Ending of the Main Event
The only thing I give credit for was the swerve on Rollins obtaining the title through a triple threat loophole and not having to pin Lesnar to get the title. Good twist.
I think this booking would have been a better alternative: Lesnar beats Reigns, Rollins cashes in, Lesnar beats Rollins, and leaves the undisputed champion and a dude who just beat two top five competitors back to back, cementing himself as an unbeatable beast. A couple months later, at the Money in the Bank PPV, Rollins wins again. At this point, Rollins does his homework and cashes in a three-way fashion at a major PPV like Summerslam, just has he did at ‘Mania, and wins. From there, before Lesnar can even get his bearings straight to chase Rollins, the ‘Taker/Lesnar feud is reborn, resulting in a six-ish month build to Lesnar/Taker 2 at ‘Mania 31. Rollins loses the title somewhere down the line to either Cena or Bryan, and the other wins the Rumble. You have Cena and Bryan (both likely being the US and IC champs still) headlining ‘Mania, in a clash similar to Hogan/Warrior Wrestlemania VI. Plus, WWE would have a golden opportunity to throw the Bellas in the mix with the feud, who are well documented to be leaving the company in the near future. You have a great sendoff for the Bellas, a killer championship match at ‘Mania 32, and Lesnar/Taker 2 on the undercard, ideally with Lesnar winning, setting up a title chase for ‘Mania starting the day after ‘Mania.
No match of the week this week. Rewatch ‘Mania 31, or watch it if you haven’t already.
Stoked to hear your thoughts on the big show. Weigh in below!