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A2Z Analysiz: WWE WrestleMania 31 (Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns)

Mania 31

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Levi’s Stadium – Santa Clara, CA – Sunday, March 29, 2015

Michael Cole, Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler, and JBL are on commentary.

~Kickoff Match #1~
WWE Tag Team Champions Cesaro & Tyson Kidd (w/ Natalya) defeat The Usos (Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso, w/ Naomi), Los Matadores (Diego & Fernando, w/ El Torito), and The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston, w/ Xavier Woods) at 9:58 to retain the titles. Kidd and Cesaro have been the Champions since 2.22.15, and this is their second defense. The match starts off hot and heavy, with plenty of talented competitors in there to keep the action moving at a fast pace. Cesaro takes Jey Uso and throws him (injured) shoulder-first into the barricade, which should take him out for the rest of the match. It’s tough to keep up with all the action with eight men in the match, plus all the seconds get involved as well. Of course they have to work in a big Tower of Doom spot. Moments after that, Jimmy is able to connect with a Frog Splash on Big E, but Cesaro sneaks in and steals the pin to retain the titles. That was a killer opener, with all eight men giving maximum effort to get the crowd into it. Plus, the right team went over.
Rating: ***¼

~Kickoff Match #2~
Big Show won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at 18:10 over (listed in order of elimination) Curtis Axel, Adam Rose, Fandango, Alex Riley, Zack Ryder, Bo Dallas, Hideo Itami, Diego, Fernando, Sin Cara, Tyson Kidd, Mark Henry, Konnor, Viktor, Darren Young, Heath Slater, Titus O’Neil, Jack Swagger, Big E, Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, Erick Rowan, Goldust, Kane, Jimmy Uso, Cesaro, Ryback, The Miz, and Damien Mizdow. Everyone from the four-way tag match is also in this battle royal except for the injured Jey Uso. Also of note is Hideo Itami making his main roster debut after winning a tournament in NXT for this opportunity. Of course he gets eliminated by the Big Show. The crowd doesn’t care for that. The big guys do a lot of dominating, and Miz and Mizdow work together as much as they can. The final four are Ryback, Show, Miz, and Mizdow. Show tosses Ryback out, and we’ve got three left. Miz tries to bully Mizdow into going after Show for him, but Mizdow refuses and tosses Miz to the floor! The crowd loves it! Of course to capitalize on that, Show eliminates Mizdow in short order to win his first-ever battle royal. This was actually a really entertaining battle royal, and since they proved after Cesaro won last year that they don’t care to follow up on it, I don’t mind Show winning.
Rating: **¾

~MATCH #1~
Daniel Bryan defeats Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Luke Harper, R-Truth, and Stardust in a Seven Way Ladder Match at 13:49 to win the title. Barrett has been the Champion since 1.5.15, and this is his third defense. No one wastes any time getting this match underway, and bodies are flying all over the place. The crowd is into everything, especially Daniel Bryan. Stardust has his own bedazzled ladder, and it doesn’t take long for Barrett to destroy it. Harper does the requisite Terry Funk helicopter spot, and that seems pretty fitting. Barrett throws out a bunch of Bull Hammers, which is a move I’ve always liked for him. Bryan knocks Barrett out with the Knee-Plus. He climbs up top and Ziggler quickly joins him, and they trade headbutts. Bryan scores the knockout blow to knock Ziggler down and he grabs the belt to become Intercontinental Champion. Great way to start the show, and the crowd loved seeing Bryan win another title here.
Rating: ***¾

~MATCH #2~
Randy Orton defeats Seth Rollins (w/ Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury) at 13:16. This is a really good matchup on paper, with both men pretty even but Orton having more experience and Rollins being a better high-flyer. They go back and forth early on and J&J Security interfere, so Orton takes them out with a double DDT from the apron to the floor. That gives Rollins the chance to hit a suicide dive and he takes control. Rollins and Orton both look great here, executing their signature moves and countering each other. Orton ends up hitting an RKO and Rollins somehow kicks out! J&J interfere again and eat a couple of RKOs for their trouble. Rollins hits a Curb Stomp but it only gets two! After a series of reversals Rollins tries another Curb Stomp but Orton counters him in mid-air with a vicious RKO! That’s enough to get the pin. What a terrific match – great opponents, fast-paced action, amazing finish. Love it.
Rating: ****

~MATCH #3~
Triple H defeats Sting at 18:39 in a No Disqualification & No Count Out Match. Sting is over pretty big in his first WWE match ever. It’s probably at least 10 years too late, to be honest. The crowd reaction helps Sting dominate in the early going. They brawl around for a bit and when Sting locks on the Scorpion Deathlock, the D-X music hits and Road Dogg, Billy Gunn, and X-Pac make their way out to distract Sting. It doesn’t work and Sting takes them all out with a dive from the top rope to the floor. When HHH hits the Pedigree Sting kicks out at two! HHH goes for the sledgehammer, and the nWo music hits. Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash make their way out. Why they would want to help Sting, I have no idea, especially since Hall and Nash are widely known as two of HHH’s best friends. The two factions brawl on the floor, and the idea of Billy Gunn, Road Dogg, and X-Pac being at all even with Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Hulk Hogan kind of makes me sick. Sting puts on the Scorpion Deathlock again, and Shawn Michaels sneaks in the ring and drills Sting with Sweet Chin Music. Now that’s interference that makes sense, and Michaels’ facial expressions are of course perfect because he’s the best ever. It only gets two. HHH goes for the sledgehammer and Hall hands Sting his baseball bat to counter. Sting breaks the sledgehammer with the bat, and then hits a Stinger Splash. He goes for another one but HHH has the good half of the sledgehammer and he blasts Sting in the face to get the pin. This was starting off okay, but when D-X and the nWo got there it got real dumb. There is absolutely zero reason for Hogan, Hall, and Nash to help Sting, and it wasn’t part of the buildup at all. After the match HHH offers Sting a handshake, which he takes. That also makes no sense given the buildup of the match. I kind of hated this.
Rating: *

~MATCH #4~
AJ Lee & Paige defeat The Bella Twins (Brie Bella & Nikki Bella) at 6:40. Nikki is the current Divas Champion, a title that all the competitors in this match have held before. Nikki knocks AJ off the apron pretty early in the match, so the Bellas can focus on Paige. This goes on for a bit, as Paige hangs tough, even kicking out of a Rack Attack. Eventually Paige makes the big comeback and the hot tag. AJ comes in a house afire. The referee loses control and in all the chaos AJ traps Nikki in the Black Widow to score the win. That was a solid little tag match but pretty much what you’d see on TV.
Rating: **¼

~Hall of Fame Class of 2015~
This year’s class includes Rikishi, Larry Zbyszko, Alundra Blayze, Connor “The Crusher” Michalek (Warrior Award), The Bushwhackers (Luke & Butch), Tatsumi Fujinami, Randy Savage (posthumous), Arnold Schwarzenegger (celebrity wing), and Kevin Nash.

~MATCH #5~
John Cena defeats WWE United States Champion Rusev (w/ Lana) at 14:32 to win the title. Rusev has been the Champion since 11.3.14, and this is his sixth defense. Cena starts off hot but Rusev is able to counter all of his attacks. Rusev beats Cena down and tries The Accolade but Cena avoids it and debuts the springboard Stunner. That gets two. Rusev quickly counters back and puts on The Accolade but Cena breaks out of it and puts on the STF. Lana interferes to break that up, and gets herself accidentally knocked off the apron by Rusev! I think that’s her first bump ever. One Attitude Adjustment later and Cena is the United States Champion for a fourth time. That was the usual good Big Match John performance, and Rusev more than held up his end. Nothing mind blowing here but it did the trick.
Rating: ***½

~MATCH #6~
The Undertaker defeats Bray Wyatt at 15:13. This is Undertaker’s first match since getting beaten by Brock Lesnar at last year’s WrestleMania to end The Streak. Undertaker dominates the early part of this thoroughly pointless match. Wyatt cuts him off and works his methodical pace, keeping Undertaker grounded. Undertaker fights back with the Chokeslam and the Tombstone Piledriver, which Wyatt actually kicks out of. Wyatt comes back and hits Sister Abigail, and Undertaker kicks out of that. Then Wyatt does his stupid little spider walk, and Undertaker sits up. A series of reversals ends with Undertaker hitting another Tombstone to get the pin. I was talking to my favorite burger reviewer Brad Garoon the other day and we were ranking the Undertaker’s WrestleMania matches in order of significance or importance. This match was unanimously selected dead last, as there was no Streak on the line here and it had no measurable effect on Bray Wyatt’s career. It was pretty dull and plodding besides. Really nothing to see here.
Rating: **

~MATCH #7~
Seth Rollins defeats WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) and Roman Reigns in a Triple Threat Match at 16:45 to win the title. Lesnar has been the Champion since 8.17.14, and this is his third defense. This one starts off quick and Lesnar hits an immediate German Suplex and an F-5! Lesnar begins picking Reigns apart, and unknowingly puts about a billion future dollars in his bank account when he coins “Suplex City, Bitch.” The Champ continues throwing suplexes and F-5s, as Reigns laughs to himself about the beating he’s taking. Reigns takes a third F-5 and kicks out, and now Lesnar is getting frustrated. Outside the ring Reigns is able to shove Lesnar into the ring post. That gives Reigns an opening. Back in the ring Reigns hits three Superman Punches to take Lesnar off his feet. Reigns hits the Spear and Lesnar gets back to his feet so Reigns hits another one and Lesnar kicks out! When Reigns goes for another Superman Punch, Lesnar catches him and hits another F-5! Both men are down, and Seth Rollins’ music hits! Rollins is adding himself to the match and cashing in Money in the Bank! He hits Lesnar with a Curb Stomp but when he goes for another one Lesnar picks him up for an F-5. Reigns breaks that up with a Spear, but then falls victim to a Curb Stomp and Rollins wins the title! I love this match. The big fight feel between Lesnar and Reigns was great, and Reigns looked like a beast by taking everything Lesnar dished out. Lesnar of course was amazing. Then Rollins added himself, becoming the first man to cash in Money in the Bank at WrestleMania, and the first man to add himself to an existing match instead of waiting for one to end. Great match, great finish, great result.
Rating: ****¼

A2Z Analysiz
Well this one ended on a high note, with a huge shocker in the main event pulled off flawlessly. This turned out to be a great show, with only two real stinkers out of nine matches, and several matches over delivering. This one holds up.

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