WrestleMania 33 is in the books and while some matches weren’t as strong as I hoped, I can’t deny the nostalgia played masterfully by the WWE to make this night something special. It was a night that featured wrestlers of old (Goldberg, The Undertaker, Triple H, The Hardys and Chris Jericho) mixed with the younger stars (Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Baron Corbin, Bray Wyatt). While there were some notable absences such as The Rock and Stone Cold, the show branded as the “Ultimate Thrill Ride” was highly entertaining. Let’s see what worked, and what didn’t.
That was awesome!
If we are going to talk about the best moments of the night, then look no further than the return of The Hardys at the biggest show of them all. We haven’t seen any Hardy on TV in over eight years and while they were gone, they developed this “#Broken” gimmick that’s kept Matt and Jeff hardy relevant in the wrestling world again.
When the WrestleMania hosts, The New Day, declared there would be a fourth team to compete in the tag team ladder match, no one expected The Hardys to reemerge. When that Team Extreme music hit, and the Hardys came out, the Orlando crowd erupted as if Stone Cold and The Rock agreed to come back full time.
The team proved what’s old is new, resurrecting their old Hardy Boyz gimmick with some subtle references to their #Broken personas and this made sense. This is WrestleMania and this isn’t a time to try a new gimmick with slow theme music to make your return. They gave the fans what they wanted which was the old school Hardys we grew up with and after Jeff Hardy (39 years old) performed his signature Swanton Bomb off of a ladder to put Cesaro and Sheamus through ladders of their own, Matt grabbed the tag team titles and cemented the return of The Hardys. I’m sure the #Broken Hardys will appear at some point too, but this was the highlight of the show.
The highly criticized match of Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles proved to the internet community, who wanted a five-star Styles match against a true wrestler that their fears need to be DELETED (as Matt Hardy would say). This match opened the show and was incredible. It featured high spots and some moments where I thought Shane may actually win. Great match that got the night off on the right track.
Another great moment was during the Andre The Giant Battle Royal where Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots got involved in the match to help Mojo Rawley get his WrestleMania moment. The best part was when Gronk came over the barricade a security guard thought this was real and ran at the Tight End. After an off camera explanation to security, Gronk stepped in the ring and tackled Jinder Mahal in a memorable moment.
Some other quick notes were that Lesnar vs. Goldberg for the championship was as quick as we expected but delivered everything I would want in this match. It was hard hitting, short and exciting. Lesnar kicked out of a Jackhammer and was speared through the barricade. Lesnar picked up the win after an F5 sending Goldberg packing and possibly into retirement.
Triple H taking on the King Slayer Seth Rollins was a very good match but didn’t have any surprise returns or interference as most expected. The highlight was Stephanie McMahon being bumped into a table distracting HHH long enough to fall victim to the Pedigree giving Rollins the “W.”
Jericho and Owens was a pretty good match but nothing special. The Codebreaker out of nowhere was this match’s highlight, however, it wasn’t enough as Owens picked up the victory while Jericho returns back to his musical roots to tour with his band, Fozzy.
Last note was the mixed tag match featuring John Cena and Nikki Bella against The Miz and Maryse. This match had two real-life couples taking each other on and while the match was lackluster, Nikki Bella finally got the proposal she’s always wanted after Cena proposed in the middle of the ring.
I need to close out this section with The Undertaker. While his match will be broken down in the other section, after the legend suffered defeat against Roman Reigns, he held a funeral for his character by taking off his gloves, hat and coat and laid it in the middle of the ring as we say farewell to The Undertaker. The Deadman kissed his wife (a rare breaking of character) and descended into the floor to end the show. Taker debuted in 1990 and has been wrestling as long as I can remember, so this ended ‘Mania on a somber note as the legend will be missed by all.
Besides fans chanting “you suck” as a form of respect to the legendary Kurt Angle when he appeared (only in the WWE is that respectful), there were some low points of WrestleMania.
The first was the Bray Wyatt championship match against Randy Orton. This match featured projections of worms, maggots and other insects in the ring and it never quite hit home. Topped off with a boring match and a lackluster RKO, Orton is your new WWE Champion in a very forgettable match.
Sadly, The Undertaker’s final match against Roman Reigns was abysmal. Taker missed so many cues causing some very odd moments in the ring. There was a moment where Reigns was going to reverse The Undertaker and hit him with a Tombstone Piledriver, however, he couldn’t get Undertaker up as Taker became dead weight so he called an audible for a Superman Punch. Undertaker also had trouble lifting Reigns for a Last Ride and a Chokeslam. It was hard to watch. The match concluded with ANOTHER botch where Undertaker looked lost and confused standing in the middle of the ring while Reigns ran around trying to hit The Spear. Just an awful final match for the legend and not even the return of good ol’ Jim Ross could save this one. Let’s bring JR back at least for a few more high profile matches going forward as I believe all of us missed his voice.
Let’s Go Home
Bad matches aside, this card was entertaining. The Hardys’ return, the standard awesome Triple H entrance, Cena’s proposal and the final farewell to The Undertaker, this night was special. Next year’s Hall of Fame needs to be an immediate induction for the Deadman and hopefully he’ll deliver one final speech where he breaks his character he’s rarely broken since 1990 and tell us all the stories he’s kept quiet all these years.
Taker, hopefully your career will rest…in…peace.