It might not even be the greatest Wrestlemania on record. . . However . . .
From the tag title match to the main event, I thoroughly enjoyed every part of Wrestlemania that I watched. (Note: I didn’t say the entire show - I choose to skip the things I don’t care about) The esteemed and beautiful Mrs. Matthews spent much of the evening rolling her eyes and shaking her head as I laughed, yelled at and otherwise engaged with a television.
Rather than provide you with a review, I wanted to declare today (and possibly every day following a PPV) “Mark Out Monday”. These are the things I enjoyed far more than others during Wrestlemania.
The Meeting of the Stooges
In the back of our minds, we all knew we’d see J&J Security come face-to-face with Patterson and Brisco one of these days, and it didn’t disappoint. As expected, Jamie Noble owned his moment, showing why he is one of the most valuable players in WWE over the last 8-10 months. Brisco and Patterson didn’t do much, and they didn’t need to - Just being there was what mattered.
Ted Dibiase flashing money in the HOF Vine thing.
The Million Dollar Man is, in my mind, one of the top ten gimmicks in wrestling history, so any time I can see that, I’m excited. Seeing the Money Inc picture posted on Twitter this morning just made it all the more delightful.
The Tag Team title match
THIS is how you start a show! I don’t care that it involved 7-8 disqualifiable offenses - It was tremendous! Los Matadores and New Day’s outfits were on point and everyone (save for the injured Uso) had a moment to shine - including 2 female talents and quite possibly the most popular midget wrestler in history. I enjoyed every minute of the match, which is not always the case.
If matches like this keep happening, the report of the death of tag team wrestling have been exaggerated.
The Aley Riley / Miz and Mizdow moment
I’m a fan of any time WWE acknowledges its history, even when its minor, so when Alex Riley and Mizdow got into an argument over Miz (who served as Riley’s mentor some years back), I loved it.
Welcome back, Bo Dallas
I had hoped the ATG participants would get some sort of televised entrance, especially when I saw that Bo Dallas was in there, having (to the best of my knowledge) no formal “return” on RAW or Smackdown. I should have had more Bo-lief, though, because Dallas grabbed his moment and ran (Literally!) with it. Him sprinting around the ring celebrating was delicious. He better get a good moment on RAW. If 2015 can be the year of his brother, why not Bo too?
Big Show almost skinning the cat
Anytime a 400-500 pound guy can grab onto a rope and keep himself from falling, its impressive. The fact that Big Show, from my view, looked like he was close to pulling himself back up over the rope was, in my mind, a mark out moment. I know most people hated the result of this match, but it was fine to me. Once every generation, a giant should win a Battle Royal, and since the ATG is obviously worth nothing to WWE, who cares who wins it?
Mizdow is Awesome!
The turn got buried a bit by Big Show’s victory, but I’m willing to bet Jason, Liam and Bill will tell us that Mizdow owned Levi’s Stadium as he “fired” his boss. If Mizdow gets a push from this, any push at all, then the ATG Battle Royal was not a failure.
Stardust as Mr. Sinister
One of these two was in the IC Title match. One is a Marvel villain. Both are awesome.
Fee Fi Phobia
It isn’t often that Jerry Lawler entertains me anymore, but that joke was Heenan-esque. I toyed with the idea of starting a “You Still Got It” chant from my living room.
The Brutal Bomb
Luke Harper’s powerbomb to Ambrose on the outside ladder was one of the hardest hits I’ve seen in a long time. I’m positive Ambrose split the back of his head open, and I hope that’s it for the extent of his injuries, but its worthwhile to note he did NOTHING for the rest of the match.
Harper vs. Ambrose at Extreme Rules, if Dean is healthy enough? How can that be a bad thing?
Seth Rollins and Orton steal the show.
Hard to pick a match of the night in this card (a reason why its so good) but Seth and Randy, in my mind, won the day. I could have a number of individual M.o.M’s (Mark out Moments, not Men on Missions) for this match, but in order to save time, let’s keep most of them together.
Rollins backflips into an Orton dropkick. Seth’s picture perfect Asai moonsault. Orton sidestepping and spinning Rollins into his rope DDT.
This definitely needs its own moment. A phoenix splash that Seth lands on his feet for followed by a Curb-Stomp into an RKO? Could that be the best finishing sequence in Wrestlemania history? It’s definitely in the top 10 - maybe even Top 5. Just tremendous.
This Is Sting!
I didn’t quite get the Japanese drum troupe or why Sting borrowed a coat from the Ringling Brothers circus, but once he walked out, it didn’t matter. One can argue that history is being made with every second of every day, but it’s rare that we are part of an all-time Wrestlemania moment, and Steve Borden being an official wrestler on a WWE show is an all-time moment.
Sting no selling the knee smash
Complete with the chest-beating that followed. That took me back to. . . Well, a month or so ago while I was watching early WCW PPV’s. But still, it took me back.
The Invasion done right.
Again, a lot of moments all rolled into one here. I had a legit “OMG” moment hearing the DX music, and adored seeing Billy Gunn out-run both Waltman and James to the ring. (I still think Billy Gunn could contend for the IC belt right now. One of my all-time favorites.)
At some point during Wrestlemania my Network lagged a bit, so I kept getting spoiled keeping half an eye on Twitter. Thus, I knew the NWO was coming, but when Hollywood Hogan walked out strumming his guitar, it didn’t matter. I’ve been thinking a lot about the Hulkster of late (for another upcoming column), but that was fantastic.
I don’t care if it was legitimate or if Nash was trolling us, but when Kevin fell over and grabbed his leg, I laughed for at least 30 seconds. I actually hope it was a rib on all of us, in which case Kevin Nash should be inducted into the HOF all over again.
Lastly, when Scott Hall handed Sting the bat, JBL had the best commentary moment of the night. “Damn You, Razor!” I went back and listened to it two more times, it was so good.
The entire Daniel Bryan / Legends segment
Well, that’s not entirely true - Ricky Steamboat was obviously reading from cue cards (or is just a terrible actor), but everything else was great. Loved Piper kissing DB on the head, Ric Flair being a just a drunk old man “WOO”ing everywhere, Bret Hart leading a YES! chant and, of course, Ron Simmons just being Ron Simmons.
A Meta-Mark Out
In that brief segment, even with the silliness of it, the Intercontinental title belt became super important. While we do have a World Heavyweight Champion who will now be around every week, it still is important for the “mid-card” belts to matter, and over the last few weeks, the IC won has shot up in terms of meaning. Well done, WWE.
The best entrance of them all
What made Rusev’s entrance great wasn’t the “Russian” soldiers. It wasn’t the music, either. Wasn’t even the tank, though to be fair, the tank was awesome.
It was the jacket, and you know why.
Rusev, for the first time, looked like who he is - a legitimate bad-ass fighter who just so happened to be riding a tank. This is who he should be from now on - Forget the uber-Russian schtick, just be yourself, the Sambo-master who can do spinning heel kicks, flying headbutts and Bulplexes with the greatest of ease.
Speaking of which, Rusev broke out his old NXT finisher, and I almost jumped out of my chair. I’m sure I was the only one.
Yabba Dabba Doo!
To the fan who screamed that at a particularly quiet moment, I salute you.
Cena’s springboard stunner.
Never has the word “stunner” been more appropriate - The WWE universe was stunned to see something new in Cena’s repetoire. I’ll give him this - he brings his “A” game when it matters.
Rock N’ Ronda Express
Much like the NWO, Rocky’s surprise appearance was spoiled by my lagging Network and Twitter being instantaneous, so I can’t list that on its own. However, when Rock was walking around ringside and I saw some of the other Four Horsewomen, THAT’S when I got excited. Ronda Rousey did an excellent job in this segment, as did everybody else. Nobody’s better at being evil than Stephanie McMahon (I’d argue she’s better than her dad at it) and Rock was improv-ing like crazy.
Kudos to the fans as well for the “Ronda’s Gonna Kill You” chant. Nicely done.
No, we didn’t see a motorcycle riding, Johnny Cash playing American Bad Ass enter Levi’s Stadium last night. But that doesn’t mean that Deadman Inc. isn’t back in business.
I marked out for the first time when I saw his hair. That’s the hair of the ABA - Undertaker had the look I had been hoping for, and when he hit Old School like he’d been doing it every day for years, I did a dance of joy.
Again, too many moments to mention them all - Here’s what matters.
Bray Wyatt stood toe to toe with the Undertaker, and up until the last Tombstone, the two were equals. It doesn’t matter that he lost - Let me repeat that.
We didn’t have an official “torch passing” last night, but Bray Wyatt is now on the same level as the Immortals. If you care THAT much about the fact that he lost, you’re not paying attention to the right things.
The Faces of. . .Disbelief
I don’t know which one I enjoyed more - Taker’s face after Bray kicked out of the Tombstone or Bray’s face (upside down) when Taker sat up. Both were epic, I know that much.
Brock being Brock
Brock’s entrance didn’t need special fanfare, lighting or a tank - Brock Lesnar IS the tank! He is a special entrance just by walking to the ring. I’m not sure where WWE is going with the Brock booking for the next few years, but it’ll be exciting to watch him, no matter who he is facing.
It wasn’t just Germans, that’s the best part. Exploders, Fishermans, Belly-to-Bellys, Germans, not since Tazz or Kurt Angle have we seen such variety of throws.
Paul Heyman counting the number of suplexes with relish wasn’t half bad, either.
Roman Rag Doll
Sing it with me, folks!
”He flew through the air with the greatest of ease, that Samoan man being tossed as Brock pleased.”
The Faces of Heyman
There was a moment where Heyman almost looked sorry for Roman - multiple moments, in fact - and at one point, he was talking to him, probably saying “I told you this would be bad. I told you!”
Then there was the apoplectic look of terror as Reigns began his comeback, getting closer and closer to the 3 count. Heyman, like Heenan, makes everything he is a part of better.
Forgetting about the World
When entertainment is good, be it sports entertainment or not, you lose yourself in the moment, and when reality (be it in the entertainment or outside of it) hits, you’re shocked that it happened.
That was me when Rollins’ music hit. I forgot all about him and what he could do, so when I saw him sprinting to the ring with the briefcase, it was something out of a dream.
“What’s he doing - Why’s he. . . Ohhhh, he’s got the case! (as if he goes anywhere without the dang case). . . Is he gonna. . .He’s cashing it in! Holy Toledo!!!”
Mania ending as Mania’s Should
THIS is what Wrestlemania, and the World Heavyweight Championship, is all about. Rollins looked just like HBK looked at the end of Wrestlemania 12 (though Michaels was a bit more tired than Seth was) - overcome with joy. There’s nothing quite like a life-long wrestling fan’s first World Title win. I bet Edge had it, I bet Bryan had it, and Rollins TOTALLY had it. The Architect ascends - I’m surprised I haven’t seen that line online more often.
Wrestlemania 31 WAS a mark out moment
From the first pre-show match to the main event, just about every part of Wrestlemania was brilliant. The results might not have worked out exactly how you’d like them to (I know my predictions sucked this year), but it was an incredibly good show - among the best of all time. Let’s sum it up with a paraphrase of one main eventers new tagline.
Wrestlemania 31 could. Wrestlemania 31 did.
What do YOU think? What were your favorite moments from last night? Be heard.