WrestleMania 33 Review
Another month, another WWE Pay-Per-View to gripe about. Okay, before you click that back button, lemme clarify that this wasn't a bad show. It's just that it had moments that dragged this Pay-Per-View down for me. Like my FastLane review, I'll be giving my assessment and criticisms of each match. So let's get into it. Disclaimer though, I will be covering the "Pre-show" matches because unlike FastLane, there were matches on the Pre-show that I wanted to see. Matches like the cruiser-weight match, Andre The Giant Battle Royal, and Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbon. Matches that I wish were on the main show, but oh well, such is life. Now then, let's get into it.
Assessment Of Wrestlemania 33's card. The Pre-show.
Neville Vs. Austin Aries for the cruiserweight title:
Starting with the pre-show, the first match was Neville Vs. Austin Aries for the cruiserweight title. While I wish this was on the main card, I think it did well to hype the crowd and whet their appetites for the main card. Neville and Aries show-cased great athleticism, and Neville was a great heel targeting Aries' eye-socket, when Aries had him locked a submission hold, and few times prior to that. And Aries did well to sell his injury. Neville retained after hitting his summersault signature "The Red Arrow." As enjoyable as this match was, I don't like that Neville retained the title after the tease of Aries winning it. I guess they haven't figured out how Aries would work in a title run. I guess he'll get the title when they figure it out.
Andre The Giant Battle Royale followed the cruiserweight match. And like any thirty man battle royale, this was a mess. Or rather, it started as a mess, but as people got eliminated it got better. I like how Strowman and Big Show were eliminated early so that the probable winner was less obvious. But as the numbers dwindled left and right, it came down to Jinder Mahal and Mojo Rawley. Now in pro-wrestling battle royales people are eliminated by being tossed over the top rope, Jinder was tossed through the rope and makes his way to NFL star, Rob Gronkowski, and tossed a cup of beer in his face. Gronkowski hopped over the barricade, into the ring, and tackled Jinder Mahal. From there Rawley tossed Mahal over the top rope. I hated this finish, because it felt...fake. I know Pro-Wrestling is "fake," but pro-wrestling's job is to distract us from it being "fake." WWE's creative team doesn't seem to care about creating that distraction.
Speaking of a match feeling fake, next was Dean Ambrose Vs. Baron Corbin for the Intercontinental Title. Now I've heard many say they didn't like this match, but I did. I guess I'm too huge a Dean Ambrose and Baron Corbin mark to care about the qualms. That being said, I do see what was wrong with this match. It lacked energy, and impact. And aside from Corbin slamming Ambrose into the barricade, their moves looked safe. See Dean Ambrose's character is a careless lunatic, and Corbin's an aggressive lone wolf. That combination should be a recipe for a chaotic match. Instead it lacked energy, impact, and looked way too safe, and these two have had crazier matches. And Ambrose retaining felt like "Yeah whatever" moment, which sucked.
Over all Despite my qualms, this show did get me excited to see the main show. That was until I actually watched it. And we'll get to that in the assessment of the main card.
Assessment Of Wrestlemania 33's card. The Main Card
First Match was AJ Styles Vs. Shane McMahon, and I personally found it underwhelming. They've both put on better matches in time's past. Yes Shane's body is more broken than it used to be, but AJ could've carried this match phenomenally.(No pun intended.) it was slow and dull, and I think it was because of the trading of submissions they did. Against a fresher wrestler, AJ trading submissions would be tense because of how quickly they'd slither in and out of holds. But Shane's physical limits and age were apparent, as this submission trade was sluggish. I think they should've stuck to slams and brawling, but Shane seems to like taking risks to entertain the crowd. And that's fine, but I don't want Shane to end up like Undertaker(who we'll get to eventually) as he engaged with an elbow drop through a table, slammed AJ into a trash can with a coast-to-coast. AJ Style won with his phenomenal forearm, which was nice, I guess.
I don't know, I get they tried, but I wasn't feeling it. It lacked energy and seemed like a scrambled mess.
Next was Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho for the U.S. Title. It started out slow, but picked up as the match went on. Kevin Owens attacked with a pair of cannon balls, Jericho teased "Walls Of Jericho attempted two lionsaults and hit Owens with the second one. They brawled for a bit, it was basic wrestling match that had energy, but lacked story.
Next was The RAW's Fatal Four Way Elimination Match for the RAW's women's championship between Bayley, Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair, and Nia Jaxx. This kinda frustrated me at first, because Nia Jax tore through Bayley, Sasha, and Charlotte like they were tissue. That's how she should've been booked prior to this, but that wasn't the case, as she'd lose left and right in singles matches. But here it took the combined effort of Bayley, Sasha, and Charlotte to eliminate her with a triple power bomb. From there, Charlotte, Sasha, and Bayley proceeded to have a descent match. I think the problem for this was there was no follow up the narrative of toppling the giant, Nia Jax. They wrestled like they normally do with no team up with Sasha and Bayley, only for Sasha to turn on Bayley. And even then they've been more athletic than here. Again, it felt safe. Bayley retained which was nice, but it've been better had she won the title here at Wrestlemania.
What followed was the three-way turned fatal four way match for the tag-team titles. It started out as Enzo and Cass, Sheamus and Cesaro, Anderson and Gallows enter the ring set to begin the ladder match, before Wrestlemania 33's "host," The New Day come out and announce the change up of the match will be a four way ladder match. And who was the fourth tag-team to enter the match? Why The Hardy Boyz of course. And honestly while it sucks that all the build up to Enzo and Cass winning the tag titles amounted to nothing, and really the Hardy Boyz's return outshone everything in that match, it was entertaining. The other teams did their best to keep up with the Hardy Boyz, which added energy to the match. Despite the lack of a narrative, which they still could've had. Enzo and Cass could've fought off the other teams off, and climbed the ladder only to have the Hardyz snatch up the win. Aside from the lacking narrative, it was an awesome match with the Hardy Boyz's traditional ladder spots, including Jeff's suicide dive. And of course, the Hardy Boyz won. I'm curious how their title reign will end.
Following that was John Cena and Nikki Bella vs. Miz and Maryse. This was serviceable, and by that I mean:"All I remember is Nikki Bella and John Cena doing the duo five-knuckle shuffle and finishers." Although I don't why I forgot about Miz's "Daniel Bryan-esque" spots where he satirized Daniel Bryan's kicks, and "yes-lock." Then there was Nikki diving into the Miz. As for the proposal? It's. About. Freaking. TIME! This is what I get for watching Total Divas occasionally, because that means Cena held off on proposing to Nikki for about four years. Granted it takes time to commit to marriage, but Cena seemed timid with the idea. So for him to man up and propose made me happy.
After that, was Triple H vs. Seth Rollins. This was a much better match than the mixed tag match, and AJ vs. Shane. It had energy and followed the narrative of Seth fighting with an injured leg. I enjoyed seeing Triple H work over Seth's leg, and Seth worked through the pain to beat Triple H. I liked how Seth's leg would give out when he tried some moves on Triple H. Then there was when Seth and Triple H grappled to determine who was gonna land Triple H's finisher:"The Pedigree." It tense and kinda tedious, before Triple H managed to pedigree Rollins. This didn't keep Rollins down however, as the match continued, while they threw chairs, and a sledge hammer at each other. Triple H's wife Stephanie got involved, before Seth kicked H, as he bumped her off the ring and through a table. This allowed Seth to clinch the win with the pedigree. What I didn't like was Seth not selling the leg at times and not selling it after he'd kick Triple H with it. It muddled the psychology a bit, but over all was a good match.
What followed was Alexa Bliss vs. all available women of SmackDown. God bless all of these women, as they tried to put on a good match. There was an array of high-flying athletic moves, along with a barrage of punches and kicks. But this should've been an elimination match, because with the subpar wrestlers Carmella and Alexa Bliss working with the more adept talents of Naomi, Natalya and Mickie James, it a bit of a mess. Naomi ends up winning title by locking Alexa in a submission. And I enjoyed that until I learned that this was second Smackdown title win. But oh well...
Then we got SmackDown's championship match. As high impactful, hard hitting as this was, I wish Bray would've won. Bray never seems to beat bigger stars at Pay-Per-Views against bigger stars(that aren't Chris Jericho), and it's annoying. There was series of tackles and slams, as Bray would overpower Orton, images of insects would appear in the ring, as Bray conjured these to screw with Orton. And it was ineffective, as Orton won with an RKO. I detested this aspect as supposedly Bray took in Sister Abigail's "powers" and yet it had no effect on Orton. It ruins Bray as villain, and makes me wonder why we still take Bray seriously.
After that, was Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar. Now, I saw Goldberg and Lesnar's Wrestlemania 20 match, and it was slow and sloppy. So this had me worried, especially with how Goldberg beat Lesnar in under a minute at Survivor Series and beat Owens under a minute at FastLane. I thought Lesnar would squash Goldberg in a minute or less, but was four minutes. Four minutes of hard hitting madness. Now this match boiled down Goldberg hitting Lesnar spears, Lesnar supplexed Goldberg several times over, but if my previous statement was any indication, this was a few steps above their Wrestlemania 20 match. I also enjoyed Lesnar leaping over Goldberg to avoid a spear. Regardless, Lesnar won with a F5, and acquired the Universal Title. While I enjoyed energy and impact of the match, I wish they did more than spears and suplexes.
And finally... Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker... On a side note, I saluted the Undertaker's entire entrance because this had a "last hurrah" feel to it. Choreography wise, they both had better matches. And honestly it was apparent that Undertaker's body was at its limit with how slow his movements were, and his sloppy "Hell's Gate" submission hold. There were some good spots like the slugfests outside and inside of the ring, Undertaker choke-slamming on the spanish announce table, Reigns spearing Undertaker through the same table, and Undertaker. That's to mention a few good spots, as there were others, but I wanna address some of the problems like Roman Reigns not carrying the match and making up for Undertaker's limitations. As I don't understand why Reigns didn't carry the match, because a part of me thinks that Vince and Kevin Dunn had a gun to his head and told him:"don't carry Undertaker," because he seemed lost when Undertaker took a while to recover and move about. Also seeing Undertaker hobble about like an old man in his 80s and take a beating from Reigns was painful. It caused me to root against Roman Reigns, which hurt because he was the baby face in this feud. Reigns finally put down the Dead Man with a spear for the three count.
And what followed with Undertaker leaving his gloves, folded coat and in the ring as memorial site was a sad sight. This along with how he left the ring with his fist raised before vanishing in a cloud of smoke got me choked up. Reason being, I never imagined I'd ever see his last match, much less him leaving the ring to a standing ovation as he left his gloves, coat, and hat as memorial. It was like laying another part of my childhood to rest, despite those memories retaining to his "Ministry Of Darkness" days and the inception of "American Badass Undertaker." I hope this was his last match and those rumors of him wrestling next year at Wrestlemania 34 are false, because it would ruin the powerful impact this Wrestlemania ended on.
Wrestlemania 33 highlights
All and all I enjoyed this WrestleMania, and I'd say it's the second best mania behind Wrestlemania 30. But it could've been better in terms of stories being told in the ring, and pacing. Thing is I've come to not expect much from WWE's main roster, which is why I enjoyed this show more than most people. I think what elevated this was Undertaker's exit, and The Hardyz's return.
I'd say it was averagely entertaining, and am not expecting much from the next Pay-Per-View Payback.