My name is Drew and I was a Wrestlemania virgin.
This is not to say I had never seen a Wrestlemania before! I had watched tapes, DVDs and of course, the WWE Network of the classics like Macho Man and The Dragon, Rock and Stone Cold, Taker and anyone. But never before last night had I sat down to watch the show of shows live as it happened. Growing up, my Mom didn't want us watching wrestling. She assumed it would just give my brothers and me new ways to fight. Mom wasn't wrong; so I watched with friends. I just never had the opportunity to watch the greatest event in sports entertainment.
I had no idea what I was in for. The 3 matches on the kickoff show were fun and I was elated that my dark horse pick to win the Battle Royale, Mojo Rawley, came away the winner with an assist from New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
The Cruiserweight match and Intercontinental title were entertaining... but everything from the kickoff show was overall forgettable. All 4 involved worked well but the Andre Battle Royale was surprisingly great. The overall unpredictability of the match was big in it's favor plus some great camera work that kept Gronk a secret as long as possible.
The highlights of the main card? AJ and Shane didn't let us down and put on one hell of a show but you have to think Shane only has 1 or 2 more of these in him. Maybe Summer Slam sees Shane hang it up against Cena, could be fun. KO and Jericho and the women of RAW were as good as expected, with the US Championship match being the better of those 2.
The clear winner of the night though was RAW's tag team division and THE HARDY BOYZ! Matt and Jeff were hardcore heroes of my youth and my favorite characters to play as on old WWE video games. The brothers left WWE amid controversy 7 years ago but with some brilliant promotion and hard work are back on the big brand and winning already.
Another highlight of the night for many was Non Sanctioned Match between Triple H and his former protege Seth Rollins. The story was, of course, Rollins overcoming an injury to redeem himself against the mentor who turned him darkside. This would seem to be a move to take Seth as a babyface going forward, hopefully into a feud with Finn Balor. This match featured the hands-down best bump of the night which Steph McMahon took from her hubby Triple H.
Goldberg and Lesnar was shockingly fun! Nearly 5 minutes of titans clashing, so many suplexes, spears and fun. Plus a new champion who will be all over tonight's RAW. A good match from 2 solid performers.
However, I don't want to sound overly glowing of WWE's biggest show of the year. It had it's low points to be sure. The Cena/Bella proposal was a dud along with Al Roker. The crowd was so Miz friendly, it was insane. Poor John Cena. If he wasn't so handsome and rich and successful, I would almost feel bad for him or Nikki with her 850 carat Cartier ring. Another flop was the WWE title match between Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt. This thing just never had the energy or pop of the other matches of the night, possibly because it was "just" a wrestling match.
And then, there was the main event.
What do you even say about The Undertaker? This is a man who terrified me as a child, fascinated me as a teen and captivates me as an adult. He deserved better for what looks like his final match. However, so much credit to the crowd for reacting appropriately. After a match that had 1 really bad spot and few too many lulls in the action, one of the greatest in WWE history appeared to call it quits, leaving it all in the ring.
This thing is a spectacle in every sense of the word. It's not only big and loud but it was longer than a Lord Of The Rings director's cut. I kept making jokes to my fellow viewers Braven, Jon (also a WM virgin) and Jacob that the event, which technically started with the kickoff show at 5p, would run at least until midnight. Ben, our vet, swore it would be done by 11. Me 1, Ben 0 as the event ran well past midnight.
I'll be back next year though. This was fun. Picking matches, shouting with my friends and a GREAT card overall? This was a great Wrestlemania for my first one to watch live.