THE LAST OF 34 DAYS OF WRESTLEMANIA -- WrestleMania 33 from the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida
After three decades, more than 100 hours and hundreds of matches, Benjamin Raven and Austin Brunner's 34 Days of WrestleMania project comes to an end. I handled the odd shows, Austin took the even ones.
So, in the last two months, I have watched at least 50 hours of WrestleManias (while staying up on the current product and having friends, a job and a girlfriend) and penned at least 30,000 words. Here we are, and since this was last year's and the most recent WrestleMania, we'll just compare how it holds up to this year's storylines and card.
One thing I need to get out of the way immediately is the fact that the main card of this show was 5 hours, 10 minutes long. That is just way too long, and way too much wrestling in one sitting. Four hours is the acceptable maximum amount, anything past that and you need to start doing Night No. 1 and Night No. 2. Now that I think of it, Raw gets one night and SmackDown gets the other just so there's no "who gets the main event" hoopla.
I'm going crazy, let's get this bad boy over with.
WrestleMania 33 was main evented by The Undertaker and Roman Reigns in a non-title match, Goldberg defended the Universal Title against Brock Lesnar, Bray Wyatt defended the WWE Championship against Royal Rumble winner Randy Orton, there was a six-pack challenge for the SD Women's Title, a four-way elimination match for the Raw Women's title, a fatal four-way ladder match for the tag team championships, a mixed-tag match for a Cena proposal, Seth Rollins and Triple H, Shane McMahon and AJ Styles, Kevin Owens vs Chris Jericho, whew that's a lot.
It's crazy this show being 5 hours, 10 minutes doesn't even include Dean Ambrose defending the Intercontinental Championship against Baron Carbon, Mojo winning the Andre the Giant Battle Royal, and Neville defending the Cruiserweight Championship against Austin Aries.
Favorite moments and matches
The return of Matt and Jeff Hardy was just unreal, and is the highlight of the show without a doubt. Entering this Triangle Ladder match between Anderson and Gallows (c) against The Bar and Enzo/Big Cass, Enzo and Big Cass were thought of as the favorites to win by many. Enzo was over for taking beatings and saying the same three sentences, give or take a word, and Big Cass was over for being big.
Then the New Day came out and said there was another team … then the Hardyz' music hit and the open-roofed stadium had its hypothetical roof blown off. The match goes boom boom quick, but is not short on dangerous and innovative spots. It goes a little longer than 10 minutes, but the action is rock solid as it ends with the classic Jeff spot on the outside off of a giant ladder to two prone people on a big ladder. He hits the Swanton, Matt grabs the belts like he's never been in a ladder match before and there you have it. What a moment. What a job keeping that on the down low by all involved.
AJ Styles and Shane McMahon opened the show, and set the bar very high for the rest of the night as these two worked their asses off and honestly pulled off a solid match and not just a Shane spotfest. Yes, he took some big bumps but goodness, AJ and him had some natural chemistry and AJ Styles is AJ Styles. Nice win for AJ in a surprisingly all-around solid match that went a little more than 20 minutes.
I know a lot of people liked the Triple H and Seth Rollins Unsanctioned Match, but I personally LOVED it. I thought the story they told was intense and relatable, and all of the Stephanie McMahon shenanigans throughout the feud/match that night were spot on perfect. The story of Seth's injured knee, his ability to sell and Triple H's just refined fundamentals mixed together like Pineapple on Pizza.
Every great match has an even better ending, and HHH-Rollins deserve a 10/10 rating for that sequence whether in the Tokyo Dome or the Citrus Bowl. Perfectly executed finisher counter after another before HHH almost hits Stephanie off the apron to the outside and through a table before Seth superkicks him into her, and then hits the Pedigree for the 1-2-3. Great stuff. I love it.
Thank the lord they gave the Raw Women's Championship Fatal-4-Way elimination match enough time at 12 minutes, 45 seconds. Bayley defended the championship against Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks and Nia Jax in a match that saw Jax get eliminated by a brief Horsewoman reunion. Really rich stuff on that elimination, and Charlotte looking for some hi-fives.
One thing that I made sure to write down, was how well executed the turnbuckle spot in the corner was executed. Charlotte ripped the middle turnbuckle's pad off to leave it exposed, except that it wasn’t completely exposed, you can tell that she briefly considers going back before going through with the gameplan. This worked out perfectly to me as the metal ring was exposed just enough for the audience to see/notice it as Sasha goes careening right into it ass Charlotte eliminates her. I thought Bayley winning with the Randy Savage Elbow Drop was strange, but I guess it was a more grueling match and Charlotte had performed some very high spots.
Goldberg and Brock Lesnar's explosive 4 minutes, 45-second match for the Universal Championship makes me smile. It was four spears -- one through the barricade -- and a jackhammer for Goldberg, and an F-5, 10 suplexes and a leapfrog for Brock Lesnar. Perfect. So much fun, so smartly done. Thank goodness.
Also, I know the Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho disappointed many, and it definitely didn't live up to the hype or build, but let's not get high expectations confused with poor work. It was still a rock-solid match between two pros, it's just that this was a WrestleMania blood feud, and the most memorable spot is a pinky on the ropes. I like this match, but I understand why some people didn't love it.
Least favorite moments and matches
The highs of WrestleMania 33 were pretty high, but the slows were either very slow moving or a little rushed. Roman Reigns and the Undertaker was nothing to me. The match didn't feel special, maybe because I had already been watching wrestling for four hours straight or maybe because it was mostly superman punches and laying down. It's not terrible, but it's certainly not great. Roman seems to mess up his 19th and final spear of the match before switching directions for the camera. Eh, not for me.
Bray Wyatt's WWE Championship match was 10 minutes long and highlighted by stupid bug and worm projections onto the mat. It fits his character, but not Randy's It was over the line for me, made me feel dumb for watching. Randy for some reason won, and Bray's title run was short-lived and he hasn't returned to this level since. What a shame.
The SmackDown Women's Six-Pack Challenge was clearly just a platform to give the hometown woman a championship on that stage. Everyone else's entrance were cut short and interrupted, but Naomi got to dance for 5 minutes while they all awkwardly waited in the ring. That was terrible, and went longer than the cluster fuck of a match. They deserved better and it's clear it went on at this time in the night (second to last) just to have Naomi's entrance GLOW. I was excited for this match, because I really love each as a worker, but this was a letdown. Just was really rushed, wish they could've gotten a solid 10 minutes to actually get into a rhythm rather than end it right when they start to click.
How does it hold up one year later with everything going on?
If Undertaker returns to face John Cena at WrestleMania 34, then what was the point. Brock is still champion and defending against Roman Reigns, they both beat Undertaker on this stage and have unfinished business from 31.
Following their epic return, it's been a weird year for the Hardyz between Jeff's injury and DUI and Matt's Woken gimmick/long feud with Bray Wyatt. AJ Styles is champion and defending against Nakamura, but the one thing I'm concerned about is, OH MY GOD IS 34 GOING TO BE AS LONG AS 33?
Any 5 hours, 10-minute thing is going to be tough to sit down and watch. No matter how good each match is or isn’t.
See below for a roundup of those already up:
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania XXXII hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania XXXI hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania XXX hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania XXIX hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania XXVIII hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania XXVII hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania XXVI hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania XXV hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania XXIV hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania XXIII hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania XXII hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania XXI hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania XX hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania XIX hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania XVIII hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania XVII hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania XVI hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania XIV hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania XIV hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania XIII hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania XII hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania XI hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania X hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania IX hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania VIII hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania VII hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania VI hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania V hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania IV hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania III hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania II hold up?
- 34 days of WrestleMania: How does the first WrestleMania hold up?