Wrestling's biggest week of the year returned to the greater Metropolitan area of NYC for the first time in 6 years. I was living in the city last time it was here, much has changed since then but the event has only grown larger as the ENTIRE wrestling community, not just WWE related, descend upon the hosting city & with that city being NYC
Joey Ryan's Penis Party - April 5th - Hilton Midtown - New York City
Joey Ryan has risen to fame thanks to his mastery of the dark penile arts, but now, he has to put up or shut up with an event bearing his name. Much like how Joey Janela's Spring Break showed that there is a market for fun mixed with crazy deathmatches, the Penis Party features a mix of comedy and great workers to hopefully guarantee an enjoyable night of action.
This show was late Friday night from the New York Downtown Hilton and is available on Fite.tv.
The King of Dong Style came out to start the show with Don Callis and Excalibur on commentary with a phalanx of phalluses joining him. Excalibur summed Joey up perfectly by saying that he's great when he wants to be. Joey asked that the fans point to his penis as if it's the WrestleMania logo and they do.
Black Taurus, Puma King and Ultimo Dragon (w/Sonny Onoo) defeated Mr. Iguana, Green Ant and Shark Boy
Iguana sent Taurus outside off a shining enzuiguri, but ate a running rana from Green Ant. Shark Boy hit an atomic drop on Green Ant and bit his butt. Puma King held onto the ropes and attacked him from there. Puma countered the ass bite with a knee to the face. Taurus took a nasty spill to the floor before eating a dive from Puma King. Dragon locked on a La Majistral cradle on Shark Boy to end it.
DJZ and Shigehiro Irie defeated Arez and Bestia
Arez and DJZ started things off quickly with Z landing a step-up rana which turned into a cradle attempt. Ire and Bestia came in and exchanged chops before Bestia and Arez landed chops on the big man for a two count. They teased a chop to Z and poked him in the eye instead before landing a double flapjack and kneeling superkick.
Irie hit a big pounce and a black hole slam before landing a cannonball. Arez hit a crazy twirling northern lights suplex on Irie for two. Z landed a corkscrew facebuster on Arez for two. Irie landed a package piledriver and acted as a catcher for a Spanish fly off the apron by Arez to Z. Irie hit a spike piledriver on Arez to Bestia to win it for his team.
Then, Tracy Smothers came down with a walking stick and danced.
Tracy Smothers defeated Su Yung
Su got a "You killed Allie" chant while Smothers insulted the fans. He demanded they don't say "Tracy sucks" or he'll commence to beat them all up. He then cut a promo on how Bin Laden should have taken the bridges out to doom them all. Su left and he then cut a promo on her which led to a fan cutting a promo on him. Su emerged and brought out a giant inflatable penis, seen above.
Tracy cut a promo on the guys in the first two matches for doing all his moves, so now he's just gotta fight. Su blew mist on the penis and Tracy asked for silence while he took his garments off. He unveils the confederate flag singlet and then after 15 centuries, the match begins.
Excalibur said this had a 20 minute time limit while Callis was hoping for an hour broadway. He called this "interesting". Tracy got some holds and some gut punches before inciting the crowd more. Su superkicked and pump kicked him. Tracy grabbed a mic and tested it while Excalibur begged for death.
Tracy cuts another promo on the fans again and wanted a scientific match to bore them to death. He made this match almost worth it by saying "There's Andre!" and clubbing Su. He landed a series of chops, but then Su thankfully recovered and went for the glove, but the ref got smacked. Tracy hit her with a kendo stick and won.
This was certainly memorable and fittingly, he left to a chorus of middle fingers while Excalibur begged for a beer. Callis talked about how even Rosemary is stunned by what happened.
Demon Bunny (Allie and Rosemary) defeated Thunder Rosa and Holidead
Allie elbowed Holidead who responded by grabbing the tights and landing some slow motion knees and elbows. Thunder Rosa came in with Rosemary and cradled her for two. Everyone pushed each other and the faces ate a pair of low blows and responded in kind. Holidead landed a series of low kicks and elbows to Allie. She was locked in the rocking horse and kicked her before doing a forced stretch, headbutting her ass.
Rosemary thankfully came in and got two off a slingblade. Callis expressed amazement at seeing a move that doesn't involve the crotch. Well, he's not wrong.
Rosemary clubbed away, but missed a charge as Rosa came in. Allie came in and hit a big WE ARE ALLIE lariat. A hanging choke by Rosemary lead to a spear for two. Allie came in and got choked before the heels did double sorta stinkfaces mid-ring and then got double schoolgirled with the trunks to end it.
This may have actually been worse than the Smothers-Yung debacle, just in a different way.
Timothy Thatcher defeated David Arquette (w/DDP) by submission
Arquette's Scream-centric gear was pretty great. Thatcher worked a bunch of holds before Arquette got the ropes and went up top. He landed a double axehandle and took a bump before Thatcher grounded him and elbowed him for two. Thatcher hit a Karelin lift for two. Thatcher grounded and pounded him with palm strikes and went for an armbar, but Arquette avoided it. But, Thatcher got a full Boston crab for the submission win.
Bill Carr defeated Detective Dan Barry in a deathmatch
Dan slugged away and hit a pump kick and a dropkick. Dan hit a tope and Carr kinda slammed him down from that. Dan threw a tissue at him, so Carr threw a streamer at him. More streamer tossing had Callis saying it's a death match because it makes the viewers want to die. Carr grabbed a barbed wire bat, but ate it to the gut.
Carr stapled a $20 to Barry and then stapled his crotch. A door got put in the corner as Exalibur said those are actually easier to find in Jersey than tables for some reason. Barry then hit a death valley driver through the door.
Carr skewered him in the head so Barry returned the favor. They did a ram headbutt spot and the announcers talked about how now Jim Cornette really hates Dan Barry. Barry got two off a frog splash. Carr set up a door with a mouse trap bridge, but his DVD attempt got countered into a powerbomb on the door...that got 1! Carr hit a Canadian Destroyer on the door to pick up the win.
Yoshihiko the blow up doll won the DDT Heavymetalweight Title Battle Royal
Danshoku Dino started things off with a variety of crotch-related attacks before Takagi came out and got dropkicked to the floor. A Japanese girl named Yu came out and landed forearms to Mao, who just took her out. Don advised that anyone watching not try anything in this match or show.
Makoto Oshi was next. Dino went for a kiss, but missed and kissed Mao and went from some heavy groin area petting. Yu got spit at and fired up and Oshi busted his hand with a punch to the head. Yu took him out with a kokeshi to the groin.
Antonio Honda was next with the most insane singlet ever. Honda sold blowing his knee out right away and that now, he's retiring...but first, he must tell us a fairy tale that will change the world. He demanded that everyone be still for story time, seen below. He and his finger puppet talked about going to Broadway and then he smacked around an imaginary penis and delivered the evil penis from heaven eyepoke. Honda ate a stunner and is gone. The boss hit a double AA on the young boys, because of course he does. Dino and Oshi teamed up for a wheelbarrow-assist stinkface in the corner.
Oshi got sent into Dino's ass accidentally before the owner did too and went down to a Michinoku driver. Oshi and Dino had a double-butt butt off in the corner. Poor Yu got sandwiched between all four buttocks and was thrown out. Oshi landed a finger shove before Dino used the power of his mighty ass to do damage, but Mao landed a superkick and beat him with a 450 splash.
Oshi rolled him up and seemingly won, but didn't. A blow up doll named Yoshihiko comes out to Undertaker's theme. A crossbody got two before a press slam into a piledriver got two for Oshi. Yoshihiko the blow up doll got an elevated half crab to win it.
Mike Babchik, Colt Cabana and Tommy Dreamer defeated The Best Friends (Chucky and Trent?) and Matt Striker
Jerry Lynn was referee. We've got a Dreamer match and it involves a radio show host, so this should indeed be a thing. Colt elbowed Chucky before Trent muscled him down. Dreamer armdragged Striker before Colt landed an elbow. Trent hit a Lynn-esque legdrop to Colt and went for Lynn's own cradle piledriver. Jerry, as the ref, bumped Trent for that one and allowed a hot tag for the faces.
Colt and Tommy landed stereo bionic elbows to the Best Friends. Striker chopped Babchik who responded with a low blow. Dreamer's DDT hit and Babchik pinned Striker for the win.
We got a closeup of Babchik and his soiled singlet which was just lovely. The Best Friends hugged Jerry and Don buried Striker. He said they should have had penis-related nicknames tonight with Excalibur being Sexcalibur.
Johnny Penis (aka Johnny Impact) and Taya Valkyrie defeated Lucha Bros
Taya kneed Penta to start and hit a swinging DDT. She went for a dive, but Fenix kicked her. Fenix hit a run-up rana that sent Johnny to the floor. Penta came in and slingbladed Taya followed by a corner backstabber. They set up the assisted cradle piledriver, but Taya prevented it. Johnny went for the countdown elbow, but Fenix prevented it. End of the World hits alongside a spear from Taya to beat the Lucha Bros.
Val Venis came out in shorts and a shirt. He looks 50 pounds lighter with no muscle mass. Priscilla Kelly brought out a trail of tampons to the ring akin to the phalanx of penises earlier.
Session Moth Martina, Scarlett Bordeaux and Priscilla Kelly defeated Sexy Eddie, Joey Ryan and Val Venis
Joey and PK started before she tagged out to Scarlett, who grabbed his chest hair and bieled him. Martina tagged in and she wanted the D, but Joey had to play defense. Martina hurt her knee on a Manhattan drop before Sexy Eddie thrusted away on a leg lock. Matina blocked a sunset flip with a Bastion Booger drop for 2. Eddie got stuck in the clam trap and we get a finger snap. Martina landed a bronco buster, but missed a second one. Eddie used the magnetism of his penis and all of the women and the ref get shoved off of his penis, thankfully before they could pull the front of his trunks down.
Scarlett attacked with her ass before the others wanted it, so she sent her partnres in. Venis put the towel on and cut his pre-match promo mid-match, but instead swivels his hips to a "you still got it" chant. Val finally cut the promo which put Martina and Scarlett in convusions. Martina then dragged him to the back.
Priscilla got an airplane spin and teased a spew spot and punched him after spitting at him. Eddie got a drop toehold onto Joey while Val got sent into Eddie's ass and then Priscilla went in for a nibble too. Martina did as well and then Scarlett ran in. Joey lifted everyone up for for a ring-filled dick flip. Eddie got a mouthful of excitement and then Martina and Priscilla landed disgusting claws before chopping Joey and waxing his chest.
The ladies headed to the locker room and came out as tampons. Martina dove with a tope while Scarlett hit a crossbody and Priscilla hit a flip dive. Priscilla then put an end to Joey with a super Regal cutter.
Callis summed the night up nicely: "Well, that was something!". Joey said he can't win on his own show and apologizes for the show, thanking the ladies for doing great.
J Z & Shigehiro Irie def. Bestia 666 & Arez
- Ultimo Dragon def. Mr. Iguana, Green Ant, Shark Boy, Taurus, Puma King
- Rosemary & Allie def. Holidead & Thunder Rosa
- Tracy Smothers def. Su Yung
- Timothy Thatcher def. David Arquette
- Penis Party Death Match: Bill Carr def. Dan Barry
- Yoshiko (a blow-up doll) won the IronMan Heavymetalweight Championship Rumble.
- Mike Babchik, Tommy Dreamer & Colt Cabana def. Matt Striker Chuckie T & Trent Beretta. Jerry Lynn was the special guest referee.
- Taya Valkyrie & Johnny Penis def. Pentagon & Fenix
- Session Moth Martina, Priscilla Kelly & Scarlett Bordeaux def. Joey Ryan, Val Venis & Sexxxy Eddy
WWE Hall of Fame - April 6th - Barclays Center - Brooklyn, NY
As the men and women of WWE get set to step into the ring for WrestleMania 35 on Sunday, the organization honored the 2019 WWE Hall of Fame inductees.
This is always a special night because it's one of the few times when everyone drops their characters and we get to see the people behind the gimmicks.
Still, the main attraction is hearing legends talk about their careers.
This year's Hall of Fame class included DX, The Hart Foundation, Harlem Heat, Torrie Wilson, The Honky Tonk Man, Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake and veteran WWE employee Sue Aitchison as the recipient of the Warrior Award.
Let's take a look at some of the highlights from Saturday's inductions ceremony.
The Honky Tonk Man
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Once the red carpet ceremony was over, WWE wasted no time getting to the first induction of the night by having Renee Young and Corey Graves introduce the video package for The Honky Tonk Man.
Jimmy Hart was brought out to induct his longtime client and friend. He talked about the early days of working with The Honky Tonk Man and helping him record the songs he used during his career.
Whenever Hart gets a chance to talk about the past, you get the impression he might have more hilarious backstage stories than anyone else in the business.
He talked for less than five minutes before bringing out The Honky Tonk Man in a pink Cadillac. The wrestler immediately credited Hart with all of the success he had during his career.
Honky spoke about how honored he was and how he never expected to be inducted. This brought on chants of "You deserve it."
The rest of his speech was devoted to chronicling the history behind his character and how he created it, and how WWE took it to a new level. As he was preparing to leave, Hart convinced him to sing his song one more time.
Notes and Highlights
Graves ribbed Hillbilly Jim for the length of his speech last year.
Instead of the usual stage, WWE set up a ring for the inductees to stand in and give their speeches. It meant half the crowd was looking at everyone's back all night.
Between the hair dye and outfit, Honky looked much the same as he did 20 years ago.
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Stacy Keibler made her first WWE appearance in 13 years to induct her friend and colleague, Torrie Wilson, into the Hall of Fame.
She talked about meeting Wilson backstage during her audition to become a Nitro Girl and how they immediately formed a friendship that has lasted to this day.
She began by talking about how her first boyfriend in fourth grade called her "fatso" and how she used it as inspiration to get in shape and make him eat his words.
The former Diva talked about how WWE helped her build confidence and face her fears on a worldwide stage in front of millions of fans.
She admitted she wasn't hired for her wrestling ability but also talked about how she learned from the best in the business while she was coming up. She thanked several Superstars for helping her find her voice as a wrestler.
This was a great speech. It was poignant, classy, witty, graceful and inspiring. She might not be everyone's favorite wrestler, but she has worked hard to earn this honor.
Notes and Highlights
WWE didn't gloss over Wilson's Playboy appearance during her video package, which is a little surprising in a PG environment.
Keibler and Wilson both look like they could step back into the ring tomorrow.
Mentioning Becky Lynch caused the fans to chant her name for a solid 30 seconds while Keibler was talking.
Fit Finlay received yet another shoutout from a woman being inducted into the Hall of Fame. He was instrumental in helping the women's division rise. Not a lot of people realize how much he does behind the scenes.
Wilson delivered this speech two days after the death of her father.
The Hart Foundation
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The Hart Foundation was the third act inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, but since Bret Hart was inducted on his own in 2006, this was more about inducting the late Jim Neidhart.
The Hart Foundation was a favorite tag team of many kids who grew up in the '80s and '90s, and seeing them honored on a grand stage likely brought back back a lot of memories.
Hart and Natalya came out together to speak instead of having one introduce the other. Nattie accepted the induction on her father's behalf and used the opportunity to thank her mom for always taking care of her dad.
The Hitman held back tears as he talked about losing The Anvil last summer, but he eventually got the crowd to laugh by talking about some of his old gimmicks and coming up in the business with Neidhart by his side.
This was the perfect mix of humor and emotion, which is exactly what you would expect when one of the greatest tag teams is being inducted less than a year after one member died.
Then, one of the wildest things to ever happen at a Hall of Fame ceremony occurred. A fan rushed into the ring and tackled Hart. The camera immediately cut away, and several wrestlers rushed to help subdue him until the authorities could drag him away.
Like a true pro, the moment everything calmed back down, Hart continued his speech from the exact sentence where he left off. It was a wild moment, but Hart didn't let it define the induction.
Notes and Highlights
The Hart Foundation is still over with the WWE Universe.
You could tell Natalya was holding back tears at different times while speaking about her father.
A lot of people probably had no idea Anvil played for the NFL and was a shotput champion.
Natalya gave Owen Hart a quick shoutout during her speech.
The New Day, Heath Slater, Beth Phoenix, Edge, Braun Strowman and several more wrestlers hit the ring to help Hart when he was attacked.
Hart's shoutout to Dangerous Danny Davis was perfect.
Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake
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Hulk Hogan came out next to induct Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, a man he has more history with than almost anyone else in the industry.
The Hulkster told some stories about coming up with Beefcake in the territory days and noted how it was The Barber who helped get him back into the business after he thought he was done for good.
Beefcake talked about being grateful for having a 41-year wrestling run and having a friend like Hogan to help him during his career.
This was not the loud, boisterous Barber we saw in the ring for years. This was a man who was quiet, humble and thankful to be remembered for all of his hard work.
This was another example of a short but effective speech at an event usually known for going over its scheduled end time.
Notes and Highlights
Hogan took up more time with his speech than most inductors, but he still kept it short compared to past years.
The Barber's entrance music is a great example of how far WWE's production values have come. The song he came out with sounded like it could have been made by a kid on a keyboard.
Beefcake said someone once tried to name him Baron Beefcake and took a funny shot at Baron Corbin's name.
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When The Ultimate Warrior proposed the idea for a new award at the Hall of Fame for people who work hard outside the ring, it was people like Sue Aitchison he was talking about.
This is someone who has worked for WWE behind the scenes for decades and is one of many people whose hard work is almost never known to the WWE Universe.
Dana Warrior appeared once again to present the award created to honor her late husband. She even had a little Ultimate Warrior action figure with her on the podium. She eventually introduced John Cena as the one who would induct Aitchison into the HOF.
He talked about everything Aitchison has done to help others throughout her career and how instrumental she was in forming a partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
She jokingly talked about how despite being inducted, she still had to set up accommodations for the rest of the inductees and their families.
She was genuinely grateful to have a job that allows her to help make wishes come true for children and recalled the story of meeting Connor Michalek and his family.
A few Superstars were shown crying as she spoke, further displaying her importance.
Notes and Highlights
Dana appeared on the red carpet earlier in the evening, and Kayla Braxton talked about how she has become like a mom to many of the women in WWE.
Fans chanted "Face Kurt Angle" at Cena, and Angle was shown laughing his butt off in the crowd.
Like the class act she is, Aitchison used some of her time to mention some great work being done by other people to help children in need.
She called out Justin Bieber for trying to claim he had done more Make-A-Wish appearances than Cena in a funny moment.
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In a move that was likely done to cut down on time, Harlem Heat were introduced by Young and Graves instead of someone else giving a long-winded speech before bringing them out.
Stevie Ray and Booker T received a warm welcome from the WWE Universe before King Booker began by talking about how he wished his mother could be there to see them being inducted.
Booker spoke candidly about his time in prison and how his brother always had his back and kept him interested in pro wrestling while he was locked up.
When it was time for the big brother to speak, Ray talked about how they trained to become wrestlers and how they were discovered after they appeared in an indie wrestling magazine when they were just getting started.
Ray earned some laughs throughout his speech, but most of his time was devoted to thanking the people who helped them in various ways. He name-dropped Hogan, Ole Anderson and Sid Vicious as people who helped them get and keep their jobs with WCW.
They had one of the longer speeches of the night, but it never felt like they overstayed their welcome.
Notes and Highlights
Ray was such an underrated worker. Booker had more success as a singles star, but Ray was the standout talent early on during their run as a tag team due to his size (6'5", 292 lbs).
Booker said he wouldn't be here if it weren't for Ray.
Booker's crediting of Sensational Sherri with their early success in WCW was a classy move. She helped some of the greats get over as a manager.
Harlem Heat gave shoutouts to The Usos, The Revival, The Street Profits and The New Day as the teams holding it down for the division today.
Daniel Bryan's threats to get into the ring when Booker said Kofi Kingston would beat him at WrestleMania was funny.
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As expected, D-Generation X's induction closed the show, which is appropriate since it featured several Superstars being inducted at the same time.
Once again, WWE skipped having someone else introduce them with a long speech to save time, and considering how long these guys talked, that was a smart move.
Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Billy Gunn, Road Dogg and X-Pac got a lot of laughs before they moved on to the more serious matter of paying tribute to Chyna. The Heartbreak Kid credited her with making them popular when they first started the group.
Road Dogg thanked God for his sobriety and having the chance to be inducted into the same Hall of Fame as his father, Bullet Bob Armstrong. He also thanked his wife for putting up with the hell he put her through.
Other than a few serious instances, this was basically a series of comedic moments and quips, and that is exactly what a DX induction should be. Triple H thanked Killer Kowalski for training him, and he thanked everyone who has ever stepped into the ring with him for making him look good.
He became emotional when he spoke about Chyna. The crowd chanted, "thank you, Chyna," and The Game said she loved each member of the WWE Universe.
They brought out the classic DX podium to end their speech by issuing an apology to an entire generation for getting them in trouble as kids for copying what they did on television.
Notes and Highlights
Trips ribbed Vince McMahon by repeatedly telling everyone not to mention his name by saying his full name over and over. The crowd chanted "Vince McMahon" in response.
Gunn mentioned that McMahon can't fire him, and Triple H said Vince will buy All Elite Wrestling just so he can fire Gunn again.
Michaels' mention of All In got a pop from the crowd.
X-Pac said he didn't think he would be alive to see this day and thanked his family for accepting him back into their lives after all of his issues. He shed a few tears but kept his composure.
X-Pac gave credit to the underrated Jerry Lynn and called him one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. He also suggested WWE rename the Women's Battle Royal in honor of Chyna.
Triple H jokingly said his mom wrote all of the dirty jokes DX told back in the day.
(Later that evening) Dolph Ziggler & Friends - Caroline's Comedy Club - Times Square NYC
WWE Wrestlemania - April 7th - Metlife Stadium - East Rutherford, NJ
Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins vs. The Revival
Women's Battle Royal
There were some clever spots and some fun interactions, but this was like any other Battle Royal, and that's not necessarily a compliment.
The booking was interesting in that so much attention had been paid to The Riott Squad tearing things up as a team, only to have Dana Brooke of all people thwart that and dump two of the three members. It was nice to see Brooke get that moment in front of a crowd that wanted to see her succeed, but it was out of character.
Then there were Deville and Rose, whose dissension was a big part of SmackDown Live but did not factor into this match at all.
Carmella winning is harmless. She is over, has great charisma and is a former champion. It just feels somewhat anticlimactic considering the potential for storyline continuity that was not followed up on.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Superstars with nothing else better to do, including The Hardy Boyz, Andrade, Jinder Mahal, Ali, Bobby Roode and Chad Gable, joined Saturday Night Live's Colin Jost and Michael Che and Braun Strowman for the annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
Jost and Che wasted no time bailing to the floor and hiding under the ring as all hell broke loose.
Superstars were dumped early and often as guys like Tyler Breeze, Shelton Benjamin and Lince Dorado were tossed to the floor. Ali sent both Titus O'Neil and No Way Jose packing while Heavy Machinery slammed Strowman.
The Monster Among Men went shoulder-first into the post and to the floor, but he was not eliminated.
The Hardy Boyz worked together to eliminate Roode while Mahal sent Gran Metalik high in the air and to the floor. Andrade eliminated Kalisto, then survived a German suplex to send Gable out.
Otis Dozovic and Tucker Knight eliminated The Ascension, but the resurgent Strowman cleaned house, sending the NXT exports to the floor. Harper lifted Ali for a suplex to the floor but The Monster Among Men kicked them to the floor.
Mahal was eliminated, Andrade stupidly eliminated himself and Apollo Crews, and the Hardys teamed up to try to dump Strowman to the floor. Jost and Che returned to the squared circle and tried to help but Strowman powered out and eliminated Matt and Jeff.
Chants of "get these hands" spilled from the stands as Strowman confronted Jost and Che. Jost grabbed a microphone and offered up his therapist to help Strowman with his anger issues. The SNL castmates watched as Strowman obliterated the therapist.
Che tried to run away, but Strowman caught him and punched him to the floor.
Strowman tried for a big boot on Jost, but he crotched himself. Jost tried to eliminate him, but Strowman powered him off.
A running powerslam over the top rope and onto a pile of Superstars at ringside earned Strowman the uncontested victory.
This was exactly what we thought it would be, with Strowman silencing the SNL guys and dominating the match. He won what was a mediocre match to say the most, and we can now look forward to next year and which Superstar with nothing else going on can be wasted in the Battle Royal.
No story beyond Strowman vs. Jost and Che makes this one of the worst incarnations of this annual match.
WrestleMania 35 hostess Alexa Bliss kicked off the show by admitting, with a snap of her fingers, she could control the fate of the show. With her first snap came the arrival of Hulk Hogan, who joined Little Miss Bliss on the stage.
The Hulkster mocked his own SilverDome/Superdome screw up from a few years back and played to the crowd. Cue the "whatcha gonna do...?" shtick and that was the end of that until Paul Heyman marched to the ring and grabbed a microphone.
He said if Brock Lesnar was not on last, the two of them were not hanging around all night. He introduced his client and the Universal Championship match was underway.
Bliss kicks off the show, Hogan makes his token appearance and Heyman announces the start of the main event far before any of us expected it to happen.
This was an electrifying opening that gave us the unpredictable right out of the gate.
Brock Lesnar vs Seth Rollins
AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton
Fatal 4-Way for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships
Falls Count Anywhere Match: The Miz vs. Shane McMahon
Fatal 4-Way for the Women's Tag Team Championships
The IIconics defeated Phoenix and Natalya, Jax and Tamina, and Bayley and Banks to win the titles
Like the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match, this was all action with better storytelling.
Eliminating Jax and Tamina, showcasing Phoenix and allowing the forgotten, opportunistic IIconics to sneak in and win the titles all made for a smart match that utilized its pieces to perfection and kept the audience engaged.
What could have been a cool-down match had the fans invested by the end and the finish obviously caught them off-guard.
The IIconics have a rare charisma and characters that are fresh. Using them to carry the tag titles across Raw, SmackDown and NXT is a solid decision if the intention is to eventually put over a babyface duo.
If the goal is to have Kay and Royce drop them Monday or Tuesday to newcomers, this will go down as a wasted opportunity and a questionable booking decision because there is more credibility in beating Banks and Bayley.
WWE Championship Match: Kofi Kingston vs. Daniel Bryan
What a match. What a moment.
This is what pro wrestling is all about. The emotional roller-coaster ride, the athleticism, the storytelling and the finish WWE fans both young and old had so eagerly anticipated for the last two months. All of it combined to create an unforgettable moment that will live in the annals of WrestleMania forever.
Bryan, overshadowed by Kingston's journey to the match, was absolutely fantastic. He was a virtuoso, the best wrestler on the planet for one match as he guided every spot to the desired outcome.
Kingston, though, was the star. He rose to the occasion, delivered his greatest performance in the most important match of his career and captured the prize that validates his 11 years of hard work and dedication to his craft.
This was the stuff of legend. This is why people invest emotionally in wrestling. One of the best wrestlers to lace his boots and a beloved performer in the middle of his greatest run to date provided fans with a magical experience Sunday night and a genuine Match of the Year candidate.
Kudos to all involved.
United States Championship Match: Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre
No Holds Barred: Triple H vs. Batista
Intercontinental Championship Match: Finn Balor vs. Bobby Lashley
Ladies and Gentlemen...Elias
Promising a huge musical performance at WrestleMania, Elias took center stage Sunday night and introduced...himself, on drums. And piano. Both in pre-tape form.
In the center of the ring, he strummed his guitar, played a little White Stripes and went through his catchphrase shtick.
Elias introduced something specifically for WrestleMania that would "be played for years to come."
Before he could deliver, a video reliving Babe Ruth's famous "called shot" home run aired. John Cena, in full Doctor of Thuganomics garb, made his way to the ring.
Cena busted on his own movies while saying Elias' entire performance sucks. He cracked on the musician playing with himself, referred to himself as "The Golden Shovel" and promised to bury his push.
After a joke about Elias' facial hair that cracked Renee Young on commentary, Cena delivered the F-U (definitely not the Attitude Adjustment Sunday night) and left to a thunderous ovation.
The Doctor of Thuganomics is awesome. He never won't be.
This was fun, harmless entertainment that brought the audience back to life just in time for Triple H and Batista to go too long and kill them again. Or something like that.
More Thuganomics, John, pretty please?
Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin
Angle bowing out in defeat is exactly what one would expect from him. He is a class act, a Superstar who has never shied away from putting others over. It makes sense that he would look to make a star out of Corbin.
What does not is the...afterthought-iness of it all.
This felt like one of the least important matches and moments on the card despite it being the end of one of the greatest rivalries in wrestling history.
I felt less glad that I got to see Angle's last match and more sad that he went out the way he did, unceremoniously and in less than 10 minutes.
This was not what anyone wanted out of the segment, least of all Angle, who looked relatively unemotional about it as he walked the aisle one last time.
Congratulations to Corbin, though, who remains poised to be one of the company's lead villains in the aftermath of WrestleMania.
Main Event - Triple Threat Winner-Take-All Match
The historic first women's main event had the feel of a big match, featured three women beating the unholy hell out of each other and provided fans the outcome they desired. It earned its grade and put an exclamation point on a noteworthy event.
Timing was an issue late, as it felt like the women were rushing to get certain spots in, and the finish—casting doubt on Lynch's victory by questioning whether Rousey's shoulders were down—could have been better.
With those two complaints out of the way, this was a damn good match that channeled the emotions of the women involved, provided a suitable conclusion to weeks of preparation and made the most of the historic opportunity.
Rousey bumped all over, Flair and Lynch turned in two more stellar performances, and the fans bought in with every passing minute. What could have been a major disappointment given the hour of show that preceded it was, instead, everything those involved could have hoped for.
This was a strong conclusion to a mostly good WrestleMania that overstayed its welcome and robbed Lynch of a longer celebration to close out the night.
Something To Wrestle/Ross Report
Smackdown Live @ Barclay's Center (Brooklyn)
After the show ended, it struck me that in spite of a title change on this episode of SmackDown Live, it all felt like one big epilogue.
The show opened with the New Day celebrating under an awesome gigantic balloon rainbow where they basically said the things any good guy/gal says when they win. Big E’s splits moment was organic and really funny, and Xavier trying to describe how much Kofi’s victory meant to him was touching. Kofi had his family ringside too, and that was another wonderful moment.
But here’s the thing about an epilogue; it generally ends with a “but the story moves on” sort of moment, and we got that too. The Bar came out to be dumb – sorry, still pissed at them from their interruption on Raw – and they apparently want to create the European Union or something with Drew McIntyre. Either way, they challenged the New Day to a 6-man tag in the main event and lost for their trouble.
Other than that? Not much happened. The match was perfectly fine, but we’re all on the tail-end of so much wrestling this past weekend. So...yeah! It was good. But it’s good in a “cool, I’m going to put the book down now” kind of way.
The Hardy Boyz are SmackDown Live Tag Team Champions
Here’s the one newsworthy moment of this SmackDown Live: the Hardy Boyz got a singles match with the Usos and escaped the Penitentiary with some gold.
It was a decent match, but I’m more interested in what this means moving forward than anything else. Does this mean the Usos are headed to Raw? That tag division is starving for tag team talent, so I’d be extremely happy with that move. As for the Hardys, perhaps this opens them up to show a bit of the outside-of-WWE creativity that has been missing. SmackDown has some good characters right now to contrast them, but that could all change with the Shakeup next week.
I will say this – Matt Hardy has looked noticeably healthier to me in this recent return. Sooooo...let’s see where they go with this.
Oh, and Lars Sullivan beat them up. Brooklyn chanted “you can’t wrestle” at him, but that’s silly. Everybody knows that’s 5-Star Lars, Brooklyn!
One hell of a 6-man tag match
Aleister Black, Ricochet, and Ali fought the team of Rusev, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Andrade on this show. Yes, that’s an absurd amount of talent. And yes, the match rocked.
It’s probably the best way to promote these roster changes, actually. “Hey fans! Look at six guys who could all fight for titles – they could be moving up the card in a week!”
Anyway, the taunt where the babyfaces joined Black in his cross-legged pose was really cool. I also enjoyed the finish. Ricochet hit a Moonsault off the barricade onto Rusev before Nakamura caught him with a Kinshasa to the back of the head. Black then got Nakamura with a Black Mass when he tried to climb back in the ring, and then Ali sealed the deal with a 450 Splash to Andrade.
Here’s where that epilogue thought comes back into play. As Ali celebrated, Randy Orton appeared to hit him with the RKO. He wandered off muttering “I can’t see!” and shielding his eyes, obviously expressing his annoyance with what occurred during his WrestleMania match. And then Kevin Owens showed up to hit Rusev with a Stunner.
No stories to any of this. Just characters being, well, characters.
The show goes on, after all.
Samoa Joe talks smack, gets Braun Strowman – This was a fun crossover and mini tussle, but did you notice that Strowman got a few boos when put with Joe? Say it with me: booking matters.
The IIconics def. The Brooklyn Belles – I’m so down for the IIconics being blithering idiots and trying to convince us that they’re the best fighting champs of all time by beating jobbers. In fact, I’m so down for it that I’m kind of disappointed that Paige is apparently putting a stop to it next week with some debuting tag team. I was already imagining a scenario where the IIconics fought the undefeated Martian Maniacs. Ah well.
Wonder who that tag team could be?
Shane McMahon is the worst musical conductor ever - That is all.
Becky Rerun – She had a promo where she basically said what she said on Raw. And then Lacey Evans punched her. You know, like she had done on Raw.
This was a mildly fun show for me. It certainly wasn’t bad, it just didn’t matter at all, do you know what I mean. This one was for the die-hards who really don’t need dessert but then they already handed you a plate so what are you going to do, turn down dessert?