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WrestleMania 31 Exceeds Expectations, Stands Out as Instant Classic

WrestleMania 31 joins the likes of WrestleMania 17 as one of the all-time great events in wrestling history. It was that good.

Surprisingly.

I was one of “those fans”. Those fans who were disgusted by how poor the Royal Rumble was. Those fans who were on the fence about ordering WrestleMania. Those fans who called the build to the Bay Area blow-off poorly constructed and lackluster.

While all of that may still be true the show itself exceeded all expectations.

When it was announced the WWE would move the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale to the pre-show I was all-in on the event. With only seven bouts scheduled for the four-hour event it was apparent that all the matches would receive the time they needed to tell their stories.

I do not have to go match-by-match to tell you how fun the card was with incredible action, nostalgia, and quality segments featuring former stars of the WWE. It was WrestleMania, and you either watched it live or heard about it through social media.

But what made the event so special was the capstone of the event – Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns.

The expectations for this match were low going on. Thanks, in part, to the lackluster build to it. When the bell rung and Lesnar’s dominance began the crowd got into it, and so did I on my couch. Reigns took his lumps.

Prior to WrestleMania some fans debated Rollins cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania. It wasn’t a theory, per se, as there had been no indications this was going to be a possibility. Just something some fans wanted to see.

Earlier in the night, Rollins lost to Orton by one of the best RKO’s of all-time. Once he lost I thought a cash-in was possible. But I was not predicting it to happen. I was too into the main event.

And that is what made the cash-in so fantastic. I had forgotten about the sheer possibility it could happen.

I was lost in the moment.

I was too far into being a fan. I was seething at Reigns’ comeback. Then when Lesnar caught Reigns for another F5 I leaped from my couch. And then… Rollins’ music hit.

Lesnar vs. Reigns (vs. Rollins) was an instant classic. As fans who have watched since childhood we often fall into being overly critical. We have seen it all. We don’t get to lose ourselves in the product too often. The booking of last night’s WWE World Heavyweight Championship main event allowed us to do just that.

From start to finish this event brought out the inner-child in even the most cynical fan. WrestleMania made us forget about what we like or didn’t like about the events leading up to it. The WWE put together an event so good we experienced it in the moment. That is the best kind of event.

WrestleMania 31 was a five-star show. One of the greatest events top-to-bottom that we have ever been witness to, and it is a credit to WWE Creative – something we often don’t get the chance to say. But they earned the praise for how they constructed the main event.

We can only hope that the high-quality storytelling is a trend that continues as they march toward AT&T Stadium and WrestleMania 32.

About Brian Fritz

Brian Fritz
Brian is the owner and editor-in-chief of Between The Ropes. He has also covered wrestling and MMA for The Orlando Sentinel and AOL Fanhouse and currently is a contributor for Sporting News. You can email Brian at btrfritz@gmail.com.

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