Well, internet wrestling fans: it turns out you can have your cake and eat it, too.
For what was debatably one of the worst-built, under-hyped, and oddly booked WrestleManias in recent memory, WWE managed to take all of that negativity – every tweet, post, “like”, and jeer – and use it to fuel one of the best Pay-Per-Views in years. Was it better than last year’s triumphant Daniel Bryan story? Maybe not. Did any single match top the Triple H/Bryan instant class of WrestleMania 30, or the Shawn Michaels/Undertaker multi-year, career-ending two-parter? Nope.
But it made up for it it other ways. That is, WWE gave us a great show from top-to-bottom. The company filled WrestleMania 31 with surprises on top of surprises, solid contests, great finishes, and (best of all) memorable, meaningful title changes.
And about Daniel Bryan…
Turns out the company isn’t so down on everyone’s favorite underdog. He walked away from the night’s opening contest with one of the most prestigious titles in all of wrestling – and was immediately elevated afterwards by classics stars like Pat Patterson, Ricky Steamboat, Ric Flair, and Bret Hart. Thats a sure sign of confidence.
And if elevating the Intercontinental Championship wasn’t enough, John Cena – the internet’s favorite punching bag, but WWE’s number one go-to guy – captured the United States Championship and saved America. Cena wasn’t even dissuaded by Rusev riding in on a tank.
Sure, Undertaker and Bray Wyatt brawled around for a few minutes, and their expectedly awesome entrances were undermined by a planetary rotation that just wouldn’t cooperate (too much sunlight makes the deadman a little less otherworldly). And Randy Orton and Seth Rollins had a match that, while unspectacular overall, had one hell of a finish.
But the ‘WrestleMania moments’ eventually came, and they came in droves. Like when D-Generation X and NWO decided to crash the Triple H vs Sting “battle for the Attitude Era” party, despite the fact that members of both factions look one bad bump away from a bed pan. And again when The Rock surprised everybody (including Dana White?) by inviting Ronda Rousey to take out Stephanie McMahon. Of course, she didn’t… but she did land a hip toss on WWE’s COO. Very impressive.
As for that main event? The one with a reigning, defending heel WWE champion who’s been nigh-unstoppable in recent years, up against a babyface rookie who just couldn’t catch a break with the Universe? Booked to a tee. Perfectly. The sheer brutality made Brock Lesnar look like even MORE of a beast (as if that was possible), and Reigns getting beatdown before eventually doing the job to Rollins earned him a little sympathy. Nobody “turned” and yet the ending was even more refreshing.
The show has been praised by countless outlets and many fans. It was the kind of complete wrestling event fans only dream of – title changes, legend cameos, and major surprises.
But still, some fans are complaining, as they should. No, wait…. nevermind. They’re just being short-sighted basement-dwellers who never learned how to compromise. They still believe Daniel Bryan should have cashed in some imaginary rematch contract at WrestleMania 31 and walked out with both the WWE and IC titles. And the Andre the Giant trophy. And a guaranteed ten years, seven figure contract.
I’d agree with them, too, if my name was Vince Russo.
So lets recap: Rollins cashes in, and fans complain. Reigns gets down and fans complain. Triple H wins a match (just TWO DAYS after giving us one of the greatest live shows of the year) and fans complain. Vince McMahon agrees to base all future booking decisions off of what he reads on Squared Circle and (yes) fans complain. WrestleMania manages to overcome a mountain of doubt and backlash to deliver a seriously satisfying show, and (you got it) fans complain
Wrestling fans remind me of bottled Budweiser drinkers. They go to a bar that houses a generous selection of craft brew specials, yet choose to focus ALL of their inebriated attention on canned and bottle drinks.
This show was really, really good, internet peeps.. Get off your high horse.