It’s WrestleMania time, aka Grapple Christmas!
The biggest wrestling show of the year will be headlined by thefirst ever women’s main event. It’s a triple threat match pitting Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey against SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair against Becky Lynch. It’s a winner-takes-all title match, meaning the winner walks away with both titles.
That’s onlythe first of three major title matches. Noted human death machine Brock Lesnar will face Royal Rumble winner Seth Rollins for the Universal Championship, while Kofi Kingston will get his first ever singles shot at theWWEChampionship when he takes on Daniel Bryan.
With over a dozen matches, these three championship bouts only scratch the surface. We also have the return of Batista, Kurt Angle’s retirement match, Roman Reigns’ first WrestleMania match since returning from his bout with leukaemia and, amazingly, much more.
The show is live on the WWE Network now. If you’re not a member or can’t watch along, follow along here for results and ratings. The latest results will be pushed to the top of the page. Needless to say, spoilers ahead!
The world of pro wrestling: explained
Batista versus Triple H
Shawn Michaels is out for what is being touted as potentially Triple H’s last match. Two SUVs come out carring Batista and his entourage. Batista is so great. Physique wise he looks the same as he did five years ago which, at 50-years-old, is very impressive. He trips while stepping through the ropes. Not a good omen. Kumail Nanjiani, of Silicon Valley fame, is at ringside.
Triple H’s entrance is Mad Max: Fury Road-themed. He comes out on the back of what can only be described as a death mobile. It’s time to play the game.
The two are outside within seconds. This is a no-holds-barred match, meaning anything goes. Triple H finds a toolbox with a thick chain in it and promptly whips Batista with it. Nice and easy start.
John Cena, PhD, returns
It’s now time for Elias to do whatever it is Elias does. There’s an Elias in the ring playing guitar with two titantron Elias’. Amazingly, the crowd cheers. The real, in-ring Elias plays a riff from 7 Nation Army. Elias says WWE stands for Walk With Elias. The crowd is with him. This is all setting up a spectacular beat down, surely.
And spectacular it is. He’s interrupted by the Doctor of Thuganomics, 2002 John Cena, Cena is wearing a Yankees jersey and has his Word Life knuckle busters. This is awesome. Cena, wearing a pair of Reebok sneakers he must have kept in a safe somewhere, gives a “freestyle” rap. It was also awesome. Worth the price of admission alone.
Roman Reigns defeats Drew McIntyre
Scottish drummers are here to play in Drew McIntyre. These two could have a great match but will have to contend with a crowd who just hit a high during #KofiMania. Reigns’ music hits to cheers. This is his first WrestleMania not in the main event since WrestleMania XXX.
Announcer Corey Graves says Reigns, who just returned from leukaemia, is fighting for anyone who has ever been seriously sick. Reigns and McIntyre exchange hard-hitting strikes before the latter hits a spinebuster. McIntyre beats on Reigns. They end up on the outside. Reigns misses a drive-by dropkick. Back in the ring, McIntyre hits a reverse Alabama Slam.
The crowd is into the match but is showing signs of tiring out, now that we’re three hours into the main show and five hours since the preshow started. McIntyre slaps Reigns which kicks Reigns into berserk mode. Reigns hits a drive-by dropkick on the outside and then a Samoan drop.
Reigns hits a Superman Punch and sets up a spear. He hits it and gets the three count.
Rating: 2.75 stars.Nothing wrong with the match, but the crowd is tired and the ending was anticlimactic.
Samoa Joe retains the United States Championship
The United States Championship is on the line. Rey Mysterio comes out as Mysterio from Spider-Man.
The two come in hot, with Joe hitting Mysterio with a big boot. Mysterio hurricanranas Joe into the ropes and hits a 619. Joe counters a splash into a rear-naked choke. Samoa Joe retains.
Rating: No rating. This one was too short to really count as a match. They’ll likely have a great rematch on SmackDown or at the next pay-per-view.
Kofi Kingston wins the WWE Championship
It’s time for one of the biggest, most anticipated matches of the night. WrestleMania, don’t you dare be sour…
Crowd is very up on Kingston and very down on Bryan. This is the hottest the crowd has been all night. The two start with chain wrestling before Bryan retreats before Kofi does a over-the-top-rope dive. Some more back and forth action ends with Kingston in a painful-looking surfboard submission.
Bryan ends up outside. Kingston does a springboard dive, but Bryan moves out of the way. Kingston crashes into the announce table and potentially kills himself.
Bryan works over Kingston’s back, including a flying knee from the top rope to a hanging-on-the-top-rope Kingston. Bryan hits running dropkicks on Kingston. Kingston tries to counter with a dropkick of his own, but Bryan does an awesome counter into a Boston Crab.
Kingston starts mounting a comeback and the crowd is hype. Kingston hits a great top-rope splash on Bryan as Bryan is trying to stand up. Crowd is getting even more hype. Kingston goes for a Trouble in Paradise, Bryan tries to counter into another Boston Crab but Kingston rolls out and cradles Bryan. They exchange more cradles and Bryan tries and fails to lock in the Labelle Lock. This is easily the match of the night so far.
Bryan sets up his busaiko knee but Kingston turns it into an SOS DDT, which Bryan then counters into a Labelle Lock. Kingston reaches the ropes, to a huge pop from the crowd. Bryan hits his gatlin kicks, Kingston hulks up. The crowd is going buck wild. Kingston hits a reverse DDT for a two count.
The New Day brawl with Rowan on the outside. Bryan goes for a dive on all three but Kingston hits him with a punch and sets up the Trouble in Paradise. Bryan ducks and hits his busaiko knee for a two count. Bryan stomps on Kingston’s face and puts him in the Labelle Lock.
Kingston escapes and gives Bryan the same face stomps Bryan gave him moments ago. Kingston hits the Trouble in Paradise and gets the one-two-three.
Rating: 4.5stars. The best WWE Championship match at WrestleMania since Brock Lesnar versus Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 31.
The IIconics win the Women’s Tag Team Championships
Paige, of Fighting With Your Family fame, is out as guest commentator here. The Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection, still the worst-named tag team in wrestling today, take on The IIconics, Nia Jax and Tamina, and Beth Phoenix and Natalya. Beth and Natalya get walked down the ring by Bret Hart in a cute moment.
Bayley and Tamina start off. A few neat spots early but the match settles into a rhythm. Natalya locks in a double sharpshooter on the Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection at the same time, but Tamina levels her and then the brutes Tamina and Jax dominate like two bears versus a group of puppies.
Jax and Tamina take to the top turnbuckles to try and drop a mammoth double splash but Phoenix takes out Jax in the nick of time. Phoenix sets up Bayley for the Glam Slam from the top rope but the IIconics sneak in for a win. We have new champions, guys.
Rating: 3 stars.Enjoyed some of the big spots in this match and a real good showing from Phoenix in her return match, including the huge Glam Slam. Clever finish to lift the IIconics above their middling status, even though they entered dressed like they were going to a high school costume party. Happy times for the WWE universe.
Shane McMahon defeats The Miz
The Hall of Fame class of 2019 come out for their bows. DX get their own entrance. Shane O’Mac’s match is up next.
Shane comes out first and makes announcer Greg Hamilton introduce him as “The Best in the World” multiple times. The match starts with chicanery, as Shane goes outside to accost Miz’s dad. Notoriously stiff Shane pummels Miz with some painful looking boxing potatoes.
The match quickly goes awry as Shane lays Miz on the announcer’s table to set up his flying elbow. Miz’s dad comes out of nowhere to protect his son. The Miz’s father enters the ring. The crowd kind of likes it. Shane starts beating on Miz’s dad, then Miz comes in and takes down Shane.
They brawl outside before Miz goes back to the ring to check on his dad, who’s down and out. Miz’s dad is now a wrestling meme.
The Miz is bleeding, somehow. He goes back into the crowd to brawl with Shane. This is a Fall’s Count Anywhere match, for those who forgot (me). Miz hits Shane with a chair shot, puts him through a table and then strikes him with… the roof of a golf cart. They’re in the crowd though, so most of the crowd can’t see them properly.
Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale on a camera stand for a two count. Shane then climbs up the structure, which Miz suplexes him off. They crash through what’s obviously a padded mat area. The two are knocked out, but Shane is on top and gets the three count. Lame.
Rating:2 stars. Miz’s dad was the highlight here. Some OK brawling, although the golf cart roof was a nice touch, and an underwhelming finishing sequence, consideringwhat Shane is here for.
The Usos retain SmackDown Tag Team Championships
We get a Lacey Evans walkout before The Usos come out for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match. They’ll defend against The Bar, Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev, and the team of Aleister Black and Ricochet.
Crowd is noticeably quieter for this one, but the action is good. With four teams and two people in the ring at any time, it’s also too fast to recap.
Crowd comes alive when Ricochet enters the ring and works his magic with Cesaro. Cesaro does his Cesaro Swing on Ricochet as Sheamus clubs… everyone. Awesome moment. Cesaro puts Ricochet in a sharpshooter, but one of the Usos breaks it up with a superkick.
Black and Rusev end up being the legal men, Black kicks the hell out of Rusev. Black is awesome. I wonder if we could be friends. Probably not. He tags out Ricochet, who I probably couldn’t be friends with either. Rusev hits a swinging slam. All eight guys end up on the turnbuckle for a eight-person superplex spot. Ricochet hits a 630 on Sheamus, goes for the pin but it gets broken up by multiple guys.
The eight guys trade finisher moves. Good stuff. Usos hit stereo splashes on Sheamus to retain.
Rating: 4 stars. The crowd started soft but ended loud. Lots of great action in this match. It was a spotfest for sure, but a fun one.
AJ Styles defeats Randy Orton
Jerry “The King” Lawler is out to commentate the next match. It’s AJ Styles versus Randy Orton. This could be a great one.
Chain wrestling to open the match. Orton goes for an RKO, AJ avoids. Crowd is hot on AJ, but there are some solid Orton chants too. Orton works on AJ’s legs, but AJ has a small comeback with a beautiful dropkick. Orton rolls out the ring, AJ hits him with an over-the-top-rope forearm. After some outside action Orton rolls AJ in for your first headlock of the night.
Some back and forth action, including an Orton powerslam. Standard Orton pace here, slowing things down after the frenetic opener. AJ hits a calf crusher in the centre of the ring, but Orton gets the ropes. He’s a long-limbed man. Orton fights out but is selling his knee. Styles fakes a Phenomenal Forearm, leading to Orton going for an RKO and falling on his back. AJ hits a springboard 450 for a two count. Cool spot.
After some more back and forth Orton hits the best superplex I’ve seen in years. He then hits a European uppercut which knocks AJ out of the ring. AJ’ selling is on point tonight. Orton sets up an RKO, AJ counters with an enziguri but then Orton actually does hit an RKO. He gets a two count.
Orton goes for a top-rope RKO. AJ sneaks out from underneath, hits a bicycle kick and Orton rolls out the ring. AJ his a phenomenal forearm on the outside. He rolls Orton in, hits another phenomenal forearm for the win.
Rating: 3.5 stars. Well wrestled. What you expected it would be, but not what it could be.
Seth Rollins defeats Brock Lesnar
The two get into a brawl before the match starts, which sees Lesnar F-5 Rollins outside the ring and generally wreck shop. Lesnar brings him in the ring and demands the ref start the match. Before the ref can, Lesnar throws Rollins back outside. Lesnar logic.
The ref rings the bell. Lesnar hits a few german suplexes and goes for an F-5, Rollins counters and the ref gets knocked down in the process. Rollins hits a low blow and then a curb stomp. Then another. Then another.
Three curb stomps lays out The Beast for a three count. Rollins wins the Universal Championship clean.
Rating: 3 stars. Hot segment to start the show but not much of a match. You can never be sure with Lesnar, but the way this match went makes it seem like he’s headed for UFC.
Alexa Bliss, the official host for the night, opens the show. She says she can create a WrestleMania moment with a snap of her fingers. She snaps her fingers and out comes Hulk Hogan. It’s like WrestleMania XXX all over again — but without The Rock or Steve Austin.
As Hogan and Bliss are flexing, out comes Paul Heyman. If Brock Lesnar isn’t on last, he’s on first. There’s your first WrestleMania shock.
WrestleMania’s two-hour preshow had four matches, one of which crowned new champions. Here are the quick results.
Andre The Giant Men’s Battle Royal:Braun Strowman wins by last eliminating SNL’s Colin Jost.
Raw Tag Team Championship match, The Revival versus Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins: Curt Hawkins breaks his 269-match long losing streak as he and Ryder become Raw tag team champs.
WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal:Carmella wins by superkicking Sarah Logan out of the ring.
Cruiserweight Championship match, Buddy Murphy versus Tony Nese: The cruiserweights kick off WrestleMania in a match that saw Tony Nese dethrone Murphy and become the new cruiserweight champion.