Wrestlemania 33 Recap

Wow. What an exhausting endeavor Wrestlemania 33 was. A usual WWE pay-per-view ends at 10PM Central time. Not Wrestlemania though. Last night’s event went until 11PM after starting an hour earlier than usual at 6PM. On top of that, there was a two hour pre-show with matches as well. Regardless, Wrestlemania is a huge event and can’t be ignored. Our recap of last year’s show was one of the first Cinema Smack posts. We may as well make it a yearly tradition to recap every year’s “showcase of the immortals.” Let’s get to it then!

  1. Neville defeated Austin Aries to retain the Cruiserweight Championship
    • Wrestlemania 33 kicked off with Neville defending his Cruiserweight Championship against Milwaukee native, Austin Aries, in the scorching Floridian sun. The two put on a solid back and forth match that made them both look strong. Aries took a vicious German suplex and landed on his head/neck. Luckily, he seemed to be alright from it. Being a villain, Neville went after Aries’ recently reconstructed orbital bone to secure a win. The win built Neville up to continue being a dastardly heel while making Aries look good by losing somewhat unfairly. This was a much needed match to build up the new Cruiserweight division.
  2. Mojo Rawley won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
    • Let’s take a moment to revisit something we said about last year’s battle royal. “Remember when this event was introduced at Wrestlemania XXX and it was supposed to bring prestige to the winner?” That statement rings even truer now after a horribly booked match. Braun Strowman has been built up to be a huge threat in the WWE lately. He was an easy favorite to win this match but, instead, he got unceremoniously tossed out pretty early along with The Big Show. On top of that, Sami Zayn, Luke Harper, and Dolph Ziggler have all been in high profile programs in the past few months but received no spotlight on this show. Mojo Rawley ends up winning after an assist from his friend, New England Patriots tight end, Rob Gronkowski. The person Rawley eliminated to win the battle royal: Jinder Mahal. Wow. Please kill this match at future Wrestlemanias.
  3. Dean Ambrose defeated Baron Corbin to retain the Intercontinental Championship
    • First things first… Personally, I don’t think Dean Ambrose is that great. He’s an absolute buffoon in the ring and he always hams it up in his matches. Last year’s Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner, Baron Corbin, has gotten much better in the ring since his promotion to the main WWE roster from NXT. The winner of the battle royal is supposed to be a star in the making and this was the time to push Corbin to his first championship. Alas, it didn’t happen but the two wrestled a decent meat and potatoes match without any ‘Mania flair. On a sidenote, the announcers kept trying to put over the Intercontinental title as a prestigious belt. While it does have a storied history, saying that it’s prestigious doesn’t make it so. For some reason, WWE has no idea how to push its midcard title belts these days. It’s a shame.
  4. AJ Styles defeated Shane McMahon
    • Thank god. After having Chris Jericho go over AJ Styles at last year’s ‘Mania, Styles is allowed a win over the 47 year old Shane McMahon in a match that made no booking sense. However, having this as the first match of the main card? Ouch. Styles is the best wrestler on the entire roster and one of the best in the entire world and this is all WWE could muster up for him to do at Wrestlemania 33. Beginning of the match was a bit boring but it spruced up with some high risk moves from Shane. He even attempted a Shooting Star Press that was wild. The Phenomenal One carried Shane to a passable match but it’s still a shame that he didn’t have something better to do. Also, during this match, my live stream started to bog down on me. WWE really needs to figure out how to get their streams up to snuff. The WWE Network has been around for three years now and the same problems still exist. 
  5. Kevins Owens defeated Chris Jericho to win the United States Championship
    • Chris Jericho enjoyed one of his best runs in WWE as Kevin Owens’ best friend this past year. After their implosion during the Festival of Friendship on Raw, the two friends became bitter enemies which culminated in this match. Overall, both guys looked good during a number of near falls. There was a nice spot where KO went for his pop-up powerbomb which Jericho reversed into his Codebreaker finisher. During the cover, Owens got one finger on the rope breaking the count. Owens is one of the most clever workers in the company and he showed it again at Wrestlemania. KO gets the win allowing Jericho to go on tour with his band, Fozzy.
  6. Bayley defeated Nia Jax, Sasha Banks, and Charlotte Flair to retain the Raw Women’s Championship
    • The logical booking of the Raw Women’s Championship should’ve been Bayley vs. Charlotte with Charlotte going in as champion. Instead, Bayley won the belt on Raw back in February and both Nia Jax and Sasha Banks were shoehorned into this match. The match itself was pretty good but, again, it should’ve been one on one. Nia Jax looked strong early in the match as the three other competitors teamed up on her for some heavy hitting offense. Sasha was eliminated in a questionable spot with a semi-exposed turnbuckle to which the crowd seemed disappointed. It was hard for the crowd to stick with the match after Nia’s elimination because no one wanted to see any of the other three women get eliminated. Though, Bayley managed to retain her title here.  Bayley is a likable character but she hasn’t been nearly as good on the main roster as she was in NXT. Charlotte is still the gold standard of female wrestlers in WWE.
  7. The Hardy Boyz defeated Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, Sheamus and Cesaro, and Enzo and Big Cass to win the Raw Tag Team Championships in a Ladder Match
    • Here, we got a huge surprise from our Wrestlemania 33 hosts, The New Day. They came out to announce a fourth team being added to the ladder match. They made it look as if they were joining in but, instead, the returning Hardy Boyz come out. Enzo and Big Cass are so over in WWE and it’s a shame that they haven’t had a run with the tag titles yet. All of the teams shined brightly here in the match of the night. Jeff Hardy came off of a huge ladder with a monstrous Swanton Bomb onto Cesaro and Sheamus while Matt Hardy grabbed the belts to win the match. The crowd loved it and the match exceeded expectations.
  8. John Cena and Nikki Bella defeated The Miz and Maryse in an Intergender Tag Match
    • Al Roker was the guest ring announcer for this match. Not really sure why. The Miz got some excellent reactions in this match and was clearly over with the Orlando crowd. Given, he has been doing some of the best work of his career for the past year but that wasn’t enough to net him and his wife a win here. This match was clearly designed to put over John Cena and Nikki Bella and promote Total Divas. The Miz controlled most of the match in the beginning before Cena and Nikki crushed their opponents in quick fashion. Cena proposed to Nikki in the ring after the match in a dopey, predictable, useless match.
  9. Seth Rollins defeated Triple H in a Non-Sanctioned Match
    • Triple H continues his trend of having unique Wrestlemania entrances as he came out on a motorcycle along with a bunch of motorcycle cops while Seth Rollins came out with some flashy Game of Thrones inspired ring gear. This match was surprisingly a long, boring match for most of it. It perked up towards the end but Triple H dominated by attacking Rollins’ injured knee. At the end, Triple H inadvertently knocked his wife, Stephanie McMahon, off the ring apron through a table allowing Rollins to get the upper hand. Again, surprisingly bland but the right person won the match after a ton of buildup.
  10. Randy Orton defeated Bray Wyatt to win the WWE Championship
    • This was a strange match. Randy Orton won the Royal Rumble in January and was built up to be a babyface despite performing despicable acts by attacking Bray Wyatt emotionally in the lead up to this match. Bray played mind games with Orton as images of insects were projected on the ring to psych out Orton. Ultimately, there was no payoff for the mind games and Orton scores a victory out of nowhere. The crowd was dead and the match was relatively short and disappointing. Not sure what this title win will do for Orton. Bray would’ve benefited far more from a big win at Wrestlemania 33. What a wasted opportunity to build a new star.
  11. Brock Lesnar defeated Goldberg to win the Universal Championship
    • After getting the best of Brock Lesnar since his WWE return, Goldberg finally fell to the beast incarnate. Goldberg had been quite over with the crowd since returning in October last year and during his conquering of Lesnar at Survivor Series. Though, the crowd was dead for his entrance at Wrestlemania 33. Lesnar started the match off with three German suplexes in which Goldberg responded with a series of spears. This was a brief, hard hitting match that did what it needed to do. Lesnar got the win but Goldberg looked great despite the loss. The crowd was really behind Lesnar and went nuts as he suplexed Goldberg ten times and finished him off with an F5. Good match for what it was. 
  12. Naomi defeated Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, Becky Lynch, Carmella, and Natalya to win the Smackdown Women’s Championship
    • Personally, I thought that this match was cut from the card. With the flurry of high profile matches, it’s hard to understand why this match was squeaked into this spot. Naomi got a good pop from her hometown crowd during her entrance and title win. There really isn’t much to say about this match as it didn’t have much time and it was just hard to get into. On another note, Becky Lynch looked like Pickles from Metalocalypse with her orange dreads.
  13. Roman Reigns defeated The Undertaker
    • For the third year in a row, Roman Reigns main events Wrestlemania and, for the third year in a row, the crowd dumps all over him. Reigns is not over as a babyface and many people expected him to turn heel in this match. While he has had some heel tendencies lately, no such turn occurred. From the second his music hit, the crowd booed Reigns incessantly in this stinker of a match. The Undertaker looked horrible in his 25th Wrestlemania match and is, presumably, now retired. This glorified punch match was overlong, sloppy, boring, and downright not enjoyable. Watching The Undertaker have his shoulders pinned to the mat for a three count by Roman Reigns was a nightmare. WWE has tried so hard to get Reigns over and it just isn’t happening. Last year’s main event win from Reigns was cringeworthy but this one was just depressing. The Undertaker was given time to symbolically leave his gloves and entrance gear in the middle of the ring as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time rides into the sunset.

Overall, Wrestlemania 33 was better than last year’s installment. Though, that’s not really saying much. This show was still bloated and, often, poorly booked. The matches were mostly decent with the high profile matches being relative disappointments. Once again, the midcard matches were the highlights of the show and, for some reason, WWE refuses to push those performers more. The fatal four way ladder match for the Raw tag titles was the best match of the night and the inclusion of the Hardys was a great move by WWE.

Wrestlemania continues to be a big event but still feels contrived in many instances. Many of the outcomes seemed too obvious and some of the logic that went into planning the matches simply didn’t make sense. Regardless, the event continues to be a draw as over 75,000 people crammed into Camping World Stadium AKA the  Citrus Bowl for Wrestlemania 33. Tomorrow marks the beginning of a new “season” of WWE wrestling and the build towards next year’s show of shows.

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