Wrestlemania 35 Recap

Another year, another Wrestlemania in the books. The hype for this year’s Showcase of the Immortals was at an overwhelming low given a lack of storylines and heat behind the year’s supposed biggest matchups. On one hand, Wrestlemania 35 is a landmark in the fact that it’s the first time women have main evented the show. Yet, Wrestlemania and its nearly eight hour runtime was unwieldy and not the least bit fun to watch. Since it’s a yearly tradition on this site, let’s discuss the minimal highs and the plethora of lows in our WWE Wrestlemania 35 recap!

  1. Tony Nese defeats Buddy Murphy to win the Cruiserweight Championship
    • As has been the case at nearly every WWE pay-per-view since the creation of the purple championship, the Cruiserweight division simply hasn’t been given enough time to shine. That being said, they’re usually good for an entertaining match. Specifically, Buddy Murphy has been a standout as the champion since he won it back in October at Super Show-Down on his home continent of Australia. This was not Murphy’s night, though, as Tony Nese captured his first Cruiserweight Championship in a passable match.
  2. Carmella wins the Second Annual Wrestlemania Women’s Battle Royal
    • One word: Garbage. WWE spent so much time pushing the three women in their main event to the moon that all the leftovers were unceremoniously dumped into this jobber battle royal. Participants like Mandy Rose, Ember Moon, Kairi Sane, and Nikki Cross all could’ve benefited from a big win at Wrestlemania. Many people, this writer included, said that the smart money would be on Asuka. Asuka, of course, had been Smackdown Women’s Champion until it was deemed necessary to make the main event of Wrestlemania for both women’s titles and she was quickly dispatched by Charlotte Flair. Unfortunately, Vince McMahon and company opted to put over the Princess of Staten Island, Carmella, in this battle royal. This match has absolutely no prestige to it so it doesn’t really matter but this was the wrong choice regardless.
  3. Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder defeats The Revival to win the Raw Tag Team Championships
    • Again, garbage. This also isn’t the last time that it’ll be used to describe something at Wrestlemania 35. The match itself wasn’t terrible but the booking of the Raw Tag Titles is just perplexing. Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder have hardly gotten any TV time in years on the roster but somehow they land in a championship match at Wrestlemania and win. The reason being is that they’re both from the New York area and that it was a feelgood moment for Hawkins to break his 269 match losing streak. The Revival is one of the best tag teams in the world and their matches in NXT with the likes of #DIY and the Authors of Pain were amazing. They deserve much better than this. It’s most likely that they’ll find their footing in a promotion like All Elite Wrestling once their WWE contracts are up.
  4. Braun Strowman wins the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
    • One more time for good measure. Garbage. Every single year we’ve recapped Wrestlemania, we’ve used the same quote to describe this battle royal. This year will be no different. “Remember when this event was introduced at Wrestlemania XXX and it was supposed to bring prestige to the winner?” Braun Strowman was the only logical winner of this match but his “feud” with Saturday Night Live performers and, for some reason, battle royal entrants Michael Che and Colin Jost has been a joke. Guys like Mustafa Ali, Andrade “Cien” Almas, and Luke Harper are uber talented and don’t deserve to be in such a throwaway match type. In addition, there were many superstars that didn’t even make the Wrestlemania card such as Dolph Ziggler, Dean Ambrose, and Kevin Owens that could’ve been put into this match for star power. Regardless, these first four matches were on the preshow and weren’t even good enough to warrant that much exposure.
  5. Seth Rollins defeats Brock Lesnar to win the Universal Championship
    • The first match on the main card should’ve been a barnburner. After an appearance from the host of Wrestlemania 35, Alexa Bliss, along with the return of the immortal Hulk Hogan, the advocate, Paul Heyman, interrupted to kick things off with the Universal title match. Brock has had great matches with smaller guys the likes of AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan over the past few years. This one with Seth Rollins could’ve taken the cake. Yet, Lesnar pummeled Rollins before the bell. Then, once the match officially started, a timely low blow from the face challenger, Rollins, put Lesnar down. Three curb stomp finishers later had Rollins swinging the red belt over his head. Questionable booking made this a throwaway match but also made fans happy with Rollins on top.
  6. AJ Styles defeats Randy Orton
    • This match was the rumored opener on the main card and it makes sense as to why it went on early. There wasn’t a ton of build going into the match and, frankly, there didn’t need to be. Both AJ Styles and Randy Orton are two of the best workers that WWE has and it’s doubtful that anyone had a problem with these two facing off at the show of shows. The match wasn’t spectacular but it was very solid. Both guys got in some good offense with Orton hitting a huge superplex off the top rope and an RKO. However, Styles would prevail with a somewhat shaky Phenomenal Forearm after hitting a picture perfect one to the outside of the ring. With Styles recently signing an extension with WWE, things are looking bright for the Phenomenal One with a big win over the stalwart Orton.
  7. The Usos defeat The Bar, Aleister Black and Ricochet, and Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura in a Fatal Four-Way Match to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championships
    • This is one of those car crash matches that WWE likes to book for Wrestlemania where a whole bunch of people hit constant moves on one another. In that regard, this match was actually fun to watch. Every individual in this match is extremely talented and they put together a nice little match that saw The Usos retain. One interesting note is that Aleister Black and Ricochet, both recent NXT call-ups to the main roster, challenged for the Raw, NXT, and Smackdown tag titles in the span of a week. It would’ve been nice to see them stick with Smackdown and challenge The Revival instead of put in a losing effort here but both were protected with Sheamus from The Bar eating the loss instead.
  8. Shane McMahon defeats The Miz in a Falls Count Anywhere match
    • For the fourth straight year in a row, we have to see Shane McMahon in a high profile match at Wrestlemania. As you could guess, Shane has not been the strong spot in a single one of those matches. He’s best known for finding the tallest thing in the building that he can fall off of. Well, that’s exactly what happened in this match when The Miz suplexed Shane off of some camera scaffolding. Unfortunately for Miz, Shane landed on top of him and got the win. This was hardly a match. It was a brawl with some rough looking spots and then the big finish. The Miz is better as a heel character and WWE really needs to stop booking Shane in matches at Wrestlemania. Sadly, this was one of the most developed stories on the entire show. Blah.
  9. The IIconics defeat Sasha Banks and Bayley, Beth Phoenix and Natalya, and Nia Jax and Tamina Snuka to win the Women’s Tag Team Championships
    • This was not good. In theory, the Women’s Tag Team Championships are a good idea considering such a large female roster and the ascendant talent that’s a part of it. Yet, the WWE consistently takes one step forward and two steps back when booking the women’s division in general. The Carmella win in the Women’s Battle Royal was one instance and this match was another. None of these so-called teams stand out as anything special. Sasha Banks and Bayley have been withering away on the main roster and are a far cry from putting on the performances they had at past NXT Takeover events. Nia Jax got bumped up to the main roster far too soon and just isn’t good or safe in the ring. Her partner, Tamina, has never been taken seriously even if the commentators try to tell you otherwise. Poor Beth Phoenix came out of retirement to have this match for unknown reasons and Natalya was Natalya. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce of The IIconics are mostly a comedy act but they’re the only team here with a real name. Fine with them winning in a sloppy match that was unworthy of Wrestlemania.
  10. Kofi Kingston defeats Daniel Bryan to win the WWE Championship
    • After a long and overthought mess of a storyline, Kofi Kingston overcomes all odds to become the WWE Champion. It wasn’t all that long ago that Daniel Bryan took the WWE Universe by storm and punched his ticket to Wrestlemania XXX to win the grandest title in WWE. Now, Bryan gives back and puts over another deserving individual in something the fans have dubbed #KofiMania. This was probably the most sound match of the night following some early match jitters that caused a few botches. The crowd was firmly behind Kofi and popped huge when he pulled out the win over former fan favorite Daniel Bryan. Where the WWE goes with Kofi from here is a huge question mark. They’ve often crashed and burned when giving fans what they want at Mania by cratering their title reigns immediately following the show of shows. Regardless, it was an awesome moment for a WWE workhorse like Kofi Kingston to be able to celebrate with his friends, Big E and Xavier Woods of The New Day, and his children while hoisting the WWE’s top prize on this night.
  11. Samoa Joe defeats Rey Mysterio to retain the United States Championship
    • In Samoa Joe’s first Wrestlemania match, he beats Rey Mysterio with the Coquina Clutch in literally one minute. This had no business being on Wrestlemania 35 in any capacity. Both Joe and Mysterio deserved far better than this. On another note, there was a strange backstage sequence that happened before this with WWE Hall of Famers Scott Hall and Kevin Nash posing as doctors to check up on Michael Che and Colin Jost. Not sure which deserved to be on Mania less: the backstage nonsense or Joe versus Rey.
  12. Roman Reigns defeats Drew McIntyre
    • Everyone is extremely happy that Roman Reigns is in remission after suffering from leukemia for a second time. However, that doesn’t mean that this match was any good. Obviously, Reigns would be victorious on this night but neither man looked very good in triumph or defeat. The match was just kind of there with Reigns getting a somewhat quick win after a Superman punch and a spear. Like most of the matches on the card, this felt like another Raw or Smackdown TV match. Following the match, musical guest, Elias, came out to treat the crowd. Shortly after, the Doctor of Thuganomics John Cena made his return and put Elias back in his place. Cena got a nostalgia pop for his heel persona and this was a cool segment overall.
  13. Triple H defeats Batista in a No Holds Barred match
    • Batista and Triple H had the most elaborate entrances of the night with the latter’s being a take on Mad Max: Fury Road. The entrances were cool but the match between these two was plodding and mostly uneventful. Triple H used dirty tactics when whipping Batista with a chain, crushing his fingers with a vise-grip, and pulling out his nose ring with a pliers. Oddly enough, Batista seemingly came into this match as the heel after attacking 70 year old Ric Flair on Raw. It felt like there was a lack of enthusiasm in the crowd and it probably stems from them not knowing who to root for. Batista often looked winded but managed to convincingly hit his big moves. Though it was Triple H’s career on the line in this match, he overcame The Animal and, most likely, ended Batista’s career with one final Wrestlemania showdown. Not terrible but, perhaps, a bit too long and lacking much heat.
  14. Baron Corbin defeats Kurt Angle in Angle’s farewell match
    • GARBAGE. Technically, Kurt Angle did the right thing by putting over the younger talent on his way out the door. The problem is that nobody wanted to see this match. The fans clamored for Kurt Angle versus John Cena but WWE refused to deliver. Instead, we got a rusty version of Angle being put down by a guy who no one cares about. Angle hand picked and defeated guys like Apollo Crews, Chad Gable, and Samoa Joe on his farewell tour but was stuck with Corbin for his swansong. As one of the best all around wrestlers of his time, the theme of Wrestlemania 35 continues as Angle simply deserved better. He essentially no-sold the loss and had a warm farewell from the fans at MetLife Stadium though.
  15. Finn Bálor defeats Bobby Lashley to win the Intercontinental Championship
    • It’s a bit strange to see the Intercontinental Championship match stuck in arguably the worst spot on the card as the match before the main event. As advertised, Finn Bálor came out as his “Demon King” persona and made relatively quick work of the humdrum Bobby Lashley. As the demon, Bálor is undefeated so his championship win is hardly surprising. It’s still hard to say why he needed the demon to beat Lashley but didn’t utilize this tactic when facing the Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar, at the Royal Rumble in January. Another bland match for a bland Wrestlemania.
  16. Becky Lynch defeats Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair in a Triple Threat Winner-Take-All match for the Raw and Smackdown Women’s Championships
    • The build for Wrestlemania 35 was almost solely behind this one match: the Winner-Take-All Triple Threat for both women’s championships. The trio of Becky Lynch, Ronda Rousey, and Charlotte Flair boasts the best of the women’s division (excluding Asuka). If WWE was to ever book a women’s main event, this was the time to do it. These three ladies delivered too. Well… for the most part. There were some stiff shots from Rousey along with good wrestling and psychology from the veterans, Lynch and Flair. There are still times where it appears as if Rousey is going to kill someone with her punishing moveset but she has been better than advertised since her debut at last year’s Wrestlemania. The match commanded attention and felt like it was heating up when, all of a sudden, it was over. Lynch scored the victory after what looked like a botched crucifix pin on Rousey where the latter clearly got her shoulders up during the referee’s three count. Just like that, Lynch celebrated while the broadcast quickly faded to black soon after. It was a very strange ending to Wrestlemania which felt like a messy show from top to bottom. Yet, fans were sent home happy with the only logical winner, Becky Lynch, standing tall.

When the three most pushed superstars for Wrestlemania hit the ring for the main event, it meant that for the first time in nineteen years, the Undertaker wouldn’t appear at Wrestlemania. The story behind the Undertaker’s absence is an odd one. He’s set to make an appearance at Starrcast the weekend of AEW’s Double or Nothing pay-per-view in Las Vegas. It has been rumored that that ruffled the feathers of one Vince McMahon. Though, it has also been said that ‘Taker would be appearing at the next WWE show in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. One thing’s for sure, the lack of the Deadman was felt and it really makes you wish that he had legitimately retired after the loss to Roman Reigns or, before that, the loss to Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania XXX.

Ultimately, this was not a good Wrestlemania by any means. For starters, the show was way, way, way too long. Friday night’s NXT Takeover: New York show contained only five matches and it was stellar. Wrestlemania’s sixteen matches were exhausting to say the least. There was no buildup for probably 75% of the show and there wasn’t a single match that came close to rivaling the heights of NXT Takeover. It’s difficult to even pick a match that was better than the worst match at Takeover. Kofi Kingston versus Daniel Bryan or AJ Styles versus Randy Orton are probably the closest it comes to that. Wrestlemania 35 will go down as a show that attempted to make the WWE Universe happy with its fan favorite title changes but the quality wrestling and entertainment just wasn’t there this year.

Please follow and like us:

Related posts

Leave a Comment