WrestleMania XXXI

April 1, 2015

This commentary is going to serve 2 purposes. This will be my annual post Mania look at how I did in my Predictions as well as my over all WrestleMania review. I've been working forward from WrestleMania 1 and I'm up to Mania 28 and there is no way I want to have to watch this again in a month or so when I'm all caught up so I will do the review as well now and just fill in the others when I can.

Mania XXXI was held in San Jose, CA in front of a reported 76976 fans, it was outdoors and on the west coast so it was in broad day light, which was both weird and pretty cool. I watched the show a little out of order which I think did effect my enjoyment a little bit. I watched it out of order because I'm a big Walking Dead fan and the Season Finale was Sunday and I wanted to watch that live. Because of this I watched Mania live up until the end of the Divas match then went to watch Walking Dead and then came back right after it ended. I was going to pick up where I left off but the Main Event was just starting so I watched it live then went back to watch the matches I missed.

IC Title Ladder Match: This was your standard ladder match, lots of excitement, a decent amount of stunts and just fun over all. Thankfully this wasn't super crazy or dangerous and there was really only that one OMG bump that had me worried, but I've been told Ambrose is fine. I picked Daniel Bryan to win, he did, and it was completely the right call. Real good opener, and I'm 1-0.

Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins: I really liked this match. I'm a big Randy Orton fan and I love his style of match. It wasn't a steal the show kind of match, which it shouldn't be in the #2 spot, but it was exactly what it should have been. This was a real solid match on the show, with a Mania moment calibre finish. That RKO was one of the best finishes ever and Randy picked up the win as I predicted so I'm 2-0.

HHH vs. Sting: I really loved this match, it was for the most part exactly what I wanted and I enjoyed the hell out of it. I know there were people complaining about the logic of the story being told with the NWO but I didn't care. I know how hard it is to be off for a long period of time and have to get in shape and perform on a card with a bunch of full time guys who are younger than you, and live up to the expectations of a big show. Sting is a decade older than me and Mania is as big a stage as there is. He was not going to be able to go out there and compete on strictly an athletic level doing moves with no story, so they needed a story. WWE vs. WCW was the simplest most obvious story and DX vs. NWO was an obvious choice and a bit of a dream match in itself, so I was cool with the artistic license of putting the NWO (Hunter's best friends) on Team Sting. This is what we call smoke and mirrors in our business and if you just sit back and have fun with it, like I did, it was a lot of fun. I picked Sting to win, and I contend that was what the finish should have been but I do understand why they did what they did. When the story comes down to WWE vs. WCW I'm not the least surprised HHH got the win. On top of that HHH had the segment with the Rock still ahead so I can see why you wouldn't want HHH beat here to then come out and stand up to the Rock later in the show. Others also complained about the handshake after a sledge hammer shot, which I agree feels weird, but this may be Stings last and only match in WWE and since they had to put HHH over, this at least put period to the end of the story so fans aren't looking for a rematch to settle the score. Hunter won so I'm 2-1

The Bellas vs. Paige & AJ: I should have stuck to my guns with this one. I had originally picked AJ & Paige based off the way they booked them on TV but when I did my predictions I noticed I had almost every match won by a baby face and thought the show needed balance and thought the winner of this match didn't matter that much so I picked the heels. I picked the Bellas to win, but Paige and AJ picked up the win. This was a good solid match and thought they did a good job. There was one spot where AJ was on the floor selling like she had been knocked out that confused me because I missed what happened but otherwise I thought this was good. 2-2

Rusev vs. John Cena (US Title): As I mentioned early I watched this match after the Main Event, which I think took it down a notch for me; nothing was going to follow that Main Event. Rusev's entrance was awesome and the match while not able to follow the main event, live it didn't have to and I thought it was still quite good. A few people wondered what was up with Lana throwing her shoes in the ring was all about because they were never used. I think what happened was that there was a spot planned out of the STF but she threw the shoe in on an earlier one by mistake, so they didn't use it. On the later one, John called an audible and decided to not use it then to not draw attention to the fact that it was a miscue earlier. I really hope they don't split up Lana and Rusev, at least not yet. I picked Cena to win and he did so I'm back above 500 at 3-2.

The Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt: The entrances for this one were really hurt by the show being outside and it still being day light. We missed out on the "candle light vigil" look of the Wyatt entrance and Taker in broad day light just feels wrong. I even wondered earlier in the night if he would go back to American Bad Ass Undertaker to do a day light entrance on a Harley. I'm glad they didn't because a match with Bray required the Dead Man not the Biker. My biggest disappointment in this match was the commentary. There was no story told here, which as I mentioned in my prediction commentary was the way I thought this match should have been told. I thought they should have addressed the question "Will Taker still have it, now that the Streak has been broken?" We could have Bray start strong letting us debate with the aid of the announcers, is the Undertaker still the Phenom. I think telling this story with Taker getting short burst of offense but continually getting cut off by Bray leading to the spot with Bray doing the crab walk and Undertaker sitting up would have been phenomenal (pun intended). This was good and I enjoyed it but I think Taker is in the unenviable spot of it being impossible to top the level of matches he had with HBK several years ago. There just aren't opponents with both the skill level of Shawn and the tenure, not to mention that Taker gets a year older each year. They needed to add the story of the Redemption of the Undertaker to see if he's is sill the Phenom after last year's defeat to make this great, instead it was just real good. I've heard a million times that Vince thinks announcers aren't supposed to call matches they are supposed to tell stories, but in my opinion, when you call a match properly, you are telling the story of the match. That's what was needed here. I picked Taker and he picked up the win so I'm now 4-2

HHH, Steph, The Rock, & Ronda Rousey: This was long but so awesome. I don't want to go into describing what happened, if you don't know, just go watch it. Rock showing up was a mild surprise and a great bonus, and Ronda actually getting in the ring and doing physicality was a shocker and even if the rest of the show sucked, (which is absolutely didn't) would make this show something special. I don't know if the plan is to do Rock-HHH next year at Mania with both Ronda & Steph in their corners or if it's possible to do a mixed tag, but this created some serious buzz and either match will be huge. I assume there will be a Ronda return on some level because they saved the Arm bar spot, which will be so great, because as great as Steph is at being that over powering bitch, she is even better at selling getting her comeuppance when the time is right. This was awesome.

Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns (World Title): I should get bonus points for this prediction, because my prediction was almost word for word exactly what happened in the entire match. I predicted the ass whooping dominance early by Brock to get over the toughness of Reigns, the eventual strong comeback by Reigns as well as the cash in during the match by Rollins. I even predicted a Spear spot of some kind by Reigns to put both Brock and him down to set up for the curb stomp win by Rollins. The only difference was I said he'd pin Brock and that was really just more a case of I wasn't putting that much thought into it and instinctively thought since he's cashing in on the Champ he'd have to pin the Champ. This watch was amazing; Brock is like no other and just awesome. Everything about this match was exactly what it should have been and needed to be. Brock getting his eye busted up a bit early added drama and emotion, getting busted open on the post added even more. This was perfect, absolutely perfect. In the end I ended up at 5-2 for a 71% accuracy, my third best year in 9.

My record over the last Nine years:
Mania 23: 63%
Mania 24: 44%
Mania 25: 50%
Mania 26: 20%
Mania 27: 38%
Mania 28: 75%
Mania 29: 75%
Mania 30: 50%
Mania 31: 71%
Average: 54%

In closing I thought this was a great show, there wasn't a bad match on the show, one of the best Main Events ever, and several great WrestleMania moments. This show was fun from top to bottom.

See you next year everyone,

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