Matt Hardy won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
I had Ziggler winning this, but honestly, there’s no way to tell who wins these Battle Royals year after year. Booking wise, Matt Hardy winning was absolutely the right decision, and I liked the surprise they had with Bray Wyatt returning to come in and help. Battle Royals are usually hard to grade because you have 20-30 or so sweaty wrestlers jumbled up in one ring and the last one standing wins. I did like some of the little interactions and mini-plots that they had in here, with Mojo Rawley eliminating Zack Ryder, R-Truth and Goldust’s little deal and two of the final three battle royal entrants were the two previous winners of the match Overall, it was okay and a good little wake up for the crowd. Nothing crazy as per usual. **1/2
Cedric Alexander def. Mustafa Ali – Cruiserweight Championship
You could tell from the moment the bell rang, both Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali were excited to be there. It’s like they were trying so hard to contain their excitement and just went out there like little kids in the ice cream shop. Now, unfortunately, this wasn’t the match I was expecting. Don’t get me wrong, the match was very good. Both men got their offense in, there was plenty of back and forth and high spots and the story was good. Nothing was wrong with the match from a mat perspective, but I wasn’t a fan of the pacing. I always hate it when the Cruiserweights wrestle like the main roster. What’s supposed to separate the Cruiserweights from the main roster is their up-tempo, high-flying acrobatics. And I didn’t get to see that here. There was Mustafa Ali carrying things along in that regard, but it still felt like two heavyweights fighting on Raw. Considering how awesome the Cruiserweight tournament has been, and some of the quality matches 205 Live has been delivering as of late, am I wrong to say I felt kind of….wanting? It’s like I just kept waiting for the match to hit that fever pitch where both men would be flipping out everywhere and stuff, and it never came.
Again, the match was fine. And while the crowd was silent for most of it apart from the high spots, the match didn’t suffer from it. But I was also expecting this high-paced spectacle that had the culmination of the tournament that we were all expecting, and instead, what I got was a very good Raw match. Austin Aries and Neville had a better match last year. ***
Naomi wins the “First-Ever” Women’s Battle Royal
What a mess this was. I understand that WWE wants to get as many superstars as it can on the card so no one feels left out, but these battle royals serve nothing more than to say, “Hey, we know you don’t have your own WrestleMania match on the card, but at least you’ll be there. It’s the thought that counts, right?” Honestly, this match really just had no flow, and what was even worse was how WWE is trying to push this, “First-Ever Women’s Battle Royal” narrative. It’s like WWE is trying to reach for everything to make it seem like a historic occasion.
Honestly, is this the first time we’ve seen a women’s battle royal before? Does having one at WrestleMania make it any more special than any of the other battle royals we’ve seen? Like, I don’t know, the Royal Rumble? Naomi won, because whatever, but I didn’t enjoy this one bit. It was cringe-worthy, all the NXT women were just sort of jammed in there without any real purpose other than to get a few moves in. We, of course, got the predictable Sasha Banks and Bayley faceoff I’m sure everyone was just dying to see which didn’t even result in anything but a swift elimination. Then Naomi just pops out of nowhere, and bam, it’s over. Like, what? Bad. DUD
Seth Rollins def. The Miz (C) and Finn Bálor – Intercontinental Championship
I’m sure we all knew that this was going to be the match to open the card, because Rollins, Miz, and Balor are three of the top workhorses in WWE, and the three have unbelievable chemistry with each other. And what an opener this was. Before I get into the nitty-gritty, can I just saw how much I liked Seth Rollins’ entrance as White Walker? I think we all knew from the moment he entered, he’d be winning the title. The reason why I picked Seth Rollins to win the match was that he was the one who was carrying the most momentum into WrestleMania, and while normally that would signify a loss at WrestleMania the week before, I believed that WWE was going to capitalize on his momentum. In addition, you can always just put the title back on The Miz because he’s done it 8 times already, and he’ll probably do it again to break Pedro’s record. Meanwhile, Finn Bálor was an excellent third piece, though I’m inclined to believe that we are going to have the first-ever “Slingblade” match at WrestleMania with how many we’ve seen from him.
What I adored about this match the most was the pace. The three just kept going and there were little dead spots. They just kept going and going. We got from Point A to Point B in succession without losing the crowd and there were plenty of moments where I thought the match was over. What I wanted was for Seth Rollins to do a spot where he had The Miz and Finn Bálor down on each side of the ring and would Curb Stomp both of them at the same time, but I’ll take what I can get. Seth Rollins winning was the right choice for me, and I believed he will carry it with pride. And on top of this, he’s a Grand Slam Champion. But yeah, overall, this was a great opener that got the crowd into it. ****1/4