Last night’s WrestleMania 31 was by all accounts a huge success. From setting a new stadium record at Levi Stadium to getting mainstream exposure on ESPN and other national outlets, the WWE was able to take their product to a new level on a show that many felt was going to fall flat.
So today, we’re taking a look back at 15 of the special moments from the night. So without further ado, here’s our list of the Top 15 Moments From WrestleMania 31:
15. Fans Were Into It
After a totally flat crowd for the Fastlane PPV event last month in Tennessee, this time around the fans were invested in the event from start to finish. WrestleMania’s are usually known for good crowds with hardcore fans, and the fans that made their way to San Francisco got to see a great night of wrestling, as well as some great work on promo’s and entrances from the finest in the WWE.
14. Booking Stands Out
For as many times as fans complain and gripe about the booking of a major event, this time the WWE got it right. There wasn’t much to complain about during the course of WrestleMania 31, and it makes you wonder why they can’t do this type of effort on a weekly basis? The agents for the match had their wrestlers ready and prepared, and each competitor came out looking great in their matches, which isn’t something you can usually say about a Mania. Here’s to hoping this type of writing and booking continues for a long time to come.
13. Reigns Looks Like a Main Event Player
While he spent most of the match getting beat up and suplexed all over San Francisco, Roman Reigns stood tall in the main event against bad boy Brock Lesnar. There was so much concern that he would not be able to go the distance against Lesnar, and the match would look totally flat, which it didn’t. Sure Seth Rollins will down as the winner in the match, but here’s hoping Reigns has new found respect from the fans for looking like a true main event star in his first of what should be a few Mania main events.
12. Wyatt Working on a Bad Wheel
There’s no question that long term Bray Wyatt is a future champion in the company, and Sunday night he proved it in his toughness. The grappler suffered what was described as a nasty ankle injury earlier in the day working in the ring with The Undertaker, and had to be carted to the back. Hours of working on the ankle seemed to pay off, as you would have never noticed a limp or anything in his step in his match Sunday night. Kudos to the toughness of Wyatt for hanging in with the Deadman when he could have cried hurt.
11. The Triple Terminator
While there were plenty of great entrances, the one by Triple H in his match with Sting was most memorable. They did a ‘Terminator’ entrance, complete with Triple H wearing a Terminator style headgear, and we even heard in his entrance from Arnold Schwarzenegger, which was not a shock based on the fact he went into the WWE Hall of Fame’s celebrity wing Saturday. Give the creative credit for a snazzy entrance that was well produced.
10. The Divas Do Get a Chance
Fans have been actively campaigning to get the WWE Divas more time on TV by using the Twitter hashtag #GiveDivasAChance, and in the women’s tag match at WrestleMania, the four ladies did get a chance. The Bella Twins have been great as a unit, and while they did dominate most of the match, they also took the loss. A.J. Lee and Paige went toe to toe with them, and got the win in 6:42 when A.J. forced a submission. It was the best diva’s Mania match since Mickie James and Trish Stratus at WrestleMania 22 in Chicago.
9. The RKO from Outer Space
While many will always remember the end of the show with Seth Rollins cashing in to win the WWE Title, many should also recall his first appearance of the night, a solid 13:15 match with ‘The Viper’ Randy Orton. The two went back and forth, kicking out of each other’s finishers, until Rollins went for his second ‘curb stomp’ and in mid-air Orton caught him, giving him one of the best ‘RKO’s’ fans had ever seen. You got a sense that the night wasn’t over for Rollins, and sure enough, it wasn’t.
8. Tag Teams Put On a Show
The tag team opener was as good as it could get, and despite being on the pre-show the four teams did a tremendous job getting the crowd into the night. I like the overall direction of the tag division, as Cesaro and Tyson Kidd are a solid team, and deserve a solid run with the straps. The other three teams though went all out, with plenty of high flying moves and big spots to entertain the fans for the 10 minutes they were given.
7. Mizdow Finally Goes on His Own
During the ‘Andre the Giant Battle Royal’ Damien Mizdow finally had enough of The Miz, listening to the fans and turning on his mentor, much to the delight of the crowd. While many felt that he would then go on to win, eliminating The Big Show, it was finally Show’s night, as he won the match. While it will go down as the biggest win in Show’s career, the match will be remembered for what Mizdow did and now fans are drooling to see what type of run he gets as a face.
6. Cena Goes Red, White and Blue to Beat Rusev
The U.S. Title match was a rematch from ‘Fastlane’ between John Cena and Rusev, and this time Cena overcame a great entrance from Rusev on a tank to beat the undefeated title holder to win his second U.S. Title. Cena winning at Mania isn’t anything new, but winning what many feel is a secondary belt is. Now the question is what does the company do with the belt, and assuming we haven’t seen the last of Cena and Rusev, what does the company do to build Rusev back up to being a monster after his first WWE loss?
5. Daniel Bryan Climbs the Ladder
The opening bout of the actual show was the ladder match for the WWE Intercontinental title, and in a great opener Daniel Bryan won the bout, leading over 75,000 in a ‘Yes’ chant to start the show. The match was a great way to get the crowd going, and all seven guys went at it for near 14 minutes, with Dean Ambrose suffering the worst bump, getting thrown through a ladder on the floor. The event needs this type of match for the hardcore fan that wants bumps as well as a chance for a prize at the top of the ladder, to which Bryan won in this awesome match.
4. Nostalgic Returns During Sting-Triple H Encounter
No one could have expected ‘DX’ and ‘NWO’ to make an appearance at WrestleMania 31, but both groups did during the epic Triple H and Sting matchup. Billy Gunn, Road Dogg and X-Pac came out to help Triple H try to beat the Stinger, and soon thereafter we saw the reunion of Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Hulk Hogan in NWO black. It was a fitting tribute to two of the biggest factions in pro wrestling history, and even HBK Shawn Michaels got involved too. Triple H winning was a huge surprise, but the match will be recalled for the two factions going at it like it was 1999.
3. The Return of the Deadman
Many felt as if the end had come for The Undertaker following his 2014 loss to Brock Lesnar to end his the streak at WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans. Instead the Deadman came back better than ever for a solid encounter with Bray Wyatt in San Francisco. The match went a solid 15 plus minutes, and Taker finally got the win after a pair of tombstones. The match did nothing but elevate Wyatt as a future champion, and showed again that at least for one night a year, Taker still has it in the ring.
2. Rollins Cashes In
The moment wrestling fans will recall as the best moment of the night was ‘Money in the Bank’ winner Seth Rollins using his championship contract to cash in and take the title, pinning Roman Reigns in the main event that was supposed to be a one-on-on between Reigns and champion Brock Lesnar. The main event was way better than expected, and both men gave it 100 percent. With both exhausted, Rollins took advantage of the chance to cash in, give his former Shield partner a curb stomp, and win his first WWE Championship. It was a fitting end to a Mania that was way better than most ever felt it could be, and sets up some excellent television with the companies top heel as champion.
1. Rousey Rocks Triple H and Stephanie McMahon
It’s the biggest thing that WWE today is getting mainstream media attention from, and that’s the appearance and promo featuring UFC star Ronda Rousey, who was ringside for a portion of the event. The setup was CEO Triple H and WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon were touting the success of the event in the ring when former WWE Champion and Hollywood box office star ‘The Rock’ came out to stop the party. After Stephanie laid a vicious looking slap on Rock, she ‘kicked’ him out of the ring. Rock then ‘found’ Rousey at ringside, and brought her in as backup since he would never hit a woman (which he oddly enough did, giving Stephanie a rock bottom and people’s elbow to end WrestleMania XVI). After a back and forth, Rock and Triple H went at it, and Rousey did a nice looking hip toss on Triple H, and then put Stephanie in an armbar, dispatching her out of the ring as well. It was the biggest moment of the night, with ESPN, USA Today, Newsday and countless other outlets picking up the story.
What was your favorite part of WrestleMania 31?