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Hawke’s WWE Wrestlemania 33 Review

April 3, 2017 | Posted by TJ Hawke
Hardy Hardys Image Credit: WWE
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Hawke’s WWE Wrestlemania 33 Review  

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April 2, 2017

Orlando, Florida, USA

Commentators: Corey Graves, Tom Phillips, Michael Cole, Bryon Saxton, JBL, David Otunga, Jerry Lawler, & Jim Ross

Neville vs. Austin Aries

This was for Neville’s Cruiserweight Championship.

That was a case of a match working out well due to hard work and a handful of clever moments. The key to a lot of Wreslemania matches succeeding is the wrestlers just clearly working in some spots that help the match stand out as being unique and special.

A few of those moments here included Aries taking a bunch of bumps on his dome, them building to a massive Frankensteiner down the stretch, and Neville going after Aries’ injured eye to save himself.

Aries seemed to have the match won with the Last Chancery. Neville ruthlessly dug into Aries’ eye though to escape and then kicked a rope into the same eye. From there, Aries was easy prey for the Red Arrow. That was a fantastic finishing sequence to an otherwise solid battle. (***1/4)

Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal

This was not a very well booked Andre match. Matches like this succeed based on the selection of the winner, the random surprise entrants, and if there are any compelling stories started, continued, or paid off.

Mojo winning does not really sound all that promising as far as future pushes go. The WWE using Rob Gronkowski to help him win though gave the match and his win a shot of a adrenaline needed to make sure it got over at least.

Beyond Gronk’s involvement though, there were no random surprises in there and that was a bit disappointing. Big Damo lasting until the final few was nice at least.

As far as stories though, there was nothing really here to care about. The best wrestlers in the match were mostly eliminated without care. It seems like more could have been done with Sami, Harper, and even Braun but oh well. (**)

Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin

This was for Ambrose’s Intercontinental Championship.

This was a solid television match. They worked it at a good clip. They integrated a handful of nifty moments (Baron blocked The Nigel by kicking Dean in the face was particularly great). They gave us a clean finish. This is how you book undercard matches to be satisfying in the moment without overshadowing anything to come after it. Dean won cleanly. (***)

AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon

These two were allowed to go out there and work the opener as if it was the main event of the show. They got to bust out every trick in the book in order to deliver the best spectacle possible for the fans. They took the fans on a wild journey, and everyone lapped it up.

There was a huge issue with that journey though. Two thirds of the match was basically spent establishing that Shane McMahon was a legitimate threat to AJ on a grappling level. It was basically a competitive, 50/50 battle where each guy got chances to get the better of the other. That is so counterproductive in the grand scheme of things.

From there, the match took a turn for the better. They did a ref bump, and then the match became about big spots and huge risks. They built to each of them well, and it seemed much more fitting that Shane had a chance to win this way. It all built to this great moment where Shane tried (and then failed) with the shooting star press.

The frustrating thing was that they had a great in-ring story just waiting for them there. AJ should have kicked Shane’s ass and out-grappled the fuck out of him. AJ would have grown overconfident. Shane would have grown desperate. It would have led to Shane taking the big risks to give himself a chance. The McMahons never allow themselves to look that weak though. It’s a real shame because they are generally great performers for what the WWE does.

There’s no way to objectively claim that this match was not successful. It will probably go down as one of the most memorable and beloved Wrestlemania openers ever. It just really undermined itself for no justifiable reason along the way. At least AJ managed to win cleanly in the end. (***)

Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens

This was for Jericho’s United States Championship.

This was a very enjoyable match and an easy watch. They put together a number of fun sequences, and everything came off well and was paced at a good clip.

The match did seem tonally off though since the feud was based on these two being very mad at each other. They worked it more like they were trying to prove who was the better wrestler or something else less personal.

That issue did not ruin the match by any means. It just significantly lowered the ceiling for it. Oh well. Owens won cleanly after the apron powerbomb. (***)

Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks

This was an elimination match for Bayley’s Raw Women’s Championship.

This match was basically dived up into three sections. The first section was about Nia Jax being a beast of a wrestler and the other three trying to figure out how to deal with her. It eventually led to an incredibly satisfying group elimination of Nia. This was executed perfectly.

From there, they did a rushed job forcing a quick Sasha and Bayley square off. The conclusion of it was Charlotte pinning Sasha very easily after sending her into an exposed turnbuckle. It felt very rushed and anti-climatic unfortunately.

The match finished up with a sequence from Bayley and Charlotte that was very sloppy at points and felt rushed yet again. Bayley pinning Charlotte cleanly just did not come off well and was a cold reminder of how badly they botched the payoff to Charlotte’s PPV win streak gimmick. There was probably more good than bad in this particular match overall though. (***)

The Hardys (Jeff & Matt Hardy) vs. The Club (Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows) vs. Big Cass & Enzo Amore vs. Cesaro & Sheamus

This was a ladder match for The Club’s Raw Tag Team Championship.

This was such a fucking great moment. New Day teased that they were entering the match as a surprise team. The Hardys of course returned here instead, and it was a genuine goosebumps moment.

The reaction to them coming out was electrifying. It led to a wild sprint of a ladder match. It beautifully built to Jeff doing yet another wild fucking stunt while Matt grabbed the belts. This match completely washed over me.

I have no idea what happened in it. I’ll have to watch it again at some point. All I know is that The Hardys were forever the underpushed act that got themselves over like stars over and over again. They pulled it off one final time in 2016 and made themselves of value to the WWE once again. They earned this. They deserved this moment. (****)

John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. Maryse & The Miz

This was a very quick match that did not really feel all that notable. Nikki Bella did do a dive though and let the Miz catch her. The Miz was smart enough to not duck this catch at least. Anyway, Cena and Nikki won cleanly and rather easily. It was lively and fine for what it was meant to be. (**1/2)

After the match, Cena proposed to Nikki. She said yes.

Seth Rollins vs. Triple H

This was an unsanctioned match.

After this show started with nothing but watchable and/or good matches for five hours, we were finally treated to a failure. This was complete and utter shit.

First off, it did not feel like an unsanctioned match at all. There was no sense of danger or true violence. It instead just felt like a limp grudge match between two guys who have a long history of not being able to work these matches well.

The first half of the match was all about HHH WORKING OVER THE LEG of Seth. It was dull as fuck as HHH is not a compelling worker on top for long and Seth is basically just good at being a lunatic high-flying hot tag.

The second half was all about Seth ignoring his injured knee and doing a series of highspots sporadically. It concluded with Stephanie McMahon going through a table and HHH walking into a pedigree for the loss.

This was a chore to sit through and no one in the crowd seemed to care at all about it. I do get some perverse enjoyment though from Triple H using his annual Wrestlemania match to solidify himself as one of the worst main-eventers in wrestling history though. (*)

Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton

This was for Bray’s WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

Bray seemed motivated here, but this really came off as a flat and inconsequential midcard match. The crowd did not seem to care much to what they did in the ring, and Orton’s title win felt very insignificant.

The only notable thing in this one was that Bray used his spooky powers to project Fear Factor bowls of bugs and worms on the ring mat three times throughout the match. Magic is real. (**)

Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman)

This was for Goldberg’s WWE Universal Championship.

This was exactly what it needed to be, and it was quite fun as a result. Brock came storming out of the gate with Germans. Bill fought right back with a spear and then a spear through the barricade. Brock survived a jackhammer, then hit a million Germans in the ring, and finished Bill with an F-5. This was loads of fun and was a very successful conclusion to an exceptionally odd six month story in WWE. (***1/2)

Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch vs. Carmella vs. Mickie James vs. Naomi vs. Natalya


This was for Bliss’ Smackdown Women’s Championship.

They really had to sprint through this one unfortunately. A lot of the action really blended together as a result. Naomi winning back the belt in her hometown though came off well, and the match was an easy watch if nothing else. (**3/4)

Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker

This was a no disqualification match.

Well, this was not very good unfortunately. There were a few moments in the beginning where it looked like it might be a perfectly fine way for Taker to close out his career. He was hobbled clearly and couldn’t do much. Reigns was bouncing around for him though, and they were working around his limitations. Reigns speared him through a table and things seemed to be set up for a solid Wrestlemania main event all things considered.

Then the match progressively got sadder and sadder from there on out. Taker looked lost a few times. Things were getting botched. The crowd got awkwardly quiet. It just was not working out, and it kept getting worse the longer it went. Reigns finally finishing him was not dramatic at all and instead felt like a mercy killing for the fans.  We will always have 2007-2013 for The Undertaker at least. (**)

Recent WWE TV Coverage (Okay, I didn’t watch much from March.)

#SDLive: Usos vs. American Alpha, AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton

205: Neville vs. Mustafa Ali

Wrestlemania Week Coverage

Evolve: Matt Riddle vs. Fred Yehi, Donovan Dijak vs. Keith Lee, Michael Elgin vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Ricochet vs. Keith Lee, Drew Galloway vs. Matt Riddle

The final score: review Average
The 411
This show was on a total roll, but the second half dragged it down dramatically. The Undertaker retiring on a rather sad (in a bad way) note only made it seem worse.