This week, Jordan Chaffiotte, Ben Guest, and Charlie Gregory will be giving their opinions on WrestleMania 33. It was certainly not a boring show, with plenty of ups and downs to go around. It was a show that inspired a lot of very impassioned reactions, with some hating what others loved. WrestleMania also ended with one of the most heartbreaking moments in recent memory as the Undertaker had his very last match and walked out without his gloves, hat, and coat. Let's take a look at the highs and lows, and see if the team can manage to agree on anything this week.
Question 1:What surprised you the most at WrestleMania 33? What left you wanting more?
CHAFFIOTTE: First of all—and yes, I am take the time to brag here—I was shocked that Mojo Rawley ACTUALLY won the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. I said he would out of wishful thinking and although it was basically the only prediction I got right, it was the one that mattered the most, at least to Mojo and myself. It made me really hopeful for the rest of the night that we wouldn't see the predictable booking that has plagued the last few months.
AJ Styles and Shane McMahon put on a really well-told story. It was maybe not AJ's greatest work ever, but Shane stepped up to try to match him, and it was a pleasant surprise. AJ is obviously one of the greatest in the world today (dare I say all time?) and he deserves the main event next year. The Raw Women's Championship match was also really quite good, with the execution not as cut and dry as I was expecting. I didn't think Charlotte would be on board to work with Sasha and Bayley and her callous "yeah! High five! Hug?" reminded me of Seth Rollin's desperation to get The Shield back together and made me grin. Maybe the queen misses her BFFs a bit. I would've liked more between Bayley and Sasha, but given that the Superstar Shake-up could totally reconfigure the women's divisions, this told a solid story for each individual character that they can carry over to SmackDown or a different feud later on.
I knew I would be disappointed by Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt. I tried to keep my expectations low—I really did, guys. Still, I was so let down by it. We all knew that the powers of Satan and darkness and fear were going to be taken down by one single RKO, but I just wanted more. Don't even get me started on the projections. Sure, it was kind of cool the first time, as it was unexpected. Then it happened again...and a third time...and never really seemed to throw Randy off his game. This match could've been so much more, it's really a shame.
GUEST: There were two big surprises for me, the first being the return of The Hardy Boyz, which even though a lot of people speculated, I really didn't expect to see them before SummerSlam. Despite that, it was amazing and I'm excited to see what they can do. The other big surprise for me was how good the AJ Styles and Shane McMahon match was. It might be a contender for match of the night in my eyes and I think it surprised everyone. Just goes to show that AJ really can put on a classic with everyone, not taking away from how well Shane did.
What left me wanting more was the two women's matches. The Raw match felt like it had a lot more to give and the SmackDown match was way too short and probably would have had much more time if it was on the pre-show, as was originally intended.
GREGORY: I have to say, I was surprised by quite a few things on the night. The first and undoubtedly the best surprise of the night was when The Hardy Boyz appeared and then went on to win the titles. Although I knew that they were coming and although I had heard that it was going to be soon, I really didn't expect them to be thrown into the fold at WrestleMania. So, when they did show up, I lost my mind...just a little bit. As for what else surprised me, I'd have to go with Mojo Rawley winning the Andre the Giant Battle Royal because I truly expected either one of Sami Zayn or Braun Strowman to win it, so when they both got thrown over I was massively surprised. Finally, I'd have to go with the AJ Styles vs Shane McMahon match. It was actually really enjoyable and just goes to show why Styles is arguably the best in the world right now.
As for what left me wanting more, I'd say the SmackDown women's title match and the WWE Championship match between Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton. The women's title match was just far too rushed and quick and didn't have time to fully develop so I was left disappointed. As for the Wyatt vs Orton match, I just felt there was a lot more that could have been done with that. It was over a bit too quickly and all too suddenly.
Question 2: In the whole of the weekend, what matches were your favorites? Any MOTY contenders?
CHAFFIOTTE: To me, two matches put on Match of the Year contenders. The first, of course, and I think my co-writers will agree, was the NXT Tag Team Championship Triple Threat. #DIY and The Revival are becoming like many of the greatest rivalries in wrestling, able to put on a good match in their sleep. The Authors of Pain didn't exactly live up to that, but they did play their roles. I didn't have any delusions that anyone else would walk out of there with the belts but still felt like AOP didn't do any of the heavy lifting to earn it (ironically.) Regardless, this was outstanding. They teased early on the idea that #DIY and The Revival might have to put aside their differences and work together in order to get AOP out of this match, but somehow they managed to make it feel like a very big deal that they actually did. Maybe it was because it went beyond allowing a pin or helping out with a powerbomb, they showed real camaraderie. When Scott Dawson and Johnny Gargano did DIY's signature double team, I couldn't help but mark out because it felt like there was genuine respect between rivals. These two teams have a long road ahead of them and I can't wait to see it through.
The second was Triple H vs. Seth Rollins, and I know, it was no secret how hyped I was about it. But damn if it didn't deliver. Personally, I would've played up Seth's fever, which judging by how pale and sweaty he was from the first bell I would guess had not broken by the time he got out there. Maybe they felt it made him seem weak but as the match progressed without a whole lot of outside interference, I was incredibly impressed at all he gave it. The entrances gave it a big fight feel, both men looked like they legitimately wanted to destroy the other, and the story that they wove was so masterfully done. There were so many great beats, like when Seth was pulling out everything he could from under the ring, including Triple H's prized sledgehammer. Seth, who in all likelihood is fine, sold every spot on his knee like it was excruciating. My heart stopped when he went for the Phoenix Splash and Stephanie's involvement was perfectly executed. The only thing I would've liked to have seen was Seth going over to see if Stephanie was okay after the match. Even if you don't buy into the affair conspiracy theory, which I totally do, they were very close friends and as the good guy I feel like Seth should have been concerned for her. Plus it would've opened up Hunter to go berserk on Seth afterward and lay him out, letting Triple H look strong too. I digress, this was a breathtakingly good match and I hope to see it on the lists come MOTY time.
GUEST: I assume everyone will agree that the NXT Tag Team Championship match is a match of the year contender and easily the best match of the weekend, if not the year so far. But four matches on WrestleMania were really great in my eyes. AJ Styles vs Shane McMahon was a good wrestling match, Seth Rollins vs Triple H really told the story of a feud that has been building for around 5 years now and Brock Lesnar vs Goldberg was exactly what it should have been, 5 minutes of explosive power moves.
My favorite match of WrestleMania for a number of reasons was Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker. The fact that Roman didn't turn heel could sour a lot of people, but I like how the match was fought and I really gained a lot of respect for Roman throughout this match. I think this match solidified Roman as a top guy in my eyes and I can't even truly explain why.
GREGORY: As the other two writers have already said, the best match of the weekend arguably didn't actually come from WrestleMania, but instead, from NXT. The Triple Threat match for the NXT Tag Team Championships was incredible and really just goes to show how good DIY and The Revival are. Both are exceptionally talented tag teams and both have already put on tremendously good matches even before this match and the future looks bright for both of them.
From WrestleMania itself, there were a few matches that impressed me. AJ Styles vs Shane McMahon completely surprised me with how good it was and I thought it was a terrific way to open the show. AJ Styles truly is 'phenomenal' and McMahon fought well all the way to the end. Seth Rollins vs Triple H was also brilliant and a fitting match for the two to have after their longtime feud. Even Brock Lesnar vs Goldberg left me pleasantly surprised. To be totally honest, I feared that it might end up being as short as their last two encounters but they each pulled out their respective signature moves and finishers and put on as much of a show as they could. Although not a wrestling clinic and not exactly long, the two did exactly what they should have done and told a story in the short space of time that they had. It was short and sweet.
Question 3: Was the Undertaker's last ride worthy of the legend? How did you feel as the show ended?
CHAFFIOTTE: Unfortunately, my first WrestleMania was 30 and to be frank, Taker hasn't really had a spectacular match in that time. I missed him losing the streak to Brock Lesnar because I was making a snack (true story), Bray was kind of a dud, Shane's match boiled down to one spot, and then there was this. It wasn't bad, it was pretty good actually, I just wanted more than pretty good. I've never really gotten to witness an Undertaker match and knowing it was his last one, I wanted to know what that's like. Here's the thing about Roman, as the guy on WWE, I have high standards, and I just don't feel like I'm getting enough from him. He is so capable of putting on stellar matches but he seems to wrestle up to his opponents. Maybe my bar is too high but personally, I believe that the top guy should be able to wrestle a phone book and make the phone book look good. Taker, for all that he is and will always be, was going into this match knowing he needed a hip replacement. He needed Roman to help carry him through, and I just didn't feel like he did that.
It really comes down to wanting more from him. If the Undertaker is going to be sold as a threat like that, Roman should've needed to do something more to defeat him. The same old same old shouldn't have worked. I love a spear as much as the next guy and sure he ran the ropes a little before hitting it, but it would be so much more of a powerful story if Roman had to break out something outside his normal arsenal because the Dead Man came prepared for him. Then to top it off, Roman didn't turn heel, which is fine, but he also didn't commit to anything else. Tweeners are great but tweeners have a point of view, and as Roman left the arena, I didn't understand what his point of view was. Even a simple nod to Taker or raising his fist, that would've solidified some sort of story. Even still, it was a really moving to watch the Undertaker leave his hat and coat in the ring while the crowd chanted for him. It was well worth staying up to wait until he had completely left the arena, even if I was deliriously tired at that point.
GUEST: I was very surprised that it wasn't announced beforehand that Undertaker was retiring, but it made the moment even more shocking and even more special. The match was great and really made both guys look incredible, Roman hit Taker with everything he had and it still wasn't enough for the most part and Taker gave Reigns a top match and an outright slugfest.
The end of the show was exactly what it should have been, a moment of sadness and respect. I'm happy the crowd ignored that Roman had won and paid The Undertaker the respect he deserves. He is the most respected person in the wrestling industry and deserves any and all plaudits he gets. There will never be another Undertaker, or another Mark Calaway.
GREGORY: It's hard to describe how I felt and how I am still feeling after this match. At first, I felt so sad for the way this incredible wrestler's career has ended. Undertaker is one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, his character was amazing and having watched tons of his matches growing up, I can't quite believe his career is seemingly over.
The way in which it happened at first infuriated me. I, like probably a lot of people, thought 'Why, of all people, is Roman Reigns the one to end this?' I try to like Reigns, I really do, but I couldn't believe they chose him to do it, to be the one to end his career and it annoyed me. Why not someone like John Cena? Cena has been the biggest star of the last decade in WWE, without question, so to give it to Reigns after everything really got to me, as did the fact his 'Mania streak had now seen two losses added to it.
However, as the initial reaction died down, I realized how brilliant it was. Reigns was incredible in that match and the two of them created a story which was amazing to watch unfold. That moment of seeing Taker trying to sit up only to fall will stay with me for a long time. Both gave it everything they had and in the end, it was indeed the right decision. Reigns was perfect for adding that second loss to his record, he looked incredibly strong and he can use that going forward. Undertaker did the right thing in losing again. You could see during the match that Taker's best days are certainly behind him and that loss and his reaction showed a realization from his character that he can't keep on going anymore. It was just brilliant from both of them and I do really think it was a worthy last ride for him.
Those last moments of Undertaker putting his hat, jacket, and gloves in the center of the ring and then leaving was chilling and emotional. It was all just so well done and what an image to end the show on. He is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the greatest of all time. There will never be another superstar like The Undertaker.
Those are our thoughts on the issue, but where do you stand?
Let us know your answers to these questions in the comments below!