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“I thought that you had retired”. “So did I”.
Honestly, I had zero intentions of watching the entire Wrestlemania 35 show. I’ve significantly scaled back my WWE viewership since October 2018, having only watched Royal Rumble 2019 as a full WWE show. Otherwise, I have been using my Magneto (from the X-Men) Policy with “in chess, the pawns go first”. I’d just pick and choose which matches to watch, if any, based on reviews that I’d read. I told all of my followers on Twitter that I’d tune in at 10pm to catch the end of the show because this old man struggles to sit through 6-7 hours straight of wrestling.
And then 5pm rolls around and my damn iPhone is on the WWE Network.
So, I’m just going to say this… For the rest of my tenure here at LordsofPain.net, I’m just going to write here and there… This column is my 3rd of 2019 (plus 1 YouTube video), so I’m WAY OFF my pace from the 1-3 columns per week pace that I did from 2012-2018. I’ll just write or produce videos when I want, but certainly NOT weekly like I used to. I’ve made a few lifestyle changes that are helping me avoid the Insomnia that helped make Mr. Tito possible. Plus, I’m only matching a few WWE Pay Per Views, at best, now.
For Wrestlemania 35, I felt too invested in Ronda Rousey‘s storyline arc and I wanted to see Becky Lynch‘s push through. Plus, I can’t resist a good Brock Lesnar car crash and I was curious about Kurt Angle‘s retirement match. Too much there… I know, I’m a hypocrite, I’m Terry Funk of wrestling columns, blah blah blah.
Fact is that I’m a wrestling fan at heart and I’m BEGGING the WWE to improve so that I can more money to them… Furthermore, I’m sooooo happy that Jim Ross was named “Senior Advisor” of All Elite Wrestling (AEW) and that, alone, has me excited as a wrestling fan. Ross was announcing when I began heavily watching pro wrestling during late 1988 and my respect grew for him when I knew he was in charge of talent for the WWE. If AEW listen to Jim Ross while leaning on the experience of Chris Jericho, they have a real chance.
I watched the entire show, from 5pm until the finish…
Mr. Tito’s PHAT Wrestlemania 35 Review
First of all, I would not attend this show LIVE unless I had good ringside seats. Football stadiums are NOT meant for pro wrestling events. When you have to squint or have your view blocked by a pillar, you’ve been screwed as a wrestling fan. Making matters worse for anyone in the lower or upper decks, the WWE had very bright lights on top of the ring which were, as some have put it, “like staring into the sun all night”. Yikes. WWE Network gives you such a great presentation and for only $9.99 per month. Attending Wrestlemania should be a one-time thing and only if you’re willing to pay thousands to sit very close to the ring.
Secondly, I hate rotating announcing teams… BUT I really enjoyed many guest stars of the past joining commentary. 1 less non-wrestling person at the booth is better. Great to hear Jerry Lawler back on commentary and as a heel. He still has it!
The first match of the night was your standard WWE Cruiserweight Match between Tony Nese vs. Buddy Murphy. It was OK… Moves were crisp, both wrestlers had high energy… But I just didn’t feel any “heat” for this match between the competitors. What 205 Live lacks is character building. As much as people have ripped Enzo Amore’s in-ring work, 205 Live was at its best when Enzo was the heel and talking down his opponents on that show. Tony Nese won and I was indifferent about it. Cruiserweight wrestlers need better agents and Creative Team work to make me give a damn about a pre-show match on Wrestlemania. Pro wrestling is 50% in-ring physical work, 50% emotional and psychological. If you cannot teach that latter half in your developmental system, then fire your teachers. How about challenging yourselves to make a 205 Live show appear after 7pm? [ ** 1/2 ]
I’m just wondering what the WWE Creative Team constantly sees in Carmella, the winner of the 2019 Women’s Battle Royal. They are always favoring her and protecting her… Yet, I’m still wondering where the returns are from her WWE Women’s Title run besides putting over James Ellsworth gags. Sarah Logan or Asuka should have won that match. Asuka obviously should have been more prominently featured on Wrestlemania but Logan had the momentum. I don’t know… [ ** ]
Lesson of the day, don’t mess with the WWE… The Revival kept making hints on social media about wanting to join AEW so what did the WWE do? They gave them the Tag Titles and then let them look like chumps by losing non-title matches. Now, they lose to 2 complete jobbers in Zack Ryder/Curt Hawkins in an impromptu match-up that appears on the pre-game show. What a joke. The Revival is one of the best textbook tag teams in years and they are wasted in the WWE. Of course, they need to SHUT UP on Social Media, but to waste their talent is just sad. It makes me wonder if these two lost as a result of Dash’s sucker punch on the Bret Hart attacker from the Hall of Fame show? His action could cause legal problems for him and the WWE. Assaulting someone who had just committed assault isn’t legal, bro. Match was a solid tag match but the end result makes zero sense. Revival should have convincingly beat these guys. [ *** ]
The Andre the Giant Battle Royal was a JOKE… Should have been called “Saturday Night Live Advertisement” instead. Seriously. That’s what it was… Nothing but the promotion of those 2 “Weekend Update” anchors. Braun Strowman wins it easily, as expected, and for 2 straight Wrestlemania shows, they have wasted him. Last year, he tagged with a child, if you forgot… [ Zero Stars ] I’d go with a more harsh rating if this wasn’t on the pre-show.
TIME FOR THE MAIN SHOW!
Opening match was Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Universal Title. We had Alexa Bliss and Hulk Hogan “Sports Entertainment” until Paul Heyman interrupted to demand Lesnar vs. Rollins go first. I was fine with this match going on first… I would have placed either this or Batista/HHH first to “get them out of the way” to avoid expectations being too high if on a higher place on the card. Match was OK, as it was your typical Lesnar match that we’ve seen for the last 4 years. But the ending was strong with Rollins sneaking in a low blow and then THREE Curb Stomps to defeat Brock Lesnar. Think about this for a moment… For the last 5 years, Roman has been groomed to be “the guy” yet it is Seth Rollins who has taken the World Title away from Brock Lesnar not once but twice at Wrestlemanias, not Roman. This time around, Rollins actually pinned Lesnar. Makes me wonder if we’ll get the same reaction from Lesnar on the post-Wrestlemania 31 RAW tomorrow night. You know, where he destroyed everything ringside and attacked everyone. Hopefully, this time around, Stephanie doesn’t immediately come out and suspend him indefinitely. [ ** ] Honestly, I hope this is the last Brock Lesnar match for a long time. His style is tired and the WWE, from 2012-2017, got the most out of him.
Up next was AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton. I have said this a million times. You can always tell when Randy Orton is LOSING at a big event based on his emotions. When he’s winning a match, he’s full of energy… When he’s not, he has emotionally checked out and acts like a robot hitting his moves. Zero emotion for selling and after he hit moves. He didn’t care. Meanwhile, I believe that “father time” is attacking AJ Styles. He just doesn’t have that extra kick in his step, so to speak, that we saw during his first 2 years with the WWE. The thick WWE schedule has probably beat him down, hence why he has asked for fewer dates on his new contract. Both guys looked solid out there, but Orton wasn’t emotionally into it and AJ Styles is showing his age. [ ** 1/2 ] I just don’t know what use the WWE has of Orton anymore if he’s going to keep emotionally checking out like this at his older age.
I enjoyed the Smackdown Fatal 4 Way Tag… It was just too typical of a match and was nothing unique or special. Just lots of bodies flying around, here and there and everywhere. I’m glad that the Usos retained, as it was likely a reward for a new contract signed. If only the Smackdown brand could have went with a one-on-one match instead. [ ** 1/2 ]
FINGER OF SHAME for Shane McMahon vs. the Miz. My usual argument. Miz is a FULL TIME TRAINED WRESTLER. Meanwhile, Shane McMahon is a guy in his LATE 40s and is NOT a full time wrestler. In fact, he wrestles 4-5 times per year… Miz is the next guy who has to sell for him. Not only that, Miz needed his Dad to distract Shane from jumping onto Miz from the top rope (when Miz was on the table) and then Shane WINS the damn match. Miz should kill this man within 1-2 minutes. Could you imagine if Dana White took on top UFC fighters in matches for about 4-5 times a year? Yeah, White would get destroyed… That’s why he doesn’t fight his own talent. Shane McMahon, KNOW YOUR ROLE and stay the hell out of the ring. Miz’s career just took a big step back, once again… [ NEGATIVE 5 Stars + FINGER OF SHAME ]
Another Fatal 4 Way Tag Match but this time of the female variety… This match struggled because it didn’t seem like the Champions had any fighting chance. Crowd seemed quiet for this one… The Iconics really didn’t do much, other than laydown at ringside for a long period of time before stealing the final pin. I’m happy that Beth Phoenix is back, but she seemed like she was wrestling with a piano on her back (quoting my boy Shannon Sharpe). There was just no energy to this tag match and Sasha/Bayley should have been more featured as champions and possibly retain the titles. Tag Titles are off to a rough start. [ * 1/2 ]
And now, Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston. Wow, just wow… First of all, let’s give credit where credit is due… Daniel Bryan was GREAT as Kofi’s opponent. Unlike what we saw earlier with Randy Orton, Bryan was 100% emotionally into this match and WANTED to put Kofi over. THAT IS HOW YOU DO IT! And because of that reason, this match was compelling. Fans were into Kofi because Daniel Bryan made you believe that Kofi had a chance. This was how Ric Flair made a living… As a heel champion, Ric Flair made fans that he could lose at any time. Bryan just pulled out some Ric Flair magic as a heel champion and selling anything Kofi threw at him. THAT is how wrestling works, my friend. GREAT MATCH and because of Bryan’s action, you feel like Kofi legitimately just accomplished something. These guys nailed it and Kofi is in a good position as a top guy… Just has to string together more serious wins and not have a bad summer like others have had after Wrestlemania (Bryan in 2014, Rollins in 2015, Benoit in 2004, etc.). [ **** 1/2 ]
I was perfectly fine with Samoa Joe squashing the older Rey Mysterio. Wait a second, you’re like “Rey is only 5 years older than Joe” but Mysterio’s pretty beat up for his age. Secondly, it’s about time that the WWE acted like weight matters. Of course Joe should kick his ass! Wasn’t much of a match, but I totally agreed with the booking. [ ** ]
Drew McIntyre vs. Roman Reigns was meh… Roman is still sucking wind, as he’s coming off his recovery and still needing to knock off ring rust. But I don’t blame him. He was in the ring with a veteran who should have carried things. Drew looks the part but the in-ring psychology and personality are not there. There is a reason why the WWE gave up on him years ago and placed him in 3 Man Band. There is a reason why they cut him… There is a reason why his WWE return was placing him in NXT first. Just saying, he was only an opponent to lose to Roman at Wrestlemania and that’s it. Don’t get your hopes up. [ ** ]
Elias came out and played some tunes and then some old familiar music hit… JOHN CENA, baby, and he was in the full “Doctor of Thuganomics” gimmick. Yeah, baby! He cut a great rap that thrashed Elias verbally and then attacked him. Wasn’t a match, just an attack and Cena walked away. I’ll watch WWE every week if THIS version of John Cena returns and is featured weekly (while also pushed).
Triple H vs. Batista was up next and I was perfectly fine with the match… You need to consider that Batista hasn’t seen a wrestling ring for 5 years and Triple H was just coming off a pectoral injury. Since both guys were older and were limited physically, they went for the more psychological warfare instead. I liked how Triple H was torturing Batista with tools and then ripped his nosering out. I was fine with the ending of Ric Flair helping Triple H out, particularly after the Batista attack on Flair a few weeks ago. It completes the storyline… I expected worse but got something decent. [ *** 1/4 ]
I’m 100% OK with Ron Simmons appearing on WWE television at any point. He should be managing some wrestlers, in my opinion.
Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin is up next… I really don’t like Corbin as the final opponent. He has a great finisher but nothing else within the ring. Crowd is very silent for this match, probably disappointed in Angle’s opponent. Should be rebelling with some trolling chants. Angle has been very slow since his WWE return and thus it’s a good time to retire. Angle tried the Moonsault, missed, and Baron Corbin hit the End of Days for the win. I actually agree with that finish, sadly enough… Angle is not what he used to be and Corbin would have been a laughing stock to have lost. [ * ] Corbin needs a good road agent to help him fix a few things…
Sad to see Kurt Angle retire… YET, I feel great as a wrestling fan because I saw Kurt Angle perform in the WWE from start to finish. I’ve been there for the entire ride and I can easily say that he’s one of the greatest performers ever. He is easily the quickest learner that pro wrestling has ever seen not just from an in-ring standpoint, but personality wise as well. I only wish that the WWE would have leaned on that personality more during his early years so that he wouldn’t have taken so many risks inside the ring to harm his neck. What a talent…
Bobby Lashley vs. Finn Balor in the “death spot” where everybody can take a dump or piss before the Main Event. Shouldn’t be that way, but Bobby Lashley has been largely a disappointment as a superstar since his WWE return. He looks the part but the personality, charisma, and in-ring psychology just aren’t there. I like his manager, though… That guy should do more to stir up antics to get heat on Lashley. The Demon entrance was pretty crazy… Not to be outdone, Bobby has some strange contact lenses in tonight. Seems to me that the crowd is saving their energy for the Main Event… Or they have been in that arena since 5pm and they are exhausted from squinting through bright lights all night. Match had a nice spear by Lashley through the ropes and a few nice moves by Finn… But it just felt like a regular RAW match and nothing special. Lashley just isn’t getting it done. [ ** 1/4 ]
And R-Truth and Carmella are out to extend this show further… Gotta reach that Midnight timeframe!
Tampa Bay for next year’s Wrestlemania? Great… More pillars for people to look around for an outdoor venue.
FINALLY, the MAIN EVENT is here… I’m just realizing that if I started watching at 10pm, I would have still watched a long wrestling show anyway. Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch needs to honestly hit a homerun or this show could be a bloated, one-trick pony of a show. Charlotte is shown flying in on a helicopter… Yeah, that’s not dangerous. Not to be outdone, freakin’ Joan Jett is there to sing Ronda’s theme song LIVE! Wow, that’s cool… With Ronda coming out first, this concludes a night HEAVY with the Champions coming out first on their entrances. Sigh… I’m too tired to complain about traditions tonight. Charlotte comes out next, also a champion, and she gets fireworks on top of that helicopter entrance. And then here comes Becky with a regular entrance. LOL! If I were booking it, I’d have Becky smash-up all of Joan Jett’s band’s instruments and equipment. While Rousey is the one they keep insisting is the toughest, she is definitely the least skilled professional wrestler of the 3. Just several kicks and poorly executed moves throughout the match while Becky was taking bumps and Charlotte was showing her absurd strength. I must have missed the memo about “No Disqualification” as Becky brings a table into the ring to help cheapen how special this match could have been. Ronda agrees with me and states that “tables are for bitches”. Charlotte later sets up that table in the corner and later gets thrown into it, only for the table not to break… Just bended a little bit. Charlotte was selling the table spot on the outside and it was Becky and Ronda Rousey alone in the ring. Rousey was getting the better of her and then tried her Finisher. Somehow, Becky spun that into a roll-up pin for the 1, 2, and 3. The pop was mixed because that pin came out of no where! Such an underwhelming match, given the hype surrounding this match. [ *** 1/2 ]. Didn’t seem like it was a big night for Becky, given how she was the punching bag for much of this match and then just suddenly wins the title.
LAST WORD: This LONG show just reminded me why I walked away from being Mr. Tito on a full-time basis AND cutting back on my WWE viewership. I feel like that I have just run a marathon. These long shows are just brutal, especially Wrestlemania where the WWE has been rewarding everyone and their mother with Pay Per View payoffs to appear somewhere on the show. “Less is More” is what the WWE needs to try while making the big show payoffs as rewards for a year of hard work that is earned by wrestlers. It is RIDICULOUS to push a Pro Wrestling show beyond 11pm and even more ludicrous to go beyond Midnight. Funny thing is that New York fans would pay the same $ amount for a shorter show… Seriously. Match quality was affected by many wrestlers waiting around for too long for their matches in front of a worn out crowd. Event had a few good matches, but the pure size and scope of it all should make YOU, the reader of this review, consider to only watch a handful of matches on your WWE Network subscription and avoid most of the show. [ B- ] for my show’s grade. Handful of great matches, a few cool moments… But a damn marathon to get through. This show made me realize how much I hated reviewing WWE’s Pay Per View since they’ve been making them longer since 2018 when they combined brands for Pay Per Views.
And remember… To purchase the Doc’s book Greatest Matches and Rivalries of the Wrestlemania Era via Amazon.com in the United States, GO HERE. To purchase this book via Amazon.com in the United Kingdom, GO HERE. If those don’t work, please inquire Doc via Twitter through his handle @TheDocLoP.
BUY THE BOOK!
So just chill… Until the next episode!
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