Roman Reigns battled through the boos, Stephanie McMahon, a sledgehammer and the offense of Triple H to regain the WWE World championship at WrestleMania 32 on Sunday, April 3 from AT&T Stadium.
A spear finished off the leader of the Authority to close out the grand spectacle. This was after Stephanie was hit with the same move. Crowd boo’d Reigns more than Triple H. Reigns left with the belt and his daughter, JoJo.
Talk about taking one for the team. The production of Triple H’s entrance really exemplified the pageantry that comes with the global phenomenon. They spare no expense creating something right out of a movie with figures in skulls and Stephanie in full costume.
Records are made to be broken, and WWE did just that in Jerry’s World. The Rock was on hand to break the news that 101,763 fans from all 50 states and 35 countries contributed to the history-making number. This shatters the previous record of 93,173 that packed the Pontiac Silverdome in 1987. It’s also the highest grossing live event in WWE history with more than $17.3 million.
The Great One was ushered into the stadium by the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders. The Hollywood heavyweight lit a Rock sign on fire with a flamethrower before heading to the ring. The Rock broke another record at WrestleMania by beating Erik Rowan in six seconds. The Wyatt Family aimed to rain on Rock’s party, but that ended up backfiring. More than 100,000 fireflies created quite the visual for the Wyatt appearance. John Cena returned from injury to even up the odds for Rock. Two titans of sports entertainment stood tall together.
The Undertaker improved his record to 23 and 1 with a standout Hell in a Cell war. Control of Raw remains in the hands of Vince McMahon based on the stipulation. The highlight saw Shane McMahon dive from the top of the cell to deliver an elbow on to his opponent. Undertaker was able to move out of the way just in time from the 20-feet leap of faith. McMahon tried to rebound, but fell victim to the Tombstone.
Respect to both men for their efforts. McMahon walked into the Devil’s Playground with his sons by his side in Shane O’Mac jerseys. The entrance saw $32 bills falling down from high above. McMahon got into tremendous condition leading up to it, using some of that MMA training he received in preparation. Undertaker didn’t take it easy on Shane and vice-versa. Steps, a broken cage panel and a tool box played a role in the carnage.
Lita ushered in a new era for female competitors in WWE with the introduction of the new women’s championship. This will go further in changing the perception of these athletes and treating them on the level of their male counterparts. Divas will now be referred to as “Superstars” going forward. The new title itself contains 283 stones and was constructed with the assistance from Orange County Choppers of “American Chopper” fame.
Charlotte was the last Divas champion in WWE history and became the first women’s champion in this new era. She defeated Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch in a triple threat that really proved women’s wrestling has arrived. The three worked hard to steal the show with each taking to the air at various points of the match. Even Ric Flair took a bump. The end came with the Nature Boy holding Banks’ legs leading to Lynch tapping out to the Figure Eight. Fireworks went off to solidify the historic victory. Snoop Dogg performed as part of Banks entrance as confetti rained down. Banks’ ring attire was a tribute to Eddie Guerrero. Charlotte wore a robe inspired by Flair’s WrestleMania 24 robe.
Baron Corbin became a player on the main roster by winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. The NXT star sent Kane over the top rope for the win. Diamond Dallas Page, Tatanka and NBA star Shaquille O’Neal were also involved. Yes, Shaq stood face-to-face with WWE giants Big Show and Kane. Show and O’Neal were eliminated by the rest of the competitors in the ring.
Nostalgia was in the air when “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels and Mick Foley walked the aisle one more time. The WWE iconic pillars joined up in a post-match fight with the League of Nations. Alberto Del Rio, King Barrett, Rusev and Sheamus took the legends finishers. Barrett got the worst of it by receiving Mr. Socko, Sweet Chin Music and a Stone Cold Stunner. Earlier the League was bragging about defeating the New Day and their dominance. Xavier Woods got a Stunner for his trouble as well. Don’t trust a Texas Rattlesnake. HBK still looked good in his ring gear. Too bad he is retired.
New Day, which is also made up of Kofi Kingston and Big E, had one of most memorable entrances in WrestleMania history by coming through a 20-foot box of Booty O’s cereal. Their ring attire was something out of Super Sentai or Power Rangers.
Kendo sticks, a fire extinguisher, chairs, a chainsaw and a barbed wire bat were the tools of destruction used by Dean Ambrose in his no holds barred street fight with Brock Lesnar. The “Lunatic Fringe” took 13 of the Beast Incarnate brutal suplexes. Ambrose came back swinging after his visit to Suplex City before succumbing to an F5 on a pile of chairs. He definitely brought the fight to Brock.
Zack Ryder surprised fans by winning the Intercontinental championship from Kevin Owens in a ladder match also involving Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler, Sin Cara and Stardust. Ryder’s dad entered the ring to join in his victory. It’s hard not to be happy for the Long Island native, who was recently seen predominantly in NXT teaming with Mojo Rawley.
All the participants put it all on the line with a series of exciting series of spots. Lots of WrestleMania dreams came true tonight with Owens and Zayn, who last year were in NXT, being among them. Stardust paid tribute to his late father, the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, with polka dot tights and a polka dot ladder.
AJ Styles had an impactful first WrestleMania against Chris Jericho, even in defeat. The “Phenomenal One” lived up to his nickname in a strong outing against one of the best in Y2J. If anyone was deserving of participating in a WrestleMania, it was Styles.
New WWE Hall of Fame inductees Joan Lunden, the Fabulous Freebirds, Godfather, Jacqueline, Big Boss Man, Sting and Snoop were recognized. Popular singing group Fifth Harmony delivered a rousing rendition of “America the Beautiful.” Actor Kelsey Grammer lent his distinct voice to the opening video package. Maria Menounos interviewed Ryder backstage after winning the gold. Stephen Amell and Bill Simmons sat ringside.
The preshow action kicked off with Kalisto battling Ryback for the United States championship. David slayed Goliath as the masked member of the Lucha Dragons pulled off the upset against the imposing power house.
Team Total Divas (Brie Bella, Paige, Natalya, Alicia Fox and Eva Marie) defeated B.A.D. and Blonde (Lana, Naomi, Tamina, Emma and Summer Rae). Brie channeled her husband Daniel Bryan with signature kicks and then finishing it off with the Yes lock submission. Her twin sister Nikki then came out to celebrate the victory. A career moment I’m sure Brie will never forget.
The heat Eva Marie generates by just entering a ring is amazing. Lana had her first match ever at WrestleMania. The Usos defeated the veteran Dudley Boyz to close out the preshow portion of the festivities. The proverbial tables were turned on the Dudley brothers when the Jimmy and Jey put them through their signature wooden furniture.
Mauro Ranallo, Jerry Lawler and Byron Saxton handled preshow commentary. Saxton went coast-to-coast also being part of the main event announce team with John “Bradshaw” Layfield and Michael Cole. Saxton may have broke a record with like six hours of broadcasting straight.
AT&T Stadium is an attraction in itself. Then when you tackle on the fact it’s for WrestleMania, and it’s awe-inspiring. The giant screen really enhances the viewing experience in the stadium capturing audience reactions, posting graphics to rally fans, presenting three different angles of the action, as well as encouraging social media interaction by displaying Instagram posts.
Reigns and Charlotte will be on the Today Show 9 a.m. Monday, April 4. WrestleMania 33 takes place on Sunday, April 2 2017 from the Orlando Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Ticket information will be announced later this year.
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- WWE Monday Night Raw
The huge WWE Raw show, the night after WrestleMania, is 8 p.m. ET Monday, April 4 on the USA Network.
- WWE WrestleMania 33
WrestleMania 33 is Sunday, April 2, 2017 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
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