KARACHI : The biggest wrestling week of the year culminated Sunday night with the conclusion of WrestleMania. First off, Goldberg, Mark Henry, Dudley Boys, Jeff Jarrett, Hillbilly Jim and Ivory were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on Friday.
Saturday saw one of the greatest wrestling shows in history with NXT Takeover: New Orleans. And then came WrestleMania.
The seven-hour show featured a number of high-profile matches and 70,000 plus in live attendance to witness the spectacle. There has been a number of important news coming out of WrestleMania; one of the most significant ones is the return of The Undertaker.
For weeks, John Cena called out and even insulted the Phenom, challenging him to a match at the annual show. With no sight or sign from him, Cena then came to the show as a fan. It was during the show that ‘Taker answered the challenge and in a shocking manner, defeated him in just three minutes.
The dream match that fans have demanded for years ended in three minutes. Although some were left disappointed, it was obvious that ‘Taker, due to his age, can no longer wrestle a lengthy match.
So the decision to keep it short was made for the best.
It showed the wrestler’s dominance over his yard again and the way it occurred, showed that ‘Taker still hasn’t retired. It’s predicted that next year might very well be his last, with him finally getting a much-deserved Hall of Fame induction and fighting the last ‘Mania match to ride off into the sunset.
But what was more astonishing was how the grandest show of the year, in totality, turned out to be a complete disaster. SmackDown Live Women’s Champion Charlotte ended Women’s Royal Rumble-winner Asuka’s nearly three-year undefeated streak. That was a move which helped no one. There is no doubt that Charlotte is the only one who deserved to break the streak, but it was a matter of bad timing.
Further, Men’s Royal Rumble-winner Shinsuke Nakamura failed to defeat AJ Styles for the WWE Championship. Styles vs Nakamura, another dream match for the hardcore wrestling fans, was a better match than most others on the card but allotted a shorter time and therefore, couldn’t live up to the high expectations.
Perhaps the best match of the night went to Triple H and Stephanie McMahon vs Kurt Angle and the former UFC star Ronda Rousey, who made her in-ring debut. Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan also came out of retirement after three years.
He teamed up with Shane McMahon to defeat the rebellious Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, who lost their SmackDown Live jobs as a result.
With some good and mostly below par offerings, WrestleMania was a mixed bag. It tells you a lot about the half-baked efforts of the WWE when the biggest night of the year turns out to be consistently disappointing, as it has been in recent years.
It’s mindboggling to see how the same company can deliver one of the greatest and the one of the most mediocre shows of all time within a span of 24 hours. It shows the dropping standards when thousands of fans are chanting ‘This is awful’ in the main event match of WrestleMania: Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship.
Lesnar went on to defeat Reigns and retain the championship. It was later announced that he won’t be leaving the company but had re-signed a new multi-year contract with them. Reigns will be getting his rematch with Lesnar in Saudi Arabia later this month, in a steel cage match.
Following up on the Raw after ‘Mania, Bobby Lashley made a surprising return to the company after 10 years. Samoa Joe and Jeff Hardy returned to action after being out of commission due to injuries. NXT’s Authors of Pain, No Way Jose and Ember Moon made their Raw debuts as well.
The extraordinary wrestling week may have ended but the traces continue as we see the WWE Draft next week, where several superstars are traded between the brands. What can be said, however, is that NXT got the best of the week, with two five-star matches, a six-men ladder match for the NXT North American Championship and a grudge match between former tag team partners and now bitter enemies Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa. The show also featured another high-profile match with Aleister Black defeating Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas for the NXT Championship.
As it happens most of the time, NXT outperformed the main roster shows, even WrestleMania.
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