The Wrestle Report Card: WWE WrestleMania 35

wrestlemania-35-wz-socialWWE WrestleMania 35 streamed on the WWE Network Sunday, April 7, 2019; live from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.  Here’s the report card for the show.

Kickoff Match 1:  Tony Nese pinned WWE Cruiserweight Champion Buddy Murphy with The Running Nese to win the 10:40

Grade:  3.25 Stars (B)

This was a really good cruiserweight match to open the show.  It’s a shame that WWE doesn’t promote 205 Live more because there are some great athletes on the brand.

Kickoff Match 2:  Carmella won the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal last eliminating Sarah Logan from The Riott Squad in 10:30

Grade: 3 Stars (B-)

Once again in a battle royal, someone thinks they’re going to win only to be surprised by someone who wasn’t eliminated.  I liked this match better than most because several women got moments to shine.

Kickoff Match 3:  Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder defeated RAW Tag Team Champions The Revival to win the titles when Hawkins pinned Scott Dawson with a small package in 13:20

Grade:  2.75 Stars (C)

While it was frustrating that this match wasn’t promoted on TV, the match itself was pretty good with Hawkins’ losing streak coming to an end.  I wonder if this is more about giving Hawkins and Ryder a moment or punishing The Revival

Kickoff Match 4:  Braun Strowman won The Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal last eliminating Colin Jost from Saturday Night Live in 10:20.

Grade: 1.5 Stars (D)

Unlike the Women’s Battle Royal, the only three people that mattered in this match were Strowman and the two SNL comedians.  The ending was decent and the visual of Braun throwing Jost over the top rope was cool, but the match itself just wasn’t good.

Match 1:  Seth Rollins pinned WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar to win the championship after 3 curb stomps in 2:30

Grade: 4 Stars (A)

The “match itself” is nowhere near four stars; however, if you take everything else into consideration.  The shock factor of this match being first on the show, the beating Rollins took before the bell sounded, and the genuine moment when Rollins won.  The whole segment is must-see.

Match 2:  A.J. Styles pinned Randy Orton with The Phenomenal Forearm in 16:20

Grade:  3.75 Stars (A-)

This was a solid wrestling match.  I enjoyed the subtle instances of strategy each man utilized when trying to avoid the other’s finishers.  There was nothing overly spectacular, just solid wrestling.

Match 3:  Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos defeated Aleistar Black and Ricochet, The Bar, and Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev to retain the championship after The Usos hit Sheamus with The Double Uso in 10:10

Grade:  3.5 Stars (B)

This was a very fun match.  The ending finisher sequence was very fun to watch, and I think Cesaro is still dizzy after that swing.

Match 4:  Shane McMahon pinned The Miz in a Falls Count Anywhere Match after The Miz gave Shane a superplex that sent both men off a camera platform in 15:30

Grade:  3 Stars (B)

I have mixed thoughts on this match.  I hated the beginning segment with Miz’s father getting involved.  I think it was unnecessary for this feud.   Once they started brawling in the crowd, the match became pretty awesome.  There were times that I thought Shane was going to seriously hurt himself with the way Miz was throwing him around.  I’m not a fan of Shane winning, but I’m open to seeing what happens next for both men.

Match 5:  The IIconics defeated WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection, Natalya and Beth Phoenix, and Nia Jax and Tamina when Billie Kay pinned Bayley after Phoenix hit her with a Glam Slam from the 2nd rope in 10:45.

Grade:  2.5 Stars (C)

This match didn’t impress or disappoint me.  It was just there.  I hope Phoenix stays active at least on a part-time schedule.  I think the WWE just changed the titles just to surprise the fans because a lot of people thought Bayley and Banks would win.

Match 6:  Kofi Kingston pinned WWE Champion Daniel Bryan with the Trouble In Paradise to win the championship in 23:45

Grade:   4.75 Stars (A)

The only thing I can say is to drop what you’re doing and watch this match now if you haven’t already.  Hopefully, Kofi’s win goes down as an all-time classic WrestleMania moment.  Even in defeat, Daniel Bryan played his role perfectly too.

Match 7:  WWE U.S. Champion Samoa Joe defeated Rey Mysterio by submission to the Kokita Clutch to retain the championship in 1:00

Grade:  1 Star (D-)

This match was so short because Rey was to hurt to wrestle a full match, and this show needs short matches because it’s so long.

Match 8:  Roman Reigns pinned Drew McIntyre with a Spear in 10:10

Grade:  2.75 Stars (C+)

There was nothing technically wrong with this match, but the ending fell flat.  McIntyre didn’t do anything to stop Reigns’ finishing sequence

Match 9:  Triple H pinned Batista in a No Holds Barred Match with a Pedigree in 24:45.

Grade:  1.5 Stars (D)

This wasn’t completely horrible like some seem to feel, but I think this match was way too long and the opening Saw-like moments really didn’t make a difference once the match got going.  I think if this match was on a shorter show, and it was about half the time it could have been very good.

Match 10:  Baron Corbin pinned Kurt Angle with The End of Days in 6:05

Grade:  2 Stars (C-)

This was the end of days for Kurt Angle.  As much as I love Angle, he’s not the same wrestler in the ring he once was.  I think it was a good idea that Angle didn’t face someone like a John Cena in his final match because if he had, Angle might have pushed himself beyond his physical limits and it would have been even more disappointing then this.

Match 11:  Finn Balor pinned WWE I.C. Bobby Lashley with The Double Stomp to win the title in 4:05

Grade:  2.25 Stars (C)

This match was way too short, but it was all about The Demon having a WrestleMania entrance.  The placement of this match didn’t help either as a lot of fans were fatigued and getting ready for the main event.

Match 12:  Becky Lynch defeated Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey and Smackdown Live Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair to win both championships when she pinned Rousey at 21:30

Grade: 4 Stars (A)

These three women proved why they deserved to be in The Main Event.  I really liked this match.  The finish looked a little sloppy and came out of nowhere, but mistakes happen.  If this match had a better ending it would be an all-time classic.

Final Show Grade:  2.84 (C+)

This was the longest WWE show in history and it really felt like it at times.  Everything that happened between the WWE Championship and The Main Event suffered.  That being said, there was a lot of good matches, a few classics, and only two really horrible matches.  This is a show where it’s best to cherry pick what you want to see and not watch the whole show from start to finish a second time.

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