WWE WrestleMania 33: Farewell to The Undertaker, Victory for Brock Lesnar and More

Scott Fishman
Ashley Andersen

Overhead view of Sunday's WrestleMania 33

WWE billed WrestleMania 33 as “The Ultimate Thrill Ride” and certainly delivered its share of twists in turns, ups and downs.

The main event saw Roman Reigns defeat The Undertaker in a way as to almost signify the end of an era. The finish came with Undertaker beaten down by a series of spears and Superman punches. At one point the legendary figure sat up like he has done so many times before, but this time he fell to a side. After mouthing “You Don’t Have the B****” as a way to challenge his younger and faster opponent to hit him again. Reigns ran the ropes to land one final blow.

Adding to the feeling of finality was Jim Ross’ return to WWE’s broadcast table, providing a soundtrack to history. The Undertaker did sit up in the end, put his coat and hat back on and look around at many of those who have watched him since his debut at the 1990 Survivor Series. He left the gloves and hat back in the ring, fully marking the end of an era. As the “Deadman” left, the stadium faded to darkness. #ThankYouTaker

The scene capped off more than seven hours of happenings (two of which was for the Kickoff Show). New Day served as hosts of the extravaganza, walking down the aisle in attire inspired by Final Fantasy XIV Online and with a personalized ice cream truck. The trio of Big E, Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston announced an attendance record for Camping World Stadium (Citrus Bowl) in Orlando with 75,245. Fans from all 50 states and 62 countries attended as WWE announced the event as the highest-grossing event in the history of the venue at $14.5 million.

The grand spectacle also brought Brock Lesnar being crowned the Universal Champion after a tenth German suplex and an F5 led to a three-count on Bill Goldberg. Early on the suplex barrage by Lesnar was met with Goldberg spears inside and outside the ring including one through the barricade. Lesnar kicked out of a Goldberg Jackhammer and leapfrogged over a Goldberg spear to meet him with a suplex. It went longer than their less than a minute encounter at Survivor Series. It also was better received by the crowd than their match in 2004 at WrestleMania 20. I’m looking forward to seeing who looks to challenge the “Beast Incarnate” next, as well, if Goldberg continues on.

Randy Orton defeated Bray Wyatt with a signature RKO. The mind games were being played by Wyatt as visual effects made the ring to look like Orton was swimming with maggots, earthworms and cockroaches. No sign of Luke Harper or Erik Rowan. The feel of the match was different. I will give it that.

Seth Rollins overcame Triple H with a Pedigree. Stephanie McMahon attempted to interfere, but was inadvertently sent through a table. He battled back after kicking out of the signature move and an onslaught on his knee. A series of attacks and submission moves helped tell the story. Triple H’s trademark sledgehammer came into play, but at times, to Rollins advantage. Triple H arrived with Stephanie McMahon on a motorcycle, along with a motorcade of police officers. Rollins appeared with a torch in hand to symbolically light the path to the ring. In some ways the victory here, was also a passing of the torch from Triple H to Rollins.

Kevin Owens defeated Chris Jericho to win the United States Championship with a trademark powerbomb. The villain added salt in the wounds mid-match by telling Jericho they were never best friends. Also, Owens put Jericho in his own Walls of Jericho only to have the move put on him. He survived a Codebreaker with a finger on the ropes to break up the count. Genius. Jericho entered the stadium behind a giant version of “The List of Jericho.”

John Cena and Nikki Bella defeated The Miz and Maryse, but the real story was after the match. After years of saying he would never get married again, WWE’s franchise player changed his tune proposing in the middle of the ring to the Total Divas star. She said, Yes! Yes!, Yes! When Nikki hugged Cena’s mom before the match at ringside, one had to think something was up. In other non E! news, The Miz has definitely won over fans with his work in the last year given the positive reaction the crowd gave him. Al Roker, “Chocolate Thunder,” introduced the combatants.

Zack Ryder Feels Part of the WWE Family During WrestleMania 33 Week

Zack Ryder Feels Part of the WWE Family During WrestleMania 33 Week

Zack Ryder talks WrestleMania Week and provides an update on his injury prognosis.

Naomi returned from injury to win back the SmackDown Women’s Championship from Alexa Bliss and other challengers in Mickie James, Natalya, Carmella and Becky Lynch. The hometown girl made Bliss tap out via submission hold. The women of the blue brand had the unenviable task of following the big Goldberg and Lesnar fight, but did the best they could to fit in all their spots. One of the good ones was Natalya executing a double Sharpshooter.

AJ Styles defeated Shane McMahon in the opener of the main card. McMahon is known for his daredevil moves, but this one was billed as a traditional match. That didn’t stop McMahon from going coast-to-coast with a trashcan dropkick on Styles. He then took it a step further by crashing and burning with a top rope elbow drop through a table. Many were critical of WWE for putting Styles against the SmackDown Live commissioner. However, McMahon stepped up like he has against the likes of Kurt Angle and The Undertaker. I mean the man pulled out a shooting star press. By the same token, the quality of the bout is also a testament to the ability of Styles. The former WWE Champion is a top level worker, proving it once again.

Bayley was left standing in the fatal 4-way elimination match for the Raw Women’s Championship. The fan favorite defeated Charlotte in the final sequence with an elbow drop in the same vein of Macho Man. Nia Jax was triple teamed by her opponents leading to being eliminated first. Banks was taken out of the match by Charlotte and an exposed turnbuckle. Banks was driven down the long aisle by vehicle worthy of a BO$$. Charlotte entered with as much pomp and circumstance as her Hall of Fame father Ric Flair, who was retired in the same place in 2008.

Naomi returned from injury to win back the SmackDown Women’s Championship from Alexa Bliss and other challengers in Mickie James, Natalya, Carmella and Becky Lynch. The hometown girl made Bliss tap out via submission hold. The women of the blue brand had the unenviable task of following the big Goldberg and Lesnar fight, but did the best they could to fit in all their spots. One of the good ones was Natalya executing a double Sharpshooter.

Mojo Rawley won the Andre the Giant Battle Royal with an assist from New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. Jinder Mahal got in the face of Gronkowski, who was sitting in the crowd. He jumped over the barricade and nailed Mahal, creating the SportsCenter moment. Braun Strowman and Big Show was targeted early on by the rest of the competitors. The other participants included the first WWE developmental signing from China in Tian Bing. WrestleMania was available for the first time in the country.  Ultimately, I was sad the sentimental favorite Sami Zayn didn’t win. However, this is a big feather in the cap for Rawley and great exposure thanks to his former teammate.

The preshow kicked off with Neville successfully defending the Cruiserweight Championship against Austin Aries. Neville hit the Red Arrow for the win. The two set the tone for the night pulling out all the stops. The division has been elevated thanks to the efforts of Neville and Aries. It’s the first time since 2004 the Cruiserweight Championship was defended at the big show.

Beyond the grappling action at WrestleMania 33, recording artist Tinashe performed America the Beautiful. E! personality Maria Menounos helped out in the social media lounge. Pitbull, Flo Rida, Lunchmoney Lewis and Stephen Marley performed. Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Amell were among the celebrities in the crowd.

WWE Monday Night Raw, Mondays, 8/7c, USA Network

WWE SmackDown Live, Thursdays, 8/7c, USA Network

AlertMe