I know it’s a day late, but I’s sure my lovely readers will understand.
As a kid, I remember watching Wrestlemania nineteen’s promo with vaarious superstars explaining the prestige of the grandest stage of them all.
“You haven’t lived…you haven’t breathed until you’ve been to Wrestlemania,” said The Big Show.
The Rock said, “You just have to feel it.”
Twelve years later I’m sitting here at midnight recapping the events of Wrestlemania 31 in my head from experiencing the event live. As a fan, I never realized you could watch Wrestlemania and never truly experience it.
During the preshow most of the crowd was still making their way through the crazy lines, concession stands, and merch tables to get to their seats. There was some pretty good action during the preshow which included a fatal four way tag match for the tag team titles and the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
The Usos (accompanied by Niamo), Los Matadores (accompanied by El Torito), The New Day, and Cesaro and Tyson Kidd (accompanied by Natalya) competed for the tag titles and delivered in the action department. A six-man suplex off the ropes drove the crowd wild and ultimately aided in Cesaro and Tyson Kidd’s retention of the tag team championships.
After that, was the 20 man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. The battle royal was very exciting with the whole crowd at the edge of their seats. Ultimately, it came down to Miz, Mizdow, and Big Show in the ring. Mizdow turned on Miz and threw Miz over the top ropes to eliminate him but Big Show would be victorious.
Wrestlemania kicked off with the Intercontinental Championship ladder match, featuring Daniel Bryan, R-Truth, Bad News Barret, Dolf Ziggler, Star Dust, Luke Harper and Dean Ambrose.
Harper power bombed Ambrose off the side of the ring onto a couple ladders, which left Dean out of the rest of the match. Daniel Bryan and Dolf Ziggler found themselves head-butting it out at the top of a ladder in the center of the ring. Bryan would come out victorious and capture the Intercontinental Championship.
Next The Viper, Randy Orton and Mr. Money in the Bank, Seth Rollins came out to dance in the squared circle. The match was exciting and held the crowds interest. Rollins curb stomped Orton and then climbed to the top rope. As Rollins jumped and soared through the air, Orton quickly rose to his feet and gave Rollins a huge RKO mid-air and pinned Rollins for the 1-2-3 victory.
Perhaps the most anticipated match of the night, HHH vs. Sting. This was Sting’s first match in a WWE ring. Sting’s entrance was larger than life with big drums and a gong but what really got the crowd going was HHH’s entrance. HHH came out in a terminator type setting and blew the audience away. This match was full of plot twists and turns. Just as it was looking like HHH would lose, out came D-X to his aid.
Sting found himself in trouble when HHH went to grab the infamous sledgehammer. To the crowd’s surprise, out came the NOW. D-X and the NOW battled outside the ring, meanwhile, Sting had HHH in the scorpion leg lock. Just as the crowd thought Sting would win, HBK Shawn Michaels came out and gave Sting some sweet chin music,. Then HHH hit Sting with the sledgehammer, which gave him the win over Sting and shocked the crowd.
The Diva’s tag match between the Bella’s and Paige and AJ Lee was nothing special. You could tell the crowd was bored with it y the lack of crowd participation and also by the long line at the concession stand. The match ended quickly with Nikki Bella tapping out to AJ Lee’s black widow submission.
Rusev went one-on-one with John Cena for the U.S. Championship. The match was a mix of boring and excitement as the crowd seemed in and out. It became exciting towards the end when Cena broke free from Rusev;s accolade submission and applied his STF to Rusev. Lana tried to interfere but was knocked off the ring apron by Rusev accidentally, costing him the U.S. title after Cena hit the AA and got the three count.
The Undertaker and Bray Wyatt match was more psychological than physical. That could be because of the Undertaker’s age, or because of the persona portrayed by Wyatt. The match was a bit dry in the action department and ended with Undertaker nailing Wyatt with two tombstone piledrivers for the victory.
Finally, the main event: Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar. The crowd was eager filled with anticipation as Reigns music started. Everyone was looking to see what side of the crowd he would be coming from. Reigns made his way to the ring looking confident, but that changed quickly.
Lesnar made his way to the ring accompanied by Paul Heyman. Once in the ring, Lesnar started demolishing Reigns. It was basically looking like it would be a repeat of Cena vs. Lesnar from 2014’s Summer Slam. Thensuddenly, Reigns starts to make a come back, pushing Lesnar into the steel pole at the side of the ring. Lesnar was bleeding and took a few superman punches and spears.
To the crowd’s surprise, just when we thought it could be over, music started to play. No! Can it be? Yes! Yes, it can. Seth Rollins came sprinting down the entrance ramp holding his Money in the Bank briefcase and ultimately chasing it in. The end of match excitement was unconfined at the Levi’s Stadium as Rollins delivered the curb stomp to Reigns for victory and became the first superstar to ever cash in the Money in the Bank contract at Wrestlemania.
*all photos are from my own personal collection