WrestleMania 35: The Final Verdict

Chuck Sipps, Arts and Life Editor

WrestleMania has become too long.  The entire show took up seven and a half hours. I skipped the preshow, which meant I only watched for five hours, but it still felt really long. The length affects the mood of the show. I was tired at home and can only imagine how it felt in MetLife stadium. The longer the show went on, the more tired the crowd appeared. It detracted from the excitement of the broadcast. Crowd investment can evolve a good match into a great match.

 Despite its length, WrestleMania did manage to be entertaining. Let’s run through what I thought of the card. To do so, I will be using my rating system: one and 1000 potatoes.

Universal Championship — Seth Rollins def. Brock Lesnar (c) via pinfall to win the title: A short but satisfying match. It was surprising to see this match go first. Lesnar has been holding the title hostage for the better part of three years, and with his lack of appearances on Raw and Pay-Per-Views, it will be nice to have a full-time wrestler holding the belt. Rollins wins with a low-blow and three stomps. 620 potato match.

 AJ Styles def. Randy Orton via pinfall: A solid, but ultimately, forgettable match. Both men worked hard and it was entertaining, but nothing memorable. 667 Potato match.

SmackDown Tag Team Championship — The Usos (c) def. The Bar (via pinfall), Ricochet & Aleister Black and Rusev & Shinsuke Nakamura to retain the titles: While not a lot of story went into this match, the wrestling was frantic and well put together. Alesiter Black and Ricochet continue to impress. Even if you’re not a wrestling fan, check out what Ricochet can do; the man seemingly defies gravity. The Usos won after dual superkicks and splashes on Sheamus. 611 potato match.

Shane McMahon def. The Miz via pinfall: A fun brawl. These two worked hard, and Shane got his butt whipped throughout the arena. Spot of the night with Miz super-plexing Shane off scaffolding that was nearly fifteen feet high. 743 potato match.  

Women’s Tag Team Championship — The IIconics def. Boss ‘N Hug Connection (c) [via pinfall], Beth Phoenix & Natalya and Nia Jax & Tamina to win the titles: Solid match with surprise winners. All the ladies in this match worked hard and the IIconics stealing the pinfall was solid heel work. 532 potato match.

WWE Championship — Kofi Kingston def. Daniel Bryan (c) via pinfall to win the title: The emotional heart of the night. Kofi Kingston is the first African-American to hold the WWE Championship; the fact that it took so long is asinine. After an 11 year career, Kofi was carried to the match thanks to fan support. He wasn’t supposed to be in the match. Originally, it seemed like Daniel Bryan was suppose to face Kevin Owens, but thanks to the #KofiMania movement, we were able to see this amazing match and moment. Kofi and Bryan can go in the ring and when combined with the emotion behind the match, it was match of the night. Kofi hit Trouble in Paradise for the win and afterwards the emotions on display were genuine and moving. One of the highlights of the nights was watching Kofi celebrate with his kids and fellow New Day members. 999 potato match. 

 United States Championship — Samoa Joe (c) def. Rey Mysterio via submission to retain the title: Match was only a minute long. Rey was rumored to be injured heading into the match, which lead to the quick coquina clutch finish for Joe. 69 potato match.

Roman Reigns def. Drew McIntyre via pinfall: Coming off his recent battle with leukemia, this was Reigns first single match since his return. Sadly, nothing about this match stood out and the finish wasn’t very inspiring. 103 potato match. 

Triple H def. Batista via pinfall: Coming off his ever-growing Hollywood fame, Batista returned to WWE, for what is most likely his final bow. In a match where HHH’s career was on the line, it was almost of forgone conclusion that Batista would do the honors here. The only drawback for this match, which featured a nose-ring being removed with pliers, was how quiet the crowd was. This seemed to stem less from a lack of enjoyment and more from general exhaustion. 743 potato match.

Baron Corbin def. Kurt Angle via pinfall: Win, lose or draw, this was to be the Olympic Gold Medalist’s final match. As is tradition, the leaving wrestlers did the honors and gave the heel Corbin the win. Kurt can’t wrestle as he once did and the match suffered for it. 256 potato match. 

Intercontinental Championship — Finn Balor def. Bobby Lashley (c) via pinfall to win the title: The penultimate match of the night, this one suffered from placement. Meant to survive as the final snack/bathroom break before the main event, both men tried hard but weren’t given the time to craft anything special. Coming to the ring in his Demon persona, Balor landed an impressive powerbomb on the much larger Lashley. He one in satisfying if underwhelming fashion. 354 potato match.

Winner Take All — Raw and SmackDown Women’s Championships — Becky Lynch def. Ronda Rousey (c) [via pinfall] and Charlotte Flair (c) to win both titles: The first ever Women’s Main Event at WrestleMania. The match was a lot of fun but its botch ending really dampened my enthusiasm. There was a mistake when Lynch had Rousey rolled up for a pin and the ref began the three count, even though Rousey’s shoulder was up. While mistakes happen, the out-of-nowhere ending we got lacked the build necessary to be exciting. Instead of feeling like, ‘Wow that was awesome,’ I instead said, ‘Wait, what went wrong? Was that a mistake?’ That is not the reaction you should want after your main event. A solid match, with an anticlimactic ending. 500 potato match.     

Using my foolproof potato rating system, WrestleMania gets a 516 out of a 1000 potato rating. If the show was shorter and some of the fat was trimmed, then Mania would have ranked higher on the potato scale. As I said at the open, 7.5 hours is too long, and it really hampered enthusiasm towards the end of the night. Hopefully Mania 36 is on the shorter side.