Less than 24 hours since WrestleMania 31, and this long-time sports entertainment fan is still reeling from last night’s pay-per-view (PPV). From Mizdow finally standing up to The Miz, to Daniel Bryan’s IC win (and celebration with all the former IC legends); Triple H’s amazing entrance, and win; to Cena crushing Rusev’s streak; The Undertaker looking incredible; and a fantastic appearance from UFC champion Ronda Rousey, plus so much more – the WWE certainly did not disappoint fans, during their grandest PPV of the year. While many within the WWE Universe, including myself, were unsure of what WrestleMania 31 would look like, (with some labeling the event beforehand as potentially being the worst in its history); writers, producers, and WWE Creative really stepped up to put on a show like none-other. While all of the matches were excellent, I was especially pleased with the main event, and its outcome.
Where do I even start? Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns began the match on a strong note, with Lesnar bleeding within minutes. The Beast dominated most of the bout, with ten suplexes, three F5s, and a few slaps to Reigns – just to add insult to injury. However, Roman played his part well by smirking during the beatings, and kicking out after every attempted pin – with the attempt to look strong himself; and he was able to turn the tide, if only for a brief moment. Aside from The Beast Incarnate and Superman Reigns, Seth Rollins undeniable stole the main event show, and helped create one of the best endings to a main event match at WrestleMania , that we have seen in a long time. While a cash-in was probably no surprise to older fans (I know my 13 year old nephew was freaking out, texting me as the entire matter was unfolding); Rollins made WrestleMania history as the only Money in the Bank (MITB) superstar to cash in his contract during a WrestleMania main event. But the history making does not stop there, and this is where it gets interesting. Rollins also cashed in during a match (opposed to after a match, or scheduling a match, as every superstar has done before him): making him the first to turn a main event into a triple threat bout – thanks to the MITB briefcase.
Why Rollins chose this alternative completely makes sense from a kayfabe perspective, and business point of view. As a character in a well-thought out storyline (for once), Seth Rollins the persona knew he couldn’t beat The Beast; however pinning Reigns would be doable. From a business persepctive, the way the storyline rolled out was pure genius. Brock was never pinned; still leaving him the unstoppable Beast in many eyes. Reigns did get pinned – however well after he received the beating of his life at the hands of Lesnar. End result? Super heel Rollins continues his weasel-like, opportunistic ways, gains more heat; and gets a well-deserved WWE World Heavyweight Championship run. The WWE still has time to build up a babyface Reigns, and perhaps a feud with Rollins can help shape Roman into the top talent that he is. A solid program with Rollins may really aid Reigns in honing the skills he needs to hold the title, and carry the company on his back as a number one face.
And while the ending not only satisfied the many different factors that makes sports entertainment and WrestleMania great by adding an element of surprise, that also showcases history-making events; the ending should satisfy most fans. You can’t win everyone over, that would be impossible. But to an extent, Rollins’ win satisfies the Reigns-haters who didn’t want to see Roman crowned WWE Champion. For those who disagreed with having a part-time champion in Lesnar, they no longer have to worry about only seeing the WWE title defended occasionally. While Rollins is a heel, most savvy internet fans can agree that out of all the new and emerging stars that have shot up to the top in 2014, Rollins is absolutely one that deserves wearing that strap, even for a little while. He’s main evented PPV, has strong mic skills, excellent in the ring, knows how to make his fellow competitors look good, and can work a live crowd. One thing that I have a tremendous amount of respect for is the fact that despite his rather embarrassing scandal earlier on this year (his nudes plastered on social media); he brushed it off like a true professional, and kept his momentum going without even flinching.
So, while the WWE skewed away from the traditional ‘happy ending’ main event formula they usually go with for WrestleManias, I for one feel like they went in the right direction. Moving away from traditional and familiar experiences can be an incredible thing, and while many fans weren’t excited heading into WrestleMania; most were undeniably blown away when it ended.
If you somehow missed the show, WrestleNewz has WrestleMania 31 play by play results online.