Preview by Joseph Currier
Nine title matches, Daniel Bryan's return to the ring, and Ronda Rousey's debut highlight the card for WrestleMania's return to New Orleans.
In what could be the last match of Brock Lesnar's current WWE run, he'll defend his Universal Championship against Roman Reigns tonight. AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura will be facing off in their second-ever singles bout as they bring their dream match stateside.
Bryan and Rousey are involved in separate tag matches. Bryan is teaming with Shane McMahon against Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn, with the stipulation being that Owens and Zayn will get their jobs back if they win. Rousey & Kurt Angle are taking on Stephanie McMahon & Triple H.
We'll also see what form John Cena vs. The Undertaker takes after their meeting was never officially announced before WrestleMania.
Charlotte Flair's SmackDown Women's Championship and Asuka's undefeated streak will be on the line as they face off. On the Raw side, Alexa Bliss is defending her title against Nia Jax. The Intercontinental, United States, and Raw and SmackDown Tag Team titles will also be up for grabs on the main card.
The 2018 Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal, and Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali in the Cruiserweight Championship tournament finals will air on the two-hour pre-show. Our live coverage begins at 5 p.m. Eastern time before the main card kicks off at 7 p.m.
We're looking for your thoughts on this show, as well as last night's UFC 223, ROH Supercard of Honor and NXT Takeover shows, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match for each show to firstname.lastname@example.org
By Dave Meltzer
John Cena is being shown in the crowd hanging out with the fans.
MEN'S ANDRE THE GIANT BATTLE ROYAL
Basically everyone not on the card was in the match including the returning R-Truth, wearing a T-shirt, and guys like Primoi and Mike Kanellis who haven't been on TV mch of late. It came down to Kane, Matt Hardy, Doph Ziggler, Baron Corbin and Mojo Rawley. Kane therw out Ziggler who tried the zig zag. Coribn threw out Kane. Bray Wyatt showed up. Hardy threw out Rawley, Corbin then hit Wyatt with the end of days. Matt Hardy threw out Corbin to win. The announcers thought it came down to Matt and Wyatt, but the bell rang and it was ruled Wyatt was never in the match. Then Matt and Wyatt hugged when it was over. The match was okay, but the finish was flat because nobody knew what was happening.
CEDRIC ALEXANDER VS. MUSTAFA ALI FOR CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE
Good match but nothing compared to most of the recent 205 Live main events. They played it up like they were best friends. Ali hit the 054 but Alexander got his foot on the ropes. Ali tried it again but missed. Alexander came back and hit three spinning back elbows and the lumbar check to beat him. Alexander before beating him old him to stay down with the idea that he didn't want to keep hurting him.
WOMEN'S BATTLE ROYAL
They are making a much bigger deal of this one then the men, who just started with everyone in the ring, They are getting intros and they called it the first ever women's Battle Royal in WrestleMania. I guess that one that Santina won in 2009 never happened.
All the women on the roster were there plus Peyton Royce, Dakota Kai, Davita Kavi, Taynara Conti, Kairi Sane and Bianca Belair were the NXT reps in the match. They were all eliminated pretty early,. This was rushed through. Naomi disappeared at some point in the match. It looked like it came down to Bayley, Sasha Banks, Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott. Bayley and Banks worked together to throw out Mogan, Riott and then Logan. Bayley and Banks acted like they were best friends left together. The crowd popped big for them and then Bayley jumped Banks and threw her over the top, and everyone thought she won. Noami then jumped back in the ring, hit the rear view and threw out Bayley to win.
THE MIZ VS. SETH ROLLINS VS. FINN BALOR FOR THE IC TITLE
Rollins won the title in a good match. Balor took over on Miz with the sling blade, Woo dropkick and coup de grace. Rollins then broke it up with the curb stomp on Balor and then hit the curb stomp on Miz and pinned Miz to win the title. Miz told Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel that he wanted to do it on his own and didn't work as a heel as all in the match. It felt like three babyfaces. It was all action. Miz hit the skull crushing finale on Rollins during the match and Rollins kicked out.
CHARLOTTE FLAIR VS. ASUKA FOR THE WOMEN'S TITLE
The streak is over as Charlotte won clean with the figure eight. This was a great match. Charlotte was breaking down and crying in the latter stages of the match, which may have to do with the timing of the anniversary of Reid's death. Charlotte used some new moves like a top rope Spanish fly while Asuka did a suplex off the apron. Hard hitting and pretty emotional stuff. Charlotte was bleeding pretty badly from the left elbow..
Asuka said "Charlotte was ready for Asuka. Congraulations." Then they hugged.
Rudy Charles told John Cena that Undertaker was here, or at least that's what I think he said. Cena ran from ringside to the back. Weird to do that on top of Charlotte's celebration.
RANDY ORTON VS. RUSEV VS. JINDER MAHAL VS. BOBBY ROODE FOR THE U.S. TITLE
Crowd was really hot for Aiden English's entrance for Rusev.
The match was all action with big moves and ended with Rusev using the side kick on Samil Singh when Mahal moved and then Mahal used the Khallas and pinned Rusev. Rusev had previously laid out Orton and Roode with the kicks. There was another spot where Orton gave everyone RKO's but Roode saved when Orton went to pin Mahal. It was good but on the short side.
There was a skit with Tyler Breeze and Fandango with Mick Foley. It was a Snickers commercial.
KURT ANGLE & RONDA ROUSEY VS. HHH & STEPHANIE MCMAHON
There was a big motorcyle ring entrace by HHH & Stephanie. HHH physically looked as cut as he's probably ever been. Rousey out in a Piper leather jacket and a kilt.
This match was excellent and Rousey at no point looked out of her element, she was crisp in just about everything. Rousey did great strikes on both Stepahnie and HHH, and even gave HHH a huracananra. She kept getitng armbars on Srtepahnie but they'd be broken up and even got the arnmbar on HHH at one point which would have made a great finish. I think they are going to do a deal where she broke Stephanie's arm based on Stephanie selling and getting medical attention at the end. The crowd was as hot for this as many Mania match in a few years, maybe since Daniel Bryan's Mania a few years ago. They went more than 20:00 with the crowd on fire most of the way. Rousey's selling was good enough. Angle and HHH were both on target with everything they did including doing their finishes with the women breaking up the pin. The match story was strong. They teased Rousey's first time in for six minutes and the crowd exploded when she finally got in. This was one of the better pro wrestling debuts I've ever seen. They showd Dana White at ringside and identified him giving Rousey a standing ovation when it was over. The only negative is that it was silly that Stephanie was able to block the armbar several times during the match. This couldn't have gone better.
USOS VS. NEW DAY VS. BLUDGEON BROTHERS FOR TAG TITLES
Short match. They were put in the buffer position so the crowd wasn't much into this but they all worked hard. The Bludgeon Brothers won a short match with Harper doing an assisted power bomb off the top rope on Kofi Kingston (who teamed with Big E) for the pin. The Usus did a double dive to Rowan but he snatched them by the throat and then both Usos suplexed Rowan on the floor.
John Cena came out for a match with Undertaker. Instead Elias came out. Elias sang for a whlie. Cena went to leave and go back in the stands. Elias sang a song about how Cena sucked and Cena came in, did his trademark spots like the five knuckle shuffle and got rid of Elias with an AA.
Undertaker's coat and hat showed up. Lightning struck and his music started to play. He then came to the ring with his usual outfit.
JOHN CENA VS. UNDERTAKER
The reason they did the Elias thing was to cover for this. Undertaker came out fast, pretty much dominated and used a big boot that missed that Cena sold, a legdrop and went for the choke slam. Cena got out, did a back suplex. Undertaker sat up, Cena freaked out and Undertaker hit the choke slam and tombstone piledirver and got the pin in less than 3:00.
It's the Hall of Fame video package. Jarrius Robertson, who has super charisma got a bigger reaction than almost everyone. They built up the big pop for Goldberg with his sparklers entrance and the fans chanting his name.
DANIEL BRYAN & SHANE MCMAHON VS. KEVIN OWENS & SAMI ZAYN
They did a video package for Bryan's return that is really the type of stuff they should have done four years ago,
Bryan was ridiculously over although the Yes banners all over ringisde were handed out to the fans at ringside. But there were loud Daniel Bryan chants.
Owens gave Bryan a power bomb on the apron before the match and he was laid out.
The first part of the match was mostly beating on Shane's stomach. Shane came back and did a coast to coast dropkick and went for the pin on Zayn but Owens used a senton on him. Owens hit a frog splash on Shane but Bryan saved. Then Bryan made the hot tag and did most of his regular spots. Bryan kicked out of both the helluva kick by Zayn and power bomb by Owens. Bryan did a big comeback with the yes kicks, the running knee and finally the Yes lock and Zayn submitted. Bryan looked very good when he was in there. He had a big bruise on his right biceps when it was over.
Bryan went to ringside and celebrated with Brie and Shane celebrated with his kids.
Announced 78,133. Obviously that number isn't even close to real although it may be August before the real number is out Theyannounced from 50 states and 67 counhties and biggest gate for an entertainment event which means it was less than the biggest sports events obviously like Super Bowls and such.
ALEXA BLISS VS. NIA JAX FOR THE RAW WOMEN'S TITLE
Jax won the title with a Samoan drop off the middle rope. Jax first destroyed Mickie James before the match started with a Samoan drop on the floor. The match was fine., They tried to push the idea that being big was good. Bliss said I'm sorry and hit a DDT but Jax kicked out. Bliss also did a twisted bliss off the top rope to the floor. Bliss kept attacking the eyes, but even with her selling the eyes Jax finally hit an Alabama slam and then the Samoan drop off the middle rope to win the title. Jax celebrated with Ata (Dwayne Johnson's mother) and daughter Simone after the match.
A.J. STYLES VS. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA FOR WWE TITLE
Nakamura had a great elaborate entrance with a great guitarist from Alice Cooper's band and a ton of violinists.
Styles retained the title when Nakamura went for the Kinshasa but Styles reversed into a Styles clash and got the pin. After the match, Nakamura got on his knees and handed Styles the belt and then went heel and gave him a low blow and kicked him out of the ring. There was a mixed reaction but a ton of people cheered seeing the angle at first with a "yes" chant and others were booing the turn. In the end after putting more kicks to Styles after the match there were more boos but then they cheered when Nakamura gave him the Kinshasa on the floor. The match was good but not a classic, not close to the prior match or really at the level of most Styles PPV bouts. Not sure if this was worldwide but we had a ton of technical glitches with buffering and the sound going off frequently on the stream. Styles was on point with everything he did. Nakamura did kick out of the phenomenal forearm and Styles did a springboard 450 and Nakamura got his knees up.
SHEAMUS & CESARO VS. BRAUN STROWMAN & NICHOLAS FOR THE RAW TAG TITLES
Nicholas was a kid out of the crowd who looked about ten years old. They won the titles when Cesaro came off the ropes for a springboard move and Strowman caught him and powerslammed him for the pin. Strowman worked the entire match but he did tag Nicholas in, but Nicohlas just stood there for a few seconds and tagged out. They did a celebration afterwards.
BROCK LESNAR VS. ROMAN REIGNS FOR THE UNIVERSAL TITLE
Lesnar retained the titel after about a million F-5s. This was weired to say the least. The crowd wanted to hate the match. The crowd seemed to react more to beach balls in the crowd and were chanting "this is awful" and CM Punk and tons of other things. And the match was physical as hell, It was the usual Paul Heyman big match style Lesnar booking where they just do their big moves. Lesnar did tons of suplexes and tons of F-5s and Reigns kept kicking out. People didn't even pop for his kick outs. Earlier Reigns did Superman punch after Superman punch and two spears and Lesnar kicked out. He did another spear into a knee by Lesnar., Lesnar also elbowed the hell out of Reigns and Reigns was bleeding like crazy. Reigns took some bad falls from suplexes including nearly on his head on the floor from an overhead suplex. Lesnar did five F-5s, four for near falls and one onto a table. Reigns came back with a another set of two spears and Lesnar kicked out again and Lesnar hit his final F-5 and got the pin., The whoel thing was done for sympathy for Reigns when it was over to make him a babyface as they concentrated on showing him all beaten up and bloodied and limping to the back with the idea he was hurt, and he took a ton of punishment. Really interesting where this is headed tomorrow.