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  1. #1
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    WrestleMania 35: Random Thoughts & Reactions

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    So last year was the first time I did this and I got 5 out of 11 predictions correct (45%). Can I do better this year?

    In accordance with the tradition I started last year, I took an afternoon off work and watched the whole thing, including Pre-Show in one marathon sitting. The session started with one of the worst things Iíve ever experienced. For lunch, Iíd ďtreatedĒ myself to a couple of microwaveable breakfast wraps. Spotted them in the local shop & thought theyíd be worth trying - at only £1 each I figured what could go wrongÖ.I ended up throwing the second one away still frozen. Sometimes even the lowest of expectations are not achieved. Fortunately I had some ice cream in the freezer so I had that for lunch instead.



    The Pre-Show

    I love the concept of the Pre-Show. Hands up who remembers my column entitled ďSports EntertainmentĒ from my first run on LOP back in 2011?
    Really, nobody?
    Not even from when I reposted it in 2017 as part of my long awaited comeback?
    OK, so that column argued that WWE should present itself more as a sports show does, with a panel of hosts & guests discussing the matches, summarising the stories so far and giving their predictions to what may happen. Obviously it would all be done within kayfabe, but I still think itís a great idea and for that reason alone I enjoy the Pre-Shows, even if Iíve only ever seen two of them (this one & last yearís WrestleMania). If WWE were to add an analyst panel discussion to Raw/Smackdown and use it to replace the amount of time they waste with replays from previous weeks and even earlier that evening, it would be a huge improvement in my opinion.


    Cruiserweight Championship - Buddy Murphy vs. Tony Nese:
    Prediction: Tony Nese

    I think itís come up occasionally that Iím the lead guitarist and occasional vocalist in a band. Most places we play we get a decent crowd and that really gets your adrenaline going to put on a good show. Occasionally however you get a gig where youíre playing to an empty bar or to an audience that is ignoring you. Iím not sure which is worse. I guess at least with an empty bar nobody is there to see if you mess up. Either way, itís really demoralising and I always find it makes it hard for me to play to the best of my ability.

    And that is exactly what I thought about when watching this match. Top marks to them for putting on a great match to an empty stadium that wasnít paying them the attention they deserve.


    Womenís Battle Royal:
    Prediction: Asuka

    Seriously, how many more times are they going to pull the trick of hiding someone outside the ring for the duration of a Battle Royal only for them to come out and try to steal it just as you think someone has won? OK, when Santino did it to Del Rio it was still a fairly fresh idea, but itís been done so often in recent years that it overstayed itís welcome and needs to be forgotten about for at least a decade. Maybe longer.


    Raw Tag Team Championship Ė Hawkins/Ryder vs The Revival:
    Prediction: The Revival

    Have the Revival pissed someone off or something? OK, so I get that it finished off the Curt Hawkins losing Streak storyline, but unless they do more with this than they did with Ryderís US Title victory a couple of years ago they just buried a team full of potential for no reason.

    Well, no reason aside from them requesting to be released of course.


    Andre Battle Royal:
    Prediction: Brawn Strowman

    Remember what I said above about people hiding until the end of a Battle Royal? OK, I guess in this instance it made sense as the guys who did it werenít actually wrestlers. Having said that, as they werenít wrestlers they shouldnít have been in the ****ing ring in the first place.

    I have no idea who they were and donít care to find out.

    At the end of the day, when the main focus of a match that may as well not exist is people that shouldnít be in it to begin with, you know people just arenít going to give a shit.


    The Actual-Show

    Someone I donít know sang something then some helicopters happened.
    What is the point of having a ďHostĒ? They never serve any real purpose. The only time it mattered was when The Rock did it a few years ago as the initial kick off to his 3 year long story with John Cena.
    And enough has been written and reported about Hulk Hogan in recent years that his legacy is so tainted nobody in their right mind should care about him anymore.

    But I canít help it.

    Every time I hear the opening chords of Real American, 12 year old me takes over and I mark out like a child getting a new bike for Christmas.


    Universal Championship Ė Brock Lesnar vs Seth Rollins:
    Prediction: Lesnar

    Not what I expected as the hot opener type match, but I liked the way they had Heyman come out and justify it. The best sort of Lesnar match too, the longer his matches are the less entertaining they tend to be these days. I still think he has a valuable part to play, he doesnít need the belt to be a special attraction wrestler, but I suspect heíll need to easily beat his next couple of opponents now heís put someone over. You donít remain a special attraction like Lesnar for long if you have too many losses.


    AJ Styles vs Randy Orton:
    Prediction: AJ Styles.

    I said this was a potential dark horse for match of the night honours. I donít believe it succeeded. Despite being a big AJ fan, this match struggled to keep my attention. So much so that I actually started to doze off a bit during the match. I made it to the end, then shut my eyes for a 20 minute kip, got a strong coffee and was ready to face the rest of the event.



    Smackdown Tag Championship Ė Fatal Four Way:
    Prediction: Black & Ricochet

    I guess wrestlers never watch these multi-man-clusterfucks. If they did, theyíd learn to hang around while the blatantly obvious build to the inevitably disappointing Tower-Of-Doom move happens so they can join in last, making themselves the ones who donít get thrown across the ring. Itís so ****ing obvious whatís going on as soon as the move starts being set up I wish they wouldnít bother anymore.



    Shane McMahon vs The Miz:
    Prediction: The Miz

    Am I the only one who thinks Mizís dad looks like Donald Trumpís redneck brother?

    There is no reason for Shane to be taking part in a match and even less reason for him to win one. Iím with Tito on this one Ė every time a wrestler has to sell the punches of this office boy it takes suspension of disbelief a step too far.



    Womenís Tag Match Ė Fatal Four Way:
    Prediction: Divas of Doom.

    Iím yet to be convinced there is a need for Womenís Tag Titles at this point in time, but I guess weíre stuck with them for the foreseeable future. I just hope the womenís roster continues to grow organically so that in a few yearsí time it has the depth to cope with the expectations that are already being put on it.

    This was essentially a perfectly acceptable match between Boss & Hug and the Divas of Doom, the others all seemed to hang around out of sight and out of mind for most of the match. Maybe they got the wrong script & thought they were in a battle royal?

    This match could have been improved no end by making it a straight tag match and putting the IIconics and Jax/Tamina in the pointless Battle Royal.



    WWE Championship Ė Daniel Bryan vs Kofi Kingston:
    Prediction: Kofi Kingston.

    Iíd be amazed if anyone doesnít give this match of the night honours. Bryan did a great job of putting Kofi over, Kofi obviously played his part well, and so far itís three days later and heís still the Champ. Iím not convinced they give him a long run, but so long as they donít spend his time as champ burying him as they do with so many others a short run may be all he needs.

    And I still think New Day should defend the title using the Freebird rule.

    The only problem with this match was that my takeaway arrived halfway through it, so I had to pause it whilst I sorted that out which ruined the flow a bit. Just my usual order of Lamb Jalfrezi & Pilau Rice, which I thoroughly enjoyed as always. Had a can of coke delivered with it too for a bit of a sugar/caffeine fix to keep me going for the rest of the night.



    United States Championship - Samoa Joe vs. Rey Mysterio:
    Prediction: Joe.

    This was my prediction for match of the night, and although it didnít achieve that it did everything it needed to. Joe stays on as champ & defeats a legend along the way in pretty conclusive fashion. Sometimes a short squash match is the best thing to do and that was certainly the case here.


    Roman Reigns vs Drew McIntyre:
    Prediction: Roman Reigns.

    Typical Reigns match, not much to report. I did see a few people speculating that there might be a Shield Curtain Call, but it didnít happen.



    Elias Segment:
    It was fun seeing Cena come out as his original gimmick, but I kind of got the impression he wasnít 100% comfortable doing that character again. Maybe heís outgrown it, maybe it hasnít aged well and the time for that character has passed, but something wasnít right. Great to see it once though, and now itís been done it doesnít have to be done again.

    Given all the speculation that Cena would actually face Angle, it was vital this segment happened before Angleís match against Corbin.

    And Elias? Elias was his usual brilliant self, with accompaniment from the only people worthy to play with himÖ.himself! I did wonder if Honky Tonk Man may be the one to come out and do the guitar shot, but then as they did that spot with Double J last year I guess it would have been a bit predictable.

    But has anyone else noticed that any time they need someone to do something with a part timer these days they choose Elias? Iíve heard rumours he may be facing Taker at the next Middle Eastern event, and it wouldnít surprise me to see him face Lesnar in the next 12 months as well. He may not wrestle too often, but he seems to always get those big spots and that usually means someone in the back likes him.



    Triple H vs Batista:
    Prediction: HHH

    And the annual HHH award for longest match of the night goes toÖ..

    Seriously, did this need to be any more than about 10 minutes? And canít some of the current guys get the big entrance instead of HHH?

    Iíve got a lot of respect for what Paul Levesque has been doing for the industry in recent years, heís done a lot to support all the up and coming guys. Why then canít he see that they should be the ones in the spotlight, not HHH? I have no problem whatsoever with him still wrestling occasionally, itís very rarely he doesnít put the younger guys over (although I still say Sting should have beat him), but he needs to realise that making himself out to be a bigger deal than the current roster negates any effect putting them over may have.

    When the highlight of the nightís longest match is Batista tripping over as he got into the ring, you know you need to reconsider the positioning of part timers on the card.



    Baron Corbin vs Kurt Angle:
    Prediction: John Cena.

    OK, so the Cena thing didnít happen. Lets just all be happy that Angle didnít kill himself in the ring and hope he sticks to his retirement.



    Intercontinental Championship Ė Bobby Lashley vs Finn Balor:
    Prediction: Finn Balor.

    The Demon doing a power bomb? Thatís new isnít it? A move (or several) specific to The Demon is another step towards making that gimmick mean something. In my opinion, theyíre doing things right since Balorís promotion to the main roster.



    Raw Womenís Championship Ė Ronda Rousey vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair:
    Prediction: Becky Lynch.

    OK, so in the feedback to my predictions column I finally caved. Since writing my 2019 predictions last year, I was determined to stick with the original prediction of Rousey winning. With only a couple of days to spare, I finally trusted WWE to do the right thing. And they did, even if the pin itself was a bit dodgy.

    Given the crowd reaction, I canít help thinking that Kofi vs Bryan would have been the better main event, but I guess you have to factor in the fatigue everyone must have been feeling by this time so Iíll give them a pass there.

    And what was the point of showing Charlotte flying in by helicopter? If theyíd landed it at ringside and used it as a part of her actual entrance Iíd have been impressed. As it was, it was just a few minutes of wasted time.



    Conclusion:

    Iím not going to say this was the best Mania ever, but aside from my need for a brief nap early on (which was more due to a late night the day before followed by a busy morning at work) this show didnít feel like it dragged at all. I enjoyed the majority of it from start to finish and have no regrets about taking a day out to watch it.

    Yes, I wish theyíd go back to a maximum of 4 hours plus maybe a 1 hour pre-show, but I donít see that happening any time soon.

    This was the best of the ultra-long events, and I hope itís a sign that theyíve found the formula to make a show that long work so future years will be just as good.

    One more thought: When the desire to get bigger and bigger each year means you need to announce that a new attendance record has been set for ďWWE events at the Metlife StadiumĒ, you should know youíre clutching at straws. Sometimes itís OK to not set a record.

    Finally, there were 16 matches and I predicted 8 of them correctly. At 50%, thatís a marginal improvement on last year, so I believe Iíve successfully set a new world record for correct predictions in DynamiteBillington WrestleMania columns on LOP.

    If WWE can do it, why canít I?

  2. #2
    The Brain
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    Props to you for taking on the whole beast, Dyna! Not surprised you had to stop and eat more than once, it's quite a journey haha. Mostly agree with your thoughts here, particularly that I'm just glad Angle made it to the end of his career (we hope) without keeling over in the ring. Dude looked veeeeery dodgy in the last couple years.

    One thing I can shed some light on, Charlotte's helicopter entrance was an homage to Ric doing a similar entrance back in '85, I believe at the Great American Bash. Not sure if that makes it better but it sounds a little bit cool to me at least!

    Really glad Bryan/Kofi went down so well with people. I doubt it was ever in the conversation for the show closer (not enough MMA fighters, you know ) but it well deserved MOTN recognition. I wouldn't hold my breath on that Freebird rule prediction, but my guess is Kofi isn't the last member of the group to hold the title.

    Good stuff, man!

  3. #3
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    OK, so I get the homage thing. That being the case, I've been watching WWE since around the sort of time that happened, I'm a long way from being a new fan. Yet I still didn't get the reference. I can't be the only one.

    Surely the commentators should have mentioned it to explain why it was happening? Or did I miss something (it was a long day after all!)?

  4. #4
    The Brain
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    I can't be expected to listen to what WWE commentators say, my ears aren't strong enough for that! I'm guessing they figured the visual would be effective enough on it's own for fans who didn't get the reference, but clearly it didn't work for everyone!

  5. #5
    Overall, good job on your predictions. Some of the ones you predicted wrongly is what should have happened.

    I really liked the touch of adding the food you ate to the column. That, to me, is part of the fun to Wrestle-Mania. It's figuring out how you will survive the long day. I got a good chuckle over the line about not being able to meet the low expectations of a breakfast wrap. Of all the time in the 8 hour show to get dinner , did you have to do it during the only great match on the show?

    Fell asleep, early, I see! But you got up and got through it. Maybe the reason WWE put that bright light up during their match was to keep the live crowd awake.

    I didn't really bite on Cena's doctor of thuganomics thing, either. I may be one of the few people who didn't dig it that much in the first place, though. I'm torn on Elias, on one hand he gets to be in there with the vets, on the other, for someone as over as he, I think he's getting squashed like Heath Slater by them now. Hopefully, that doesn't continue. Also, just bringing vets out to do their shtick is misusing them, in my opinion. They're not making real moments that way. It'd be different if they did something unique like Piper at Mania 5, but it's all just part of the formula. Always have to have a goddamn formula.

    I, too, see your silver lining in Kurt retiring without hurting himself.


    Ah, Miz-fan beat me to addressing that Ric Flair did the helicopter before. I think it's fine to be more subtle with it than for the announcers to say it. It also goes with her lavish sort of gimmick.

    Enjoyed reading this.
    Last edited by Benjamin Button; 1 Week Ago at 02:54 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Wrestlemania was last Sunday and I've been watching it almost daily and I'm only at HHH/Batista now! So big up to you being able to sit through the entire show.

    So far I've enjoyed the show. I think all the right people won with the exception of Shane-O-Mac. There are some things that does peterb me a bit (like Asuka and Strowman not being on the main card) but overall I honestly think this was a good Wrestlemania; at least from what I've watched thus far.

    On a final note, I didn't get the impression that Cena was uncomfortable at all, it was like the good old days. Yes, I'll admit that at times I could feel the cheese, but that's probably because the gimmick is 13 years old. Nevertheless I enjoyed every second of it and Cena did everything with conviction. He even pumped up his sneakers like he used to!

    Enjoyed this, Dyno.

  7. #7
    Junior Member Zombieguy's Avatar
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    It's really nice to get the perspective of somebody who can enjoy the current product while still being able to critique it with honesty and hold it accountable. I agree with your assessments of Kofi vs Bryan, Charlotte's entrance, and in hindsight John Cena's discomfort (even though at the time I was too excited to notice). I have to disagree about Shane McMahon though. While the result was questionable and before the match I rolled my eyes at the idea of Shane McMahon taking a spot on the card, that non-wrestler ultimately ended up delivering the most entertaining match of the night in my opinion. That says something about his ability (and also the sad state of the current roster).

    Good perspective on the show and a nice concise review. Unlike the show itself that seemed to drag on forever.

  8. #8
    Mediocrity at it's finest kingzak13's Avatar
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    I pretty much agree with everything you said, though I did enjoy H/Batista.

    Good to know microwavable breakfast wraps suck, I can stop wondering about them (Microwave burgers and the like though are pretty legit if you haven't tried them)

    I'd personally limit WrestleMania to six hours max (pre-show included), that way it keeps the special feeling of length without overwhelming.

  9. #9
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    Time for some feedback....

    Ben: Any matches in particular you felt should have gone the other way? Aside from Miz/Shane of course....

    I don't think Elias will end up in the full on jobber role though. I can actually see him being a candidate for winning Money In The Bank. It's a good way of keeping him high-ish on the card without him necessarily wrestling every week, and most of the biggest matches he's been in have been the multi-man clusterfucks so it would seem to fit.

    Yeah, that little catnap worked wonders. TBH, the morning at work had been a bit of a struggle so I'd probably have needed it even if it wasn't for WrestleMania. Glad you liked the inclusion of food, what did you think about some of my other side comments?

    The trouble with the timing of my dinner is that when I ordered it, not only do I not know exactly when it will be delivered, I also didn't know what matches were going to happen next in the running order. The food arrived around dinner time, it was just unlucky the Kofi/Bryan match happened at that moment. It's almost as if WWE didn't know what time on Tuesday I'd be watching WrestleMania.



    Don: Glad you enjoyed the column. I don't do regular reviews, hence the Random Thoughts title, so it's good to know people enjoy reading it.
    I have mixed feelings about the use of Strowman & Asuka. Asuka especially should potentially have been inserted into the main event under a rematch clause, but in my opinion is the best women they've got - of the female matches I always find myself thinking hers are the best. And Strowman is...Strowman. Is keeping him away from the title a good thing? Maybe, if they keep booking him as strongly as they are at the moment it will mean more when he finally gets there.
    So yes, both deserved more. On the other hand, if they're going to sell the pre-show they have to give the impression that it's worth seeing. For that, they need big names. If it wasn't for the inclusion of at least a couple of big names on there, it would become even more miss-able than it is already.



    Zombieguy: The most entertaining match of the night? Without wanting to disrespect your opinion, I can't agree with that. Hardcore wrestling doesn't do a great deal for me at the best of times, mainly because the more you see, the more you expect from it, the more you expect from it, the less impact it has. That match was nothing but a Shane O'Mac greatest hits.



    Zak: Those burgers are OK when you need a quick snack. I've had a couple of Rustlers, the main problem with them is the concept of microwaving the bread as well. That doesn't work. I tend to microwave the burger & toast up the bread a bit, but by then you might as well just cook a decent burger yourself. I guess there is the option of not heating the bread up, but I'm extremely fussy when it comes to the temperature of food.

    Hot food should be hot, cold food should be cold, and the two should not be mixed.

    You're talking to a guy who will order Dominos, but have the oven heated up in case it isn't 100% piping hot when it arrives. I will even stop eating half way through to heat up the second half of the pizza if that has gone slightly cold.

    I can be a bit of a burger snob though, I'd rather go out to a decent food pub and have a gourmet style burger than get something from a fast food place. Just so long as it's served on a plate, not a ****ing chopping board like a lot of places do these days.

    I should have stuck with my plan, I'd actually gone to the shop with the intention of getting a pasty or two. You can't beat a bit of Ginsters.

    Still, at least I had the ice cream ready to go as a back up lunch. And as it is supposed to be cold, it was served at the appropriate temperature.

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