It is considered the biggest and most anticipated show in the WWE. This year, Wrestlemania 33 emanated from the Citrus Bowl, in Orlando, Florida, in front of over 75,000 fans. The event was filled with hard-hitting action, championships changing hands, and a surprise return that nobody saw coming. After the New Day (who were the ‘hosts’ of the nights proceedings), welcomed everyone, the first match between Shane McMahon and AJ Styles was contested.

Both wrestled a tremendous match. Foreign objects like trash cans and tables were utilized, and the crowd was entertained throughout. One of the high points in the match saw Shane, being the daredevil that he is, attempt a top-rope elbow drop on AJ, through one of the announcer’s tables. AJ moved out of the way, and Shane crashed through the table, and the crowd went insane. When the action returned to the ring, Shane attempted and missed a shooting star press. AJ then hopped on the top rope, as McMahon was recovering, and hit his “phenomenal forearm” finisher for the win. AJ Styles got his Mania moment, and deservedly so. He is a phenomenal athlete. Hopefully with this rivalry out of the way, Styles can re-enter the WWE title picture on Smackdown.

The Raw Women’s title was at stake in a four way elimination match. The champion, Bayley went against Sasha Banks, Nia Jax and Charlotte Flair. The match started with Bayley, Sasha and Charlotte putting aside their differences in an attempt to eliminate the larger Nia. After a lengthy struggle, the three performed a triple powerbomb to get rid of Jax. This was great strategy, to get rid of the biggest individual in the match. Unfortunately, the next elimination was Sasha after Charlotte ran her into a previously exposed turnbuckle, leaving only Charlotte and Bayley.

This was a great back-and-forth battle between the last two champions. With Charlotte on the mat after hitting the same exposed turnbuckle, Bayley climbed to the top rope, and hit a beautiful flying elbowdrop to secure the pinfall victory. Bayley retained the Raw Women’s title. The win gave her a well-deserved Wrestlemania moment. The crowd was thrilled for her. And fans could see the emotion etched on her face after the victory.

The surprise of the night came in the ladder match for the Raw tag team titles. It seemed like the New Day were going to join the match with the previously announced teams of Gallows and Anderson, Sheamus and Cesaro and Enzo Amore and Big Cass. However, they stood on the ramp and announced the final entrant – the returning Hardy Boys – Matt and Jeff Hardy. The crowd erupted once their familiar music played.

This was a wild and chaotic affair from the start. All four teams came really close to capturing the tag team titles on numerous occasions. In the midst of the craziness, Jeff scaled a twenty foot ladder that he placed outside of the ring. As Sheamus and Cesaro were placed on top of each other on a table, Jeff then performed a jaw dropping Swanton Dive off the larger ladder. The crowd went ballistic. Meanwhile, inside the ring, Matt climbed another ladder that was used in the match, and took hold of the titles. The Hardys won a fantastic and thrilling ladder match. The fans were delighted with this shocking result.

In one of the main events, Seth Rollins battled Triple H. As fans know, Wrestlemania is not only about the matches, but also about the over the top entrances. Triple H is really good at this, however, this one was a little tamer, but I liked it. It featured him and his wife, Stephanie on a motorcycle, and they were escorted to the ring by Orlando police. It was not as extravagant as years past, but it accomplished what it needed to. The match itself was dubbed ‘non-sanctioned’ and the main story was centered around Rollins’ legitimately injured knee, and how it would hold up in such a match.

The match itself was a little slow at times, but both men worked hard, despite their limitations. One memorable moment occurred when Triple H wrapped a steel chair around Seth’s knee, stomped on and elbowdropped the chair. I am sure that hurt, and Rollins sold the pain pretty well. But, that did not end the match. As expected, Stephanie McMahon played a huge role in the conclusion, and so did a table.

Earlier in the match, a table was set up on the outside of the ring. When the wrestlers were inside the ring, Steph climbed onto the apron, and grabbed Seth from behind. Triple H tried to hit his opponent, but he ducked, and stopped short of bumping into his wife. Seth then kicked his rival, who then stumbled into his wife, which caused her to go through the table. The crowd could not have been happier. Rollins then pedigreed his opponent for the win. The fans were thrilled. I am also sure that Seth felt relieved once he attained the victory.

What a match this was! Yes, Seth Rollins was limited because of the injured knee, but he put his all into gaining the victory. Also, there are those who would say Triple H should not be in a match like this, especially on a show like Mania. If he is constantly winning, I would understand that argument, but he lost to a younger wrestler who he helped develop in NXT. I think that if he wants to, and if he thinks his body can hold up, he should compete in these matches. If he does decide to continue to wrestle, he should always do what’s best for business. He should do his best to help put over younger talent.

The WWE Universal title was on the line as Bill Goldberg defended against Brock Lesnar. Goldberg was 2-0 in straight up head-to-head meetings between the two. He also won the last match at Survivor Series in dominating fashion, but this encounter would end up being a little different. Goldberg hit two devastating spears on his opponent. But, Brock got up after the second one, and applied ten German suplexes to the surprise of the crowd. He ended the match by pinning the champ after an F5. Brock Lesnar became the new champion to the delight of the Citrus Bowl crowd in four minutes and forty-six seconds. In my mind, the right wrestler was victorious. I think that Goldberg fought his last match. The company had to put the championship on someone else who will be around to defend the title, even if it is not on a monthly basis.

The main event pitted Roman Reigns against the Undertaker. This was a slugfest, and was a no holds barred match. Roman played the role of a heel perfectly (even though he is supposed to be a fan favourite) in this match, as he continuously taunted Taker. Several chair shots occurred, and both men showed determination by kicking out of each other’s signature moves. The end came when Reigns nailed a brutal, aggressive and violent spear on the Undertaker. Roman Reigns pinned the Undertaker, making Taker 23-2 at Wrestlemania. The fans were completely apoplectic with this result. I believe this was the right call because Reigns will remain in the company. Roman will continue get pushed, despite the fans voicing their disapproval of him. I am sure Taker approved the loss prior to the match, as a sign of “passing the torch,” and putting over the younger talent. But what transpired after the match will leave an indelible mark on the fans’ minds.

Once Reigns left the ring and went through the curtain, Taker was still lying in the ring. The crowd chanted “Thank you Taker” repeatedly. Then, the lights went out, and when they came back on, Taker was standing in the ring dressed in his ring gear. One by one, he removed his gloves, his trenchcoat, which he folded and placed in the center of the ring. He then removed his top hat. I am sure the crowd wondered what was going on, and some were likely becoming emotional, thinking about the possible meaning of all this. He then went to ringside, kissed his wife and walked up the aisle. He stopped on the ramp and acknowledged the crowd, and they kept chanting “Thank you Taker.” The screen went black and that was the end to an unbelievable Wrestlemania. The main event result could signal a complete heel turn for Roman and perhaps the end of the Undertaker’s legendary career.

Wrestlemania 33 was a tremendous show. The superstars worked really hard to provide the fans and themselves with many “Wrestlemania Moments.” Other wrestlers who created memories by being victorious on the big stage were Kevin Owens, Naomi and Randy Orton. All three became champions that night. Finally, John Cena and Nikki Bella became engaged. Though, in reality I think this happened a few weeks beforehand, and they went through the entire process for television purposes.

I think the WWE should be really proud of Wrestlemania 33. There was a major return and memorable moments for everyone. I was thrilled that a lot of wrestlers who graduated from the WWE’s NXT system got their Wrestlemania moments. That tells me that the future is bright in the WWE.

Azeem Kayum

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