It's that time of year again, where we sit down and take a look back at the home video release of the biggest WWE show of the year, Wrestlemania. This years installment was one of the biggest ever, and at firs-watch featured some great matches from top to bottom, but also some of the biggest staging in WWE history. However, with all the smoke cleared, and the dust settled, how does this event rank? The answer is mostly pretty well.
There was a lot of good stuff on this show, but the most memorable images from Wrestlemania 33 will certainly be from the main event. Let's be clear, this was not a classic by any stretch but it told a great story, and in some ways the fact it wasn’t a great match, or wasn’t as slickly presented as previous bouts played into that story. Seeing Taker try to sit up as he always done and not being able to manage it, and fighting valiantly against the younger, faster, stronger Reigns was great, and this really put over Reigns strong. It’s a shame really, because this should have been the way the streak ended, but hindsight is obviously a brilliant thing. A worthy main event, but the real show was in the post-match as Undertaker ceremonially removing his coat and hat and leaving them in the ring as he said his farewell. It was a huge Wrestlemania moment, and I'm glad they put this on last as it was the best possible option on this card.
Perhaps my favourite match of the night was Brock Lesnar vs Bill Goldberg. It might have lasted less than five minutes, but it was spectacularly brutal, with big move after big move as two huge impact players went at it tooth and nail. Both guys came out of this looking great, and it probably ranks among my favourite sub 5 minute matches of all time, just two heavy hitters swinging for the fences
Other highlights further down the card included Kevin Owens vs Chris Jericho in a fun match, even if it lacked some of the heat I had hoped for given the grudge match nature of the bout, although the one finger spot pulled off by Owens was excellent, and a cool nod to the "Festival of Friendship" a few months earlier. The Hardys return was one of the biggest reactions of the night, and provided a great Wrestlemania moment even if the ladder match itself was quite average. Finally, on the plus points at least, we had AJ Styles and Shane McMahon in a fine opener, which massively surpassed expectations and made both look great. It's a high energy way to start the show, and I really enjoyed it, especially given the lack of shortcuts taken.
In more "thumbs in the middle" territory, we had the Raw Women's Fatal Four way, which was not a terrible match by any standards. However, the booking was very odd in the run up to this match which sadly took much of the lustre off Bayley's win. The mixed tag with The Miz and Maryse vs John Cena and Nikki Bella was an odd match where the heels dominated for most of the match before a quick babyface comeback and the finish, which presumably was structured that way in order to leave plenty of time for the post-match proposal, which dragged a bit but does make for a nice Wrestlemania moment on second watch.
Two of the matches with the longest build were much in the middling territory on this show. Seth Rollins vs Triple H had been in the works since August 2016, and it wasn’t a bad match per se, but it certainly could have done with being a bit shorter as it dragged in the middle before a fun finish with Stephanie McMahon also getting her comeuppance and Rollins finally getting his revenge over his former mentor. The other match was one that perhaps didn’t go long enough, as Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton had one of the most bizarre WWE title matches in Wrestlemania history. The projections, and use of magical powers worked fine for Bray, and I actually quite like it, but the finish out of nowhere was a bum note for what could have been something quite special.
Now onto the bad, which is mostly encompasses the pre-show. Baron Corbin vs Dean Ambrose was a bit of a damp squib, the Smackdown women's match was just a buffer between the big matches, which is sad as it robbed Naomi of her big moment in her home town. This was incredibly rushed and disappointing, and really could easily have been bumped to the pre-show in favour of the infinitely more enjoyable Austin Aries -Neville bout. Neville vs Aries was really fantastic and may well have been the match of the night overall, by the way. Let's not even talk about the battle royal on the pre-show which was just a mess.
This was a long show all in all, and while the top matches mostly delivered, and very little was specifically bad it was a real slog to get through just due to the sheer duration of the show. That said, the luxury of having this show on DVD or Blu Ray is being able to watch it in chunks which does make it a far more palatable option, and certainly value for money. There have certainly been better Wrestlemania events over the years, but this is absolutely not one of the worst, and definitely does enough to be within the top half of all Wrestlemania events in history.
EXTRAS: As mentioned in the main review the extras on this release include the full pre-game show including Austin Aries vs Neville, Baron Corbin vs Dean Ambrose, and the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. So, quite the mixed bag in terms of match quality. Also included is the segments from the Smackdown episodes in the build-up is Total Bellas spoof featuring The Miz and Maryse as John Cena and Nikki Bella respectively, which are just brilliant. A decent set of additions when you consider the main show is over four hours long on its own.