When it comes to wrestling, no show is bigger than Wrestlemania. Every year WWE puts on an event that acts as the big season finale for the wrestling year, and all roads lead to the big stadium show, normally at the end of March/beginning of April. In its 35th year, Wrestlemania again made history with a female headline match for the first time in the event’s history, with Becky Lynch, Ronda Rousey and Charlotte competing for all the women’s gold. The show taking place from MetLife Stadium in New Jersey was a massive spectacle, but honestly watching the show at the time was exhausting, with the whole event including the pre-show clocking in at well over seven hours. Luckily, watching again with the convenience of being able to break it up gave me a much greater appreciation for the show.
The first disc of Wrestlemania 35 essentially covers the first half of the main show, which has some great matches. The opener with Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins was a very hot way to kick things off, and gave the audience a big moment right off the bat. Randy Orton vs AJ Styles was as good as you would expect it to be, while the four-way tag title match was a chaotic sprint of a match. Shane McMahon vs The Miz was probably one of the more engrossing matches on the show, and made great use of the “falls count anywhere” stipulation. The women’s tag title match had some compelling moments, and while The IIconics getting the win was a surprise, it made sense and provided an unexpected outcome.
Of the bouts on this show, the one I was most emotionally invested in was Kofi Kingston vs Daniel Bryan for the WWE Title. The build-up for Kingston was superb, and although it was born out of an injury to Ali and an organic swell of support for Kofi, the WWE, to their credit, really gave Kingston the ball and let him run with it. Bryan provided a brilliant foil to the beloved babyface, and between them they created a fantastic back-and-forth match as well as a genuinely emotional moment for the audience with Kingston finally winning the big one after eleven years of toiling in the mid-card.
Moving on to the second disc there was plenty to enjoy, and although this was where fatigue really hit watching the first time around, on this second watch it was much more palatable. However, there was definitely a whole heap of stuff here that probably could have been omitted from this card. Drew McIntyre vs Roman Reigns was better than I remembered, but definitely could have benefited from being shorter. Triple H vs Batista was another match that went way too long, although I did enjoy it for what it was. Kurt Angle vs Baron Corbin was mostly a reminder of what a missed opportunity the company had by using Corbin in this spot. Bobby Lashley vs “The Demon“ Finn Balor was far better than it had any right to be, and it was an enjoyable, short, sharp affair, but again this show could easily have managed without these two.
Finally, after a dance break that was wholly unnecessary, the main event took place. Charlotte made a spectacular entrance after landing in a helicopter (not in the stadium, that would be a whole other level of health and safety violations), which was a lovely nod to her father, while Ronda Rousey was played out by Joan Jett. Having Becky Lynch enter to less fanfare would normally have seemed like a snub, but it worked to great effect for Lynch as the anti-authority babyface bad-ass. The match itself was, again, much better on second viewing and while there were a few blown spots and a couple of scary moments, all three women put in a major shift. The finish felt no less awkward and abrupt than it did when it happened, but the right person won and for the third time on this show the audience got a feel good ending.
Overall, Wrestlemania 35 is a decent show. The biggest matches delivered and there were certainly some memorable moments. That said, if the company needs to learn that less is sometimes more and this show is good, when with a few omissions it could have been great.
EXTRAS: All the big matches from the kick-off show are included, with Tony Nese vs Buddy Murphy, which was OK, and Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder vs The Revival which was slightly better. The womens battle royal, as well as the Andre the Giant battle royal, is also included and while neither was exactly blow-away stuff, they were both relatively entertaining. Outside of the pre-show stuff we also get the Raw after Wrestlemania included, as well as an exclusive promo from Dean Ambrose (now Jon Moxley in AEW) as he bid farewell to WWE. As extras go, it’s pretty stacked.