24th May2015

‘Wrestlemania 31′ Blu-ray Review

by Chris Cummings

WRESTLEMANIA31_BD_2D

It’s time once more for that big show of the year, the show of shows, the grand-daddy of them all, the biggest professional wrestling and sports entertainment event for fans and performers that there is. This year, held in California, the event features many matches featuring big names from the past and present of WWE, so let’s take a look at Wrestlemania 31, shall we?

On paper, I must admit to not looking forward to a great deal of this year’s WrestleMania, but my excitement was still there, as it always is when this time of year comes around. WWE are always very good at building hype for their big event. The PPVpresented a two-hour kick-off show, with its second hour featuring two matches, two matches that featured a ton of main roster full timers. A four-way tag team title match, and the second annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale.

The Match Results:

  • Tyson Kidd & Cesaro retained the Tag Team Titles in a Four-Way Tag Match
  • The Big Show won the Andre the Giant Battle Royale
  • Daniel Bryan won the Intercontinental Title Ladder Match
  • Randy Orton beat Seth Rollins
  • Triple H defeated Sting
  • AJ Lee & Paige beat The Bella Twins
  • John Cena won the US Title from Rusev
  • The Undertaker beat Bray Wyatt
  • Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Title in the main event between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns

The first match of this pay-per-view was the four way tag team title match, with the champions, Cesaro and Tyson Kidd defending against Los Matadores, The Usos and The New Day. This was a really enjoyable match in which the eight participants, as well as Naomi, Natalya, Xavier Woods and Torito at ringside, maximised their minutes, as they say, and made the most of their time out there. A fun contest with high spots and entertaining moments. This was a good way to open the PPV and the fans were fully on the side of the heel tag champs. Cesaro grabbed a victory for his team, allowing himself and Kidd to retain the titles on the biggest show of the year.

The second Andre the Giant Battle Royale was one in which the focus was mostly focused on two men, Ryback and The Big Show, mostly the latter. The match featured many talented workers, including last year’s winner Cesaro, The Miz, Mizdow, NXT Star Hideo Itami, Kane and others. The Big Show won in a match in which no one else was really helped to look good. It’s a shame that they had to have Big Show win this, but at least the whole “giant winning giant match” thing is over with now.

WrestleMania’s pre-show ended, and the main show opened with America the Beautiful as a traditional welcome to the event, and the opening match kicked off with Daniel Bryan making his way to the ring, followed by his opponents in the Intercontinental Title ladder match, Dean Ambrose, Stardust, Luke Harper, R Truth, Dolph Ziggler and the champion Bad News Barrett. The match featured dives, high spots, brawling and exciting moments, but didn’t go as long as perhaps it should have. The fans ate up the action, and the final moments saw Ziggler and Bryan at the top of the ladder head-butting one another, with Bryan winning the altercation, and grasping the championship to become the new champion. He celebrated on top of the ladder as he, and the fans, chanted “yes, yes, yes”. A very good match that saw an awfully painful bump from Dean Ambrose at one point.

The Viper, Randy Orton, took on Seth Rollins in the second match of the evening. This was a very enjoyable one-on-one grudge match and the two men made it look so effortless with their offence. It’s worth noting that neither looked to even break a sweat in a match in which they provided an enjoyable back and forth. The two hit a variety of great looking sequences, but none were better than the final sequence which saw Rollins attempt to curb-stomp Orton, only for Orton to boost Seth into the air and nail him with the RKO (outta nowhere). Orton picked up the win in a well-received match.

“The Icon” Sting and “The King of Kings” Triple H went head-to-head next in a match built as the former face of WCW against the stalwart of WWE, Triple H. It was a decent enough match and the two men brawled and got a good response from the arena. By the end of the match we saw ball bats and sledgehammers come into play, as well as DX and the NWO hitting the ring. The end of the match saw Triple H pick up the win, which was a surprising end, but one I personally didn’t mind. This was a nostalgia-kick for fans who enjoyed the Monday Night Wars.

The WWE Divas got their chance to shine as The Bella’s took on AJ Lee and Paige. The match was given an okay amount of time, perhaps still not as much as it should have been though. The four women did a good job out there, but I can’t help but wish it had been a solid singles match for the Divas belt. The end of the match saw Nikki Bella tap out to AJ Lee’s finishing hold, allowing herself and Paige to pick up a win. Paige looked genuinely moved by her victory here during her WrestleMania debut.

The US Title match between Rusev and John Cena was much better than I’d anticipated, right until that ending and post-match celebration. The back and forth action allowed Rusev and Cena to look strong, with Rusev showing that he can hang quite easily with the big dogs. Lana joined in with the shenanigans from ringside which got her “Let’s go Lana” chants from the WWE Universe. The end of the match saw Cena hit his finish for the victory, winning the US Title for the first time in over a decade. If only Cena had taken the opportunity to sell the match and the offence he had endured, but instead he smiled and wandered around like he’d just been out for a little jog. The match was good though, but the wrong man won and sold terribly afterwards.

We saw an in-ring segment next with Triple H and Stephanie coming out, playing heels and talking about owning the company and the fans. This brought out (yawn) The Rock, who did his usual crowd playing shtick and took too long doing it. This was why the Tag Title match was bumped to the pre-show, so The Rock could stand around with a microphone in his hand for ten minutes. The Rock talked about “the people” and then brought Ronda Rousey into the ring. The four had a stare-down before The Rock and Trips brawled a bit and Rousey tossed Triple H out of the ring and forced Stephanie out with an arm-lock. The segment got a big reaction from the fans but definitely went too long.

The Undertaker made his first WWE appearance in 12 months for his match against Bray Wyatt. ‘Taker looked to be in good shape, and the match was very enjoyable. Wyatt looked strong and was allowed to kick out of The Undertakers’ tombstone finish at one point, something not many WWE Superstars can claim. The finish saw another piledriver hit and ‘Taker picking up a win, but he certainly didn’t “bury” Wyatt here.

The WWE World Title match between champion Brock Lesnar and challenger Roman Reigns ended the show. This was a brutal and realistic match which saw Lesnar beat the hell out of Reigns for the most-part, with many of the hits looking like they connected. It was a good call to have the two go out there and be stiff with each other because the fans loved it, and it was one of the most intense and exciting main events in a long while. After taking a big beating for a long time, Reigns fired back with his signature moves, but it still wasn’t enough to take down Lesnar. Brock his a third F5, but as he did so, Seth Rollins came to the ring, cashed in his Money in the Bank contract, and proceeded to push Lesnar out of the ring and hit two curb-stomps on Reigns, allowing “The Future” to pick up a massive victory and win the WWE World Title at WrestleMania. The fans popped loud for Rollins’ cash-in, and the event ended with Lesnar not really losing the match, yet with Rollins standing tall. A very exciting main event, and the end to a very enjoyable show. The WWE pulled off a top notch event here, and it opens many potential feuds going into the next few pay per views…

Extras on this release of Wrestlemania 31 includes backstage footage, the 2015 Hall of Fame ceremony, and the usual WWE Blu-ray exclusives!

Wrestlemania 31 is released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 1st, courtesy of FremantleMedia.

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