It’s time once more for Wrestlemania the biggest professional wrestling and sports entertainment event for fans and performers that there is. This year the event is held in Orlando, the home of NXT – where a lot of the current roster of superstars got their start -and as usual (at least on paper) the card doesn’t seem that great. But that’s the thing with the WWE’s biggest pay per view, there’s always surprises: especially when it comes to Wrestlemania moments…. So with that lets get into Wrestlemania 33 – starting with the usual 2-hour kick off pre-show, which this year features the Crusiserweight Championship match the the now-annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale.
Wrestlemania 33 Kick-Off Show
Cruiserweight Championship Match: Austin Aries vs Neville
Aries has the upper hand early in the match, hitting a spinning elbow on Neville off the middle rope, sending him to the outside. Deciding to keep up the offense, Aries goes for a suicide dive but Neville stops him with a brutal kick to the head… Back from break and Neville now has the upper hand and takes it to Aries. A bit more back and forth and a moonsault off the top rope costs Neville the advantage as Aries goes high-risk and gives Neville the elbow off the top rope to the outside. He follows that up with a [successful] suicide dive, sending Neville into the barricade. The two continue to fight, the advantage switching back and forth between the two until a missile drop kick from the top rope sees Aries go for a pin, getting the two-count. A nasty German suplex lands Aries flat on his head, Neville follows that up with a bridging German for a near-fall.
An attempt at the rings of saturn is reversed by Aries for another two-count. Aries follows it up with a discus five-arm – sending Neville to the outside for a five-count. Neville regains his bearings and goes for the top rope but is intercepted by Aries, who climbs to the top rope, tossing Neville across thr ring with a fantastic head scissors move. A 450 flip off the top rope leads to the Last Chancery on Neville, who attacks Aries repaired eye socket not once but TWICE. Climbing to the top of the turnbuckle, Neville finally hits the red arrow on Aries for the win.
Winner (and still Cruiserweight Champion): Neville
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale
Both big men, Big Show and Braun Strowman, get the own entrance music for the Battle Royale – the two stare down before being targetted by the rest of their opponents. Some swift and very early exits for Heath Slater, one of The Usos, Goldust, Konnor of The Ascension… The action pauses for a teasing face-off between Strowman and Big Show – who is then eliminated by Strowman! Strowman keeps up his pace of eliminating wrestlers before he’s eventually thrown over the top rope by the remaining contenders. So the two favourites are out, who’s going to win this one? A number of more superstars are eliminated, including R-Truth, Rhyno, American Alpha, Breezango and more. Another bug man, Mark Henry is tossed out of the ring. NXT star Bing, the first Chinese WWE superstar, is elminated by Dolph Ziggler (please god don’t let him win), who by this time has been thrown over the top rope numerous times, hlding on in true cliched Ziggler fashion. Mojo Rawley finally eliminates Ziggler, whose followed by Luke Harper, Titus O’Neill.
Down to the final three: Mojo Rawley, Killian Dain and Jinder Mahal. My vote’s on Mojo getting the push… Jinder Mahal takes it to Mojo outside the ring (they exited by the middle rope, NOT the top rope). Upon which moment Mojo’s buddy, and NFL star, Rob Gronkowski inserts himself into the fight, who ultimately leaves the audience to enter the ring and kick Mahal’s ass! Killain is then eliminated by Rawley, who then takes it to Mahal on the apron. Rawley eventually hits Jinder Mahal off the side of the ring to pick up the win… Called it!
Winner: Mojo Rawley
Intercontinental Championship Match: Dean Ambrose vs Baron Corbin
Bumped to the pre-show after the Smackdown Women’s Championship was moved to the main event – proving that the WWE still see Smackdown as the B-show (because go-forbid a Raw match is moved to the kick-off show!). To be fair nobody really expects much from this match anyway…
Corbin takes the lead early, throwing Ambrose around the ring until Ambrose takes the fight outside the ring. A back and forth between the two sees each man gain, and then lose, the upper hand. Corbin throws Ambrose to the floor by the throat and goes – unsuccessfully – for the pin. Corbin stays in control, maintaining a methodical pace, taking Ambrose apart piece-by-piece. Ambrose eventually gets some relief when Corbin slams into the ringpost, only to waste the opportunity by leaping from the top rope onto the knees of Corbin, who wraps Ambrose up for a two-count. Some more back and forth leads to a huge elbow from the top rope to the outside by Ambrose, who finally gets the advantage and a near-fall on Corbin. Selling some injured ribs, Ambrose’s usual ring-rebound is stopped in its tracks by Corbin who gived Ambrose a deep-six for a two-count. A massive slam from Corbin leads to ANOTHER two-count on Ambrose – who know is clearly frustrated by the number of near-falls… Trash talking from Corbin leads to nought, as Ambrose hits the Dirty Deeds on Corbin for the pin.
Winner (and still Intercontinental Champion): Dean Ambrose
Like every kick-off show, the matches were hit and miss. Corbin and Ambrose was nothing more than an extended Smackdown match; whilst the Cruiserweight Championship match at least saw some great moves from Austin Aries and Neville – however the ending left a lot to be desired, though to be fair I’m guessing this feud will continue on to 205 Live because that’s currently the only reason to watch that network show!
So then we’re left with the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale which, as in previous years, provided the first of Wrestlemania’s surprises. If you’d have told me Mojo Rawley was going to win before tonight I’d have laughed in your face… But now? Kind of makes sense given last years surprise win by his tag-team partner Zack Ryder. Here’s hoping Mojo isn’t put in a squash match on Monday night’s Raw like Ryder was!
But I can’t help but feel that one of the newer guys – maybe the NXT participants – would have made more of a win like this? I doubt Mojo is going to be pushed like Baron Corbin was after his win so the whole thing sees like a bit of a waste to be honest…
Oh well, onto the main event.