Wrestlemania 35 is officially in the books, but that doesn’t mean we’re done talking about it. Today we take a look at how my predictions panned out as well my general thoughts on everything that went down this week. As always, we also have news on injuries, departures, and plans for the future.
Wrestlemania 35 Aftermath:
Apparently someone at WWE has been following me and thought my record for PPV predicting was a bit too good. I’m kidding of course, but my record really did take a hit last weekend with some unexpected booking choices. Perhaps I was just a bit too clever in my selections.
NXT TakeOver New York
NXT kicked off the weekend with another fantastic TakeOver special. You can read my full report elsewhere on The Scrum, but I successfully predicted 3 out of the 5 matches from the black and gold brands. I don’t mind being wrong about the North American Title match as I personally like Velveteen Dream significantly more than I do Matt Riddle. I’ll have to see where the booking goes in the women’s division though, because I genuinely don’t understand why they would have Shayna retain with zero credible challengers left to face.
Wrestlemania Kick Off Show
Cruiserweight Championship- I didn’t actually see enough of the match to have an opinion due to the fact that I was cooking for my guests, but I did successfully predict that it was time for a title change.
Women’s Battle Royal- What a disappointment this match turned out to be. I don’t mind that they do these battle royals to include all the folks without actual feuds, but it would be nice if they treated them like they actually mean something. I had predicted that Lacey Evans long rumored push would begin with a win here, but she wasn’t even in the match and we’ll have to wait and see whether Carmella’s victory means anything long-term.
Raw Tag Title match- I mean no disrespect to the victors, but this match angered me. The Revival are one of the best tag teams in wrestling today and yet they are NEVER treated as such by the powers that be of Raw. Had they lost to rising stars such as Ricochet and Black, with whom they have been feuding recently, it would be more palatable. However, they lost to the modern equivalent of the Job Squad. I’m a fan of Ryder and I have nothing against Hawkins, but sacrificing the overall potential of a great team like Dash and Dawson for this moment is an insult. Clearly, I predicted this one wrong.
Andre Battle Royal- I overthought this one. I expected that the obvious winner would not be the winner, and I was completely wrong. Overall though the match only existed to include some mainstream guests. As I said for the women’s battle royal, it’s a shame they don’t make these mean a little something more.
Universal Championship- All I can say is thank goodness the era of Lesnar keeping the title off of television is finally at an end. I look forward to the “beast slayer” bringing meaning to the belt and defending it regularly.
Styles vs Orton- I was wrong here, but honestly it was a coin flip prediction. Solid enough match that was better than having 2 more participants in a meaningless battle royal.
Smackdown Tag Title Match- Good enough match that allowed everyone to look fairly good. I thought for sure the rookie team would win to solidify their rise to the main roster, but if not them I’m perfectly fine with the Usos continuing to be the standard bearers for a stacked division. With so many of the top teams currently on SDL, hopefully the pending superstar shake up will balance things out a bit and provide some new match ups.
Miz vs Shane- Considering how it ended, I’m assuming we’ve not yet seen the end of this feud. Perhaps give the men involved some time to recover before taking it up any more notches though.
Women’s Tag Titles- Wow. I really thought the inaugural champs would get a few more title defenses before dropping the belts. Can’t say that I’m super mad that the least expected team won though. Having never picked up any true momentum as singles, even in NXT, the IIconics have basically spent the entirety of their WWE careers waiting for there to be a tag division for the women.
WWE Championship- Both parts of my prediction came true. Kofi won, and I felt emotions about it. This was easily the match of the night, and both Kingston and Bryan deserve mad respect for the story they told throughout. Moments like this are the reason I watch wrestling.
US Title- What is there to say? Mysterio clearly wasn’t able to have a long match due to his injury and the show was running long anyway so they let Joe have a moment of dominance.
Reigns vs McIntyre- My prediction was based upon the bigger picture when I guess I should have just known it would be back to status quo with the pushing of Reigns.
HHH vs Batista- This was the match where I was the most checked out during the night. I hear they put on a good show, but it was overly long and with both men being part timers it had no impact on weekly storylines. I just wasn’t invested in it. I did correctly pick the winner though, so I guess that’s something.
Angle vs Corbin- Exactly as I expected, the veteran rides off into the sunset leaving the young guy with bragging rights around which he can build his entire heel career.
Intercontinental Title match- I wish they hadn’t done the back and forth with the title en route to this match so that the win meant slightly more. I wish the show hadn’t been so overly packed with matches so that they had more time for this one. That said, I will forever be a Balor fan and I had missed his demon persona.
Women’s Winner Take All Main Event- As with the IC match before, I wish there had been more time for this match to feel less rushed. That said, the fans got to end the night exactly how we had hoped we would by celebrating “The Man.” It will be interesting to see where they go from here with both titles on one woman.
Overall, while I do appreciate that they try to include every member of the roster in some way, they really need less matches on the card. Too many of them end up being meaningless filler and the more important ones later in the night get rushed due to time constraints. Not to mention the general issue of fatigue when trying to sit through and remain engaged for 7+ hours of wrestling. I ended up with 8 correct predictions and 9 incorrect. This takes my overall record for 2019 to 32-16-3.
The next Superstar Shakeup is looming next Monday and Tuesday, so this week is about keeping the Mania party rolling, tying up loose ends, and throwing new faces into the mix. Monday night saw several debuts and/or returns.
On the loose ends front, the new Raw tag champs Ryder and Hawkins defeated the Revival for a second night in a row. I’m hoping this means the Revival are getting moved over to Smackdown for a fresh start. Lars Sullivan made his long awaited debut destroying the now retired Kurt Angle. Lacey Evans finally got physical when, after making her usual strut down the ramp, she actual threw hands with double champ Becky Lynch.
Sami Zayn returned from a 10 month stint on the injured list, and after losing a match to IC champ Finn Balor, Zayn cut a nice heel promo on the crowd in attendance. The Undertaker made a surprise return to interrupt and punish Elias. I’m sure it was a one off appearance since he just happened to be in town, but it was still super fun to see the Deadman kick a little butt. Last and possibly least was an odd video featuring a cardboard box and a puppet. Best guess based on the vibe of the video and the shirt the puppet appeared to be wearing is that this is part of the reintroduction of Bray Wyatt.
There weren’t any more returns or debuts on SDL, but they did continue blending the rosters in a tease of what’s to come in the shake up next week. Other notable moments included Paige saying that she would be bringing a new team next week who might challenge the IIconics for the Womens Tag Titles. One of the biggest moments Tuesday night was the Hardyz winning the SD Tag Titles from the Usos. I think it’s a real shame that we didn’t get a much longer feud between the two brother duos, but the title change seems to indicate that the former champs are probably switching brands Monday.
Gene put together our team’s picks for Raw and SDL trades in a special article you can read here: https://thescrumsports.com/buccaneers/2019-is-in-for-a-superstar-shakeup/
Ronda Rousey reportedly came away from Wrestlemania’s main event with a broken hand. She had been rumored to be taking time off from wrestling after Mania anyway, but this will make that a certainty for the time being.
Another major star coming out of Mania injured is AJ Styles. The injury reportedly involves his hip, and is said to have happened during the match against Orton Sunday night. He had to be pulled from some public appearances early this week, and flew home before Smackdown.
The next contestant to take a spin on the post-Mania injury list is Big E. The powerhouse of the New Day has a torn meniscus and will likely be out of in ring action for around 6 weeks. I imagine he should still be able to appear on TV in a non-wrestling capacity to continue supporting Kofi Kingston’s WWE Title reign.
Assorted News and Notes
After his loss to Triple H at Wrestlemania, Batista took to social media to announce that he was officially retiring from wrestling. He thanked the fans for all of their support over the years, and now goes forward as a full-time film actor with a good number of projects already on the horizon.
EC3 is someone with whom the main roster team has seemingly had very little interest since his call up, but that may be changing. He worked a dark match against Luke Harper this week, and even though he lost the match it was notable for his pairing with a familiar manager for that match. Drake maverick, with whom EC3 worked in TNA, accompanied him to the ring for the match against Harper. We’ll have to keep watching to see if this is a new presentation of the character or just something fun for the Mania week fans.
Sasha Banks was reportedly so unhappy about losing the Womens Tag Titles at Wrestlemania that she nearly quit the WWE. Someone talked her down and convinced her to take some time and think about it before making a final decision. Banks also stirred up some drama by cancelling an appearance on the Wendy Williams show just hours before it was scheduled to shoot. The producers of the show had to scramble to quickly fill her absence, which was said to be for vague “personal reasons.” She’s currently vacationing with her husband, Kalisto, and Kalisto’s wife in Puerto Rico. Something seems really off here, but I don’t wish to speculate too much just yet.
With Wrestlemania 35 just wrapped and ideas for Wrestlemania 36 just beginning to gestate, early word has California as the potential home for Wrestlemania 37. The NFL’s new stadium in Inglewood, Ca which is set to be home for both the Rams and Chargers should be completed some time next year. Super Bowl LVI is already locked in for the venue in February of 2022, but WWE could be the first major event there if they bring Wrestlemania in the Spring of 2021.
Some-time ring announcer and backstage interviewer Dashe Fuentes has been released by WWE. The timing seems odd since they did have her on hand in NY for Mania week, but I do have a theory. It hadn’t been reported much, but I know from following Dashe’s social media that she spent a good chunk of time recovering from an injury last year. While she was away a number of new interviewers were groomed and moved up the ranks, and it could be that they just realized they had more of them than they needed at this point. That’s pure speculation on my part, but regardless of the reason for her release I will say that I always enjoyed interacting with her at NXT house shows and wish her all the best in post-WWE life.
Road Dogg BG James, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame over the weekend with DX, has resigned from his position as co-lead writer for Smackdown. He’s been on the SD creative team since 2016 and spent much of that time as co-lead. James would go on the road with the blue brand while the lead writer worked out of the corporate offices in Stanford. Unfortunately, this seemingly is a very frustrating role to be in due to the constant last minute creative changes that are made by Vince McMahon. Road Dogg apparently reached his breaking point at the post-Wrestlemania Smackdown and decided to step down. There’s no word yet if he’ll be taking a different role within the company or leaving completely, but I have to wonder if there might be interest in following his former tag partner Billy Gunn to AEW.
Upcoming PPV Events
Money in the Bank May 19
Extreme Rules July 14
Summerslam August 11
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