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By Eric Denton on 3/30/2020 8:01 AM

I decided to rewatch WrestleMania 31 which to date is the only Mania I've attended live. After an exhausting 10 hour drive from Orange County, CA to San Jose and brief stop to drop off bags at the hotel and a quick power nap it was time for WWE Axxess. If you've never gone I highly recommend it. Since it's unlikely that a physical WWE Hall of Fame this is the closest thing to a wrestling museum you'll ever see. The costumes and props were so interesting. From ring gear of many superstars. Triple H's throne to a burned up casket used by Kane and The Undertaker. Besides the meet and greets and autograph signings you could go into the Elimination Chamber and take photos with superstars. My son chose El Torito and the Colons instead of waiting a few minutes for The New Day. Ahh... six year olds make poor choices. 

A ring was set up for NXT matches. Funny how things panned out in retrospect as we watched Hideo Itami (KENTA), Bull Dempsey, Solomon Crowe (Sami Callihan), CJ Parker (Juice Robinson) all perform. Other superstars would come out and answer fan questions. Sadly we missed a Charlotte Flair match waiting for the photo opportunity with Primo & Epico. Again... six year olds make bad choices. 

The highlight was my son getting to meet his favorite wrestler, Mr. Money in the Bank himself Seth Rollins. We took a picture and Seth signed a ton of stuff for us, more than we requested or needed. Very kind despite how tired he seemed. We wished him luck vs Orton and my son suggests he cash in MITB. "I don't know. I'll have to think about that one, would you want to fight Brock Lesnar"? he asked. 

For some reason the preshow matches are not on the Network. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro d. The Usos for the tag team championships. Big Show wins the Andre the Giant battle royale. This was the match that killed off the Damien Sandow character. Final three being Show, Miz & Sandow. The crowd was furious that Sandow did not win. 

Opener is a ladder match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Wow... this match is AEW vs WWE ???? Jon Moxley, Cody, Brodie Lee vs Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, RTruth vs free agent Wade Barrett. Cody was really great here. Made chicken salad out of chicken sh*t with the Stardust character. Mox with a gnarly fall after a powerbomb onto a ladder by Lee. Mox gets his head stapled up midmatch. Insanely stupid & dangerous finish with Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler head butting each other until DZ falls. Bryan grabs the title and is the new IC champion, giant bruise forming on his forehead. Bryan would shortly start his injury sabbatical. 

Seth Rollins vs Randy Orton is next featuring the best RKO ever. Massive pop for Orton. Cody & Rollins are my son's favorite guys at this point and he got to meet both the night before at Axxess. This is probably my favorite Orton match. Some really good false finishes. After the RKO and pin I pop. My boy is bummed Seth lost. Without going into "WWE booking 101" I tell him he'll see Seth again later in the evening.

Sting vs Triple H. Fun match with all the gaga you could wish for. Cool entrances for both. A Japanese drummer group plays out Sting. Silly Terminator movie tie in for HHH (is this where Kenny Omega got the idea? ????). DX runs in and the place goes nuts until the New World Order shows up. If there was a roof on Levi Stadium they would have blown it off the place. Waltman bumps like a ping-pong ball for Hogan. Scott Hall with a backdrop onto the floor. Shawn Michaels runs in and hits Sweet Chin Music on the Stinger. First time HBK had been booed in years. HHH hits Sting with the sledgehammer and win. Obviously the wrong guy went over here. Probably should have had the nWo turn on Sting to get more heel heat on HHH instead of the handshake ending. 

HHH was supposed to face The Rock at WM 32 (put a pin in that) so he "needed a win" but it's probably more accurate that Vince's WCW pettiness ruined what should have been a great "WrestleMania moment". Recently, Arn Anderson spoke on this match saying "Vince wanted to bury Sting and WCW".

I was shocked by amount of large immediate bruising on both HHH and Sting is something I'd never seen before. 

Former IC champions congratulate Daniel Bryan. Pat Paterson, Roddy Piper, Rickey Steamboat, Ric Flair & Bret Hart engage in the "Yes!" chant. Cameo by non-IC champ Ron Simmons who says "DAMN" when reminded of facts.

Musical guest is Skyler Grey, and Travis Barker perform "Rise" which is a pretty good track. Kid Ink comes out next to ruin things so I go to concessions. 

Nikki & Brie Bella vs AJ Lee & Paige. Trivia. Last WM appearance for AJ Lee. The only WM appearance on the main card for Paige. Nikki Bella was the longest reigning Divas Champion but never defended the title at a WM. Lee had won the title at WM 30. AJ was not going to be around much longer. She spends most of the match on the ground until the hot tag where she battles Nikki until she taps out to the Black Widow. 

Hall of Fame introductions for the class of 2015. Randy Savage, Kevin Nash, Larry Zbyszko, Rikishi, The Bushwackers, Madusa, Tatsumi Fujinami, Connor Michalek & Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

During the presentation you could see Rusev getting ready to get in his tank. Brandi Rhodes is your ring announcer for the next match.

Cena wins at WM for the 3rd year in a row beating The Rock, Bray Wyatt & Rusev. Will The Fiend get his revenge on Cena at WM 36? Will Rusev leave WWE after WM 36? A pretty boring match then, now and forever. Not one of Cena's best efforts. Lana is the only person the fans care about here. This did lead to the John Cena open challenge which was probably my favorite part of his career.

Fun fact in 2015 WWE portrayed Russia as the bad guys and Vladimir Putin's image was used to get heel heat. Now Putin is BFFs with a certain WWE Hall of Famer. Sad!

Stephanie McMahon & Triple H announce the attendance. She drones on and on about growing up at WrestleManias and watching her friend Andre The Giant body slam Big John Studd. She makes it all about herself. Triple H boasts about beating Sting and let's the fans know The Authority runs the WWE. 


Huge pop.

"Finally The Rock has come back to WrestleMania!". Rocky cuts a killer promo about being a Bay Area boy. Stephanie goes off on wrestling families saying The McMahons made The Rock. Rock is agitated, Stephanie challenges "Dwayne" to hit her. The Rock says he won't hit a woman but knows one who will. Rock pulls future WM main eventer Ronda Rousey out of the crowd and they beat up Stephanie & Hunter. At point in the building the crowd had been pretty dead since the DX/nWo stuff. Great segment. As good as Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey was vs Triple H & Stephanie, it's a real bummer that they weren't able to get Johnson for that match. 

Bray Wyatt vs The Undertaker is next. Unfortunately the sun had yet to set and the entrances were hard to see. Creepy scarecrows were cool. The Undertaker coming out in the sunshine was a bummer as was this match. Wyatt lost again to an older wrestler and Taker was not up to it physically in this match. Pretty amazing that Undertaker is performing better at 55 than he did at 50.

Main Event time!

Theme song hits and Roman Reigns is booed to the ring. Roman is still entering through the crowd Shield style. Crowd goes mild for Lesnar but he's the default babyface. Reigns first punch bloodies Lesnar and that pops the crowd. Lesnar debuts "Suplex City" to a "Let's go Brock" chant. Credit to Reigns as he just let Lesnar beat the crap out of him with little offense and the crowd chants "this is awesome". Reigns catches Lesnar with a stiff knee to his nose and follow up kicks, crowd boos. Lesnar recovers and clotheslines the crap out of Reigns. Roman is bleeding from the mouth after his 8th suplex. F5 but Reigns kicks out. Brock takes off his gloves and slaps Roman. Reigns starts to laugh and asks for more punishment. Suplexes 9 & 10 and another F5. Kick out! Lesnar's facial expressions are on point. Reigns pushes Brock into the ring post and he gigs. Brock's vision is blurred and a Superman punch. Another and Brock won't go down. Roman goes for a 3rd but Lesnar catches him & tries another suplex. 3rd Superman punch drops Brock. Back to back spears but Lesnar kicks out. Reigns goes for a 3rd spear and into anothe F5. Lesnar is down and can't cover. Here comes Rollins and 76,000 lose their collective shit. Rollins rolls Reigns out. Curb stomp on Brock. He goes for a 2nd one. Lesnar catches him in the F5 position. Reigns spears Brock out of the ring. Rollins curb stomps Reigns. 1,2,3! Your winner and new WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins. 

I probably like this show more than most and I'd only give it a 6.5 out of 10. The Rock and the MITB cash in saved the show from being a low tiered event. 


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