WWE WrestleMania XXXI results – 03/29/15 – (Rollins wins title; Rousey attacks Triple H; New IC & US champions!)
WWE Tag Team Champions Tyson Kidd & Cesaro def. The Usos, Los Matadores and The New Day’s Big E & Kofi Kingston
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The best tag team in WWE is Tyson Kidd & Cesaro … FACT! The WWE Tag Team Champions retained their titles in front of an electrified capacity crowd at Levi’s® Stadium after overcoming The Usos, Los Matadores and The New Day’s Big E & Kof Kingston in a high-flying Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Championship clash during the WrestleMania Kickoff.
WWE’s tag team division didn’t disappoint on The Grandest Stage of Them All, kicking off the biggest event in sports-entertainment with an instant classic. The single pinfall contest began with The Swiss Superman and The Dreadlocked Dynamo squaring off, but it didn’t take long for things to quickly spiral out of control after Los Matadores’ Diego tagged himself in. This prompted Cesaro to take his frustration out on Jey Uso, sending the Samoan Superstar over the announce table and onto his previously injured shoulder. Despite his brother being helped off to the locker room just seconds into the matchup, Jimmy stood strong, immediately taking out the competition with a series of superkicks.
The action continued fast and furious, with Superstars tagging themselves in at a rapid rate. But then the battle moved to the outside floor, where the wily Kidd used his wife for protection before El Torito and Naomi launched themselves into the chaos.
The referee had his hands full keeping track of who was legal in the contest, as bodies flew around the ring at a fevered pace. Eventually, Cesaro and Big E showed off their strength in an “OMG” moment, bringing the WWE Universe to its feet as they hoisted Diego & Fernando onto their shoulders while the masked luchadors superplexed Kingston and Kidd to the mat below.
Attempting to take advantage of the chaos below, Jimmy Uso hit a top-rope Splash onto a fallen Big E, only to get tossed from the ring by the legal man, Cesaro. A replay showed The Swiss Superstar had shrewdly tagged himself in before Jey left the top rope, allowing him to secure the pinfall victory and keep the WWE Tag Team Championship around himself and Kidd.
The ”fact-droppers” had talked a big game leading up to The Showcase of Immortals, but like all great WWE champions, they backed it up inside the ring. Now that the Kidd & Cesaro have a victory under their belts on The Grandest Stage of Them All, what’s next?
Big Show won 2nd Annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal (Kickoff Match)
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Big Show has heard the Andre the Giant comparisons for 20 years. WCW announcers even labeled him as “Andre’s son” when he first stepped inside a ring in 1995. At WrestleMania in Levi’s® Stadium, though, the four-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion lived up to those lofty comparisons, eliminating 10 Superstars (more than one third of all the competitors) to win the 2nd Annual Andre the Giant Battle Royal.
The World’s Largest Athlete finished as the runner-up of the inaugural Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 30, but he exorcised those demons in 2015.
The action kicked off with Curtis Axel getting crowd-surfed from the ring by his 28 opponents. The competitors vied for momentum early on — with The Miz getting help from Damien Mizdow to eliminate his former protégé Alex Riley, Ryback tossing opponents left and right, and NXT’s Hideo Itami booting Bo Dallas.
But Big Show did everything he could to prevent another heartbreaking Battle Royal defeat. The 425-pound Superstar even skinned the cat to stave off elimination from The New Day, before tossing all three Superstars. When he ran into last year’s winner Cesaro, Big Show acrobatically squirmed free from a bodyslam to flip The Swiss Superman over the ropes.
In the match’s final moments, Miz tried to enlist his employee Mizdow to double-team Big Show, but Mizdow took a stand, throwing Miz over the ropes and quitting his personal assistant job on the spot.
The size difference proved to be too much for Mizdow against Big Show, though, as The World’s Largest Athlete overpowered the former stunt double for the deciding elimination.
In the lead-up to WrestleMania, Hulk Hogan called Andre the “king of the Battle Royal,” and 25 years since Andre’s final match, a fellow giant made him proud.
Daniel Bryan won the Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Daniel Bryan has a tendency to defy expectations. He was told he would never be a WWE Superstar, but he scratched and clawed his way onto the roster five years ago. He was told he would never be in the main event of WrestleMania, but he nevertheless celebrated a WWE World Heavyweight Championship victory on The Grandest Stage of Them All last year in New Orleans. At WrestleMania 31, nearly one year after neck surgery seemed to herald the end of his career, The “Yes!” Man rose above adversity once again, winning one of the most kinetic Ladder Matches in the history of The Show of Shows to win his first Intercontinental Championship.
The chaos that ensued after the bell was appropriate given the championship’s bizarre journey in recent weeks as it had spent more time in the hands of the bout’s challengers — Bryan, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth, Stardust and Luke Harper — than it had in the grasp of its bearer, Bad News Barrett. Morphing quickly into a brawl outside the ring, the match put on full display the lengths to which Superstars will go to carry the title held by such WWE Hall of Famers as Bret Hart, “Macho Man” Randy Savage and the title’s first holder, Pat Patterson.
The battleground seemed like it would change dramatically when the unusual Stardust pulled a customized ladder from underneath the ring, his “Exo-Atmospheric Starbird,” but that cosmic implement was quickly destroyed by the defending champion. The intergalactic Superstar faced an even greater setback when Barrett — willing to do anything and everything to leave WrestleMania with his title reign intact — incapacitated Stardust with a wince-inducing superplex.
The brutality would only continue to escalate moments later, when Harper folded Ambrose in half with a powerbomb from the ring through a ladder bridging the ring and the outside barricade. Pressing his advantage, Harper began ascending another ladder in the center of the ring as Ziggler — intent to steal The Show of Shows — latched onto the behemoth with a sleeper hold. Unfortunately for The Showoff, the maneuver was all too effective, as a fading Harper eventually sent both Superstars crashing to the canvas. Staggered but determined, Ziggler seized opportunity and made what seemed to be his victory ascent, but he received only a Bull Hammer from the cunning titleholder for his efforts. Barrett similarly dispatched Stardust and Truth in a show of brute force, but would be the recipient of some decidedly “Bad News” just moments later.
Evading a Bull Hammer that would have surely sealed a victory for Barrett, Bryan retaliated with a well-timed running knee — the very same move that propelled him to the main event of last year’s WrestleMania. Bryan had seemingly cleared his path to the championship, but a dazed Ziggler refused to relent, meeting Bryan atop a ladder for an aerial slugfest. What began as a fistfight became a literal meeting of the minds when both Superstars began trading headbutts as the illustrious championship dangled just inches above them. In the end, it was Bryan who proved most resilient, sending Ziggler falling from the ladder with a final skull smash.
Reaching up, Bryan grabbed the prestigious prize, inciting a massive “Yes!” chant in Levi’s® Stadium that signified Bryan’s return to the WrestleMania spotlight, where he — and the Intercontinental Championship itself — truly belong.
Randy Orton def. Seth Rollins
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Randy Orton has been searching for vengeance on Seth Rollins ever since Mr. Money in the Bank ousted him from The Authority and tried to end his career with a pair of devastating Curb Stomps several months ago. The serpentine Superstar got his fill on The Grandest Stage of Them All, picking his rival apart at WrestleMania 31 before taking the victory in unbelievable fashion, countering another Curb Stomp with a thunderous RKO.
Rollins, as always, thought he had the advantage heading into the bout with J&J Security keeping a close eye on the proceedings from ringside. The Apex Predator stalked slowly to the ring, psyching himself up for the impending battle and rarely taking his eyes off of his foe. The two competitors went hold for hold in the opening moments of the match, yet when Rollins tried to show off with a backflip, he was struck down by The Viper. Mr. Money in the Bank almost found himself on the receiving end of an RKO, but quickly scurried out of Orton’s grasp.
Orton didn’t let Rollins rest, pouncing on him in the corner, but The Future of WWE countered with a brutal turnbuckle powerbomb. When things looked bleak for Rollins, Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury distracted Orton, only to take a double DDT onto the Levi’s® Stadium floor. That gave Rollins the opening he needed to execute an aerial attack on The Apex Predator and take control of the bout.
Rollins seemed to have reversed his fortunes and talked trash to Orton, declaring that this was “his time” on The Grandest Stage of Them All. However, just when Rollins evaded his trademark powerslam and thought he had The Viper on the ropes, Orton caught Mr. Money in the Bank mid-Curb Stomp and slammed him into the canvas.
The two rivals engaged in a high-speed series of counters, with Orton eventually assuming the controlling position. He then connected with a ring-rocking RKO, but was stunned when Rollins kicked out. Perhaps wanting to end things then and there, The Apex Predator lined Rollins up for the punt that has put many Superstars out of action. J&J Security quickly dove on the proverbial grenade once again for Rollins, each willingly going into Orton’s path and eating an RKO for their troubles.
Rollins pounced on The Viper and positioned him for another Curb Stomp. Unbelievably, though, Orton popped up and vaulted Mr. Money in the Bank mid-air, catching him on the way down with a bone-jarring RKO to seal the victory.
Seth Rollins may have gone into WrestleMania 31 looking to cement himself as the Future of WWE. That future will have to wait another day, however, until he can find a way past Randy Orton.
Triple H def. Sting
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – As leader of The Authority and COO of WWE, Triple H is constantly looking forward to the future. When Sting made his WWE debut at Survivor Series – nearly 14 years after WCW closed its doors – The Game saw the past rearing its head and decided it was time to bury WCW’s legacy once and for all. Ironically, The Cerebral Assassin used the past, in the form of D-Generation X, to assist him in victory against WCW’s franchise player.
During his tenure in WCW, Sting was always known for his showmanship , especially when he descended from the rafters of arenas all over the world. Though he didn’t descend from any rafters in Santa Clara, the sound of pounding drums echoed through Levi’s® Stadium heralding Sting’s first entrance on The Grandest a Stage of Them All. Displaying the charisma that garnered him legions of fans throughout his career, The Vigilante cupped his hands over his mouth and let out a passionate “WOO!” to the delight of the WWE Universe.
However, if there’s one thing that’s a given at WrestleMania, it’s that Triple H is guaranteed to have an entrance that can only be defined by one word: epic. The King of Kings did not disappoint. Terminator robots from the upcoming blockbuster “Terminator: Genisys” lined the entrance stage, and The Cerebral Assassin’s mind games were in full effect. As Skynet targeted Sting, The Game rose from the ground donning a cybernetic headpiece. But it wasn’t just the Terminator theme that captivated the capacity crowd of 76,976; it was also the unexpected appearance of the very individual Triple H ushered into the WWE Hall of Fame 24 hours earlier – The Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger – letting everyone know it was time to play The Game.
Following the jaw-dropping entrances of both icons, the WWE Universe was finally ready to witness the showdown they thought would never happen. Two of the most prominent stars of their respective organizations during the Monday Night War were finally colliding at WrestleMania. As the opening bell sounded, Triple H and Sting sized each other up to the WWE Universe’s ecstatic chants of “this is awesome.” Taking a moment to let the adrenaline pulse through their veins, they finally locked up and Sting gained the early advantage.
Although Triple H briefly took control, there was some unfamiliarity between the two and Sting capitalized. One of the greatest in-ring competitors of all time, The King of Kings quickly adapted and unleashed a brutal flurry of strikes that took Sting down. With momentum in his favor, Triple H executed his high knee strike, but like he had so many times against WCW’s biggest stars, Sting stood straight up, unfazed. Shocked and reeling from The Vigilante’s resilience, The Cerebral Assassin was once again left recalibrating his strategy against the six-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion.
Once the battle spilled to the outside, The Game drove Sting into the steel steps, allowing him to regain the upper hand. Triple H maintained control of the battle until Sting countered a strike from The Game and locked in his Scorpion Death Lock.
With the Scorpion Death Lock applied and certain doom looming for The WWE COO, D-Generation X’s music hit, and Billy Gunn, Road Dogg and X-Pac rushed the ring. Sting fought off the DX onslaught, even soaring from the top rope to take them out on the floor. However, the distraction was enough for Triple H to recover and hit the Pedigree, but it only resulted in a near-fall.
Looking to put his opponent down for good, Triple H grabbed his sledgehammer and prepared for a final, crushing blow. Ready to strike, The nWo’s music hit, and Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan made their way to the ring. As the original members of the New World Order collided with DX and The Monday Night War reignited, Sting hit Triple H with the Scorpion Death Drop. Although Triple H kicked out of the cover, Sting quickly reapplied the Scorpion Death Lock and Hogan removed the sledgehammer from The Game’s reach.
As DX and The nWo took each other down on the outside of the ring, Triple H managed to survive the Scorpion Death Drop by reaching the ropes. Relentless, Sting reapplied the hold, but waiting for him was the one DX member conspicuously missing from the initial assault: WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels.
Before The Stinger could defend himself, HBK hit Sweet Chin Music, once again demonstrating a fierce loyalty to his best friend Triple H and WWE. Sting kicked out of the cover following Sweet Chin Music, but DX gained control of the sledgehammer and gave it to their leader. The Cerebral Assassin stalked Sting into a corner, ready to unleash the rage that has been brewing since The Vigilante’s first appearance at Survivor Series. Fortunately for Sting, Scott Hall had his former WCW colleague’s baseball bat ready.
The playing field was leveled and Sting used the bat to score the attack, bringing The Game to his knees. At a severe disadvantage, Triple H held up the sledgehammer to protect himself. However, the very weapon that Sting wielded against The nWo proved more dangerous than ever, and split the sledgehammer in two.
Dropping the bat, WCW’s face-painted franchise again attacked his opponent and backed the WWE COO into the corner. The WWE Universe rose to its feet as The Stinger charged across the ring, executing his patented Stinger Splash. With his opponent dazed and falling to the mat, The Vigilante ran across the ring again – just as he had against Vader, Hogan, Ric Flair, Goldberg and so many more WCW icons. Unfortunately, Triple H managed to grab one half of his broken sledgehammer. And when the six-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion raced across the ring and leapt into the air for a second Stinger Splash, Triple H connected with the sledgehammer. With Sting out cold, Triple H made the pinfall and secured the victory.
After the match, DX stood tall with Triple H while The nWo stood by Sting – WWE standing triumphant in the final battle with WCW. Nevertheless, WWE’s COO pushed his DX allies aside and shook Sting’s hand, creating a WrestleMania moment forged from respect.
AJ Lee & Paige Knight def. The Bella Twins
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – To say the relationship between AJ Lee and Paige has been a “little strained” is like calling Justin Bieber a “tad overexposed.” When not wrapped in a series of increasingly awkward embraces, the two Divas spent much of 2014 at each other’s throats. That bi-polar dynamic, however, worked to their advantage as AJ managed to capture a Divas Tag Team victory over The Bellas for herself and her “English muffin,” Paige – at WrestleMania 31.
The icy relationship between AJ and Paige began to thaw on March 2 when The Black Widow returned unannounced to rescue Paige from a two-on-one Bella beatdown. With their focus on common adversaries in Divas Champion Nikki Bella and twin sister Brie, the former “frenemies” unique bond appeared to reluctantly solidify over the course of the next several weeks. Yet when a ring mishap cost Paige a chance to take Nikki’s title on Raw one week before The Show of Shows, the duo’s frosty friendship seemed just about over.
During The Show of Shows, Paige and Nikki kicked off the action. The Divas Champion took control of the match when her sister Brie joined in with a flying dropkick into Paige’s midsection. As for AJ, she was thwarted from tagging in after being knocked off the ring apron three times, twice by Nikki and once by Brie.
Although she certainly had her hands full, Paige managed to kick out several times, including once after enduring Nikki’s back-breaking Rack Attack. When the fracas spilled outside the ring, Paige was finally able to crawl back in to make the critical tag. The former longest-reigning Divas Champion mounted a flurry of offense before being able to lock on her Black Widow submission hold, forcing “fearless” champion Nikki to tap out.
And although The Bellas were dealt a humiliating blow at The Show of Shows, the fact remains, the Divas Championship is still tucked firmly under the Bella umbrella. How long it remains there, though, is another question. And will it be AJ Lee or Paige who does the asking?
The Rock and Ronda Rousey make surprise appearance at WrestleMania, ‘own’ Triple H and Stephanie McMahon
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Stephanie McMahon and Triple H came to the ring to celebrate a record 76,976 attendees in Levi’s® Stadium at WrestleMania 31. They didn’t count on two very special, yet unexpected guests: The Rock and “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey.
And The Authority definitely didn’t expect to have their moment end with “getting owned” by the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion.
Triple H and his bride sought to turn a proud moment for WWE and the WWE Universe into an opportunity to boast, gloat and berate fans everywhere. The Game and Stephanie stood in the middle of a record-breaking audience inside the sun-filled stadium and took sole credit for the success of the spectacle.
Cue The Rock’s electrifying music. Follow it up with the stadium-ungluing arrival of The Great One and The Brahma Bull’s rapid, quick-witted barbs. Things then got physical when a boiling, meltdown-nearing Stephanie slapped The Great One in “[her] ring.” She challenged Rock to respond and dared him to put his hand on a woman, which he wouldn’t, prompting Stephanie to subsequently demand The Rock to leave “[her] stadium.”
He did as asked … only to find audience member Ronda Rousey, the most dangerous unarmed woman on the planet, at ringside.
Along with Rousey, Rock re-entered the squared circle for a face-to-face encounter with The Authority.
“I would never hit a woman,” The Great One declared, “but I have a very good friend who would be more than happy to.”
The audacity of Rock and Rousey — a presumed friend of McMahon herself — drove Stephanie deeper over the edge than Lady Macbeth. Without filter, Stephanie instructed the “Queen of the Octagon” to “get the hell out of [her] ring.”
Standing beside The Rock, Rousey wouldn’t budge.
“You need to understand something, Steph,” Rousey warned on the microphone. “Any ring I step into is mine. If you want me to leave, how ’bout you make me?”
Even The People’s Champion cautioned The Game’s wife and the daughter of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, as he explained Rousey would “reach down your throat, pull your insides out and play jump rope with your fallopian tubes.”
At this, Stephanie’s proud husband Triple H had heard enough, leading to a furious skirmish between two longtime rivals. Rock blasted The Game in the corner with fists, then stepped aside as a waiting Rousey snared the WWE COO and judo threw The King of Kings.
As Rousey turned around, she was met by a furious Stephanie McMahon, who confronted the undefeated fighter and even went to strike the infamous mixed martial artist. The UFC Women’s Champion quickly countered, blocking the blow and controlling Stephanie, a former WWE Women’s Champion herself, with a fierce armbar.
With commanding leverage over the WWE demigoddess, Rousey then forced Stephanie out of the ring beside her reeling husband. The Authority cowered back into the depths with their parade thoroughly doused while Rock and Rousey stood dominant — the octagon queen in the squared circle with The Most Electrifying Man in Entertainment, etching a new quintessential WrestleMania moment in Levi’s® Stadium.
John Cena def. United States Champion Alexander Rusev
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Under the bright lights of WWE’s Showcase of the Immortals, John Cena gave America the win it was longing for.
The decorated Cenation leader pinned United States Champion Rusev in an incredible fight, capturing the stars-and-stripes title and dealing The Hero of the Russian Federation his first decisive loss since arriving in WWE. Prior to WrestleMania 31, The Bulgarian Brute-turned-Russian sympathizer — who, along with Lana, spent a year denouncing America and its proud citizens — had yet to be pinned or made to submit, accumulating an almost-unfathomable winning streak. Among his many victims was Cena himself, who was left unconscious after their match at WWE Fastlane.
Before the action got under way inside Levi’s® Stadium, Rusev made clear that he viewed the contest as nothing short of a war. As Lana, newly reunited with her charge, led a fleet of Russian soldiers to the ring, Rusev emerged for his WrestleMania debut riding atop a tank and waving the Russian flag. Once inside the ring, Rusev demonstrated his dominance again, halting Eden’s introduction and demanding to be announced first.
Fueled by American pride and seemingly unshaken by The Super Athlete’s larger-than-life presence, Cena wasted no time once the bell rang, exploding out of the corner with a vicious clothesline, only to be leveled moments later by a leg lariat. The Hero of the Russian Federation immediately exploited the opening, raining down headbutts, crushing blows and enormous throws on Cena, before smothering him with a splash in the corner.
Looking to silence a burgeoning “USA” chant, Rusev quickly asserted himself, grabbing the Russian flag from Lana and waving it high above his head. The hubris cost the super-heavyweight, as Cena surged back, connecting with shoulder blocks and the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Rusev scrambled out of an attempted Attitude Adjustment and then regained control, snapping off a belly-to-back suplex.
The momentum continued to swing back and forth, with Cena nailing a leaping tornado, only to be cut off by a series of huge strikes and a jumping knee to the skull. The Cenation leader eventually locked in the STF, prompting Lana to throw her high heel shoe into the ring as a distraction, but Rusev nonetheless reached the ropes, causing the hold to be broken.
Scaling the turnbuckles for perhaps the first time in his career, Rusev rocked Cena with a diving headbutt and then applied the Accolade. Amazingly, Cena muscled his way out before catching Rusev off-guard, springing off the middle rope and landing a modified Stunner. Despite Cena’s innovative offense, Rusev fought back and sank in another Accolade. Still unwilling to let down his country, Cena rose to his feet and again broke the hold before dropping Rusev into position for the STF. Rusev desperately reached for the ropes, but Cena dragged him back to the center of the ring.
Just then, Lana climbed onto the apron to yell at the referee, again distracting Cena. Rusev charged at his challenger, but the quick-thinking Cena moved out of the way and The Super Athlete barreled into Lana, knocking her to the floor. Seeing the opening that he needed, Cena sprang into action, lifting Rusev onto his shoulders and dropping him with the AA for the seismic win.
Steeped in the agony of defeat, Rusev scolded Lana as Cena celebrated his huge win, the beginning of his fourth reign with the first title he ever captured in WWE. Now that the United States Championship is back around Cena’s waist, America can sleep well knowing that, for tonight, the threat of Rusev has been vanquished.
The Undertaker def. Bray Wyatt
SANTA CLARA, CALIF. — One should never raise the dead.
That much was clear in the final moments of Bray Wyatt’s encounter with The Undertaker at WrestleMania 31. Wyatt had rattled The Deadman’s casket, beckoned him to The Grandest Stage of Them All to make an example of The Phenom and prove to the world that Bray was WWE’s New Face of Fear.
Instead, he learned that WrestleMania is still The Undertaker’s yard.
After weeks of antagonizing The Deadman from afar, Bray Wyatt skulked to the ring to meet his enemy with an army of lurching scarecrows following his every step. If the creatures were meant to ward off evil, they failed, because minutes later an unmistakable bell tolled and The Undertaker made his return.
The California sun may not have provided the perfect setting for The Deadman’s entrance, but it was impossible to deny the image of WrestleMania’s most storied gladiator slowly making his way through an ominous fog, his signature black cowboy hat and long leather duster immediately recognizable in the thick clouds.
The crowd of 76,976 didn’t exactly applaud. Instead, they stared on with awe, giving all due reverence to a mythic figure.
Of course, there were questions. Was The Undertaker still the warrior he once was? Could this be his last stand? Or was it the beginning of something else? It’s impossible to know when it comes to someone as enigmatic as The Undertaker. But he was here, and he looked every bit as menacing as The Phenom of days past.
Was Wyatt intimidated? Hell no. Even when The Deadman shot a look at him after first stepping in the ring — as if to say, “You shouldn’t have raised hell, boy.” — Bray barely blinked. He had come here on a mission, and he would not waver until The Undertaker was in the ground and The New Face of Fear had taken his place.
When the final notes of The Deadman’s theme faded, the crowd came alive. First, a chant of “Undertaker!” and then an eruption when Undertaker leveled Wyatt with a boot to the face. The Phenom immediately set about dishing out his signature strikes, bruising his opponent with deliberate punches to the face and body. He went for Old School minutes into the match, pulling it off with the same crispness he displayed decades ago. When he dropped Wyatt with Snake Eyes, it was like going to see your favorite band play all their best songs.
It was clear Undertaker was sending a message — not just to Wyatt, but to every competitor who thought they might be able to take The Deadman out after seeing his Streak end.
Bray was relentless, though. He beat The Undertaker to the mat with brute force, then began to rain heavy elbows onto the back of The Deadman’s head. He even wedged The Undertaker’s neck against the steel ring post and threw his entire body weight directly at the icon’s skull. A concussion had cost The Phenom his match — and his Streak — against Lesnar at last year’s WrestleMania, and, for a time, it looked as though history may have been repeating itself.
And then, all of a sudden, Undertaker locked Wyatt in Hell’s Gate like an alligator snapping its jaws on an antelope’s neck. Bray freed himself, but both men struggled to get to their feet. It was The Phenom who went down first, though, sent right back to the canvas with a punishing slam from The New Face of Fear.
There was a palpable sense of worry in the stadium. No one wanted to see a vulnerable Undertaker. They wanted to see the same man who felled Shawn Michaels, Triple H and every other Superstar who dared step up to him on The Grandest Stage of Them All. Only thing was, no one was sure if that man still existed.
Then again, The Undertaker isn’t just a man. He’s a Phenom.
That was apparent when Wyatt milked the setup for Sister Abigail and ended up with The Deadman’s hand wrapped around his throat. Undertaker decimated Bray with a chokeslam, then dragged his thumb across his neck and hoisted Wyatt up for the Tombstone. The piledriver was debilitating and, on any other night, it would’ve been enough, but not here. Calling on some dark part of his soul, Wyatt found the strength to power out of the pinfall. This dance with the devil would continue.
Undertaker got up and called for the Tombstone again. This time, Bray would find his way out and hit Sister Abigail in an instant. The Phenom managed to kick out of that pinfall, but both competitors showed their fatigue, lying on the canvas while the referee counted.
Wyatt stirred first, popping up in his horrifying spider walk, and stalking toward his fallen opponent with eerie glee. Then The Deadman rose. The two monsters considered each other for a moment. Right then, Wyatt lost his nerve. It’s one thing to call on the devil. It’s another when he shows up at your doorstep.
A fistfight followed, and Wyatt won it. Then he took a moment to mock The Undertaker, dragging his thumb across his neck just as The Deadman did minutes prior. Wyatt went for Sister Abigail again, but Undertaker was ready. He reversed it, powered Bray up and dropped him with a Tombstone. The Deadman folded Bray’s arms across his chest and, for the 22nd time, defeated an opponent at WrestleMania.
A year after he fell at the mighty hands of Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker proved there was still plenty of fight left in those lethal hands. And Bray Wyatt? He raised the dead, and paid the price. New Face of Fear? Definitely someday. Just not this day.
Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and def. Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Brock Lesnar did it. Almost.
With the formerly spotless Undertaker and iconic John Cena in his rearview, The Beast Incarnate stepped face-to-face with the rampaging Roman Reigns delivered a beating to him that, at times, made his SummerSlam match with John Cena look like a pillow fight. And then Seth Rollins made his move, cashing in his Money in the Bank contract in historical fashion and stealing the WWE World Heavyweight Championship away from both the champion who expected to keep it forever and the challenger who swore he could, and would, beat The Beast to claim it himself. Believe that.
Well, believe this: He didn’t. When all was said and done and the dust cleared, Reigns, who clawed his way through a Royal Rumble, a grudge match with Daniel Bryan and the animosity of the WWE Universe itself to become No. 1 contender, was left to watch the man he once called a brother walk away unscathed with his family’s birthright. Before that, however, the defining bout of WrestleMania 31 unfolded exactly as the WWE Universe initially expected it to: A pound-for-pound slugfest between two of the ring’s heaviest hitters. The hostile crowd acted almost as a third competitor of sorts, raining boos upon the embattled 2014 Superstar of the Year and throwing themselves wholeheartedly behind The Beast, who days earlier revealed his intentions to remain a WWE Superstar over a rumored return to the UFC.
Reigns, never lacking in bravery, went right at Lesnar in an attempt to prove that he can, and he would. But he could not. Lesnar hoisted The Big Dog up like a small child, sending him airborne with a German Suplex and executing an F-5 within the first 30 seconds of the contest. No pinfall was attempted, however, as the maneuver was merely intended as a taste of things to come. Spared for the moment, Roman got one good blow in, drawing blood from The Anomaly’s cheek. But it was an empty victory as the butchery continued for what seemed like hours. Lesnar was unmoved in every sense of the word by Reigns’ clotheslines, and went about merrily continuing his all-access tour of “Suplex City” while Heyman kept a running count of the maneuvers at ringside.
If nothing else, however, the WWE Universe seemed to have severely underestimated Reigns’ fortitude. Each suplex left The Big Dog flattened, yes, but his only response was a knowing, if pained, grin and a balled-up fist to the face of The One in 21-1 (or is it 22-1 now?). A series of knees to the chest of Reigns, draped over the ropes like laundry, were the only things that wiped the smile off his face, as the collision between cartilage and kidney sent the challenger sprawling in a heap to the outside.
Of course, the location of Suplex City lies somewhere between bravery and foolishness, and Reigns continued to walk that line, gaining a brief advantage when he blasted Lesnar in the face with a knee that drew blood from The Beast’s maw. The response — a clothesline to the outside — again gave the champion an advantage, leading to a suplex that literally sent the punch-drunk No. 1 contender sliding out of the ring before a belly-to-belly hauled him back in.
A second F-5 should have sealed the deal, but no: “The kid’s got guts,” said Michael Cole as Reigns kicked out of Lesnar’s signature maneuver and stepped deeper into The Beast’s world of hurt. In a maneuver reminiscent of his 2013 dismantling of Big Show, Lesnar removed his gloves and floored The Big Dog with a series of open-palm smacks to the mouth. Reigns, who may well have been the real lunatic of The Shield after all, just laughed and beckoned for more. Lesnar obliged, delivering two more German Suplexes and a third F-5. Again, it wasn’t enough, and for the first time, The Beast began to show … well, if not respect, at least something like frustration that his challenger did not fold like he expected him to.
Quite the opposite, in fact. When Lesnar went to slam Reigns face-first into the turnbuckle, the challenger reversed the maneuver and rammed the monster face-first into the steel, coating his face in red and turning the tables for the first time. Reigns leapt into the air for a Superman Punch to The Beast and connected with full force, leaving The Conqueror on shaky legs and the challenger in utter disbelief that he had at last begun to chip away at the champion. Roman continued his attack, unleashing two more Superman Punches and a pair of Spears, leading to a two-and-nine-tenths-count that nearly sent an apoplectic Paul Heyman to the ER.
His confidence restored, Reigns summoned up the strength for another Superman Punch. Only Lesnar was ready this time, catching him in midair and sending him spiraling to the mat for a fourth F-5. That could have been it but again, no: Neither man was able to rise for the pinfall that would, could,had to decide the match. And that’s when Seth Rollins decided to do it himself.
In an unprecedented act of brazenness, Mr. Money in the Bank cashed in his contract in the middle of an active match — the first-ever WrestleMania cash-in, by the way — and effectively turned the bout into a Triple Threat Match on the spot. Rollins disposed of the wounded Reigns easily and, with Dean Ambrose all but broken in half during the Intercontinental Title Ladder Match and therefore unable to fulfill his longstanding vow to thwart a Rollins cash-in, went for the Curb Stomp to The Beast that would bring the title to his waist.
Rollins, however, severely misjudged the situation. As he leapt into the air, Lesnar snatched him into position for the F-5, and The Architect’s blueprint suddenly seemed fundamentally, irreparably flawed. Luckily, as he did so often in The Shield, Reigns made his presence known at the moment of truth. The Big Dog roared back into the ring, Spearing Lesnar with Rollins still on his shoulders and bulldozing The Beast Incarnate clean out of the squared circle. Rollins sprang to his feet and struck, pummeling Reigns’ face into the mat with a vicious Curb Stomp and pinning him to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
To paraphrase Paul Heyman, it was an instance of the right guy, in the right place, at the right time. Seth Rollins could. Seth Rollins did. And now everyone else is just playing catch-up. Anyone who doesn’t believe that is kidding themselves.