Tim Fiorvanti and Matt Wilansky break down every match at WrestleMania 33, taking place at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. Senior stats analyst Sean Coyle offers ratings for each match on a sliding scale worth up to five points. Criteria for ratings is based on storytelling, in-ring execution, match psychology, timing and innovation -- worth up to one point each.
(c) - indicates defending champion
Roman Reigns defeats The Undertaker via pinfall
In what, for all intents and purposes, appeared to be the end of a 33-year professional wrestling career and 27 years in the WWE, The Undertaker went out on his back.
Roman Reigns might have gotten the rotten end of the stick in this equation, working through a match that, at best, could be described as uneven as Camping World Stadium reacted with scattered boos and defiant silence. With consequences that might echo for months and years to come, the end of this match and the moments that followed were all about the final moments of one of the most iconic characters in WWE history.
From the moment Jim Ross came out to join the commentary team for the main event, to Undertaker's chilling rise from beneath the ramp through a cloud of smoke and departure in the very same way, everything felt different. Even his saunter in the ring and the stunningly poignant video package screamed the end of the "Dead Man."
The match itself proved just why that had to be; despite going hard through four different decades, The Undertaker simply had nothing left.
There were a number of moments that felt familiar, though. The Undertaker hit a chokeslam, snake-eyes, a big boot, a leg drop, locked on Hell's Gate and eventually hit a tombstone followed by a cross-armed cover, but everything was simply a step too slow. As good as Reigns has been in the ring in the last couple of years, regardless of public opinion, he simply did not have the ability to carry The Undertaker in a way befitting the end of such a legendary career.
A no-disqualification stipulation and the inclusion of a chair patched over some of the holes, but one moment in particular, in which Reigns tried and failed twice to the classic tombstone reversal into an opposing tombstone, made it clear that this was it -- Undertaker simply didn't have the physical ability to work at maximum speed anymore.
Reigns did what was expected, hitting a dozen or more Superman punches and four spears, including one where he bounced off the ropes three times to finish off The Undertaker for good. In that final moment before that last spear, Undertaker attempted to sit up as he had throughout his career, only to fall sideways in exhaustion. It was the final nail in the coffin.
Undertaker finally climbed to his knees, mouthed words of defiance and then went out as he always said he would -- with a loss.
Even as Reigns climbed up the lengthy ramp. Undertaker lay broken, exhausted, and defeated in the middle of the ring. At exactly midnight, Undertaker slowly sat up, and as a highlight package aired above him, Undertaker slowly put on his jacket, the lights went an eerie purple-blue, and he got to his feet. His hat went back upon his head, his music hit and the Undertaker gave a knowing look to the rafters.
He paced around the ring, and after a moment's pause, The Undertaker removed his gloves and placed them in the middle of the ring. He then took off his jacket, folded it up, and placed them down on top. In his final gesture, he laid down the most iconic element of The Undertaker outside of his urn -- his round-brimmed hat -- and placed it atop the pile.
After one last walk to the ring barrier to embrace his wife, former WWE superstar Michelle McCool, in one of the few out-of-character moments he has ever had as The Undertaker, he started his final walk up that long ramp and into the darkness. He made one last pause in the middle of the ramp, turned back for one last, long look, and then raised his fist defiantly into the air. He slowly descended into the earth -- the perfect ending for everything the Undertaker ever represented.
With three last gongs, and a fade to darkness, The Undertaker was gone.
Naomi def. Alexa Bliss (c), Carmella, Natalya, Mickie James and Becky Lynch to win SmackDown women's championship
Naomi looked as if she was going to be the next big thing in the women's division when she finally won the SmackDown women's championship at Elimination Chamber a little more than a month ago. Two days after that win she inexplicably had to forfeit her title because of an apparent injury.
Alexa Bliss eventually regained the title, but there was no clear direction as to who her next opponent would be. True, she had short feuds with Becky Lynch, Mickie James and others, but the women's roster had seemingly lost some of its luster.
There were plenty of micro-feuds that in a vacuum kept us entertained in the weeks leading up to this day, but the decision to make the women's championship a Bliss versus the field free-for-all was an interesting, but chaotic one.
Sunday night, Bliss started quickly, not only physically beating up Carmella but taunting her as well. James Ellsworth who came into the ring to help Carmella and attempted sweet chin music on Becky Lynch, but Lynch caught him in the act and took him down (at least Ellsworth got his WrestleMania moment!).
There were a few good ensuing spots including a double sharp-shooter from Natalya on Carmella and Naomi. Soon after, Naomi dove over the top rope and took out all four of her opponents. It was a sign of things to come mere minutes later. With a modified anaconda vice, with both arms under Bliss, the champ tapped out, giving Naomi the title back in front of her home fans.
Brock Lesnar def. Goldberg (c) to win WWE Universal championship
The complete recap of this match can be found here.
Randy Orton def. Bray Wyatt (c) to win WWE championship (10:30)
The complete recap of this match can be found here.
Seth Rollins def. Triple H via pinfall (25:30)
Everything comes full circle, eventually. Nearly three years after Seth Rollins turned his back on his brothers in The Shield to join Triple H's side, and eight months after Triple H disposed of him, Rollins got his ultimate revenge on the boss on the biggest and brightest stage.
The match leaned heavily on Rollins' injured knee, and no matter the true extent of the injury he carried through with one of the most memorable matches of his career.
Before the match began, Triple H once again took full advantage of the spectacle of a WrestleMania entrance and rolled to the ring on a three-wheel motorcycle with Stephanie McMahon and a six-motorcycle police escort complete with sirens. Not to be outdone, Seth Rollins carried a torch with him and essentially "lit" the entire 800-yard pathway of LEDs (and everything surrounding the ring) aflame in a digital fireball.
Adorned in gold, Rollins didn't utilize any apparatus to walk to the ring, moving swiftly and solidly in the early going in hitting an early dropkick and dominating the action. The match spilled out of the ring, and followed a familiar but well-executed pattern. Rollins hit big offensive moves and tried to shake out his injured knee, only for Triple H to flip things around by going after the knee.
Each and every time, even if it was with some visible difficulty, Rollins got up and did progressively crazier and crazier moves. There were two tope suicidas in a row to the outside, and it was only onward and upward from there.
Triple H got some of his signature offense in, but time and again it was all about targeting the knee with chop blocks, punches and anything and everything he could muster. He hit a DDT on Rollins on top of the table and it didn't break, and then attacked the knee with steel chair shots. The sequence finished with Rollins' leg draped between the edge of a table and the ring barrier and Triple H dropping a knee through it.
One of the biggest callbacks of the match, and one of the most effective moments, was a callback to the move that caused Rollins' original knee injury -- a sunset flip powerbomb off the top rope. Just like it did during the live event match against Kane, the knee buckled -- only this time, Rollins stood up, picked Triple H up again and successfully hit a turnbuckle powerbomb.
Once weapons got involved, including a table and a sledgehammer, it was clear they'd both play big parts. The table was set up and mostly forgotten, but the sledgehammer became the game-changer that it's always been in Triple H matches.
After another back-and-forth sequence, Rollins pushed things even further with a superplex, roll-through and Falcon Arrow, drawing another two-count. McMahon eventually interjected herself and grabbed the sledgehammer, distracting Rollins enough for Triple H to grab the sledgehammer from his opponent.
Triple H then climbed to the top rope and positioned himself to hit a pedigree from there (shades of CM Punk, perhaps?). Rollins hit a back-body drop, though, and in the peak of his risk-taking, a picture-perfect Phoenix Splash.
The final moments of the match saw an exchange of at least four back-and-forth attempts at pedigrees, with Triple H going for the knee once more. As McMahon climbed onto the apron once more, Rollins ducked a clothesline and Triple H pulled up just shy of hitting his wife. He turned around into an HBK-esque Superkick that sent Triple H crashing into McMahon and sending her through the table on the outside.
After staring in shock, Triple H turned around in shock to see Rollins hit a DX crotch chop, catch him in a pedigree and earn the well-deserved three-count.
We can only speculate what the status of his knee is in actuality, but if this match is any indication, Seth Rollins should be primed for a fresh start post-WrestleMania in any number of high-profile ways.
John Cena and Nikki Bella def. The Miz and Maryse via double pin, then get engaged
John Cena wasn't going to lay on his back and get pinned, but you'd better believe he was going to get down on one knee, just like so many speculated.
There are few match details to speak of between he and Nikki Bella against the Miz and his wife Marysem mainly just a lot of taunting by the Miz. Fast-forward to the end, when Cena and (then) girlfriend Bella hit simultaneous five-knuckle shuffles, and then at the same time, Cena landed an AA on Miz and Bella a Rack Attack 2.0 on Maryse for the double pin.
That's when the action really began.
Cena grabbed the mike, looked Bella into the eyes and regaled a story of how a year-and-a-half ago he told Bella he would marry her someday. The problem was Bella had just undergone neck surgery and was loopy from recovery. She didn't remember it.
Cena reminded her what happened that day. And that when the time was right, he'd do what he needed to.
And the time was right.
Cena dropped to one knee and popped the question. She nodded, they embraced, they kissed.
Cena was not a main-event attraction this year, but he had his WrestleMania moment.
Raw tag team championship ladder match: The Hardy Boyz def. Enzo & Cass, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (c) and Cesaro & Sheamus (11:05)
When The New Day came out after the entrances of the three teams announced for the Raw tag team title ladder match, there was clearly something askew. They were in their ring gear, and announced that a fourth team would be added to the contest.
After seemingly dipping into their "who" schtick to announce they'd added themselves to the fray, a brief delay was followed by familiar music and the entrance of The Hardy Boyz, making a shocking WWE return and completely setting both the internet and the Camping World Stadium crowd aflame.
Nobody has more history in ladder matches, especially at WrestleMania, than Matt and Jeff Hardy, and in a perpetual human car crash of a match representative of those classic TLC clashes, the Hardyz brought a major shake-up to the Raw tag team division and WWE itself by winning the titles on their first night back.
The match had everything you'd want from the Hardyz. There was poetry in motion to both corners, whisper in the wind, and several crazy Twist of Fate spots, including one to Karl Anderson off the ladder. The match-stealing moment, as has been the case so many times before, featured Jeff Hardy doing a Swanton bomb off the highest ladder he could find -- but as much as the Hardy Boyz stole the show, all six other man brought it big time themselves.
Cesaro and Sheamus cleared the ring on numerous occasions, including a simultaneous Cesaro Swing and Beats of the Bodhrán on Anderson and Luke Gallows, respectively, that lasted for more than 25 rotations and blows to the chest.
Gallows and Big Cass sandwiched the Hardys between two ladders. Sheamus hit a Brogue kick on Jeff Hardy, while he was perched on the outside of the middle rope, sending him into four guys standing on the floor.
Sheamus and Gallows were the first two to climb all the way up and touch the titles, but Enzo pushed the ladder over. Enzo then climbed the ladder, Cass climbed up behind him and put Enzo on his shoulders to speed things up. Cass was then powerbombed by Gallows and Anderson onto the ladder, Brogue kicks abounded and, finally, Gallows and Anderson hit a magic killer on Cesaro, leaving Cesaro and Sheamus draped on two parallel ladders perched between apron and ring barrier.
Matt hit the aforementioned Twist of Fate off the ladder and Jeff hit his death-defying Swanton Bomb, which should have sent both Cesaro and Sheamus through the ladders but only succeeded in half that job; Sheamus was left to absorb the full impact. Matt reached up and grabbed the titles to thunderous applause, and in a moment, everything changed.
There was very little sign of The Hardy Boyz doing any of the activities that lit a fire back under them at this advanced stage of their respective careers in Impact Wrestling (and later Ring of Honor), though Matt did get in several "deletes" as he stood atop the turnbuckle holding the title. We'll have to wait until Monday night to get the full picture, but in the end, this surprise and result was, in a word -- wonderful.
Raw women's championship Fatal 4-Way elimination match: Bayley def. Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks and Nia Jax, last eliminating Flair via pinfall (12:08)
For the past few months, the women's WWE title has been passed around much. Since Charlotte's impressive run of 113 consecutive days with the belt ended, shockingly, in an episode of Raw last July, no one contender has been able to sustain a lengthy reign. The title has changed hands seven times since.
Along with Nia Jax, the top women on Raw were hoping to settle the score in a Fatal 4-Way elimination match. The glamorous entrances we expected came to fruition as each contender attempted to one-up each other. Bayley, the champ heading into the encounter, strolled down the ring in a colorful tasseled cape, Sasha entered in a 1950-style black coupe four-wheeler, while Charlotte walked down under a carnival of fireworks.
It was the most unassuming of them all, Nia Jax, who dominated early. At one point, she threw Charlotte into Bayley and Sasha, who were outside the ring. But in a quick twist, they teamed up on Jax, all three piling on her to eliminate the most powerful woman of the four.
Once Jax was gone, the athleticism picked up. At one point, Sasha flipped over the rope onto Charlotte, and then Charlotte, a little later, landed a sweet corkscrew moonsault outside the ring.
Sasha's momentum was quickly stopped when Charlotte kicked out of a roll up, sending Banks face first into an exposed turnbuckle. Charlotte pinned her, and it was down to two.
Action picked up but quickly stopped as Charlotte missed a moonsault on Bayley. It was a back-and-forth fiasco from there. Charlotte took control, getting Bayley into a figure eight, but the champ made her way to the ropes. Charlotte then proceeded to put Bayley in a tree of woe. Charlotte, standing on the top rope, appeared to be setting Bayley into the mat with her knees, but Bayley back body-dropped her to the mat. Bayley's knee was still trapped, but when Charlotte stood up and charged into the corner, Bayley escaped just in time as Charlotte flew head first into the same exposed turnbuckle that led to Banks' elimination. Bayley climbed to the top rope and hit a Macho Man randy Savage-style elbow for the pin.
Bayley finally had her WrestleMania moment.
Kevin Owens def. Chris Jericho (c) via pinfall (16:20)
Throughout their friendship and partnership, and even after the chaos and betrayal of the "Festival of Friendship," it was always Chris Jericho taking the fall to Kevin Owens' benefit. It was all too fitting, then, that when their conflict finally reached its climax at WrestleMania that Jericho fell one final time at Owens -- one final "Gift of Jericho," as Owens scored the pinfall victory to become the United States champion.
As far as promo videos go, the rundown of the friendship and breakdown between Owens and Jericho was a masterful effort in squeezing the many quirks and memorable moments of the nearly year-long love affair into a few short minutes.
Despite the amount of time they spent on the same show, this was only the second televised one-on-one match between Owens and Jericho -- leaving many wondering just how such a match might play out. Jericho brought the fight from the first bell with a walls of Jericho, basement drop kick and a flying crossbody to Owens on the outside to send Owens reeling.
Throughout the match, repetition and variation were key tools as Jericho and Owens revisited similar spots over and over again, with different endings taking advantage of the previous edition in telling a strong story from bell to bell. There were superkicks, cannonballs, lionsaults, Jericho catching Owens with knees on a high-flying move, and several other moments that later became critical to the ending of the match, even if they missed the first time.
Jericho reversed Owens' first apron powerbomb attempt into a back body drop early on in the match -- thwarting one of Owens' best weapons, and foreshadowing his ultimate doom.
Owens dictated the pace for much of the match, but Jericho surprisingly had many of the biggest spots, including a Frankensteiner.
Owens was as vicious on the mic as he was in the ring: "You don't have any friends." "You were never my best friend." "You are a piece of trash."
The slow early pace quickened as things moved on, but both Owens and Jericho countered as much as they ate big moves. Jericho countered a pop-up powerbomb the first time with a leapfrog, and the third time with a codebreaker. Owens was more methodical and manipulative -- and that's what ultimately earned him the match.
After both men kicked out of the others finishers -- including the aforementioned pop-up powerbomb into codebreaker sequence that was the highlight of the match -- Owens seemingly rolled out of the ring by accident, only to catch Jericho by surprise with a superkick to the knee that sent Jericho tumbling to the floor.
On the second attempt, Owens hit an apron powerbomb, quickly slid Jericho into the ring and, somewhat surprisingly and abruptly, got the pinfall victory.
Owens added the third singles title of his WWE main roster career and fourth overall title since joining the company with this United States championship victory. It's unclear if Jericho has much left in this particular run, with the potential of a final showdown tomorrow on Monday Night Raw. No matter how that happens to play out, this match was a fitting ending to the best WWE story of the last year.
AJ Styles def. Shane McMahon via pinfall (20:09)
Of the many questions we had going into WrestleMania 33, one of the most debated was who would feature as the first match in the main card? Especially after Dean Ambrose and Corbin, which was the odds-on favorite to bat lead-off, was moved to the kickoff show. Perhaps it would be the mixed-tag team featuring John Cena and the Miz? The SmackDown Live women's free-for-all for the title?
No and no. The answer? AJ Styles and Shane McMahon -- the widely considered WWE most valuable player from the past year and the ultimate stunt man. Clearly, the WWE creative wanted to make sure there was no lack of energy to kick off the biggest day of the wrestling year.
When the music hit, McMahon strutted down the long ramp, which was adorned with blown-up dollar bills, to a chorus of cheers. Not to be outdone, Styles, the most cheered villain in the business, got the crowd even more hyped. Surprisingly, there was good wrestling technique from McMahon, who used roll-ups and arm-bar takedowns to stifle his opponent, from the outset. Soon after, McMahon reverted back to his pugilistic M.O. and nailed Styles with a flurry of punches. Styles countered and landed a drop kick of his own outside the ring that forced McMahon over the announcer's table.
That's when things got really good.
With Styles attempting a 180 off the top rope, McMahon caught him and countered with a triangle choke. Styles would recover soon after and converted a Styles Clash, only to see McMahon kick out. At that point Styles went under the ring to grab two garbage cans. With the referee out, thanks to McMahon ducking away from a Styles kick that caught the official, the Phenomenal One tried to gain an advantage. However, his attempt for a coast-to-coast was blocked when McMahon caught him with that garbage can.
Then it was McMahon's turn for coast to coast and nailed Styles, who kicked out after a two count.
That was only the beginning.
In the daredevil move we were waiting for, McMahon jumped off the top rope into a barren announcer's table, only to have Styles instinctively move out of the way.
Styles threw McMahon back into a ring and connected with something that looked like a sideways DDT. In another are-you-kidding-me moment, McMahon went for a shooting star press, which had everyone in the stadium on their feet, but missed.
The match, one of the best to ever kick off any WrestleMania, ended when Styles landed a phenomenal forearm.
There was a hasty build to this feud, but the payoff was better than anyone could have expected.
Intercontinental championship: Dean Ambrose (c) def. Baron Corbin by pinfall (10:54)
The complete recap of this match can be found here.
Mojo Rawley wins Andre the Giant memorial battle royal
The complete recap of this match can be found here.
Neville def. Austin Aries
The complete recap of this match can be found here.