WWE Wrestlemania 31 Results: New World Heavyweight Champion, MMA Star Appears, More
WWE Wrestlemania 31 was live tonight, and it proved to be one of the more chaotic shows in WWE history, with the crowning of a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. And it’s probably not the guy you were expecting it to be either.
In fact, of the four titles that were on the line tonight, only one title was retained. The other three found homes with new champions, with some results proving far more shocking than others. Anyway, onto the quick-and-dirty results. If you missed the show or if you just saw the show and need to sound off, let us know what you thought of Wrestlemania 31 in the comments!
WWE WRESTLEMANIA 31 RESULTS
Tag Team Championship: WWE Tag Team Champions Tyson Kidd and Cesaro defeated Los Matadores, The Usos and The New Day in a fatal four-way match to retain the tag team championship after Cesaro got the blind tag and stole the pin on Big E Langston off a top rope splash by the Usos. I hate the “steal the pin” finish that’s become prevalent in so many matches of this type, but there are times where this sort of finish can actually work, as we’d see later.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale: The Big Show won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale, last eliminating Damien Mizdow. For the second year in a row, this felt like sort of a non-entity on the show. At least last year, Cesaro’s win felt like a big deal, even though it ultimately ended up not mattering at all. But this year? I can’t think of anyone I wanted to see win this less than The Big Show. However, at least the battle royale had a few cool moments, such as Damien Mizdow finally standing up to The Miz and eliminating him. I wish WWE had gone all the way and just gave Sandow his Wrestlemania Moment. It’s not like the Big Show needed to win this thing, after all. But I guess Vince’s boner for big guys persists, even long past Big Show’s expiration date as a top act of any kind.
Ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship: Daniel Bryan defeated R-Truth, Stardust, Luke Harper, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler and Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett to win the title. This was a solid way to get the crowd going, since it featured some crazy spots that seemed designed to steal the show. I’m still worried for Dean Ambrose after taking that powerbomb from the inside of the ring to the outside through the ladder, although I don’t think there was anything more Luke Harper could have done to protect him on that spot than he did. That said, I couldn’t have come up with a more badass ending than Bryan and Ziggler headbutting the living hell out of each other on top of a ladder. But it’s a finish that worked beautifully, as Bryan was able to knock Ziggler down to the mat and claim his first Intercontinental title. In essence, in just five short years, Daniel Bryan has won every major title in WWE. So while some are probably going to argue that he’s still being buried by not appearing in the World Title picture, WWE clearly sees some value in the guy. That congratulations segment backstage with Intercontinental champions of yesteryear was also surprisingly touching.
Grudge Match: Randy Orton defeated Seth Rollins after a surprise RKO. Considering what happened in the main event, I can see why Orton was booked to go over, since it now creates an instant, plausible challenger for Rollins. However, since I don’t actually expect WWE to go that route, I found this finish kind of perplexing. Why not have a world champion who goes into his title victory strong, as opposed to a guy who jobbed all the way up to his big moment? Granted, Seth is such an outstanding worker that I don’t think wins or losses matter as much for him, since he could easily get all his heat back with a scathing promo or a spectacular in-ring performance. But I don’t get why Orton is still so protected, even long past the point where his value has begun to diminish.
No Disqualification Match: HHH defeated Sting after a shot with the sledgehammer. This was among the more surprising outcomes of the night, since it seemed like a given that Sting would go over here. But Hunter ended up scoring the three in a finish that, admittedly, didn’t put himself over all that strong. In fact, it was played up as a bit of a fluke, considering HHH got in one last desperation shot. But the outcome is far less significant than the overbooked match surrounding it. Call me crazy, but I thought this was a lot of fun, as DX came out to help Hunter while the NWO (!!) came out to help Sting. Granted, it would have made WAY more sense if the Four Horsemen had come out to help Sting, especially when you consider that Sting fought the NWO at every turn (well, except when he was part of the Wolfpack). The choice to have the NWO serve as the standard bearers for WCW is even more confounding since they spent almost the entirety of their run trying to destroy that organization, in storyline. But hey, I’m willing to look past a lot if it means we get as many cool spots as we got here, from Sting doing a dive to the outside onto X-Pac and the New Age Outlaws, whether it’s Hogan, Hall and Nash mixing it up with DX outside the ring, or whether it was Shawn Michaels bailing HHH out of the Scorpion Death Lock with a superkick. This was WAY more fun than I was expecting it to be, and even while I don’t agree with the decision to put HHH over, it actually did tie into a segment later in the night, so I can at least understand why he won. And I didn’t mind the “show of respect” handshake at the end, since it felt like a genuine moment as opposed to something tacked on. But is it wrong that the thing I might end up remembering most from this was HHH’s insane Terminator-themed entrance, complete with Arnold Schwarzenegger intro and T-1000s surrounding him?
Divas Tag Team Match: AJ Lee and Paige defeated the Bella Twins after AJ made Nikki submit to the Black Widow. Honestly, this was far better than expected, thanks to its adherence to a very basic, workable tag team formula. The Bellas dominated Paige and kept AJ Lee out of the ring, so that when she got the tag, there was momentum to carry the finishing sequence of the match. I’m impressed at how much Nikki has come along as a worker. She’s miles ahead of where she used to be, to where it doesn’t seem like a disaster in the making to ask her to go out there and do a match that lasts longer than five minutes.
United States Championship: John Cena defeated United States Champion Rusev to win the title after an Attitude Adjustment. For such a monumental moment as Rusev’s first pinfall loss in WWE, I was expecting a finish that was less flat than this. Granted, not every match on the show could have the heat that the main event would eventually have, but I expected a far more exciting match than this, with a lot of hot nearfalls and acts of desperation. Rusev certainly delivered on the latter, expressing frustration with every desperate shot that didn’t get the three count. But I found Lana’s interference weirdly distracting and uneventful, since really, who throws a shoe anymore? Also, I thought it was kind of silly that after ALL that with Rusev, he gets beat by one Attitude Adjustment after bumping into his manager on the apron. It was such a lifeless finish, considering that this was the embodiment of that larger than life superhero aesthetic WWE often goes for with Cena. This was an American hero facing a Russian (well, Bulgarian ex-pat) who entered on a freaking TANK. This should have been a wild brawl, but it wasn’t. Granted, the match wasn’t BAD or anything, but it was far from what it could have been. Still, putting the U.S. title on Cena should do a lot to help rehab that title’s credibility, in much the same way making Daniel Bryan Intercontinental champion should help add prestige to that championship.
The Rock Returns with Ronda Rousey: I’ll admit, I wasn’t a fan of HHH and Stephanie coming out to gloat in the middle of the show (although I was far more open to it than I was to the performance by Skylar Grey, Kid Ink and Travis Barker; Aloe Blacc killed it on “America the Beautiful” though). But the segment was beautifully set up, with HHH and Stephanie coming out to gloat about the attendance record, the victory over Sting, and their ownership of the WWE and all its superstars and fans. The Rock came out and delivered a customarily excellent verbal takedown of both HHH and Stephanie, but the tables were turned when Stephanie called The Rock’s bluff by saying he’d never hit a woman. Naturally, The Rock called HER bluff by bringing in MMA superstar and UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey, who had earlier been shown enjoying the show in the audience. While the payoff of The Rock whooping HHH all over the ring was great, I wish Ronda had gotten to do more to Stephanie than just the simple standing armlock she placed her in. But I get that Dana White probably only signed off on the appearance on the promise of very limited physical involvement. Regardless, this was pretty damn good for a talking segment. Yes, it could have stood to have been cut by maybe 5-7 minutes, but I mostly enjoyed it for what it was.
Singles Match: The Undertaker defeated Bray Wyatt after a second Tombstone piledriver. I loved Bray’s entrance with the army of Scarecrows, and I was pleasantly surprised by how hale and healthy Undertaker looked, considering he seemed like a man falling apart last year. These two delivered a good, hard-hitting match that told the story of a young lion coming after the grizzled veteran at his weakest moment. While I’m not sure Bray is necessarily going to be elevated simply for hanging in there with Taker (this is one case where I think he really needed to win to get anything out of facing the Undertaker at Wrestlemania), the two did have a good match. There were some pretty close nearfalls too, so that when Bray hit the Sister Abigail and cradled Taker, I thought that was it. Overall, this was an impressive performance for both men, and I hope we get to see Taker again next year, if he feels up for it.
World Heavyweight Championship: Seth Rollins defeated Roman Reigns and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar to win the title after he cashed-in his Money in the Bank contract and pinned Reigns. For the first time since its inception, a Money in the Bank contract was cashed-in mid-match, as Seth Rollins ran out while both Lesnar and Reigns were down. Had he not done this, it still would have been a fairly awesome match since, up until that point, Lesnar was just destroying Reigns with one suplex and F5 after another. But Reigns managed to rally, busting Lesnar open by sending him into the ring post. It became a bloody brawl with a trio of Superman Punches and spears to finally make it seem like Lesnar could be beaten. Seth cashing in just added to the spectacle, and even added to the possibility that Brock might retain, as Seth got caught in an F5 while going for a second curb stomp. However, Reigns speared Lesnar to prevent Rollins from taking the F5, and an opportunistic Rollins got up and curb stomped Reigns to win the title. I kind of loved the ending, if only because it keeps Lesnar strong by allowing him to avoid taking the losing fall. It also helps keep Reigns relatively strong as well, since it took a fresh Rollins and the full arsenal of Brock Lesnar to finally keep him down. This was one of the more shocking endings in Wrestlemania history, but it was enough to essentially elevate the entire show into something more memorable than it would have been without it.
So what did you think of Wrestlemania 31? What were the best matches and moments? The worst? Sound off in the comments!