April 9 (UPI) — WWE’s WrestleMania shocked and awed the sports-entertainment world Sunday with the sudden return of the The Undertaker, Ronda Rousey’s debut match and the crowning of new champions.
Universal Champion Brock Lesnar, in the main event of the night, defended his title against Roman Reigns in a violent match that left The Big Dog bloodied and battered.
Reigns, despite his best efforts, was not enough to stop The Beast who continually weathered any offensive assault by Reigns including multiple Superman Punches and Spears. Lesnar, who dominated the majority of the bout, was seen growing frustrated as Reigns continually kicked out of any pinning attempt.
Lesnar, after delivering five F-5s throughout the bout, including one through an announce table, took off his gloves at one point and attacked Reigns’ head, causing him to bleed. This woke up Reigns who mustered a small comeback before Lesnar finally defeated him with a sixth and final F-5. Lesnar’s year-long reign as Universal Champion continues.
In Rousey’s first WWE match, she teamed up with Olympic gold medalist and Hall-of-Famer Kurt Angle to take on authority figures Stephanie McMahon and her husband Triple H.
The former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion impressed in her debut match, applying her patent Armbar submission on both of her opponents and at one point turning Triple H into a human punching bag.
Rousey and Angle fought through Stephanie and Triple H’s dirty tactics and won the match after Stephanie tapped out to the Armbar.
WrestleMania started out as a night of leisure for 16-time World Champion John Cena who enjoyed the show as a member of the audience until he was informed by a referee that The Undertaker was present and ready to accept Cena’s long-standing challenge.
Cena, who had been begging The Undertaker to face him for weeks without a response, made his way to the ring and was forced to wait longer as The Deadman took his time. Elias, in Undertaker’s absence, appeared instead and performed a song disparaging the New Orleans crowd before Cena eliminated him.
The Undertaker suddenly appeared when all hope was lost that he would even show up. The Undertaker then completely decimated Cena during the match and was unable to stop the living legend’s assault. Cena, after failing to hit his Five-Knuckle Shuffle, was struck with a Chokeslam followed by The Tombstone Piledriver to give The Undertaker the quick victory.
AJ Styles, in his WWE Championship match against Shinsuke Nakamura, retained his title after a highly-competitive match that ended when The Phenomenal One reversed The King of Strong Style’s Kinshasa into a Styles Clash for the three count.
Nakamura, after the match, appeared to have turned over a new leaf when he got down on one knee to present Styles with his championship belt as a sign of respect. The feel-good moment did not last long, however, as Nakamura then delivered an uppercut below the belt.
Nakamura then viciously attacked Styles outside the ring and deliver a Kinshasa before he exited the arena.
In the women’s division, Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair was taken to the limit by Raw’s Asuka who continued to attack The Queen’s arm and shoulder throughout their grueling match.
Asuka, who has remained undefeated since joining WWE, received her first loss after Flair put The Empress of Tomorrow into her Figure-Eight Leglock in the middle of the ring forcing her to tap. Asuka showed respect to Flair afterwards proclaiming “Charlotte Flair was ready for Asuka!” on the microphone.
Daniel Bryan, in his first return match since announcing his retirement in 2016, teamed up with Shane McMahon to take on Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn who were fighting to keep their jobs on Smackdown Live.
Owens and Zayn attempted to cut Bryan’s feel-good return short when they attacked their opponents from behind before the bell rang, delivering a PowerBomb to The Yes Man on the edge of the ring apron. As Bryan recovered, Shane tried his best to fight off the best friends and was able to nail Zayn with a high-flying Coast-to-Coast dropkick.
Bryan would return when Shane needed him most and unleashed a flurry of offense on Zayn and Owens as the crowd chanted “Yes!” in unison. Bryan, after weathering Zayn’s Helluva Kick and a Pop-Up Powerbomb from Owens, won the match when he struck Zayn with a running knee for the three count. Owens and Zayn are now permanently fired from Smackdown Live.
Other WrestleMania moments included Woken Matt Hardy winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal with help from Bray Wyatt; Cedric Alexander defeating Mustafa Ali to become the new Cruiserweight Champion; Naomi winning the first-ever WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal; Seth Rollins defeating The Miz and Finn Balor to become the new Intercontinental Champion; Jinder Mahal defeating Randy Orton, Rusev and Bobby Roode to become the new United States Champion; The Bludgeon Brothers defeating The Usos and The New Day to become the new Smackdown Tag Team Champions; Nia Jax defeating Alexa Bliss to become the new Raw Women’s Champion and Braun Strowman defeating Sheamus and Cesaro to win the Raw Tag Team Championships after choosing a young boy from the audience named Nicholas to be his tag team partner.