The X-Factor: WrestleMania (2014-2019) – Rebelling against authority

We all know what 2014-2016 were (in)famous for: CM Punk quitting; Daniel Bryan’s big moment; The Shield; AJ Styles; the move to streaming; the end of the Streak; the Royal Rumbles; and Suplex City was built by destroying John Cena.

The Corporation could actually put people over. The Authority? Well let’s see. They went on WAY too long, almost never lost, and if they couldn’t sway fan opinion on Roman Reigns, you’ve got a problem. Oh, and there was the ratings drop Raw never recovered from. To think the haters thought John Cena was bad for business.

Amazing that Vince McMahon learned nothing from Lex Luger.

WrestleMania XXX

They weren’t gonna do it. Bryan was not their choice to win it all in the Silverd…I mean, Superdome, but he did, and that feel-good moment wouldn’t be surpassed for five years.

And what about that other talking point?

I sat there with my spinner WWE Championship beside me. The referee’s hand hit the mat a third time. There was no bell. The ref couldn’t buy it himself. 21-1’ came on the screens. The abject shock. Shot after shot of fans with hands on their heads in disbelief.

We’ve debated ever since if it was the right move. Brock Lesnar’s aura needed serious rehab, and with him building Suplex City on top of Cena’s battered self, Lesnar was established as a “final boss”. 

WrestleMania 31 

Do you think, maybe you refused to accept Reigns because it would mean Vince McMahon was right? He was right, just for the wrong reasons.

Reigns was smiling at Lesnar as if to say, “Is that all you got?” The critics wouldn’t admit it, but the Big Dog showed he could handle himself just fine main eventing the premier PPV of the year. It was just like Cena. Insane troll logic at its best.

Then it happened. Rollins hit the ring and stole the title out from under them.

As for Sting, it’s best to look at the match itself as the real victory. 

You can always count on people to trash talk. D-Generation X vs. the nWo was a dream come true.

Both Hulk Hogan and Scott Hall knew it was a bullshit finish. It’s his first WWE and WrestleMania match and he loses!? 

WrestleMania 32

Maybe you remember this one.

Three months before Dallas, Reigns had laid a vicious beat-down on the Game and won the WWE Championship the very next night. For a while, Reigns was the man we wanted him to be. Except, the beat down at TLC ‘15 was a band-aid and nothing more.

There was a conspiracy theory that Triple H was out to sabotage Reigns’ push. Not a difficult theory to prove.

The opening ladder match was a great contest. Seeing AJ Styles make his ‘Mania debut was damn cool. 

John Cena, Randy Orton, Neville, Luke Harper, Seth Rollins, Tyson Kidd, Cesaro, and Nikki Bella were all down. So how did it sell out without it’s franchise player? Shane McMahon, that’s how.

2017 – 2019

NXT didn’t have a high bar to clear. It’s presence as a smart fan Mecca only intensified the calls for Vince to finally retire. Except it started a sort of fan war that I wouldn’t wanna repeat.

If it had anyone besides Triple H, the Revolution might’ve looked different.

The likes of Paige, Emma, Asuka, Sasha, Bayley, Charlotte, and Becky heralded a real change in women’s wrestling, paving the way for Iyo Sky, Karri Sane, Bianca Belair, and Liv Morgan to make their mark. In New Jersey, the revolution was complete.

WrestleMania 33

You can never accuse them of half-assing their production. That was the best stage ever. Of all time.

“DELETE, DELETE, DELETE.” Who wasn’t giddy when that music hit?

Why would they treat two of their best assets that way? John Cena hit the ground running that year when he won his 16th world title in a classic with AJ Styles, only has two weeks with the WWE Championship, the “stink-up-the-crowd” title match in Orlando, and then Jinder Mahal. Ugh. 

Lesnar vs. Goldberg was exactly what it needed to be. It was an apology for 2004.

They inducted Diamond Dallas Page that year. Along with Goldberg’s run, maybe they were apologizing to WCW.

Roman became the second man to defeat Undertaker at WrestleMania, and he also became the fifth man to do the WrestleMania main event hat trick.

WrestleMania 34

New Orleans, where streaks go to die.

Nakamura and Asuka winning their Royal Rumbles was Vince McMahon throwing us a bone, not signaling winds of change.

Ronda Rousey was the ultimate sink or swim, and there was also her partner Kurt Angle. Their tag match turned out better than expected. Hey Stephanie, why couldn’t you put that kind of effort when you had your own Corporation?

The American Dragon returned to the ring where he had his greatest triumph.

The pieces fell into place well enough. The borderline heel Shane McMahon was out to get Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Of all people, Daniel Bryan knew the pain of an “authority” holding him back. Shane decided to concede, but KO and Sami just couldn’t leave well enough alone. They were truly the villains now.

It was euphoria for those in N’awlins seeing the man they brought to the main event do what he loved again.

That main event. Physical, hard-hitting, and legit bloody if not booked at a mediocre level. 

WrestleMania 35

The women taking the headlining spot? Becky Lynch on top of the world? KofiMania? How could you not love it? 

Kofi Kingston and Daniel Bryan put on a Match of the Year that hit all the right notes. Nothing could’ve dragged that victory down.

Say what you will about that botched finish, but it was Becky’s time. The only low point is that the crowd was mostly drained. Still, to see Becky go from Lass Kicker to Becky Two Belts?

Between those and Reigns making his triumphant return, we had some feel-good moments at the time. 

A year later, and the whole world was gonna change.

Final Thoughts

It’s been said no one hates Star Wars more than its fans. Well, what about the haters in this fandom?

When Reigns’ brother Matt Anoa’i passed, there was people saying the wrong brother died. The IWC basically scapegoated him for his lousy booking and some of them even thought he faked his leukemia just to get the heat to die down.

There’s also Nikki and Brie. Wow. The haters don’t waste an opportunity to bash them.

Oh, and maybe you remember cyber bullying caused Hana Kimura to take her own life.

Don’t mess with the X.