The X-Factor: WrestleMania – The Streak, Suplex City, and Daniel Bryan

The women were finally getting the attention they deserved. CM Punk called it quits. Brock Lesnar built Suplex City atop John Cena’s battered self. AJ Styles finally arrived. The Authority went on a “Reign of Terror” many of us would love to forget. The IWC loved NXT so much that they hated anything else. Oh, and they moved to streaming.

Winds of change, right?

It seems like a long time ago. The haters gave Roman Reigns very short shrift. What bothered me was the hypocrisy, and the criticisms that easily applied to other stars. Yes, he was a casualty of bad booking, but that wasn’t why the hate train started rolling. In your eyes, he “stole” Bryan’s spot. 


WrestleMania XXX

The fan outcry had hit the tipping point. WWE could not fight the tide without harming their biggest show in the Silverd… sorry, Superdome. It will stand forever as one of the greatest feel-good moments of all time. 

And what about that other talking point?

I sat there with my spinner WWE Championship replica beside me, never expecting the referee’s hand to hit the mat a third time. It did. ‘21-1’ came on the screens. The abject shock that washed over the crowd, shot after shot of fans with hands on their hands not believing what happened, that was a moment. The bell wasn’t even rung. They added it later.

Brock Lesnar’s aura needed serious rehab. Ending one of the greatest streaks in history will do it. Add a lopsided win over WWE’s Superman, and we had a final boss type who would be nigh-impossible to defeat. It worked.

Why did Brock become the “1 in 21-1”? So that the “one who beats the 1” would automatically get the rub. 

WrestleMania 31 

Looking back on it now, seven years later, do you still think Reigns had to be carried through a match?

I don’t remember Cena selling for The Beast like Roman did. He proved that he wasn’t the also-ran the critics made him out to be. Lesnar went full-on final boss on him. Reigns was smiling at Lesnar as if to say, “Is that all you got?”

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

It took 14 years, but Sting finally arrived. 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, and as much as they talked smack, they liked it. I did.

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

Perhaps 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.

Triple H couldn’t help himself. His need to come off like a badass and play to the crowd derailed another star’s momentum.

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.  It’s no coincidence that ticket sales went up after he returned. Vince doesn’t just forget that.

WrestleMania 33

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

“DELETE, DELETE, DELETE.” I was giddy when their music hit. The Hardy Boyz in a ladder match at a WrestleMania!

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. 

Maybe Goldberg didn’t need to be Universal Champ. WWE owed him big, had to wipe away the stink of WrestleMania XX, and Lesnar needed a refresh after his somewhat lousy 2016. His match with Brock was just what it needed to be.

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, but he also became the fifth man after Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Triple H, and John Cena to do the WrestleMania main event hat trick.

WrestleMania 34

New Orleans, where streaks go to die.

This year, it seemed that winds of change were sweeping through. Well, not exactly. Nakamura and Asuka winning their Royal Rumbles was Vince McMahon throwing us a bone, not changing it up.

Ronda Rousey was the ultimate sink or swim, and there was also her partner Kurt Angle. Their tag match turned out bigger than expected. Hey Stephanie, you couldn’t make more stars instead of stroking your ego? Narcissist.

Where he had the greatest moment of his life, was where the American Dragon returned to the ring.

The pieces fell into place well enough. While Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn were heels, Shane McMahon bordered on villainy himself. Of all people, 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.

It’s sad that AJ Styles didn’t have that defining WrestleMania moment, for a couple more years anyway.

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

Don’t mess with the X.