WWE WRESTLEMANIA 35 KICKOFF SHOW RESULTS
APRIL 7, 2019
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. AT METLIFE STADIUM
STREAMED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY MIKE F. MEYERS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Kickoff Panel: Jonathan Coachman, Sam Roberts, Paige, John “Bradshaw” Layfield
After the panel gave a complete rundown of tonight’s matches, we cut to Pat McAfee and Charly Caruso in a different area of the arena. Pat was wearing a white tuxedo jacket, and the camera panned back slightly to reveal he was wearing a pair of black shorts to match his shirt. Pat said he was excited about the Roman Reigns comeback story, then threw back to the main panel, who went on to discuss the Reigns-McIntyre match.
We cut backstage to Kayla Braxton who was with Xavier Woods and Big E. Woods said that Kofi wouldn’t squander this golden opportunity, and Big E said Kofi’s “tank” is full for his match against Daniel Bryan. Woods and Big E repeated “Let’s go, Kayla!” over and over and excitedly left the room, continuing to scream in the background off camera.
Edge and Christian now joined the panel to further discuss the Kofi-Bryan match. Edge was supportive of Kofi’s cause, saying he was going to break through the glass ceiling tonight. Christian, on the other hand, claimed that Kofi had been comfortable cruising along for 11 years, and this championship opportunity just “fell in his lap.” Edge indicated that Sam looks like Dean Ambrose was caught in a dryer with Krusty the Clown’s wig.
(1) BUDDY MURPHY vs. TONY NESE – WWE CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Match Announcers: Nigel McGuinness, Vic Joseph, Aiden English
The champion Murphy entered first for some reason, and the match started with a flurry of punches from both wrestlers. Murphy had Neese in a fireman’s carry position sat atop the top turnbuckle, then leapt off while launching Neese upward to land on the top ropes. Murphy then laid in some kicks and a chinlock to Neese in the middle of the ring. The wrestlers writhed around on the mat, and Murphy planted some vertical elbows to Neese.
Neese got to his feet and escaped the hold by ramming Murphy against the corner, then executed a suplex to Murphy into the turnbuckles. Neese laid in a series of punches before leveling Murphy with an enzuigiri. Neese had Murphy staggered and draped over the middle rope, face-up, allowing Neese to land a springboard moonsault across the exposed Murphy. Neese covered for a two-count.
Neese had a groggy Murphy sat on the top turnbuckle, then climbed up into the suplex position but Murphy reversed the attempt, back-kicked Neese in the face, then carried him off the turnbuckle and slammed him to the mat. Murphy set up for the Murphy’s Law, but Neese reversed and rolled Murphy into a pin and two-count. Neese then landed an inverted hurricanrana, spiking Murphy onto his head. Both wrestlers remained down.
The wrestlers exchanged a series blows, misses, and blocks once again. Murphy eventually got the upper hand with a big clothesline that turned Neese inside out, but Neese responded immediately with a modified buster that looked quite devastating. Murphy rolled out to ringside, and Neese flew over the top rope and knocked Murphy to the floor. He moved Murphy back into the ring and landed a 450 splash for a cover and two-count.
Neese ran at Murphy, now prone in the corner, but Murphy leapt up and intercepted Neese with a running knee. This allowed Murphy to land the Murphy’s Law on the stunned Neese. It led to a believable pinfall, but Neese got his boot on the bottom rope to stop the count.
Murphy ran at Neese but Neese was the first to strike with a superkick to Murphy’s jaw. He turned Murphy around and landed a German suplex, sending Murphy head-first into the bottom turnbuckle. Neese crossed the ring, then sprinted at Murphy, planting both knees into his opponent. Murphy slumped to the mat and Neese covered for the three count.
WINNER: Tony Neese by pinfall.
(Meyers’s Analysis: Plenty of nonstop action, as is expected. Despite there being nearly two hours before the main card begins, most of the crowd had filled in the seats near ringside and they responded quite well to the first Kickoff match. Fans of 205 Live should definitely check this out.)
Charly and Pat conducted an interview with two hosts of ”Impractical Jokers.”
Jerry Lawler joined the main panel, who was now discussing the Miz-Shane McMahon match.
(2) WRESTLEMANIA WOMEN’S BATTLE ROYAL
Match Announcers: Percy Watson, Vic Joseph, Renee Young
The majority of the participants made an unceremonious entrance, en masse, with generic music playing. Naomi and Asuka were the exceptions, getting individual entrances and their own music.
Cross and Asuka squared off early in the match, in a moment, that might’ve been significant in a non Kickoff situation. Asuka eliminated cross by bumping her off the ring apron.
Naomi and Moon were the next pairing to get featured competition in the middle of the ring, and Moon eliminated Naomi by executing a neck breaker over the top rope. Moon was eliminated by Lana while setting up on the top turnbuckle. Lana was sporting a new shoulder-length haircut and a Wonder Woman-inspired outfit.
The three members of Riott Squad combined their efforts to eliminate Lana. Sane landed her big elbow drop on Logan, but the Squad again teamed up to eliminate Sane. The Squad’s attention then moved their attention to Vega, Asuka, and Brooke. A brief “Dana Brooke” chant could be heard, and Brooke fended off all three members of the Squad before going on a small tear of eliminations.
Deville, Asuka, and Logan were the final three in the Royal. Asuka dominated both wrestlers with fast paced offense. Asuka eliminated Deville, then Logan tossed over Asuka, and began to celebrate. Carmela suddenly appeared from out of nowhere and desperately attempted to throw Logan over. After some back-and-forth struggling on the apron, Carmela knocked Logan to ringside with a superkick.
WINNER: Carmela by elimination.
(Meyers’s Analysis: Surprising that Logan was anywhere near the final grouping of women, but fitting that Asuka nearly went the distance. Carmela was comically pleased with her trophy that was awarded to her in spite of such a non-valiant effort. The match was wise to not run any longer than it did – there was no downtime like used to happen in Rumbles and battle royals of the past.)
Shawn Michaels and David Otunga joined the panel, replacing Paige and JBL. Michaels did the classy thing by adding a black tie to his white tee-shirt and black leather vest combo. He spoke briefly about the previous night’s Hall of Fame ceremony, and spoke highly of Chyna in particular. The revamped panel took another quick look at the main card’s matches. Michaels commented on the Batista-Triple H match: “Dave is somebody who always felt that Hunter kept him down. Somebody help me make sense of that!” Michaels swiveled and said that Batista didn’t leave WWE on his own terms, so he has a sense of unfinished business.
(3) THE REVIVAL (C) vs. CURT HAWKINS & ZACK RYDER, WWE RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Match Announcers: Corey Graves, Michael Cole, Renee Young
Following with the Kickoff trend, the champions got to the ring first. Dawson started off against Hawkins, as Michael pointed out Hawkins’s 269-match losing streak. Dawson locked Hawkins in a side headlock, then fired off, ran the ropes, and rolled up Hawkins for a two-count. Dawson taunted Ryder on the apron, saying, “That’s your partner! Sorry!”
Ryder tagged in and locked up with Dawson. Dawson backed him into a corner and refused to give a clean break, landing two shots after the ref called for the split. Wilder tagged in and absorbed a drop kick from Ryder, then Dawson tagged back in to regain control. Wilder tagged in and landed an elbow drop to Ryder, who was draped over Dawson’s knee, Demolition-style. Wilder then locked an arm bar on Ryder on the mat, near the Revival’s corner.
Dawson tagged in and stomped Ryder’s hand against the canvas. Dawson raked Ryder’s face, planted a vertical elbow, then locked in another arm bar variant. Ryder got to his feet and executed a vertical suplex. Since this action was near the Revival’s corner, the stunned Dawson was able to quickly tag in Wilder to quell Ryder’s momentum. Wilder put another arm bar on Ryder, but Ryder got to his feet, spun round in circles and used the centrifugal force phenomenon to fire Wilder into the corner.
Ryder nearly got to his corner, but the Revival intercepted and brought him back across the ring. Wilder covered Ryder for a two-count, then taunted Hawkins some more. Wilder tagged in Dawson, then took down Ryder with a drop toehold, allowing Dawson to land an elbow drop. Dawson executed some of his heel moveset against Ryder, who was draped over the middle rope. Wilder tagged back in and covered for another two-count.
Ryder threw some desperate punches at Wilder, but Wilder took him down with a snap mare, then blew sarcastic kisses to the crowd before putting another chinlock on Ryder. Ryder eventually got to his feet and broke free with a back suplex, then finally made a hot tag to Hawkins while Dawson tagged back in. The fresh Hawkins immediately leveled Dawson and Wilder with forearms and drop kicks. He applied a backslide to Dawson into a pin for a two-count.
Dawson ran the ropes, and the wrestlers clotheslined one another. Ryder tagged back in and lined up for the Rough Ryder, but Dawson saw it coming and ducked beneath the move. Wilder tagged in, and Ryder suplexes him over the top rope, sending both wrestlers out to ringside. Hawkins rolled his partner in, then tagged himself in to quickly pin Dawson, but Dawson kicked out at two.
Outside of the ring, Dawson landed a brain buster to Hawkins. All four wrestlers were prone on the floor as the ref began the count. Dawson rolled Hawkins under the bottom rope then crawled in after him. A very loud “Let’s go, Hawkins!” chant resounded through the stadium. Dawson slapped at the seemingly unconscious Hawkins’s face, then Hawkins sprang to life to roll up Dawson with a surprise pin and three-count.
WINNERS: Hawkins & Ryder by pinfall.
(Meyers’s Analysis: A great tag match that featured the Revival working definitively heel. The Revival deserve better than a Kickoff match, which leads to the bigger question surrounding this match: Why was it moved from the main card to the pre-show? Also, does the Revival’s loss have anything to do with Wilder’s involvement in the antics involving Bret Hart and his in-ring attacker at the Hall of Fame ceremony?)
(4) ANDRE THE GIANT MEMORIAL BATTLE ROYAL
The unnamed mass of Main Event-talent entered as one group, then the SNL duo got their own entrance. They walked slowly down the ramp, looking bewildered at the crowd, with images of their own faces imprinted on their tights. Matt and Jeff Hardy then entered to their own music, followed finally by Brawn Strowman.
The bell rang and chaos ensued. Che and Jost immediately departed under the bottom rope and rolled to safety beneath the ring. Harper and Strowman squared off in the middle of the ring, which got some reaction from the crowd, but the mass of other wrestlers quickly overtook their face off.
After a mostly-predictable series of mass eliminations, the field finally narrowed down to Strowman and both Hardeys. The Hardeys had Strowman set up on the apron in a double-suplex position, ready to launch him out to ringside. The SNL lads took this opportunity to slink back into the ring and aided the Hardeys in their efforts, but Strowman mule-kicked Che and Jost backward into the ring, then shoved the Hardeys off the apron to the floor.
Strowman slowly turned around the face the comedians as the crowd began to heat up. Jost asked for a microphone, and was met with boos. He told Braun, “There are other solutions. Not everything has to end in violence. That’s why I’ve invited my therapist. I want you guys to work through some of this anger.” A suited man approached Strowman and began speaking to him face-to-face. Strowman tossed the therapist across the ring, then choke slammed him before tossing him into Jost in the corner.
Jost yelled for Che to “Get him!” Instead, Che climbed over the top rope to escape but Strowman grabbed him by the shirt and slap him across the face and then down to the floor. This left Strowman alone with Jost. Jost dodged a big boot, which caused Strowman to get hung up over the top rope. Jost sprinted in to flip him up and over for the victory, but Strowman’s size was too much. Strowman backed off of the ropes and hoisted Jost up onto his right shoulder, then with a running start he launched Jost like a javelin over the top rope and onto the remaining crowd of wrestlers at ringside.
WINNER: Strowman by elimination.
(Meyers’s Analysis: The match was mostly predictable chaotic battle royal action, with a couple really cool eliminations. Che and Jost were handled appropriately by being absent for most of the action, and they each played their roles adequately in the match’s endgame. It was also a slick move to involve Jost’s “therapist,” no doubt a local wrestler, to take the more serious bumps from the angry Strowman. Nice job by everyone, for a match with mostly comedy elements.)