Your letters: WrestleMania, TakeOver and more




WHO SAID THIS about The Undertaker in an interview with Power Slam, prior to WrestleMania XXX in 2014?

“I know other people think it’d be cool to do The Undertaker vs. Sting next year and then for ’Taker to bow out in front of 100,000 fans in Texas in 2016. But, to me, I think [his match with Brock Lesnar] really should be the last ride.

“If The Undertaker is back in a few years’ time, doing even tag matches at WrestleMania, I’ll take a shovel to his head — for real this time. The man has done enough. It’s time. It happens to us all, believe me: I’m 49-years-old, and my last match was a long time ago. Enough is enough. Let him go out 22-0, let him be remembered the way the fans want to remember him, undefeated: never done before, will never be done again.”

As readers of The Power Slam Interviews Volume 2 will be aware, that quote belongs to Steve Austin.

Three years after ‘Stone Cold’ urged The Undertaker to call it quits, ‘The Dead Man’ finally bowed out after his loss to Roman Reigns in the main event of WrestleMania XXXIII on April 2, 2017.

Undertaker obviously wasn’t undefeated at ’Mania when he squared off with Reigns at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida on Sunday: Brock Lesnar had cancelled the Streak at ’Mania XXX in 2014. How much more of an epoch-making WrestleMania moment might it have been, had Reigns ended The Undertaker’s undefeated Streak and forced him into retirement in the same match?

One might contend that if Reigns had performed that double whammy on Sunday, he would have received an even frostier response from WWE’s diehard audience on Raw the next night. To that, I can only ask: would it be possible for anyone to be jeered and insulted more in a wrestling setting than Reigns was on Monday? (And, yes, Reigns is still WWE’s lead babyface.)

While you digest that one, I’ll hand you over to the visitors to powerslamonline.co.uk.

The following are the letters we have received concerning WrestleMania, TakeOver and more . . .



My opinion of the matches at WrestleMania on April 2 . . .

The cruiserweight contest between champion Neville and challenger Austin Aries was a perfectly reasonable opener.

The Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal made no sense to me. Rather than have Big Show or Braun Strowman go over, they went with Mojo Rawley because he had a celeb pal [New England Patriot Rob Gronkowski]. What? Kudos to the blonde security lady for thinking she was doing her job against such a large guy. Lol.

A.J. Styles vs. Shane McMahon was okay — but I expected more. Shouldn’t A.J. have “schooled” Shane before he made a mistake, leading to Shane’s desperation offence starting, before A.J. recovered for the finish? That didn’t happen. It felt like A.J. was barely able to defeat Shane, annoyingly.

Both the women’s matches were throwaway nonsense. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that Bayley should have ended Charlotte’s winning streak on pay-per-view and captured the title at WrestleMania.

I thought Randy Orton had stripped Bray Wyatt of his powers by burning Wyatt’s house down and driving a crucifix into the ashes, above the resting place of Sister Abigail. So, how was Wyatt able to project images of maggots and crickets onto the ring in his World title defence against Orton? I hate the muddled way this story has been told. 

Why didn’t Samoa Joe stare down Seth Rollins at the end of Rollins’ match with HHH? Had HHH sold a post-match injury, Joe could have run out to protect him, as the commentators speculated about what might happen on Raw the next night.

Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar would have benefitted from a few more power moves, but it did the job required. I’m hoping Finn Bálor is the one to dethrone Brock now.

Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker was boring, and the tombstone reversal botch was a joke.

The Streak should never have ended in 2014. If Undertaker had to lose at ’Mania, then it should have meant something. Brock Lesnar was a monster before he beat The Undertaker; he didn’t need the win three years ago.

Had Roman turned heel in The Undertaker match, at least it would have made the outcome worthwhile. Reigns could then have walked out on Raw and barked, “I respect ’Taker, but I beat him. What I don’t respect is the WWE Universe booing me for doing what had to be done. You’re all jealous of me. You people suck. This is my yard now, and there’s nothing you or anyone else can do about it.”

The mixed tag team match was a waste-of-time set-up for John Cena’s marriage proposal. Next season’s Total Bellas will be totally riveting now, right? Yawn. 

I will state that it was great to see ‘Broken’ Matt and Brother Nero. Hopefully, they will be able to perform their gimmick properly in WWE. 

In a nutshell: ’Mania was far too long and not very good. 

j2thabill



I thought WrestleMania XXXIII was an enjoyable spectacle, which delivered almost everything it should have.

The one thing it failed to provide was a full-on Roman Reigns heel turn, which was a missed opportunity, in my opinion. They made the right move by having Reigns go over, but they should have pulled the trigger and had him heel it up in his victory over ‘The Dead Man’. And, yes, if only the Streak had still been intact!

The final moments of the show in which ’Taker signed off on his career was a true WrestleMania moment. To Mark Calaway, I say: Thank you for the 25 years of entertainment you gave me since I became a wrestling fan in 1992. What a career he had.

Neville and Austin Aries delivered the kind of goods you would expect from two men of their calibre. I’m hoping this was the beginning of a series between the two, which could establish the cruiserweight division as a genuine force in WWE.

It came as no surprise to me that fans sided with supposed heel A.J. Styles against ageing non-wrestler Shane McMahon. Fans cannot truly dislike a worker as great as Styles. While Shane had too much unrealistic offence for my taste, the match was a damn good way to kick the show off, and Styles emerged from it looking red-hot. He will surely now chase bigger and better things — including another World title run.

The return of The Hardy Boyz was as electrifying and well-received as one would expect. WWE is in a tough spot, however, as fans want them to be ‘Broken’.

Kevin Owens’ win over Chris Jericho was enjoyable, but the U.S. title is pointless and needs to disappear.

John Cena’s legit proposal to Nikki Bella after the mixed tag match was a nice touch.

Seth Rollins came out of his gruelling brawl with HHH looking like a lion. Rollins was a big winner at WrestleMania XXXIII.

While the action was solid and the match interesting, Randy Orton’s victory over Bray Wyatt seemed like a massive anticlimax. It’s hard to get pumped over somebody winning his 13th World title.

Wyatt as champion was exciting because it was fresh. As talented and consistent as Orton is, we’ve been here many times before. Another title run for ‘The Viper’ feels inescapably stale.

Brock Lesnar’s victory over Goldberg was as good as it could have been, under the circumstances.

I was pleased to see that no young full-timers were required to put legends over in crowd-pleasing yet wasteful beat-down angles. Speaking of which, with ’Taker obviously retiring and Cena going part-time, WrestleMania can no longer be the kind of legends’ show it has been in recent years — a development for which we can all be thankful. Perhaps a new era truly did begin in WWE on Sunday night.

While Samoa Joe’s absence from the card was perplexing to some, he can now make the transition into what is sure to be a red-hot feud with Seth Rollins, and begin climbing the ladder in preparation for a major WrestleMania match of his own next year.

On a final note: it would have been interesting to know what was going through Kurt Angle’s mind as he watched the show, knowing deep down he could wrestle circles around many on the current roster, given the chance.

Two nights later . . .

Shinsuke Nakamura pretty much owned SmackDown Live on April 4. He already has everyone buzzing, and he has yet to officially begin working matches on the main roster.

What I like most about Nakamura is the way he is being presented. There is no cheap heat-seeking, flag-waving, salt-in-the-eyes, devious manager, Geisha girl, kimono or standard Oriental theme music. This could be a first for a Japanese wrestler on the main WWWF/WWF/WWE roster.

With Nakamura, it appears the company has finally progressed beyond the Orient Express’ “Pearl Harbor” sneak attacks, Yokozuna’s xenophobia, the Funaki/Kaientai comedy, and the atrocious Kenzo Suzuki. Even Yoshihiro Tajiri, who did have a successful mid-card run, was introduced as William Regal’s “house boy”, and was never allowed to demonstrate that he could speak perfect English.

Shinsuke Nakamura is an interesting wrestler who just happens to be Japanese. That’s it. This presentation is both refreshing and long overdue in WWE.

James Mills



The Hardy Boyz’s appearance at WrestleMania XXXIII was a truly jaw-dropping moment.

How TNA must have looked on in envy at the reaction The Hardy Boyz received in their own backyard . . .

Michael Hayler

TNA/Impact Wrestling had first refusal on Matt and Jeff: they were under contract to TNA, as everyone knows. According to Matt’s missus Rebecca, Matt and Jeff wanted to extend their business relationship with TNA/Impact Wrestling when their contracts expired in late February, but TNA pushed them away.



Roman Reigns ended The Undertaker’s career at WrestleMania . . .

And didn’t turn heel on Raw the next night . . .

Even after he had been booed worse than Cena ever was.

Vince is never turning Reigns. Never.

David Millard



My WrestleMania musings:

Overall, it was a fairly decent show. The tag team title, SmackDown women’s and A.J. Styles (hardest worker on the show, as usual) vs. Shane McMahon matches were the highlights, in my opinion.

It was also pleasing to see Brock Lesnar easily defeat Goldberg, instead of vice versa.

But here’s the problem I had with the show. I mean, no disrespect to Roman Reigns, but how in the blue hell did Vince McMahon decide that he was the right man to retire The Undertaker? Surely, after 27 years this genuine legend deserved a more worthy opponent (John Cena, Randy Orton, Kane, etc.). In the end, though, it didn’t really matter: ’Taker did what he had to do his way, and was allowed to walk away with his head held high.

The first match I ever saw was the elimination match, featuring The Undertaker’s debut, at Survivor Series 1990, and I was completely taken aback. I kept an eye on the wrestling scene for many years after just to watch the various incarnations of ‘The Dead Man’.

I don’t know if The Undertaker wrestled his final match on Sunday, but if he did . . .

’Taker, your presence alone MADE that show. You will be missed. Enjoy your retirement, sir. You earned it.

WWE will never see another like him.

Deiniol Ap Dafydd

Vince McMahon publicly appointed Roman Reigns to the position of star wrestler/standard-bearer/flagship/John Cena Mark II at Royal Rumble 2015.

As Vince’s chosen one, Reigns was the only possible candidate to R.I.P. The Undertaker.



I’m going to take a different approach to reviewing both NXT TakeOver: Orlando on April 1 and the main card portion of WrestleMania XXXIII. In order to determine which was better, I’m going to operate on a points system in which I will compare matches from TakeOver with WrestleMania’s Raw and SmackDown brand matches. The points will be allocated thusly:

Best match in comparison: Up to 2 points.
Second place: Up to 1 point.
Worst match: 0 points.

So, let’s start with . . .


The World title match

Bobby Roode (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura: NXT championship match (TakeOver: Orlando)
vs.
Goldberg (c) vs. Brock Lesnar: Universal championship match (Raw ’Mania)
vs.
Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Randy Orton: WWE championship match (SmackDown ’Mania)

I’m not going to pretend that Roode vs. Nakamura was better than their San Antonio bout, because it really wasn’t and, on the list of NXT championship bouts at TakeOver events, I’d rank it in the bottom half. That said, it was still a great match, and superior to the two other matches here, which is the reason it earns two points.

I was really disappointed by Orton vs. Wyatt, which was spectacularly dull. Clearly, more time was invested in creating pretty cool special effects than a good match between the sworn enemies. Therefore, it receives zero points.

Goldberg vs. Lesnar, on the other hand, surpassed my expectations, and was an enjoyable sequel to their 86-second match at Survivor Series 2016. Nevertheless, I’m going to dock half-a-point because it’s still Brock Lesnar ending the night as Universal champion after everything that happened last year in his matches with Dean Ambrose and Orton. That lingering distaste means the match receives just 0.5 points from me.

Scores so far: TakeOver, 2 points; Raw ’Mania, 0.5 points; SmackDown ’Mania, 0 points.


Women’s championship match

Asuka (c) vs. Ember Moon: NXT Women’s championship match (TakeOver: Orlando)
vs.
Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax: Raw Women’s championship fatal four-way elimination match (Raw ’Mania)
vs.
Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Naomi vs. Becky Lynch vs. Carmella vs. Mickie James vs. Natalya: SmackDown Women’s championship six-pack challenge match (SmackDown ’Mania)

Sorry, but the Raw Women’s title match should have been a lot better than it was. Sasha Banks’ failure to make it to the final two, and the way Bayley was able to drop Charlotte were a major downer. The elation I thought I could have gotten from this match was nowhere to be found. Regrettably, zero points for these women.

In contrast, the SmackDown Women’s championship match was well worked, despite the limited amount of time it received, and it was a feel-good moment when Naomi won.

But neither the Raw nor the SmackDown matches could compete with the NXT Women’s championship match. The finish of the bout was excellent. Asuka is an absolute boss, and Ember Moon still has credibility as a future challenger. I very much look forward to return bouts, either one-on-one or in multi-person scenarios with Nikki Cross and/or Ruby Riot.

Two points, then, for Asuka vs. Moon, and one point for the match won by Naomi.

Scores so far: TakeOver, 4 points; Raw ’Mania, 0.5 points; SmackDown ’Mania, 1 point.


Tag team championship match

The Authors Of Pain (c) vs. #DIY vs. The Revival: NXT tag team championship triple threat elimination match (TakeOver: Orlando)
vs.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (c) vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Enzo Amore and Big Cass: Raw tag team championship fatal four-way ladder match (Raw ’Mania)

Now, because SmackDown doesn’t have a representative here, I’m reducing the maximum number of points awarded to one.

I’m not gonna lie: I thought that Raw match was utterly brilliant, and not just because I have a supreme fan boy weakness for ladder matches and the Hardys. I’d definitely call it the match of the night and, with all the brilliant spots that happened, I’d rank it high on the list of WrestleMania ladder matches.

That said, I still feel the TakeOver match has to be considered superior, once again. It seems that every time a TakeOver happens, the bar in the tag team championship bout is raised. The Authors Of Pain are utter beasts, and I am so going to miss the Revival in NXT.

So, TakeOver scores one point, but that WrestleMania match was so awesome that I’m giving it a half-point as well.

Scores so far: TakeOver, 5 points; Raw ’Mania, 1 point; SmackDown ’Mania, 1 point.


The non-title matches

SAnitY vs. Tye Dillinger, Ruby Riot, Roderick Strong and Kassius Ohno (TakeOver: Orlando)
And
Aleister Black vs. Andrade Almas (TakeOver: Orlando)
vs.
Seth Rollins vs. Triple H (Raw ’Mania)
And
Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker (Raw ’Mania)
vs.
A.J. Styles vs. Shane McMahon (SmackDown ’Mania)
And
John Cena and Nikki Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse (SmackDown ’Mania)

This is where TakeOver struggles. As much as I liked the eight-person tag match, I couldn’t help thinking that Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot would have been better served in a singles match, and that with fewer bodies in the ring, the match could have been even better. What’s more, it was somewhat dispiriting to witness Dillinger eat the pinfall yet again. I love SAnitY, and definitely support the decision for them to be victorious but, as someone who really wants Dillinger to succeed, I have mixed emotions.

Also, as cool as Aleister Black looked in his entrance and in the ring, his match was still a standard TakeOver debut match. As enjoyable as it was, I honestly feel it should have been better. In any case, I award it one point.

Overall, I feel that SmackDown produced better matches. I massively enjoyed Styles vs. McMahon. Mr. and Mrs. Mizanin vs. the soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. Cena was exactly what it needed to be: an entertaining match in which Miz looked competitive, with a great big feel-good moment at the end. Congratulations to the happy pair! And with that, SmackDown ’Mania is awarded two points!

Rollins vs. Triple H was decent, but it should have been shorter. At least Rollins looked strong at the end and can look credible in the future, whether it be on Raw or SmackDown, depending on what happens next week.

But Reigns vs. Undertaker? No one benefitted from this match; it was horrible to watch. ’Taker looked like a pathetic old man, which dashed any hopes of Reigns elevating his status.

I wholeheartedly believe ’Taker should have faced A.J. Styles, who has the Midas touch, as we’ve seen again and again. Reigns, meanwhile, should have locked horns with Samoa Joe. It would have been a far better match-up. So, needless to say, absolutely no points are granted here. 

Scores so far: TakeOver, 6 points; Raw ’Mania, 1 point; SmackDown ’Mania, 3 points.

I will, however, grant Raw one extra point for its highly entertaining United States championship match between Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho, which was far superior to the lifeless effort put forth by Dean Ambrose and Baron Corbin over the Intercontinental title.

Final scores: TakeOver, 6 points; Raw Mania, 2 points; SmackDown ’Mania, 3 points.

So, TakeOver beats WrestleMania.

As far as brands go, NXT is definitely more engaging than Raw. SmackDown, I feel, had the better night of the two main roster brands and, given the recent call-ups from NXT, could soon surpass the quality of the TakeOvers with its SmackDown brand-specific pay-per-views.

Jon Milne



I thought TakeOver: Orlando was another solid effort from the NXT brand.

The opening eight-person mixed tag match had some really good spots. I genuinely feel that SAnitY could be a dominant faction, so I was pleased to see them pick up the win. I particularly enjoyed the interaction between Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot. It’s just a shame they didn’t have more involvement in the match.

Aleister Black had an impressive entrance and a mysterious air about his character in the way he sat in the ring after his victory. His match with Almas was good as well. I thought it was a successful debut.

The triple threat tag match for the NXT tag title was excellent and the crowd was red-hot — until DIY was eliminated. It should be interesting to see who steps up next to challenge The Authors Of Pain, since “no one likes them”!

The match between Asuka and Ember Moon was fine — though I was hoping to see Asuka lose, because I would love to see her debut on the main roster.

The main event was another really good match between Bobby Roode and Shinsuke Nakamura. It will be intriguing to see if Drew Galloway/McIntyre challenges Roode straight away. Looking down the roster, it’s hard to imagine who Roode will face next, if not McIntyre.

I thought Drew might have confronted Roode after the match. Will he at the next set of NXT television tapings?

I’m also curious to see how Nakamura is used on the main roster. According to the rumour mill, he’s due to debut on this week’s SmackDown Live. I can’t wait for that.

Steve Mitchell
Dundee



THIS IS THE final update on powerslamonline.co.uk.

I will be closing the website next month.

I would like to extend my gratitude to everyone who submitted correspondence to the site over the years.

Special thanks go to everyone who purchased one or more of my three wrestling eBooks.

Findlay Martin