So, it’s been almost ten hours since WrestleMania came to it’s epic conclusion. Epic as in runtime, if nothing else. By the time we saw Roman Reigns win his third WWE title, the majority of the (legitimate) 93,000+ crowd in Dallas were left feeling drained, and wondering just what on earth they saw.

Some thoughts from the show:

You’d never have known it from watching on TV, but there were endless reports of numerous issues with fans actually getting inside AT&T Stadium – doors opening late due to power and WiFi issues, fans being moved around outside at random, being told to go to another gate after finally making it to the front of the queue, and then spending forever trying to get to their seats once inside. There were endless photos from inside the stadium on Twitter, including fans watching the start of the show on their phones on the WWE Network because they couldn’t get to their seat. No matter how much you paid for your seat, that’s just plain wrong, and a massive black mark against the organisation of what’s meant to be a world-class stadium.

Our review – which is almost as long as the show itself – can be seen elsewhere on this site, but before WWE heads into Raw tonight in search of what many feel is their annual “Get Out of Jail Free” card, and perhaps finish off a few storylines that really should have been cleared last night.

Zack Ryder winning the Intercontinental title was a real long shot – in our preview, had been offering as much as 50/1 on him winning – but in spite of Zack getting his delayed WrestleMania moment, what did it achieve? It was a stark contrast to what we had last year where WWE placed the Intercontinental title on Daniel Bryan as a way to make the title a more legitimate secondary belt. As much as Ryder winning would have meant a lot more five years ago, there’s an overriding feeling that this is only a transitional change, with a lot of people expecting Ryder to drop the title to somebody perhaps as early as Raw tonight.

Chris Jericho and AJ Styles put on a match that was technically sound, but struggled at times to keep the crowd’s attention. Perhaps it was because we’ve seen multiple combinations of this match, be it in a short feud, or their brief tag-team run. On paper, Styles probably should have won and moved onto another feud, but Jericho’s victory means that we’re looking at the continuation of even booking between these two, and more than likely a blow-off match at May’s Payback show.

In hindsight, the League of Nations vs. New Day match was good for two things: one was the New Day’s entrance out of a massive box of cereal, and the other was for the apparent burial of no less than seven main roster guys by a three-some whose best days are a speck in their rear view mirrors. The match struggled to keep the crowd’s attention, which can’t be a surprise given how badly the League of Nations had been built up. This was one of the potential spots for the appearance by the Rock, given his ongoing feud with Rusev and Lana during his prior appearances on Raw, but in the end we got the surprise appearances of Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley and Steve Austin to lay out the League of Nations with their finishers, before turning their sights onto the New Day. As far as giving a “WrestleMania Moment”, it served it’s purpose for this show, but in future Raws, you’re not likely to see either of those three for some time.

Speaking of part-timers… Brock Lesnar’s win over Dean Ambrose made sense, but given how one-sided it was, Ambrose was left in perhaps a worse position than he was going in. I can see how WWE’s trying to make him like a mixture of Mick Foley and Steve Austin, being an anti-authority but crazy individual. That being said, at least Foley and Austin won big matches – save for his Intercontinental title win over Kevin Owens at TLC last December, and successful defence at the Royal Rumble, Ambrose has come up short in every big singles match he’s had. Where Ambrose goes from here remains to be seen, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he became the latest Lex Luger in terms of the fans giving up on him.

As for the newly-revived Women’s title, let me put forward a scenario. You’ve got a heel who’s held the belt for over six-months… you’ve got one babyface who’s been cultivating a strong following, and another who got a loud reaction at the Royal Rumble, and was sang to the ring by her famous cousin… and then she lost.  The match itself was absolutely fine – in my mind, the best on the card – but as for the result? I would have picked any other decisive result than Charlotte winning.

Ah, Shane McMahon. Your surprise return got people talking. It had people salivating at the prospect of a brand split. Then extra stipulations were added – and once we were told that Undertaker’ll never wrestle at WrestleMania again if he lost, the result was pretty much clear. When they were inside the cell, the match was slow and plodding, and once they busted outside the cell, it became a stunt show. Thankfully, the much-rumoured stunt involving a 45-foot drop seemed to have been limited to a 45-foot drop for the Shane McMahon dollar-bills… and an elbow drop from the top of the cell through the English announce table. Spectacular, yes, but in terms of a match, it plodded. It dragged. It painted Shane as an unstoppable killing machine who was able to withstand weapon shots, falls from the cage, and even reverse a Gogoplata submission into a Sharpshooter. Can’t wait to see that being used in the UFC in the near future!

Given how much was supposedly riding on this, there was a shocking lack of storyline here. No involvement from Vince, nor from Stephanie or Triple H (who would supposedly have been fired had Shane won). It just came across as a thirty-minute long ego massage in the form of a stunt show, which whilst impressive to watch, left no positive outcome.

They finally used the Andre the Giant battle royal to create a new star… and it was Shaquille O’Neal! Okay, so I’m joking, but at least we now know why this got moved from the pre-show up to the advertised semi-main event slot. For a battle royal, you can’t really do much, but there’s a lot of questions over the choice of guy that was called up from NXT and put over here. Baron Corbin? With no build? I’d love to have been around the meetings for this decision:

Vince – We need to call up someone from NXT and have them win the Andre battle royal. Who’ve you got?
Hunter – We’ve got Joe… we’ve got Balor… we’ve got Mojo… we’ve got Baron
Vince – I like that name, I’ll take him! Is Baron big?
Hunter – Yes, but he lost on Friday to someone who’s ready for the main roster, but he’s about a foot shorter
Vince – Damnit Paul, I don’t care about that. Is Baron big?
Hunter – Yes…
Vince – Then he’s getting the win

So much for my dreams of him actually getting a long build to his debut

The Rock’s eventual appearance turned out to be another ego stroke, and a way to announce the not-as-fake-as-you-think attendance number. Yes, 101,763 isn’t the real number, but with over 93,000 in the building, WWE actually shattered the fake attendance number from WrestleMania 3.Problem was, this had to lead to something other than a “give yourselves a big hand” spot, and since we hadn’t seen the Wyatts, it led to Erick Rowan getting a surprise WrestleMania match. And a six second squash. Yet another WrestleMania Moment™, but at the result of guys on the full time roster. Bravo!

Speaking of the full time roster, did nobody in creative think “yeah, John Cena will get a good pop for his return… but didn’t he and Rock have a blood feud for two years not too long ago?”

Oh Roman Reigns and Triple H. The fact that we were deep into an over-run didn’t help things, particularly with a crowd that had already been in the building for seven hours. On TV, it seems like there was an awful lot of sound sweetening and mic muting, and whilst they finally had a match lead to the right result (at least as far as the storyline went), you can’t help but feel that Roman Reigns is just the wrong guy for this spot.

They’ve tried for almost two years to make Roman “the man”, but the larger WWE fanbase just don’t want him in that spot.  Now, you can say “yes, this is the biggest collection of hardcore WWE fans you’ll get”, and you’re right. But it’s not like WrestleMania was the only night that Reigns has been booed. Reigns has been booed at the vast majority of shows he’s been pushed at, so you have to question the business smarts of someone who continually promotes someone in a position that their paying audience repeatedly rejects. I can’t help but wonder, if WWE didn’t have the safety net of the Network – and had to rely on pay-per-views for their main income feed – would they remain so willing to promote someone their wider audience rejected, especially when a protest move is easier to do?

Will the fans stop going? Of course not. One bad main eventer doesn’t ruin a whole show (even if it feels like that). The WWE undercard still contains some gems, and a whole lot of potential… problem is, this is the same spot that WCW was in in the late 90s. Average at-best main events, and a solid undercard, and we know how that story ended up…

With that, it’s become oh so clear that WrestleMania is no longer the show where storylines climax, and new stars are made… but rather a night where we’re looking forward to random returns from stars from the past. In a sense, a lot like the original WWE/ECW One Night Stand in 2005. And yes, that was some ECW fans’ “WrestleMania” in some senses…

Actually, one more “and finally”; and I’ll be covering this in more depth in my recap of the mixed weekend the independent scene had over WrestleMania…

This wasn’t exactly a banner weekend for paid-for news sites. Yes, the whole point of rumours is that they may not be right, but to give updates on what “may happen” at WrestleMania and preface them all with “plans can change”… that’s just pure click-bait right there, in whatever format.

Still, at least it’s not as bad as the smattering of “independent websites” who were watching from the comfort of the press box. That kinda takes the edge off of any independence right there, don’t you think?