WWE’s answer to the Superbowl, WrestleMania 33 came and went, and there is already another major PPV on the cards. WWE Payback for the Raw brand is scheduled for April 30, 2017, and looks very appetizing.
WrestleMania 33: History was made once again
Before we start thinking about the Payback PPV, let’s take a look back at the spectacle that was WrestleMania 33. It was perhaps one of the most historic WrestleMania events of the new millennium. We could even say that every year, history is made but this time around we did see an end of an era. Two matches on the card would see one superstar each bid farewell to the WWE Universe.
The man known as the Phenom, the Deadman, and the Lord of Darkness can now finally rest in peace after one hellacious battle with young superstar Roman Reigns. We are talking about none other than the Undertaker. The Deadman, after losing for the second time in his career at WrestleMania, took off his hat, gloves, and other ring gear and left it on the mat. He was seen walking off to the back in front of over 70,000 fans at the Camping Worlds Stadium in Orlando, Florida and millions watching on PPV and the WWE Network.
The future of the Undertaker
It’s now widely expected that Undertaker would be inducted into the Hall of Fame next year but that remains to be seen. WWE is full of surprises but considering what we saw on April 2, we are highly doubtful the 52-year old ring veteran will make a comeback. The match itself was not as exciting as it could have been. Roman Reigns win over Undertaker seemed paler in comparison to the loss to Brock Lesnar. Lesnar became the first to break the legendary streak at WrestleMania. That match sent shockwaves in the entire WWE Universe.
Brock Lesnar had the pedigree and the strength to break the Undertaker’s streak but the match against Roman Reigns was a watershed. The fact it was his last one and his farewell to the fans was the only selling point. Perhaps it’s a sign that the Deadman has realized the time has come to pass the torch to a new generation. It’s the end of an era and it took 27 years in the making. It was the 1990 Survivor Series when Undertaker made his debut as part of Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase’s team and he rides off into the sunset at WrestleMania 33.
It was Undertaker’s Last Ride and now the tombstone can be firmly placed in his name. We may see him return again once he is inducted into the Hall of Fame, which could be very likely next year. The WWE 2K18 video game could perhaps have a Showcase mode of his best matches- a career retrospective of sorts. I miss the gray and purple gloved Taker, as well as his American Badass biker attire. The Funeral Parlor is shut for good.
Brock gets his revenge
Moving on, Brock Lesnar finally avenged his Survivor Series loss against Goldberg at WrestleMania. That match lasted a lot longer than the minute long matches we were used to. Brock Lesnar delivered 10 suplexes to get the job done. Goldberg took the loss well and it was great to see him get his behind kicked for a change. Although I’m a Goldberg fan, I was glad to see both monster superstars giving it all. We saw enough punishment from both sides. Goldberg would eventually speak to the WWE Universe on Monday Night Raw for perhaps the last time. It sounded less like “goodbye” but more like “see you later.” Hopefully, we do see him return to the squared circle sooner than later.
Team Xtreme returns!
Another highlight of WrestleMania 33 was the surprise return of 90s tag team superstars Hardy Boyz. Matt and Jeff Hardy made their much-anticipated return to WWE as the fourth team in the tag team ladder match. The dynamic duo ended up winning the Raw tag team titles. The original Team Extreme sans manager/valet Lita showed they still can kick it old school with the new crop of tag teams. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, Big Cass and Enzo Amore, and Cesaro and Sheamus were shown why the kings of extreme still reign supreme.
Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho are scheduled to compete on the Payback PPV after the showdown at WrestleMania. The two former best friends will compete in a grudge match. Jericho now has a chance for “payback” after losing to the US Champion Kevin Owens. Y2J is a proven competitor who has decades of experience in professional wrestling combined at WCW and WWE. That’s the only scheduled match at Payback. However, we do feel that the impact of Mania will be felt over the next few weeks. We could see the likes of Hardy Boyz and perhaps even Brock Lesnar feature at the PPV.
Shane o’ Mac gets schooled by the Phenomenal One
AJ Styles and Shane McMahon and tore the house down at Mania but it was the former who lost. Shane o’Mac proved he has the chops to be a wrestler but his lack of experience against the Phenomenal AJ Styles was too much. Styles is on the SmackDown brand so we will not see team feature at Payback.
WrestleMania was the showcase of immortals and the granddaddy of them all as it has been billed each year. This time, we said goodbye to legends and welcomed back old friends. Hopefully, Payback comes up as a worthy follow-up to Mania for the Raw brand.