1. Brock Lesnar (c) vs Roman Reigns (Universal Championship Match WrestleMania 31)

Seven years ago today, I started this Hammy Reviews blog! So what better day to start a daily feature! ‘A Wrestling Match A Day’ covers, well, a wrestling match a day! I’ve always been a WWE fan, but I’m pushing myself to watch other promotions (I have neglected Japanese wrestling, for example). However, today…I’m starting with WWE!

The main event of this year’s WrestleMania (well, the second night…) is Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns. For the third time, they’ll main event WrestleMania. But how do their previous two matches measure up? I’ll start with their first ‘Mania main event, at WrestleMania 31. At the time, Reigns was suffering from Cena-itis…i.e. the crowd hated him as a babyface. Just listen to the boos as he comes down the (never-ending) ramp. He’s supposed to be the good guy here, yet Lesner is the one who is cheered throughout the match! And, let’s be honest, Lesner was never the most popular wrestler after his return in 2012. If he’s not challenged in a match, he’ll just punch, suplex, rinse, repeat. There are exceptions, of course, but on the whole, you know what to expect from a Lesner match.

And what you expect is exactly what you do here; the story is meant to portray Reigns as the hero who will never give up, even after being beaten to a pulp. But the crowd love Reigns being beaten to a pulp! The mental dissonance trying to follow the story of the match is overwhelming (as it was with every John Cena match!). Heroes are supposed to be cheered, not booed! Fans believed that Reigns was the chosen one, pushed to the main event over other, more deserving people (if I remember correctly, Reigns had defeated massive crowd favourite Daniel Bryan to secure his place in the ‘Mania main event). And they (mostly) hated him for it.

That’s the second most memorable thing about this match; the crowd reaction for Lesner (and against Reigns). The most memorable thing about this match is, of course, the Money in the Bank cash-in by Seth Rollins. You can forget everything about the match, fast-forward it until Reigns hits his Spear and both wrestlers are laying down on the mat, struggling to get up. One of the greatest moments in ‘Mania history? Undoubtedly.

And it undoubtedly reduces the previous ten/fifteen minutes of wrestling to nothingness. It’s not an awful match, by any means. Just a typical Lesner match more memorable for the crowd reactions and the Money in the Bank cash-in than anything else.

Hammy’s Rating: *** (out of 5)

Click here for more of ‘A Wrestling Match A Day’

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