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[2015-03-29-WWE-Wrestlemania XXXI] Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns

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One of the 3-5 best matches in the history of the company. Shockingly violent and stiff with top notch action and a great build to Reign's comeback. I know sometimes Brock is perceived as an offense machine but his character work, mannerisms and selling can be as good as anyone's. If only this had a proper finish. Screwy finishes in things like Shawn/Foley or Fujinami/Maeda don't usually hurt the matches but here the match felt incomplete because of the run-in. Still this is fantastic. ****3/4

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It's interesting how a match that had as many F5s and Spears as it did never felt like finisher spam. Credit has to go with character work and selling involved, along with the pacing. Brock popping off an F5 early and treating Reigns like a joke plays well into building a hole for Reigns to get out of. And what a selling performance from Reigns. Brock's lariat cutoff is incredible as was him actually displaying a variety of suplexes instead of just germans. Reigns progressively wearing Brock down was awesome and the staggered selling Brock breaks out for the superman punches was phenomenal. You buy Reigns having to bust out multiple spears because it's Brock that you can understand the spear going back to being protected against other guys. Finish/Rollins involvement is what it is but that wasn't even 10% of the match so I can't really deduct anything off that and it's not the worst way to involve the briefcase. Still 2015 MOTY.

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During the build-up to this match, I was fully on the anti-Reigns camp, and I, 100% expected this to be a total shitshow, similar to Goldberg/Lesnar from 2004 - but what I got instead was the greatest main event match in WrestleMania history. Just amazing brutality, the beatdown by Brock was absolutely glorious, and Reigns' selling of that was pretty much perfect. Brock's mannerisms & facial expressions during that beatdown were amazing as well. Reigns had some really good character work in it too - I really liked the whole 'smiling-when-getting-beat-up' shtick, it was really awesome & added to the match. His hope spots were good, and the big comeback towards the end when he busted Brock open with the ring post & then gave him those awesome Superman Punches (which Brock sold like such a pro) was fantastic. Then we get to the only negative thing about this match. This would be an easy 5-star match for me if it weren't for the goddamn Seth Rollins MITB cash in. When it happened, I totally marked out for it, but it's not kind of a moment (for me at least) that I still care about, as I am not really a fan of Rollins. With a legit finishing run this would be one of the top-10 matches in the company's history. MAYBE even top-5. It was that damn good. But even with that stupid MITB gimmick ending, this was outstanding, and a true classic. ****3/4

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WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns - WrestleMania XXXI

 

"Think shoot, but work" - "Stone Cold" Steve Austin

 

I have not spoken about that mantra much, but the first minute of this WAR epitomizes the essence of great pro wrestling: "Think shoot, but work." How many pro wrestling matches have we seen Brock Lesnar start by bullrushing his opponent, double legging him and then driving him hard into the corner. Roman looks to head him off at the pass. This looked like two rams colliding and locked in a heated clash for supremacy. It was chaotic. It was organic. It had me three years later pumping my fist. The way Brock ended up manhandling Roman in the corner was great. Brock comes out with a mouse under his eye that gets worse & worse as the match progressing and blood dribbling down from his cheek. Brock phases Roman and then chucks him out of the corner. F-5!!!! BOOM! Playing right off the Cena Summerslam 2014 match. The key to Lesnar's lopsided defeat of Cena was that early F-5. Cena had some hope spots but he never recovered and Brock ran away with it in a squash. Here it was the same thing. I will say Brock looked in phenomenal shape in this match. His throws looked amazing. There was great variety like the Fisherman Suplex throw and the overhead Belly to Belly from the apron to the ring. Just insane strength. He commanded that ring. I thought Roman's hope spots were incredible. Everything had zip on it. The back elbow and then those two HUGE punches to the mouse under Brock's eye. Brock had some great strikes as well some really great kneelifts. My favorite spot of the match which is the spot I remember the most from this match is when Roman catches Brock charging with a knee. Then Roman CRACKS Brock in the mouth hard with a knee drawing blood from Lesnar's mouth. This just serves to piss The Beast off. Brock catches Roman's leg on the apron and proceeds to OBLITERATE Roman with a lariat that would make Stan Hansen proud. I mean HOLY SHIT! What a LARIAT! He smoked Roman! What I love about this is that was a major turning point. There were no more hope spots after that. It was just pure decimation. I am going to bring my complaint now. So Brock having conquered Roman looks to put him away with the F-5 and Roman kicks out and defiantly smiles & laughs. There were a couple times before this where Roman was using the sarcastic smile/laugh to put over his defiance/resilience. I just don't like this as an artistic choice. I think it undercuts the match. If you are going to do defiance, do it like Hashimoto, BOW UP & BELLOW!

 

I thought the transition to Roman's comeback was pitch perfect. Roman was too deep in a hole. He needed some luck, something extra. It came in form of a shove into the post. Brock gets lacerated. Brock is just a mess, bleeding from the mouse under the eye, from the mouth and now from the forehead. I have said it before and I will say it again and I will let ring from the mountaintops, Brock Lesnar is the BEST SELLER in the WWE right now. That's where he makes his money. The way he sells the Superman Punches are amazing. He sells discombobulation so well. The way he flays. It generates so much excitement. You cant help but get on your feet, pump your fist because it feels like something crazy is about to happen. The Spears & Superman Punches were great. Catching Roman in the Superman Punch & the DEFIANT F-5 COMPLETE WITH BEAST ROAR WAS INCREDIBLE!!!! BROCK LESNAR IS ALL MAN!

 

At this point, Seth Rollins cashes-in Money In The Bank. I liked the finish a lot with Brock catching Rollins in the F-5, Reigns Spearing Brock while he had Rollins on his shoulders and then Rollins hitting the Curb Stomp on Reigns to win. I like the finish in the sense that if you are going to do the Money In The Bank Cash-in this was the best possible finish, but I would have much rather seen Brock vs Roman get a proper finish because it was an amazing, ultra-violent bout.

 

The Rollins stuff & the Roman laughing brings this down a smidge, but this is an awesome match. It is the Cena Summerslam 2014 match with the violence turned to 11. These two beat the holy hell out of each other. Watching it back I didn't think the heat segment went too long which was my complaint when I watched it live. I thought the hope spots from Roman were great and well-timed. I thought Lariat on the Apron was a great turning point to Brock's Finish run and the Post shot was a great transition to Roman's finish run. From the post-shot to the F-5 of Defiance is some of the best pro wrestling ever. Brock Lesnar is The Man! ****1/2

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WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns - WrestleMania XXXI

 

 

So Brock having conquered Roman looks to put him away with the F-5 and Roman kicks out and defiantly smiles & laughs. There were a couple times before this where Roman was using the sarcastic smile/laugh to put over his defiance/resilience. I just don't like this as an artistic choice. I think it undercuts the match. If you are going to do defiance, do it like Hashimoto, BOW UP & BELLOW!

 

 

 

I can understand not digging it but personally, I thought it worked perfectly from a narrative and character standpoint. Like the guy who knew he was way in over his head but would rather get killed than give up. A middle finger in the face of adversity. It played into Brock's growing frustration beautifully too.

 

Building off my initial review, I'll say this is easily Top 5 for the company even with the goofy finishing stretch. And from a booking standpoint, and I think it's sort of obvious in hindsight, they really really should have pulled the trigger with Roman here. It would have instantly made him the ace (considering this was the peak of Lesnar's invincibility) and they could have avoided the entire 3+ year mess that followed.

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"A middle finger in the face of adversity." He should have used the middle finger! :P

 

I am only being partly facetious. I agree that is what they were going for without using the middle finger. But he should have done it in a different way besides laughing in my opinion. Still an excellent match of course.

 

I agree with your booking analysis. :)

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The Wrestlemania Theater version of this is incredible. Really makes the match feel even more epic with the cinematic angles and the streamlined commentary.

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This really is one of the best matches there have ever been. Lesnar, bloody face & all, selling the stun & shock perfectly receiving those Superman Punches by Reigns is one of my favorite things EVER - Brock's selling in it is just otherworldly, and the blood added a lot to it. Everything else in the match is amazing too - Brock's beatdown is terrific, one of his best ones, Reigns sells his ass off & I love the smiles & smacktalking he gives to Lesnar throughout, as he is getting the shit smacked out of him. Lesnar's storytelling with his facial expressions is absolutely tremendous - at first he is liking that Reigns isn't going down easily, but as he kicks out of the 2nd F5? That's when Brock goes "alright, I've had enough of this shit" - then the gloves are off (AWESOME moment) & he smacks Reigns some more, and shortly after gives him a third F5. Reigns kicks out, then Brock takes him outside w/ plans on punishing him more, but Reigns shoves him to the post, which leads to that Superman Punch sequence that I mentioned, and it's just ahhhh so good. In the past viewings of the match, I've always thought that Rollins' cash-in takes something away from it, and who knows, this could've been even better without it, but it definitely is one of the best gimmick endings to a 1-on-1 match ever. Up there w/ the first HIAC. *****

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Reigns is one of the few guys who looks like a total boss TAKING a beating. He smirks at Lesnar while getting the shit suplexed out of him. Lesnar gets an F5 earlly, but is in no rush to pin as he wants to hurt Roman. He doesn't spam the Germans, instead he opts to attack Lesnar with an array of violent knees and clotheslines during the early portion of the match. Brock eats a ring post and bleeds like a pig. He sells his injury well, staggering around the place with a glazed facial expression. Reigns gets in a few hope spots before Lesnar catches him in an F5.

I'm a big fan of the Rollins cash-in spot. I knew Rollins was going to get involved some how, but I didn't expect him to do it while the match was still going on. The ending made Lesnar look strong while losing the belt and opens the door to a future Lesnar vs Reigns match. 

★★★★★

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