WWE

WWE WrestleMania 30 Results: Winners, Grades, Recap and Highlights

Jonathan SnowdenCombat Sports Senior WriterApril 6, 2014

WWE WrestleMania 30 Results: Winners, Grades, Recap and Highlights

1 of 10

    via WWE.com

    Twenty-nine years ago, WWE boss Vince McMahon bet big on a mainstream wrestling spectacular called WrestleMania, an event that would help launch his company past all competitors, securing his status as the king of all promoters. WrestleMania was a long-term difference-maker, giving McMahon the edge on rivals like Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling. 

    Today, it seems like the ultimate no-brainer. Of course WrestleMania would be a hit. After all, we've seen it 29 times, each incarnation seemingly bigger and better than the last. It's always the biggest show of the year and an annual tradition.

    But in 1985, plotting and scheming in its Greenwich, Conn., headquarters, WrestleMania was far from a sure thing, even for the masterminds behind it.

    "The first WrestleMania is probably something I would've never had to the courage to have done on my own," WWE CEO Linda McMahon told WWE 50 author Kevin Sullivan. "...It was a gamble. We really hocked everything we owned for WrestleMania I, because in those days it was closed circuit. So in every arena where we offered closed circuit, we had to rent projectors, landlines for microwave transmission of the event...We assumed every bit of that risk."

    At WrestleMania 30, for the first time in decades, the WWE shifted the paradigm. The risk, as it was in 1985, is huge. Rather than distribute the show on pay-per-view, a time-honored delivery platform that has made the company hundreds of millions of dollars, WWE has shifted the show onto its new online WWE Network. 

    The WWE, once again, is on the cutting edge of technology, gambling that its fans are ready for something new. Instead of paying up to $70 for a high-definition pay-per-view broadcast, WWE is asking for $9.99 per month with a six-month commitment to the WWE Network. For a similar price, you get not just WrestleMania 30 but a 24-hour streaming network and an a la carte selection of every WWE pay-per-view in history, all on demand.

    The risk, in many ways, is even bigger than it was in 1985. After all, there's a lot more to lose today. Failure, simply put, is unthinkable. Once again, the WWE is in a must-win position. 

    The stakes, as you can see, are high. Daniel Bryan won the WWE championship and Brock Lesnar ended the Undertaker's iconic streak. But for the company as a whole, the real battle was behind the scenes. The future of the wrestling business depends on it.

    We won't know those results for some time. We can tell you what happened in the ring in what was a very entertaining show. What follows is our trademark instant analysis and letter grades from A-F.

    Disagree with our assessment? Feel free to sound off in the comments.

Fatal Four Way Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship

2 of 10

    via wwe.com

    Result

    Los Matadores were eliminated when Jack Swagger caught a Matador in the Patriot Lock; Cesaro eliminated Ryback/Axel when he dropped Ryback with the Neutralizer; The Usos retained the Tag Team titles when they pinned Cesaro with a double splash off the top rope. 

    After the match, Swagger berated Cesaro and tried to put him in the Patriot Lock. Manager Zeb Colter tried to make peace, but Cesaro used the Giant Swing on Swagger, ending their union.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "They may not see day 35." —Jerry Lawler on the Usos' 34-day title reign. We once measured title reigns in years. Now it's mere days. Yes, I'm old.

    "We the people! We the people!" —the WrestleMania crowd, showing their support for the great Cesaro, no doubt.

    El Torrito's flying crossbody off the top rope, leaving all nine men lying outside the ring.

    Curtis Axel's variation of his dad's iconic bump against the ropes. Ah, sweet, sweet nostalgia.

    Flying Usos. In stereo.

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    It's no secret I don't like this kind of match. Too many guys standing around, too may contrived spots, nobody really having a chance to shine—it doesn't do anyone any favors.

    But once it was down to just the Usos and the Real Americans, a pretty special match broke out. The Usos aren't one of the great technical teams of all time, but they have enthusiasm. That can carry a match a long way.  

    The Real Americans are a great team, but their time has passed. Antonio Cesaro is on his way to bigger things. Like it or not, the tag team division is a starting point in the WWE Universe. Cesaro is ready for the next step.

Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin and The Rock Introduce WrestleMania

3 of 10

    via WWE.com

    Result

    Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin and The Rock banter back and forth. And it is awesome.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Let me tell you something brother!" —Hulk Hogan being Hulk Hogan. It's WrestleMania, y'all!

    "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan are standing nose-to-nose. I am legitimately on edge. This is amazing.

    The Rock is out now too. He's not wearing skinny jeans. He just makes regular jeans seem inadequate.

    "My life is now complete." —JBL after the three legends all say their catchphrases. Stop the show. It's peaked.

     

    Grade

    A+

     

    Analysis

    This was incredible. The three biggest stars of the WrestleMania era, all in the same ring at the same moment. If you're a wrestling fan, I guarantee there were chills running up and down your arms.

    WrestleMania moments don't get much better than this.

    My only concern is this—doesn't this make everything that follows seem small? Hulk Hogan took wrestling mainstream. Austin and Rock built on his foundation and made the business bigger than it's ever been. 

    Triple H was never a star on par with Rock or Austin. John Cena, hard as he tries, is no Hogan.

    And Daniel Bryan?

    Over as he is, he may not meet this high standard. In this company, among the best of the best, he may truly be a "B+" player.

     

Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H

4 of 10

    via WWE.com

    Result

    Daniel Bryan pinned Triple H with a flying knee to earn his spot in the main event. After the match, Stephanie McMahon and then Triple H attacked Bryan in vicious fashion.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    Triple H came out looking like a bedazzled Hannibal Lector or a third-rate Conan the Barbarian. Either way, it was pretty cool.

    Daniel Bryan is wearing furry boots. I have no further comment.

    "Yes! Yes! Yes!" —the crowd, apparently answering a single question—is Daniel Bryan over?

    "He's got a smug smirk on his face." — Lawler on Triple H. I'm pretty sure that's just what he looks like.

    "The brain doesn't rust." —JBL, as Triple H works the arm like he was Ole Anderson.

    Triple H meets Bryan's suicide dive with a hard right hand. Great spot.

    Tiger Suplex! Tiger Suplex! Tiger Suplex!

    "Nobody does it like you, Hunter!" —Stephanie McMahon is a great ringside manager.

     

    Grade

    A+

     

    Analysis

    Triple H and Daniel Bryan decided to work a technical match. A heated technical match, but a technical match nonetheless.

    It seemed a strange choice to culminate on of the most heated feuds in recent memory. But you know what? It was pretty special!

    Normally, Triple H's greatest failure is his ego. He sees himself as the heir to Harley Race and, in truth, technical wrestling is not his strength. In his mind, he's a throwback to the 1970's. In his heart, however, he's a blood-and-guts brawler.

    It's this disconnect that can sometimes creates a gulf between Hunter and the crowd. The result is the kind of match he sees as a classic, but that makes everyone in the audience sit on their hands.

    But here, he was really on his game. Hunter was reversing holds, nailing esoteric Japanese-style suplexes and really delivering one of his best matches in years. Bryan went over clean, then Hunter got his payback after the match. You couldn't really ask for more from this.

The Shield vs. Kane and the New Age Outlaws

5 of 10

    via WWE.com

    Result

    The Shield pinned Billy Gunn after a triple powerbomb on both members of the New Age Outlaw.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    Michael Cole may be a little in love with the term "Superman punch." 

    Roman Reigns speared Billy Gunn and Road Dogg at the same time. Nifty.

    "Wrestling the Shield is like being married to Larry King. You know it's going to be painful, but at least it doesn't last long." —Lawler earns a legitimate laugh.

     

    Grade

    C

     

    Analysis

    It would have been impossible to follow the great Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan match and, in all honesty, they didn't even try.

    More than likely Bryan and Hunter went over time. The result was a great match. Unfortunately, the Shield paid the price. This came and went before I could really settle in, get comfortable and enjoy it. It might as well not have happened at all.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

6 of 10

    via WWE.com

    Result

    Alberto Del Rio, Sheamus, Big Show and Antonio Cesaro are the final four. Cesaro won the match by picking Big Show up and throwing him over the top rope.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    Goldust and Antonio Cesaro take opposite approaches. Cesaro is practically worked a match with Sheamus. Goldust attempted to do as little as possible. Not sure which is smarter.

    "Sheamus is not a ballroom dancing fan." —JBL as the big Irish lug beat the hell out of Fandango.

    Cesaro eliminated Rey Mysterio after a huge European uppercut. 

    Kofi Kingston is tossed a mile—but his feet never technically touch the floor.

    "Kofi's children are going to be born dizzy." —Lawler. He has jokes.

    Cesaro won and the crowd exploded in joy. 

     

    Grade

    A

     

    Analysis

    Wow! Hardcore fans have dreamed about a WrestleMania moment like this for Cesaro. Few believed it was possible. 

    So often it feels like the WWE isn't listening to fans. Tonight they had their ears on. Cesaro is the future. This is just the beginning for what might end up being a Hall of Fame career.

Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena

7 of 10

    via wwe.com

    Result

    John Cena pinned Wyatt with an AA after an even back-and-forth match.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    Sure, we've seen it a thousand times, but never quite like this. The Wyatts have one of the coolest entrances in WWE history and the wacky band behind it being there live only upped the ante. 

    Instead of "You Can't See Me," John Cena's shirt said "You Can't Stop Me." Who says his character never changes?

    "Be the monster you are, John. Finish me." —Bray Wyatt, on his knees, trying to bring out the evil in Cena.

    Wyatt launched Cena with a combination suplex/body slam.

    "Go to sleep, John." —Wyatt, being extra creepy.

    Wyatt countered the Five Knuckle Shuffle by doing a crabwalk. Super weird.

    Cena with a flying crossbody off the top rope to the floor on the entire Wyatt Family.

    "He's got the whole world in his hands." —all that wrestling talent and Bray Wyatt has a singing voice too. 

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    After the highspot to end all highspots, Cesaro tossing Big Show from the ring, this match seemed designed in the beginning to bring the crowd down. They worked at a super slow pace, at times so glacial it seemed like nothing was happening at all before picking things up for a hot finish.

    That might have succeeded, especially if the fans were more invested in the feud and the commentators had done a better job helping tell the story. There was some pretty solid action here and a potentially intriguing storyline involving Cena's commitment to the moral good.  

    But the live audience, and their online counterparts, seem just about done with Cena. Even after the match picked up, they never quite regained the crowd. Like Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar at last year's WrestleMania, they would have been better off wrestling in an empty arena. 

Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker

8 of 10

    via WWE.com

    Result

    Brock Lesnar ended the streak by pinning the Undertaker with an F5.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    Paul Heyman's video promoting this bout was absolutely incredible. It may have come too late to help sell the show, but credit where due. Amazing work.

    The Undertaker came out looking like a roadie for the band Queen in 1982. There was smoke, lightning and caskets getting set on fire. Just your average, amazing Undertaker WrestleMania entrance.

    "You're looking at the most incredible performer in WrestleMania history." —Michael Cole. Shawn Michaels sat up in two of those coffins and shook his head angrily.

    Lesnar showed no mercy early, landing a brutal overhead belly-to-belly suplex. 

    Brock secured his status as the world's sweatiest man. There is no prize.

    "There's a pall over the arena." —Michael Cole. That's not a pall. That's palpable boredom.

    Lesnar counters Old School with an F5 for a cool near fall.

    I'm all for safety, but Taker missed the Tombstone on Lesnar by a good two feet.

    The crowd gives the Undertaker a standing ovation as the streak, and likely his career, come to an end.

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    Wow. 

    There are a million reasons the time wasn't right to end the streak, first and foremost being that it just doesn't feel like the right thing to do, now or ever.

    But all the greats go out on their back—it's considered the right thing to do for business and the Undertaker has always been a standup guy. When it came time to ring the bell on a great career, he went out the way he's been taught is right. You have to commend him for that.

    Wrestling is all about evoking emotion. While it was no classic match, no one can deny Lesnar and Undertaker did at least that much. In the audience, grown men cried. On his way to the back, Lesnar winked. It was an amazing contrast.

    As an actual wrestling match, this can be described in a single word—methodical. Let's be honest, though—the actual details of this bout will fade. The finish is the only thing that matters. And it was amazing.

Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational

9 of 10

    via WWE.com

    Result

    AJ Lee made Naomi submit with the Black Widow to retain the Divas title. 

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "I've never been in a 14 Divas match. What the hell do you think?" —JBL, for once unable to bring his own experiences to the broadcast booth.

    "Still in shock." —Michael Cole not quite accepting the streak is over. The crowd, booing randomly, seems to be right there with him.

    "My eyeballs are having a pleasure overload." —Jerry Lawler. Two decades as WWE's lead colorman and still creepy as ever.

    Bella Twins with stereo suicide dives. It's not enough to win the crowd.

    For a moment, the Bellas battle each other. It's supposed to feel epic, but can anything manage that after the Undertaker's streak ended?

     

    Grade

    B-

     

    Analysis

    This was a palate cleanser, designed to help the crowd forget what they had just seen. There were some highspots, some bodies hit the floor and then it was time to move on. Let's do the same.

Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship

10 of 10

    Bryan winning earlier in the night, via WWE.com

    Result

    Daniel Bryan made Batista tap out to the Yes Lock to become the new WWE champion.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    Bryan does the "Yes" chant with just one arm. Damn you, Triple H!

    Even in a business built on questionable fashion choices, I have to call foul on Batista's ring gear.

    Randy Orton stands and poses after dominating both of his opponents. If wrestling was a legitimate sport, old man newspaper columnists would be sharpening their knives. 

    Bryan, unceremoniously dumped over the top rope by Batista, came flying back into the ring with a diving headbutt.

    Triple H and Stephanie pull the referee out of the ring to prevent a Bryan win. Crooked referee Scott Armstrong enters the match but Bryan kicked out.

    With a suicide dive, Bryan took out the entire Authority and the crooked ref. Triple H responded with a sledgehammer, but Bryan turned the tables on him. This plot is moving along quickly!

    "CM Punk! CM Punk!" —the SuperDome crowd chanted for their other hero as Batista and Orton combined a Batista Bomb and RKO through the announce table.

    "You okay?" —Batista to Randy Orton, who landed on a monitor after the big highspot, cutting his back open.

    Bryan, in a neck brace, jumps off the stretcher taking him to the back and reenters the match.

    "The Yes Movement dies tonight." —JBL. Perhaps, just perhaps, prematurely.

     

    Grade

    A

     

    Analysis

    As Daniel Bryan celebrated his victory, with the crowd chanting "yes" in unison with him as fireworks exploded and confetti fell, it felt a bit like an ending, not a beginning.

    The main WWE storyline, ongoing for eight months, culminated with the hero triumphant—just the way wrestling stories are supposed to. WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross echoed that sentiment on Twitter, saying that nothing beats a happy ending that makes sense. For the moment, all is well in the WWE Universe.

    For long-time fans, there was a feeling of deja vu.

    Ten years ago, at WrestleMania XX, another undersized wrestling machine cried in the ring as his life's dream was realized on the grandest stage of them all. Bryan is Chris Benoit redux, a second chance for the WWE to pay tribute to the unsung workers, those masters of craft who convince even the most jaded that wrestlers are true athletes after all.

    Bryan, like Benoit, is likely not the WWE's future. He's a great performer who will always find a place on the card. But he's no Stone Cold or The Rock. He's a placeholder. So, enjoy this moment. It's not forever, but it's for now. And that's something worth cherishing.

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