Top five surprising moments at WrestleMania 31

MANILA, Philippines - In 1985, Vince McMahon and his company World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) envisioned an annual extravaganza that would package both contact sports and entertainment.

McMahon’s vision gave birth to WrestleMania, widely regarded as the Super Bowl of professional wrestling and sports entertainment today. Through the years, “The Grandest Stage of Them All” has brought talented performers to millions of people around the world and athletes who defied physical limitations and managed to be hero epitomes to some.

76,976 fans stormed the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California on Monday, March 30 (PH Time) to witness the 31st edition of WrestleMania.

(AS IT HAPPENS: WrestleMania 31)

Many say that WrestleMania 31 was hard to forget because WWE gave the audience what it craved, as they went home satisfied but wanting for more, with voices hoarse yet relishing the moment.

There were many jaw-dropping incidents at WrestleMania this year, starting from Seth Rollins’ title-winning performance to the successful return of The Undertaker, which marked indelibly in people’s minds.

Rappler’s resident wrestling writers noted five significantly stark moments at WrestleMania 31.

Joe’s top five surprises

5. Rusev coming out for the match riding a tank

If that's not the coolest surprise of the night, you're a weirdo loser who doesn't like fun.

4. Ronda Rousey getting into the ring

At first, you couldn't really make a big deal of the WWE showing Ronda Rousey in the front row; she was still under contract to UFC, and the two companies have a bit of a cold war going on, so there was no way this was going to be anything more than a nice little cameo spot. It, however, turned out to be the coolest Chekhov's gun of the night. Proving that the world (more specifically, the business of sports entertainment) doesn't work the way we think it does, Rousey is not only allowed to get in a WWE ring for a WWE segment, but she is allowed to own it. The Rock facilitates Rowdy Ronda's foray into the pro wrestling world, and Triple H establishes her by not only diving, but pretty much killing himself to make her look good (considering that he refused to do that to a man older than himself earlier in the night). If this was allowed to happen, then this won't be the last we'll see of Rousey in the, ahem, squared circle.

3. The Undertaker looking better than before

The Undertaker not only showed he could still make an exciting match; he showed he could turn back the clock. Photo from WWE.

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You can't kill what's already dead, but apparently the dead can grow stronger. 'Taker looks much, much better than he was than in last year's squash, prompting me to wonder whether it was a wake-up call. Him not retiring is a lot more believable now, and if he could spend another year without breaking down in a major way, he could go on longer than his written expiry date.

2. The main event

The ending was all kinds of awesome and then some, but whether you love Roman Reigns or you hate him, you have to give him the requisite props for hanging in there, if not having enough balls to stiff Brock Lesnar in order to have a match that exceeds most people's expectations of them. (Speaking of the stiffing, I figure that it was agreed upon so as to silence any critics.) It was a great match even before Seth Rollins ran down. The cash-in itself was very satisfying because it produced a result all of us (well, most of us) could more than live with in a way that so brazenly changed the rules. I'd been thinking of such a scenario for the longest time now; I just never thought they would do it. Or could do it. Most of us probably thought it was too novel for the WWE, and that made it all the more satisfying when it happened. Even when they look bleakest, there is always time to fix things.

1. The card being efficiently solid

There were a few storylines people wanted to see culminate; specifically, Goldust vs. Stardust and Miz vs. Mizdow, but the omission of singles matches for these did everyone involved a favor. Had these happened, they would've never been the matches we wanted to see from our imaginations because of the minutes they would and wouldn't have, not to mention minutes taken away from the other matches on the card, which ended up being the best card it could possibly be, given circumstances. For a WrestleMania with what most people called a terrible build, everything worked out just fine.

Nissi’s top five surprises

5. Stellar pre-show on WWE Network

There is always a chance on the pre-show that the matches will be nothing but forgettable filler for its entirety, but it turned out as a great way to start off the festivity. The fatal four-way match had a lot of energy and made it appear that the tag team titles were really worth fighting for.

WWE had battle royals on numerous occasions at WrestleMania, but this one would certainly go down as one of the memorable over-the-top-rope elimination brawls. Yes, a lot of fans were disappointed that from all people in the roster, Big Show walked away with the André the Giant memorial trophy. He may have won the contest, but the true standout of the match was definitely Damien Mizdow. Mizdow took necessary steps to initiate the next phase of his feud with The Miz, which will undoubtedly continue over the coming weeks leading up to the Extreme Rules pay-per-view.

4. Ronda Rousey

Well, she was in attendance for “The Showcase of the Immortals” as a wrestling fan, but nobody expected that she would step in a WWE ring courtesy of The Rock. Not only that, UFC’s female bantamweight titleholder executed a judo throw on Triple H and appeared that she was going to lock Stephanie McMahon with her signature armbar submission.

3. Orton converts Rollins’ curb stomp into RKO

WHAT AN RKO!!#WrestlemaniaLike WWE Vines for more!-K$ Posted by WWE Vines on Sunday, March 29, 2015

It would have been easy to overlook this contest due to the focus on Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, Sting and others, but Randy Orton and Seth Rollins managed to deliver.

After a thrilling ladder match for the WWE Intercontinental championship, it was expected that this match between Orton and Rollins would have a slower pace, but it did not need to be spot after spot to delight the audience and burdened by too many false finishes to play with the viewer’s emotions.

The match was more about the performance than the result as both competitors impressed on the big stage. However, the best part of this bout is definitely the decisive finish when a curb stomp was turned into an RKO to a rounding applause. 

2. DX and nWo in one ring

DX vs the nWo was a Monday Night Wars clash nearly 20 years in the making. Photo from WWE.

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If you are still disappointed that Sting lost in his WWE debut, look at the other side of the coin as we witnessed D-Generation X and New World Order in one ring. For years, wrestling fans have played fantasy booker and put these two factions into one match.

Sting had the Scorpion Deathlock locked in before Billy Gunn, Road Dogg and X-Pac interfered to force the WCW figurehead to break the hold. However, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan arrived to even the odds.

But wait there’s more! As Sting had Triple H in the Scorpion Deathlock again, Shawn Michaels came out of nowhere to deliver the Sweet Chin Music.

DX and nWo having a tug of war inside the same ring truly sent wrestling fans back in time.

1. Seth Rollins cashing in to capture world title

Despite losing his match against Randy Orton, Seth Rollins had his WrestleMania moment that will be remembered for generations to come.

Rollins did something that nobody else has ever done by cashing in his Money in the Bank contract not only at WrestleMania, but while a match between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns was going on.

Giving the victory to either Lesnar or Reigns would absolutely spark a debate regarding on whom is the most deserving to win, but Rollins threw his wrench into that situation that put a big smile on a lot of faces. - Rappler.com