ORLANDO — Without saying a word, one of professional wrestling’s greatest legends seemed to announce his retirement to end WrestleMania 33 on Sunday.
After being beaten by Roman Reigns, The Undertaker left his gloves, jacket and hat in the middle of the ring and then kissed wife Michelle McCool outside the ring — a rare instance in which he broke on-screen character.
He walked up part of the ramp, looked over his right shoulder and extended his right fist in the air for an extended period of time before being lowered under the ramp as the familiar gongs that marked his arrival throughout his career reverberated.
WWE Hall of Fame announcer Jim Ross also made his return to the company and called the match after having done the deed for many of The Undertaker’s classic matches the past three decades. In retrospect, it was fitting Ross got the assignment, and it likely was a personal request by the Undertaker.
Sunday’s match was only the second time that the Undertaker has lost at WWE’s biggest event. He won 21 consecutive matches before losing to Brock Lesnar three years ago.
The Undertaker, 52, debuted in WWE in 1990 at the Survivor Series and has been one of the company’s most iconic characters, winning seven world championships.
The match against Reigns was changed to a no holds barred match with no disqualification, and chairs and the announce table all came into play.
Reigns hit The Undertaker with a number of Superman punches and spears before dashing from rope to rope to gain momentum and hitting a final spear. Reigns celebrated briefly at the end of the match, which capped a six-hour show, before heading the ramp as The Undertaker laid in the ring,. Slowly Undertaker rose, feigned exiting through the ropes before returning to the center of the ring to take off his gloves, trenchcoat and hat. It is a wrestling tradition for a retiring worker to leave his boots or some part of his apparel in the middle of the ring following the final match of their career.
WWE announced that the attendance of 75,245 broke the Citrus Bowl record, set by WrestleMania 24 in 2008 at 74,635. WWE said the event grossed $14.5 million, also a record for the highest-grossing event in stadium history. The previous mark was set by the Rolling Stones in 2015.
Here is a rundown of the event’s results:
Neville def. Austin Aries to retain the cruiserweight championship: Someone had to open the show during the 5 p.m. hour as fans were still coming into the stadium. The two men worked hard despite that fact, and Neville retained with the “Red Arrow” splash. Neville got his opening by putting his finger in Aries’ left eye. Aries had been sidelined for months with a fractured orbital socket before returning last month.
Andre The Giant Battle Royal: The favorites were The Big Show and Braun Strowman, but Show went out and then Strowman went out as they were ganged up on by the first of the competitors. Former University of Maryland football player turned WWE superstar Mojo Rawley got the victory with help from friend and New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski as Gronk get in the ring and speared Jinder Mahal. Rawley eliminated Mahal and then NXT’s Killian Dane for the victory.
Dean Ambrose def. Baron Corbin to retain the Intercontinental title: In the match moved to the Kickoff Show when the Smackdown women’s match shifted to the main card, Ambrose countered Corbin’s attempt at his finisher, the End of Days, with his own finisher, Dirty Deeds, for the victory.
A.J. Styles def. Shane McMahon: This match featured the crazy high-flying moves that you expect from McMahon. That included leaping from one corner to another to deliver a trash can to Styles’ face, leaping from the top rope for an elbow that missed on the announce table and missing a shooting star press. Styles then hit the Phenomenal Forearm for the first WrestleMania win of his career. Styles lost to Chris Jericho in his WrestleMania debut last year.
Kevin Owens def. Chris Jericho for the U.S. title: In an escalation of the battle of former friends, Owens added a fourth title to his WWE career. He has now held the Universal title, two Intercontinental titles and a U.S. title. Owens won the bout after hitting a powerbomb outside the ring, but the memorable sequence involved Owens stopping the referee’s count by reaching the bottom rope with one finger.
Bayley def. Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks and Nia Jax in a fatal four way elimination match to retain the RAW women’s title: After Jax destroyed the others, all three women worked together to eliminate Jax, setting up a potential two-on-one situation with friends Bayley and Sasha Banks against Charlotte. With Bayley and Sasha outside the ring, Charlotte used the corkscrew moonsault outside the ring to land on her opponents. Banks was later eliminated by Charlotte after being kicked into the exposed steel on the middle turnbuckle. That set up Charlotte vs. Bayley, who handed Charlotte her first pay-per-view loss (now 16-1) at last month’s Fastlane.
Despite being hung upside down from the top rope, Bayley was able to back drop Charlotte. Charlotte rebounded and charged but hit the post. Bayley pulled herself up and dropped a Randy “Macho Man” Savage-style elbow for a victory in her WrestleMania debut. The late Hall of Famer has been among Bayley’s inspirations. She wore a cape similar to Savage’s to the ring.
Hardy Boyz beat Enzo & Big Cass, Sheamus & Cesaro and Anderson & Gallows in a fatal four-way ladder match to win the RAW tag team championships: The Hardys returned to WWE together for the first time since 2010 to a enormous ovation in a ladder match, the type of match they made famous. Matt Hardy climbed to the top of the ladder and grabbed the belts. In the craziest move of the night, Jeff Hardy jumped from a giant ladder on to Cesaro and Sheamus, who were prone on ladders outside the ring.
Nikki Bella and John Cena def. The Miz and Maryse: The match ended with a double pin after Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment on Miz and Bella hit the Rack Attack 2.0 on Maryse. After the match, Cena proposed marriage to Bella. She said yes.
Seth Rollins def. Triple H: Rollins, who legitimately hurt his knee several weeks ago, gutted through a great performance against Triple H. When Triple H’s wife, Stephanie McMahon, tried to interfere, Rollins broke away and Triple H almost plowed into her. Instead he stopped and turned away, only to be pushed into Stephanie, who fell off the apron and through a table at ringside. Rollins was able to hit the pedigree for the win.
Randy Orton def. Bray Wyatt to win the WWE championship: Orton became a 13-time champion thanks to an “RKO Out of Nowhere,” ending Wyatt’s brief title run. Only Triple H (14 times), John Cena (16 times) and Ric Flair (16 times) have been world champion more often.
At three points, the lights went out with images of maggots, then worms and then cockroaches displayed on the mat.
Naomi beats Alexa Bliss, Becky Lynch, Natalya, Carmella and Mickie James to win the Smackdown women’s championship: Noami had to forfeit the title days after she won it at Elimination Chamber in February because of a knee injury. She was sidelined until returning on last Tuesday’s edition of Smackdown Live to enter the match. An Orlando native, she won the title by getting defending champion Bliss to submit. “I’m home,” she yelled after hoisting the belt.
This match was moved from the kickoff show to the main card, but ended up in a tough placement in between Brock Lesnar-Goldberg and Undertaker-Reigns.