by Frank Lucci
WWE 24 is a great concept for original programming on the WWE Network, but so far only a few episodes have been produced. Immediately following the Royal Rumble however, the WWE released a new episode following several superstars in the immediate lead up to WrestleMania 31.
How does it stack up to previous entries that chronicled WrestleMania 30 and NXT Takeover: Brooklyn? Spaceman Frank has the answers.
Authors note: Don’ t know why they subtitled this Silicon Valley. Is Santa Clara copyrighted? Why not just call it WWE 24: WrestleMania 31?
Sting is first, and as he arrives at his hotel there are dozens of fans waiting for him. Good guy Sting signs autographs and takes photos. Sting runs into Ricky Steamboat and they share some dad humor. Sting looks like a CEO of a tech conglomerate that always shows up to the office late because his morning workout went long.
We then see various WWE personnel doing press for a wide variety of outlets until we settle on Roman Reigns. Reigns talks about how he feels it is fate to headline WrestleMania in his favorite football teams (49’ers) stadium. One of the many production members Jason Robinson talks about the several week setup for the WrestleMania set. This is a huge production which is cool to see. In addition, we see how having a WrestleMania in the daylight affected the design of the stage.
Cue the Axxess montage. Several wrestlers are interviewed, but the highlight is Zack Ryder confronting a fan for buying Seth Rollins merch instead of his. The Ultimate Warrior statue is unveiled as we see the late legend’s ex-wife and daughters tear up.
Don’t blink because here comes the Hall of Fame montage. Although nothing too exciting initially as it is all footage from the ceremony with small bits of candid backstage talk. The highlight again being Ultimate Warrior’s and Connor the Crusher’s family being honored with a hard shift in emotion from the previous fun and excitement vibe from before.
We get to the big day and (shocker) everyone is nervous, particularly Seth Rollins (working his first singles match at ‘Mania) and Paige (wrestling in front of her mom). Cool guy Reigns drops an F bomb before we cut to the crew trying to get everything together hours before the event. My biggest question is how they got the tank for Rusev into the stadium, where the biggest disappointment of the show is that it ignores this completely. Good guy Sting continues to be super grateful to be there and Paige refers to Kid Ink and Travis Barker as “superstars” (right….).
Paige tries to knock out an interview only for Scott Hall, X-Pac, Kevin Nash (wearing a gold helmet of all things) and Shawn Michaels to drive into the shot on a golf cart.
Can we get a show featuring these guys just causing shenanigans?
We spend a long time seeing how the Triple H/Terminator entrance came together. This tidbit is fairly cool, but I thought his entrance was just OK when I saw it live (It ain’t no tank!). Several NXT guys are interviewed being super stoked that they get to wear masks and stand in the middle of the fog during the entrance.
Showtime! Paige continues to be nervous as we see the participants of the opening ladder match warming up (I guess pre-show match people didn’t warrant being shown). Luke Harper is briefly seen before they actually go into the match (Another missed opportunity: seeing how Stardust’s ridiculous outfit and bedazzled ladder came into being). We then get more focus on Paige being nervous, so much so you forget that three other women are in her match.
Next are some quick highlights of Rollins vs. Orton before we see Sting preparing for his WWE debut. Easily the highlight of the show, Sting is getting pumped for his match while trying to come to grips with the scale of it all. Vince McMahon gives him a hug and some words of encouragement as good guy Sting is just happy for the opportunity to be there. This is great stuff and really makes you fall in love with Sting as a person and not just a character. It’s also nice to see Stephanie McMahon yell “Get ’em, Sting” as the NXT guys cheer him on before his entrance to get him psyched ( The poor guy probably needed that based on his blank expression as the ‘Mania crowd is easily his biggest audience in a long time if not ever). Triple H enters and the match goes well. Wrestlers watch backstage looking like excited kids, especially John Cena with a big grin on his face (cue Hulk Hogan alert!).
Montage of random moments from the show are then dragged down by having to hear the lackluster live performance of the WrestleMania 31 theme song. We skip over Cena and Rusev’s US Championship match (why all the tank hate, guys?) and The Rock’s segment to get to Paige’s match. Paige is so nervous that she has to be told by the cameraman to keep moving down the ramp (dawwwww). Afterward the match she has a touching moment with her mom as A Day to Remember guitarist and boyfriend Kevin Skaff just stands there awkwardly.
Undertaker is here.
This is followed by some quick footage of him backstage with Brock Lesnar exchanging words of advice. It’s funny to see ‘Taker being human before he gets in the zone. Footage of his match with Wyatt plays as Rollins talks about how Reigns is “like, such a cool dude” (really sick of WWE getting Reign’s much more talented friends to try and convince us of how great he is).
Reigns is awkwardly trying to get pumped up for his entrance in front of a bunch of fans as Lesnar looks like he is ready to murder someone. More montage of in-ring action where the best part is seeing Reign’s laugh followed by a fan yelling “Stop laughing Roman, it’s not funny.” Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank briefcase and we get a cool shot of him sprinting out from backstage. Rollins wins and he is understandably blown away. Cue the montage of people hugging Rollins even though he looks pretty gross (how much do wrestlers spend on dry cleaning?) followed by the ending montage and we are out.
Overall, this is a decent way to kill 40 minutes. Sting steals the show as the dude is just so humble and comes off really well. While not as good as the Takeover: Brooklyn show, WrestleMania 31: Silicon Valley still shows some pretty candid moments behind the scenes. There are a little too many montages of footage we’ve seen before but this is the WWE and we know how much they like recapping things.