Talk about deftly navigating two careers at once.
WWE executive/Superstar Triple H decided to wrestle and do a little marketing at the same time for his WrestleMania 31 battle with Sting.
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"The Game" came to the ring for this long-awaited match by pulling off a sci-fi display featuring Terminator robots and a recording of just-inducted WWE Hall of Famer Arnold Schwarzenegger offering up Triple H's "Time to play the game" catchphrase -- creative timing considering the July release of Schwarzenegger's movie "Terminator Genisys."
But the dramatic entrance didn't faze Sting, who entered among Japanese percussionists sporting martial arts uniforms and Sting's signature face paint.
When Sting took the early advantage, it earned a "You still got it" chant from the fans. He was doing fine until he missed a Stinger splash on the outside and landed on the guard rail.
Triple H then went to work with a pounding attack, hitting a knee drop and a series of straight right hands. Triple H continued the attack, getting a two-count and then trying to wear Sting down with a reverse chin lock.
Sting tried to come back, but was hit with a spinebuster by Triple H, earning another two-count.
Sting fought back again, and eventually landed Triple H in the Scorpion Death Lock after catching him coming off the turnbuckle. Triple H was caught in the middle of the ring, but just then, the D-Generation X music played, and the New Age Outlaws and X-Pac came out to make the save.
Sting fought them off, then nailed a big splash from the top rope onto the floor on all of his foes.
The attack allowed Triple H to take control. He hit the Pedigree but could only get a two-count. He went for the sledgehammer to end the match -- it had been announced earlier that a win could only be had by pinfall or submission.
But as Triple H retrieved the sledgehammer, the NWO music played, bringing Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash to ringside to fight DX.
While that was going on, Sting put Triple H in the Scorpion Death Lock, but couldn't get a submission.
Sting tried to finish off Triple H again, but Shawn Michaels came out of nowhere and hit Sting with Sweet Chin Music, then gave a DX crotch chop in Sting's direction.
Triple H tried a pin but only got a two-count. Billy Gunn handed Triple H the sledgehammer, while Hall handed Sting his baseball bat.
They went to battle with their weapons, and Sting used the bat to break the sledgehammer in half. He then hit one Stinger splash, but when he tried a second one Triple H used the part of the sledgehammer with the metal still attached to nail Sting in the head and get the pin.
Other WrestleMania results
Seth Rollins wins the WWE Title thanks to Money in the Bank contract
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John Cena beats Rusev to win the United States championship
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Ronda Rousey makes a surprise appearance, and gets a piece of the action.
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The Undertaker beats Bray Wyatt
It was an impossible task. Having The Undertaker’s “Streak” end against Brock Lesnar last year only worked if you had a once-in-a-lifetime opponent to replace the Streak’s intrigue.
But that match might be next year with Sting at WrestleMania XXXII, so the Undertaker and Wyatt did the best they could. They had a solid bout, with Wyatt as usual showing off athleticism not fitting his frame and the Undertaker looking better than expected for someone who wrestles once a year.
Wyatt kicked out of one Undertaker tombstone piledriver, but the second one did the trick.
Daniel Bryan wins the Intercontinental Title in a ladder match over former champ Bad News Barrett, Luke Harper, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Stardust and R-Truth
It’s no big secret that some of WWE’s most fervent supporters aren’t happy that former WWE champ Daniel Bryan ended up in the opening match of the evening. But this bout needed some star power. We’ve seen so many crazy things in ladder matches that WWE can’t raise the bar too much higher without risking the wrestlers’ health.
Early in the match, while Bryan was nailing Luke Harper with kicks -- Harper was hung on the “tree of woe” via a ladder -- it was clear that WWE did something right here. The company can’t just rely on high spots for this match anymore with its B-level guys. As Bryan nailed Harper, fans finally had a legitimate rooting interest instead of this just being an attraction. WWE as a result went with a shorter match in which what the wrestlers did do had more of an impact.
Harper made a good early showing, nailing several opponents with a plancha through the second and third ropes, then hitting Ambrose with a powerbomb from the ring to the outside and into a ladder. (Ambrose appeared to hit the back of his head on the ladder, was attended to by WWE’s medical staff and did not reappear in the match.)
Bryan and Ziggler ended up on top of the ladder next to the title belt. They hit each other with countless head butts, and Ziggler finally relented, falling far to the mat so Bryan could retrieve the belt.
Randy Orton pinned Seth Rollins
One of the best parts of the preshow was watching the “New Stooges,” Rollins lackies Mercury and Noble, meeting up backstage with the “Old Stooges,” Pat Patterson and Jerry Brisco. The New Stooges showed their worth early in the match, taking a double DDT from Orton when they tried to interfere, but allowing Rollins to take advantage.
Rollins controlled much of the match, including hitting a backflip from the apron on the second rope. Orton eventually recovered, hitting his signature RKO but only getting a two-count. He set up to “punt” Rollins, but Mercury and Noble recovered and hit the ring. Orton hit an RKO on both of them, but that allowed Rollins to hit the Curb Stomp. Orton matched Rollins by kicking out of the other’s finisher.
Rollins eventually set up a second Curb Stomp, but Orton braced himself when Rollins foot landed on the back of Orton’s neck. Rollins essentially used Orton’s neck as a stair, jumping into the air, but falling down into a massive RKO for the pin.
AJ Lee and Paige beat the Bella Twins
You got the perfect idea of what WWE Divas have to deal with by the sign one gentleman had offering to be the father of Nikki Bella’s children.
In that atmosphere it can be tough to impress with technical ring prowess, but the Bella twins did just fine, hitting Paige with a double slingshot suplex. But Paige kicked out to keep the match going.
Paige was able to get the tag to AJ, who continued the fight even as she was tripped by Brie on the outside, allowing Nikki to nail her with a forearm. Nikki continued the attack, but AJ was able to counter a Nikki offensive into her Black Widow submission move, forcing Nikki to tap out.
Tyson Kidd and Cesaro retained the WWE Tag Team Title by defeating the Usos, Los Matadores and the New Day. Jey Uso left the match early, apparently feigning getting hurt so he could avoid the match since he’s suffering from real-life injury woes. The match was its usual collection of high spots but offered some twists, including the teams’ female seconds getting involved. Naomi hit a plancha on several wrestlers late in the match, while Natalya avenged her loss to Matadores mascot El Torito by putting him in the sharpshooter.
The Big Show won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. The big twist came when Mizdow turned on his employer, The Miz, and eliminated him to square off with The Big Show and almost pulling a massive upset.