2023 was a fantastic year for pay-per-views and premium live events. Most of the shows were well-received by fans and critics. There was at least one match on most of the shows that could’ve been considered the match of the year.
However, one event surpassed all other events in presentation, execution, and excitement. Night one of Wrestlemania 39 has been voted by Daily DDT as the show of the year. As one of the best Wrestlemania shows in recent years, it had some good matches and two memorable main events.
Night one of Wrestlemania in SoFi Stadium had an attendance of 67,303 come to Los Angeles, California with fans from all over the world hoping for that special Hollywood ending. The fans got more than they bargained for.
The show began with Austin Theory in the biggest match of his career defending the United States Championship against John Cena in a match that showed that Theory could hang with the best of them. Theory won the match, although controversially, to retain the United States Championship and solidify his reign as champion.
Then we had a fantastic showcase match featuring four of the top tag teams in WWE. Alpha Academy, Street Profits, Viking Raiders, and Ricochet & Braun Strowman put on a show-stealing performance that had the fans on the edge of their seats. We saw feats of strength; high flying moves and incredible moments we never thought we would see. In the end, the Street Profits would go on to win an entertaining and amazing four-way tag team match. This was a true showcase of how good the tag team division in WWE can be.
Following that match we had two special entrances for the next battle as Logan Paul, doing his best impression of Shawn Michaels's entrance at Wrestlemania XII facing Seth Rollins, who had a maestro conduct the fans in the singing of his theme song. The match was just as good as the entrances. Both men went back and forth, hitting their best moves and at times even hitting the opponent's best moves but couldn’t get the win. The turning point of this battle was when Logan Paul attempted a splash on Rollins through the table, however, Rollins pulled in Paul’s friend KSI as they went through the table. Rollins was able to get Paul back in the ring and hit the stomp to pick up the victory.
Both men went back and forth, hitting their best moves and at times even hitting the opponent's best moves but couldn’t get the win. The turning point of this battle was when Logan Paul attempted a splash on Rollins through the table, however, Rollins pulled in Paul’s friend KSI as they went through the table. Rollins was able to get Paul back in the ring and hit the stomp to pick up the victory.
We had a dream team in a six-woman tag team match as WWE Hall of Famers Lita and Trish Stratus teamed with Becky Lynch to face Damage CTRL. Another very good tag team match that showed when in full, Damage CTRL can be a dominant team. Bayley, Iyo Sky & Dakota Kai worked wonderfully as a unit in this tag team match while Lita and Stratus proved they could still hang with today’s wrestlers. In the end, it was the dream team of Lynch, Stratus & Lita who would prevail in this battle.
Then we had one of the most anticipated matches of Wrestlemania. It’s father against son as Dominik Mysterio faced newly inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Rey Mysterio. To say that the fans had an interest in this match was an understatement. This was the day fans had been waiting for over six months to see Dominik get his comeuppance from his father for everything he had said, and he had done. Early in the match Dominik took a cup of water and threw the water at his younger sister, which almost gave us a bonus match in the show.
Dominik did everything he could to get a win over his father, even having members of Judgment Day, Finn Balor, and Damian Priest, get involved. However, other people would have Rey’s back and would not sit and let another injustice happen. Members of the LWO came out to even the odds by attacking Balor and Priest. Then as Dominik went into his bag of tricks and tried to use a weapon to hit his father, music star Bad Bunny jumped up and took the weapon away from Dominik’s hands and helped Rey get the win. This was a wonderful match with everything you would’ve wanted to see. While Dominik lost the match, he showed everyone he was ready to be in the big matches.
The first half of our double main event followed as Rhea Ripley challenged Charlotte Flair for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Three years earlier, Charlotte Flair challenged Rhea Ripley for the NXT Women’s Championship after winning the Royal Rumble with Flair winning the title. Ripley had revenge on her mind and knew to get rid of her demons she had to defeat the woman who took her title in her Wrestlemania debut just three years earlier. This was an obvious candidate for not only match of the night but also match of the year.
Both women went back and forth, not taking a backseat. Blow for blow, move for move, Flair and Ripley went at it and captured the attention of the crowd in SoFi Stadium. It was the type of match where you didn’t want to leave your seat. The ending of the match is one of the best endings you will ever see. After both women tried their best moves, it was Ripley who executed a second rope Riptide that knocked Flair out and ultimately got her the pinfall and the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
Not only did Rhea Ripley extract revenge from three years ago, but in the process created her own Wrestlemania moment that will live on for many years to come.
Then we had an impromptu match where The Miz, one of the co-hosts of Wrestlemania, took on Pat McAfee. The match was set up by Snoop Dogg, the other co-host of Wrestlemania and this wasn’t much of anything to talk about. McAfee got the win and celebrated in the ring with San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle.
For our finale, one of the most anticipated tag team matches in Wrestlemania history. The Usos, the longest reigning tag team champions in WWE history, defending the titles against Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn. Only the second time in the history of Wrestlemania that a tag team match was the main event of Wrestlemania.
This match was incredible and had so many moments. The match was a perfect example of when storytelling in a tag team match is so good, so well done that it couldn’t be ignored. Back and forth the teams went. Zayn got in trouble during the match, then Owens got in trouble, but they wouldn’t give up.
Towards the end, the Usos hit their finishing maneuver the 1D, a move that nobody had kicked out of. However, Sami Zayn kicked out of the 1D to the absolute shock of everybody in the stadium. That was the moment that changed the course of the match. After fighting back, Owens and Zayn took Jey Uso and attacked him in the corner with Zayn hitting three Helluva Kicks to get the win and become the new Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions ending night one of Wrestlemania in celebration.
With this year's Wrestlemania just two months away it is going to be hard to top what we saw at Wrestlemania 39, let alone night one of Wrestlemania. But this card was so good with some fantastic matches and two main event matches that will go down in history as some of the best matches of all time, it doesn’t surprise me this show was voted the 2023 Show of the Year by Daily DDT.