NEW YORK -- It's rare that WWE fans get everything they want from a show like WrestleMania. One or two of the big fan favorites typically break through with big, feel-good moments, but for narrative purposes, it typically doesn't serve the long-term story well if all of the heroes sweep past the villains at once when there's another episode to come the following day.
On rare occasions, however, like Sunday's WrestleMania 35 show at MetLife Stadium, the prevailing will of the fans is answered across the board. The trio of wins from Becky Lynch, Seth Rollins and Kofi Kingston, who collectively took hold of all of WWE's biggest titles in one night, represents just such a moment for the WWE Universe. All three victories represent moments in time that will radiate forward with even greater effect and together signal a dramatic shift atop the power structure of WWE's talent pool on Raw and SmackDown.
Though each of their journeys have been distinct, they share certain threads in common. Kingston and Lynch have each fought to pick themselves up to the main-event level despite significant fan support, and each found the right catalyst to spark a movement that ultimately led to their greatest successes to date. While Rollins did climb to the top of the mountain on several occasions prior to his victory over Brock Lesnar, his role as a workhorse and a locker room leader is fueled by the same kind of love and passion for wrestling that draws fans to Kingston and Lynch.
Some doubted whether or not the creative powers that be would elect to make all three victories happen, but they ultimately anchored the narrative of WrestleMania 35, but Kingston smiled when talking about everybody working themselves into a frenzy before the event had even taken place.
"It's a very special WrestleMania to be a part of," Kingston told ESPN Monday morning. "Being on social media, everyone's an analyst and everyone has a prediction. And the big prediction was, 'Oh, well all three of them can't possibly win, so someone's gotta lose.' It was great, because that's the best thing about WWE -- it's just when you think you know what's going to happen, you think you know everything, you find out that you don't know anything at all."
"It's not often that the fans are universally satisfied, right? That's because we sell conflict -- we're always fighting," Lynch said. "You can't always predict who's going to be winning, who's going to be losing, and there's always going to be opinions. Sometimes people are going to be up, sometimes people are going to be down, but it felt like we got universal satisfaction last night, and that's pretty awesome."
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All three wins had a distinct role to play in the overarching narrative of the night. Rollins opened the show in shocking fashion, grabbing a quick and decisive win over Brock Lesnar to become the new Universal champion -- a title he's chased since its inception in August 2016. His desire to bring Raw's top title back to TV on a week-to-week basis was realized, and it likely sent Lesnar off and out of WWE for the foreseeable future.
Midway through the show, in what stands out as both one of the best matches of the night and one of the most emotional moments in WrestleMania history, Kingston defeated Daniel Bryan to become the WWE champion. It was a victory well-earned by Kingston, and a powerful moment of representation for generations of fans who have only seen a handful of people who look like them rise to the very top of professional wrestling.
In Kingston, the first black Grand Slam winner in WWE history, they have a clear proxy showing that it is possible to achieve the greatest of your dreams.
"I have been wondering what this moment [would be like] since the whole thing kind of started two months ago, when I replaced Ali at Elimination Chamber," Kingston said. "It was after the gauntlet match we had the week before when I realized how much people wanted this -- as much as I did... It's humbling that people support me the way that they have, and just have the desire to see this happen.
"It was all love. The energy in MetLife Stadium was incredible... and to have my family there to watch it, too, my dad had never been to a WrestleMania, so for this to be his first WrestleMania, is just unreal," Kingston continued. "My mom, my brother was there, my wife, my two kids, my brother-in-law, my brother's girlfriend, they were all lined up, and I knew exactly where they were the entire match."
Finally, to close out the show, Lynch surpassed Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair in the first women's match ever to main event a WrestleMania, becoming both the Raw and SmackDown women's champions at once.
It was the culmination of years of struggles and false starts overcome by an undying desire to succeed, but when the moment of triumph finally came, it was ultimately overwhelming.
"To be honest with you, they say soak it in, enjoy yourself," said Lynch. "You try to do that, but there's so many things you're thinking of... I just won, and I beat Ronda Rousey, who's been a groundbreaker in UFC [and Charlotte Flair], and now I have two belts... My dad and my brother were there in the front row, and I could see them, and how happy my brother was, for me it was just a lot to take in."
With a match that started just before midnight ET, a massive demand on her time for media and a variety of other obligations throughout the last few weeks, Lynch was still working to process it all on limited sleep. Then there's Raw and SmackDown to come over the next few days.
"Got out of the building at 2 am, got to the hotel at 3, in bed by 3:30, up at 5, so no, I haven't really had time to sit and think about it," Lynch said. "I will, but today I go back to work. We'll do some work, and then we'll think about it on Wednesday over a couple of tequilas, and maybe a cauliflower pizza."
As is always the case, even with a WrestleMania 35 card that overall garnered significant praise, not everyone went home happy. Considering the vast spectrum of WWE fans and their particular preferences, that's basically impossible, but the reactions each win got inside of MetLife Stadium speak for themselves.
But what does it all mean moving forward? We've seen dramatic changes at the drop of a dime on WWE TV in recent weeks, and a healthy dosage of happy endings at WrestleMania is likely to find a counterbalance in the coming weeks and months to drive new narratives forward. By building with three strongly supported champions heading into the next few months, there's an opportunity to build up new antagonists and rivalries to help bring everyone else up.
Title reigns don't tend to last very long in modern WWE, and all of the longest reigns coming into the weekend were brought to an end by Sunday night. It will take weeks, months, and perhaps even years to know what the long term fallout from WrestleMania 35 will be, but as a singular moment in time, it will long stand out as a benchmark for what WWE's biggest show can achieve -- and that's clear to fans and performers alike.
"Becky's so deserving of being double champ -- it's awesome, because I know her struggle and I know that she's been through so much. To see her get to where she is, and do these crazy things and achieve such success, is so well deserved. is a great dude, he's a great leader, and awesome in the ring, clearly. I think it was SummerSlam a couple of years ago when [The New Day] won the tag team championships and he won the WWE title too, so we have a picture, in Brooklyn, of all of us holding up the championship titles and celebrating."
"They got #KofiMania. The Beast was slayed," Lynch added. "Finn Balor walking out of there the Intercontinental champion. The IIconics won the championships, which I think is great for them, too. And Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins coming out of their hometown with some titles."
Each got their shot to stand tall in the brightest spotlight wrestling has to offer, but their work has only just begun. With Lesnar likely gone, no Undertaker for the first time in nearly two decades, John Cena performing in a comedy moment rather than a match and even Rousey's status up for debate, the chance to define a new era is before Lynch, Kingston, Rollins and everyone else who stepped up Sunday night. Whether or not they take the ball and run with it is another challenge entirely.