WRESTLEMANIA 35

Ken Hoffman reports from WrestleMania's record-breaking bash

Becky Lynch became the first undisputed Raw and Smackdown women's champ in a controversial finish. Becky Lynch/Facebook

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

Defending champions were an endangered species on April 7, as only two of 10 title-holders escaped WrestleMania 35 with gold belts still around their waist. When the dust cleared well into Monday, April 8 morning at sold-out MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, Kofi Kingston was the new Universal champion, Seth Rollins was WWE champ, the "Demon" Finn Balor was Inter-Continental champ, and Braun Stroman practically launched Saturday Night Live players Colin Jost and Michael Che into orbit to win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

A beer-drinking, villain-boo-ing, souvenir-buying crowd of 82,265 fans saw "The Man" Becky Lynch become the first undisputed Raw and Smackdown women's champ in a controversial finish to her match against "Rowdy" Ronda Rouseyand "The Queen" Charlotte Flair. It sure looked like Rousey's shoulders were off the mat when the referee counted 1-2-3. This one could be headed to the Supreme Court — right behind the Democrats' effort to get President Trump's tax records. Good luck on both.

MetLife Stadium, home to the NFL's New York Giants and New York Jets, was rockin' and 'cringin' during a brutal "No Holds Barred" match between "King of Kings" Triple H and "The Animal" Batista. Triple H grabbed pliers and ripped a ring from Batista's pierced nose. Yeeoww! Triple H ultimately triumphed when "Nature Boy" Ric Flair tossed a sledgehammer into the ring and Trips used it to dispatch Batista. Pliers, hammers … Chip Gaines on Fixxer Upper doesn't have this many DIY tools.

The "Greatest Stage of All" grossed $16.9 million, a MetLife Stadium record.

The press box was jammed with hard-hitting journalists from 68 countries, who dined on All-American hot dogs, barbecue brisket, Philly cheesesteaks, and chocolate chip cookies. If anybody believes that media is the enemy of the people, let me set you straight. After the matches, the line for the train to Manhattan was backed up to Snooki's place on the Jersey Shore, and there weren't nearly enough Uber drivers to go around. Drenched in a pelting rain, I bummed a ride from a Newsweek writer and got back to my hotel at 2:30 am.I didn't know that Newsweek was still around.

The biggest pop during the "Showcase of the Immortals" celebrated Kofi Kingston's long-time-coming victory over arrogant, pedantic WWE champion "The New" Daniel Bryan. It was Kingston's first singles title in his 11-year career.

Continue reading on CultureMap to find out who won the Women's Battle Royal.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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