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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Keep an eye on Kevin Harvick. Photo by Wiki Commons

It's been a season of surprises as the NASCAR Cup Series begins its West Coast swing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This is one of NASCAR's many mile and a half tracks, but this one is different as it is much more bumpy and when this track gets in the sun, it gets slippery as well. The track is a lot more narrow than the other mile and a half tracks as well, so there will be a lot more close quarter racing.

Last week at Homestead, William Byron pulled away from the field and went on to claim his second career victory. The Charlotte native battled back from early tire issues and ran as low as 31st until he was able to claw his way back to the front around stage 2 when he drove around the two JGR teammates of Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin to take the stage victory. There has been a lot of expectations and hype around this young phenom but in his first three years, it took him a while to grow into a race winner. It wasn't until last year when Byron claimed his first win at the Daytona fall race. This year he was paired with crew-chief Rudy Fugle. This pair amassed tons of success when they worked together in the Truck Series back in 2016 when they won seven races. It seems now that the pair could be back to their winning ways. This looks like this could be a good pairing down the line.

As we all know, this has been the season of surprises and those surprises continued last week as Michael McDowell went on to his third consecutive top ten finish as he finished eighth. McDowell has been sort of a journeyman driver. He has raced for teams such as LeaVine Family Racing and the now defunct Michael Waltrip Racing where he got his start. While it has only been three races, he's in the midst of a career year beginning with a victory in this year's Daytona 500. Many thought that victory was a fluke and that he was "wasting a playoff spot," but since then he has proved his haters wrong as he currently sits fourth in the points. Will this streak continue? I think it can. His string of good runs puts him in an advantageous position as he gets to start up front each week and knowing how important qualifying was, he has really been able to take advantage of this. Look for the #34 Loves Ford Mustang to build on this.

The favorite for this week's race has to be Joey Logano. In the fifteen races Logano has started in here, he has ten top fives and two victories including last season's spring Vegas race in February. He hasn't got off to the best start as it's been three up and down races for him. From finishing second at the Daytona road course to following that up with a twenty-fifth last week at Homestead. This week though I believe he can get everything back on track with a good run or a victory.

The driver that I am picking to win this week is Kevin Harvick. The future Hall of Famer has been stout this season with a 6th and 5th place finish. The speed for Harvick and his team have been there, but they just haven't been able to get the win. But this week he's going to a track he has excelled at big time. He will start from the pole this Sunday and that should really scare the whole field. He has two victories here and twelve top tens since his beginning back in 2001. I look for him to get his third victory here and begin another run for his second championship.

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