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Hawkins, Ryder and Nese, Oh My! Long Island wins big at WrestleMania 35

Two championships changed hands at WrestleMania, each of the wins a satisfying surprise.

One of the key traditions of pro wrestling is that a fighter normally never gets a win in front of their hometown fans. Another tradition has been losing streaks. Glen Cove High School graduate Curt Hawkins (Brian Myers) owned one, which up until WrestleMania 35 was at 0-269. Traditions were meant to be broken. In regards to the former, three individuals shattered it into oblivion.

Hawkins and Zack Ryder defeated The Revival in front of over 80,000 fans inside MetLife Stadium to win the Raw Team Team Championships. That was not all. Tony Nese defeated Buddy Murphy to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. It was the first taste of tag team gold for the former Major Brothers since 2008 when they won at The Great American Bash PPV inside the Nassau Coliseum. Hawkins, the founder of Long Island’s Create A Pro Wrestling Academy, and the Merrick, NY-born Ryder managed to get a match with the former NXT Tag Team Champions via a backstage segment on WWE’s social media platforms. They were able to make the most of their opportunity.

On the WrestleMania pre-show, all four stars were given over 13 minutes to showcase their skills. Towards the end of the match, Scott Dawson hit Hawkins with a brainbuster on the outside floor that in any situation would have caused some concern. This was no ordinary night, however, and Hawkins rolled up Dawson for the win. The crowd went wild for the two men who love this business.

Also on the pre-show was Tony Nese, the Ridge, New York star, taking on Buddy Murphy for the latter’s Cruiserweight Championship. Nese won an eight-man tournament on 205 Live to earn a title opportunity. Murphy was becoming one of the most dominant champions WWE has had before Nese hit a German suplex into the corner to stun Murphy. He then hit his running knee finisher onto the former NXT star, pinning him to become the new Cruiserweight Champion.

Three friends shared a moment together backstage in a moment that felt all too real. The New York Wrestling Connection alumni have been around the industry for a while, with Ryder the longest-tenured WWE employee at the time. Through the ups and downs of the business, these three had one another’s backs.

Their success continued after WrestleMania, as Ryder and Hawkins beat The Revival in a championship rematch on Raw. Hawkins may end up going on a bit of a winning streak now, which is very refreshing to see. Nese ended up successfully retaining his title in a rematch against Murphy on 205 Live, in a match that was superior to their WrestleMania bout.

The New York / New Jersey crowd were treated with two heartfelt moments to begin the night, which ended up being the theme of this years WrestleMania. An interest by three normal individuals turned into a desire to compete, until the dream became a reality. That is the beauty of pro wrestling.

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.
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