ORLANDO, Fla. – The Citrus Bowl crowd of more than 70,000 fans buzzed with electricity and excitement as the Granddaddy of Them All kicked off – and pummeled, and hammered away at – with a Belfast Brawl, a match where anything and everything goes. And although Sunday’s worldwide audience seemed firmly behind Finlay and his returning son, Hornswoggle, it wasn’t enough to withstand a kendo stick Clothesline from Hell from JBL.

The physical action began before the bell could even sound, with the two ring warriors quickly bringing out a small arsenal of weapons including trash cans, tables and, of course, a shillelagh. JBL jumped out to an early advantage, pummeling the Irishman who loves to fight. He even found moments in between to abuse Hornswoggle, as JBL tossed a trash can with a Finlay-shaped dent in it directly at the loveable leprechaun, knocking him to the ground. 

Finlay risked life and limb as he dove to the outside between the ring ropes towards a prone JBL, but the Wall Street warrior was quick on his feet and countered with a baseball-like swing to Finlay’s face with a trash can lid, eliciting gasps from the capacity crowd. Finlay would briefly regain the advantage after Hornswoggle interfered with a kendo stick shot to JBL’s back, but it would not be enough as JBL set Finlay up with a shot to the knee with the very same kendo stick, then finished it up with the Clothesline from Hell for the victory. 

For Finlay, it was a chance at revenge against JBL, who exposed that Hornswoggle was in fact Finlay’s son, not Mr. McMahon’s, and proceeded to beat Hornswoggle within an inch of his life on Raw more than two months ago, leaving him hospitalized and in critical condition. For JBL, it was a chance to show the entire world that despite his two-year retirement, the former WWE champion is back in a big way and will show no mercy, regardless of size, color or creed.

At the biggest spectacle in sports-entertainment, JBL did precisely that. As Layfield basked in his WrestleMania victory, one could only wonder whether this was the last chapter in this ultra-personal rivalry between two of WWE’s toughest competitors. Has JBL settled the issue once and for all, or will Finlay and Hornswoggle continue to defend their family-forged honor against the wrestling god?