First of all, this review is going to be up a little bit later than I would prefer. I’m usually good to get my reviews on these shows up within thirty to forty-five minutes of said show’s conclusion. But for WrestleMania night one… I will have been hours behind. My apologies!
My wife had the sheer audacity to bully me into having FUN with our FRIENDS this evening. We met them to see the bones of the new house they are building, went out for lunch, and then I figured we would head home to watch ‘Mania. But no, I was convinced to go over to their house afterwards to chat, get dinner, and play Secret Hitler, which is a really weird game to imagine actually exists, but I mean… Hitler IS the bad guy, so it’s like… Wolfenstein? Without guns but with voting?
It was fun. I regret nothing. But check back with me in four hours to see if that changed!
Anyway, that brings me to now. It’s 11:30pm Saturday night, and apparently Peacock does not have a “Start This At The Beginning” option, so I’m sitting here hoping that as soon as ‘Mania ends I can start it from the beginning and watch it unspoiled. I’m staying off of Twitter and the various sites I typically visit like a good boy and everything.
Ugh, tomorrow is going to be fun. I probably won’t go to bed until, what, four? I have to get up at 9 or so, watch a movie to record a podcast episode on (luckily it’s a movie I watched a few weeks ago, so I can just have my brain on cruise control). Then I’m recording back-to-back episodes of a guest spot on another show and then one of my own at 10:30 and noon.
Then I’ll nap, and by “nap”, I mean just “sleep for the night before, but the rest of it”.
Look, I am barely a human being on five hours of sleep. Don’t judge.
I wonder if ‘Mania is over. I kind of want to check, but I also don’t want to turn it on and see a result.
Ugh, Peacock still has it listed as “LIVE”, which means that while I’m recording tomorrow, I will be “DEAD”.
ANYWAY, that was a lot of words to say “Sorry my wife made me have a social life tonight”. Let’s talk WrestleMania!
WWE Title Match
There’s “booking the wrong results” and there’s “Booking The Wrong Results” and there’s “Bobby Lashley Beating Drew McIntyre At WrestleMania In Front Of Fans With The WWE Title On The Line”.
Sorry, Lashley has never and will never do it for me. He’s a great looking dude who is mediocre in the ring and can’t talk. MVP has been a treasure as his manager, and I’m a fan of all of his work… but Bobby for me is still as enticing as pasta I left on the stovetop five days ago. And he has half of that pasta’s charisma.
After not getting his proper coronation in front of fans at ‘Mania last year, WWE booked a perfect redemption match for McIntyre, but then went with the typical “BFYTW” swerve. Sometimes the obvious call is still the right call, and it feels like WWE sometimes gets so infatuated with going against the grain to trick The Marks that they pull nonsense like this.
This is down there with Charlotte ending Asuka’s streak a few years ago in how much it has killed my interest in the show. I thought The Hurt Business as a faction was fine when it was the four of them, but now that it’s just Bobby and MVP as his manager? Oy.
But I endeavor to continue on. It can only go up from here!
The best WWE can find for Bayley so far on TWO NIGHTS of WrestleMania is a brief skit with the nWo and Titus O’Neil backstage between bouts.
Pessimism is winning, and I usually try to be a positive guy. Turn it around, show!
Women’s Tag Team Turmoil #1 Contenders Match
Whoof, this whole affair was rough. At no point was it particularly fluid, and there were choppy moments and flat-out botches all over the place (no shame on poor Mandy Rose for slipping and falling during her ring entrance, though; that had to be embarrassing and is just bad luck).
The Riott Squad had a nice little run through the match, but they were eventually cut short by Tamina and Natalya, and you know what? That’s fine. I’m fine with Natalya getting a title match at WrestleMania. She deserves it. It’s weird having two heel teams going at it on night two (are Tamina and Natalya heels? I think they are heels), but why not? It’s not like WWE has really built up the women’s tag division for anything else.
Cesaro vs Seth Rollins
Ah, yes, okay. This is much better.
It’s amazing what can happen when you take two freakish athletes who are absolute geniuses at pro wrestling and just let them go out and do what they can. It’s almost like people who are good at wrestling can make a wrestling show better. Who’d have figured?
For a while–for a brief run early in the match–this seemed like it might have strong potential for disappointment. The match was built a little too much around Cesaro’s swing for my liking. Cesaro just kept going for it over and over, and it felt like the match was secondary to that one singular move.
But eventually the story settled down, and the two were just allowed to start pulling out crazy counters and wild moves. Seth Rollins did a god damned CORKSCREW FROG SPLASH; are you kidding me?
Forty year old Cesaro (and HOLY GOD, Cesaro is actually 49 days younger than I am?) getting his first ever WrestleMania one-on-one victory is a great feel good story. And Seth continuing to do A+ heel work is just fun and makes the victory for Swiss even sweeter.
Raw Tag Team Titles Match
As a MATCH, this wasn’t much. The New Day bumped like madmen for Omos and made him look like Godzilla, but aside from that, it was a relatively standard tag team affair.
The joy to be had here was in the character work. the New Day started off as the de facto heels just because they were picking apart AJ Styles and trying to refuse the fans a chance to see Omos in action. But as soon as Omos got in, they became amazingly sympathetic babyfaces in his wake.
And man… if you can’t just enjoy Omos’ facial expression while decimating Kofi and Woods, then you don’t have a soul. Even if his moveset is just Great Khali 2.0. He looked so damn proud of himself.
So yeah, I enjoyed this for what it was. It was never going to be a five star classic, but it had three stellar character guys and a fun monster who isn’t overexposed yet.
Braun Strowman vs Shane McMahon
Oh, WrestleMania. You just gave me two good matches. And then you chase it with this? Why do you lift me up just to bring me back down?
Oh, and we got Jerry Lawler on commentary as Shane’s avatar to make “sharpest knife in the drawer” jokes about Strowman.
Actually, to be fair, this match was far better than the build to it deserved. But then… it would have to have been, right? It was fairly quickly enough paced and had some nice spots. Both guys did everything they needed to do, and I never really got bored or anything. There was nothing wrong with it aside from the fact that it didn’t feel like a “WrestleMania match”.
Even Shane’s big spot was relatively ho-hum. I certainly wouldn’t want to do it! But it’s nothing out of the ordinary for him.
Overall, still a positive, though.
John Morrison & The Miz vs Damien Priest & Bad Bunny
Miz and Morrison Ashlee Simpson’ed their way to the ring with their “Hey Hey Hop Hop” song. They are accompanied by a horde of folks in post-holiday discount Easter Bunny costumes. I actually… I actually think the song is kind of catchy. The beat, anyway; I haven’t really paid much attention to the words.
First of all: as much credit as humanly possible to Morrison and Miz for (at times LITERALLY) carrying Bunny through this match. They really worked hard out there to keep Bunny looking good and appearing to hit big moves.
Also, I’ll be honest… there were a few moments during the match where you could catch a smile cross Bad Bunny’s face, and I genuinely think it was because he was so happy to be out there. Moments like that are infectious, and it made me genuinely happy for the dude, even though he was supposed to be containing his glee. Good for him!
The crowd LOVED his win, too, and they gave the biggest pop of the night to that point.
Smackdown Women’s Title Match
Well. So this match was pretty outstanding.
I think Bianca’s character work on the main roster leaves a bit to be desired; she comes across as a bit of a geek. But her in-ring work speaks for itself. And Sasha Banks… I mean, she’s only in the conversation of the greatest woman in wrestling history. So these just went out there and put on the best match of night one in the biggest spot.
These two stars just went all out from the opening bell and never let up. Everything they did looked fantastic, and their chemistry is pretty remarkable already. Bianca’s a star. Sasha’s been one for years. Great, great, great, great.
I could say more, but it would really just be gushing over and over. I was wildly impressed with this match.
WAIT! I do have a complaint! Sasha wore Seattle Seahawks colors and lost. I can’t accept that.
I accept it may be a somewhat unpopular opinion, but Lashley going over Drew really just sucked the energy out of me to open the show. I see that the online opinion of Lashley is positive, but I have never been able to muster up much care for the guy. Again, your feelings may vary, but when Bobby won, I immediately flashed back to Charlotte beating Asuka. Never good.
So his going over Drew in what felt like swerve for a swerve’s sake put a bad taste in my mouth. The follow up tag team match did nothing to raise the show’s bar in its opening hour.
But man… everything after that point was, at the very least, good. And that’s to say nothing of two great matches in Cesaro/Rollins and Bank/Bianca. This was a night one that could have spiraled into an abyss but really righted itself.
And it is… 3:35am. So I’m really just hoping this article isn’t abysmally terrible. If it is… hey, I had a LONG day. I’ll try harder tomorrow!