Hey, I am getting to watch WrestleMania live tonight. No more Secret Hitler or pizza with friends. I get to watch pro wrestling in my basement like a winner!
After a night one that started weak (by me; I get it, though. You’re all all-in on Bobby Lashley) but finished incredibly strong (again, that Belair/Banks match was better than I had even hoped), night two has a lot of weird potential.
We have a regular one-on-one match between The Fiend and Randy Orton. We have the best (only good?) angle that WWE had built going into the event (between Roman Reigns, Edge, and Daniel Bryan). And there’s whatever the hell a Nigerian Drum Solo match or whatever is. Night two could end up looking more like a seismograph than a Wrestlemania with all the possible highs and lows.
No rain delay tonight, either! Let’s get into night two!
Randy Orton Vs The Fiend
This was weird. Every aspect of this was strange. And I have to admit, the slow, slow build of it all is just getting me more and more invested. I used to despise The Fiend, but they’re bringing me in.
First of all, I will confess that The Fiend already being healed up and no longer in the rad burned look is pretty disappointing. And so was the return of the Fiend Red Light.
This was a pretty nothing match; it was all designed as a path to the finish. I appreciated Randy Orton going into Wrestle Like A Video Game mode and just spamming his signature move over and over, though. You don’t see that often enough! And when Randy does try that draping DDT more than once per match, it always fails. But not against The Fiend. Remembering other button combos is hard, Randy!
Still, the ending saw Alexa oddly distract The Fiend with the ol’ Papa Shango Curse Ooze. Then The Fiend fell to one single RKO. Hmmm. Is the Bo Dallas storyline happening after all? Was this not Alexa’s Fiend in the end? Can we get Burnt Fiend vs Inexplicably Healed Fiend at Summerslam on the 27th anniversary of Undertaker vs Moneytaker?
Yeah, okay. The Fiend remains a really fun character as long as he stays far away from any title pictures and isn’t kicking out of attempted murder. I need to know what’s next here for him (them?) and Alexa. You’re getting me, WWE.
Women’s Tag Team Title Match
Raymond James Stadium loves them some Tamina. I am sure I’ve never heard a TA-MIN-A chant before, much less two in one match.
This match was exactly the quality you would likely expect from the two teams involved. It wasn’t amazing or anything, but it was okay. It started off incredibly sloppy, but the women were given a surprising amount of time to work with, and it just got better as it went.
So yeah, I’m not going to trash this. After the first five minutes it was shaping up to be rough, but they course-corrected, which is all you can ask of competitors some times. I imagine it would be easy to fall into the trap of nerves when things start poorly, but these ladies all overcame.
And hey, Shayna FINALLY wasn’t the weaker link of her team and got the win!
Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens
There was surprisingly little fuss or muss here. Logan Paul stayed at ringside until the post-match. KO won clean without even any weird quasi-controversy than Sami could play his gimmick off of. What it came down was just a standard Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens match.
These two obviously could put on a good match in their sleep because they just inherently know everything the other is going to do. And the fact that Logan Paul was just there for a post-match Stunner kept it from being too cluttered. No great notes here. Just entertainment.
United States Title Match
Hey, credit to WWE for following up whatever the hell that opening match was with three consecutive standard wrestling bouts. You could really see the temptation to fall into a hole of gimmicky nonsense, but WWE was pacing everything well here.
Man, Sheamus and Riddle. Just two big, strong, hard-hitting dudes hitting each other hard with their big strength. This wasn’t always crisp, but it’s not Eddie and Malenko chain wrestling; it’s dudes hucking each other around and kicking each other in the teeth.
SPEAKING OF WHICH! That finish? The Brogue Kick out of an Asia Moonsault? That left Riddle with a busted mouth? SHARP. What a great ending.
I’m torn on the finish. I know Riddle is divisive at best, but I still enjoy his shtick and I was happy to see a new person on the roster getting to shine. That said, Sheamus has been in the WWE MVP running for the last several months. He has put over everyone in some spectacular matches, and he really deserves the reward. As far as I was concerned, it was a shame either man had to lose, but I can’t be mad at the result.
Intercontinental Title Match
Don’t worry! After three straight by-the-numbers affairs, WWE knew you might be lulled into a false sense of security. They knew what it was time for!
This is one of those weird foregone conclusion matches where Apollo Crews winning was the only sensible outcome for two reasons:
First, he has already lost to Big E about a half dozen times, so what was the point of continuing this feud just for Big E to win AGAIN?
And secondly, for as nice as having the Intercontinental Title was for Big E, his destiny lies elsewhere. Within the next three months, he needs to at least start getting involved in the Universal Title picture, regardless of who has the strap.
So while the drama was small, the match was brutal enough. Kendo shots. Slams onto stairs. A table. They packed some good action into the bout before Apollo won following interference from [the former?] Dabba Kato.
To this point, WrestleMania Night Two was curious. Nothing was bad yet, but very little of it felt like WRESTLEMANIA, either. Even The Fiend and Randy Orton stuff was a bridge chapter, not a resolution.
Raw Women’s Title Match
HEADLINE: Asuka’s Wrestlemania Career Has Started 0-3 (With A Fourth Show On Which She Was Not Booked).
So there’s that.
Wait, I’m not done. That is actually inconceivable. And while I’m not sayin Asuka should have won here (which would have started Rhea off 0-2 at the event, so that is equally not ideal), it’s just hard to get my head around.
Interestingly, Rhea broke the Live Band Curse of recent years. Getting played to the ring has typically been one of the most dependable ways to predict someone would lose.
This contest was not as good as Bianca Belair vs Sasha Banks from the night before, but it was pretty damn good. Stiff and action-packed. Another match on the night that no worse than lived up to expectations.
After that, we get some final Bayley goofiness (she had spent small segments over the two shows annoying Titus and Hogan). She came out, demanded her own time to shine (and pyro!). This led to the Bella Twins appearing to give her some comeuppance. It’s not the feature match she deserved, but she had some extended air time and got to be her glorious self.
Universal Title Match
There are simply not enough superlatives for the WWE video package team sometimes. The featurette leading into this match was sheer perfection. Exactly what this angle has merited.
To what I’m sure is the surprise of no one ever anywhere, this was the best match of the whole two night event. I mean, between the three men involved and the story built around them, it was always going to be. There was no way these three were going to underdeliver.
I don’t know that it was as good of a match as HBK/HHH/Benoit or as emotionally potent as Bryan/Batista/Orton. It’s no shame to basically be a hair short of those two, though.
I was quite surprised to actually see some Con-Chair-To’s. I know it’s a save move to do, but given all the concern over concussions, it’s still an uncomfortable visual. Right when Edge did the first one to Bryan, I was actually thinking “When was the last time WWE even let one of these–oh!”.
Wonderful main event with a finish that protects keeps everyone looking strong while also making Roman out to be an absolute monster.
And thus concludes two nights of WrestleMania! From what I have read, the current plan is to return to one night shows next year, and we’ll see how that goes. I imagine it will be hard to change that plan the closer we get to the shows themselves (stadiums have other goings-on), but I also enjoy two three-hour nights much more than one six to seven hour night.
What did you all think of the shows? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time… take care!