WrestleMania 39 Night One is in the books, and it was pretty damn good overall. It had some low points (the six-woman tag, Cena/Theory, the time killing McAfee/Miz impromptu match), but those were more than measured out by the highs. So keeping the positivity in mind, here are my Top Five Favorite Things About WrestleMania 39 Night One:
- The emotional ride of the main event, which saw the Usos bludgeon the beloved Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. Sami and Kevin winning was never in doubt, but the match told the story of how unstoppable The Usos have been, and how dogged, undeniable resiliency was the only possible way to beat them. Sami WOULD NOT LOSE to those men, and so… he didn’t.
- Charlotte vs Rhea Ripley as Match Of The Night. I was surprised, as I anticipated this being the third best at its height, but both ladies went out and, in my opinion, overperformed. I was a BIT disappointed Rhea did not get to escape/counter the Figure-8, but that’s a pretty crazily protected move, so I get it. The ending, with Charlotte going face-first into the post before a Super Riptide? Wonderful climax.
- Dominik Mysterio’s ring entrance. I gushed about this in my Night One write-up enough. I just love this kid.
- The Fatal Four-Way Men’s Tag Team Spotfest. Ivar doing a moonsault. Dawkins tackling Strowman. Gable suplexing Strowman. The stalling Tower Of Doom. This was just Pop Moment after Pop Moment after Pop Moment. A super fun sprint.
- Michael Cole’s reaction when Pat McAfee showed up. It’s always so damn adorable when he is “surprised” by his buddy making an appearance. Kudos to Corey Graves who consistently acts like McAfee broke up his parents’ marriage. The guy has such entertaining vitriol for Pat.
So what were YOUR top 5 moments of Night One?
And while you ponder that… let’s get into Night Two!
8:04pm: Oh, Kevin Hart is back. His role is “The Star Of The WrestleMania Cold Open”. Oh, okay. He’s comparing Night Two to a successful, in-demand sequel with bigger star power and better action. Wow, just crap all over Night One then, I guess.
8:08pm: The Miz is wearing a sparkling suit, and my wife keeps insisting I need to get one of those. How well can they hold up? It’s gotta be like a one-time wear, right? Is it glitter? That stuff falls off so quickly.
8:09pm: Opening up with Omos vs Brock Lesnar! Okay, time to put off my Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves review until tomorrow. Or during commercials.
(When did wrestling PPVS start getting commercials? I guess when they became wrestling PLEs)
(I wonder if Cinnamon Toast Crunch will be a match again tonight?)
8:14pm: Wouldn’t this match have more impact if they hadn’t already fed Omos to Lashley and Strowman at much smaller shows? Hell, didn’t Lashley beat Omos in a handicap match on Raw? It feels like there’s no way Brock loses this, right?
8:18pm: WOW, that was fast. Not that I expected a 15 minute affair from Omos, but that was barely worth the time. And it got a better build in the lead-up than either of the Women’ Title matches this year!
8:22pm: WWE 2K23 commercial, and I am excited to eventually get that. I loved MyGM in 2k22, and it seems like they made a ton of improvements this year. Also, I can use Tyler Breeze as my GM!
8:23pm: Women’s Fatal Four-Way Showcase Match. Any chance this as good as the men’s showcase? Any at all? Seems unlikely. But let’s see!
8:25pm: Am I missing a match, or is Ronda 1-2 at WrestleManias… with two pinfall losses? Beat HHH and Steph, lost to Becky (and Charlotte), lost to Charlotte. Right?
8:27pm: Well I’ve never seen a MISSILE DROPKICK get no-sold before that I can recall. MAYBE from a Cruiserweight to a Big Show level guy? Where there was a 150 pound difference? But Raquel no-sells one from Chelsea Green.
8:34pm: Ronda Rousey is involved in approximately 30 seconds of the match. 20 seconds is taunting the crowd before applying her hold, and 10 seconds is tapping out Shotzi. Good work if you can get it!
Actually, this was a pretty good match! As good as the men’s showcase? Nope. But WAY better than the DMG CTRL / Team Becky match. Good show, ladies!
8:40pm: Intercontinental Title Match time. But first another WWE 2K23 simulation. It predicts Drew should win. I don’t know that Drew will win, but GUNTHER seems highly likely to be a World Title Challenger between now and SummerSlam. So I definitely think he will lose. But lose with upward mobility.
8:52pm: Main roster GUNTHER still looks scrawny to me. I just can’t get used to this physique on him.
8:54pm: Have any two human beings on Earth wrestled as many times in the last 3 years as Sheamus and Drew McIntyre?
9:00pm: The live crowd [rightfully] loves this match. Just three big dudes wailing on each other. GUNTHER has had a big ovation for his offense. Sheamus has had a big ovation for his. The crowd is just constantly at a low buzz. There is no silence.
9:09pm: Match of the night. Match of WrestleMania. Match of the Weekend. Match of the…? Well, we’ll see how time shapes up.
GUNTHER won, which was both unexpected and awesome. I still expect him to challenge for the world title in the next few months, but screw it. Let him keep this belt forever instead.
9:12pm: Asuka vs Bianca is next?! No break for the fans or the crowd; this was my EXPECTED Match Of The Night two-plus hours ago. I doubt it will surpass that IC Title match now, though. BUT IMAGINE IF IT DOES.
9:21pm: Does Asuka turn heel here? If she wins, maybe. If she loses, definitely.
9:29pm: MAN, these last two matches in a row. This is another fantastic one so far! Belair with that deadlift Superplex after a great several minutes of big moves and solid wrestling.
9:37pm: What a great match, but I’m not going to lie: Asuka losing at WrestleMania AGAIN is so damn disappointing. I didn’t think she was GOING to win, but man was I hoping she would,
Still. The IC Title Match followed up by that is the reason why I love wrestling.
9:45pm: Shane McMahon is here? But… why?
9:47pm: Oh, we are getting another match. This is going to be worse than last night’s!
9:49pm: I have no idea what any of that was. Did Shane really get hurt? If so, that was a very quick audible, even if the ref was calling the People’s Elbow spot really loud to Snoop. And if Shane really did hurt himself, I hope he’s okay!
9:52pm: Hell In A Cell is up next. I’m VERY EXCITED to see what Judgment Day Demon Balor looks like.
9:54pm: The pre-match vignette that gives this battle an almost mythological back story is another high quality WWE WrestleMania video package!
9:55pm: The Pope’s Exorcist commercial, and I love that Russell Crowe is in the stage of his career where he just does silly accents in movies. Oh, it’s not JUST a commercial. Russell Crowe is narrating the lowering of the cage. Nice! Good usage of a celebrity there, marrying his new video with Balor’s persona and the name of the match type.
9:57pm: Too bad the sun is still up for these entrances.
10:05pm: Judgment Day Demon is just… regular Demon Balor. That’s fair, I guess. How do you improve on perfection? A long ramp in daylight does his entrance no favors, though. And the foreign objects are colorful now! Hurray! Red chairs and purple kendo sticks!
10:13pm: Oh, Balor is bleeding BAD after a thrown ladder spot. I haven’t seen a shot of his wound yet, but the mat was a MESS before the camera crew or commentary realized it and pulled attention away.
10:16pm: Ladder set up in the corner. Hopefully this means Finn hits a Coup De Grace from it for the win.
10:22pm: Edge wins after a Con-Chair-to, and that’s a second straight really disheartening result to a REALLY fun match. Assuming Cody wins the title tonight, Balor is another heel who could be a top challenger for him, but now… he’s coming off a feud loss to Edge. Hm. And The Demon is now 0-2 in his last two matches!
Judgment Day feels a lot like DMG CTRL in how much they feel like they have been circling the drain. Although Rhea won last night… but is now on a different show than her cohorts.
I’m trying not to let these results get me down! Both that match and Asuka/Bianca were superb. Highly engrossing and impactful. Top level stuff. Going back to the Intercontinental Title match, and this night has been amazing.
So I guess Kevin Hart was right after all.
But I do wish Asuka and Finn had gone over.
10:26pm: SPEAKING OF AMAZING, here is my favorite person on Instagram to follow: Kayla Braxton! More Kayla, please.
10:43pm: A Hall Of Fame segment, some commercials, and now the video package for the main event gave me a quick chance to proofread everything to this point. I wake up for work in seven hours and fifty-seven minutes, WrestleMania. Let’s go already.
10:46pm: Cody, you promised us a lot more pyro than that! Unless they are saving it for a win.
10:48pm: Cody Rhodes gives his weight belt to Official Lifetime AEW Employee, Brodie Huber! I actually did not recognize Negative-One, but it’s great seeing him here. Cody held his daughter pre-match, too. Sweet moments all around.
11:00pm: It took that long for Roman to enter and for the bell to ring.
11:12pm: Roman using a LOT more early match cheating tonight than he has in the previous 945 days. Solo keeps getting involved here.
11:17pm: Solo hit Cody with the weight belt, which means he must have stolen it from Brodie! Dastardly!
11:23pm: Isn’t it weird that Roman just completely abandoned the Guillotine sometime in the last year? I wonder if it will make a comeback tonight at all. It always felt like they were building to someone surviving it, but then… he just stopped.
11:28pm: OH HEY THERE IT IS. Like the first prediction I got right all weekend.
11:31pm: Hey look, Sami Zayn is in the match after all. Helluva Kick to Roman! He’s going to be a part of Roman’s fall after all.
11:35pm: I literally–and I am using that word right–laughed out loud when Roman won. I laughed. I had to. The BALLS of that finish. It feels a LOT like WWE doing the stupid, unpredictable finish just to do it. In the last decade, that has been an unfortunate M.O. of theirs at ‘Mania that I had hoped was left behind in the Vince era.
THAT SAID. It IS a bold ass finish. I’m wondering if they aren’t seeing Roman as being less than two months away from 1000 days as champ and are just working to get him there. It’s such a nice number, and it’s SO CLOSE.
Just wow. I considered this ending, but I didn’t think they would realistically pull the trigger. It seemed so implausible.
This calls for my favorite YouTube video ever!
So where does that leave us? We had no fewer than FOUR matches that were all, at a minimum, GREAT. How many shows can say that?! But at the same time, three of those had really questionable choices for winners. That’s deflating. I am deflated. I have less flate than I used to.
I need to think about this show a lot. I think this might be a WrestleMania that is, more or less, made or undone by its follow up.
As far as the ACTION goes? An unparalleled night or wrestling.