WWE Wrestlemania 32
Let's get this out of the way: There were already 2 hours of broadcast before this show officially started. It's a five hour show. PLUS the two hours of pre-show. What the fuck.
Dolph Ziggler vs Miz vs Zack Ryder vs Sami Zayn vs Stardust vs Sin Cara vs Kevin Owens WWE Intercontinential Championship Ladder Match
Dog Ziggler officially kicking off the show is a bad omen. Miz looks amazing in his Remember The Time inspired gear. God damn, this stage is ridiculously huge. They could fit in another 10-15K if they made it even 30% smaller. Stardust has a dope Dusty inspired gear. Kevin Owens gets a GIANT pop. His entrance gets cut away to introduce the UN of international broadcast teams, with more countries than ever covering the show. Sami and KO almost immediately do their punching thing, which I'm already tired of seeing considering they've done it about ten times on TV now. The first big ladder spot has Miz climbing an unopened ladder so someone can push it over. What the fuck? That looked so stupid. He also probably got a concussion from it. It'd be understandable if he got the concussion first. Sami does his "dive through things even though it makes no sense and adds nothing to the impact of the move" thing he does. I don't understand it. I never have. Why is doing a tope by jumping through an open ladder any cooler? Or the tornado DDT through the bottom/middle rope? I have no answers. I can tell you that Sin Cara completely eats shit on a springboard, even with four dudes out there to catch him. I've just noticed Dolph's hair, which looks like a dude who took out his dreads for the first time in five years, but forgot a couple. And Jesus Christ, the amount of superkicks in this is ridiculous. There was even a DOUBLE SUPERKICK spot where both dudes clearly completely whiffed but sold it anyway. Stardust brings out a Dusty Rhodes ladder. The reaction for Dusty makes him start to tear up. Then he does the worst version of the Terry Funk ladder spin you've ever seen. This is a typical stupid ladder match with guys opting to do crazy spots when they could easily grab the belt. The highlight probably being Ryder hitting an elBRO drop from the top of one of the giant ladders, or KO trying to end the careers of Stardust and Sin Cara at the same time. What the fuck are these guys thinking? All the spots are from the giant ladders, not normal sized ones. Sami MURDERS KO with a half and half suplex into a ladder. Jesus fuck that was gross. And then...ZACK RYDER WINS. ZACK RYDER. LOL what the fuck? Ryder wasn't even supposed to be in this match until Neville got hurt. I think he's been on Raw six times in two years. And here he is winning the IC hampionship at Wrestlemania. It was unexpected, I'll give you that. I mean, good for him. This is like a personal apology from Vince for the whole Cena/Kane/Eve angle. His (very jacked) dad hit the ring to celebrate with him. Good for them. From a booking standpoint, it's obvious he's going to have a short reign that goes nowhere, and it just hurt the KO/Sami story, which has already not been done very well on the main roster. Whatever. Zack got his WM moment after "a decade of futility in WWE". What a line.
AJ Styles vs Chris Jericho
AJ being on WK and WM in the same year is pretty neat. Too bad his WM match is against a guy he's already had three matches against, none of which were good, and in fact have made AJ look bad by having to slow down for Jericho. SHOUT OUT TO FRASIER. Jericho looks so ridiculous. His hair is so bad. How does this dude have a cowlick below his crown? AJ has new gear, which looks much higher quality than the gear he had been wearing. Oh wow, there are literally times where Jericho is running full speed and AJ is just taking big steps so as to not be in place before Jericho is there to hit a spot. I can't believe that for the fourth time now, Jericho is trying to work junior style when he's very clearly proven he can't do it anymore. Why he isn't wrestling like a heavyweight or more methodical style of his 2008 run is beyond me. It seems like he really wants to prove he can still do it, but it not only isn't working, it is also making AJ look bad. Again. What started with a story that seemed to be "AJ is a younger, faster, better Jericho" ,(and then moved to "Jericho works the neck") has devolved into finisher spam and kick outs. AJ has escaped from the Walls of Jericho three times, and kicked out of a codebreaker. Jericho has kicked out of the Styles Clash, the springboard 450, and escaped from the calf crusher. And then Jericho wins by countering the flying forearm with the codebreaker. With a delayed pin. What the fuck? What a terrible, terrible booking move. Jericho is closer to 50 than 40, has dragged AJ down for months, and has been a loser for the past four years. AJ is a hot new star in the company that definitely should have a big WM to cement him as a big deal. Losing to Jericho at WM in 2016 (in not even a good match) is brutal. Just bizarre. Worst of all, it wasn't even a good match. And it means Jericho is sticking around for a while, likely to have at least one more shitty PPV match with AJ. Christ.
TO THE MARIA. Zack Ryder got his victory lap promo.
New Day vs League of Nations
Oh my god. New Day makes their entrance from inside a giant box of Booty-O's while dressed as Dragonball Z characters. It's amazing how these guys were so hated a year ago that they had turn heel, and now they have 100,000 people losing their shit for them coming out of boxes of cereal while dressed as cartoon characters. Very FnP entrance. On the other hand, look at their opponents a year ago. Rusev entered in a fucking tank to face John Cena. Sheamus returned with a "fuck your little indie shits" gimmick and got actual heat. Wade was about to become King of the Ring. ADR returned to WWE not even 6 months ago and is already back to zero reactions. "League of Nations are finally starting to gel". They've been a unit since like...November. They're just NOW starting to gel? Xavier is the FIP, which I'm torn on, because he's the least talented in the ring of New Day, but also probably would have the least interesting and explosive hot tag. Rusev, one of my faves, has a fire under his ass for the first time in months, so that's good. It's a well executed tag, but not particularly interesting. Jesus Christ Big E breaks his fucking neck on the apron spear. Again. Please stop doing that, breh. Please. You're going to die. ADR takes Kofi out, and then Wade hits a Bullhammer from the floor on Xavier, who turns around into the bro kick. League of Nations win...what? I thought this was going to be a huge night for New Day. They just lost to the least interesting and over faction in the company at the biggest show ever, after getting the big entrance.
Wait. WHAT THE FUCK. IT'S SHAWN MICHAELS. And what the fuck again, he's in better shape than when he retired. He's in his gear! It's Mick Foley! IT'S STEVE AUSTIN. What the fuck is happening. Are they breaking their retirements for...The League of Nations? Jesus Christ that pop for Austin. HOLY SHIT. Also, he is not in wrestling shape lol. He's been tasting too much of his own product. That beer belly is fierce.
We got us an impromptu six man tag. I can't believe Foley can even make it to the ring, let alone do his running knee in the corner. Austin selling for Rusev. Lol. Amazing. In fact, he's the only one of the three to sell for the heels at all here. Rusev's sell of the stunner was Rockesque. Of course, the legends easily dispose of the League of Nations. Then the New Day tries to get them to dance. Kofi teaches HBK how to twerk. Big E shows Mick how to swivel them hips. Austin starts to do the Charleston. SWERVE KICK WHAM STUNNER. The legends have a beer bash as two factions they just humiliated stumble to the back.
Let's just get this clear. New Day, arguably the most over mid card act in the company for months gets so far the biggest WM entrance of the show, only to lose to a stable that has been DOA since its inception, who then got beaten up by three long retired guys (although HBK has another run in him for sure), THEN Austin stuns Xavier and celebrates. Mission accomplished? This is a bizarre show.
Brock Lesnar vs Dean Ambrose Street Fight
This match has really had the most build of anything during WM season, and there is potential to get something like the Brock/Punk match. If anything is going to be bloody and violent, it should be this. I still can't believe Dean Ambrose got a WM match with Brock, but you might as well make the most of it. Brock hits 5 German suplexes in the first 2 minutes. So, it's that match. Dean gets a low blow and some kendo stick shots. Other than that, it's been nothing but German suplexes. Oh hey, there's the chainsaw...which of course doesn't come into play at all. No idea why they even pretended to build that up, and then had Balor completely randomly use a chainsaw in his entrance at Takeover two days before. You're obviously not using a fucking chainsaw in a match. LOL, Dean hit Brock with a lap top and a fan at ringside screamed, "I hope you backed up!". Great timing, fan. The match just goes on for what feels like 30 minutes of Brock hitting a bunch of suplexes, Dean using a weapon for a few spots, then repeating. Brock wins with one F5.
I'm not a fan of Dean, but damn this match did nothing for him. They didn't do anything with the stipulation (Rollins and Dean had a more heated street fight on Raw in 2014), and the whole build was precipitated on how he's crazy and won't stay down. Then he gets demolished, there was never a chance Brock was going to even almost lose, and Dean stayed down after one F5. There was no "He won't give up, look at him getting up to his feet" or even "he lost but he's still standing" type of thing. It was close to a squash. It certainly didn't elevate Dean at all, and it was probably the worst Brock PPV match since his return. Just weird. The right guy won, but the way the match was booked was counter to the build and was over all a waste of both guys.
It has to be noted that Rollins and Roman had significantly better matches with Brock than Dean did on this show. Brock didn't even bleed for this. It was a slightly extended version of his house show match and an absolute dud.
The hall of famers come out to bask in the glow one last time. Fucking LOL at Snoop out there in a god damn bath robe. Amazing.
Becky Lynch vs Charlotte vs Sasha Banks WWE Women's Championship
On the pre-show, Lita unveiled the brand new WWE Women's Championship, which will be presented to the winner of this match. It's the same as the WWE WHC belt, but white leather and red plates. No more butterfly belt. The revolution worked! Snoop (and some woman who wasn't good at all) do Sasha's entrance, and she's wearing gear inspired by the gear Eddie Guerrero won when he beat Brock for the title. Very dope. What a reaction for her, too. God damn. I'm amazed it took so long to have Snoop and Sasha interact. Charlotte is wearing a robe inspired by Ric's at Wrestlemania 24 (itself inspired by Gorgeous George). This match feels SO much bigger than anything so far. #bigtfightfeel, if you will. Even the entrance itself plays off of Flair's that night. Very dope. Becky got...a new hat. Notably, Cole calls the women Superstars instead of Divas, so maybe the Divas branding all together is done.
Sasha is doing Eddie spots and it is pretty great. It's a fairly traditional triple threat, with one person getting knocked out of the ring to allow one on one interactions. It's also a bit sloppy. Becky looks very nervous, which is interesting, as she has the most experience of the three. There is some smart work with each trying to do moves that would prevent the other from hitting their finishers instead of doing traditional work for their own. Fans are very into this. Probably more than anything so far. Lol at Charlotte and Becky doing stunner/Rock Bottom variations. Sasha has a scary dive where she made her rotation late and would have landed on her head had Charlotte been even a couple of inches farther back. Yikes. And then Becky dives onto Ric, but seeing Ric try not to break a hip was a bummer. He did that during the entrance, too. The old man shuffle trying not to slip on confetti. He is almost 70, I guess. Don't worry, Charlotte gets her own dive, with a moonsault to the floor. Charlotte makes Becky tap out to the figure eight, which is probably the worst way the match could have ended. The build up seemed to be pointing to Becky getting the surprise win, but Sasha's ascension to the crown has been going on since last Summer. Charlotte has just kind of been there from the start of her reign and has already run through the whole division, but this is a show of weird endings winners. Still, even with some sloppy execution at times, this has by far been match of the night. It's the only thing that even felt like a big time WM match. But also lol at WWE clearly patting themselves on the back for dropping the divas stuff when they inducted a pimp who brought out actual strippers with him into the HOF the night before.
Shane McMahon vs The Undertaker Hell In A Cell
Nothing about this build has made any sense. Shane returns after an 8 year absence to gain control of Raw, because he's worried the company won't last much longer with HHH and Steph running it into the ground. His entire existence right now is as an agent of change and openly tells the audience the shows are shitty, but he's going to fix them. So Vince puts him in a match with Undertaker at WM...because Taker is Vince's bitch. Sure. No reason why Vince is openly antagonistic towards Taker. Or why Taker would agree to do Vince's bidding. Or why he and Shane don't like each other. Now, Shane basically blackmailed Vince into this match, saying he had some lock-box of secrets that he'd reveal. It wasn't mentioned after the first week, but technically if Shane wins, he'll reveal the secrets, get control of Raw (but not WWE), and Taker will never be allowed to wrestle again...but only at Wrestlemania. None of it makes sense. There is also a strong undercurrent of Vince physically (possibly sexually) abusing Shane for years, and the idea that the son should inherit the business, not the daughter. It's very Freudian. And very McMahonian.
Shane brings out his 3 white as fuck sons to do the dance with him. Which is also weird, since Shane basically said he might die in this match, so bringing his sons out to watch it from the front row does not seem like great parenting. Who knows, one of those kids might be running the company someday. Better hope Shane wins before he dies. Hopefully the match itself will have as much fuckery as the build up. That's all I ask for. Lol at this starting off as a MOOEY TIE match. 1 punch from Taker is equal to about 15 from Shane. Shane has the speed advantage, but it isn't doing much for him. Taker looks physically healthier than the the past few Manias, but he's slow as shit and has trouble keeping his balance on moves. Both guys are gassed in 5 minutes. I'm confused at how Shane's strikes still look so bad even after training with Phil Nurse for months. These two trading MMA submissions is ridiculous. But countering a gogoplata into the sharpshooter is the most lol thing on this show. Shane's in much better shape today than he was 15 years ago, but he's not a wrestler. He's just here to die for his father's sins. Maybe literally. This fuck does an elbow drop from the top of the HIAC. The new, giant one. What the fuck. You're 46 and your kids are in the front row, Shane. Jesus fuck. And after this absolutely insane bump, with the entire audience, announcers, and Undertaker in shock....Shane tells Taker to bring more. Shane is doing Dean's gimmick better than Dean. Taker drags him in and finishes it with the tombstone, but what the fuck. The margin of error for that bump was so slim. Had he had a little more or little less bounce in his step, he could have over shot or landed on the edge of the table. Even if there is a crash pad under it, it couldn't be a big one. Christ. That's your son, Vince. And you grandchildren are in the front row watching their dad do that. What the fuck. Shane gets stretchered out after the match.
There was no reason for Shane to take that bump. Smoke and mirrors to make people forget the bulk of the match was terrible, that Taker is in his 50s, Shane is in his mid 40s, and the build up made no sense. It was, almost literally, just a match for Shane to come out and add another crazy bump to his highlight reel to make up for half the roster being out hurt. There was no good way to end this. Obviously, Shane beating Taker is ridiculous and would just lead to more McMahon Family Drama all over TV again. However, Shane's entire role is being a stand in for the audience who knows the shows are shitty and wants to make them good again, so the message being sent with Shane losing is "the shows are staying shitty. Deal with it." So...you've been warned by WWE itself. You don't get to complain about Raw if you keep watching.
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Uh. Why is Baron Corbin in this with no intro? Why the fuck is TATANKA in this? The hell is going on with this show? DDP?! SHAQ?!?! The fuck. This is the weirdest god damn show. Shaq really kills the worked heights of everyone in the ring, as he towers over Show and Kane. Lol, Shaq and Show double chokeslam Kane. Of course, the entire field team up to eliminate Shaq and Show about 2 minutes in. Sandow gets his WM moment of getting eliminated by Shaq. Kanyon Cutter! BANG! God damn Tatanka was out of place and wtf a decade ago when he showed up again. 10 years after that and it's twice as wtf. Baron Corbin eliminates Kane to win. Which again is another weird ass choice, considering he wasn't even announced for this, just lost to Austin Aries, and is now presumably coming up to the main roster with no hype and no reason to have even been in the battle royal unlike the past two that had NXT guys win the chance to be in it. It's not necesarrily bad or the wrong choice, It's just so random. Like everything else on this show, I suppose.
Now it's time for The Rock to come out and ramble for a half hour. Why does he have a flame thrower? And why is he setting his name on fire? Who knows. Who cares. The theme of the show. He's here to announce the new WM attendance record at 101,763, shattering the 29 year record set at WM3. And then the Wyatt Family comes out. Lol. Da hale. Damn at Bray getting Cena, Taker, and Rock in back to back to back WMs. Rock puts Bray over huge on the mic, but then berries the shit out of the other dudes. Then Rock takes his clothes off, revealing his wrestling gear.
The Rock vs Erik Rowan
Impromptu Rock match...ends in 6 seconds with a Rock Bottom lol.
The Wyatts surround Rock. BRRRR APPLEDOUGH. John Cena has returned! Of course, they dismantle the Wyatts and celebrate together. Random as fuck, but it's not like anything can be done to the Wyatt family to make them look any worse. If the physical stuff didn't happen right after, I would have thought Rock putting Bray over so hard was leading to a face turn for Bray.
Triple H vs Roman Reigns WWE World Heavyweight Championship
HHH has maybe his weirdest entrance ever, having footage of what appear to be cenobites stripped of their identities and with metal plates over their mouths, joined together in full on Nazi/Pink Floyd/Conan the Barbarian iconography, while Steph has her own Shao Kahn mask and delivers a totalitarian dictator speech touching on Jesus, slave mentality, destruction, power, and the futility of struggling against the machine. It's...something. Absolutely batshit. Wonderful. Roman has...basically a normal ass entrance with his pyro from last year. Big let down after that insanity of HHH's.
HHH is over like a god, everyone hates Roman. It will be interesting to see if HHH can get the crowd on Roman's side. It doesn't look like they're even going to try for that based on the opening minutes, though. The match has a deliberately slow pace, with HHH working the head and neck of Roman and lots of down time between moves. Steph distracts the ref when Roman starts gaining momentum. Has an old school feel to it. I'll say this much: This isn't doing much to make Roman look good. HHH has out wrestled him and physically dominated him multiple times. Just straight up rag dolling Roman. This is definitely not a story of HHH just being able to use his experience and cheating to control Roman. It's very strange. Roman hits the OMG Moment spear through the barricade, which has been done to death over the years even before he was doing it. Roman hurt his arm on it, and HHH tries to tear it apart once they're back in the ring. Steph accidentally got speared, which I'm sure thrilled all the creepy fucks who have been wanting her to get beaten up by giant athletic men twice her size for years. And it seems like it worked for this crowd, too, since right after, Roman kicked out of the pedigree and fans cheered. Disgusting fucks. All it took to turn him face was tackling a woman. Thankfully, it wasn't on purpose, because there is no excuse you can come up for that justifies 250 pound pro athletes smashing women, no matter how many times that woman has slapped them or made fun of them. Imagine kids in the stadium seeing grown ass men cheering for Roman only when he flattened a much smaller woman. What a great message to send to them, dads. Anyway, Roman wins with the spear, and the crowd that started off 95/5 in favor of HHH is probably closer to 70/30 in Roman's favor. So, mission accomplished. New champion. Not the match I thought it could be, but still pretty good. The right guy won and it wasn't weird as fuck, so it had that going for it.
This is probably the weirdest Wrestlemania ever. Not only was it was seven fucking hours if you included the pre-show (plus all day coverage on ESPN), but nearly every match had the wrong person winning or things that just made no sense. Roman/HHH is the only match to have the right finish and no booking shenanigans to make it weird. Brock/Dean had the right finish, but not the right match, nor the right character work from Dean. It was basically a squash that didn't deliver on any of the build, and then Shane completely out did Dean in the "crazy guy who won't stay down" character work. Which, that match was nonsense from start of finish and anyone involved with that Shane bump should be seriously considering other lines of work. New Day gets their big entrance only to lose to losers, the losers get beat up by retired guys, then Xavier gets beaten up by Austin as the legends celebrate and New Day disappears. It's certainly not an interaction that did any of the 7 current roster guys any good. It's just a weird show.
The women's match, despite being sloppy at times, felt like the most important match on the card. To the performers, announcers, and crowd. It was presented well and treated as a big deal. The main event was good, but not as good as it seemed like it should have been (the odd layout of HHH physically and technically dominating Roman certainly didn't help). I wouldn't say this was a BAD show, but it certainly was weird.