Wrestlemania XXXV

Wrestlemania XXXV
Date: April 7, 2019
Location: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young, Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips
America the Beautiful: Yolanda Adams

As long as this show is going to be, there’s something special about getting to see it every year. This year’s show is built around the three major matches and the question of how many happy endings we can have. You know it’s not going to be all three, but which of the three doesn’t go through. Those matches consist of Universal Champion Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins, Smackdown World Champion Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston and the winner take all match for both Women’s titles as Ronda Rousey faces Charlotte and Becky Lynch in a genuinely historic main event. Let’s get to it.

Kickoff Show: Cruiserweight Title: Tony Nese vs. Buddy Murphy

Nese is challenging after winning a tournament and wastes no time in trying a jumping knee. Murphy gets sent outside but is fine enough to drop Nese ribs first onto the turnbuckle as we go split screen for an ad. Well at least they didn’t do this during the TV build. Back to full with Nese fighting out of a chinlock and suplexing the champ into the corner. Murphy gets tied in the ropes for a Lionsault but catches Nese with a superkick. A spinning faceplant gets two and some knees to the face have Nese in more trouble.

Nese is fine enough to hit a reverse hurricanrana and they trade a series of strikes to the face. Nese’s kneeling over the back piledriver gets two, followed by the 450 for the same. Murphy is right back up with Murphy’s Law but Nese gets a foot on the rope. With nothing else working, Murphy tries Nese’s running knee in the corner but walks into a superkick. A German suplex into the corner sets up the real running knee to give Nese the pin and the title at 10:43.

Rating: C+. Pretty good stuff here, even if I can’t imagine Nese holding the title very long. He’s the New York guy so it makes sense to have him win the title for a feel good moment. It wasn’t the most surprising thing in the world but it’s a good idea to open the night with a mostly short but effective match. Not bad at all, though Nese is a short term champion at best.

Kickoff Show: Women’s Battle Royal

Naomi, Lana, Nikki Cross, Asuka, Mickie James, Kairi Sane, Ember Moon, Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan, Zelina Vega, Dana Brooke, Eve Torres, Mandy Rose, Candice LeRae, Maria Kanellis, Sonya Deville, Carmella

It’s a wild brawl to start with Nikki Cross chasing Maria in a circle and getting rid of her. Asuka sends Nikki out and LeRae is out as well. Ember Eclipses Lana (as Captain Marvel) and knocks out Naomi, followed by another Eclipse to Mandy. Lana manages to get rid of Ember and insists that she’s #1 before kicking Sane in the face. Sane goes up and gets shoved to the apron, leaving us with a Lana vs. Logan staredown.

The Riott Squad gets together and dumps Lana but Sane is back in with the Insane Elbow on Logan. The Squad gets rid of Sane though and Logan lifts Morgan up for a flipping Stunner on Vega. Now it’s Asuka taking the triple teaming but she slides back in from the apron. Dana of all people fights back against the Squad and gets rid of Ruby. Logan is out as well but Vega blocks a cartwheel elbow.

Mandy and Sonya get rid of Vega and Brooke as we’re down to Logan, Rose, Deville, James and Asuka. James superkicks Mandy out but gets eliminated by Sonya to get us to three. Asuka sends Deville to the apron but Logan dumps both of them out….as Carmella slides back in, JUST LIKE LAST YEAR. Carmella knocks Logan over but Logan keeps her feet above the floor. A superkick gets rid of Logan to give Carmella the win at 10:30.

Rating: D. Hey, remember last year when someone snuck back in at the end and won the Women’s Battle Royal in a big surprise despite doing nothing coming into the match where someone could have gotten something out of it? No particular reason for asking of course. The match was your usual deal of everyone standing around until it was time for them to be eliminated until the ending. It was shorter than last year’s though and that’s an improvement. Oh and so much for Lacey Evans winning the thing as a surprise.

Kickoff Show: Raw Tag Team Titles: Revival vs. Zack Ryder/Curt Hawkins

The Revival is defending and this wasn’t announced on the Kickoff Show. Dawson takes Hawkins into the corner to start and gets two off a rollup. It’s off to Ryder vs. Wilder, the latter of whom gets the loudest cheer of his career after he decked the guy who jumped Bret last night. An armbar keeps Ryder down and Dawson comes back in to rip at Ryder’s face. Ryder gets in a suplex and tosses Wilder into the corner but Dawson knocks Hawkins off the apron.

We hit the chinlock on Ryder for a bit until he backdrops his way to freedom, allowing the hot tag to Hawkins. A backslide gets two on Dawson and Wilder gets knocked off the apron. The double clothesline gives us a double knockdown and it’s back to Ryder. The middle rope Rough Ryder hits Dawson and Ryder suplex suplexes Wilder to the floor for a scary crash. Hawkins throws Ryder back in for the tag but Wilder breaks up the cover.

Wilder DDTs Ryder on the floor and Hawkins takes a brainbuster to put all four down on the floor. Back in Dawson is rather cocky about beating Hawkins, who seems to be a bit dead. You never want to be too cocky in wrestling though and it’s a small package to pin Dawson for the titles at 13:21.

Rating: C. Ignoring Hawkins losing 269 matches in a row and not having a win since November 2016, Ryder not winning a non-Main Event match on TV since December 2016 and the team not winning a match together since 2008, this makes perfect sense. The love for the New York fans is strong tonight, which makes me wonder what kind of horrible things they have in mind for the main card. Just let the Revival go sit at home until their contracts are up though because I’d rather they go out with just this humiliation rather than seeing what else WWE could think of for them.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

Colin Jost, Michael Che, Braun Strowman, Otis, Tucker, Kalisto, Gran Metalik, Lince Dorado, Ali, Titus O’Neil, Konnor, Viktor, Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Andrade, Jinder Mahal, Harper, Bo Dallas, Bobby Roode, Apollo Crews, Bo Dallas, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, No Way Jose, Tyler Breeze, Chad Gable, Heath Slater, Rhyno, Shelton Benjamin, EC3

Hey Harper is back. The SNL guys bail to the floor as Breeze and EC3 are both out. Shelton and Dorado are eliminated as well with Strowman throwing everyone he comes near. Harper vs. Strowman gets a big reaction but everyone piles onto them to break it up. Titus misses a charge and gets eliminated, followed by Ali tornado DDTing Jose and tossing him. Strowman gets sent into the post and goes through the ropes to the floor as Anderson is tossed.

Rhyno is out as well and the Hardys get into a mini match with Roode/Gable, with Roode being eliminated. Metalik gets thrown out by Mahal and Andrade monkey flips Kalisto out. There goes Gable as the ring is clearing out in a hurry. Tucker runs the Ascension over and there’s a double Caterpillar to both of them. The Ascension is thrown out but Strowman tosses Heavy Machinery.

Mahal is out next as Harper tries to suplex Ali, only to have Strowman kick them both out at the same time. We’re down to Strowman, Che, Jost, Matt, Jeff, Apollo and Andrade. Apollo and Andrade go to the apron and Andrade snaps off a hurricanrana to eliminate both of them in a dumb move. The Hardys try to pull Strowman out but the SNL guys come in and fail to throw them out.

Strowman shrugs them off and dumps the Hardys, leaving him alone with Jost and Che. One of them grabs a mic and says this doesn’t have to end in violence, so here’s his therapist to talk Strowman through this. Strowman beats him up and gives him a chokeslam (good thing the therapist knows how to take a flat back bump) before slapping Che out. A running boot in the corner misses and Jost goes for the elimination but gets shoved away. Strowman throws him out for the win at 10:24.

Rating: D. Yeah it was stupid and the SNL guys were annoying, but it was on the Kickoff Show and the right person won so I can’t complain all that much. Strowman should have won something bigger than this but at least he comes away with something instead of just being tossed out like anyone else. You know, like they did with Asuka in the first match.

Yolanda Adams sings America the Beautiful.

Helicopters fly over the stadium instead of the usual planes.

The opening video features wrestlers talking about this being the biggest stage and them being the players and storytellers. We see stills of famous Wrestlemania moments as the wrestlers talk about having the chance to live forever. They switch into a regular video of everyone involved with Lynch saying that they are the storytellers. This is a great idea, but not exactly practical when you consider that this is Wrestlemania GET EVERYONE ON THE CARD.

Here’s Wrestlemania host Alexa Bliss to say that Wrestlemania needs a goddess. She snaps her fingers…..and here’s Hulk Hogan. Well that works. Hogan: “It’s great to be back here in the Silverdome brother!” Ok that was funny. Hogan: “Ok it’s great to be back here in the MetLife Center!” He hits the catchphrase and poses with Bliss as Paul Heyman of all people storms out between the two of them. Heyman goes to the ring and says if they’re not closing the show, they’re not hanging around. They’re getting their business done and going to Las Vegas where Lesnar is ULTIMATELY appreciated.

Universal Title: Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins

Lesnar is defending. Rollins has a new BEAST SLAYER graphic but Brock knees him off the apron and it’s an F5 on the floor before the bell rings. Lesnar throws him into various things at ringside and then over the announcers’ table a few times. They get inside but the referee won’t start the match because Rollins isn’t ready. Lesnar tosses him outside again for another whip over the announcers’ table and through the top piece of the table.

They go back inside and Rollins is mostly dead but gets to his feet for the opening bell. Three straight German suplexes let Lesnar bounce as Rollins’ back is all kinds of pretty colors. The F5 is escaped and the ref is bumped, allowing Rollins to hit the low row. Rollins hits the low superkick and the Stomp connects. A second and third Stomp give Rollins the title at 2:30.

Jerry Lawler joins commentary.

Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles

The CGI graphics are back with Orton’s being a HUGE snake that made me jump. Battle over respect between the two of them as Orton has asked why it took AJ so long to get here. An early RKO attempt is blocked so Orton goes with a thumb to the eye and the Orton Stomp. AJ gets back up with the dropkick and the slingshot forearm to the floor drops Orton again. Orton is thrown back in and knocks AJ into the barricade. The chinlock doesn’t last long as AJ fights up with the Phenomenal Blitz and a basement forearm.

The Styles Clash is blocked and Orton tries the hanging DDT, which is reversed into the Calf Crusher. Once the rope is grabbed AJ goes to the apron and loads up the Phenomenal Forearm but drops back down as Orton jumps for the RKO and crashes, allowing AJ to hit the springboard 450 for two. Orton is back up with the top rope superplex as the fans are interested in something else.

The hanging DDT plants AJ and Orton plays to the crowd to get their attention back. The RKO is countered with an enziguri but the second attempt connects for two. It feels like it’s been awhile since anyone kicked out of that. With the regular version not working, Orton loads up a super RKO but gets kicked out to the floor. That means a Phenomenal Forearm to the outside and the regular one finishes Orton at 16:17.

Rating: B-. This was about what you would have expected with good action between two talented veterans. AJ knowing that the RKO counter was coming was fine and the ending was as decisive as you could get with AJ surviving the RKO and winning clean. It’s a perfectly good match and it’s not like the two of them have anything else to do at the moment. Expect a rematch next month.

Lacey Evans cameo, though this time she stops to sneer at the crowd.

Smackdown Tag Team Titles: Usos vs. Ricochet/Aleister Black vs. Shinsuke Nakamura/Rusev vs. The Bar

The Usos are defending. Jey and Black start things off but Sheamus tags himself in and low bridges Jey to the floor. Black gets taken down and it’s Rusev coming in to hold Black up for a kick from Rusev. It’s off to Ricochet with the springboard clothesline for two on Nakamura before spinning around Cesaro multiple times for a headscissors.

That just earns him a shot to the face and it’s time to swing Ricochet while Sheamus beats on Rusev’s chest. Nakamura tries to make a save so Sheamus beats on him as well, followed by the same to Jey and Black, all while Ricochet is swinging Ricochet for well over a minute. The Sharpshooter goes on with Jey making the save, earning himself a trip to the floor with his brother.

We settle down (kind of) to Black bringing in Ricochet, who gets caught by Rusev in a swinging release Rock Bottom. Everyone goes to the corner for the required Tower of Doom, with Ricochet rolling through because he’s Ricochet and more awesome than you. Black knees Sheamus down and Ricochet hits the 630 for two with a bunch of people diving in for the save. We get a parade of kicks to the face with Sheamus taking the double superkick. The Double Us retains the Usos’ titles at 10:05.

Rating: C+. The big spots helped a lot here and it felt like an amped up Smackdown match, which is one of the best things that you can have in this situation. There’s no other way you can go with no story and the match being thrown together on Smackdown. Just have them do the spots and do the best they can, like Ricochet sticking the landing and that insane swing.

Recap of the Hall of Fame.

Honky Tonk Man (Long overdue)

Harlem Heat (More than deserved)

Torrie Wilson (The bar has been lowered)

Brutus Beefcake (Sure why not)

Hart Foundation (Yep, and may I add yep)

Sue Aitchison, with John Cena’s 600th Make-A-Wish (Nothing wrong with that)

D-Generation X (Fine, though they feel weak for headliners)

We recap Shane McMahon vs. The Miz in the feud that WWE cares about and thinks we do too. Miz’s dad is a horrible person and only cared about his son when Miz started teaming with Shane, who didn’t like having to fix Miz’s daddy issues. Tonight it’s Falls Count Anywhere to blow it off.

Shane McMahon vs. The Miz

Falls Count Anywhere. Shane makes Greg Hamilton do his entrance three times, with the third being held out extra long. Miz’s dad is in the front row so Shane goes straight to the floor to choke him. The chase is on but Shane gets in a monitor shot to the head. The big elbow through the announcers’ table is loaded up so Miz’s dad gets in the way. Still doesn’t help the fact that he’s a horrible father.

Dad gets in the ring and puts up his fists so Shane jumps him. The beating brings Miz back into the ring to take Shane apart and send him into the barricade before checking on his dad. With the medics taking care of Papa Miz, Miz tackles Shane over the barricade and they head into the crowd, eventually going to the tech arena near one of the towers that holds up the structure above the ring. They go into an open area of the crowd with Miz hitting Shane in the foot with a chair.

Another shot to the back lets Miz knock Shane over to the international commentators station where tables are overturned. A chokeslam puts Shane through the table for two and a monitor shot knocks Shane over a barricade and down into the shadows (cool visual). Miz follows and gets a delayed two as replays show Shane landing on top of a golf cart.

They fight up a camera tower ala HHH vs. Undertaker at Wrestlemania XVII with Miz hitting a Skull Crushing Finale onto a metal platform for two. Shane gets in a shot to the face and climbs to the top of the tower as this isn’t going to go well. Miz follows him up and gets rather stalkerish as he stares Shane down to one knee. Shane begs off so Miz hammers away and suplexes him off the tower onto a crashpad….with Shane landing on top for the pin at 15:38.

Rating: C-. Why not. Why not. WHY THE #$**#%%[email protected]# NOT! Why shouldn’t we spend five months building this up and giving Shane McMahon a title before having him win at Wrestlemania? I’m sure this will continue, because going from November until April isn’t long enough for a Shane McMahon story. That’s just great.

The match itself was your usual walking around the stadium fight with Miz dominating through most of it until the end. The deal with Miz’s dad was a cool moment but they should have brought him out later on in the match instead of so close to the beginning. Not bad overall, but the ending was stupid.

Paige joins commentary.

Women’s Tag Team Titles: Boss N Hug Connection vs. Natalya/Beth Phoenix vs. IIconics vs. Nia Jax/Tamina

Bayley and Sasha Banks are defending. The IIconics are a devil (Billie) and a black winged angel (Peyton). Natalya and Beth are in matching pink and black so here’s Bret Hart to stand with them on the stage and then go to the back. It’s a brawl to start with Nia being sent into the steps. We settle down to Peyton getting beaten up but Billie helps her out, allowing them to hit their superhero pose.

Beth gets bulldogged onto Billie’s knee with the kickout making Peyton scream. Natalya comes in for a Hart Attack for two on Billie with Bayley making the save. It’s off to Sasha, who is taken down without too much effort. Natalya and Beth lift Sasha into the air so Bayley makes the save and throws Bayley at Beth for the Bank Statement but Beth powers out as you probably expected.

Natalya puts Bayley and Sasha in the Sharpshooter at the same time until Tamina breaks it up with a superkick. Nia gets back in and starts crushing people, setting up Nia and Tamina going up top at the same time. Beth saves Banks from death by shoving Nia off and Sasha drops the frog splash for two on Natalya. Beth is back up and takes Bayley to the top for a super Glam Slam….but Billie comes in and steals the pin and the title at 10:46.

Rating: D. Some of the spots were good but at the same time, there were too many people running around and it hurt things a lot. I do like the IIconics coming in and stealing the belts as it certainly fits their style better (Do they even have a regular finisher?). But yeah, just too much going on when it didn’t need to be the case. Drop Beth and Natalya and it would have fit better, but I guess the Beth Phoenix fan club needed one more moment?

The helicopter pilots from earlier are here.

We recap Kofi Kingston vs. Daniel Bryan. Kingston has basically done everything there is to do in the company outside of winning the World Title. He got close in the Elimination Chamber but couldn’t quite pull it off. Vince McMahon then decided to throw one challenge after another at him with Kofi coming up just short every time until Big E. and Xavier Woods won a tag team gauntlet match to get him the title shot. If Kofi doesn’t win here, I don’t know if he ever will.

Smackdown World Title: Kofi Kingston vs. Daniel Bryan

Kofi is challenging with New Day in his corner while Bryan has Rowan. Big E. has a present for Kofi, but only after he wins. They go to the mat to start with Kofi sticking the landing off a monkey flip to send Bryan outside. That means the big dive over the top as the roster is watching in the locker room again, where there is a total of one single monitor showing the match. Back in and Kofi tries to jump a little too much, allowing Bryan to pull him down into a surfboard.

Some forearms to the back of the head seem to wake Kofi up and it’s a clothesline into the Boom Drop. Bryan bails outside and Kofi dives after, only to crash onto the announcers’ table ribs first. Back in and we hit the waistlock for a good while as Bryan stays on the ribs. He switches over to the Boston crab, eventually stepping to the side to make it half Liontamer. With that broken, Bryan loads up a belly to back superplex but gets elbowed down three times in a row.

Kofi drops a top rope splash to the back for two but the ribs are banged up again in the process. Trouble in Paradise misses and they go to some rollups for near falls until Kofi kicks him in the head. Bryan stops him with a stomp out of the corner and busts out the YES pose for a nice callback. The running knee is countered into a rollup and SOS gets two but Bryan reverses into the LeBell Lock in the middle of the ring.

The long crawl gets Kofi’s leg on the rope and Bryan is starting to get mad. The kicks to the ribs have Kofi in trouble but he fires back kicks of his own, capped off by a reverse suplex (ok then) for a close two. Rowan goes after New Day but Kofi hits him with Trouble in Paradise, followed by the Midnight Hour on the floor. Bryan’s suicide dive is countered by a right hand but Trouble in Paradise misses, allowing Bryan to hit the running knee for two, causing the fans to build a roof on the stadium and then blow it off.

Bryan has had it and starts stomping the head as Woods and Big E. watch on. The LeBell Lock goes on and the referee checks the arm….which stays up. Bryan hits him in the face and pulls again but Kofi rolls out and hammers away at Bryan, who won’t let go of Kofi’s hand. That lets Kofi stomp away for a change and Bryan is done, setting up Trouble in Paradise to give Kofi the pin and the title at 23:41.

Rating: A-. I mean….they could have gone out there and demonstrated how to make a pimento loaf and it wouldn’t have mattered as long as they had that ending. That was a genuine Wrestlemania moment and you could feel what it meant to everyone. This was incredible and one of the best moments they could have had. Eleven years ago, Kofi had the worst debut match I’ve ever seen and now he’s WWE Champion at Wrestlemania. Not too shabby.

Post match Woods pulls off the cover and unveils the non-wooden title so Kofi can pose with the right design, already complete with custom side plates. Kofi’s kids come in to celebrate and now it’s time to open the present. It’s a new New Day shirt with Kofi holding the title.

We recap the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

Bliss, now in a different outfit, goes in to see Jost and Che as they’re checked for injuries. She says don’t worry because they’re in good hands….because Scott Hall and Kevin Nash are the doctors? And giving them prostate exams? Am I missing a joke here?

Booker T. joins commentary.

US Title: Samoa Joe vs. Rey Mysterio

Mysterio is challenging and I believe he’s dressed as Mysterio from Spider-Man. Joe goes straight at him and Rey hits a 619 in less than a minute. Rey’s wheelbarrow bulldog is countered into the Koquina Clutch….and Rey is out at 1:00. So I’m thinking he’s still a bit injured? Booker: “I DID ALL MY PREP WORK FOR THAT???”

Trailer for Batista’s new movie.

We recap Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre. Reigns is back from leukemia and needed a first singles match. Drew took out both Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins and is promising to do the same to Reigns tonight.

Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre

McIntyre is played to the ring by the New York Police Department Bagpipe Band. Reigns lowers his head to start and gets kicked in the face but what looked to be a powerslam is escaped. That means a legdrop to the back of the head over the middle rope but Drew is right back with the Glasgow Kiss. The chinlock has Reigns in more trouble until Drew takes him outside for a suplex, thereby upping the total amount of trouble.

The reverse Alabama Slam gives Drew two and he tells Reigns he should have said no. A flipping slam off the top has Reigns down again as Drew tells him that he broke the Shield. The Future Shock (Drew: “THIS ONE IS FOR AMBROSE!”) is broken up so Drew slaps him in the face. A big boot sends Drew outside and it’s a Samoan drop on the floor. Back in and the jumping clothesline puts Drew down, followed by the Superman Punch to do it again. The spear finishes Drew at 10:10.

Rating: C-. Totally standard Raw main event with Drew trying but not having a prayer of winning. There’s only so much you can do when everything is against you like this and Drew tried as hard as he can. Just getting this spot is Drew’s big win of the night and that’s not the worst place to be. He’ll be back and do just fine because he’s that good.

Here’s Elias to play some drums rather well. Now he’s at a piano (teleporting from one to the other) and does quite splendidly there too. Now he’s in the middle of the ring with his guitar. Elias the drummer and Elias the piano player play him in and he continues to have chops. Piano and Drum take a bow and now guitar Elias is on his own. The fans sing a little OH WALK WITH ELIAS and Elias promises more versions of himself, including a harpsichord player. As he starts his song, a SPECIAL BULLETIN appears on screen showing….the 1932 World Series?

Babe Ruth calls his shot (yes he did) and hits a home run….and here’s John Cena to Basic Thuganomics. Well you know the Yankees gear is making his skin crawl. Cena says Elias got the worst deal because John Cena is about to turn heel. He feels like he’s watching one of his movies because this whole thing sucks.

Cena isn’t feeling it because this is a wasted wrestling experiment. Cena: “They call me the golden shovel so I’m about to bury your push.” He throws him some nuts and says there’s no AA today, but here’s an FU. Cena lays him out with the knuckles and plants him with the FU. This worked well as Cena is often at his best when he’s making fun of himself.

We recap Batista vs. HHH. Batista wanted one more match with HHH to end their careers on his terms so he beat up Ric Flair to get HHH’s attention. The match is on and it’s No Holds Barred.

Shawn Michaels is on commentary.

Batista vs. HHH

No Holds Barred with HHH’s career on the line. Batista slips through the ropes on the way into the ring before heading outside to glare at Shawn. He even walks around the ring and does his entrance again, this time without the slipping. HHH’s entrance video seems to be inspired by Mad Max and shows a road race. The stage opens up and the car drives out with HHH on the back. I’ve seen worse.

Batista drives him into the corner to start but gets elbowed out to the floor. They fight to the floor with HHH going over the announcers’ table but managing to pull out a tool box to hit Batista in the head. Now it’s a chain to whip Batista in the back and choke a bit before going for some pliers. Batista’s finger gets bent back and HHH stomps on the pliers to make it even worse. Now it’s time for some needle nose pliers, but first he sits in a chair on Batista’s throat. HHH: “THAT’S A NICE NOSE RING!” And then he rips it out with the pliers!

Graves: “Batista won’t be able to be a guardian of the house like this! This guy is my boss!” Batista heads to the floor (Shawn: “His nose is bleeding!” Graves: “YOU THINK???”) and drops HHH onto the announcers’ table three times in a row without breaking the thing. Some chairs to the back keep HHH in trouble and they head back inside with Batista busting out a White Noise of all things.

Back to the floor with Batista putting the steps onto an announcers’ table and clearing off a second one, complete with a point to Shawn. The Batista Bomb off the steps is countered with a backdrop and the table STILL doesn’t break. Good grief where have those tables been all these years? HHH gets up, throws a crotch chop, and spears Batista through the German table. They slowly get back inside and HHH (eventually) finds a sledgehammer.

That just earns him a spear for two but a charge with the hammer is cut off by HHH’s raised boot. The spinebuster connects and it’s time for the Batista Bomb, with HHH dropping the hammer on his way down. That gets two and Batista brings the steps inside. He takes too long punching in the corner (right in front of the steps because wrestlers never learn) and gets powerbombed down onto the steps.

The Pedigree….only gets two as this keeps going. Batista gets in a DDT onto the steps and things stop again but here’s Ric Flair (I was waiting on him) to hand HHH a sledgehammer. HE COULDN’T DO THIS TEN MINUTES AGO??? HHH uses the steps to launch into a sledgehammer shot to the head but Batista pops back up so he can eat the Pedigree for the pin at 24:49. You know, because a JUMPING HAMMER TO THE HEAD isn’t enough to pin someone.

Rating: D+. The first ten minutes of this was very good but, as tends to be the case for almost any HHH match anymore, it went on too long because there was way too much laying around between moves. The ending looked ridiculous as well but that’s another situation. What they did early on was entertaining and brutal (that pliers thing was nuts) but I was looking at the clock near the end, which happens way too often.

Alexa Bliss (outfit #3) has the B Team model AND STILL CHAMPION Daniel Bryan shirts. Ron Simmons comes in for the cameo.

JBL joins commentary.

Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin

No Angle video package? Angle snaps off a belly to belly suplex but gets taken down early on. The rolling German suplexes give Kurt two but the Angle Slam is broken up for a big boot. The ankle lock is countered into Deep Six for two and Corbin is already getting frustrated. Kurt hits the Angle Slam for two but Corbin is right back and says You Can’t See Me. That odd taunt lets Angle roll some more German suplexes….and Kurt goes up. The moonsault misses as it always does…and the End of Days gives Corbin the pin at 6:00.

Rating: F. The idea of Kurt Angle losing to Baron Corbin in his last match is a failure. Not because it’s Angle last match. Not because the match wasn’t good. Not because WHY? But because we now have to deal with more Baron Corbin on Raw as more fans’ heads explode as we try to figure out what WWE sees in him. I’m sure this was Angle’s decision and while I can respect that, someone named McMahon should have overridden him.

Post match Angle wants his music played one last time so we can get in one more YOU SUCK. That’s exactly what he gets, as he should.

Intercontinental Title: Bobby Lashley vs. Finn Balor

Lashley, with special contacts in, is defending and Balor is the Demon, making its Wrestlemania debut. Balor hits a spinwheel kick and ax kick to the back, followed by a dropkick to put him on the floor. There’s the big flip dive but Lashley catches him with a spinebuster back inside. Lashley hits a heck of a spear through the ropes to drive Balor to the floor, followed by a regular one for two back inside. Balor gets back up and powerbombs Lashley (good one too) and the Coup de Grace gives Balor the title back at 4:04.

Rating: C. The spots were good (that spear was awesome) and the powerbomb looked awesome, but the problem is they didn’t need to do the Demon here. I get why they did it and it makes sense to do it at Wrestlemania, but at the same time what’s the point in having him do it if he can already beat Lashley and Lio Rush? It’s a good enough match, but this story was them trading the title and then the Demon doing what regular Balor could do.

Alexa (#4) announces the new WWE attendance record of 82,265. She thinks we need a break though so here are R-Truth and Carmella for the world’s largest dance break.

Wrestlemania XXXVI is in Tampa Bay on April 5, 2020.

We recap the women’s triple threat match. Becky Lynch has become the people’s champion, Charlotte is the Smackdown Women’s Champion and the corporate pick and Ronda Rousey is the Raw Women Champion and the unstoppable force. Tonight is winner take all for both belts, but it’s much more about the history because the match is actually headlining the show.

Raw Women’s Title/Smackdown Women’s Title: Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch

Ronda is Raw Women’s Champion and Charlotte is Smackdown Women’s Champion….and she comes in via helicopter and lands in the parking lot, where a red carpet is rolled out for her in a Horseman homage. Since she has to walk a good ways into the stadium, here are Joan Jett and the Blackhearts to play Ronda to the ring. The bell rings at 12:01am and Becky goes straight for the Disarm-Her on Ronda but gets shoved away so they can all head outside.

That means a Piper’s Pit for both of them and Ronda starts the trash talk. Charlotte gets up and sends Rousey into the barricade, setting up a showdown with Charlotte inside. The Disarm-Her to Becky is broken up and it’s Ronda coming back in to kick Becky in the face. A double powerbomb over the top is countered into a double armbar on Becky and Charlotte. Becky escapes and dropkicks Ronda to the floor for a NASTY crash on her back. Charlotte Downward Spirals Becky into the buckle for two as we look at Rousey landing square on her back again.

Becky is right back with the Disarm-Her but Ronda comes back to life and makes the save. A running knee breaks up the armbar on Becky and Charlotte hits a double Natural Selection for two each. Becky gets sent outside so Charlotte chops Ronda, who tells her to bring it. That’s just what Charlotte does with a backhand to the face so Ronda hits a jumping knee, which is countered into a Liontamer. Becky breaks it up with a bulldog and hits a double DDT for two each.

A super Bexploder gets two on Charlotte, setting up a double high crossbody from Rousey. The double armbar is countered with a double powerbomb Ronda is done for the moment. Becky calls Charlotte to her and avoids a charge, letting Becky kick her to the floor. The Disarm-Her goes on and Rousey uses the ropes to stand up for the break. A missed charge lets Becky get the Disarm-Her in the corner until Charlotte’s big boot breaks it up.

Charlotte starts in on Rousey’s knee and gets the Figure Four but Becky comes off the top with a legdrop for the save. And now, a table because that’s what this match was calling for. Rousey breaks up a powerbomb through the table and turns the table over, saying tables are for b****** (at least the third time she’s used that word so far). Charlotte comes back in for a double spear as Cole’s voice is almost gone.

The table is set up in the corner and Charlotte gets two off a spear to Becky. Rousey gets back up and helps Becky drive Charlotte somewhat through the table to knock her outside. The fight is on and Rousey goes with a Shining Wizard and tries Piper’s Pit….but gets reversed into a crucifix to give Becky the pin and the titles at 22:27!

Rating: B. The ending was straight out of Angle vs. Benoit at Wrestlemania XVII with the submission attempts all match until the quick pinfall. What matters here is Becky defeated Rousey to win the titles as she should have. That was how this show needed to end and it did, even if the ending could have been a bit smoother. Charlotte will be fine and I’m curious to see who goes after Becky as the first victim.

Replays show Rousey’s shoulders were WAY up so there’s your story going forward (if Rousey sticks around). Cole: “Tonight will forever be known as WrestleMANia!” Oh just stop dude. Pyro and posing takes us out.

Overall Rating: B-. Let’s get the things I got wrong out of the way first. First: this was WAY better than I was expecting after last year’s near nightmare of a show. Second: they actually did give us three happy endings, which I said several times would not happen. I’m very glad to be wrong on that, but I certainly was wrong. Third: yeah HHH vs. Batista went on too long and it brought things down. I had high hopes and they didn’t come through.

Now for the good stuff: the right people won (mostly) and the big matches all went to the right people. For the first time in way too long, we had something to cheer about. If that’s it for Lesnar at the moment, thank goodness because he needs to go away for a long time and leave the title here. Rollins will be fine as champion for the summer before someone wins Money in the Bank and takes it from him (It’s going to be Corbin isn’t it?). Becky winning was the right way to go also, even if the ending was a little rushed. There’s one big one left though.

Kofi Kingston is WWE Champion. That was one of the best moments I’ve seen WWE put on in years and might pass Bryan in New Orleans. It felt special and you don’t get that often enough, mainly because there was serious doubt if they could actually pull the trigger. I loved that moment and was happier than I’ve been at something in a long time. I’d have loved to see it close the show, but I get why they couldn’t go there. Incredible moment though.

Overall, the pacing was FAR better than what they’ve had in recent years and while there was a lot of stuff they needed to trim down (despite having multiple matches go less than five minutes), it didn’t drag nearly as bad as it has before. It still needs to be shorter by about an hour (at least) and not everyone needs to be on the show, but for what we got, it was one of the better shows in recent memory and we got a genuine Wrestlemania moment. Well done, and it was close to being great.


Seth Rollins b. Brock Lesnar – Stomp

AJ Styles b. Randy Orton – Phenomenal Forearm

Usos b. The Bar, Aleister Black/Ricochet and Shinsuke Nakamura/Rusev – Double Us to Sheamus

Shane McMahon b. The Miz – McMahon pinned Shane after a superplex off a camera tower

IIconics b. Boss N Hug Connection, Nia Jax/Tamina and Beth Phoenix/Natalya – Super Glam Slam to Bayley

Kofi Kingston b. Daniel Bryan – Trouble in Paradise

Samoa Joe b. Rey Mysterio – Koquina Clutch

Roman Reigns b. Drew McIntyre – Spear

HHH b. Batista – Pedigree

Baron Corbin b. Kurt Angle – End of Days

Finn Balor b. Bobby Lashley – Coup de Grace

Becky Lynch b. Ronda Rousey and Charlotte – Crucifix to Rousey

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