The SmarK Rant for WWE Wrestlemania 36 Part 2 – 04.05.20
Taped from the Performance Center. Maybe other places.
Your hosts are Tom Phillips & Byron Saxton
NXT Women’s title: Rhea Ripley v. Charlotte Flair
Rhea is wearing COLORS for this match, so it must be big. Charlotte takes her down to start and throws chops, but Rhea quickly hits the Riptide for two. Charlotte bails to escape but then catches Rhea with a cheapshot on the way back in and they fight to the floor. Rhea with the rolling senton off the stairs and she takes over back in the ring. Suplex gets two. Rhea with a bodyscissors and she rolls Charlotte over for two, but misses a big boot and Charlotte goes to work on the leg. Rhea fights back as they’re really laying into each other, but Charlotte boots the knee again and goes back to it. She wraps the knee around the post, but Rhea counters to CREATE SEPERATION. Rhea rolls her up for two, but Charlotte goes after the leg again, so Rhea slams her to escape. Rhea keeps fighting with knee strikes and a high kick, but the knee gives out again after a dropkick. She fights up and makes the comeback anyway, but Charlotte kicks out the knee and sends her to the floor. They fight on the apron and Charlotte goes up, but Rhea brings her down with a facebuster for two. They slug it out in the corner and Charlotte goes for the knee again, but Rhea gives her a STIFF elbow and goes to the top with a missile dropkick for two. But then Charlotte clips the knee AGAIN and goes for the kill, but Rhea reverses out and stomps her down and into the standing cloverleaf. Charlotte fights out and into a jackknife cradle for two, then she tries a Boston crab. Rhea reverses and they do pinfall reversals for two, but Charlotte destroys the knee again. Rhea snaps off a big boot for two, however. Rhea slugs away in the corner and they fight to the top, where Charlotte blocks a superplex and comes down with the moonsault. Rhea kicks her in the face on the way down, but Charlotte surprises her with a spear for two. And then Charlotte gets the figure-eight to win the title at 20:30. #CharlotteWinsLOL. Bit too long, but an otherwise incredible hard-hitting opener from these two. ****
Aleister Black v. Bobby Lashley
Black tries for a takedown, but Bobby overpowers him and stomps away on the ropes. Lashley with a chinlock and he pounds away in the corner, but Black blocks a suplex attempt and escapes to the apron. Black goes up and misses a flying stomp, and Lashley gets a powerslam for two. Lashley with a suplex for two. Black counters a spear attempt with a kick for two and makes the comeback with kicks to put him on the floor, then follows with a moonsault. But then Lashley hits a crossbody in the ring to cut him off again. Lana orders another spear instead of the Dominator, but of course Lashley walks into Black Mass and gets pinned at 7:10. Fine little TV match but I don’t know why it was here. **1/2
Otis v. Dolph Ziggler
Dolph is now seconded by Sonya after Todd In the Shadows broke up Fire & Desire on Smackdown. Dolph gets a superkick to put a charging Otis on the floor and runs him into the post for two. Dolph goes to a chinlock and follows with a dropkick for two. Dolph goes back to the chinlock on the mat, but Otis comes back with a slingshot into the corner and makes the comeback. Otis slams him and steps on the back before whipping him around the ring while Michael Cole actually has to ASK JBL for an old-timey reference. DON’T ENCOURAGE HIM. Dolph gets dumped to the floor and sent into the post, and back in for the Caterpillar, which looks ridiculous without a crowd. But Sonya takes the ref and Dolph kicks the leg out from under his leg, at which point Mandy does a run-in, complete with music. She hits Dolph right in the ziggles and Otis finishes with the Caterpillar at 8:08. This might have worked with a crowd but didn’t here. *1/2 Otis gets the girl in the end, at least.
Last Man Standing: Edge v. Randy Orton
Randy dives in, in disguise, hitting an RKO OUTTA NOWHERE to start the match and Edge is immediately laid out with a second RKO after starting the match. Edge bails to the floor and Orton follows him out and hits him with the camera, as we spill over the literal fourth wall and into the backstage area of the PC. Orton takes him into the gym area and beats him down after wrapping him up in ropes, but Edge hits him with a barbell and gets his own shots in. They do a creative spot where Orton gets put in a chair and Edge leaps off the weight set with a senton to put Orton down. Randy whips him into a wall to put him down, and they slug it out and head to the production area next. Edge runs him into a rolling door and they go back to the ring area, where Orton tosses him off a stage and into the railing. This gets a nine count, but Edge makes it up and keeps fighting. And we go exploring again as Orton brings him into the offices and Edge runs him into the wall for another count. Orton is up at nine, so Edge throws him on the conference table and then climbs up the fence on the ceiling like Spider-Man and drops an elbow. Back to the hallway as the cameraman gets taken out, and we cut to a warehouse in the back. Very subtle edit there. He said sarcastically. The fight over some ladders, but Edge is unable to get to his trusty chairs before Orton throws them away and runs Edge into a pile of stairs for another nine count. Next up, they fight to the interview set, where Edge literally sandbags him but starts grabbing his neck. Edge puts him on a conveniently placed table and climbs a conveniently placed ladder to a scaffolding, then drops an elbow through the table. This draws an eight count and they continue. Wherever the peak was, I’m pretty sure we’ve missed it by a good 10 minutes at this point because this blood feud blowoff is DRAGGING. They head into the back of a pickup truck and Orton gives him the DDT from the roof onto the bed cover. Edge survives that and climbs up onto the roof of a trailer to buy time. Orton follows him up and sets up for the punt, but Edge spears him and they’re both down for nine. Edge tries another spear and walks into the RKO, however, and Edge beats the count at nine. Next up, Orton brings some chairs up to the top of the trailer and beats on Edge with them, but Edge chokes him out with a sleeper and then tearfully delivers a one man conchairto to finish him off at 36:25 and FINALLY end this match. Jesus, that just kept GOING. It feels like it started when Matt Hardy was only 100 years old. I know what they were going for, but it was at least 15 minutes too long and the facility was too cramped to do any really cool spots. ** And really, it was pre-taped a week ago and edited together as it is. They could have EASILY chopped a big chunk out of the match.
Meanwhile, new 24/7 champion Mojo gets swarmed by geeks, leading to Gronk jumping onto everyone and pinning him to win the title.
RAW tag team titles: The Street Profits v. Angel Garza & Austin Theory
This definitely does not feel like one they needed to bother with. Dawkins overpowers Theory to start and Ford comes in with a dropkick as the champs clean house. Garza superkicks Dawkins on the floor and rips off the pants, and Theory comes in with a dropkick for two. Over to Ford and he runs wild with a moonsault on Garza for two and chases the heels out. He follows with a dive onto Theory and then Garza gets his own moonsault as everyone yells “WRESTLEMANIA” over and over. Yeah we know, there’s a giant sign behind the announce desk. Back in, Garza with a moonsault for two on Ford. Ford comes back with an enzuigiri and Dawkins comes back in and walks into a TKO, but Ford splashes them off the top and Dawkins gets the pin to retain at 6:12. Just a bunch of moves with no story to the match. ** Zelina Vega calls for a beatdown from the heels, but Bianca Belair makes the save and I guess she’s part of that act now.
Smackdown Women’s title: Bayley v. Sasha Banks v. Naomi v. Tamina v. Lacey Evans
This is elimination rules so I expect lots of pins via clothesline. This is also feeling like the point in the show where they need to just hurry the fuck up and get to the stuff people care about. Everyone attacks Tamina to start, but she fights them off and bails to the floor. The other four slug it out and Sasha and Bayley team up on Lacey in the corner with Bayley hitting running knees for two. Lacey and Naomi team up and toss the heels, but Naomi cradles Lacey for two. Tamina returns from the void and throws everyone around to get her shit in and covers a bunch of people for two. I’m very confused why we needed Tamina in this match in the first place. Tamina and Naomi and Sasha stop for a truce, but then Tamina superkicks Sasha and Naomi hits Tamina with a stunner for two. Then Sasha and Bayley double-team her and Bayley drops the flying elbow, and Sasha hits the frog splash, followed by a moonsault from Naomi and a dogpile for the pin at 6:27.
Bayley and Sasha bail to think it over, so Lacey and Naomi dive onto them, but Bayley runs Lacey into the stairs and beats on Naomi in the ring. Sasha comes in and misses the double knees, but Naomi gets a double sunset flip on them for two. Naomi hits them with She Calls It The Rear View and gets her shit in with the submission attempt on Sasha, but Bayley breaks it up with a knee to the back and Banks finishes with the Bank Statement at 10:23.
Bayley and Sasha beat Lacey down in the corner and talk some trash, and a double slam gets two. Bayley hits Sasha with a knee in the corner by mistake and Lacey gets a couple of cradles on Bayley for two. But then Bayley beats her down and we get some angst between the BFFs before Lacey knocks Sasha out with the punch for the pin at 13:29. So that leaves Bayley and Lacey, and Bayley drops a knee for two and chokes her out on the ropes. Lacey makes the comeback and gets her shit in, but misses something on the apron and gets rammed into the post by Bayley. That gets two. Bayley ties her up with the tag rope in the corner while Sasha Banks is apparently still unconscious on the floor. Lacey comes back with a boot out of the corner and escapes her predicament, then beats Bayley down in the corner and goes up with the moonsault for two. But then Sasha returns, hits the backstabber, and Bayley gets the pin to retain at 19:15. Another one that went WAAAAAAAAY too long and had a shit finish. *1/2
Firefly Fun House match: John Cena v. Bray Wyatt
So Cena does his entrance into the ring, and then Bray appears in the Fun House and magically teleports John there. So I guess that’s the start of the match. First up, John gets confronted by the Vince McMahon puppet, and we get a recreation of Cena’s debut, complete with his old shorts, as Bray plays Kurt Angle and John can’t touch him.
Next, we’re apparently off to Saturday Night’s Main Event, complete with original Animotion introduction (which is ironically cut from the Network edits of the show!), and we get a goofy promo with Bray and Cena behind the big blue cage. John pumps up his arms so much that he can’t use them.
Is there, like, a MATCH in here somewhere?
Off to 2003 next, as Cena is now the Thug again and he can only talk in rhymes. So they cut promos on each other and this making the Last Man Standing look like a sprint by comparison. So Cena charges Bray and is unable to hit him due to spooky teleportation, and Bray knocks him out with a chain.
And now we’re off to a Bray Wyatt promo vignette from 2014, as he changes costumes again and tries a Sister Abigail, then disappears before Cena can hit him with a chair.
Then apparently Bray Wyatt is Eric Bischoff and Cena is Hollywood Hogan in 1998, which the Vince puppet declares to be “Such good shit”. And then Bray morphs into the Fiend and puts Cena in the claw, at which point Cena disappears. So I guess Fiend…wins?
WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT? Being creative to enhance a match is one thing, but a failed art project in place of an actual match is not good creativity.
WWE title: Brock Lesnar v. Drew McIntyre
Drew immediately storms him and hits the Claymore kick for two, then tries again and Brock takes him down with a suplex. Brock gets another one while Paul offers his motivational speech, and the F5 gets one. Another F5 gets two this time. Brock hits the F5 not once, not twice, but THRICE, and gets two again. Paul wants more F5 action, but Drew escapes and hits the Claymore kick, and then a second one. Finally, not once, not twice, but THRICE with the kick, and he wins the title at 4:28 because Brock doesn’t work by the hour. Usual finisher spam here to end a VERY underwhelming second night of Wrestlemania and there’s Drew’s big moment for you, in front of no fans in a 4 minute match. *1/2
Well, the opener was great, but then the show went completely down the toilet for me. Edge-Orton should have been a hate-filled fight and it was a leisurely 35 minute stroll through the Performance Center, and I don’t even know what Cena v. Wyatt was or what it was supposed to accomplish.
I will say, I hope they stick with the two-night format from now on because it was at least easier to digest like this. Big thumbs down for Part 2.