The SmarK Rant for WWE Wrestlemania 37 Night Two – 04.11.21
Live from Tampa, FL
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Samoa Joe and Byron Saxton. But NOT Tom Philips. I can’t stress that enough.
Titus O’Neil & Hulk Hogan join us to host again, ebony and ivory, together in perfect harmony, and they’re PIRATES.
Randy Orton v. Bray Wyatt
Apparently the video package before the match was supposed to make me WANT to see the match. Huh. Didn’t get that at all. Oh, and Bray magically transforms from burnt abomination back into normal Fiend while walking through the tunnel. And then Matt Gaetz’s favorite wrestler, Alexa Bliss, skips out and pops open a giant jack-in-the-box with Fiend inside, and he pops out and clotheslines Orton while he stands there staring. Fiend with the Zeus neck snap and we get the WAYNE’S WORLD EXTREME CLOSEUP of his mask. Orton bails to the floor to escape the suck, but Fiend chases him out with the mandible claw. Oh, and FFS, they’re doing the stupid red light s--- again. Orton catches him with the draping DDT as Cole talks about the “box-like structure at ringside”, which I believe would be a box. Fiend no-sells everything before missing a senton, but he keeps popping up and Orton hits another draping DDT. RKO is countered with the mandible claw, but then the ringposts are on fire or some s--- and Alexa is bleeding black like a Papa Shango victim and this means she’s not with the Fiend I guess or something whatever who gives a s---, and Orton hits the RKO at 6:00 and pins the Fiend. And then the lights go out and everyone disappears. I wish they would have done that before the match. *
Meanwhile, Bayley annoys the hosts and Eric Bischoff, and Hulk takes Eric to see the boat to get away. Hilarity ensues.
WWE Women’s tag team titles: Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax v. Natalya & Tamina
Jeez, did Nattie take Charlotte’s old implants or something? She’s more boob than woman at this point. Shayna takes her down with a headlock but Nattie goes for the Sharpshooter and Shayna makes the ropes. Over to Nia, so Tamina comes in and they trade headbutts before Nattie & Tamina double-team Nia with a backdrop. Back to Baszler, who gets a small package on Nattie for two, but Nattie boots her down again and Tamina comes in with a clothesline. Nattie slingshots her into a sort-of superkick from Tamina, but Shayna just FLATTENS Natalya with a knee to the face and then goes to work on her leg and stomps the ankle at a scary angle. Nia continues working the leg and Baszler hits another knee to the face for two. Nia misses a charge and hits the post, and Nattie hits a discus lariat for two. Nia gets a powerbomb for two, but Tamina gets the hot tag (AFTER THREE TRIES AT IT!) and runs wild, although she’s as bad at being a fired up babyface as she is at everything else. Shayna tries the choke and Tamina escapes with a samoan drop for two. She goes up and Shayna brings her down, and she has to stand there with Natalya for nearly a count of 5 staring like f------ morons while Nia comes off the middle rope with a bodypress onto both of them for two. So then Nia puts some weak badmouth on Tamina, but Tamina slams her for two, about as effectively as Luger slamming Yokozuna on the aircraft carrier. But then she goes up and misses a flying splash and we get a wacky thing to finish where Nattie tries the Sharpshooter on Nia, but Shayna chokes her out from behind to retain at 14:20. Natalya was trying to make it passable but every time Nia or Tamina got in the ring it was just horrendously embarrassing. SHE DIDN’T EVEN KNOW HOW TO TAG SOMEONE. AND SHE WAS WRESTLING FOR THE TAG TEAM TITLES! That should be the first question you’re asked when you’re signing the contract! DUD
Sami Zayn v. Kevin Owens
OK, first two matches aside, we’re getting Steen v. Generico at a damn Wrestlemania so you have to love that. Also the crowd sings along with Sami’s song like in the before times, in the long long ago, so that’s cool. Kev hits a Pop Up Powerbomb immediately and tries for an apron bomb for old time’s sake, but Sami wriggles out. So KO suplexes him on the top rope. Real talk: I know Logan Paul is famous for something but I don’t know what it is or what he represents. Something with YouTube is all I know. So his involvement here is not really doing anything for me. Sami manages to suplex KO on the apron, THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING, and slugs away in the ring. Michinoku Driver gets two, which Cole calls a Blue Thunder Bomb before Corey corrects him to “save him from the internet tonight”. Too late for that. They slug it out on the top rope and KO brings him down, but Sami reverses out of the package powerbomb and takes him into the corner with an exploder and that sets up the Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Another exploder into the corner and a brainbuster gets two. Sami puts the beats on him in the corner, but Owens brings him down with a cradle superplex and they’re both out. Kevin recovers with a corner clothesline, but Sami fires right back with the Heluva kick, so Kevin superkicks him and follows with the stunner for the pin at 9:16. Disappointed we didn’t the ship dive from Kevin but this was a condensed greatest hits from them and it was all action. ***1/2 And then Logan Paul shoves Sami to justify his WM payday, and KO gives him a stunner. I still don’t care who this person is.
Meanwhile, Matt Riddle meets the Great Khali and pitches an idea for giant scooters, which then sets up the epic meeting between Riddle and RVD, which then proves that the writers can literally f--- up any guaranteed punchline. How can you not take 5 seconds to come up with an amazing bit between these two? It would literally write itself.
US title: Matt Riddle v. Sheamus
Apparently Riddle now has birds that fly out of his feet. Good to know. Sheamus takes him down with a headlock and goes to an armbar, but Riddle fires back with kicks in the corner and goes for a sleeper. Sheamus breaks in the corner and hits him with a spinning slam for two and the backbreaker for two. He takes Riddle to the apron for the forearms and follows with a suplex for two, but he goes up and Riddle brings him down with a superplex that’s almost a Spanish Fly. Riddle makes the comeback and hits an exploder out of the corner, and a jackhammer gets two. He tries the Bro Derek, but Sheamus reverses out and hits a pump knee strike for two. Alabama Slam gets two. Riddle sends him to the apron and hits him with a german suplex out there, then follows with a quebrada and back in for the Floating Bro for two. This gives us our first SHOCKED TWO COUNT FACE of the night before Riddle goes to the armbar, but Sheamus slams out of it for two. Riddle switches him to the rear naked choke, but Sheamus makes the ropes to escape. Sheamus goes to the top again, but Riddle follows him up, so Sheamus brings him down with an attempt at White Noise that nearly goes horribly wrong before they recover somewhat and Sheamus goes up with a flying knee instead. That gets two. Riddle ducks the Brogue Kick and gets a rollup for two, but Sheamus hits a Brogue Kick to block a quebrada, to win the US title at 10:52. And Riddle’s mouth is busted open by that one, as the replay shows Sheamus kicked him RIGHT in the mouth. But, on the bright side, he DID NOT slap his thigh. They were hitting hard and seemed on track to be having a great match, but they got sloppy and fell apart a bit at the end. ***
Intercontinental title: Big E v. Apollo Crews
This is a Nigerian drum fight for whatever that entails. Apparently it’s literal drums around the ring which can be used as weapons, although they both grab Nigerian Kendo Sticks to start and beat on each other with those. Big E charges with a gong and Crews kicks it back at him, but they head back in and E does the crazy spear off the apron spot. Back in, that gets two. He sets up the stairs outside, but Apollo gives him a death valley driver on the apron, THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING, for two. And then Apollo tries to murder Big E by smashing the stairs on his head, but luckily that misses. E recovers with a uranage off the apron and onto the stairs, which is a bump that had to suck because there’s really no way to protect yourself on that one. Back in, E sets up a table, but Crews hits him with an enzuigiri and beats on him with the kendo stick. But then he misses a splash and puts himself through the table, allowing Big E to hit the Big Ending. And then some guy, who is never named, comes into the ring, beats Big E down, and puts Crews on top to win the title at 6:51. So they literally never used a drum in this Nigerian Drum match. Just a standard kendo stick hardcore match with a terrible finish that killed the crowd. **
RAW Women’s title: Asuka v. Rhea Ripley
They immediately trade rollups and Asuka dropkicks her into the corner and out of the ring. Asuka gets a knee out there and goes to work on the back in the ring, but she misses a charge and Rhea gets a faceplant for two. Rhea with a bodyscissors and she smacks Asuka around on the mat, but Asuka fights back and Rhea gives her a series of short clotheslines until Asuka takes her down with a kneebar. Rhea escapes with a german suplex for two and beats on her back in the corner. They head to the top, but Asuka elbows her down and comes back with a missile dropkick and a hip attack for two. Asuka goes up again, but Rhea dropkicks her to the floor and they fight out there, where Rhea drops her facefirst on the apron, THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING. They fight on the apron and Asuka takes her down with a DDT off the apron and they splat on the floor, and then Asuka catches her with a running knee on the way into the ring for two. Asuka tries a running knee and Rhea catches her leg and wraps her up with the cloverleaf, but Asuka reverses out to the armbar, which Rhea escapes by slamming her into the corner. Asuka bails to the apron and Rhea suplexes her back in for two. Asuka does a nice counter into another armbar, and Rhea reverses out to a cradle for two. Asuka hits her with kicks while Rhea asks for more, and then she fires up and hits the Riptide to win the title at 13:05. And that’s how you do it. Now why couldn’t Charlotte have put her over like that last year? They were having a weird style clash to start but they worked it out and it was a damn good match by the end. ***1/2
Meanwhile, Bayley continues annoying Titus and Hulk, but the Bellas make the save and we dance. Also everyone but Bayley gets booed out of the stadium, so there’s that.
Hey, Ruthless Aggression is apparently coming back for another season so I can continue trashing their shitty revisionist history! Sweet. Also I’m gratified that the commercials now also “Available on Peacock in the US and WWE Network elsewhere” to actually acknowledge that the rest of the world still exists and has to pay up to $14.99 a month for it. Also the next PPV is apparently now called “Wrestlemania Backlash”, which I don’t even know what to do with.
Universal title: Roman Reigns v. Edge v. Daniel Bryan
Holy cow, Edge just gets a massive reaction here. Edge immediately attacks Roman and gets beat on for his troubles, and then Roman tosses Bryan to the floor for a superkick from Main Event Jey Uso. And then Edge gets some of that action as well. Roman goes out to supervise the superkicking, but Bryan dives onto him and Jey gets ANOTHER superkick off that. Edge runs Roman into the railing and apron over and over and then finishes with a shot to the post to put him out, and then gives Jey an impaler DDT onto the stairs as well. Back in the ring, we get the showdown between Edge and Bryan, with Bryan throwing kicks in the corner and following with a rana, which Edge reverses to a rollup for two. Roman tries to get involved and gets knocked off the apron, then comes back in with a missile dropkick on Edge and dives onto Roman again. But this time, Roman catches him and suplexes him on the floor, and Edge hits Roman with a baseball slide. Back in, Roman tries the superman punch, but Edge catches him with a DDT, and then Roman gets the superman punch on the second try. Spear is countered with a sunset flip for two, and then they both go for a spear and they collide for a double down. Then Daniel dives in with a diving headbutt on Roman and gets two. He makes the comeback with the Yes Kicks on both guys and the running knee on Edge, and a head kick on Roman gets two. He gets the Yes Lock on Roman, but Edge saves (with the nice touch of Heyman directing him to help from the outside) but Bryan takes Edge down with the Yes Lock as well. Roman saves this one and just beats Bryan down with elbows, and then powerbombs him onto Edge. They head to the floor and the classless Florida crowd disrespects the Big Dog with their chants, so Roman powerbombs Bryan through the announce table and then Edge spears Roman off the stairs. THIS MAN CARRIED THE COMPANY THROUGH THE PANDEMIC. And he beat cancer! What more do you want from him? So with Bryan dead and buried, Edge sends Roman into the ring and retrieves some chairs, but Roman steals it, so Edge takes him down and crossfaces him. Edge has the CRAZY EYES and Roman fights it off, so Edge uses a piece of metal bar to choke him out. But then Bryan dives in and does his OWN crossface on Roman, leading to him and Edge headbutting each other in desperation to finish the move before Bryan takes him down and beats on him. What an incredibly creative spot that was. Bryan has had enough of Edge’s s--- tonight and curb stomps him, but he charges and runs into a spear. Edge spears Roman as well, but that only gets two because Bryan takes out the ref with pinpoint timing. So Edge gets more chairs and just beats on both guys, then decides to give them a Conchairto. Luckily Jey Uso saves Roman from taking one and Edge just destroys him for his trouble, but Reigns spears Edge and now he wants some revenge. So he delivers his own Conchairto to Edge, drags his lifeless body on top of Bryan, and pins both at the same time to retain at 21:41. THAT IS HOW YOU TREAT THE BIG DOG WITH THE RESPECT HE DESERVES. He f------ pinned both jabronis at the same time. I approve of Roman Reigns continuing to be champion forever, or until they can get Rock to come back. Whichever comes first. It is not his time to lose yet and in fact it might never be. ****1/2
Well that main event blew away everything else on both nights by far. The women’s title match was really good as well, but everything else I could take or leave tonight, so your mileage may vary. It’s good enough for another mild thumbs up from me, but it’s ALL the main event in that regard because this was a thumbs-in-the-middle at best before the Big Dog put everyone in their place.
And hopefully the 2 night Wrestlemania continues next year because it’s so much easier to watch this way, although I have a gut feeling that interest was far down for the Saturday show and they might want to merge back into one night again as a result.