If you didn’t catch my review column for Day 1, you can view it here.
Charlotte Flair def. Rhea Ripley (C) – NXT Women’s Championship
If you read my predictions column, I had Ripley winning this match, but I also said don’t be surprised if they give it to Charlotte because of the different avenues they could have taken with this match. Definitely not opposed to this decision, as seeing Flair in NXT again should be interesting. I also should have known Charlotte would be winning on her birthday.
The match itself was, well, very entertaining. Especially down the stretch. I was kind of skeptical at what kind of chemistry these two would have with each other, but they just fit like a glove. The empty arena atmosphere here worked to their advantage, as we were not only able to see, but hear the sheer physicality of this match.
I initially thought Flair’s leg work came a bit late in the match, but it worked and incorporated into the finish beautifully. Rhea’s desperation offense was also great to see.
There’s bound to be differing opinions on this, but Wednesday nights got a boost, and I’ll admit I forgot to consider that in my predictions. Maybe this will make Rhea a bigger star in the long run, and it may pave the way for others like Bianca. Whatever the case, just know I thought this match ruled. ****1/4
Aliester Black def. Bobby Lashley
This was everything the match needed to be, especially a match with no backstory. Hard-hitting, physical and the right length.
There’s no story between them so there’s no other extra dynamics at play for me. But I got what I wanted, and a little more. You can basically call this an above average RAW match. ***
Otis def. Dolph Ziggler
We pretty much all knew what was going to happen. Otis gets the win and the girl. It’s just a shame the pay-off to this story didn’t come in front of thousands of people. Oh well, Otis is hittin’ that, so who really cares?
The Match was fine, but nothing special really. It was all about what the finish was going to be. The journey to getting there was good. The match? Not too bad I guess. One gripe though. How are you a referee and get distracted in an empty arena? You can literally hear the mice running in the wall. **1/4
Edge def. Randy Orton – Last Man Standing Match
Before I begin, I must say that watching this had me emotional. Edge is the superstar that got me into wrestling, and actually seeing him in action again made me believe I was hallucinating. What a sight.
Now, first off, if you’re Edge, how do you get distracted in an EMPTY ARENA? If Orton isn’t coming out on the entrance ramp, did you ever think to look behind you, maybe? Where else could he sneak up on you? I get it’s been 9 years and he’s a bit older, but come on.
I’m already seeing a huge divide in opinions on this match. Some believe it was an excellent brawl that captured the emotion and intensity of this feud. Others believe it was a long, drawn-out fight that went about 10-15 minutes too long. I’m somewhere in the middle.
Orton and Edge are my two favorite superstars in WWE history, but I’ll try to be objective in grading this match in everything I saw. First, yes. The match did go too long for me. Watching a 46 year old fight against Orton’s methodical offense for nearly 40 minutes would wear everyone out.
Personally, everything that they did in the weight room could have been nixed and they could have just fought their way to the area where they did in the finish. Plus, it would have also removed the disturbing visual of seeing Orton basically hang Edge. Maybe Triple H should ban Orton and Edge from using the Performance Center for destroying it so badly.
On the flip side, the actual fighting and brawling itself was very well done. All of the character interactions, Edge cursing out the referee, Orton’s taunts, and the sheer physicality fully captured not only how heated this rivalry was, but what a Last Man Standing Match should be. It accomplished its duty in that sense.
We should also be amazed that a 46 year old who hasn’t done this in 9 years is able to do dive off of production trucks and take serious punishment. He truly is a marvel, and credit to Edge for playing his part.
If you want a sense of what this was, this is basically every match Johnny Gargano had with Tomasso Ciampa and Adam Cole, only a bit more subdued and slower.
So for me, definitely too long to get to the point, but it still ended up being a great brawl. I’d feel better about it if you shaved off 10 minutes.
Unfortunately, WWE still operates with the mindset that a longer match must mean a better match because there’s more wrestling. That’s not always the case. I actually read online that Edge and Orton’s match was the longest non-Iron Man Match in WrestleMania history. Don’t know if it’s true, but I believe it.
Kudos to both men for an admirable effort. ***1/4
The Street Profits (C) def. Austin Theory and Angel Garza – RAW Tag Team Championships
Crowd or no crowd, this match didn’t stand a chance. Edge said that his match with Orton would be tough to follow. Well, he was certainly correct in that regard.
From what I saw, it was fine. Bianca coming out was a decent surprise. It didn’t overstay its welcome. It passes. **
Bayley (C) def. Sasha Banks, Lacey Evans, Naomi and Tamina – SmackDown Women’s Championship (Fatal Five Way Elimination Match)
Match went just about the way I expected, and it looks like the seeds for Banks vs. Bayley in Boston at Summerslam (pending what happens with COVID-19) have been planted.
This was a fine match, but one that I also felt was kind of long. We were just removed from a bear 40 minute brawl. We can’t have a 20 minute match almost directly after. The B.A.D tease was fun and they did the Banks/Bayley tension well. The match was okay, but I wish they did the eliminations faster. **3/4
The Fiend def (???). John Cena – Firefly Funhouse Match
So, the question marks are there because I’m not sure that was an actual match, and I’m not sure if there was a winner. But I’m going to assume that The Fiend succeeded in conquering his demons and erasing John Cena.
I don’t know what I was expecting, but after watching this, everyone involved deserves a standing ovation. Maybe I’m wrong, but what I got from this was that it was a deep introspection of everything Cena has done in his career and coming to grips with who he is, what he’s said, and what he has done.
The supplementation with vintage footage was just spectacular. This has to be said. No one does video packages better than WWE. No one. They do a lot of things wrong and a lot of things in frustrating fashion. However, when it comes to creating a video package to hype up a confrontation, WWE is at the top of the mountain.
From the parodies to the performances from both Bray and Cena, my mind was blown. These pre-taped segments WWE have been doing have knocked it out the park. I have found that when WWE is forced to be creative and adapt to less than favorable circumstances, they create gold.
Here, we had another masterpiece. After watching this, don’t you want to see a version of this match with, like, 40 different people. I hope The Fiend does this with Orton next.
Drew McIntyre def. Brock Lesnar (C) – WWE Championship
The finish to this match was never I question. We all knew that any other result other than Drew winning the WWE Championship was not happening. Only thing we had to consider is how he’d win it.
Yes, it’s a shame that it came in front of no one, but I didn’t pay attention to that. The thing for me is that it didn’t feel like a huge deal. We knew he’d probably have to spam his finisher to win, but it’s like he barely took punishment from Brock here.
When Rollins beat Lesnar for the title at Summerslam last year, it felt like a huge deal. When Punk almost beat Lesnar, it felt like a huge deal. Tonight, it was kinda meh. Yeah, he did take some F-5’s and some Germans, but I don’t think there was time given to let the punishment digest. It’s like there was little to get in the way of Drew reaching the top.
But then again, it was a content heavy night, and a sprint was probably the best call here. The right man won, and Drew having that title looks good on him. **1/4
Before I say anything else, we should state this WrestleMania may arguably the most talked about ever, and no one was in attendance to see any of it. Whether or not it was appropriate for WWE to continue on with WrestleMania with everything going on in the world. That’s not for me to say, and all we can do is judge what we got.
First, I do believe WWE needs to take a closer look at permanently making WrestleMania a 2-day extravaganza if they continue to do these 16-match cards.
Imagine sitting through a 40 minute last-man standing match, two pre-taped segments each about 20 minutes and all those title matches in one evening?
I assure you I would not have enjoyed WrestleMania as much if it started at 6 and ended near midnight. Two separate nights going from 7 to 10 is a MUCH better pace for me.
It also was definitely weird seeing WrestleMania and all the big moments that happened without thousands of crowds to pop for it. I’m sure it bummed out a lot of the performers, and perhaps those at home who believe that’s an essential part of the experience, but life’s circumstances have to be considered.
As for WrestleMania itself, definitely more good than bad. Top to bottom, the right people won for the most part, we have a changing of the guard in new world champions and WWE’s creative side was shown in spades with the pre-taped segments.
This WrestleMania was about making lemonade out of lemons, and WWE filled it up to an entire pitcher. It may be difficult to recommend because it’s two separate three hour editions of the same show, but I generally enjoyed both nights combined.
Overall, I can recommend WrestleMania this year. Lots of things we never imagined seeing happened, and I think the aspect of not knowing what to expect helped move the night along. So with that, thumbs up for WrestleMania 36. Until next time, stay safe.