Bray Wyatt John Cena WWE WrestleMania 36

WrestleMania 36: Which Night Was Better?


WWE presented its annual “Showcase Of The Immortals” this past weekend, delivering two nights of action for the first time. We all know why we had a two-night event, but let’s take a few moments to look at both nights in a way that I originally wanted to avoid, but is now pretty much unavoidable… in comparison!

For this exercise, we need to put each night on equal footing. So we need criteria for each night, and that criteria is unique to WrestleMania itself.

Here are the points of comparison I am using:

  • Opening Match
  • Women’s World Championship Showdown
  • Undercard
  • Unique Setting Match
  • Men’s World Championship Showdown

Those will make sense as we explain. Now…shall we?

WrestleMania 36 Opening Match

  • Night 1 – Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross beat The Kabuki Warriors to win the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships
  • Night 2 – Charlotte Flair beat Rhea Ripley to win the Women’s NXT Championship

Vince McMahon has often stressed the importance of the opening match, and as a booker and a promoter, I follow that same formula. It’s one of the 3 most important matches on my card (along with the match before intermission and the last match of the night).

Alexa Bliss, Nikki Cross, Asuka, and Kairi Sane all did the best they could, served with the tough task of kicking off the entire event (not counting the—well… the Kickoff). They put on a good match, but struggled to keep me in the moment. That is a tall order with no crowd, and was the ongoing theme of the night.

Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair had an equally daunting task, and handled it masterfully. I was fully engaged throughout, and this easily a Top 5 match on the card, and in the running for my favorite in-ring match. I’d go so far as to say it’s one of the two best women’s matches in WrestleMania history (the other being WrestleMania 32’s Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks WWE Women’s Championship Match).

Advantage: Night 2

Women’s World Championship Showdown

  • Night 1 – Becky Lynch pinned Shayna Baszler to retain the Raw Women’s Championship
  • Night 2 – Charlotte Flair beat Rhea Ripley to win the Women’s NXT Championship

You’ll notice I didn’t include the Smackdown Women’s Championship Match. The build was nothing like the Women’s NXT Championship Match, and it felt more like an undercard match (much like the Women’s Tag Team Championship Match above).

I have seen plenty of people call Becky Lynch vs. Shayna Baszler a disappointment, and when I compare my impression of the match to the hype around it, I have to agree. It wasn’t a bad match, but Becky Lynch’s character is build on the fans. Shayna Baszler, the anti-Becky Lynch, played her role well, but it was easy to turn off my engagement for this match. The recycled finish didn’t help matters much, either.

You can see my comments above and see how I felt about Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair. For that reason alone, you know my answer here.

Advantage: Night 2

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