WrestleMania 32 from Jerryland is in the books ladies and gentlemen. The ‘Showcase of the Immortals’ gave us plenty to take in, good and bad, for casual fans as well as diehards. The IWC (Internet Wrestling Community) will have plenty to disect in the upcoming days.
The show opened with the Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match. Kevin Owens defending his title vs Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler, Sin Cara, Stardust, Zach Ryder, and The Miz. The match was quite the spectacle and set an electric tone for the night. The seven participants put their bodies on the line in an effort to take home the prestigious Intercontinental title. I actually found myself cringing at some of the risks taken in this match, but they pulled then off safely and seamlessly. Sami Zayn pretty much killed the incumbent champion, Kevin Owens, which led to the most improbable result of the show. Zack Ryder, the equivalent of an under .500 8 seed winning the NBA championship, scaled the ladder and pulled down the Title. A very deserved moment for a hard working and well liked fan favorite.
Next up was Chris Y2J Jericho, vs AJ Styles. This was the best one-on-one match of the night. Two of the best talents in the world over the last decade and a half delivered a match full of big moves, great reversals, and ring psychology. AJ hit his controversial “Styles Clash” finisher, which wasn’t enough to put Y2J away. Jericho would eventually reverse Style’s Springboard forearm into a Code Breaker. A great finish to a great match. Diehards will question the decision of Jericho winning over the new comer Styles. Follow up will be a major key in the push and development for Styles.
The New Day, which is the hottest act going in WWE today, came out of a giant cereal box! Yes you read that correctly. But wait, there’s more. They come out donning Dragon Ball Z inspired gear, with one member, Xavier Wood’s hair resembling that of Goku’s. Great moment for us nerds. They would go on to face League of Nations. The match itself was forgetful. The follow up, not so much. After League of Nations defeated New Day, they proclaimed that no three man team can touch them. That brought out three Attitude Era Legends Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, and Stone Cold Steve Austin! Out of that we got Sweet Chin Music, Mr. Socko, and some vintage Stone Cold Stunners. Great nostalgic moment and legit top moment of the night.
Brock Lesnar vs Dean Ambrose was up next. in a No Holds Barred Street Fight. Brock basically destroyed Dean. The idea was that Ambrose had a shot to conquer the behemoth due to having weapons at his disposal. The result was the fact that even with the aforementioned weapons, there was nothing Ambrose could do to topple the Beast. An OK match which was probably not the best showcasing of Brock Lesnar. Another loss for Ambrose continues his inability to ascend to super-stardom.
Next up was the triple threat match for the fresh off of the press Women’s Title. The women’s division has been pegged the “Divas Division”. On this night, the term “divas” was replaced with simply “Women’s”. They couldn’t have chosen a better match to usher in the new era of respectability of Women’s wrestling than this match. Match of the night for me. The pomp and circumstances for the entrance for Charlotte Flair, yes Ric’s daughter, was a spectacle in itself as she come out rocking a robe made out of one of Ric Flair’s sweet robes. That was topped by the entrance of Sasha Banks, who is arguably the best wrestler, men and women included, in the company today. She was escorted by her real life cousin, Snoop Dogg. Along with Becky Lynch, these three women stole the show with an intense, high impact showing. They took turns bending each other into pretzels with submission holds. In the end Ric Flair lived up to one of his many monikers, “The Dirtiest Player in the Game” as he assists in the match as well. Charlotte gets the victory as she applied the figure four leg lock to Becky Lynch. Simply an amazing match.
The Hell in a Cell match featuring Undertaker vs Shane McMahon was exactly what we knew it would be, a stunt show. Shane jumped off of the top of the cell, crashing through an announce table. That’s the moment from this year’s show that will be replayed for all of eternity. Other than that moment, a decent match. Undertaker picked up another win at Mania.
Andre the Giant Battle royal featured a surprise with Shaquille O’Neal participating. This is the match that gets everyone in the company on the show. The big moment was Shaq facing off with Big Show. They were both eliminated by majority of the guys teaming up on them. The winner was Baron Corbin, who is a prospect who was making his WWE debut. Hopefully a boost to a long career for a young guy.
It was now time to be electrified by the most electrifying man in the business, The Rock. He would come out to make me an announcement of the attendance record that was broken of 101,000 plus people in attendance. He would be rudely interrupted by the Wyatt family led by Bray Wyatt. The Rock would go on to rip off his Breakaway sweatsuit revealing he had his wrestling gear on and that he was ready for a match . That match lasted all of six seconds as he landed a rock bottom to Erick Rowan. The family would seek revenge as they surrounded The Rock. That led to the triumphant return of John Cena who gave The Rock a hand. The two former rivals would dispose of the family, trading finishing maneuvers. Again one of the better moments of the show.
Lastly, and actually least, was the Main Event. WWE Championship match between Triple H, and the much maligned Roman Reigns. This was literally the low point of the show. The two failed to deliver a standout performance. Reigns is currently the guy positioned as the new number one guy. This match is an example of why the majority of the hardcore fans don’t take to him. Clearly there was some audio editing going on as the crowd was barely audible during this match. The belief is that the company edited that so that you could not hear the loud and continuous boos to avoid the embarrassment of their number one guy being booed out of the building on the grandest stage of them all. To put it lightly, this match ended the show with a whimper. Reigns won the match and the title in unimpressive fashion.
As a whole this was a good show. Entertaining for the most part. I’d argue that they didn’t elevate any of their current every day talent besides the women. The show ended up being more of the old guys and part timers getting the shine. WWE eventually has to focus more on building those next superstars as the nostalgic acts grow less available annually. Again, very entertaining show, brought down by a weak main event.