Yesterday, I posted all about my love for the biggest pay-per-view the WWE hosts each and every year, Wrestlemania. Like I said, the WWE has been pretty consistent with making each year’s Wrestlemania very special. But, like the Undertaker’s Streak, that record can be broken. So, did the WWE hit another home run this year? Or did they finally crack?
Let’s go find out, shall we?
Match #1: Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn vs The Miz vs Dolph Ziggler vs Sin Cara vs Stardust vs Zack Ryder in a Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Title
Let me get this out of the way first. I didn’t understand why a lot of these people were included in the match. I mean, I can get Sin Cara since he’s a high flyer. But The Miz? Stardust? Zack Ryder? What business do they have to be included in a ladder match for the Intercontinental title, much less at Wrestlemania? I though this was going to be a disaster!
Well, leave it to them to make me eat my words! There were a lot of fun things that happened throughout the entirety of ladder match! There was Stardust pulling out a polka-dot ladder and smashing everyone with it like a propeller! There was Dolph Ziggler superkicking the bejezus out of everyone! There was Kevin Owens splashing Sami Zayn while on a ladder! There was Sin Cara escaping a ladder about to be tipped over but using it as an opportunity to springboard onto his opponents on the outside! And, of course, there was Sami Zayn just going crazy!
Now, I’ve been watching wrestling for so long so it takes a lot to surprise me. And, lo and behold, the ending of this match certainly surprised me! With The Miz all alone, he took his time getting to the top, which proved to be his downfall. Zack Ryder, of all people, swooped in, pushed Miz off the top of the ladder and grabbed the Intercontinental title!
I have to give credit where credit it due. The match was pretty awesome and had a lot of fantastic and brutal looking spots. The unexpected win of Zack Ryder made it more special. I do wish Zack and Miz did a little more, though. But that’s the only thing I can think was wrong with the match.
Rating: 8 of 10 Zack Ryder as Intercontinental Champion… really? Really?
Match #2: Chris Jericho vs AJ Styles
Jeez, how many times have these guys fought? I think I would be more hyped for this match if this was like their 2nd or 3rd match. But I think the WWE dragged out this feud for too long and it took a lot of the wind out of their sails. Still, Jericho and AJ Styles are solid performers. Maybe they can shock me like the Intercontinental Ladder match?
Sadly, no. While this match had lots of action and a lot of actual good wrestling from both competitors, it just didn’t feel as thrilling as their previous matches. I guess that’s to be expected when you have two guys, even those as skilled and charismatic as Jericho and AJ Styles, repeatedly compete against each other too often in a short period of time. In all fairness, both wrestlers did pull out all the stops and were able to do some amazing things. But the entire thing felt like a rehash of their previous matches.
The finish came when AJ Styles tried to hit his springboard forearm but Jericho reversed it into a Codebreaker for the pinfall victory. I was kind of relieved to see the match finally end! It felt rather long because of all the two counts. You could see both Jericho and Styles running through the match like they were hoping to be nominated for Match of The Year. Sadly, it felt way short of the mark. Good match but definitely not Match of The Year material.
Rating: 6 of 10 near pinfalls
Match #3: The New Day vs The League of Nations
I’ve come to the conclusion that, while I love The New Day, I’m mostly into them because of how silly they are and not because of their wrestling ability. Oh, they can pull off great wrestling matches but, mostly, I watch The New Day because of the intro to their matches. And their Wrestlemania entrance was just plain stupid, stupid fun! I mean, being poured out of a box of Booty-Os and coming out in Super Saiyan armor (for no reason other than they’re The New Day) was brilliant! And, yes, New Day rocks!
Unfortunately, the real meat, the actual wrestling was rather lackluster. It was good but it’s nothing we couldn’t have seen in your typical Monday Night Raw. The New Day took control early but it was mostly The League of Nations match and I think that was part of the problem. Sure, The League of Nations can logically dominate any team they come across since they’re all monsters. But it feels like they still have a hard time getting the crowd into their beatdowns because they still act like individuals rather than a full-fledged team.
The match came to a close when Xavier Woods tried rolling up Sheamus with a handful of tights. But Sheamus kicked out and shoved Woods right into Wade Barrett’s Bullhammer elbow. Sheamus follows it up with a Brogue Kick for the pinfall victory. However, while that’s how the match officially ended, that wasn’t the end of the entire proceedings. Wade Barrett started shooting his mouth off, saying that they were the best unit in the WWE. Unfortunately for them, Hall of Fame Legends HBK Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley and Stone Cold Steve Austin disagreed with them! They came into the ring and cleaned house!
But it still didn’t there! The New Day tried to convince all three Hall of Fame legends to dance with them. While HBK and Mick Foley were glad to oblige, Stone Cold had different ideas! Austin hit the the Stunner on Woods and called for beers! While the actual match wasn’t great, it was bookended by a great intro and ending segment. As such, I still have to give the entire thing my approval as it was good fun.
Rating: 7 of 10 Stunners out of nowhere!
Match #4: Dean Ambrose vs Brock Lesnar in a No Holds Barred Street Fight
Normally, I would never believe Dean Ambrose could stand toe-to-toe against The Beast Brock Lesnar in a regular match. So, by making this match a No Holds Barred Street Fighter, where weapons are legal, you would think Ambrose would stand a chance, right? Well, actually, no. I never expected Ambrose to win this match. But I did expect more of a fight.
The entire pacing of the match was just weird. Lesnar would toss Ambrose around with a few German suplexes and, once in a while, Ambrose would somehow survive, gather the weapons hidden under the ring, but Lesnar would still just beat the heck out of Ambrose. It was, in all honestly, kind of boring to watch.
The match was surprisingly short. Just when I expected the match to really get underway and just when things were getting good, it just ended. Ambrose tossed in a bunch of chairs into the ring, which proved to be his downfall as Lesnar nailed Ambrose with his patented F5 for the pinfall win. A totally underwhelming pinfall victory. I never doubted that Lesnar would win but, in a good match, I should be second guessing myself. I never did throughout the entire thing.
Rating: 5 of 10 barbed wire baseball bats that never proved useful
Match #5: Charlotte vs Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch for the
Divas Women’s Title
I was expecting a lot from this match. Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch have pulled off incredibly fantastic matches before when all three of them were competing in NXT. And… wow! They certainly didn’t disappoint! From the ring entrances to the dramatic finish, this match was absolutely perfect!
All three Divas… excuse me, women… performed spectacularly! The match was exciting all throughout! I love it when the actual match has a lot of drama and it always leaves you guessing who or when the match will end. I love it when a match totally exceeds your expectations. I love it when all the people involved in the match pull their weight and commit to giving you a truly eye-popping experience. This match had everything I wanted in a match and more!
If there is anything I would nitpick about the match, it would be the finish. Sasha reversed a suplex attempt by Becky and hits the Bank Statement. Charlotte then swooped in, toss Sasha to the outside and locked the Figure Eight onto Becky. Sasha did recover enough to try to break the submission and save the match but Daddy Ric Flair grabbed onto her, allowing Charlotte to get the submission victory and become the new Women’s Champion!
I generally prefer a good, clean victory, especially during a Wrestlemania match. However, seeing Flair interfere did make sense. It’s a very minor issue for me and it doesn’t really affect how great everything was from start to finish. Jericho and Styles may have tried to get Match of the Year with their bout earlier. But this truly is the one that should win Match of the Year.
Rating: 10 of 10 NEW Women’s Champions!
Match #6: Shane McMahon vs The Undertaker in Hell In a Cell
Even with The Undertaker’s Streak broken, did anyone really expect Shane McMahon to come even close to winning this match? Still, even though we all know what the outcome will be, it doesn’t mean that the ride won’t be fun! It didn’t have to be a classic. It just had to be brutal. And, with Shane McMahon’s odd habit of falling into breakable objects, I had no doubt it was going to be.
It did take a while for things to get good. There was some good psychology throughout the match, with Shane attempting to stick and move at the start but The Deadman quickly took control early. But Shane just asked for more. The Undertaker pretty much beat on Shane from the start of the bell until the middle of the match, with Shane inserting a smattering of offense sporadically. Things did pick up a lot once Shane hit Coast to Coast! This is when things got interesting as, soon afterwards, the Cell broke and the match spilled outside!
Of course, the highlight of the match was when we got what we came here to see: Shane McMahon putting his body (and his life?) on the line! Shane laid out The Phenom on one of the announcer’s tables. He then climbed to the top of the Cell and attempted to crush The Undertaker with an elbow from the top! It didn’t end well for Shane but, wow! That was fun to see!
The end came soon afterwards. The Undertaker dragged Shane into the ring. Shane did taunt The Deadman one more time before The Undertaker made him rest in peace with a Tombstone Piledriver. While not a real classic Hell in a Cell match as it only got good at the end. Still, I bet they’ll replay Shane fall from the top of the Cell for years to come!
Rating: 7 of 10 for the love of Mankind!
Match #7: The Andre the Giant Battle Royale
What the heck did I just watch? I mean, what the heck is Shaq doing in the ring?
And why the heck is Shaq strong enough to clean house? This was ridiculous and I can’t really say if it was ridiculous in a good way or a bad way! It’s just… what the heck? Afterward that surreal moment, things pretty much boiled down to a very bland Battle Royale. Nothing really gelled together and I didn’t feel any excitement whatsoever. Not even a Social Outcast Bo Train made it interesting at the least.
I guess a bland Battle Royale deserves a bland Battle Royale winner. And you can’t get any more blander than NXT’s Baron Corbin. Fantastic. Let me slow clap for the man so we can move on to the next match. Oh, and did I mention Shaq was in it?
Rating: 3 of 10… did I really see Shaq in the ring clean house?
Match #8 (I guess): The Rock vs Erick Rowan
I guess you can’t have a Wrestlemania without The Rock showing up anymore. His role was just to announce that Wrestlemania just broke the attendance record for where ever they’re holding it this year. Then Bray Wyatt and the entire Wyatt Family came out to confront The Rock because he’s a success or he’s a lie or something or other.
Of course, The Rock insults them and demands a match and Wyatt sends Erick Rowan into the ring. The bell rings and Rock hits the Rock Bottom on Erick Rowan out of the gate for the pinfall victory! The Wyatts then surround the ring and attempt to gang up on The Rock but guess who decides to run in for the save…
Wow! I guess you can’t have a Wrestlemania without John Cena as well! I honestly thought John Cena was going to be on the shelf for much longer! But he looked ready for action! Both Cena and The Rock joined forces to take out the entire Wyatt Family. Rock welcomes Cena back, which was odd since I thought The Rock hated that roody poo candy ass. Anyway, it was a quick throwaway segment. Nothing too bad and it was a nice surprise to see Cena back.
Rating: 6 of 10 “John Cena Sucks” Chants
Match #9: Roman Reigns vs Triple H for the WWE Heavyweight Title
This, in my opinion, was the match that was going to tell us what kind of champion Roman Reigns is going to me. Oh, I have no illusions to thinking that Triple H would keep the title by the end of Wrestlemania. It’s a pretty done deal that Roman Reigns was going to walk away a champion at the end of the day. Well, the match pretty much sucked for the majority for a lot of reasons!
First, we got this really, long and drawn out speech by Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley to introduce her husband and WWE Heavyweight Champion, Triple H. God, that was atrocious! Can’t Triple H just have a normal Wrestlemania entrance? I bet it looked cool in their heads while they were planning it but, in reality, it looked awful! Roman Reigns didn’t fare well with his entrance. I’m glad he didn’t have to come from the bleachers because he’ll probably still be making his way into the ring now if he did! But he got booed while doing his corner ring pose! That doesn’t bode well for Reign’s reign as champ.
If you look closely, you could see a good match just trying to get out but simply failing to do so. Both Triple H and Roman Reigns pulled some spots that looked cool but… weren’t. Reigns speared Triple H through the ringside barricade. Triple H hit a swinging neckbreaker on Reigns from the top of an announce table. These were cool in theory but just fell flat. The only really fantastic looking moment was when Reigns accidentally speared Stephanie! Props to Stephanie for willing to take a hard hit like that to wake the crowd up!
The finish came soon afterwards. Stephanie handed Triple H his trademark sledgehammer. But, as he turned to face Reigns, The Game gets nailed by a superman punch. Reigns then follows up with another superman punch and closes out the match with a spear. Three seconds later, we have a new WWE Heavyweight Champion, Roman Reigns.
Like I said, there were some good ideas but they just didn’t click with the viewers. The spear to Stephanie was probably the highlight of the entire match. But other than that, this year’s Wrestlemania main even fell flat. Not a good sign for the Roman Empire.
Rating: 4 of 10 spears to Stephanie
Overall Rating for Wrestlemania 32 (2016):
Okay, this was not one of the better Wrestlemanias in recent history. There were mostly lame matches, such as the Andre the Giant Battle Royale and the very disappointing Ambrose vs Lesnar match. This year’s main event was a real let down as well. Also, this was an extremely long Wrestlemania, clocking in just shy of 5 hours! And that’s not including the Kickoff show!
However, the Three Way Dance for the Women’s Title was just excellent and the Ladder match for the Intercontinental Title was startling good so the entire thing wasn’t a total loss. The good matches don’t totally make up for the bad ones but do a good job in still making this year’s Wrestlemania watchable. I would watch it again just to see the Charlotte vs Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch match. But that’s it.
Rating: 6 of 10… I wasn’t dreams and Shaq was really in the ring, right?
What are your thoughts on this year’s Wrestlemania? Let me know what they are in the comments section below