Episode 302: My Take on Wrestlemania 35’s Kickoff Show

Hiya!

Staying the hospital is kind of fun. I’m not going to say why I’m holed up in a hospital bed; that’s personal but it’s nothing serious. It can get irritating that I can’t move around all that much thanks to that stupid IV drip that’s hooked up on my arm and hindering me from typing all that fast. But there are benefits to staying in a good hospital. Benefits like not going to work and your only job is to get better.

Oh, and I get to watch TV all day long. It just so happened that the hospital I’m staying in had a cable TV hookup that was broadcasting this year’s Wrestlemania live! I got to watch the entire thing uninterrupted as it happened! Yes, I saw all 7+ hours straight and, while it was tiring, it was actually fun to just veg out and watch wrestling without the real world trying to get my attention.

Oh, and if you’re thinking that Wrestlemania is only around 5 hours and 25 minutes, you’re forgetting about the Kickoff show! I usually skip it as it has no bearing over the actual show… but since I had nothing better to do, I watched it as well! What did I think of it? Let me break it down for you…

The first match on the Wrestlemania Kickoff show was Buddy Murphy defending his Cruiserweight Title against Tony Nese . I don’t really watch the 205 Live show on a regular basis so I’m not familiar with the backstory and this does factor into why I wasn’t tremendously invested in the match. I still do enjoy watching the Cruiserweight matches during the pay-per-view events and this one didn’t disappoint. There was a lot of good stuff that happened because they did things that was different from what you would see on the main roster.

I do have a couple of major issues with the match. The first one is something that always happens during a Cruiserweight match and that’s the strikes never look good. They never look like they’re connecting with any force and, while that’s a good thing for the Superstars in the ring as they don’t get hurt, it does look silly and fake. The other the decision to show a commercial for the Triple Threat match that will unify the RAW and Smackdown Women’s Titles right smack in the middle of the match. It’s rather insulting to the performers, don’t you think? Here they are trying their best to put the best match they can during Wrestlemania and the WWE tries to undermine it with an ad.

I do like the finish of the match, which had Buddy Murphy attempting to steal Tony Nese’s double knee strike and it backfired. Nese countered it with a superkick and a German suplex into the corner. Nese then connected with his double knee strike to win the Cruiserweight championship. A decent match throughout but undermined by the ad.

The second match was the 2nd Wrestlemania Women’s Battle Royale. This came off as a rather messy and not well thought out affair, at the start, anyway. Things felt extremely rushed with a flurry of eliminations right out of the gate. I get that they had to do the quick eliminations as they only had a limited amount of time but it just came off as too rapid fire for my liking.

Once the field cleared a bit, we got some good spots from the performers. No one really got to shine for too long but there were some highlights like The Riott Squad teaming up to eliminate Lana and Kairi Sane, Dana Brooke getting her own little Wrestlemania moment as the live crowd cheered her as she tossed out Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan as well as Sarah Logan seemingly winning it all. I said “seemingly” because she didn’t.

It turns out that Carmella was never eliminated and was just hanging outside the ring and waiting to strike. I have a big problem with this for several reasons. First, having her win just seems like a huge waste. Also, there was more potential to have Sarah Logan win the Battle Royale as she can lord it over the other Riott Squad members. Finally, I hated Carmella’s mannerisms as she strutted back in the ring. You waved at your opponent? Why didn’t you strike her from behind to take the sneaky win like what Shawn Michaels did during that one Royal Rumble?

The Women’s Battle Royale was a huge mixed bag for me. I enjoyed at lot of the bits in the middle but I really disliked the start because of all the quick eliminations as well as the ending as Carmella won it in a stupid way.

The next match was The Revival defending their RAW Tag Team Championship against Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins. When did they book this match? I don’t recall this being announced! Anyway, this match impressed me, even though it’s a glorified RAW house show match for a couple of reasons. First, there’s the entire Curt Hawkins losing streak angle so there was the off chance that he can pull off a miracle and break the streak by winning at Wrestlemania. Second, I’m a sucker for matches when the heels come off as more dominant than the faces in all aspects.

On paper, The Revival looked like they were going to steamroll past Ryder and Hawkins. And they did as they isolated Ryder for the majority of the match. But once Hawkins got the hot tag, it looked like he might just pull off the upset by himself with a couple of near falls.

The finish was great but not because of the action, which was still great, but the emotional content. After a hellacious suplex to the outside by Ryder to Dash Wilder, Hawkins rolled his partner into the ring to get the tag. He tried to pin Scott Dawson but got dragged to the outside. Dawson then his a wicked brainbuster on Hawkins on the outside and rolled him back into the ring. But instead of getting the pin, Dawson showboated and taunted the crowd, who was cheering for Curt Hawkins. This allowed Hawkins to recover and he rolled up Dawson to get the pin and win the NEW RAW Tag Team Championship! This was a feel good ending for a well told story in the ring.

The final match of the Wrestlemania Kickoff was the Andre the Giant Battle Royale. The Women’s Battle Royale was a flurry of eliminations at the start… but I guess the participants of the Andre the Giant Battle Royale wanted to outdo it because the start was ugly! Bodies started flying out almost immediately! They did try some big spots during the middle but they just fell flat.

The finish also was terrible. This year’s Andre the Giant Battle Royale featured two guys from Saturday Night Live, Colin Jost and Michael Che. These are the guys who do the Weekend Update skit on SNL. Anyway, Braun Strowman has beef with them for calling wrestling fake or some stupid reason. Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is the two guest performers did what Carmella essentially did and waited outside the ring while everyone got eliminated. They then tried to sneak in to eliminate Braun Strowman, which thankfully didn’t happen as that would be a travesty!

What happened next were a couple of unfunny and predictable jokes. Jost then called in his therapist to try to calm Braun down; that didn’t work obviously. Jost then ordered Che to beat down on The Monster Among Men, which totally didn’t make sense as that’s Michael Che! Why would he even follow Jost’s orders? Anyway, Che tried to eliminate himself but Strowman walloped him anyway. It would’ve been funnier if Che actually got away. This left Jost with Strowman and they teased that the SNL guy would actually eliminate The Monster Among Men but this didn’t pan out.

The actual finish really infuriated me. While Strowman manhandled Jost’s therapist and whacked Che with a vicious open palm strike, you would expect him to give a beating to Jost. What does Braun do? He hoists the comedian as if he was going to deliver a powerslam but he doesn’t. Instead, he tosses him to the outside to get caught by the other WWE Superstars who were hanging around. Shouldn’t they have been escorted to the back after being eliminated? This was just dumb!

All-in-all, the WWE Kickoff show was entertaining in general. I was engaged by the RAW Tag Team Championship match and the entire Curt Hawkins Cinderella story. The Women’s Battle Royale was entertaining enough. Same thing can be said for the Cruiserweight match. I just wish the Andre the Giant Battle Royale was actually good.

Okay, that’s enough for now. The IV in my arm is starting to pinch from all this typing. I’ll write about the actual Wrestlemania tomorrow!

Byee!

What did you think of this year’s Wrestlemania Kickoff show? Let me know in the comments below!



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