People have questioned the motives of Vince McMahon and his desire to forge forward with WrestleMania 36 in the face of a global pandemic, but I can understand the reasons. The man grew up poor and once he bought out his father, he had the foresight to use cable television as his platform to turn the then World Wrestling Federation (WWF) from a Northeastern regional promotion to a global phenomena that that all started on March 31, 1985.
McMahon put every penny he had earned on the line using Closed-Circuit TV and Pay Per View, two things that were still in their infancy to either make the World Wrestling Federation enormous or to shut their doors forever, and this comes after the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) had already run Starrcade two years prior where Ric Flair defeated Harley Race in a steel cage match, capturing his second of numerous world titles.
So with that understanding of McMahon having gambled his entire life to make the now World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) the largest sports entertainment organization in the world, we now give you the break down of Night One of WrestleMania 36
Stephanie McMahon introduces WrestleMania with a disclaimer of our troubled world and WrestleMania is a opened with various clips of Aretha Franklin, John Legend, Boyz II Men, Ray Charles, Michelle Williams, Fantasia, Little Richard and several others singing, America the Beautiful to open night one.
The Pirates of the Caribbean meets Vikings opening credits open with an interruption from a British voice over that almost sounds like Kenneth Branaugh giving some John Cleese soliloquy that would lazily a tribute to Monty Python that leads into AC/DC’s For Those About to Rock.
Rob Gronkowski is hosting and let’s looks like a giant douche talking about how he can start a party on a Saturday night and ending, “30 Hours Later,” as Mojo Rowley bring the bag to fill it up with Gronk-isms. Gronk was great in the NFL and Rowley has a lot of talent but this party-boy gimmick is at least 5 years too late.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship: Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss vs. The Kabuki Warriors
The Kabuki Warriors look like two drunks about to sing karaoke as Asuka and Bliss start it off. Asuka tags out to Sane who Bliss woman handles and then tags in Cross who goes a little wild but Sane drives her back into the corner, tags in Asuka who is pulling out the strong style.
Cross hits Asuka with a bunch of forearm shots as she still forges forward. Bliss tags in while Cross continues to pound on Asuka. Bliss does her baseball slide followed by a cannonball dive on Sane leading to Cross doing a crossbody on Asuka both taking place on the floor.
There are a lot of quick tags and they hare hitting the floor a lot in this match as Asuka throws Bliss into the ring post. The Kabuki Warriors play it up, looking for a reaction from the empty performance center.
Hot tag to Bliss and she’s beating the hell out of Sane. Bliss is on the ropes, Asuka distracts her, tripping her up, allowing Sane to double stomp Bliss from the top rope. Bliss kicks out at two and Asuka is tagged in. Nikki Cross starts clapping trying to rally Bliss, which we really want to clap along with her from home.
Cross is tagged in, hits a running Bull Dog, rips over her vest as she continues to scream, performs a flying cross body from the top rope for a two count. Cross never saw the tag and Asuka takes control. Cross hits a DDT, Sane breaks up the count with a flying elbow from the top rope. Cross roles through Asuka, Asuka is looking for the Asuka Lock, Bliss hits Twisted Bliss to break up the count, Sane hits a spear laying everyone out. Asuka hits a Code Breaker on Cross, Sane wants to finish her off, but is stopped. Kabuki Warriors hit a version of the Doomsday Devise and they still can’t put Cross away!
Cross hits a spinning neckbreaker, Asuka is out of luck, Twisted Bliss on Sane and we have new champions!
Winners: Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss
Score: 4 out of 5 Stars, this was violent, action packed and even though the Twisted Bliss connected with Sane’s knees insteda of her body, it was still exciting.
Sami Zayn cuts an incredible interview backstage with the Artists Collective, while discussing his match with Daniel Bryan leading up to tonight’s match. That’s followed by a WWE Shop ad with a sale and an advertisement for a new Netflix film called The Main Event with The Miz and Kofi Kingston.
King Corbin vs Elias
Uhh, I’m so over this feud. These are talent wrestler that are stuck in the midcard and because of how they are booked they have some serious X-Pac heat.
Corbin cuts a promo on why Elias isn’t there with a clip from 8 days ago on Smackdown as he’s knocked 15 feet onto the concrete below after being hit with the scepter. Corbin asks for a 10 count from the referee to proclaim the victor. Elias’ guitar strums, comes out, hits Corbin with his guitar and the referee finally rings the bell as Elias is slaughtering Corbin.
Once Elias gets rid of that idiot guitar gimmick that takes up 15 minutes of every episode, only then can we hope this guy moves up the card. Corbin went from the most metal athlete to a joke gimmick, which is terrible because the poor guy is actually quite charismatic.
Honestly, this is really a solid match, but the build up to it and the way the characters have been presented as left me so uninterested and that’s really a shame. I feel guilty for not caring because they are both really good…even though the hard cam has cut off Corbin’s head a couple of times. Even the referee Jessika Carr is really entertaining in this match.
Elias rolls up Cobin by hooking the tights and gets the pinfall.
Winner: Elias…with some heel stuff.
Score: Match 3 out of 5 Stars, a completely solid and entertaining match. 0.25 out of 5 Stars is was my level of interest, because the build up was some of the worst Go-Away Heat in the last two decades. 5 out of 5 for Jessika Carr because she did her job better than any referee in the WWE as of late.
There’s an ad for Season 6 of Supercard, which is a trading card game followed by an ad for Papa John’s and Cricket Wireless.
Here’s a promo for the Becky Lynch/Shayna Baszler match that is up next. Lynch shows up in her The Man truck honking the horn and illegally parks as she walks to the performance center.
WWE RAW Women’s Title Match: Shayna Baszler vs Becky Lynch (C)
During the ring announcement, both pose to the hard cam as they are announced and strangely enough they both stood on the same side of thing for the intros.
The two women swing at each other, Baszler kicks Lynch and instantly goes for the karafun clutch! Lynch escapes and they both hit the floor. Why is every match spending so much time on the floor? They’re back in the ring and Lynch hits a drop kick from the top rope. Lynch is in control of the match but after two count, Baszler hits a double underhook transitioning to a cutter and gets her own two count.
This is a really good back and forth match as Lynch screams, “It’s my title!” while they duke it out on the ring ring apron.
Baszler went from a double underhook to a power bomb transitioning to an arm bar and then pulling a Disarm-Her, Lynch doesn’t tap out and then eats a knee but still manages to kick out. That really should have been the finish. Lynch escapes the karafun clutch and Lynch tries a Disarm-Her while seated on the top rope.
Baszler catches Lynch in the karafun clutch but bridges up pinning Baszler.
Winner: Becky Lynch, retaining her title.
Score: 1.5 out of 5. It was a good match until such a horrible ending. That’s some serious point deduction right there.
There’s a 5-Hour Energy commercial followed by Hyundai and WWE commercial narrated by Roman Reigns.
There’s an ad for for Undertaker: The Last Ride that premieres tomorrow on WWE Network
Intercontinental Championship: Daniel Bryan vs. Sami Zayn (C)
Gronk and Rowley are douching it up doing the Yes Chant…okay, they are starting to grow on me. No, I haven’t been drinking. I think it’s being quarantined that’s affecting my judgement.
I really still don’t get how Daniel Bryan is Drew Gulak’s sidekick, but it’s an interesting angle, so let’s roll with it until SummerSlam.
Zayn is a great heel as he’s jumping in and out of the ring, refusing to lock up with Bryan. Zayn is beautifully playing mind games with Bryan and if this was played in front of a live crowd, Zayn would get the ultimate heat. The Artists Collective keep getting in the way from Bryan chasing after Zayn, Gulak has had enough and takes out both Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura.
Bryan finally gets his hands on Zayn who was trying to take a count out victory. Zayn is still trying to reason with Bryan in wanting him to join the Artists Collective. This is seriously an old school wrestling match. Bryan dives through the ropes hitting a cross body on Zayn and hitting his own head against the padded barricade, that’s not good for someone who’s had multiple concussions.
Thus far, this is my favorite match of the night just with how great Zayn is at avoiding, negotiating, begging and crying in this match. Even with Bryan Hulking up and turning Zayn into a potato sack, Zayn still continues to negotiate. This is amazing! Gulak starts the Yes Chant as the Artists Collective take him out, followed by Bryan taking out the Artists Collective, unfortunately for Bryan he eats a Helluva Kick and it’s all over!
Winner: Sami Zayn, retaining the Intercontinental Title!
Score: 4.5 out of 5, so far, it’s match of the night all because of Sami Zayn knowing exactly how to be the smarmy heel!
We get an ad for Edge’s docuseries airing on the WWE Network following WrestleMania and then a Snickers commercial.
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship: Triple Threat Ladder Match – New Day vs. Usos vs. Miz and Morrison
This special stipulation has a representative of each team as Kofi Kingston, Jimmy Uso and John Morrison face off during the pandemic.
All three attempt a monkey flip that they all land on their feet, all three slide out to get a latter as they are trying to climb up and get the titles, Morrison grabbed the shortest latter which was funny and Morrison kicks him off his ladder, Uso pulls Morrison of his ladder for revenge but eats a cross body from Kingston. Now Morrison is unloading on Uso, they are unintentionally beating Uso down as he continues to nurse his knee from earlier.
Uso tries to climb the ladder but Kingston stops him, then Morrison stops Kingston, who gets stopped by Uso. This so far is a really fast paced match that would have blow the roof off the place!
Kingston jumps through the ladder to kick both men, but they catch him as he clears through and they both throw him out of the ring! Talk about bad luck from walking under a ladder.
Oh man, Morrison his Starship Pain on Jimmy Uso while he’s on the ladder hanging off the second ropes! That’s a killer move of the night. Well, I spoke too soon, Kingston soars across the ring, hitting a hurricanrana on Morrison while he’s still on the ladder.
Uso pulls a Jeff Hardy by running across the barricade only to get a ladder tossed in his face by Kingston who confesses, “I know you got heart.”
Morrison runs across the top rope, hits the Spanish Fly on Kingston and before he could recover, Uso hits a flog splash on Morrison. This match is intense!
All three go the titles down Kingston and Uso headbutt Morrison through off one ladd, through the ladder posted up through the ropes but he held on to both belts as he went down and talk about a painful victory as Miz and Morrison retain the titles!
Winner: John Morrison to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Titles. The real winner is the ice back John will be taking.
Score: 5 out of 5, after that ending and everything they put themselves through, you couldn’t give them any less.
There’s a vignette for Seth Rollins and the Kevin Owens match coming up.
Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens
This is the second match of the night I couldn’t care less about. Frankly, I saw them enough go through this in Ring Of Honor (ROH) when they were younger, healthier and hungrier.
Every match except for the ladder match has unnecessarily gone outside the ring. Rollins and this god complex isn’t even heel anymore, it’s annoying. This is the first time in ages I’ve seen Rollins show facial expressions, he really needs a mouth piece. Can we bring back managers? That would be great.
I don’t know how Vince McMahon called the Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho match the worst match in WrestleMania history, this one is pretty boring but it’s Rollins fault, Owens is really selling. Sorry, Jim Cornette, you were wrong about Kevin Owens and I usually agree with you about 75 percent of the time.
Seth Rollins gets himself disqualified by ringing Kevin Owen’s bell…literally. Owens is declared the winner but calls Rollins a little bitch and wants a No DQ Match and gets the match restarted.
For a now no disqualification match, it didn’t go much more hardcore than the way the match has been going the entire night. Talk about a waste of restarting the match, although that chair shot to the Owens chest was pretty harsh. Why does the referee want to finish it in the ring? It’s a no rules match. You know what? Bring back Jessika Carr, he’s been my favorite person tonight.
Okay, Owens dumping off the WrestleMania Pirate Flag sign and dropping the elbow on Seth Rollins through the announce table was worth it. Kevin Owens gets the pin!
Winner: Kevin Owens, the first round via disqualifcation and the second round via a stunner.
Score: 2.5 out of 5, it was solid but zero emotional investment. Climbing the Pirate Flag was a nice tough.
Hey, Gronk and Rowley are douching it up again, this time with R. Truth 24/7 Champion. Truth is making it fun, calling himself the Hardcore European Television Champion. Gronk knocks out R. Truth, Rowley disrupts the pin and Jessika Carr makes the three count for Rowley, essentially squeezing the bag in Gronk’s face.
Winner: New 24/7 Champion, Mojo Rowley
Ssshhh, I’m listening to Paul Hayman cut a promo, that’s all that needs to be said.
WWE Universal Championship: Braun Strowman vs. Goldberg (C)
JBL had the funniest line of the night on commentary by saying, “Don’t blink they don’t work by the hour.” Goldberg hits three spears and earns a near fall! This was almost over as Goldberg his a fourth spear. Strowman counters the Jackhammer with three powerslams screaming at the champion to get up. Here’s number four with a running powerslam and in a little over 2:12 minutes, Strowman wins!?!
Winner: Braun Strowman, the new WWE Universal Champion.
Main Event: Boneyard Match: The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles
Biker Undertaker is back and this is a movie fight scene. Granted we already saw a version of this in Impact Wrestling with Matt Hardy at the Hardy Compound with Total Deletion. In this one, Undertaker beats up AJ Styles as The OC shows up with druids looking like the Sith Eternal.
This really needed to be the end scene of a WWE Studios film as AJ Styles breaks a shovel over Undertaker’s back causing him to fall into an open grave, but there is a flash of light and Undertaker emerges from behind Styles forcing him off the tractor and chasing him to the roof of a barn. Undertaker summons the fires of hell and takes out The OC as well who show up on the roof, tombstoning Karl Anderson after throwing Luke Gallows off the room and before choke slamming Styles off the barn!
Undertaker calls out Styles asking him what his wife’s name was, how old is he and if this tarnished his legacy. This is definitely those American Bad Ass that Undertaker has been in years and this brings back the legend of one of the most entertaining superstars of all time.
After lecturing Styles, who begs not to be buried, the Undertaker gives him the big boot into the open grave and proceeds to bury him alive as we here the bell tone! He removes the moss off the tombstone to reveal AJ Styles name and how he lives from 1977 to 2020 before hopping on his hog, reigning fire on the barn, revealing the UT logo and riding off to his Metallica theme!
Winner: Undertaker! His legacy is secure for eternity!
Best Performer of the Night: Sami Zayn
Most Dedicated Performer of the Night: Nikki Cross
Referee of the Night: Jessika Carr
Match of the Night: Smackdown Tag Team Championship Ladder Match
Wrestlmania Moment: The Bonyard Match Ending
Although there were two stinker matches and Gronk was totally pointless to have there, the Ladder Match, Women’s Tag Title and the Boneyard Match will have me remembering this WrestleMania far more than just an empty arena.