Night One was eventful and so eventful that I’m grateful we have a night two to look forward to. Another stacked night of marquee matches beckon, so without further ado, let’s dive straight in!
All matches were pre-taped, so Wrestlemania wasn’t live, and it was filmed in the WWE Performance Centre with no crowd.
*All matches rated out of 5-stars.
(Pre-Show) Match 1- Liv Morgan defeated Natalya
Not much to say here, Liv Morgan hasn’t done much since her 15 seconds of fame against Lana on her return. Natalya is a veteran and they both put on a decent match that can hopefully kick-start something for Liv Morgan.
** and a half stars
Match 2- Charlotte Flair defeated Rhea Ripley for the NXT Women’s Championship
This was one of the matches I was chomping at the bit to see, my excitement was with reward with the greatest women’s match ever seen at Wrestlemania.
This was back and forth duel between two excellent wrestlers. It was hard-hitting, almost stiff, there were big moves, outside brawling and close near-falls galore.
In the end, my prediction won. I would truly have loved Rhea to win, but the NXT vs AEW war is a big problem for the WWE. They’re not just getting beat every week, they’re being trounced in the ratings. Charlotte is the greatest female competitor I’ve ever seen (my opinion) and will draw additional numbers, so it’s the right call.
A Wrestlemania Classic.
**** and a half stars
Match 3- Aleister Black defeated Bobby Lashley
Another match added to the card with no build as far as I’m aware, but it was surprisingly enjoyable nevertheless. Just hard-hitting again. They were certainly given enough time and they made the most of it.
The only question was always going to be, how much influence will Lana have? In the end – a lot. She basically cost Lashley who got the Black Mass into obscurity.
Aleister needs to be pushed up the card. Bobby should already eb at the top of the card…but now he can probably enjoy the end of a faux marriage.
Match 4- Otis defeated Dolph Ziggler w/ Sonya Deville
Undisputedly the best booked match of Wrestlemania. This sleeper story has rivalled some of the best told tales. Anything other than an Otis win would’ve soured Wrestlemania. To not only win, but get the girl as well; that’s just a happy ending all-around.
The work was solid enough, but the story is what people cared about.
** and a half stars
Match 5- Edge defeated Randy Orton in a Last Man Standing Match
Quite simply, I didn’t enjoy this at all.
I love gimmick matches, especially of the violent variety; but the only thing that could match the pace of this slog was a tortoise, a dead one at that.
It clocked in at around 37 minutes…I mean, what actually happened in that time? Two quick RKOs, a couple of gym spots, Edge busting out his best Spider-Man impression, a DDT on a car, Edge’s flying elbow and the inevitable con-chair-to? This badly needed 15-20 minutes cutting out in the edit.
This was the most personal feud heading into Mania, combined with Edge’s first 1-on-1 match in nine years. Where was the trash-talking? It was just two guys taking a worldwide audience on an all-inclusive excursion of the Performance Centre.
Edge’s acting and selling of the encounter bumps the rating up a bit.
* and a half stars
Match 6- The Street Profits retained the WWE Rag Tag Team Championships against Angel Garza and Austin Theory w/ Zelina Vega
Nothing to shout home about here. I guess it was just supposed to be a cooldown match after the Last Man Standing (Forever) Match. I actually enjoyed it more, which saddens me to say. It was another basic TV tag match with the plus point that Montez Ford didn’t do the pancake splat to the outside again like he did on RAW.
Also, Bianca Belair debuted. Something I’m a huge fan of because I’m a fan of hers. If you need evidence of how good she is, and how highly WWE think of her, go and check-out her Royal Rumble 2020 performance.
** and a half stars
Match 7- Gronk defeated Mojo Rawley for the WWE 24/7 Title
I don’t care. Gronk off.
Match 8- Bayley retained the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship against Lacey Evans, Naomi, Sasha Banks and Tamina
A more than serviceable showing from all five women here and it was fuelled by the will she/won’t she Sasha Banks angle. Will we finally get the Bayley vs Sasha feud we’ve been begging for for about four or five years now? Bayley retaining also makes sense.
Nevertheless, the action was solid and could’ve done with five minutes or so being shaved off.
Match 9- Bray Wyatt defeated John Cena in a Firefly Fun House Match
The word match, is being used in its loosest possible way here. There was precisely 15-30 seconds of wrestling on display here. It’s inevitable that echoes of the cinematic Boneyard Match from the previous night would be used for comparison, so once again, I’ll keep it short.
This contained much fewer professional wrestling tropes, and was more a introspective dissection of John Cena’s career; for better or worse.
Words cannot describe how much I revelled in its insanity. Creatively speaking it’s a masterpiece and an artistic triumph. The foreshadowing, the callbacks, the references, the easter eggs, the insinuations etc. I could not take my eyes off of it. To casual viewers it might’ve come across as a twisted, complex labyrinth of nonsense; to nerds like me, I loved it.
Also, John Cena has either been murdered or is trapped inside Bray’s Fun House. So we’ll make that casualty number four for Wrestlemania.
Entertainment value: ****
Match 10- Drew McIntyre defeated Brock Lesnar w/Paul Heyman for the WWE Championship
The other world title match, AND it was pretty much the same kind of awful, laboured, repetitive match that so many world title matches have suffered from in the last four years (ARTICLE ON THE WAY ABOUT THIS).
A few F-5’s, Drew kicks out. A few Claymore Kicks, Brock doesn’t kick-out. Drew wins. Yay.
Let’s focus on the key thing here, it may have taken eleven years…but The Chosen One has finally won the big one. The first ever person from the UK to win a WWE World Title, and richly deserved. Drew McIntyre looks like Hercules, he commands a microphone and demands your presence. He is the prototypical WWE superstar and hopefully should be one of the best world champions in years.
Ohhhh I so wanted this to be as good as last night, but it didn’t quite live up to the high standards of night one. We started off very strongly, but it went downhill from there. There wasn’t anything Elias vs Corbin bad, but there wasn’t enough quality to maintain the bar set from last nights success.
Two of the marquee matches for this show earned a collective two and a half stars between them. Edge and Orton just didn’t work and Lesnar/McIntyre could’ve been a brutal, physical fight only worthy of a Colosseum.
– 6 out of 10 –
Despite the scrutiny, the opposition, the pandemic, and the race against time to tape all the matches, WWE pulled a rabbit out of the hat. The two-night format made Wrestlemania a lot more enjoyable and there were plenty of top matches over the two nights; some of which have been inches away from a ***** rating.
Given everything going on in the world, thank you WWE for a fun two nights.