Wrestlemania 36: Night Two Review

We’re back!

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.

N/A

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.

Match sucked.

*

Conclusion

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 –

Overall Conclusion

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.

– 7 out of 10 –

Check out the review for night one if you haven’t already!

Wrestlemania 36: Night One Review

Wrestlemania 36. 18 matches. 2 nights.

“Too big for just one night”…jesus…I can’t wait to hear that 4.6 million times for all of its forthcoming iterations. But yes, the controversial show, that’s go-ahead teetered and tottered until the final few days due to the coronavirus pandemic, happened. So I shall quickly ransack my way through the first night.

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- Cesaro defeated Drew Gulak

A short and sweet affair between two technically gifted athletes. But considering the pre-show was an hour, and this was the only match for night one’s precursor, I will bemoan the fact it was given under 5 minutes. Fun for what it was.

** and a half stars.

Match 2- Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross defeated Asuka and Kairi Sane for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship

A match that I don’t think many people would’ve been heavily invested in, but was given plenty of time and all four women put in a great amount of effort for the official night one opener. It was a great contest and was a surprisingly entertaining affair to open proceedings. Also, I’m so sad that a pirate-themed Wrestlemania happened and Kairi Sane didn’t get to appear on a pirate ship…

***

Match 3- Elias defeated King Corbin

Elias was so over when I went to Wrestlemania 34 it was untrue, it’s a shame to see how little he’s progressed, if not regressed. As for Corbin, he’s just boring isn’t he? The big angle coming into this match was the attempted murder of Elias barely two weeks prior via Corbin knocking him off of a huge platform to a concrete floor. Elias not only turned up for his match, his Superman-esque metabolism meant he displayed next-to-no injuries from the fall. It was a basic TV match with a roll-up finish. Yawn.

* and a half.

Match 4- Becky Lynch retained the WWE Raw Women’s Championship against Shayna Baszler

Becky has been champion for a year, and her momentum has long since faded. Baszler is a beast. A legitimate beast. She should’ve won here, but I digress. I was frustrated that this went under 10 minutes as the work was really solid. But a cheap, roll-up kind of win for Becky keeps the belt on her and hands Baszler her first main roster defeat. Hopefully the rematch gets longer and the right outcome.

***

Match 5- Sami Zayn w/ Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura retained the WWE Intercontinental Championship against Daniel Bryan w/Drew Gulak

WHAT a disappointment. El Generico vs Bryan Danielson, at Wrestlemania, for the IC Title. Just give them 20 minutes, hell, give them 15 minutes to captivate us with a professional wrestling masterclass. But nope. Our worst fears came true and shenanigans dominated most of the match. This is why we should never get our hopes up.

**

Match 6- John Morrison retained the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships against Kofi Kingston and Jimmy Uso in a Triple Threat Ladder Match

Three men, competing for tag titles. We’ll let the WWE off because they’ve had to deal with a myriad of exceptional circumstances for this show.

As for the match itself, what else can I say? Bravo gentlemen. Some of the spots in this match were outrageous and unbelievably dangerous. Even with the occasional edit and piercing sound of ladders due to no crowd, this was so much fun. An absolute must-see spectacle.

P.S WWE, John Morrison is exceptional. Please give him a singles run in the future, the man is so talented.

**** and a half stars.

Bonus Match – Mojo Rawley defeated R-Truth for the WWE 24/7 Title

This title hasn’t been relevant in a long time. It served to give our Wrestlemania host Gronk (former NFL player, Rob Gronkowski) some rare TV time and set-up a segment for night two. Next.

N/A

Match 7- Kevin Owens defeated Seth Rollins

A great backstory coming into this one and the narrative was done justice. The Monday Night Messiah wanted to prove he was a god, Owens wanted to shut him the hell up. They really beat the hell out of each other and a live crowd would’ve eaten this up…until the sudden DQ finish by Rollins. He struck Kevin in the face with the ring bell and I was furious…

…Until Owens suddenly took over booking duties and restarted the match as a No DQ Match. This worked well, and then Kevin Owens got his Wrestlemania moment by probably becoming the only man till the end of time to leap off of the Wrestlemania sign, onto Rollins.

If they’d have just gone with the No DQ stipulation straightaway, this would’ve been even greater.

****

Match 8- Braun Strowman defeated Goldberg for the WWE Universal Championship

First of all, I absolutely have to point out that Strowman WASN’T EVEN BOOKED FOR WRESTLEMANIA. 18 matches, no room for the Monster Among Men.

Secondly, not telling the audience why Roman Reigns was mysteriously omitted from the match is hilarious. Like, what goes through Vince’s mind? Why does he constantly have to treat his audience like garbage?!

But whatever, the match sucked. It was yet another finisher, spam-fest that we’ve seen a million times now. But the right guy won, regardless of the circumstances – Braun Strowman should be champion. His momentum should’ve been capitalised on 3 years ago, so let’s do so now. Or have him lose to Roman in a month or whatever. Goldberg needs to retire ASAP.

DUD

Match 9- The Undertaker defeated AJ Styles in a Boneyard Match

Now, I’ll keep this brief (as I’m going to write a piece on cinematic wrestling), but I loved this to death – ironically.

So entertaining, so captivating, and brilliantly masks the limitations of an ageing Undertaker whilst simultaneously reinventing him. His matches should be like this from now on. He and AJ beat each other up for a solid 20-25 minutes and we saw the following:

Druids, fire/pyro, AJ popping out of a casket, broken shovels, broken windows, blood, broken fences, solid acting/selling, Metallica, teleportation and 3 separate murders.

Even non-wrestling fans should watch this. It’s just entertaining. I’m also all for this new American Phenom persona. I’m also also also intrigued to see how you bring AJ Styles back considering he was quite literally buried alive.

R.I.P AJ Styles

****

Conclusion

This had no right to be as good as it was. WWE PPV’s usually suffer from an overperforming undercard and underperforming main card. The Ladder Match, KO vs Rollins, Strowman getting his moment, and the Boneyard Match was a hot home run.

Even with no crowd, all the performers found a way to overcome this and put on a great show. Clocking in at around 3 hours this was incredibly easy to digest and didn’t drag. Take out Elias/Corbin and add some time to Becky vs Shayna and you seriously have one of the best Wrestlemania shows ever.

– 8 out of 10 –

Check out the review for night two if you haven’t already!