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!

The Last Hour of WWE Crown Jewel Was A Damning Indictment of Their Problems

From the second that the Jamal Khashoggi story hit the mainstream news, Crown Jewel was basically a PR nightmare waiting to unfold. Despite the true nature of the circumstances surround his death, WWE still went ahead with the controversial event to the vehement displeasure of everyone.

http://uk.businessinsider.com/wwe-going-ahead-with-saudi-arabia-show-despite-khashoggi-killing-2018-10?r=US&IR=T

Even two of the WWE’s top stars, in John Cena and Daniel Bryan, abdicated the show in protest of the WWE’s immorality.

Report: John Cena, Daniel Bryan ‘Refusing’ To Appear At Crown Jewel

In effect, Crown Jewel was doomed no matter what happened during the course of the night, but it didn’t mean the show needed to be bad. It ended up being absolutely horrific; an unsalvageable train wreck of a PPV.

The show left the station, featured a brief tannoy announcement from a questionable conductor, before having a herd of rampaging wildebeests collide into the side of it with enough force to oust the carriages into the rubbish dump below.

WWECrownJewelHogan

What a great occasion to bring back an already tarnished personality in the wrestling world.

It’s heavily-promoted ‘World Cup’ (that featured seven Americans and one Mexican-American, go figure) was akin to the King of the Ring style shows of old. A format never worked. You get lots of short matches, with no time to develop, no time to tell a story or that generally entertain. Even the tag match was only good, but as formulaic as they come, which is not what you’d expect from The New Day and The Bar.

So to the last hour of the show. 3 matches and 3 reasons why the WWE is languishing in a ever-darkening sea of contaminated tripe.

Match #1 – Brock Lesnar vs Braun Strowman for the Vacant WWE Universal Championship

WWECrownJewelUniversalTitle

I feel like we turned back the clock a few months here. Either that or Vince got out his little scrapbook of ideas to see what he can re-use.

“Dammit Paul, Braun is over, he’s my greatest creation in years. Roman’s ill…I miss Roman…anyway, I think it’s time we finally give the fans what they want, we need to put the strap back on Brock because it’s best for business HAHAHAHA *sneezes* DAMMIT ALL TO HELL!

If you’re not well-versed in McMahonology, then a lot of that insanity above will have gone so far over your head that your neck is going to shrivel into a heap of cramp from cloud-gazing.

In short, Brock was champion for FAR TOO LONG. Since Wrestlemania 33, he held the Universal Title for 16 months. In that time, he competed a measly eight times, with only seven of those being for the title.

Despite the overwhelming distain towards Roman Reigns (get well dude <3), the general consensus was that relieving Lesnar of the title was good for the product. Reigns’ illness has forced him to relinquish it, and suddenly the stock of this match skyrocketed.

They had a big chance here to concoct something special. Instead, Brock effectively squashed WWE’s biggest monster. I don’t want to hear that Braun survived four F-5’s, that doesn’t make someone look good. Braun’s only offense in a 3-minute squash match was basically one kick.

Alternatives:

-Insert Drew McIntyre into the match and make it a triple threat, as he has been involved with Braun a lot lately. It could’ve helped to pad the match out a bit and also make Brock earn it a bit more.

-Have Drew interfere, cause a double DQ, end the match as a no-contest and have a tournament at Survivor Series to determine a champion. Simple. This way, you negate the problem of having anyone look weak, you open a new realm of possibility, create more intrigue for Survivor Series and most importantly, that crowd didn’t care what happened during this match or most of the night to be perfectly honest.

Basically, this was all bad.

BUT…if on RAW we maybe have Brock drop the title to someone, fantastic. Do it.

Sadly, he’s probably going to hold onto that ugly, tomato skin until Wrestlemania and further run that title in the grounds of obscurity and make it lose its last single, shred of credibility. The whole thing was another in a long list of examples of the company going into business for themselves, and not the fans.

Match #2 – Dolph Ziggler vs The Miz Shane McMahon to declare the winner of World Cup Tournament Final

WWECrownJewelShane

Shane, I’m as surprised as you are.

BEST. IN. THE. WORLD. That is practically engrained onto my brain now it’s been advertised enough. If specialists performed brain surgery on me, the whole procedure would suffer a brief hiatus due to the internal shock of seeing “best in the world” childishly scribbled across my cerebral cortex.

Such is the WWE’s loathsome tendency to brand everything.

A 48-year-old Shane McMahon is now officially ‘the best wrestler in the world’. According to the events of Crown Jewel whereby the Smackdown Commissioner inexplicably inserted himself into the match at the behest…of himself, replacing an ‘injured’ Miz.

Not only that, I can’t believe I’m typing all of this by the way, but he pinned Dolph Ziggler (clean) in about 2 minutes following a vintage Coast-To-Coast. The only move in the history of professional wrestling that has never beaten anybody.

You’ve got to laugh. The ever-imposing and authoritative nature of the McMahon regime reared its ugly head once again here. Not only did this completely undermine the pointless tournament they’d been promoting for weeks; but it was so absurd and ludicrously nonsensical that you just couldn’t help but laugh.

Who will forget that warm, endearing image of Shane O’ Mac running around the ring with that damn trophy like he’d just won a titanic, 60-minute slog with a bear.

For story purposes, my assumption is that The Miz faked his injury in order to save himself the risk of being fired; as per the stipulation imposed on any Smackdown superstar who got to the final and lost.

Similarly, like with the Universal Title, they had a chance to give someone a nice little push here. Instead, the bosses son stuck his nose in business that wasn’t his, and further solidified his growing legacy as the greatest wrestler that has ever lived. Eurgh.

Match #3 – DX vs The Brothers of Destruction

WWECrownJewelDXBOD

206

^^^^^^ See that figure above? That’s the combined age of all four participants in this match. The main event of the show consisted of four part-timers. Let me rephrase that, the main event of this PPV, consisted of a guy who’d been retired for eight years, one guy who is pretty pre-occupied with his real-life mayoral duties for Knox County, one guy that is very much on his last legs as the prince of darkness, and one guy who spends his time in a suit and tie being an Executive Vice President backstage.

It’s clear here that the lesson wasn’t learned from Super Show Down. HHH vs The Undertaker went nearly 30 minutes in the land down under. Due to the time difference or whatever, I feel like that match is still going on now.

To reiterate, this was a clear indicator that we shouldn’t have these veterans working a long, drawn out affair. The pace was slower than a care home, zimmer-frame, grand prix with the winner pocketing priority seating to the evening’s bingo.

The match was plodding, riddled with botches, Kane was accidentally unmasked for the millionth time and Shawn just barely escaped death performing a moonsault to the outside.

He was the shining beacon of light in the claustrophobic cavern of eternal darkness that was this match. Shawn Michaels is my favourite wrestler of all-time. I think he retired too early as he clearly still had IT. At Crown Jewel he did admittedly look a bit rusty, but he definitely still put on a show; and I believe he could still work a MOTY contender with the right guy *cough* AJ Styles.

I hate the fact he came out of retirement, for this of all shows. But if HBK is back, then maybe he can work a couple more matches before retiring at Wrestlemania once again.

As a whole however, this match was everything that is wrong with the WWE. The undying emphasis on the established guard, continually taking up slots that need to be filled by the younger guys.

The WWE makes enough money. It’s the biggest wrestling company in the world bar-none. They’re never going to be challenged no matter what anyone wants to believe.

One of these days, Vince needs to bite the bullet and start the integration of younger guys into main event slots without the need to panic and call upon his tried and tested soldiers.

Conclusion

  1. Putting the title on Lesnar was desperation and a way to return the status-quo in Vince’s head. A worrying thought is that he doesn’t trust ANYONE on the RAW brand that he feels can carry the company. But who’s fault is that?
  2. Shane winning the World Cup. Yeah. No.
  3. Out with the old, in with the new.  It doesn’t need to be any clearer than that.

The common factor in all of this? Over-reliance on part-timers who aren’t busting their arse on the road 300+ days a year. It needs to stop. But it won’t.

– Andy.H. –

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Fast Feud: Kane vs Shane McMahon

The newest series of content to grace the glorious walls of Games and Graps; Fast Feud. EVERYBODY loves some tasty fast food, get it now?

Short. Sharp. Articles. They get to the point, tell you all about what made a feud so special (for bad or worse), whilst also giving you a history lesson. Plus you can go and watch it on the WWE Network for only 9.99. I don’t work for the WWE I promise.

For your first instalment of this brand spanking new adventure…I present…

Kane vs Shane McMahon.

Now I know what you’re thinking, Andrew…of all the feuds in the history of professional wrestling, you go with this? Yep.

Did it feature any technical masterclasses? Nope. Is it a feud that’s still being talked about 15 years later? Nope. Did I love it as a kid? Hell yeah!

This feud encapsulates the ridiculousness of a sports entertainment rivalry.

June 23rd. The day Kane died.

KaneUnmasking

Pretty, isn’t he?

The Big Red Machine was unmasked, per Eric Bischoff’s stipulation, after losing a World Championship match to HHH on RAW. It wasn’t pretty; aesthetically or story wise.

It enraged Kane who went on a rampage destroying everything and everyone in his path. No one was exempt.

This was where the fun began.

You have to appreciate that as a developing kid, you tend to appreciate the intense, chemistry-focused wrestling a bit less, and simultaneously crave the bloodletting and over-the-top antics more so.

Kane delivered these very things and more.

Bad things that bad, burny man did:

  1. He chokeslammed Eric Bischoff off of the RAW stage through tables.
  2. He threw his former tag team partner, Rob Van Dam, through a wall.
  3. He got a tad angry during a delightful sit-down interview and set fire to Jim Ross.

Crucially, he delivered a Tombstone Piledriver to Shane McMahon’s 54-year-old mother, onto a steel stage. Shane, predictably, took exception to this and retaliated with a vengeance.

KaneTombstoneLinda.gif                As a kid, this was quite shocking.

At the end of an episode of RAW, he beat Kane half to death with vicious steel chair shots, eventually sending Kane flying off of the stage. Foreshadowing.

It was then a case of one upmanship as Kane and Shane would trade heinous actions week-in and week-out. It was hilarious.

On the 25th August, they fought in a match that wound up with both men outside the arena. Shane poured an ungodly amount of gasoline/petrol (covering all bases there) into a dumpster, set it alight, and proceeded to boot Kane straight into it.

KaneBurningDumpster

Killing him. Stone dead. End of story. End of Kane. He couldn’t possibly survive that, could he?

Sports entertainment folks. We love it.

A mere week later, and Kane returned to fashion an impromptu, homemade torture device to electrocute Shane’s testicles; scarring him and everyone in the arena that night. I don’t think I need to say anymore.

A month’s worth of absolute insanity culminated in a hugely underrated Last Man Standing Match at Unforgiven 2003. I mean, these two left nothing in the arena that night. They beat the absolute stinking, beaver piss out of each other.

Shane’s downfall typically ended up being, well, just that; him falling down a long way as usual.

Unforgiven2003ShaneJump

ANDREW’S RECOMMENDATION: Watch this match.

But we didn’t end there, oh no. Kane would victimise Shane in the hospital and try to end his life. Again.

Shane reciprocated this kind gesture, I’m genuinely laughing as I type this, by trying to end Kane’s life, AGAIN, by trapping the Big Red Machine inside of a limo and crashing it into a trailer.

KaneCrashedLimo

After multiple homicide attempts, they did the only thing you could do in a volatile feud such as this one…they…had…DINNER.

It felt more Silence of the Lambs than a romantic, Valentine’s evening. Although they didn’t dispense with the vocal foreplay; they outright said what they were going to do to each other in their forthcoming Final Encounter Ambulance Match. I’m not saying it originated here, but you can’t deny the 50 Shades of Gray influence.

KaneShaneDinner

Survivor Series 2003

Kane vs Shane: Ambulance Match.

A serviceable war that, in some ways, bettered their Unforgiven war. It fell short, but it’s definitely worth a watch; it is a Shane McMahon match after all. Plenty of crazy spots in the match: people reversing vehicles into one another, sickening kendo stick shots, leaps off of the top of the ambulance etc. It accomplished everything it needed to do and signed, sealed and delivered the end of the feud into history.

Despite the long-list of cartoon-like events that happened week-by-week, because it certainly felt cartoony at times; there are notable reasons as to why this isn’t remembered too well.

Firstly, the unmasking of Kane was a moment six years in the making, but not one that people truly wanted. The degeneration of Kane’s aura was increasing year-by-year as he went from seven-foot monster ripping off the door of Hell in a Cell, to doing Kanearoonie’s.

But his mystique all but died when his mask came off. Conversely, the removal of his symbol of his evil should’ve created a new era of hellish destruction for Kane; and a big push. Shane was the last person Kane should’ve faced.

Kane needed to become an unstoppable force that looked strong. With all of his sadistic actions leading up to Unforgiven, a lengthy, unbeaten run would’ve skyrocketed his momentum.

However, Vince decided to have his part-time wrestler son, pretty much best Kane in their match. Kane was down and out at Unforgiven until Shane cost himself the match; it made Kane look weaker than the British pound.

The feud lost a lot of steam heading towards Survivor Series, as did Kane’s newfound ‘aura’. In all, it was fun but forgettable; but fun.

So yeah, this is one of those hidden gems you have to dig deeper into the wrestling archives to find. It’s just a silly feud that made the 10-year-old me very happy; wanting to see how these two characters could try and murder each other every week.

It’s also a hollow reminder that there were more ‘moments’ in these two months than in the last two years of modern day WWE.

*sigh*

The Grap Report: Brock Lesnar

As a website that intends to pride itself on fresh ideas and giving you the content you didn’t know you wanted, we start here.

The Grap Report.

No professional wrestler is safe. Did you retire ten years ago? You’ve made The Grap Report. Have you only been wrestling for two years? You’ve made The Grap Report. It doesn’t matter if you’re inexperienced. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the difference between a face and a heel. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been doing it so long that you walk down the street, get withdrawal symptoms and suddenly have the urge to take a bump onto the hood of a car.

The Grap Report will examine all kinds of career trajectories.

For more experienced careers, we’ll see if perhaps they could’ve done more with their career. Maybe they overachieved? The Grap Report will look at someone who’s in their mid to late 30’s and see how they’ve fared thus far, whilst simultaneously looking at what they could do before they hit their twilight years. Then there’s the upstart, the prodigal son or daughter, who has all their best years ahead of them. The world is their oyster. But are they hungry enough? Maybe they hate seafood, like myself, in which case they’re screwed.

These are the opinions of one smarky, marky fan who loves wrestling. So let’s get cracking.

Today, we start with one of the most controversial wrestlers whom the Earth has had the privilege of hosting, Brock Lesnar. Aka Bork Laser aka that guy who I wouldn’t dare say a bad word to, even if there was 100ft of electrified fences separating us. He’d eat them, I’d bolt.

He’s genuinely one of the few larger than life athletes who walks amongst us and has all the credentials to be the baddest man on the planet. Have you not seen the main picture heading the article?

His name is synonymous with combat. It’s known outside of wrestling and one that strikes fear into most men.

He is a legitimate beast (incarnate). About 6″4. Anywhere between 270-290lbs. He wears his pride on his chest, along with a weird-ass sword tattoo…I take that back actually. If for god knows what reason he ever reads this then I’m dead. I love the tattoo. It’s a truly artistic symbol of war and is a representation of contemporary, minimalism in its simplicity. It also looks ridiculous!

BrockLesnarSwordTattoo

At least he’s got a badass one on the back, right?

BrockLesnarBacktattoo

That tattoo stuck with me when I was a kid. Here was this behemoth of a man, and he was rocking a huge, demonic skull on his spine that wouldn’t look out of place in DOOM. I can’t find any evidence as to why he got this satanic-looking piece of evil carved into his muscular back, but does it really matter? It’s the kind of visual that strikes fear and intimidation into an opponent before the match has even started.

Whereas the sword represented a major negative in his life: as it was post-WWE, he wasn’t allowed to compete anywhere else due to contractual disagreements with his former company, and he’d started to warm to an old-school, wrestler cocktail of drinking heavily and consuming painkillers with booze.

The skull was the beginning of his journey.

March 18th 2002, the night after Wrestlemania 18, he interfered in a hardcore match and absolutely dismantled Maven, Al Snow and tried to maim Spike Dudley. The shock and awe is palpable in the crowd, even in that moment they knew, ‘this guy looks like a monster’.

One of the saddest things is that the modern day wrestling fan is only familiar with Brock Lesnar circa 2012, when he made his return after eight years. It’s fair to say that in the last six years, the general consensus is that Lesnar has slowly declined, in both his wrestling ability and interest for the wrestling business.

I vehemently disagree with both of these statements.

Reason the first, Brock Lesnar has NEVER cared about the wrestling business, even going all the way back to his first run. He’s an entertainer. I’ve seen enough interviews and read enough transcripts to get the idea. He has about as much interest in the lineage of professional wrestling as I do in politics and royalty; absolutely none whatsoever.

He’s all about that dollar-dollar and overcoming new challenges in his life.

Reason the second, his wrestling ability is still very much there. He just unleashes it as and when he wants to. Now here’s where the point of contention rears its ugly head. Brock Lesnar is an absolutely outstanding professional wrestler. Like Kurt Angle, he picked up the business very quickly, due to his amateur wrestling background, and was the proverbial diamond in the rough.

If you’re even so much as a casual wrestling fan, they you’ll already know the legendary list of accomplishments this man has earned in his storied career. But, if you dig a little bit deeper into the rabbit hole, then you unearth some even more surprising statistics.

Note: PWI is Pro Wrestling Illustrated, an admittedly kayfabe magazine, but a publication that has ran for nearly 40 years and has some semblance of credibility.

Lesnar’s list of irrefutable awesomeness

  • Big Ten Conference Champion
  • NCAA Heavyweight Champion
  • UFC Heavyweight Champion
  • NJPW Heavyweight Champion
  • Multiple time WWE Champion
  • PWI Match of the Year in 2003
  • PWI Wrestler of the Year in 2002
  • PWI #1 Wrestler, out of 500, in 2003

See what I mean?

In his initial run between 2002-2004, Lesnar carried with him a no-nonsense aggression and technical ability that was equalled by nobody in the company; also, he actually spoke too.

It’s hard to believe it now, but he wasn’t always the mute brute. The man took part in his fair share of funny segments, most notably with Kurt Angle. However, once Paul Heyman vacated his side in November 2002, Brock would become an autonomous individual until he left in 2004. Sometimes he could hold his own, but he had a long way to go before he could topple the philosophical stylings of the human lexicon, Scott Steiner.

But after watching that clip, can you believe this is the same guy we’ve been seeing on our TV screens for the last few years?

Hard to believe I know, but I think it works better with Heyman acting as his volatile, well-spoken promoter that could tell you Brock Lesnar was going to fight a roll of selotape, and still make you wanna shell out the cash to see if Brock could get himself out of a…sticky…situation.

In his first run, he won the 2002 King of the Ring, the 2003 Royal Rumble and won the WWE Championship on three occasions. No other titles. Let’s face it, he didn’t need them. He could’ve been WWE Champion for his entire run and it would’ve been justified. He was booked as an unstoppable force with pretty much no immovable object to curtail his dominance.

He had some of the best wrestling matches ever seen: from his classic bout with Eddie Guerrero at No Way Out 2004, to his incredible bloodbath with The Undertaker at No Mercy 2002, to a genuine match of a lifetime with Kurt Angle in their 2003 Iron Match on Smackdown.

He had a wide array of moves. Nope, not just german suplexes; he was at the peak of physical fitness and he moved so spritely that he could easily be mistaken for a 100 metre runner.

Oh, and he was the sturdiest neck ever seen…

Nearly 300lbs, straight onto his head from 10ft in the air. He should’ve been dead. Instead? he got up, finished the match, and walked away with only a concussion. The man literally defied physics.

He was one of the best homegrown talents the WWE has ever produced…

But then he left.

Sick of the year-round schedule, sick of travelling well over 200 days a year and sick of having to do the one thing that Brock Lesnar despises more than anything; talking to people. It’s no secret that Brock is a self-appointed recluse who prefers to keep to himself, so when it dawns on you how much media he was having to do, as arguably the company’s top guy, it’s understandable that he wanted no further part in it.

Brock vs Goldberg WM 20

So off he went. He lost to Goldberg on the grandest stage of them all at Wrestlemania 20. A highly-anticipated bout with incredible hype surrounding it. Having two ferocious gladiators in one ring was so intriguing, more so when Stone Cold Steve Austin was added as a special guest referee.

They stunk the place out. It’s definitely gone down in the annals of Wrestlemania folkore as an all-time dud. Lesnar flipped off the crowd, ate a Stunner, and was presumed to never be seen again in a WWE ring. Bye-bye.

He infamously left to pursue an NFL career, performed a full pre-season with his hometown team, the Minnesota Vikings before being cut before the start of the season. After this, he fought WWE over wrestling elsewhere and he eventually got his own way due to a court ruling. He won New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Heavyweight Championship and enjoyed a good run there.

Then it was UFC. World champion after only four fights, beating some big names along the way. He became, arguably, the biggest box office draw in UFC history and became the king of combat sports.

Brock Lesnar Portrait Shoot

April 2nd, 2012. The night after Wrestlemania 28. Feels like we’ve come full-circle doesn’t it? Ten years after hitting Spike Dudley with a devastating triple powerbomb, he was back. This time, delivering an F-5 to a mid-card jobber by the name of John Cena.

Lesnar’s second run didn’t start all that well.

He lost to Cena immediately, a stupid decision that was representative of classic Cena booking. Then he beat HHH, lost to HHH and beat him one final time to regain his heat.

So over a year back, and he and Heyman were a big deal, but not a huge deal, thanks in part to two losses already.

But Summerslam 2013 would prove to be the catalyst for his revitalisation.

A one-on-one bout with CM Punk was a huge, star-studded match brimming with hype. It lived up to all of it and more. They delivered, in my opinion, a five-star classic and tore the house down with a brutal war in which Punk just came up short. This would be Brock’s last proper match for a few years.

With two big wins in-a-row, Lesnar now had some momentum.

He’d then return to an old flame by the name of The Big Show. Thanks to a pre-match assault, Lesnar squashed Big Show in just a few minutes at the Royal Rumble.

Next up? The Streak.

Now, I’m not going into too much detail here as it’s been covered to death, but there’s absolutely nothing that can be said to lessen and understate the importance of this night at Wrestlemania 30.

WM 30 The Streak

Still the most shocking moment I’ve ever seen in professional wrestling. 21-1.

Brock Lesnar, in the prime of his life, was the chosen one handed the prestigious honour of bringing the illustrious Wrestlemania undefeated streak to an end.

No one in the world had more steam and intrigue like Brock Lesnar has at that point. His previous losses are now undone and forgotten. The Beast is a proposition to be feared, once again boasting believability and has possession of a magical aura that few people could ever hope to achieve.

That loss to Cena, on Brock’s return match, proved to be inconsequential as Brock spent the better part of 20 minutes single-handedly dismantling John Cena in the main event of Summerslam 2014 for the WWE Title. It was a 20-minute squash of the superstar that WWE had paraded as the untouchable, golden boy for the better part of 10 years. This night also saw 16 german suplexes performed on John Cena; a foreshadowing of what Lesnar’s later career would become.

Brock Lesnar LaughingThis is the scariest GIF I have ever seen in my entire life.

Lesnar was once again at the top of the mountain.

We began an era that hadn’t been revisited since the Hulk Hogan days of being world champion, whereby the main title wasn’t being defended on TV and PPV on a regular basis. Needless to say it didn’t go down well with fans. Brock was earning a veritable war chest for doing very little.

He retained his title at Night of Champions, a month later, and then put in a Match of the Year candidate at the 2015 Royal Rumble. Who could beat him?

Step forward Roman Reigns. As I’ve said before, The Grap Report will be profiling the big dog down the line, don’t you worry.

A last-minute contract extension meant that the main event of Wrestlemania 31 was no longer the foregone conclusion it was presumed to be. Creating a welcome sense of unpredictability and the hope that the ‘golden boy in training’ wasn’t going to win.

Seth Rollins’ infamous Money in the Bank cash-in interrupted the barnstorming encounter and made history to take the title, but it was Roman who was pinned, not Brock.

The next year would see Brock take a bit more of a backseat after his long title run. His rematch to Seth was gate-crashed by a vengeful Undertaker. A controversial Summerslam finish saw Brock take only his second loss in over two years.

But then they fought in an astoundingly violent and underrated Hell in a Cell Match, that in many ways topped their first one. Seriously, go and watch it if you haven’t already.

His staying out of the limelight continued as he didn’t return until the 2016 Royal Rumble where he was eliminated by the Wyatt Family, although nothing truly came of it.

A huge let-down against Dean Ambrose at Wrestlemania 32 and an ugly, elbow-inspired win against Randy Orton at Summerslam seemed to have wrapped up 2016…

…until Goldberg.

Survivor Series 2016 Lesnar vs Goldberg

1 minute and 26 seconds. One of the most shocking Survivor Series moments in history. Lesnar laid down for Goldberg. Brock became mortal.

Eventually we had Brock vs Goldberg part II, at Wrestlemania 33. The chance to rewrite the wrongs of the Wrestlemania 20 horror show.

They did. It was the greatest sub-five-minute match you’ll ever see.

Once again, Brock was the champion.

Now it’s safe to say that by 2017, people were very tired of the formulaic ‘Suplex City’ match. WWE’s monstrous booking of Lesnar has conversely been one of WWE’s detriments over the last few years. But at the same time, by having Lesnar end The Streak, it was just an enviable inevitability that was always forthcoming. Who would said no to being booked like a unstoppable titan? I think Heath Slater would like a similar run.

It’s made Brock almost godlike. Unless you’re a 50-year-old man returning for his first match in 12 years, then no-one can beat you. Wrestling logic…flawless isn’t it?

2017 was also no exception.

Samoa Joe? Great Balls of Fire. Booked well. One F-5. Done.

Braun Strowman? No Mercy. Booked well. One F-5. Done.

Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns? Summerslam. Booked well. But still done.

AJ Styles? Survivor Series. An incredible performance. But done. Although this was his greatest ‘wrestling match’ since the CM Punk one waaaaaay back in 2013.


I’ll draw a line under 2017 as his 2018 action will be covered in the next Grap Report, which has already been hinted at. *Wink-wink.*


 

The Verdict

Whatever you may think about him, Brock Lesnar is a once-in-a-lifetime human being.

Despite having an 8-year hiatus, he’s had a storied career (so far) and has achieved some things that most will never even come close to. He will probably still have some matches over the next few years. If the money’s there, his UFC aspirations die-down; then Brock will have WWE matches.

Yes his style now isn’t that exciting, but he’s proved time and time again that he is; booking won’t let him be.

But whatever happens from this point, he’s been a resounding success. Intimidating tag-lines and monikers, one of the greatest finishing moves of all-time, accomplishments galore, his own style of match I guess? He’s even facilitated the unwanted trope of superhero booking; more so than SuperCena booking.

If you don’t agree with Brock being one of the true greats, then please…say it to his face.

Brock Lesnar 2002 scary

 

Greatest Royal Rumble Review

What an utterly bizarre show, and I’m not even talking about the results and what happened, I just mean this event/pay-per-view/glorified house show in general. I’m still struggling to get my head around the idea.

Unless I’m very much mistaken, and I’ve suddenly developed onset amnesia; I’m pretty sure I was at Wrestlemania only a couple of weeks ago? Yet, it’s happened again? Only this time in Saudi Arabia, y’know, because the WWE are always hosting massive events there.

Now, it’s clear that Saudi Arabia are literally feeding Vince all the greasy, oil money they can with sparkly, diamond-encrusted spoons. This is so that WWE will hold this prestigious event in their homeland. The rumour mill suggests that WWE can expect to net anywhere between $100-200 million. Whether you agree with this show or not, you have to applaud the shrewd business that Vince has done here.

If you did actually think that this would be a glorified house show, then just take a look at the card for this event and rub your eyes in wonderment. Absolutely stacked to the rafters and beyond. It’s arguably, on paper, a more dominating card than Wrestlemania 34; at the very least it’s ‘Big Four’ worthy. But it’s still a house show.

KingAbdullahSportsStadium

The stage could easily be mistaken for a Mania set and it’s in the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium, hosting 60, 000 people. It’s got all the same vibes of the biggest event of the year; just with a much different start time, in a much different country on a much different day; a Friday. Just why?!

Either way, with the ongoing controversy surrounding the exclusion of female wrestlers (due to strict Saudi laws) and the fact that WWE has simultaneously been building to two different PPV shows; the Greatest Royal Rumble has a lot of expectation to say the least. On one hand, it feels like a big deal, on the other, it doesn’t, and the only reason it is, is because the WWE would have you believe it is.

Regardless, a potential last-ever meeting between John Cena and HHH, an Undertaker Casket Match, the first-ever 50-man Royal Rumble match, an AJ/Nakamura rematch and an undeserved shot at redemption for Roman Reigns.

Did the Greatest Royal Rumble deliver? Let’s break it down.

HHH vs John Cena

What a way to kick-off the show. Two of the WWE’s biggest names going one-on-one for the first time in eight years. A 16-time world champion versus a 14-time world champion. No build. No story. Feels suspiciously like a live event-type match; a term that may crop up more throughout the night.

But anyway, a classic old-school feel to start things off. They went very traditional with this one, feeling each other out before a good old test of strength to assert dominance.

It built slowly and methodically with HHH staying on top for the first-half of the match. They didn’t really push the boat out with this one as and it was just a case of both future Hall of Famers getting their signature stuff in.

It culminated in a traditional WWE-style ending with both men hitting finishers, before big-match John turned on his legendary superpowers to hit two more AA’s and take the win. It was standard stuff. Although, HHH imitating Cena’s signature taunts was entertaining and Cena winning popped the crowd; it served its purpose.

I feel it was a strange match to open and as you normally expect a high-octane match to get the mood going. Nevertheless, the live crowd ate up everything they did, and it was a serviceable match.

Match Rating: **1/2

Cena then cut a patriotic promo to appeal to the nature of the crowd. 

WWE Cruiserweight Championship

Cedric Alexander (c) vs Kalisto

Now this was fun. Lots of action. Kalisto’s seated Spanish flea, the springboard over the rope to the bottom rope etc. These two really pulled out a great match with lots of great offense. Although I wasn’t a fan of the mid-match, grounded bearhugs from Alexander. In a five-hour show, this is the match that I want to deliver constant action, not rest holds.

I also feel the match was hurt by time constraints, which is a shame as another few minutes more and they could’ve had something special.

I struggled to really get behind the story here too. Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander’s Wrestlemania match was one of the best of the ‘205 Live’ era as it had a clear story and you really felt the emotion during that match, not so much here. But Cedric’s facial expressions and overall demeanour in his matches has facilitated some much-needed growth in his character and it was prevalent here too.

Match Rating: ***1/2

WWE RAW Tag Team Championship

Sheamus and Cesaro vs Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt

If the ‘Greatest Royal Rumble’ ring curtain had been replaced with a ‘RAW’ one for this, then it wouldn’t have been a surprise. It was average. Just a by-the-numbers tag team match that ended with the right result.

Matt got worked over for most of the match with Bray getting the hot tag and eventually leading to the win. God, if you’d have told me two months ago that I’d be excited for Bray Wyatt, I’d have probably gone for a voluntary cat scan to check if I was ok. He’s been a revelation alongside Woken Matt. They should have a bright future going forward as tag champions.

Match Rating: ** 1/2

WWE United States Championship

Jeff Hardy(c) vs Jinder

Well it’s official, not even the effervescent Jeff Hardy can get a decent match out of Jinder. The whisper in the wind botch hurt this match BIG time, especially with the commentators trying their hardest to cover for it. Sorry guys, you just can’t cover for Jinder. Apart from that, not much else happened. It wasn’t a long match, and it was your usual boring Jinder offense of strikes and the occasional rest hold.

The home straight was your usual Jinder Mahal match: Sunil Singh interference and Jinder going for the Khalass. But Jeff countered, hit the twist of fate and a Swanton Bomb. 1-2-3. Yawn. Can we PLEASE STOP with Jinder Mahal. I was all for his push a year ago, but he hasn’t progressed, not even one iota. He can’t cut a decent promo and his wrestling ability is still unevolved.

*1/2

Chris Jericho then cut an amusing promo backstage where he put all-manner of people on the list. Jericho is a timeless classic and we need him back asap.

WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship

The Bludgeon Brothers(c) vs The Usos

WWE has at least made a half-hearted attempt at building this match up in the last couple of weeks. But without any Naomi interference here, it just ended up as an extended squash match.

Straight from the get-go, The Bludgeon Brothers were on the offensive; a staple of their matches. Just powerful, hard-hitting offense with you wondering how long the Usos could survive. It turns out not long. The Usos retain some credibility here and The Bludgeon Brothers are just an unstoppable wrecking force with no foreseeable challengers capable of toppling them…except maybe Sanity?

**

WWE Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match

Seth Rollins vs Finn Balor vs The Miz vs Samoa Joe

The show hasn’t been great so far. It’s in need of some serious pepping up, and this was the match to do it. You had four superb athletes in this match: Samoa Joe with his raw power and animalistic tendencies, The Miz with his technical abilities and desire to reclaim his intercontinental title, and Finn and Seth with their all-around game.

There was plenty of big, hard-hitting moves here; although I don’t think ladders were used nearly as much as they could’ve been. The ladders ended up feeling like more of a gimmick by the time Rollins pulled down the belt, there wasn’t even that many instances of superstars attempting to pull down the belt.

Nevertheless, there was solid in-ring action here with Finn taking some nasty bumps; especially a slam from Joe onto a prone ladder. The Miz had a nice portion of the match too where he ran wild and took out everybody, reminding everyone that he’s more than just ‘Miz TV’.

Considering the people involved here, and the unfortunate expectation of a ladder match being sky-high, thanks to Takeover: New Orleans, I think this could’ve been better.

***1/2.

Following this, we got a cooldown segment where a promo package showed all the Saudi hopefuls who had undergone WWE try-outs. Four of the hopefuls were interviewed in the ring, before being interrupted by Daivari, from 205 Live, and the older Daivari (formerly with Muhammad Hassan), to put down and disrespect the aspiring WWE superstars, they were promptly beaten down. It was a small segment to pop the crowd.

WWE Championship

AJ Styles(c) vs Shinsuke Nakamura

After their hotly anticipated Wrestlemania match didn’t live up to the hype; this was a chance to make amends. Their first effort was way too slow, and never really kicked in to that second gear to push it towards the upper echelons of Wrestlemania classics.

Thankfully things have changed since. The face vs face dynamic just didn’t click at Mania, whereas a clearly defined heel vs face scenario worked much better here. Michael Cole’s best friend here ‘Shin’ had been punching below the belt for the better part of three weeks. There was a meaningful story with Nakamura willing to do anything he could to win the title, leaving his honourable attitude in the dust.

Both men went at each other early on, they took bigger risks and Nakamura really played up to his heelish antics well e.g rolling out the ring to regroup. The pace was quicker and there was a real sense of urgency here.

I was having a great time with this one, but the ending was quite sudden as I’d anticipated a clear-cut winner; instead, we got a double count out with AJ retaining. It was an interesting twist that I don’t think many people saw coming, but it reeked of WWE’s unwillingness to pull a major trigger at this event. It also made the event feel more like a house show sadly, as this just wouldn’t happen at Wrestlemania.

We’ll obviously get the rubber match at Backlash, possibly with a stipulation involved, and this will conclude a mixed-bag of a rivalry. This was better than their Wrestlemania encounter, but it begged for more.

***1/2

Casket

Casket Match

The Undertaker vs Rusev

Another monumental match with absolutely no story and no prior, with the sole purpose to sell-out a stadium. With the casket match stipulation, it begged the question, could Rusev pull off the ultimate upset? A way to make Undertaker still look strong, whilst giving a massive push to one of the most over men n the company.

Bluntly, no he couldn’t. In fairness, the match was about 10 minutes, and Rusev got so much more offense in then any of us could’ve dreamed of. But one chokeslam was enough and that was that.

**

WWE Universal Championship Cage Match

Brock Lesnar(c) vs Roman Reigns

The rematch that nobody wanted. The rematch that Roman Reigns didn’t deserve. They had a simply stunning match at Wrestlemania 31 that was abruptly ended by Seth Rollins. What followed was a 3-year journey that culminated in Brock vs Roman part II, an absolute s***fest at Wrestlemania 34.

To be honest, I really didn’t think they could produce something worse than they did at Wrestlemania 34. They did. This was absolutely dreadful. Abysmal. A WWE Universal Title Match, reduced to nothing more than a few german suplexes, the odd Superman Punch, spears here and there and a sprinkling of F-5’s.

This worked for Goldberg and Lesnar because they did all that in half the time and they were two superheroes. This just felt forced, contrived and was just insulting. I think the only positive was that it didn’t last as long as their Wrestlemania match.

But the abusing of signatures and finishers is just getting old and it’s insulting to the business. Lesnar’s reign has long since overstayed its welcome and everyone is sick of it now.

But the ending…since I was a kid, I was taught that you had to escape with both feet hitting the floor. The spear through the cage was cool, but Reign’s feet clearly hit the floor first. Lesnar hit back first, STILL on top of the cage panel.

Go figure. I hated this so much.

*1/2

50-Man Greatest Royal Rumble Match

I assumed that we would have a big name to start of with, but Daniel Bryan!? That was a shock as he was a favourite to win. He had the perfect starting partner in Dolph Ziggler. Two guys that knew how to go.

Overall, I was bored for the most-part. By having 50 men, that meant you had to have lots of mid-card, lower-card talent to act as filler. For every Braun, you had a Curt Hawkins, Curtis Axel, Goldust and Mojo Rawley.

There wasn’t much excitement, not much happened and even the surprise appearances were a little underwhelming; partly due to WWE’s marketing. I completely understand that they wanted to publicise Jericho and Mysterio’s entries, but it would’ve been cool to keep them as secrets.

We had Hiroki Sumi (a veteran Sumo wrestler), Hornswoggle, Tucker Night, Roderick Strong, Babatunde and Dan Matha as unexpected arrivals. So, we did get a few NXT appearances, but not exciting ones.

There were also a couple of notable botches from Primo botching a jump to the middle rope, to of course, the funniest moment in the history of professional wrestling.

Titus will forever be remembered for “that” slip. I honestly must’ve re-watched that about 6, 242 times.

On the plus, the match really made Elias and Braun look terrific here. Braun also broke Roman’s record for most elimination with 13. Not forgetting Daniel Bryan setting a new record for longest time spent in a Royal Rumble.

Braun winning was the right call and now he owns a trophy bigger than himself, and a hideous green belt that will never be seen again.

Match Rating: **

Overall

This wasn’t the special show it was made out to be. Not to sound like a broken record, but this was just a glorified house show with some unique matches and rare appearances. Nothing of any significance happened here and very little has changed in the grand scheme of things.

The cruiserweight match and AJ/Nakamura are worth checking out, apart from that, you should probably go on YouTube and search for the Titus O’ Neil slip, then keep that on repeat for the 5 hours that you’d have to spend watching this show.

Show rating: **