WWE WrestleMania 36 N2
April 5, 2020
I got a bit of stick yesterday for hating the show but I stick by my opinions. They had a long time to prepare this show, usually under the pressure to produce shit live, and what they came up with was very disappointing. Both from a creative standpoint and production-wise. The Boneyard match was downright ugly looking. I’m glad people enjoyed it, but I did not.
As a critic if you say you enjoyed something that you really didn’t you lose all credibility. There are several reasons why I was as harsh as I was. Partly because I was watching it with some fairly cynical people, although I fully accept I was one of the most cynical of all of them and I do feel pretty jaded I’m not going to lie to you about that.
Also an empty arena situation makes me sad. The crowd makes up a fair chunk of how I feel about a match. If people are digging it, that’s reflected in the ring. You get that instant feedback and it helps. The lifeless situation from last night didn’t help anyone. Finally, WWE were downright lazy in their production all night long. It was the same fucking angles, the same camera work, the same production we’ve seen a million times from this promotion. Framed around it being a live event. The wrestlers were clearly told to behave like there was a crowd present and every match suffered because of it. So yeah, I hated it and I’m here again for night two.
The “if you hate it why don’t you just be quiet” crowd that come at you on Twitter are lunatics who don’t understand the essence of criticism and how it keeps a company honest. WWE are a company that needs to be criticized. Almost everyone who hates criticism are because they get criticized and can’t handle it and can’t deal with criticism. Often they’re driven by a blind approach to life that ignores input from other people. We’re all in this together folks. I learned a long time ago if I wasn’t doing this then someone else would be.
The “they’re doing their best” crowd have incredibly short memories. This company hasn’t “done its best” in fucking ages. To the point where I don’t think I can even pinpoint when that ceased to be the case. 2000 maybe? I am supposed to cut a billionaire a break just because the world has gone to shit? Am I supposed to ignore that there’s no other entertainment, so I have to blindly love the only game in town? Every show I watch I judge on its own merits and if something is good I will always be fine with praising it regardless of whether I’m a fan of the people involved. It’s no secret I don’t like WWE but I’m not “anti-WWE” or “pro-AEW” or any of that shit. I just like wrestling and that’s why I criticize it. I want them to do better. They can, and should, do better. Thank you for listening to my opinions. I appreciate every one of you taking the time to read them.
Liv Morgan vs. Natalya
The wrestling here is fine but as with yesterday the cold atmosphere means it can’t ever ascend any higher than ‘fine’. Which I’m sure Liv will take.
She gets a roll up on Natalya for the win. This was completely fine.
Final Rating: **1/4
“Why are there barricades anyway?” There are no fans to keep back.
NXT Women’s Championship
Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
We have more random posing for photos that will never be taken. Charlotte fucks around doing her corner flippydo thing and gets punished with a big boot. This is the kind of thing that gets over the up and comer; outsmarting and outmaneuvering the veteran. Charlotte goes after the leg and as she dismantles the young homophobe I would love it if she won here. Burn the timeline down. They have a nicely stiff match and I’m very into it.
Charlotte’s persistent leg work is a delight. Figure Eight! Rhea taps. I loved this match. Huge contrast to yesterday. Easily better than anything on N1.
Final Rating: ****
Aleister Black vs. Bobby Lashley
Black takes a silly bump on the floor for no reason and then unleashes a bunch of kicks and flips. We briefly debate whether Black should be allowed to use spiky kick pads. Bob tries to run into a spear but gets hit with Black Mass. What point of Ally’s body was he aiming to spear?
Final Rating: **1/4
Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler
There’s a major issue here as nothing will happen until Mandy is out here. So we get a lot of grinding Ziggler stuff while JBL rambles about “fake news” on commentary. Sonya Deville distracts at ringside and Mandy turns up while Otis gets booted in the junk. Otis hits the Ham & Slam and that allows him to take Mandy to the Boneyard. I think that was the stipulation.
Final Rating: *1/2
Last Man Standing
Edge vs. Randy Orton
Orton’s sneak attack here comes from him impersonating a camera man. Unnecessary sneakiness. They explore the building and brawl around to their hearts content. The weight room featuring heavily in an awkward moment where Orton chokes Edge using weightlifting equipment. I appreciate the tour of the building and the set up. They could have done that on night one.
Lukas has a point in our chat where Orton is great at selling the story and getting you invested and then it’s the same boring old shit as always. This match is a labourious walk and brawl. It’s boring old shit with an obvious camera cut when the cameraman gets bumped. This has Triple H’s finger prints all over it. It’s way too long and it’s really, really boring. Imagine having Edge back for the first time in almost a decade and this is the match.
This is an advert for short matches. It’s long, boring, ambling nonsense that people will rave about to be contrary. They brawl onto a lorry and the Conchairto finally finishes. Good god almighty. I feel bad for Edge being forced into a 40 minute comeback match that bores the absolute life out of everyone. Consensus in the chat; it was terrible. I hated it.
Final Rating: DUD
Post Match: Mojo Rawley is chased by a bunch of jobbers, failing to maintain social distance, and Gronk dives off the balcony to win the 24/7 title.
RAW Tag Team Championship
Street Profits (c) vs. Angel Garza & Austin Theory
I cannot believe Austin Theory is on WrestleMania. All these guys look really energized but I think that’s just due to the contrast with the last match. The Profits pin Theory, who was a sub in anyway so no one cares, and we’re done. Should have been quicker. They had very little to say here.
Final Rating: **
Post Match: Zelina attacks A profit and Bianca Bellair takes her out.
SmackDown Women’s Championship
Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Lacey Evans vs. Tamina vs. Naomi
This is all over the shop until they make the sensible decision to gang up on Tamina and get rid of her. Sasha taps out Naomi, whose hair was incredible here. They do a miscue with Lacey moving and Bayley hitting Sasha with a V-Trigger. Mega babyface Lacey Evans puts Sasha out with the Women’s Right. So the Bayley vs. Sasha story continues but instead takes a second place to Lacey Evans here. Everyone I’ve spoken to finds Lacey as a babyface confusing. She has decent fire but she’s completely unlikable. Sasha sneaks back in, hits the Backstabber on Lacey, and Bayley retains. This was fine. I am into the Sasha/Bayley storyline.
Final Rating: **3/4
Firefly Fun House Match
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
They do some weird shit here with Cena going into his own past to fight Bray. “Ruthless Aggression”. “Thugganomics”. The original Bray Wyatt run where Cena beat him and completely derailed his career. This kind of makes sense but they then drift in Saturday Night’s Main Event and the nWo version of John Cena. A heel turn that never happened.
Wyatt puts Cena to sleep, counts him down himself and Cena disappears from existence. This was better than a straight up match between these two would have been and Wyatt barely wrestled at all so I was relatively happy.
Final Rating: “A beautiful eulogy to the death of pro wrestling” (@alexmartiino)
WWE Universal Championship
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Drew McIntyre
With 7 minutes left on the show we’re at the standard Lesnar sprint. I love Lesnar’s sprints. Big spots. Loads of suplexes. Finisher spamming. It’s all good. Drew hits a few Claymores and that’s it. This was fine.
Final Rating: **1/2
I much preferred this to last night. The wacky “movie” was better produced. The in-ring was marginally better and only dragged down by that awful Randy Orton thing.