WWE Wrestlemania 39 N1
April 1, 2023
We’re in Los Angeles, California at the SoFi Stadium. What is it with Yanks and their shit stadium names nowadays? I have literally just seen tonight’s card for the first time. Trish Stratus, Lita, Logan Paul, Braun Strowman, and maybe even Chad Gable are a surprise to me. I only knew about a few of the big-name matches. When you have 30+ shows to watch in 4 days, you tend to go from one show to the next without looking ahead too much.
Becky G (dunno) is out here to sing “America the Beautiful”. It’s the first time I’ve not muted it. It has nothing to do with her. No sir. We then have Kevin Hart to narrate the opening. We then go to our “hosts” The Miz and Snoop Dogg. Just put the fucking matches on. It’s not rocket science.
WWE United States Championship
Austin Theory (c) vs. John Cena
Please be a squash.
Cena is going bald, which is tragic. It shows that time is slowly passing him by and that dream wedding with Brie Bella will never happen. Lads still in tears down Walkabout.
My internet craps out at this point and I basically miss the entire match. As if they did the SAME FINISH they did in the NXT show main event. They ran the same finish two matches running.
Braun Strowman & Ricochet vs. The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) vs. The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) vs. Alpha Academy (Chad Gable & Otis)
I thought Braun Strongman got released but I guess he’s gone back.
War Machine have been in WWE for 6 years. How about that shit? Remember American Alpha? What a great tag team that was. Anyway, this is a “WrestleMania showcase” match. What the F does that mean?
My favourite bit here is Strowman tagging in and Otis coming over. He’s all “I will fuck you up bald man. I will slap that beard off your face, you big bitch”. Otis? More like Goatis. While this is just a bunch of stuff, at least it’s character driven by guys who’ve been wasting away in the midcard for years and the crowd actually like. I still can’t believe the crowd “oh my god” the Tower of Doom spot. Have they never seen a wrestling show? It’s like the fourth time I’ve seen that spot this weekend. ANGELO DAWKINS KNOCKING BRAUN STRONGMAN ON HIS ASS THOUGH. YES MATE. Street Profits win, by virtue of knocking Braun Strowman on his ass. That was fantastic. Wrestlemania has a bunch of matches where they shoehorn dudes onto the show, and they usually suck. This ruled. ***¾
Logan Paul vs. Seth Rollins
Logan Paul gets the Shawn Michaels Wrestlemania 12 entrance. They should have micked Shawn up for that so you could hear him cussing the zip line landing him in the third row.
Seth shows up wearing a massive coat, Jeff Jarrett’s offcuts and insufficient brain protection. If CM Punk is in that bottle of Prime, we’re onto the greatest show of all time boys. As far as celebrities turned wrestlers go, Logan Paul is the best I’ve ever seen. I don’t think it’s particularly close either. Not only can he do the spots like LT or Bad Bunny, but he looks the part too. He could be the greatest heel of his entire generation and he’s had, what, 3 matches?
I kinda love him because he went into boxing, called everyone nerds, got the entire fanbase mad and then won all his fights against trained boxers and made a fortune. I’m not about to throw snowflakes at this but Logan Paul is incredible for his lack of experience. His vertical leap alone is top bloody tier.
Who is Prime? That’s the question on everyone’s lips. They even manage to get a good story in between decent wrestling. Rollins stomps on Paul’s hand to try and stop him getting his big punch in. Logan does it anyway and can’t get the pin because his hand hurts.
It’s KSI! This has been quite heavily booked. It’s helped to protect their celebrity and it’s been genuine fun. They shoot for epic and I’m not quite buying it but fair play to Logan Paul. Like I said, he’s the greatest celebrity wrestler ever and could easily do it full time if he wanted to. Paul tries to go coast to coast, he’s superkicked out of the air and the Curb Stomp finishes for Rollins. I can’t believe I enjoyed this. Well played everyone. Apart from Corey Graves. He can just fuck off. ***¾
Damage CTRL (Bayley, Dakota Kai & Io Shirai) vs. Becky Lynch, Lita & Trish Stratus
Io is better than everyone else in this match. I don’t know who needs to hear that but there it is. She has to find new ways to sell in order to make everything she’s hit with look credible. Which is not easy when she’s working Lita. The same Lita who was dreadful when she was in her prime. She’s now 47 and has very limited mobility.
Trish is a better proposition. All of her moves were tailored to what she could do, and she can still do all of them.
When they do the crazy dive spot, I’m so glad it’s Io not Lita. The story of the entire match is that Damage CTRL are better because they’re a unit. It works…until Trish gets in there and kicks everyone’s ass. Bayley ends up eating the pin off Becky. Logically Lita takes the L to set up a tag title defence. Maybe Damage CTRL are done as a group? Oh well, at least the crowd have a nice moment celebrating with some legends.
Rey Mysterio vs. Dominik Mysterio
Dominik was walking around all Mysterio for 25 years. He gets one look at Rhea Ripley, probably got trampled for a weekend or two, and suddenly he’s out here wearing black suits and acting like a badass. I’ve never seen him actually wrestle.
He’s brought to the ring by cops. One of which is Dan Barry.
Meanwhile, Rey is driven to the ring by his dad. The angle has gotten over, and Dom is over with the crowd as a heel. That’s clear. Is Dominik good enough in the ring for this spot? Ah, it’s WrestleMania, who cares? Rey takes the belt to Dom and the crowd go wild for child abuse!
Rey started so young, it’s weird to think he’s not even 50 yet. He’s still good but with all the training and practicing in the world, Dominik is what he is. Not very good. Luckily the match is over. The crowd buy into everything. From the Rey spots, the Eddie spots to Judgement Day running in and the newly formed Latino World Order making the save and Bad Bunny saving Rey from a chain shot. Rey wins with a Frogsplash and Angie Mysterio wildly celebrates her son’s miserable defeat. Fuck them kids. ***. As with the Paul/Rollins match this was heavily booked but done so to avoid Dominik being exposed in a straight up match.
WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Rhea Ripley
Rhea hasn’t held a belt since July 2021, where she lost to Charlotte Flair. She won the Rumble and she wants to not only win the strap, but also beat Charlotte to do it. Get that monkey off her back.
The great thing about this match, is that there’s no wrong winner. If Charlotte wins it’s because WWE sees her as the final hurdle for every other wrestler. If Rhea wins, it’s her time. WWE has been known to go either way on these things. You never know with Flair. Incidentally, I spent NXT earlier badmouthing production. It’s SO much better today. The shots of this match including entrance and every little reaction is really good. Fair play.
One of my major gripes with women’s wrestling in WWE is there’s never been a comparison between the huge men’s stars like Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns and the women’s division. Charlotte has always been a step above, in terms of stature. The development of Bianca Bellair and Rhea Ripley changes that. There’s a challenger to the throne. This really works as a hoss fight and I’m a touch annoyed when Charlotte tries more complicated things. She just doesn’t need to. Rhea is smart enough to understand that and does nothing but power moves. She does a German suplex, where Charlotte lands FACE FIRST on the mat. The slow-motion replay is glorious. You can see where the mat has burned her nose.
This seems to get Charlotte fired up! She even kicks out of Riptide. Rhea does a splendid job of selling how freaked she is by that. They really load up the false finishes. I got caught a few times. Flair’s intensity going up a few levels after that nose spot is palpable. Flair gets knocked out on the top and an Avalanche Riptide puts the strap on Rhea Ripley. She looks genuinely thrilled to take the duke. Great match. Top effort. Charlotte tries to look happy for Rhea from the floor, like Sasha did for Bianca. I buy it less. Like the direction was “try and look happy on the floor” and she tried and failed. Sasha’s worked because she didn’t think she was on camera. ****½
Attendance is over 80k. The Miz & Snoop Dogg are back out here. Miz runs his mouth a bit and Pat McAfee turns up. Snoop decides to book a match.
The Miz vs. Pat McAfee
This is an ideal thing to slip into the wake of that great women’s match. It gives us a moment to breathe ahead of the main event. Poor Miz gets his ass kicked by George Kittle from the 49ers. McAfee punts Miz and that’ll do it. Strictly filler ahead of the main. The only thing of note being Miz’s complete inability to catch people on dives. Bitch, you’ve been wrestling for 20 years. This is day one shit!
WWE RAW Tag Team Title / WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship
The Usos (c) vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
To see Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in the main event of Wrestlemania is special. Just two lovely Indie lads from Canada. Got there together. Sami is the most over act in the entire company.
The Bloodline storyline has gotten so over that even I have heard about it. Kevin Owens looks more energised here than any other point during his entire WWE run. He didn’t look this fired up when Triple H put the Universal strap on him. It’s different when you get the share these moments with your best mate. Sami kicking out of superkicks feels like me trying to stay awake watching Wrestlemania. Nobody takes a shellacking like Sami Zayn. My biggest issue with it is he just takes everything and keeps kicking out. I’d rather there were at least some familiarity counters thrown in, seeing as Sami spent so long with the Bloodline. The quality isn’t what drives the match though. It’s the emotional core. What a win would mean for everyone.
The emotional heft behind every moment of this match is what drives it. 3 (three) Helluva kicks finishes Jey Uso off. El Steenerico won the tag belts in the main event of Wrestlemania. How about that. ****¼
It’s way after 4am. I hardly slept last night because of ROH. I was up reviewing shows at 9am. Edit: I slept for about 5 hours. My running total, since Wednesday, is 14 hours. I’ve lost an entire night’s sleep.
What a fucking great show this was! This is the kind of show that’s so good, it makes you wonder how WWE manage to so consistently fuck up its own product normally. The matches that needed heavier booking (Logan Paul, Dominik) got it. The matches that needed to feel epic (main, Rhea) did. The filler seemed to land perfectly. The only major criticism I have of night 1 is that Lita probably shouldn’t be in that spot. Just limit her involvement in the match a little more and that’s a decent bout. The right people won all the big matches. The only real booking thing is that Theory beat Cena and the finish sucked. I’m guessing Cena won’t be around much and they couldn’t put the belt on him. I probably wouldn’t have done the switch here anyway and changed it back on RAW but ultimately, nobody cares. Great night one. Bring on night two.