Well, here we are, it's Wrestlemania and it's that time of the year for yours truly to jump back into the WWE product. I'll be completely transparent for those of you new to this site, and for consistent followers, it's become a theme here, but I've only been committing to WWE programming for their pay per...errr, premium live events for the past 10 months (or so). I simply can't bear to be engaged with Raw and Smackdown. The weekly programming I find dreadful.
But again, this is Wrestlemania, baby! Any wrestling fan, regardless of personal choice or preference of their wrestling entertainment, tunes into it.
Despite my wary allegiance to the "E" these days, dare I say, I enjoyed Wrestlemania Saturday! I really did. Was it overly memorable? To be honest, no. However, the night felt fun, and quite frankly, that hasn't been an emotion I would equate with the WWE's programming in a very long time. In fact, it's the main reason I've ceased my commitment to their daily programs.
In an odd conundrum, again, tonight wasn't a huge "Wow", but I didn't care. Night one felt organic, and just fun. That's all it needed to be.Here are a few other quick notes on Wrestlemania Saturday:
- It should always be said. And because it is, its more proof that no one compares. No one does live television production like the WWE. Nothing on television comes remotely close to what the WWE produces.
- The stage looks tremendous. For me, the subtle video screen in the shape of the "Wrestlemania" logo serving as a different display than the star in the background was cool.
- 70,000+ people for one night is damn impressive. I've long predicted that this event would move to two nights (it's not. groundbreaking, many saw it coming as well). With gates like this for one night - and one can only imagine the revenue generated from the house alone - Wrestlemania ain't going back to one night anytime soon.
However, NXT at 1pm on a Saturday isn't ideal. But tremendous props to a production team and support staff who ran two mega shows in one day, in two different buildings!
- The opening match felt like it would've been more if not for the legit injury of Rick Boogs. The Usos always deliver bangers, and this one felt like it was headed there until the injury. I thought they would begin the show with Seth Rollins and the debut of Cody to give it the opening jolt needed, but this one just as easily could have served as that energizing kick-off if given the full opportunity.
I'm not overly familiar with Boogs, but the dude looks incredibly strong and had a vibe about him. Get well, Boogs.
- Speaking of vibes, I've just never gotten into Baron Corbin in any iteration of his career. I'm not saying the dude isn't talented - because he is- and he's gotten progressively more interesting as his character has developed, but overall, just never been a fan.
With all of that said, he and McIntyre put on a pretty good match where the ending was never in doubt. The Claymore still is one of the best finishers in the business right now.
Was the cutting of the rope to put over the Sword? It was indeed cool. Go murderous object in pro wrestl...sports entertainment.
I still want a bigger Wrestlemania moment for McIntyre. Yeah, I do still think of his moment in the Performance Center in April 2020.
- Oddly, I never once doubted that Logan Paul would hold his own in a WWE ring. I just never cared for this one entirely. Much like my feelings for Corbin, this one ended up being pretty good because, of course, it did. Low expectations or not...I got admittedly got into it.
Are we going to get Miz vs. Paul down the road...or even ant next year's Mania?
Because, well, umm...great?
Also, am I the only one who doesn't care for Dominick Mysterio? He feels forced. Like the kid whose dad got him a job kind of forced. Because, well, that's what we have here. When does he turn heel? Can he reference the custody of Dominick ladder match and say "I wish Eddie would have won".
OK, I'll settle down fantasy booking Dominick Mysterio's heel turn. It's actually bad, but I would enjoy that line...whatever.
Nonetheless, it is impressive the amount of lineage and legacy there is in the WWE. The WWE has more legacy admits than Ivy League schools. It's really crazy when you think about it.
- I recently saw a video with Becky Lynch stating that her match with Bianca Belair IS the main event because it's a much better story than everything else on the card. I outright agree with what she said going into the match. What is even better than her proclamation is that both Belair and Lynch delivered an awesome match. Easily my favorite of the night.
From the special entrances to the crazy finish and competition of the story arc, this was damn cool.
By the way, how awesome was Lynch's outfit? Just really cool stuff.
Belair is such a freak athlete, period. WWE has so much money in her. So much.
- It was the worst kept secret, yet it was so much fun. And really, seeing Cody Rhodes - in normal AEW aesthetics, with what we've grown accustomed to seeing, hearing, watching, and expecting from him OUTSIDE of the WWE, and seeing ALLLLLLLL of that still packaged on WWE television was really weird. Maybe it was just me?
As he strolled down the ring to Kingdom blaring, we all expected this. We know he's under contract, and yet, it still felt like some sort of forbidden door deal. Nonetheless, kudos to Cody for betting on himself six years ago - that's such an awesome story.
I go in and out of the latest Seth Rollins character - some days I find it cool, others it feels off or forced - but the dude is just so good in the ring.
"Welcome back to the big leagues...bitch". Such a great line and you just know...you just know they're going to find a way to welcome Cody but still take their shot at making WWE feel like a step up. And really, they should. The "Prodigal Son" line was also a nice touch. Unfortunately, I'm too ruined by The Office to not laugh at the line - damn you, Michael Scott.
By the way, was anyone else completely shocked when Cody did the springboard cutter? Of course, we've been conditioned by the WWE that no one in the company performs that move besides Randy Orton (and I don't knock the edict), but again, it felt so AEW-ish. Am I off-base in that?
The Dusty punches and bionic elbow were a fun touch. Super cool moment.
It was nice not hearing JBL screaming about "Wrestlemania moments" after everything concludes (I find that to be annoying..so annoying), but truly, this was one of the few tonight. Good stuff for sure.
I'm curious how they follow up now on Cody Rhodes going forward. Mr. McMahon handpicked him to be Seth's opponent. With Austin Theory being behind McMahon, is the boss gathering a small stable here? Who knows, I guess we'll find out soon. Or maybe I'll read it or fast forward to it on my DVR.
I'm most likely going to watch RAW this Monday, then get back to my routine.
- Speaking of weird, The Undertaker in a suit is still surreal. He had a tremendous speech and moment last night at the WWE Hall of Fame.
- She gets ALOT of flack from wrestling fans (though, I'm not sure why?), but Charlotte Flair is just tremendous. She really can pull an awesome match out of anyone, and this was exactly the case with Ronda Rousey. Yes, the match was sloppy at times and felt off for most of the match, but it wasn't terrible. Quite frankly, I felt like this needed more juice to it. Even from the buildup.
The finish was interesting, as Flair leaves with Championship, but I really wonder if Rousey's star is faded a bit here. Her return never felt overwhelming to me. I feel like I should've cared more about her redemption against Flair and Lynch. But something also tells me we are possibly getting Lynch vs. Rousey next year.
- What's with all of the video packages? What's with all of the commercials? Does anyone else miss the cheeky backstage segments of interviews, or even just random superstars and legends appearing? Nothing overly worrisome, but something of note throughout the night.
- Everything about the final "match" with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Kevin Owens was fun. Just. So. Much. Fun. Period. In fact, I am willing to bet no one had more fun during that match than Kevin Owens.
Was it a wrestling classic? Of course not. However, it was a moment, and it was downright fun to close on a Saturday night.
Austin looked tremendous, and I was absolutely shocked (I'm sure you were too!) to see him take suplexes on the floor in the stands and even a stunner from KO.
Teenage me found Austin's style of drinking beer to be cool. 36 year old me was appalled at how much beer he wasted tonight. But again, watching him squeeze the cans like they were juice boxes, and call for more WHILE wrestling, was just cool, and hilarious. Nostalgia at its best, while creating something new for old and new fans alike.
Damn, WWE I wish you had that approach for weekly programming. Especially, RAW.
Nonetheless, tonight was fun. I'm looking forward to tomorrow night.
*All photos courtesy of WWE.com