I've been looking forward to Wrestlemania and that is largely due to the great stories the WWE has running into this year's Showcase of the Immortals. Of course, the wrestling world has been lit on fire for everything that has been The Bloodline, Sami Zayn, and Kevin Owens...and now, enter, Cody Rhodes.
The WWE also has done something that hasn't felt like something they've done in previous years (I could be wrong, just not remembering as I punch the keys here) in stringing some really good shows together heading into Wrestlemania. And they kept that going tonight. Night one was awesome.
There were a few matches that I wasn't sure I would be into, but I found myself completely immersed. Maybe it's just Wrestlemania and we're all letting our guards (and heightened cynicism for review) down and just enjoying it. I wish we did that more as wrestling fans.
Nonetheless, the following are some quick thoughts and reactions to Wrestlemania Saturday:
- Let's start with the set - which was absolutely a monstrosity of a structure. Whenever the camera zoomed out for a wide shot, the image of the ramp itself was always amazing, no matter how many times it came across the screen.
The WWE production team is second to no one in the entertainment industry.
- America the Beautiful continues to be a great tradition for Wrestlemania. Personally speaking, it's a better song than our national anthem...just me.
- I never thought I'd come to the point where John Cena feels old, but he definitely felt, looked, and came across old. That's not an insult, but Cena has forever felt like a superhero. Even in the capacity of a part-time role, his returns still felt like John Cena came back. Tonight, he felt like the legends - a bit older, a bit different, slightly not the same, but enough to play the hits and fill the cup of nostalgia.
By the way, Cena is still amazing. I loved the Make-a-Wish entrance. It just warmed my heart knowing what it meant for those kids to be up on that stage.
Austin Theory continues to move along and feels like the company's next guy. Having him go over Cena was a nice touch, albeit with the low blow, and of course, elevates him up a notch while leaving some housekeeping if needed with Cena.
- I had no interest in the four-way tag team match, but it ended up being a damn good match.
WWE's product always seems to be at its best whenever its tag team division(s) are established and entertaining. Not sure if that's a coincidence, but I feel like it's true.
Richiceht's shooting star press to the floor was absurd. That dude is insanely athletic - but we all know that.
I absolutely LOVED Angelo Hawkins laying out Braun Strowman toward the end.
Unfortunately, Hawkins and Ford just feel like they are on borrowed time before going their separate ways.
Lastly, just a warning on my hot take - I would love to see Chad Gable in Impact Wrestling. Gable needs a stage where he can focus on furthering his development.
- It's said wayyyyyyyy too often, but it's so true - why is Logan Paul so good, so early? This was another good match, and while Paul held his own, Seth Rollins continues to be WWE's silent MVP.
Paul's entrance was cool - not quite Shawn Michael's epic. I don't know why though...maybe just the moment? Camera angle? Person?
Pual's box jump to the top rope...I have no words. Just shake-my-head-level of athleticism.
By the way, I have no idea who KSI is. But, he was entertaining...the entire table spot was.
- The six-woman tag match was surprisingly good. Surprising because I'm not sure I was moved by the story behind this one, despite the on-paper concept being intriguing.
Trish Stratus hasn't aged a bit.
Lita hasn't either.
I still wish we got more development out of Damage CTRL. It still feels like Bayley and the Girls. Just me.
- Both entrances for Rey Mysterio and Dominick Mysterio were amazing. Dom continuing to play up his "prison experience" is a nice quirk about his character. Of course, I popped for Rey riding in the low rider with Snoop Dogg before Eddie Guerrero's music hit the arena. Very cool stuff, including the nod to The Great Muta with the mask.
Getting back to Dom, I find everything about Dom Mysterio to be absolutely entertaining. He's been so tremendous in this role opposing his family, especially his father.
Rey is 48. Unreal.
This whole entire match was entertaining and rocked. The chaos toward the end was nice with Rey picking up the win.
Last note on this one - everything entertainment aside, it's gotta be so damn cool for Rey Mysterio to get inducted into the Hall of Fame and then wrestle his son at Wrestlemania.
I fully expect Dom and Priest vs. Rey and Bad Bunny at Backlash in Puerto Rico.
WWE winning again.
- Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair was tremendous. Loved it. I'm not sure I can provide the words here as the match far exceeded the build on this one.
Charlotte smiling on the outside after the loss definitely added something to the entire ordeal - it's Rhea's time.
- Michael Cole's excitement for Pat McAfee is always entertaining.
- I really want to know who Miz's stylist is. The dude is always sharp.
- WWE's "live drop-in on other countries" was a bit cheesy. I'm sure they would be better off actually coordinating real watch parties in various countries.
- Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens vs. The Usos was absolutely fantastic. Sure, this was the first time the Tag Team Championships have been in the main event spot, but that was just a minor addition to the grandeur story at play on the stage here.
The false finishes, the big moments, the high spots, and of course, the finish - LOVE the finish! All of it made this very much a Wrestlemania moment. I'll be pulling this one back up for years to come.
The Usos are an all-time great tag team.
Somehow, I don't think the Bloodline story arc is over.
I'm very much looking forward to how this plays out tomorrow night and beyond.
All in all - there really is nothing to complain about. Only those campy "watch parties", but you know what? Ehhhhh.
Wrestling is supposed to be fun. And this was.
Looking forward to Wrestlemania Sunday.
Photos courtesy of WWE.com