by RICARDO WELLS
Don’t get me wrong here, I have heard all the chatter about how spectacular Wrestlemania 32 was on Sunday night, but personally, I can’t move away from just seeing it as satisfactory show.
Yes, the Wrestlemania attendance record was broken – 101,763 – but, it was Cowboys Stadium, one of, if not the biggest stadium in professional sports. This tidbit was certainly predictable.
Wrestlemania is often promoted as the ‘SuperBowl’ of pro wrestling. Shows in the past have featured the crème-de-la crème of narratives and matches. In the past, Wrestlemania was reserve for the culmination of many of the company’s best feuds and dream matches.
Notwithstanding all the pomp and pageantry foreshadowing this year’s event, there was one inescapable truth by night’s end – talent can no longer make up for the mind-numbing subplots.
If someone were to tell you that‘The Rock’ made his schedule appearance performed in a surprise match, John Cena cut his rehab short to step in the ring; or Stone Cold, Mankind and Shawn Michaels all piled into the squared circle at one point, you would explode with excitment believing that event was spectacular.
Yet, with all that star power, at times the show felt like an imposition.
My Reaction – Damn!
In fact, the perfect contrast to this year’s Wrestlemania would have to be clustered-mess known as Batman V Superman. A movie, which for all its positives, lacked a clear sense of purpose or direction.
I should mention that heading into this PPV I was somewhat apprehensive of its potential due to the lackluster nature of the match card. Between the event’s preshow and actual card there were a total of 11 matches and here are my reactions:
Kalisto (c) vs. Ryback (United States Championship Match)
This match was moved from the main show to the pre-show moments before the pre-show kicked off. That fact alone should have made it clear that the company didn’t feel strongly about this bout.
Prior to his present story arch with Ryback, Kalisto went toe-to-toe with Alberto Del Rio. That feud proved successful because beyond their in-ring chemistry the plotline between the two came across as believable.
On the other hand, this Kalisto/Ryback angle came off as a playful rendition of David vs Goliath. It was grounded in the premise that Ryback saw greatness in Kalisto but, for some reason thought he was simple better and deserve the push Kalisto was getting.
How he pitched it to WWE management!
Yes, “The Big Guy” stands three times the size of Kalisto and thus should have provided a good strength counterpart to Kalisto’s quickness. But throughout the match Ryback came across as a gigantic robot, incapable of moving freely around the ring. This pairing looked sloppy and often reminded us why other skillful wrestlers on the roster refused to work angles with Ryaback.
It would have serve the company better to turn Kalisto friend, Sin Cara, heel and let the two cruiserweights go at it for the title. Ryback would have been better serve doing work in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal which got moved to the main card to offset this poorly written and promoted gimmick.
Team Total Divas (Eva Marie, Alicia Fox, Brie Bella, Natalya, Paige) vs Team BAD and Blonde (Lana, Tamina Snuka, Naomi, Emma, Summer Rae)
In an effort to fill the company’s 5-hour time slot, matches like this one had to take place. I’m a fan of wrestling and want every wrestler to, at some point, enjoy there Wrestlemania moment. However, this match had no point nor story, it was just a match filled with superstars.
My displeasure here extends from more than just the lack of intrigue. I hated it because this match was an exhibition of all the reasons why the DIVA’s division was so weak for so long.
“Bui, these gyals can’t fight! They look good, but they can’t outfight a fly in honey!” – Every Drunk Man
The Dudley Boyz vs. The Usos
Usos meet Dudley’s. High-flyers meet tables. All and all a pretty good concept. But the two teams couldn’t deliver. The Dudley’s in table matches are a thing of legend. It just didn’t translate on Sunday night.
Kevin Owens (c) vs. Zack Ryder vs. Sin Cara vs. Stardust vs. The Miz vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler (Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match)
Believe it or not, the “Long Island Ice T”, Zack Ryder stole the show. Stunning the world to win the Intercontinental Title in a star-studded match. All the parties involved shined. In fact, the most beautiful element in this entire match was the writer’s ability to fold in the already established feuds into the bigger match.
Miz vs Dolph Ziggler, easy to see.
So was the Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn angle.
Add to that Ryder and Stardust for crowd intrigue; Sin Cara for his high-flying capabilities – priceless.
This was a match truly fit the concept of Wrestlemania is; all out, anything could happen, shocker.
Chris Jericho vs. A.J. Styles
I said it when A J Styles made his debut at the Royal Rumble in January; if you paired him with another resourceful, skilled wrestler you could have see great matches on a night to night basis.
Smart writing paired Styles with Chris Jericho. A guy who’s in ring ability is only surpassed by his “on mic” personality and style.
These two have thrilled us for months with their bouts.
Crowd Chants: “This is wrestling, this is wrestling!”
Sunday’s match proved no different, A J has proven since coming over to the WWE that he is an A-list performer, and one that is ready for big things. Yes he dropped this match to Jericho, but the lost seemed more of a formality on the way to something big. WWE title run maybe?
League of Nations vs. The New Day (Handicap Match 4 on 3)
Can we end this New Day gimmick and let these, otherwise talented superstars get back to fighting in meaningful matches.
Big E has main event talent. Kofi would do wonders in feuds with characters like Neville, Kalisto and Sin Cara.
These are all possibilities that we may never see because the WWE has opted to go with this unnecessary faction.
Shit! – New Day Sucks!
The League of Nations were the eventual winners of this match and they did very little to standout.
Please, disband both factions and allow these men to compete in single’s competition.
No, there isn’t a need to put any of these men in any title chases at the moment. Allow them to develop significant angles and work from there.
Crowd Chant: “Fact ions suck, fact ions suck!”
Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose (No Holds Barred Street Fight)
The easiest to predict of all the bouts. The drama between these two have literally focused on the amount of pain Brock could dish out before he is bored; and the amount of pain Dean could endure without passing out.
At times the match came off as comical, never interesting, but comical to say the least.
WWE needs to bring back the Roman/Brock feud and the Dean/Kevin Owens feud. Both pairings would be better served because of their in-ring balance.
Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch (Triple Threat Divas Championship)
Unlike the Diva’s match earlier on in the program, this match delivered. Whomever was responsible for the Diva’s Revolution needs to be applauded and done so quickly, because the beautiful matches provided by these three women in recent months have brought back the days of true women’s wrestling.
The in-ring product has been so good, the company has been forced to rebrand the Diva’s division as the new incarnation of women’s wrestling drawing point from the good all days when women’s matches were just as great as the men.
Charlotte remains on top, but Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks has stepped up in a major way proving once again how crucial NXT is t the future of the WWE.
Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker (Hell in a Cell)
So if Shane won, he would have taken control of Raw. If the Undertaker lost, he would have been forced to retire. Everyone wanted to Shane run Raw, but no one wanted to see Taker lose at Wrestlemania.
The match itself was amazing to watch. To see Shane O’Mac compete with such disregard for his well-being was fun.
A 20 plus foot dive off of the cell on to an empty table reminded me of classic Undertaker matches were he would toss his opponents off of the cell after terrorizing them.
There was no escaping the fact that Shane belonged on the main stage in that moment against the Undertaker, nor was there any denial that the Undertaker is more than capable of still carrying long labor-intensive match.
Despite his lost, we now know that the Shane of today is very similar to the Shane that disappeared nearly a decade ago. He is back now and it was worth every second.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Mute. It sucked. Shaq, in wrestling ring couldn’t aid this horrible match, nor could a NXT standout winning it. Baron Corbin would have been better served winning a Fatal-4-Way against Shaq, Big Show and Kane.
The match felt dull up until the end.
The Rock vs Wyatt Family (impromptu match)
The Rock surprised everyone during his skit with the Wyatt Family, ripping of his t-shirt and warm-ups to reveal that he was fully ready for a fight with anyone that would challenge him. Although this match wasn’t officially a Wrestlemania match, it still delivered for the fans.
Rock has been a major key for the WWE in previous years and did so once again at WWE Wrestlemania 32.
Triple H (c) vs. Roman Reigns (WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match)
No need to cry over why Triple H was still champion in 2016 ahead of this match, there were so many signs that pointed to Triple H dropping the title at Wrestlemania.
Shane competed for a chance to run Raw, win or lose (he lost earlier in the night), it was clear that Shane was back in the WWE for something big.
Hunter and Steph are due for a vacation and the ‘Authority’ angle had grown tired after taking out, at one time or another, every member of the faction it was established to counteract – The Shield.
There were moments in this match that made me sit on the edge of my seat.
From the entrances of both men, to Roman Reigns raising the title; this match held my interest.
WWE has done such a poor job in the past crafting angles for Reigns that fans have grown sour with the wrestler’s success. When he was handed the title on Sunday, boos could be heard throughout AT&T Stadium.
Fans have had enough of the “warrior working to stump out injustice” arch and their reaction Sunday night might have finally put a cap on that.
- AJ Styles wins number one contenders match. Told you, something major is in the works.
- Shane is now the defacto Raw GM, bye-bye Authority.
- Ryder loses belt to Miz, WWE played up Ryder for fan buzz at Wrestlemania
- Hart vs Flair, WWE is working a namesake angle between Charlotte and Natalia for the Women’s Championship
- NXT has now officially taken over the main shows and we are certainly excited.