We had the first night of WrestleMania last night, and it was a hell of a good time. Like yesterday, the build-up that we’ve had to Mania this year has been truncated due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. This whole show is still in the shadow of that virus, but if Night One was any indication, we’re in for a great show.
It’s Sunday, time for some wrestling.
The Fiend vs. Randy Orton
This was about the theatrics. But that was a strange ending. Alexa Bliss has long been an ally of The Fiend, up until now. As for the match, it was a LOT like an Undertaker match. Long entrance, lots of pomp and circumstance, but not a lot of actual wrestling. Having the box sitting there before the match was interesting, and it was nice to see the two of them use it as a weapon.
As for the supernatural stuff at the end, I can do without it. The Fiend has been booked strangely, and it’s no reason this elicited boos from the crowd. I was expecting much more from this matchup. Wasn’t it supposed to make up for the subpar effort that they gave in their last Mania match?
Randy Orton Wins Via Pinfall Over The Fiend
This was very bland in-ring, and the finish and ending makes less sense. The Fiend is supposed to be a flagship character for the company, but he’s treated as an afterthought. Unless Randy is going for most WrestleMania wins, this whole thing makes very little sense.
The interesting thing goes to how Bliss as “Sister Abigail” goes from here. She cost The Fiend a shot at his biggest win at Mania, so we’ll have to see where this goes.
Women’s Tag Team Championship Match: Nia Jax/Shayna Baszler vs. Natalya/Tamina
I wanted to hate this, I really did. But for what it was, which was a HEEL-HEEL match, it was decent. Getting a crowd to chant for Tamina is really hard, and it goes to show how great of heels that Nia and Shayna are. As for the in-ring work, when you have Jax and Tamina, the other two people are going to have to carry it a bit.
The spots with Tamina and Jax going at it, were pretty fun to watch. Some of the spots like Natty putting the wrong person in the match in the Sharpshooter didn’t make sense. Nia and Shayna have some more to do with the tag-team titles. So if they didn’t want to have the two of them eviscerate one of their babyface teams, this was the logical match they needed to do.
It would have made for a better story if Lana/Naomi or Ruby Riott/Liv Morgan slayed the beasts.
Nia Jax/Shayna Baszler Win Pia Submission Over Natalya/Tamina
This felt like a bigger match than it needed to be, so it gets a decent score for that. Outside of the spots that didn’t have logic behind them, this was fine.
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn w. Logan Paul
These two could have a good match in their sleep. Despite feeling thrown together, this was a good match, albeit one that didn’t feel like the level of WrestleMania. The story going into it was also sort of strange, with the whole conspiracy thing. Kevin Owens is still just as hot as a babyface as he was when he was battling Roman Reigns over the summer.
I’d like for a longer match between these two where they can really sink their teeth into it. But that’s what fans have wanted for a long time, since their NXT days. A bigger question remains.
WHY WAS LOGAN PAUL INVOLVED IN THIS MATCH?
Thankfully, Kevin Owens is our modern day Stone Cold, and he handed out a Stunner to Logan.
Kevin Owens Wins Via Pinfall Over Sami Zayn
Logan sold the move well, hopefully this doesn’t mean that Logan Paul is sticking around much longer. For as great as Bad Bunny was yesterday, Logan Paul was just… here, today.
Who knows where Kevin Owens goes from here? We have a lot of questions like that coming out of the matches from yesterday and today.
United States Championship Match: Sheamus vs. Matt Riddle (c)
I will get my previous bias out of the way. I love every Sheamus match. Whatever it is, he just goes out there and puts on a physical, hard-hitting match. Against anyone. This match, so far, was the best of the night. Matt Riddle and Sheamus took the time they were given and crafted a hell of a match.
The ending and getting Riddle away from the US title makes sense if he’s on to bigger and better things. I want to see more from these two. Riddle being busted up and staring down Sheamus after the match only added to it. These two could really put on a physical show. It just goes to show that you don’t need lighttubes and barbed wire for a physical match.
Sheamus Wins The United States Championship Via Pinfall Over Matt Riddle
Also, add the Matt back to his name WWE.
I loved this match, and it made up for some of the missteps earlier on the card.
This match was certainly one that I would have said “this is likely the most boring and thrown together on the card”.
After watching it, I’m pleasantly surprised.
Nigerian Drum Fight Intercontinental Championship Match: Big E (c) vs. Apollo Crews
Well, no one got put through a drum, and this was your basic No DQ match with the “special” stipulation. Was it bad? No. Was it good? Hell yeah.
Big E got the huge entrance that he deserves and we all can hope he is in the Main Event of Mania this time next year. Apollo Crews gets the biggest win of his WWE career here. Whatever WWE is doing with him, it’s working. He’s on a roll and now he has a huge ally in Dabba-Kato.
Apollo Crews Wins The Intercontinental Championship Via Pinfall Over Big E
This ending was perfect for everyone. Big E doesn’t need the IC title, he has to move on to bigger and better things. Apollo should hold the title for a good long while. So far for Mania, they’re not going with the super predictable outcomes, which is making for a great show.
RAW Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs. Rhea Ripley
You know how I was saying that Sheamus match was hard-hitting?
This was a slugfest. Good for Rhea Ripley, Asuka made her look like a million bucks. It sucks that Asuka hasn’t been given the completely dominant run that she had in NXT, but this is a good step in the right direction for Rhea Ripley. These two women put on a hell of a show, that was a showcase of the more physical style that they have.
Comparing this to last night’s perfection isn’t fair, but I’m pretty sure everyone is going to.
Rhea Ripley deserves this after what she went through last year with Charlotte.
Rhea Ripley Wins The Raw Women’s Championship Via Pinfall Over Asuka
This was Ripley’s coronation for the main roster crowd of WWE. If her and Asuka have more matches, that’ll just be good for all involved. Seeing these two go toe to toe again would be the best case scenario. I’m all for the seemingly new revolution of the up and comer women for the main event of WWE in Bianca Belair and Rhea Ripley.
Universal Championship Match: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Edge vs. Daniel Bryan
In the pantheon of Main Event Triple Threat matches at WrestleMania, this one doesn’t quite reach the heights of WM30’s Bryan-Batista-Orton or WM20’s Benoit-Triple H-Michaels. It was a very good match that had an ending that whimpered. Maybe it’s the WWE camera angles that didn’t give us the right angle, but this didn’t feel like a Main Event ending. Sure, it was Roman Reigns dominating two of the most decorated superstars in WWE history. But it was gratuitous.
The moments in between were great however. Everything leading up to the last spot was fantastic and told a story of change from Edge, reinvention from Bryan, and dominance from Reigns.
Roman Reigns Wins Via Pinfall To Retain The Universal Championship Over Edge And Daniel Bryan
This was really the story of these three men coming back from horrific injuries and cancer. Bryan and Edge were though to be finished in the ring. Roman Reigns has beaten cancer twice now. This was their night, and their moment. It was a good main event that could have been great with a couple more tweaks. Having Roman win was the right move. Edge being the flagship champion of the biggest show in WWE would have felt strange.
Daniel Bryan winning would have been nice, but that wouldn’t have matched with the power that Reigns has.
He single-handedly revitalized SmackDown with his return this summer. His heel turn has gone magnificently, and this is just another notch on his belt. Reigns’s career is on the same trajectory of the all-time greats, and it’s about time he gets your respect.
Conclusion To WrestleMania
Mania this year was supposed to be bad. It looked like it was thrown together, we didn’t have feuds built up very well. But at the end of the day, WWE really did their job with these two shows. You had Night One end with one of the best women’s matches in the history of the company, and Night Two ended with Roman Reigns dominating.
Some might not be happy about the main event of Night Two, but it was the right choice to end the show like that. Roman Reigns is a megastar and he deserves the spotlight. For the rest of the card, Night One was better than Night Two. The Fiend-Orton match was somewhat confusing and short. This isn’t ROH, but these matches being so short took away from the brilliance that they could have.
Outside of the complaints, I was thoroughly entertained by both nights. At the end of it all, that’s what matters most, this WrestleMania was a huge success for WWE. It was great to see fans back in attendance. You could really feel that the performers felt their presence.
We do have some big questions coming out of the event, however. And we’ll likely get answers tomorrow on Monday Night Raw and on Friday Night Smackdown.
For more on WWE, or wrestling in general, stay tuned to That Hashtag Show.