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Old 04-09-2016, 09:39 PM
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WrestleMania 32

Once again I felt the build to mania was relatively weak. Unfortunately, unlike last year this one did not exceed my expectations. It wasn’t a terrible show but it wasn’t really a good one either, and it went way too long. Here’s the breakdown.

IC Ladder Match: Here we go again. I’m just over having these matches on mania. I understand the purpose is to get more guys on the main card and fans usually pop for the high spots, but these just seem like reruns to me. The spots aren’t that impressive when we see them every year. The matches are painfully choreographed even for pro wrestling. In a crowded match like this a guy lays on the floor for five minutes selling a clothesline while everyone else takes their turn doing their spots until it’s his turn again. Considering the battle royal was on the main card, and some of the guys that were in that, this match didn’t even need to take place. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn would have been fine and would have made the IC title seem more important. I would have even been ok with a four way with Owens, Zayn, Miz, and Ziggler. It doesn’t surprise me that Stardust got in the match even though he’s been pretty much ignored since SummerSlam but how in the world did Sin Cara and Zack Ryder make it? And to top it off Ryder wins. What were they thinking? Enough with the “give guys their moment.” Are these professionals or marks? Sadly, I think a lot of today’s pro wrestlers are just as much of a mark as the fans are. Despite my negative thoughts about the match even taking place I could have overlooked it all if the least deserving guy didn’t get the win. Either Owens or Zayn should have won.

AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho: I would have been a lot more into this match if these two didn’t already wrestle each other three times in such a short span. It would have been really exciting going in if this was their first meeting. To their credit though, WWE did develop the story nicely and Jericho being full-fledged heel added an extra element. As far as the match, I thought it was really good. There were a couple minor slips, including a bit of a sloppy finish, but I enjoyed the match very much. Jericho winning was a surprise but I didn’t mind it.

New Day vs. League of Nations: I’m not sure why Wade Barrett was pulled from this match but a six man tag made more sense. What didn’t make as much sense to me was New Day losing. They are the champs and arguably the most over guys in the company. They probably should have gotten the win here. I suppose I know why they lost and this is where the grumpy old man that doesn’t like fun in me comes out. New Day lost so League of Nations could run their mouths and Austin, Michaels, and Foley could come shut them up. I’m sorry but I did not enjoy that segment. There was just no reason for it other than the easy pop. I know what you’re thinking. If the crowd enjoyed it isn’t that reason enough? Not to me. I’m sick of WWE constantly reminding us how much better the past was than the present by having old retired wrestlers beat up their current roster and then wonder why guys have such a hard time getting over. Not to mention this was so random and none of these guys had anything to do with each other. I wonder how HBK would have felt if Pedro Morales came out and beat him up at WM8 for no reason.

Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar: Major disappointment. When this match was first announced I didn’t think Ambrose was a big enough name to work with Lesnar at mania. As the weeks went on I tried to sell myself on it thinking Ambrose could do some pretty crazy stuff and probably take a good beating in a street fight. I finally talked myself into thinking these two would deliver and it could be a breakout moment for Amrose. I was wrong. This was nothing special at all. The usual Lesnar and his dozen suplexes with Ambrose getting a few shots in here and there. Never once did I feel like Ambrose may win. Never once did I feel like Lesnar was in any danger. There was zero drama in this match and felt like more of a waste of time than one of the bigger matches on the card.

Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch: Fantastic. This was the best match of the night. I guess that may be partially because almost everything else under delivered but it’s not a tallest midget award. This match was good. First of all, I’m surprised WWE was able to hold off until mania to have a triple threat with these three. It seems like that may have been the plan since they all got called up at the same time last summer, but WWE often hotshots things these days instead of having the patience to let them play out. Secondly, WWE did a great job making this match seem like a big deal. This was not your divas piss break match. This ended up being the highlight of the night and it was presented that way. Finally, as mentioned, the match delivered. Great job by all three women. Too bad the show has peaked and we’re only about halfway through.

Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker: This match was clearly done out of desperation. I doubt we would have seen Shane at all had so many guys not been injured. Instead of giving a major rub to one of his full time wrestlers Vince felt he had to call in his 46 year old son who never was a full time wrestler and hadn’t wrestled a match in ten years. And to top it off he created a story that didn’t make any sense. Well I guess the story made sense but why did Taker care about it? They had six weeks to give me a reason to make Taker care and they didn’t do it. Oh wait, I guess he cared because Vince said if he didn’t win it would have been his last mania. Too bad Vince wouldn’t have been in position to enforce that if Taker didn’t win. So putting the story aside I could only hope the action delivered. Shane has stepped up before when he wasn’t expected to and this was Taker at mania so there was hope. Hope is all there was as this match was a bore. They looked old, they were selling like they had been in a war after just a couple minutes, and I wasn’t sure who I was supposed to be rooting for. Take the stunt from the top of the cell out of it and tell me if this match had any excitement. And they got 30 minutes? It was probably almost an hour from the time their video package started until the time Shane was carted out. I don’t mean to disrespect a legend but it’s time to say goodbye to Taker. His last few manias have been underwhelming and I’m afraid the fans may turn on him soon if he can’t deliver anymore. Hang it up next year Taker.

Battle Royal: Is Shaq the only reason this got on the main card? And doesn’t making a celebrity a surprise completely defeat the purpose of having a celebrity in a match? What a weak battle royal. You know what would have helped at least a little? Putting Miz, Ziggler, and Stardust in it. I’m afraid this year has set a precedent. Next year we’re going to see Flo-Rida, Scott Hall, and The Honky Tonk Man in the battle royal. Really, who besides Corbin could have possibly won this? If they want to pretend the battle royal is a big deal by attaching Andre’s name to it they are going to have to put better people in it. If it’s just going to be like the usual battle royals take Andre’s name off it and keep it on the pre show.

The Rock vs. Erick Rowan: Should I even have bothered to type that? This was a forty minute segment with a six second unannounced match. I would have much preferred Rock come out, announced the attendance, and left. I hate when people use the term buried around here but this felt like a Wyatt burial. Two years ago people said Cena buried Wyatt by beating him at mania. That was ridiculous. It was a good feud and a competitive match. This was just destroying the Wyatts for no reason. Is there a point in having a six second match when there wasn’t a match announced ahead of time? People have been saying for a while now that Wyatt doesn’t mean anything because he is all talk and never wins. I’ve held out hope but why should we take him seriously anymore? Wyatt vs. Rock could have actually been a really interesting angle but since Rock handled him so easily I guess Wyatt wouldn’t be a threat. If they wanted to do something like that they should have used the Social Outcasts. Better yet they should have just had Rock announce the attendance and Cena could have come out and they could have had a friendly battle of wits on the mic before shaking hands and leaving. And it didn’t need to go forty minutes.

Triple H vs. Roman Reigns: Like HIAC this was too long. The match wasn’t bad but it didn’t need to be 27 minutes. Keeping it around 20 would have made it much better. It’s too bad the fans aren’t behind Reigns. The mania main event barely had any heat because of it. I think this was a planned match for mania for a while but it probably wasn’t the planned main event or title match. The injuries kind of forced this into the main event. I think the fans would have reacted better had it been just another match in the middle of the card.

I know most of my post was negative but the show wasn’t terrible. I just think it could have so easily been so much better. Taking about an hour off would have helped too. The show itself was ok, but I thought it was pretty bad by mania standards and I’d probably put it in the bottom third.
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:51 PM
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WrestleMania 33

After a couple years of lackluster builds to mania WWE got things right on the road to WrestleMania this year. This show had a great build and was one of the better hyped manias we’ve ever had. Just about every match on the card had a story that had built over time and I was pumped for this show. Despite the tremendous build, there was one problem keeping this from being one of the best manias ever. I’ll get into that in the closing after the match by match breakdown.

AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon: I don’t mind Shane getting some feuds once in a while but I’m not crazy about him getting big matches at mania. AJ just didn’t have an opponent though so a story vs. the GM (or is he the commissioner?) was the best they could do to get AJ into a big match. And to his credit, whether I want him there or not, Shane usually does deliver and he delivered here. This was a pretty damn good match. I’d prefer if AJ got a better name to add to his WrestleMania resume but it’s hard to complain about the quality of the match. I felt it could have been a few minutes shorter. Not that the length hurt the match. They just didn’t need 20 minutes and in a five hour show I’m looking to cut time where I can.

Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens: A good old fashioned feud with a good build and a slow burn (by today’s standards). When KO turned on Y2J it seemed obvious they would go to mania against each other, but these days it’s hard to get a one on one mania match if you’re not at the very top of the card. I’m glad they got what they deserved instead of being thrown into some multi man match. The match itself was fine but it felt kind of off to me. It was slow at times and the crowd wasn’t into it. This is one of those matches where even though the match was good it didn’t seem to fit the story. It would have been fine under most circumstances but I think we should have seen some more aggression here and maybe more of a brawl for this one.

Bayley vs. Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax: Not a bad match here, and while not as good as the women’s match from last year, the women still felt like a big deal here. When the revolution began it was easy to think it would last a couple months and things would go back to the way they’ve always been. So far I’m happy to say that hasn’t happened and the women put on a good showing here.

The Club vs. Enzo & Cass vs. The Bar vs. The Hardy Boys: The match was fine but this was all about the moment. I don’t follow much wrestling outside WWE but I know the Hardy Boys revolutionized themselves in other promotions over the past couple years. Even though I don’t understand the Broken Matt Hardy gimmick at all I know most people were really into it. The fans that were begging the stale Matt Hardy to just go away in 2010 were begging for him to come back in 2017. They got what they wanted as the crowd popped big time for the surprise return. The announcement was well done by the New Day too. It looked like they were going to announce themselves as the fourth team in the match, which would have been expected, before the familiar Hardy music hit and everyone lost their shit. Not much to say about the match. It wasn’t anything great but it was fine. Like I said, this was more about the moment.

John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. Miz & Maryse: I wasn’t crazy about this match when I first heard about it but they sold me on it during the mania buildup. Miz and Cena always work well together and they did their best work here. The match itself was kind of odd. The crowd was really behind Miz. Not just in a cheering Cena’s opponent way. They seemed to actually like Miz..a lot. Miz pretty much controlled the whole match before going down pretty easily at the end. This was another one where they were more focused on the moment and the match was secondary. This whole feud and match was to deliver the moment where Cena proposed to Nikki. I just wasn’t feeling it though. Maybe it’s because I don’t watch Total Divas but I don’t care about Cena and Nikki as a couple. Macho Man and Elizabeth they ain’t. I think WWE wanted this to be a really big deal and it just didn’t come off that way.

Seth Rollins vs. Triple H: I’m glad we got this match as there were a couple times it looked like it might not happen. This was a solid match but I think it could have been better. I’m shocked we didn’t get a surprise run in from Mick Foley here. It was no DQ and they way HHH and Stephanie treated Foley during the build to mania made it obvious he was going to get some revenge at mania. I guess obvious isn’t the right word since it didn’t happen. That was a missed opportunity to put a big spot into the match. I thought the match was good as it was but it’s hard to look past obvious missed opportunities. This is another one that could have been a few minutes shorter to help the time on the show as a whole.

Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton: Well this one was a disappointment. These two just didn’t seem to click. This should have been an intense and violent match and instead we got the dullest match of the night. This was just a paint by numbers match with a quick and disappointing ending. The images of the maggots on the ring was a cute little idea that ultimately meant nothing. It may not have been so bad if this was just another match on the card, but it was a real disappointment as the WWE title match. Even though I would have rather had the entire show be shorter, the five minutes I said to take off the last match could have gone here. It really seemed like the WWE title match was the match WWE cared least about on the whole card.

Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar: I guess good things can happen when you lower your expectations. We knew it wasn’t going to last long and given what we know about these two in 2017 this was about as good as we could have expected. I have to give them credit though. They sure do get the crowd going for not doing much.

SDL Women’s Match: That revolution I was talking about earlier took a small step back with this one. Nothing against any of the women in this match but just throwing them all together in one match is a throwback to the days where the women’s match was the automatic bathroom break match. At least there weren’t any pillow fights, evening gowns, or models that couldn’t wrestle. This was just a matter of trying to get too much on one show and not stretching out the already too long show any longer.

Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns: I was pumped for this one. I thought these two were really going to deliver but I hate to say they disappointed. The match was just sloppy. I don’t mind a missed spot here and there but there was just too much of it for a big match like this. Honestly, I think it was mostly Taker that was off and it was definitely a good time for him to call it quits. I don’t think the match was that bad but it’s hard to look past some of the sloppiness. A few too many superman punches too. The sloppy match was pretty quickly forgotten by the moment that came after. Taker got a deserving sendoff after more than a quarter century of playing one of the most iconic characters in wrestling history. No one thinks of Undertaker as a silly gimmick now but before Mark Calaway made the character legendary it seemed like it could have gone in the trash bin along with several other failed gimmicks. It’s a credit to his talent and commitment that Calaway made that gimmick work so well for so long.

Going into this show I thought WM33 could have been one of the best manias ever. I think it fell short of those expectations but it was still a good show. Like last year it was too long but this show had a much better flow. We’re just going to have to get used to 5+ hour manias for a while it seems. The real problem for me that I hinted at earlier was I didn’t think there was a real main event. I said it was one of the best built manias and every match had a good story but there wasn’t one match that I felt was the true main event. Taker vs. Reigns closed the show to give Taker his sendoff and I thought it was a great match on paper for mania but I didn’t feel like it was the main event. Lesnar vs. Goldberg felt kind of big but given their part time status they didn’t feel like the main event. Wyatt vs. Orton certainly didn’t feel like the main event. Even though WWE has told us several manias have had multiple main events there is almost always one match that feels like the real main event. I just didn’t have that feeling here. Good thing everything was built up so well that they were able to get away with it here. Overall this was a good mania and a big improvement from WM32.
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