EVERYTHING IS BIGGER IN TEXAS – 5/10.
Hello and welcome to KOGITFW’s live coverage of Wrestlemania 32. I’m not much of a drinker but I intend to get nice and inebriated for this show so don’t expect too much in terms of quality journalism. But if you are craving sarcastic comments, relentless fanboying and drunken spelling mistakes then this will be the live blog for you. It’s an odd line-up this year after an unfortunate spate of injuries has left Vince with a seriously depleted roster. But there is plenty to enjoy on this eclectic card; AJ Styles vs Jericho should be another clinic, the IC ladder match will be a spot fest but expect Zayn and Owens to shine, and Ambrose vs Brock will likely have some fun moments as well.
This Mania features that most rare of things; a women’s match that people want to see and it seems likely that Sasha Banks will take the win. Taker vs Shane has been a huge talking point in the build up to this PPV. Expect a lot of gimmicked storytelling and some kamikaze shenanigans from Shane. Some internet types are theorising that Cena will cost Taker the match setting up their feud next year, that sounds interesting but it seems unlikely. Okay, let’s address the elephant in the room; Roman Reigns is winning the belt tonight, short of a full scale alien invasion nothing is going to keep Vince from crowning his new ‘guy’ this evening, so fingers crossed that Predator shows up in Dallas.
The rest of the card is a veritable poop buffet; Kalisto vs Ryback (urgh), The Andre the Giant Battle Royal (no thank you) and the Divas’ toilet break segment. Also expect some time wasting back stage skits, pointless celebrity cameos, rubbish musical performances, and a long winded but entertaining appearance by The Rock. All cynacism aside, this is Wrestlemania Day, the PPV itself is just one small part of the best day of the year for us rasslin’ fans. So pour yourself a drink, fire up the BBQ and be sure to hit refresh throughout the evening for the live drunken coverage. Things kick off at 10pm UK time and 7pm in America. See you then…
KICK OFF SHOW
The Kick-off has, urm kicked-off and Booker T and Lita are rambling on about something. Corey Graves is out amongst the masses wearing a frankly glorious jacket and some people I don’t recognise are in a studio. To be honest I really can’t be bothered to cover this so I’m probably going to drink more port and wait for the rasslin start. The kick-off is kind of a waste of time although it does give me a chance to look at Rene Young, who is beautiful, and apparently Paul Heyman as well, who is even more beautiful. If you are staying up to watch Mania then I strongly recommend that you join me in the Wrestlemania drinking game. Here are the rules:
There is no mention on there of what you should do if Booker T says ‘shucky ducky quack quack’ but he just did and it inspired me to empty my glass. I’m actually fairly impressed by that drinking game; it appears to be better booked than the actual PPV. If you are playing then let me know how you get on. While these idiots ramble on I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge just how good NXT: Takeover was, Sami Zayn vs Nakamura lived up to the hype and may very well have been the best match I have seen this year.
Ah, here is Paul Heyman, maybe he can make this more interesting. No one cuts a better promo than Paul, but this is still really, really pointless. Here is a list of thing I could be doing right now that would be more fun than watching this; eating cheese, watching One Night in Chyna, kissing Vader. I think this segment is finished, what was the point in this? Oh well, at least I got to look at Paul Heyman for a while. He really is an absolutely fascinating man. Anyway, almost time to watch some really horrible wrestling and I for one can definitely wait.
KALISTO (C) vs RYBACK
UNITES STATES CHAMPIONSHIP
I’m still really not sure why this match is happening, what exactly did Ryback do to deserve a title match? It’s like an amateur dramatic re-enactment of Batista vs Rey Mysterio. But to be fair to both men, Kalisto is an excellent luchadore and Ryback, well at least he tries. Of course the Goldberg chants ring out but to be honest Ryback is more talented than Goldberg ever was, although that doesn’t really say much. They cut to an advert mid-match for a PPV that you are already going to be watching as this pre-show is only available on the network. It just goes to show how far the US Championship has fallen into insignificance after Cena’s fantastic run as champ. The match really isn’t much of anything and it ends quickly with a Salida Del Sol. Meh.
TOTAL DIVAS – BRIE BELLA, NATALYA, ALICIA FOX, EVA MARIE & PAIGE vs TEAM BLONDE & BAD – LANA, TAMINA, EMMA SUMMER RAE & NAOMI
WINNER: TOTAL DIVAS – BRIE BELLA, NATALYA, ALICIA FOX, EVA MARIE & PAIGE
In an era when women’s wrestling is being reinvented here is a thrown together match featuring a bunch of ‘divas’. The fact that Paige is involved in this shambles of a match breaks my heart, she was supposed to be the ‘anti-diva’ but her involvement in the televisual pig slop that is Total Divas has all but destroyed her credibility. To be honest I was expecting this match to be a total car crash and it really wasn’t that bad, the majority of the women can actually perform. It’s nice to see Lana finally doing something, I really don’t understand why she hasn’t spent any time in the ring.
Everyone gets the chance to shine in this match and even the black hole of charisma that is Eva Marie managed to get a few moves in, I guess that training with Brian Kendrick is starting to pay off but the crowd is still all over her. The women give it their best but this match just doesn’t mean anything so it’s hard to invest. There is a spree of finishing maneuverers that ends when Brie Bella channels her spirit animal, Daniel Bryan, to get the win. After the match Nikki Bella comes out in a neck brace to… urm, actually I have no idea why she is out there, in fact I’m really not sure what just happened and I think I may have to comfort myself with some BBQ food.
LITA PRESENTS THE WWE WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
Well it is about damn time, the term ‘diva’s’ is an insult to the actual female competitors. But as I previously mentioned nothing that these talented women do in the ring matters while Total Divas is still on the air. It completely devalues the women’s division but at least this is a step in the right direction. The belt is pretty much a modified version of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and the winner of the Women’s triple threat will be presented with the new championship. May as well write Sasha Banks’ name on that plaque right now. Although Lita did say that it was the first ever Women’s Championship…. urm, I think The Fabulous Moolah might have something to say about that.
THE USOS vs THE DUDLEY BOYZ
WINNER: THE USOS
The Dudleys may very well be the greatest team of all time, as good as the Road Warriors were I would argue that Bubbah and D-Von are better but their current run has felt kind of pointless. They are the classic veterans who have returned for one last run to put over the young talent. But there really isn’t any young talent to put over in the WWE tag team division. As such they have been put in a meaningless feud with the Usos. The Usos have completely lost their way since Jimmy returned from injury, while they are undoubtedly talented they lack the charisma of the New Day and teaming them with Reigns does nothing to help the situation. The people want to cheer the Dudleys and the crowd is pretty hostile to Jimmy and Jay.
The match is pretty much a re-run of the matches the men have been having on Superstars and Smackdown with both teams using their usual assortment of spots. It’s not bad, but just like the other matches on the pre-show it just doesn’t mean anything. The bout ends pretty unceremoniously when one of the Usos (I am too drunk to know which one) kicks D-von in the face for the pin. Despite their vow to never use tables again the Dudleys react badly and line up some tables for the twins, of course it is Bubba and D-Von who end up going through them after the Usos deliver tandem Frog Splashes to a chorus of boos. You didn’t exactly need a crystal ball to predict that the crowd would react badly to that but hey it’s just the fans, who cares what they think.
Here we go, it’s Wrestlemania time. I’ve got a half a bottle of port left and a tray of ribs, my body is ready. Bring it on! Hopefully they start the show with something good and not the awful battle royal match that makes me feel slightly more depressed than those adverts that try to convince you to donate money to stop puppies from being put down.
KEVIN OWENS (C) vs THE MIZ vs DOLPH ZIGGLER vs SAMI ZAYN vs ZACK RYDER vs SIN CARA vs STARDUST
6 WAY LADDER MATCH
WINNER: ZACK RYDER
Wow, what a huge pop for Sami and he very much deserves it. His match against Nakamura was absolutely incredible and even if Vince and Kevin Dunn have no idea what to do with him, he is still a bona fide star. Owens also gets a huge pop, in all honesty the US Championship match should have been the 6 man ladder match and Owens and Zayn should have been fighting each other one on one. But beggars can’t be choosers and if anything I am just happy to see them here. Sami must be aching after his match with Nakamura but he fires on all cylinders against Owens. On a side note it’s nice to see Stardust in the polka dots (RIP Dusty). Everyone gives it their all, particularly Ryder and Ziggler who both have a lot to prove in this match.
There are so many amazing spots in this match; Sami shows what he is capable of launching himself through the ladder and over the ropes, then following it up with his dive through the ropes DDT. Sin Cara does a vaulting flip off of the ropes taking out everyone and I am genuinely losing my drunken mind. It’s a spot-fest but it is also the perfect way to start the show. Dolph hosts a superkick party, taking out pretty much everyone before trying to climb the ladder. Owens and Ziggler double super kick each other giving Cody a chance to pull out a polka dot ladder that gets a well-deserved pop. Miz delivers the SCF to Cody onto the ladder, reminding me that he is actually in the match. Why is he in the match? Why does Miz do anything?
Owens Frog Splashes Zayn on a ladder then hits Miz with the Pop Up Powerbomb. Ryder drops an elbow from the ladder to a huge reaction from the crowd. You go Zack, with Kofi wrapped up in New Day action there is room for someone else to shine in the Mania Ladder match. The match features spot after spot with all six men giving it everything they’ve got, Sin Cara frog splashes Cody through a ladder and it looks like the match may be over for both men. KO goes for the belt. Throughout the match it continues to come down to Owens and Zayn, but each time they are interrupted by other competitors. Miz takes advantage of their feuding to take out Zayn, he goes for the belt but is shoved off the ladder by Ryder who grabs the belt and celebrates in the ring with his father.
Ryder wins the belt! He won’t get to keep it but at least he finally got to have his Wrestlemania moment, shame it arrived four years after he ceased to be relevant. The Mania crowd seems happy with the result but there is an inescapable feeling that the casual fans won’t be and it will only be a matter of time before Ryder drops the belt to an up and comer.
AJ STYLES vs CHRIS JERICHO
WINNER: CHRIS JERICHO
I love both of these guys; I can’t even be bothered to pretend that I don’t, so this is really a win-win situation for me. This is the fourth marquee match between these two so they are really going to have to work hard to make it stand out. There are some amazing spots including Styles dodging Jericho’s moonsault dropkick and then using the very same move on Y2J himself. It’s a pleasure to watch Jericho in full heel mode as he really is so good at it. He riles up the crowd with his cocky behaviour and seems to constantly talk trash in the ring. There is a lot of back and forth with both men digging into their established move set.
The pacing of the match is actually pretty slow to start with but the momentum starts to build as the match goes on. AJ goes for a Pele Kick but is caught by Jericho and trapped in the Walls of Jericho, AJ somehow reverse it into a Calf Crusher that Y2J barely manages to escape. There are a lot of fantastic reversals in this match playing up to the storyline that these men have each other scouted now. AJ reverses a codebreaker in to an attempted Styles Clash which is once again reversed into a Code Breaker, but AJ manages to kick out at 2. The crowd is really into it now and massively behind AJ. Jericho goes for the Styles Clash but AJ once again reverses it into a face plant. Jericho goes for the walls again but AJ turns it into a Styles Clash. However Y2J also kicks out at 2.
The crowd are really into the match now and Y2J and AJ reward them with some yay/boo punching. Jericho goes for the Lionsault but lands hard on AJ’s knees. AJ hits Jericho with the vaulting 450 Splash but Jericho again manages to kick out at 2. AJ goes for another vaulting move and is caught by Jericho with the Codebreaker for a win. This result really makes no sense to me, it was an absolutely fantastic match but AJ is a rising star and this was supposed to be his night. Vince could have established a new star tonight but it feels like he missed a beat. Of course AJ will get a win further down the line but this is Wrestlemania where stars are made. This was a massive missed opportunity but a great match none the less.
NEW DAY (C) – KOFI KINGSTON, XAVIER WOODS & BIG E vs THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS – ALBERTO DEL RIO, RUSEV & SHEAMUS w/WADE BARRETT
WINNER: THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS – ALBERTO DEL RIO, RUSEV & SHEAMUS w/WADE BARRETT
New Day come out of a giant box of BootyO’s dressed in Dragon Ball Z, Saiyan battle armour and it is glorious. Xavier Woods has a tail and Goku hair, it may not make sense to everyone but then again who cares, I am drunk and I like it. The League of Nations comes out and kicks the giant BootyO’s off the stage, the big party pooping bastards. I am not really sure why this match isn’t for the Tag Team Championships, plus it still feels so thrown together. Vince really needs to bring some tag teams up from NXT; The Revival is more than ready for the call. We’ve seen this match plenty of times and without the titles on the line it does feel somewhat pointless. I won’t lie to you guys, we have a cheese board at my Mania party and I kind of stopped watching the match so I could explore that.
Barrett interferes, hitting Woods with the Bull Hammer and setting Sheamus up for the Brogue Kick and giving the League of Nations the win. This really was a pointless match as it wasn’t for the titles. Barrett gets on the mic and starts to talk trash about the fact that no one can beat the League. Shawn Michaels’ music hits followed by HBK himself in full ring attire, as if that wasn’t enough Mick Foley heads out to the ring before the arena erupts to the sound of breaking glass; Stone Cold! Stone Cold! Stone Cold! Of these 3 men only HBK is in physical shape to fight but all 3 men make their way to the ring, hitting their finishing moves on the young men with Barrett taking Sweet Chin Music, the Mandible Claw and a Stunner.
Nothing about this makes sense but it’s always great to see these legends. Austin signals for some beer but is interrupted by New Day who enter the ring and try to convince the legends to dance. HBK and Foley are happy to join in and Austin seems to go for it as well before hitting Woods with a stunner and drinking himself a few beers. There may be those who feel like this was a waste of Austin, but truthfully it was a waste of New Day. Austin won’t be here tomorrow but New Day will, what does this segment do for them? Still all criticism aside it’s always nice to see Austin, HBK and Foley, but there is still the niggling feeling that mania should be about creating new stars. Aside from the inevitable Reigns win, that doesn’t seem to be happening tonight.
DEAN AMBROSE vs BROCK LESNAR w/PAUL HEYMAN
NO HOLDS BARRED STREET FIGHT
WINNER: BROCK LESNAR w/PAUL HEYMAN
Things get off to a high paced start with Brock dishing out the suplexes as expected. Ambrose gets in a few shots of his own, attacking Lesnar with a kendo stick before falling victim to more suplexes. This match actually stands out on the card as it is based around a viable rivalry. Do you remember storylines? You know the reasons why things used to happen in the WWE? Brock sticks with the suplexes, flinging Ambrose around the ring like a rag doll while Heyman cackles on the outside. Ambrose finally manages to get in some offence after hitting Brock with a low blow then chasing him to the outside with a kendo stick. Ambrose launches himself through the ropes with a suicide dive on Lesnar before pulling out the chainsaw. Now I am all up for the suspension of disbelief but there is really no point in bringing a chainsaw in to a match.
Ambrose hits Lesnar with the ring bell and follows it up with a stiff chair shot. He tries to hit a top rope maneuverer but is cut off by Lesnar who suplexes him to the ring. Ambrose uses a fire extinguisher to fight off the beast before using a modified Van Terminator on Lesnar with a chair. This is far from the squash match that some people were expecting and Ambrose manages to get in some great offense, using the no holds barred rules to his advantage. He fills the ring with chairs and manages to reverse an F5 into a DDT. Ambrose slides to the outside and pulls Mick Foley’s barbed wire baseball bat out from under the ring. However he is unable to use it as he is caught by a suplex and then F5d onto the chairs for the win. I truly believed that this was going to be Ambrose’s night but Brock remains undefeated.
Truthfully, Vince missed an opportunity to make a huge star tonight. It always seemed unlikely that Ambrose would get the win but he certainly could have done a lot more in the match. This bout felt like it was over incredibly quickly, it had moments of brutality but it needed more. Where does Ambrose go from here? Someone needs to beat Lesnar at some point and it should have been Dean, he is a star waiting to be made and it is frustrating that Vince is so focussed on Reigns. If not Ambrose then who will be the one to unseat the beast? In the words of Bray Watt: anyone but you Roman, anyone but you.
CHARLOTTE (C) w/RIC FLAIR vs SASHA BANKS vs BECKY LYNCH
WINNER: CHARLOTTE w/RIC FLAIR
Snoop Dogg is performing Sasha’s entrance in a bathrobe which is all good but whoever the girl singing the chorus is, she is frankly awful. But I really don’t care as I couldn’t be any more psyched for this match, plus Bailey’s loss at Takeover means that she is more or less a certainty for Raw tomorrow which is just one more reason to be excited about the Women’s division. All three of these women are incredibly talented and they have put together a fast paced triple threat filled with holds and counter holds. They exchange moves in the early part of the match with no one really able to get the advantage. Becky goes for the arm bar on Charlotte but the hold is broken by Sasha. Charlotte takes advantage of the distraction and locks Becky in the Figure 8, which is once again broken up by Sasha.
The crowd is very much into this match and audibly behind Sasha. Becky hits Charlotte with what looks like a modified Rock Bottom but it isn’t enough to keep the champ down. With Charlotte out of the way Becky and Sasha fight it out with Sasha gaining the advantage. Sasha launches herself through the ropes taking out Charlotte. Ric shows his displeasure by engaging in a woo-off with Sasha but is taken out by a cross body from Becky. Not to be outdone, Charlotte hits both her challengers with a moonsault from the top rope. She follows this up with a double Natural Selection in the ring. There can be no argument that this has been the match of the night so far, the booking makes sense and the in ring action has been relentless and thrilling. It appears as if the ‘women’s revolution’ has finally arrived.
Becky hits an Electric Chair on Charlotte and follows it up with an arm bar but the move is broken up by Sasha who locks Becky in the Bank Statement. Before Becky can tap, Charlotte traps Sasha in the Figure 8 but the hold is broken by Becky. The crowd is hugely in to the match and so am I, even the cheese board couldn’t distract me at this point and we have pineapple cheese! Becky and Sasha fight it out in the ring before Charlotte takes out Sasha with a spear. All 3 women fight it out on the top rope before Becky suplexes Charlotte, she goes for the same move on Sasha but it is reversed into the Bank Statement. Charlotte charges the ring and flings Sasha to the outside; she locks Becky in the Figure 8 while Ric holds Sasha outside the ring. Becky finally taps out after a resilient effort.
It feels like we have seen this ending one too many times at this point but this was still an absolutely brilliant match. Yes the win probably should have gone to Sasha but that moment will come further down the line. Matches like this help to legitimise the women’s division and with Bailey on her way things can only get better. This was without a doubt the match of the night so far. The booking made sense, the wrestling was fantastic and the stakes felt like they mattered. If this is the shape of things to come then I for one cannot wait to see where the women’s division goes from here.
UNDERTAKER vs SHANE MCMAHON
HELL IN A CELL
It’s time for Hell in a Cell, it may not match up to the technical prowess of the last bout but you can expect some top notch storytelling. Shane comes down to the ring accompanied by his sons doing the Shane Shuffle. Undertaker comes out sans children, which is actually much, much better. I love Shane McMahon but his punches look awful and he needs to stop doing them, however he does look in incredible shape and has clearly been training hard for this match. Undertaker dominates in the early proceedings, hitting Shane with a Last Ride that he somehow manages to kick out of. After some back and forth Shane locks Taker into a sloppy looking Hell’s Gate, it’s a winning effort but it is still hard to buy in to Shane as a viable threat.
Taker chokeslams Shane onto the steel steps, it’s an impressive spot but something still feels like its missing from this match. Shane lures Taker towards the centre of the ring and then DDTs him on to the steel steps. He hits him with an elbow but Taker sits ups; Shane mounts some offense but is locked into a Hell’s Gate. Shane is able to escape, locking Taker into one of the sloppiest Sharpshooters in recent memory. The two men battle to exhaustion but it feels like not much has happened to get them to this point. Shane beats Taker into the corner before pulling out a bin and setting him up for the coast-to-coast manoeuvre with it. He hits the move to a huge response from the crowd, it’s been a few years but Shane O’Mac is still able to pull of his trademark move maneuver. He pins Taker but fails to get three count.
Shane goes back to the outside, pulling out some bolt cutters and he begins to cut his way through the cage. Taker cuts him off and spears him through the cell wall, he tears apart the Spanish announce table, hitting Shane with a monitor. Taker sets him up for a Tombstone but Shane is able to reverse it into a sleeper. Taker launches them both through the announce table, breaking the hold but hurting both men in the process. Shane pulls a tool box from under the ring, using it to knock Taker onto the remaining announce table. He looks up at the top of the cage which draws a huge cheer from the crowd. Kamikaze Shane is back and he begins to ascend to the top of the cage. Shane launches himself from the top of the cage but Undertaker moves and Shane goes crashing through the announce table. I was waiting for a huge spot and that was it.
Despite everything Shane keeps calling for more, Undertaker sweeps him up and rolls him into the ring. Taker mocks Shane, scooping him up for the Tombstone and delivering the big move for the win. It wasn’t pretty but it was certainly entertaining to watch. There will likely be a lot of people who are very upset about this result but this really was the only way it could go. Shane McMahon was never going to beat the Undertaker; what’s more he has his own businesses to run. This was brief visit that served to remind us just how entertaining Shane can be. After a slow start this match managed to deliver on everything it promised, it was a fun example of classic storytelling with a few insanity spots thrown in. Hold your head high Shane McMahon and we hope to see you soon.
ANDRE THE GIANT MEMORIAL TOILET BREAK
WINNER: BARON CORBIN
Who actually cares about this match? Interesting to see that Baron Corbin is involved, well not that interesting, I still don’t care. HANG ON A SEC, IT’S DDP….. NOW I CARE!!!! Well he is going to get eliminated immediately but any time I get to see DDP I am happy. IS THAT SHAQ?!?!?! What the hell is Shaq doing in this battle royal? Actually Tatanka is there as well this is ridiculous. Well now I have to pay attention, I was going to eat more BBQ food. Shaq and Big Show chokeslam Kane before getting distracted by Fandango who they quickly eliminate. Sandow gets a huge pop but is quickly eliminated.
Shaq and Show clear the ring and square off but all the other competitors return and eliminate them both. Truthfully more could have been made of Shaq vs Show, but it was wasted which seems to be a theme for this Mania. With Shaq and Show gone there really isn’t much to care about in this match. I am a huge DDP fan so it’s great to see him there but he is soon eliminated by one of the members of The Ascension. Where the hell is the Wyatt Family, I thought that Braun Strowman was the guaranteed winner of this match but the Wyatts aren’t even involved. I am out, for those who are interested I have just eaten another BBQ rib and now I am pondering a blue cheese cracker for myself.
I don’t think I could care any less about this match. I regret going for a pee earlier as this would be an ideal toilet break, maybe I will just go to the toilet and stand there for a while. Remember more than three shakes and you will make Jesus sad. Corban eliminates Kane for the win, I guess this is his big moment but I can’t say that I am a fan. If they wanted to call him up then they could have done it with way more impact.
Here comes The Rock, I love Dwayne but this Mania has been horrible and it is going to take more than a twenty minute promo and a flame thrower to win me over. Hang on a minute; has he just come out to announce the attendance record? What the hell was that? What an utter waste of time. Oh hang on, here come the Wyatts, someone randomly remembered that they work there. Bray cuts a promo on The Rock but truthfully there is zero point in anything that is happening right now. Rock responds and cracks a few jokes about inbreeding and beard growth. It seems Rock has shown up in his ring gear and he rips off his clothes and offers any one of the Wyatts to take him on in a match. He Rock Bottoms Eric Rowan and pins him in 6 seconds.
The Wyatts circle Rock but Cena’s music hits and the 15 time champ heads down to the ting to help fight them off. Rock hits Bray with a Rock Bottom and hits him with a spine buster and People’s Elbow. Cena gets his usual 50/50 reaction and celebrates by hugging Rock, no heel turn tonight folks. In fact that won’t be happening any time soon. Whatever your feelings may be on Cena he belongs at Wrestlemania and it is good to see him there. That said I am so frustrated with the continuing burial of The Wyatt Family, they need to turn this around toot suite. I’d also like to give a dishonourable mention to my drunken friend Ricky who announced that Cena was coming out seconds before he did. Ricky, you are an awful person and I hate you.
HHH (C) vs ROMAN REIGNS
WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
WINNER: ROMAN REIGNS
Stephanie comes out before the match begins dressed as a post-apocalyptic streetwalker. HHH comes out to boos and then Roman comes out to boos, so that is a glorious reaction to the main event of one of the worst Wrestlemanias in recent memory. HHH dominates in the early part of the match using Stephanie to keep the referee distracted so he can use an assortment of dirty moves on Roman. The crowd is all over Reigns and it really doesn’t help to dissuade those who cast doubt upon his ability to be ‘the guy’. They fight to the outside where HHH delivers a particularly brutal neck breaker to the floor. Hunter continues to dominate Reigns as the match goes on. Roman mounts some offense but the crowd is completely indifferent to it.
Reigns leads the assault, flinging Hunter into the steel steps. Truthfully it is hard to invest in the main event when the end result is more less a certainty, more than this it is a certainty that the majority of viewers don’t want to see. Reigns spears HHH through the barrier, which was a good spot the first time we saw it but really doesn’t hold much sway anymore. Roman gets Hunter back in the ring and goes for the Superman Punch but is caught by HHH who locks on the Crossface. Roman powers out of the move, reversing it into a single arm power bomb. It’s not that Roman Reigns is that bad it’s that he isn’t good enough to justify a position at the top. It’s like he is an experiment that clearly isn’t working but Vince is too proud to give up on him.
Roman goes for the spear and gets caught with a knee; Hunter goes for the pedigree but gets launched to the outside. This match really has been lacklustre thus far. Both these men are capable of so much more. Roman finally manages to hit Hunter with the spear but Stephanie/Road Warrior Cher pulls the referee out of the ring. Reigns goes to spear HHH again but he moves and Roman connects with Stephanie, earning him his first pop off the night. During the confusion HHH is able to hit a pedigree on Reigns but only manages to get a 2 count. He hits Hunter with the Superman Punch and it’s back to the boos again. He goes for a spear but is caught with another high knee. Steph passes Hunter the sledgehammer so he can use it in a totally ineffective way.
Hunter goes to use the sledge but is caught by a Superman Punch and then a spear for the win. This is Roman’s moment, whether you like it or not everything has been building towards this for two years. The match was totally lacklustre and even worse the crowd seem totally disinterested. But the Mania crowd is one of the smarkiest crowds of the year so it will be interesting to see how other crowds react to him moving forward. Roman Reigns isn’t a bad wrestler he just isn’t the right man to carry this company into the next decade. I’m not a fan of Reigns but he is my champion, and until someone else rises up through the ranks that is how it is going to stay for the foreseeable future.
So there you have it, quite possibly the most underwhelming Wrestlemania in recent memory. Now there are a million and one things that you could blame this lingering sense of disappointment on; a wealth of injuries, an inability to connect with the fans, oversaturation of the product. But ultimately it comes down to one thing and one thing alone, the shoddy state of the current product. Being a rasslin fan is a lot like supporting a sports team, sometimes you have to weather the storm and suffer through a losing streak. Shane may have used the current woes of the WWE to fuel his promos but there was truth in everything he said; ratings are down, stock value is falling and morale is at an all-time low.
Wrestlemania is supposed to be the biggest day of the year, the Granddaddy of them all where rivalries are ended and stars are made, that was the polar opposite of what happened at this year’s showcase event. It’s actually hard to remember a Mania in recent years that felt quite so lacklustre. This feeling of disinterest becomes all the worse when you consider just how thrilling Takeover was. So how can Vince fix things? First of all he really needs to start listening to his fan base. The majority of the booking for Wrestlemania 32 was totally illogical and that seriously hurts the credibility of both the company and the wrestlers that represent it. Being a wrestling fan requires a substantial amount of suspension of disbelief, but there comes a point where if nothing you are watching makes sense then what is the point in watching anymore.
This didn’t feel like Wrestlemania, oh it had the fireworks, the celebrities and the fanfare but ultimately it lacked that special something that has always helped to set Mania aside. Moving forward we have a champion that the majority of the viewers don’t like and a load of young wrestlers who have been made to look like idiots. Short term booking has always hurt long term viewership but it seems as if Vince and co. refuse to learn the lessons from their past. Was this Wrestlemania awful? No not really, but it is so forgettable that I have spent the last 15 minutes trying to remember what I was trying to write about and where I could have left my pants. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter what we think because Vince’s gonna do what Vince’s gonna do. Belee dat.