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WWE‘s Wrestlemania 36

| Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Charlie Kenney | The Observer

In a world without sports, WWE came to save the day. For the first time ever, Wrestlemania aired in two separate parts over consecutive nights without an in-person audience. This was, perhaps, the most unique Wrestlemania ever. I offer my review of every match below:

 

Wrestlemania: Part One (4/04/2020)

Pre-Show Kickoff Match — Drew Gulak vs. Cesaro: For a pre-show matchup, this was decently done. Gulak cleverly targeted Cesaro’s right arm, and the “Swiss Superman” Cesaro picked up the win in a unique way. B

The Women’s Tag Team Championship — The Kabuki Warriors(c) vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross: The shouting back and forth between the opponents really elevated this match to another level than what it would have otherwise been. Also, we have new champions in Bliss and Cross. Overall, a really good match to start the main card. B+

King Corbin vs. Elias: One of the least hyped matches on the card ended up a little better than expected. Corbin and Elias put in their best efforts. A skippable match for sure, but nothing horrible. C

The Raw Women’s Championship — Becky Lynch(c) vs. Shayna Basler: Some will argue that the wrong woman won with Lynch, retaining her belt. However, this match showcased a supremely hard-hitting, action-packed affair. Besides, Becky Lynch is “The Man” in WWE for a reason. A-

The Intercontinental Championship — Daniel Bryan vs. Sami Zayn(c): The fantastic heelwork of Zayn and his sidekicks stood out. Though this did not turn out to be the instant mat classic most had hoped for, it remained a wildly entertaining match. Zayn picked up a much needed major win over Bryan. B+

Triple Threat Ladder Match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship — Kofi Kington vs. Jimmy Uso vs. John Morrison(c): With The Miz being unavailable last minute, the match switched from a tornado triple threat tag to a regular triple threat ladder match. With that said, the match did not disappoint and could be considered better than all which preceded it. All of the ladder spots had a unique touch and Morrison ensured the match ended perfectly as he cheaply escaped with the titles. A

Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins: At first, this match thoroughly disappointed me after it ended cheaply in disqualification. However, the match restarted and Owens took a hell of a dive through Seth Rollins and a table. Owens wins a fine match. A-

The Universal Championship — Goldberg(c) vs. Braun Strowman: In the first dud of the weekend, Braun Strowman defeated Goldberg within a couple of minutes and with only four moves. Even for a Goldberg match in 2020, the match turned out poorly. Still, at least Strowman finally won a championship. D

Boneyard Match — The Undertaker and A.J. Styles: This “match,” essentially a cinematic version of the classic buried alive format, is the most original fun WWE has produced in years. It will go down as one of the best moments in WWE and Wrestlemania history. Seeing the Deadman return as “The American Badass” entering on a motorcycle to the tune of Metallica was awesome. This, and the efforts of everyone involved, produced classic entertainment gold. Definitely watch this if you can. A+

 

Wrestlemania: Part Two (4/05/2020)

Pre-Show Kickoff Match — Natalya vs. Liv Morgan: This match was prime pre-show for better or worse. The effort was there from both athletes, and it was fine for what it was. Yet, it was still a relatively low-intensity pre-show match. C-

NXT Women’s Championship Match — Rhea Rhipley vs. Charlotte Flair: Just like the Raw women’s title match, many will complain about Flair getting another victory. Like that match though, this should come as no surprise as Flair is one of the industry‘s biggest stars. Either way, the match was a magnificently told story in the ring. Especially with Flair targeting Rhipley’s leg and winning via figure-eight submission. A

Aleister Black vs. Bobby Lashley: This match surprised me simply because it did not seem to be a complete squash with Black dominating Lashley. Actually, the momentum appeared to be the other way around until Black used his kicking finisher “Black Mass” for the stunning victory. C+

Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler: This match was the feel-good moment many were looking for over the weekend. Otis got the victory in a fairly good match and he got the girl. B+

Last Man Standing Match — Edge vs. Randy Orton: While this match lasted longer than it needed to be, both stars brought the intensity and showed the hatred fans had hoped for. The match featured many awe-inspiring moments and the finish did not disappoint. Two veterans produced a great match and Edge returned after nine years away with a Wrestlemania victory. A-

Raw Tag Team Title Match — The Street Profits(c) vs. Austin Theory and Angel Garza: Not much to really remember here. The Street Profits retained their titles in a rushed match. C

Fatal-5-Way Elimination Match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: This match was all over the place with non-stop action probably better than most had expected. Bayley retained the title and tension between her and Sasha Banks appeared for the first time. B

Firefly Fun House Match — John Cena vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt: Many will call this wonderful; others will say it is horrible. I‘ll call it supremely entertaining either way and I personally thoroughly enjoyed it for what it was. The WCW and John Cena callbacks were pleasantly surprising. While most including myself became confused as to a lot of what they presented, I‘d say one should at least give it a shot. This is hard to grade because it was more of a segment than a match. However, I’ll give it an A for creativity and entertainment value. A

WWE Championship Match — Brock Lesnar(c) vs Drew McIntyre: The only thing bad about this match was that it didn’t last longer. In wrestling terms, wanting more of something is a good thing. Both men brought out their best and McIntyre got his crowning moment atop the WWE mountain on pro wrestling’s biggest stage — a solid main event. A-

Wrestlemania 36 Total Grade: B+

Overall, I‘d give night one an A- grade and night two a score of B. Thus the whole show gets a B+. Kudos to WWE for providing some solid entertainment in these troubling times. Must-watch matches are: the Firefly Fun House Match, Taker’s boneyard match and the Orton vs. Edge Last Man Standing match.

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About Dillon Begley

Dillon is a student from the tri-campus community. He is currently a senior at Holy Cross College who is majoring in business and pursuing a double minor in Political Studies and English. A local, Dillon enjoys reading, discussing and watching film/tv, listening to music, being an avid Notre Dame football fan, and contributing socially while being politically active. He particularly enjoys superhero movies, fiction novels, the NFL, playing Xbox, and having respectful and worthwhile political discourse with people from all walks of life.

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