Wrestlemania 36 Review Part 2 (4/5/2020) by Anthony S. DiSalvatore
Here we are again for another night of Wrestlemania festivities! I’m not surprised that the first night left something to be desired, apart from the Undertaker match it wasn’t great. I’m almost certain tonight will be better. Specifically, I’m looking forward to Cena vs. The Fiend, Brock Lesnar vs. Drew McIntyre, and Edge vs. Randy Orton. If you missed it last night, Braun Strowman became Universal champion when he beat Goldberg in a couple of minutes! Let’s see what will happen next at Wrestlemania 36!
Match #1: Charlotte vs. Rhea Ripley
This match is for the NXT Women’s title! This is one of only a handful of times I’ve seen Rhea Ripley in the ring. These girls seem more interested in making catty comments than getting the upper hand in the ring. Rhea goes for a pumphandle slam (the Riptide, I like that name) but she only gets two. How crazy would it be if she put Charlotte away in no time? Charlotte looks pretty lethargic to me, but I can see Rhea is very excited to be there. If you read my predictions for this show, I picked Rhea to win. I’ve had it up to HERE with Charlotte.
This match goes to the ground and Rhea applies the body scissors. That’s smart wrestling, Charlotte can’t fight if she can’t breathe. Charlotte goes for the knee and now she’s got the upper hand. I understand Rhea has been champion of NXT for quite a while now. She didn’t get there for no reason! Charlotte drags Rhea to the corner and now she’s using the ring post as a weapon. I don’t know where Flair is, but he’d be proud. Charlotte follows this up with a sweet chop block. She’s laughing and bragging about how many times she’s won the NXT title. This attitude will be her downfall. Rhea’s leg appears to be totally shot at this point. She’s very dependent on her power moves and upper body strength, but that strategy won’t work on one leg. Rhea’s in obvious pain, but she’s determined to continue. The women’s division sure has come a long way in the last few years. Rhea gives Charlotte a missile dropkick, but she can’t get the pin because her knee’s hurt. Rhea’s finally found her second wind! After some stomps to Charlotte, Rhea gives her a badass standing leg lock. Charlotte’s much too powerful for that! She goes for the Figure 4 leglock, but Rhea kicks her off.
We have a quick exchange of near falls, but neither woman can get the victory. Rhea surprises Charlotte with a big boot, then unloads on her in the corner. Rhea lifts Charlotte onto the top rope, but Charlotte fights her off. She goes for the no-look moonsault, but Rhea counters. Charlotte gives her a spear and Rhea kicks out. Rhea goes for the dreaded inside cradle and STILL can’t get the win. Charlotte applies the Figure 4 leglock and Rhea taps.
Now if you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know I’m not a fan of women’s wrestling. But this match was a lot better than I expected, especially for an opener. I’m not sure how I feel about Charlotte becoming NXT champion, it seems like a demotion for her and Rhea just proved she can hang. They had a chance to make a star here, but they failed. Moving on.
Aleister Black vs. Bobby Lashley (w. Lana)
I can’t seem to remember a soul asking for this match, but I’m sure somebody somewhere is excited to see it. Don’t be alarmed if your ears start to ring. The smart money is on Aleister Black to win this thing, but it’s been a while since Lashley’s been on, and I’ve been tired of Aleister Black for months now. It’s the old story of a wrestler vs. a striker, all Bobby has to do is close the gap and Black is finished. Multiple suplex attempts by Lashley in this match before he finally lands one. Aleister Black doesn’t appear to have much left and we’re not too far into this thing. Bobby goes for the spear, but Aleister blocks with a kick. I heard what I thought was someone stepping on a cat, but it was just Lana screaming. Bobby looks to finish this thing with a standing backbreaker submission, but Lana screams at Bobby to spear him. Don’t listen to her Bobby, she can’t wrestle for shit! Bobby listens anyway and instead of a spear, he meets Aleister Black’s foot for a second time. Kick of Death, game over. Lame.
Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler
Here’s a match I’ve personally been waiting for since the show started yesterday. Otis isn’t here to play around. He makes a beeline for the ring to kill Dolph. Dolph may be a decent amateur wrestler, but he’s a lightweight. Otis is pushing 400 and could destroy Dolph if he wanted. Dolph nails a dropkick and now he’s using the ground game. Otis eventually makes it back to his feet and it’s all over for Dolph now! I think Otis is still rocked from that dropkick, but he still has enough in him to Hulk up! He’s having his way with Dolph now. If you guys had Otis in your office pool, I think you’re about to win! Otis could have ended this a while ago, but he’s relishing the opportunity to wreck Dolph’s shit. Otis goes for the Worm, but Sonya makes the distraction and Dolph kicks Otis in the balls. I wouldn’t blame him if that was the end of this thing.
Before Dolph can make the pin, Mandy Rose shows up! She’s apparently had a change of heart! She hits Dolph in the balls and Otis wins with his combination Worm/elbow drop! We’re off a really nice start tonight, I just sure hope Bray Wyatt doesn’t take the fall again.
Edge vs. Orton: Last Man Standing
Here we go baby, this is the match of the night for sure! Edge is out first, and he looks like he’s been through the war. What war? Who cares?! Randy comes through the crowd with an RKO OUTTA NOWHERE! I’ve always wanted to say that! My man! Edge recovers, but Orton gives him another RKO. Finish him, Orton! Edge rolls out of the ring and recovers at 8. Randy takes the ringside camera away and hits Edge with it! What a ruthless predator Randy is. They go backstage and the beatdown continues. Orton goes to grab a free weight, presumably to bash Edge’s brains in once and for all, but Edge counters and Randy takes a tumble. It’s Edge’s turn now. GET UP ORTON! Randy eventually recovers and these two are trading punches. The storytelling is so good here. Kick him in the balls, Orton! They make their way into the production area next. Edge has the upper hand, and I’m disappointed there’s no blood in this match yet. It’s a very personal issue, you’d think these two would want to kill each other. They come out to the stage and Randy throws Edge off. YES! Edge recovers at 9. He’s still got some fight in him!
They go into some hallway, where I see plenty of windows! Throw him through a window, Randy! Nope. They make their way into some conference room now, where Randy gets slammed into the table face first. Randy looks like he may be done after that, but Edge is imploring him to get to his feet. I wouldn’t give Randy any more chances to get to his feet if I were Edge in this match. Edge and Randy fight back into a warehouse area after taking out the camera guy. Keep the change dork! Randy is in control after kicking Edge in the balls. CALLED IT! Randy is firmly in control now, grinding his boots into Edge’s face. I’m surprised Edge still has something left. It’s been a long time since he’s done anything like this. Edge lays Randy down on a conveniently placed table and climbs a conveniently placed ladder. Here comes the finish! Edge comes down with an elbow drop! Both men recover relatively quickly, and this isn’t over yet. Orton’s bleeding from his back. We have blood! Excellent! Now Randy can finish Edge once and for all. They’re on top of a pickup truck now! Whoever’s truck that is, I hope their insurance is paid up! Orton gives Edge the hanging DDT from the roof of the truck into the bed. That was super creative! Edge climbs to the top of the NXT production truck. What a coward. He’s clearly trying to escape. Orton follows him up there. I don’t know about this. Randy goes for the punt, but Edge intercepts him with the spear. Randy gets back up and Edge goes for a second spear, but Randy gives him an RKO. This is all on top of the truck, by the way. Both men are ok and this match still isn’t over.
Randy goes to get some chairs to kill Edge with. Right before Randy can pull the trigger, Edge comes out of nowhere with a rear-naked choke. Where the hell did that come from? I’ve watched Edge since 1998 and he’s never used that move! Choke holds are illegal! Randy’s taking a nap now and Edge gives him the chair sandwich. The ref counts Randy out and Edge wins. Where did Edge learn a rear-naked choke?! Good thing Edge took spent a couple of Saturdays practicing judo with those second graders, now nobody can beat him. Must be the same class Shane took years ago!
Street Prophets vs. Angel Garza & Austin Theory (w. Zelina Vega)
I don’t care in the slightest about this match. I just wish Montez would tone it down a bit. Let’s just hope this match doesn’t last long so he doesn’t give me a headache. While there’s nothing happening, it’s time for another Zelina Vega Outfit Watch! She looks incredible as usual. This week, she’s dressed like a Mortal Kombat villain. Garza does a SWEET moonsault to the outside and hits both guys. Austin Theory tags in and does gives Dawkins a neckbreaker. He goes for the pin, but Montez comes off the top with a mega frog splash and Dawkins pins and wins. This match was short and sweet. I don’t think anybody sitting at home wanted to see this after Edge and Orton. Next! And for those of you keeping score at home, Gronk is taking a phone call or something, so Titus is here to host the show for the rest of the night.
Sasha Banks vs. Lacey Evans Naomi vs. Tamina vs. Bayley
Oh look, a five-way women’s match! This one promises to be a real cluster if you know what I mean. It’s no secret that the winner will be either Sasha or Bayley, depending on if Sasha turns on Bayley or not. The match starts with all the others ganging up on Tamina. I can’t argue with that strategy. It’s matches like this that really make me miss Nia Jax. Sasha and Bayley are working together early on, but that won’t last long. It never does in these matches. Is this an elimination match?
Apparently it is because they all ganged up on Tamina and she’s out of the match now. Bayley and Sasha team up on Naomi next. Naomi tries to tap out Sasha with a grounded butterfly lock, but Bayley breaks it up and Sasha taps out Naomi with the Bank Statement. The only ones left now are Bayley, Sasha, and Lacy. This probably won’t end well for Lacy. Bayley and Sasha go for another double team, but Sasha gets nailed instead. This was clearly an accident, but Sasha comes back in and seems upset. Lacy comes in and fists Sasha out of nowhere. And then there were two.
Lacey goes out to the apron and slammed into the ring post. It looks like she’s hurt her shoulder. This should be academic for Bayley now. Bayley uses the tag rope on the corner to tie up Lacey’s fisting hand. This is brilliant work by Bayley. Lacey comes off the top rope with the Wild Thing for two. Sasha sees Bayley’s in trouble so she comes down and interferes. That’s totally legal in this type of match so I can’t blame her, but why not just stay there and double team her? In any event, Bayley is still the women’s champ.
The Fiend vs. John Cena
This is one of the most hyped matches on the entire show! It’s supposed to take place inside of the Firefly Fun House! Cena is out first and looks very confused. Bray Wyatt shows up on the big screen and says Cena has to fight his most dangerous adversary: himself. Bray invites him into the Fun House and Cena enters. What a moron! Why would you go in there? He comes face to face with the Vince McMahon devil puppet, who gives him a lecture about ruthless aggression. Are we caught in a time warp? We have a flashback to Cena’s first match, with Bray Wyatt playing the part of Kurt Angle.
This is about to get even more ridiculous! We now have a flashback to the 80s on a Saturday Night’s Main Event taping. Bray Wyatt gives us a promo in the style of Randy Savage. Next up, Cena reverts back to his rapper days. He has some rhymes for Bray, but now Bray’s getting serious. He rightfully brings up how Cena is untouchable, while Bray hasn’t had nearly as many chances. Bray knocks Cena out with a single punch. Now we have a flashback to Bray Wyatt’s original gimmick. Good to see this again. Now Bray hands Cena a chair and gets on his knees, in a callback to their Wrestlemania 30 match.
Another change of scenery, where Bray is now playing the part of Eric Bischoff in WCW, as he introduces Cena to the ring, who’s wearing some NWO gear. I have that shirt! Evil Vince puppet says this is some good shit. Cena unloads on Bray, but really he’s punching a puppet the entire time. The Fiend finally shows up and puts Cena down with the Mandible Claw. I guess this match is over. Titus shows up after this and he’s very confused. This is the weirdest match I’ve ever had the pleasure of writing about.
Brock Lesnar vs. Drew McIntyre
This is the match we’ve all been waiting for at AEE.com! If you’re a fan of Drew McIntyre, or you have a weak stomach, you better take a piss break right now. This won’t be for the weak of heart. Brock comes right out of the corner and gets the jump on Drew. Drew stays on his feet and Claymores Brock! Brock kicks out and gives Drew a suplex on his second attempt. Several suplexes later, Brock goes for the F5 but Drew kicks out at one. Brock had enough of this, he’s going Hulk on Drew now. A second F5 and a kickout at two. If it continues this way, one more F5 should do it. A third one only gets two. DO IT AGAIN BROCK! Heyman says to keep doing it! Eventually Drew will stay down! A fourth F5 attempt, but Drew slips out the back and nails three Claymores, Drew gets the pin and the victory. Too bad this happened in front of no people!
My Final Thoughts on Wrestlemania 36, Part 2
Edge and Orton was the match of the night tonight, as I predicted. Bray Wyatt’s segment with Cena was weird, but it was still wrestling related and didn’t get ridiculous like Matt Hardy’s nonsense a couple of years ago. In many of these matches, it felt like they were just maintaining the status quo given the current circumstances, but there were still some pleasant surprises. I’m happy for Braun Strowman after he finally won the title, and Undertaker looked like a badass, but I pretty much hated all the other matches. I don’t consider Bray and Cena’s thing a match, it was more of a pre-taped video segment. What’s next after this two-night affair? I honestly have no idea at this point, but I’m up for anything I guess.