Wrestlemania 36 Review-Part 1! (4/4/2020) by Anthony S. DiSalvatore
Here it is everybody, the show we’ve all been waiting for! Given the current circumstances everywhere, it may be hard for some fans to get excited over this show, but if you’ve been following me at all on this site you know I’m a very excitable person! I’ve already talked about the matches that are scheduled to take place on this show in my Wrestlemania 36 predictions article, but there have been some major changes to the show this evening. The Smackdown tag team title match has now been changed to a singles triple threat, because my close personal friend, The Miz, is ill and unable to compete. Wow, I think this is the first show he’s ever missed for this reason. He must be horribly infirm to miss Wrestlemania! He’s not the only former world champion who won’t be here though, because Roman Reigns has officially checked out for some reason! Goldberg’s new opponent is none other than Braun Strowman. In addition to these and all the other matches scheduled to take place on this night, I’ll also be covering whatever pre-show matches take place! I’m all over this thing, let’s get on with it!
Pre-Show Match: Drew Gulak vs. Cesaro
This match should be a really good one. Much like Daniel Bryan, Drew Gulak likes to hit hard and he’s not afraid to get hit back. On the other hand, Cesaro is a powerhouse who looks just like Jason Statham, so I have to take him to win this one. Look how far Gulak has come along in just a couple of months! His groundwork and submission wrestling is impeccable. He’s targeting Cesaro’s arm in this match, and it appears to be working wonders. Gulak goes to the top rope and Cesaro nails him with an uppercut. No-fly zone. Cesaro goes SUPER old school and wins this match with an airplane spin! Drew looks disappointed, but he has nothing to be ashamed of. He had a great game plan and he executed it nicely. Sometimes, you just come up short. Maybe next time.
Match #1: Asuka & Kairi Sane vs. Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross
Of course, this match is for the women’s tag team titles. I’m convinced nobody actually cares about these titles anymore, but they have to be included for contractual reasons. On a more positive note, JBL is here on commentary! This should be a riot! Not much to say about this match. It’s pretty much par for the course with everything else they’ve done. This match could be on RAW and it wouldn’t stand out at all. I’m not saying it’s terrible, there’s just nothing special. This match has gone way too long by this point. Remember, it is just an opener, there’s no reason for it to go this long. Bliss and Nikki Cross FINALLY win after Bliss comes off the top rope on Kairi Sane. Nikki Cross was impressive at least, she took a ton of heat in this match. Is it me or does Bliss very rarely take a bump anymore?
Match #2: Baron Corbin vs. Elias
I’m sure there’s a ton of you out there who can’t wait to see what happens next in this rivalry, but unfortunately, Elias is nowhere to be found due to him taking a tumble last Friday. Corbin comes out and demands the ref count Elias out, but nope! Elias shows up and Corbin runs out to meet him on the ramp. Elias smashes Corbin with the guitar. Both guys enter the ring and this match is official now. JBL has a great point, he says Elias should focus more on wrestling and less on playing guitar. We already know Elias can play guitar, but there’s always room for improvement in the ring. Corbin takes a break to yell at JBL, who’s been going to bat for him since his entrance. Not sure what that was about. Corbin tries to put his feet on the ropes for leverage during a pin, but the ref spots him, Elias wins with the dreaded roll-up. No elbow drop? Lame.
Match #3: Shayna Baszler vs. Becky Lynch
This match better not last five minutes. Shayna’s a killer and everybody knows she could kill Becky if she wanted to. Baszler goes for the choke early as she should, but Becky falls out of the ring. Isn’t that convenient? The fight goes to the ground and of course, Shayna gets the upper hand quickly, but Becky keeps fighting back to the point of it being very annoying. Shayna finally applies the choke, but Becky’s in the ropes, so Shayna has to let go. Shayna picks Becky up by her legs and bashes her into the announce table, just as she did a couple of weeks ago. At this point, I don’t think Becky would lay down for a Suburban. Shayna goes for the choke for like the fifth time, but Becky rolls through and gets the pin. Think Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper from Wrestlemania 8, but it’s on the ground and there’s no corner post involved. I don’t want to see Becky ever again. Next.
Match #4: Daniel Bryan (w. Drew Gulak) vs. Sami Zayn (w. Cesaro & Nakamura)
The bell rings, and Sami immediately bails to the outside to confer with his men. Good move, but I don’t think that’ll work on Bryan. He’s got the heart of a champion for sure. Sami repeats this strategy more than once and Bryan’s getting sick of it, but Sami is super elusive and Bryan can’t catch him. Gulak finally sees his friend is outnumbered and promptly eliminates Cesaro and Nakamura from the ringside area for now. Cesaro and Nakamura get ejected, even though Gulak was the aggressor there.
This match is academic at this point. Bryan has the upper hand and Sami can’t fight back. This is a borderline criminal assault by Bryan. He even pulls out his old missile dropkick! Bryan’s making some personal comments while smacking Sami around. This match is ALL Bryan until Sami hits him with an elbow out of nowhere, but that’s not nearly enough. Bryan stomps Sami’s face in while Gulak cheers him on, but Nakamura and Cesaro come back to ringside and cause a distraction. It was momentary, but that’s all Sami needed. Bryan comes off the top rope and Sami hits him with a kick from downtown for the victory! I never doubted it!
Match #5: Kofi Kingston vs. Jimmy Uso vs. John Morrison
This is for the Smackdown tag team titles! You read that right. Whoever wins this match will be champions with their partner. I have to take Johnny in this one, I’ve had enough of the Usos and the New Day as tag team champions. This match doesn’t last long before all three guys go for their own ladders and try to grab the belts. Uso takes a bad fall and appears to have injured his knee. Can we please stop talking about Kofi winning the title? The only reason that happened, to begin with, is because Bryan’s a nice guy. Kofi hasn’t done shit since then. Morrison does a flippity flop off the ring post onto a prone Uso on a ladder. That was sweet! Johnny’s killing it! He walks across the top rope as if it’s a tightrope with no assistance just to come off the top rope with Kofi! Awesome!
And now for something completely different, a genuinely confusing finish. All three men make it to the top of the ladder at the same time, and they all go for the titles. Nobody can get the upper hand, but Johnny gets the win when he falls from the top of the ladder with the titles in his hand. That was a creative finish, I haven’t seen anything like that in a while.
Match #6: Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens
Oh joy, now I get to watch Kevin Owens. Everything he does annoys me. Rollins comes out first dressed in Andrade’s ring gear. They go to the outside, then Kevin takes a backdrop on the apron, followed by a falcon arrow. Seth takes a couple of minutes to promo on Kevin while he recovers. Nicely done. Seth gets too far ahead of himself and Kevin gives him a DDT, followed by a flippity flop. Kevin goes for his terrible powerbomb, but he can’t pin Rollins yet. This match goes outside and Rollins hits Kevin with the ring bell. The ref throws this thing out on principle. That was weak. Kevin thinks so too, so he challenges Seth to a rematch right then! Only this time, there are no disqualifications.
Seth decides to grab the stairs and use them as a weapon, but he’s not done yet. He grabs a chair from the timekeeper’s area and starts wearing Kevin out with it! Kevin still won’t shut up because he’s not very bright. Kevin hits Seth with the ring bell. Now they’re even. He goes to the top of the Wrestlemania sign and jumps off, smashing Rollins. Rollins is selling his ass off here. Kevin wins with the stunner. Who did Rollins piss off backstage? He used to be a top guy and now he can’t beat Owens. What a shame.
Match #7: Braun Strowman vs. Goldberg
Here’s a match I’m interested in, only because it was supposed to be Roman in this thing and he flaked out on everybody. Goldberg can’t match up as well with Strowman, so I have Braun winning this one. We’ll see what happens. In any case, we know this will be short, which should help a ton with the pacing of this show. Just start the match and have a finish that doesn’t take forever to get to.
Braun goes for the powerslam, Goldberg slips out the back and spears him four times. He can’t get the pin though, and I think Braun is too big for a Jackhammer. Multiple powerslams to Goldberg now. Four of them to be precise, and Braun wins the Universal title.
Match #8: Undertaker vs. AJ Styles
We go to a big screen next to find a hearse driving into a cemetery. The coffin in the back opens to reveal AJ Styles. He’s waiting for the Undertaker, who promptly rolls up on his motorcycle looking BADASS. This is essentially a video game-style brawl inside a cemetery. I’m all for it though, I love the way this was done. This match is all Undertaker until AJ kicks him in the balls. Don’t be a girl AJ. AJ falls into a grave and Luke & Coral show up! The Druids come out of a barn nearby! Undertaker looks confused, but still ready to go. They surround him and he knocks them all out one at a time with a single punch, Bruce Lee style. He gets the upper hand on AJ’s friends too, until AJ hits him from behind with a foreign object. Don’t be a girl AJ!
AJ’s imploring Undertaker to stay down, but we all know that’s not happening. AJ spears Undy through a conveniently placed wall. Undertaker gives him the finger and wants to keep going. Does this have to end in a pin or submission? AJ hits Undy in the back of the head with a shovel and he falls into the grave. AJ starts up a conveniently placed backhoe to bury Undertaker with. Have I mentioned Undertaker knows Teleport? He uses it here and it’s super effective. AJ is running now but he can’t go anywhere. Luke and Coral show up again but they don’t last long. Coral gets Tombstoned on the barn roof. End of the line for AJ now! He’s giving it all he has, but Undy chokeslams him off the roof.
I thought this was over, but Undy’s not done yet! He carries AJ back to the gravesite from earlier and now he’s about to finish him. AJ tries to apologize and Undy doesn’t buy it. He kicks AJ down into the grave and buries him. I guess that means Undertaker wins! We cut to a shot of AJ’s hand sticking up out of the dirt. Reminds me of the end scene from Carrie.
My Final Thoughts on Wrestlemania 36 Part 1 (4/4/2020)
Aside from Johnny’s performance in the triple threat, and the last match, I didn’t care about any of this. I’m happy that Braun won the title, even if he gets to hold it only for a short time. Some people who watch that last match will probably compare it to Matt Hardy’s stuff in TNA, but it’s not the same. Matt Hardy’s stuff makes no sense. At least this match was in accordance with Undertaker’s gimmick. I’m disappointed because I could have sworn Undertaker was going to bring people with him to counteract AJ’s crew. I was expecting a Kane cameo, but he’s probably too busy with his political obligations. I’ll be back tomorrow for Part 2!