WrestleMania it’s WrestleMania time WrestleMania for WrestleMania WrestleMania Backlash WrestleMania.
Or something along those lines.
It feels like forever since WWE had a Peacock event. The second night of WrestleMania 37 was five weeks ago. In the world of WWE, that might as well have been five months ago.
I’m ready. Are you ready? I think it’s time to get things done. You know the rules, folks. Say it with me…
LESS DEW EET!!!
(0:02) We’re starting things off with a video package, narrated by none other than Batista. It’s also doubling as a mini-preview for his upcoming movie, Army Of The Dead.
(0:06) WWE continues their streak of airing a lengthy video package to start an event, followed by almost immediately going into a lengthy video package for the opening match of the night. It’s unnecessary. I get that you want us to be reminded of why we’re here, and that’s fine, but the first match doesn’t need that video package. Anyway… our first match is a Triple Threat for the Raw Women’s Title, with Rhea Ripley, Asuka, and Charlotte Flair battling it out. I’m a little concerned about this one. Rhea and Asuka haven’t exactly been having great matches, and it seems like they just don’t have great chemistry together, for one reason or another. We’re about to see what adding Charlotte to the mix does to/for that.
(0:14) Finally, the opening bell, 14 minutes in.
(0:15) It’s always hilarious (not really) in matches like these when Wrestler A goes to pin Wrestler B, only for Wrestler C to break it up, and then Wrestler A gets in Wrestler C’s face asking them what they think they’re doing. I guess you’re supposed to think your opponent will just stand there and let you win.
(0:17) Can we all agree how fucking ridiculous it is that Charlotte has won so many titles in such a short period of time? I actually like Charlotte’s work, but to have her already knocking on the door of 14 World Title reigns is dumb.
(0:22) More strikes than a Jacob deGrom start. They’re all punching, chopping, and kicking each other damn near non-stop.
(0:24) Thus far, the match hasn’t been heavily reliant on the usual Triple Threat formula, where one wrestler gets taken out of the match for a couple minutes, and then they re-enter the match just as another wrestler gets taken out for a couple minutes.
(0:25) Another picture-perfect moonsault by Charlotte… only to miss 95% of the contact on Asuka and Ripley. I don’t know if it’s more her fault, or more the fault of her opponents, but that seems to happen with all of her moonsaults. They look beautiful, and then she barely makes contact with anybody.
(0:28) Speaking of moves with little contact… Charlotte needs to drop Natural Selection from her arsenal. Her opponents barely touch the mat.
(0:29) We’ve been at a nice, rapid pace here for a minute or two. Very frantic.
(0:30) Naturally, that frantic pace led to the finish, with Rhea Ripley hitting Asuka with a nice Riptide to retain the title after Charlotte knocked herself off of the ring apron with a big boot. Fun match, other than a couple of quick hiccups. I’ll give it 3.5 stars.
(0:36) Our next match is for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode defend against Rey & Dominik Mysterio, who are aiming to be the very rare father & son duo to win Tag Titles together.
(0:38) Well… maybe we need to take that back. The champions attacked Dominik in tonight’s pre-show, and after a backstage segment with a company doctor, Rey says he can’t let his “injured” son compete. Will Rey get a new partner, or will he go at it alone, only to be miraculously joined by a near-death Dominik halfway through the match?
(0:40) Rey was announced as “the challenger” during his ring introduction, so that might be our answer.
(0:41) Say whatever you will about them or the storyline, but it’s pretty cool that Rey and his son are able to compete together. I’ve seen stuff like that in Lucha Libre, but often, the father of the duo is like 60 years old and can barely move anymore. Rey is only 46, and he’s still flying around all over the place.
(0:44) On commentary, Michael Cole mentions that Aalyah Mysterio thinks her father can win this. Were we supposed to think otherwise? Was it a possibility that Rey’s daughter, as a face, was going to say that her daddy ain’t shit anymore and was going to end up crippled?
(0:47) Rey is selling a knee injury. With his injury history over the last few years, I can’t help but wonder whenever he sells any sort of injury. The match isn’t stopping or anything, so it’s clearly kayfabe, but again, his history always makes me question things initially.
(0:49) Roode sends Mysterio out of the ring with his baseball slide, and Rey slides smooth the fuck into a Ziggler superkick. Ow.
(0:51) Sure enough, Dominik Mysterio fights death off to make his way to the ring and is now a part of the match. What a courageous warrior. Every single one of his ribs is broken, he has two punctured lungs, a ruptured spleen, and he has a severe case of hemorrhoids, but he’s still out there. It brings a tear to my eye.
(0:54) Big Dom tags himself in, but he is dropped by a Robert Roode spinebuster pretty quickly. Oh, great, now Dom has a bruised kidney.
(0:58) A frog splash from Dominik picks up the victory, and we have new Smackdown Tag Team Champions! A father and son now hold Tag Titles for the first time in WWE history. That’s an awesome story. Another fun match. Hell, another 3.5 star match. With Jimmy Uso back, I have a very sneaking suspicion that this won’t be a very long reign for the Mysterios, but hey, they can celebrate now.
(1:03) We started the show with a WWE video package that featured some Army Of The Dead hype. Now, we’re getting an Army Of The Dead trailer that features some WWE highlights mixed in. Okay then.
(1:04) John Morrison goes to the locker room of the lumberjacks for the upcoming Damian Priest vs Miz match… and the lumberjacks are zombies. Sigh. They look like second-rate Walking Dead extras. The worst part about it? I’d rather see a Lumberjack Match with zombies as lumberjacks than see another John Morrison and Miz promo segment.
(1:07) Time for said Lumberjack Match. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that this match will end our streak of really good matches to start the show.
(1:10) We’re really doing this. The zombies are coming to the ring from all directions. There was even a zombie under the announce table, for some reason. The zombies are smart enough to make their way to the ring from various directions, but apparently aren’t smart enough to enter the ring. Either that, or they’re zombies with a code and care about law and order enough to not interfere in the match.
(1:14) Priest lands a jumping spin kick from the top rope, but his body weight landed on Miz’s leg. Miz seems okay, but that was close to being a bit of a disaster, similar to what happened to Humberto Carrillo on Raw in his match with Sheamus.
(1:16) At the very core of this entire shittery, you have zombies that are drawing attention from the competitors in the match.
(1:17) Now we’re getting John Morrison taking some zombies out with parkour moves, but then he gets dragged behind the guardrail by a pair of zombies as Priest wins the match. As Priest escapes the ring, Miz is covered by zombies who apparently have never heard of zombies and what they do. Instead of “eating” Miz, they’re just surrounding him and not really doing anything. I’m not rating that match. I don’t give a fuck about any of it.
(1:19) June 20th is when our next Peacock event, Hell In A Cell, takes place. Maybe the zombies will return for that, too. Look at WWE, though… five weeks between WrestleMania and WrestleMania Backlash, and then five weeks between WrestleMania Backlash and WrestleMania Hell In A Cell. Keep it up, WWE. There’s no need for events to be three weeks apart like we see far too often.
(1:22) The Smackdown Women’s Title is on the line is our next match. Bianca Belair has her first title defense, and Bayley is on the other end of the ring. This one could be fun.
(1:24) They really turned Bayley’s obnoxious and overacted heel laugh into a horror movie soundbyte in the pre-match video package. I had no idea Jordan Peele was working for WWE now.
(1:28) A loud “E-S-T” chant breaks out during Bianca’s ring introduction, so naturally, WWE decides to put the Thunderdome crowd on the camera… so that we can see none of them doing the chant. Brilliant. Way to go.
(1:33) Belair is completely dominating the opening minutes of this match. Almost as soon as I type that, Bayley grabs Bianca’s earring, getting control for the first time.
(1:35) News appears to be breaking on Twitter that Money In The Bank will be held on July 18th in front of a live crowd. No word on where, or if it will be a full crowd, but that’s still cool to hear.
(1:36) A front suplex from Bayley, dropping Bianca onto the ring steps, followed by another suplex onto the floor at ringside. Ouch. The champ is in trouble.
(1:40) So far, this match has been perfectly acceptable. Nothing fantastic, but good work from both women. Unfortunately for them, they had to follow the zombie nonsense. Social media is STILL talking about that, and not what’s happening in this match.
(1:45) Another confusing end to a WWE women’s match, but Bianca retains the title. It’s also another match where Bianca has a set of fake eyelashes coming off by the end, so maybe she should find a new brand to use, because the ones she has aren’t really working out for her. That was a 2.75 star match, but if you want to bump it to 3, I wouldn’t hit you in the taint.
(1:52) Time for another Triple Threat Match, this time for the WWE Title. Bobby Lashley, Drew McIntyre, and Braun Strowman are probably going to beat the hell out of each other.
(1:59) This poor Referee looks like a child standing in between Lashley, McIntyre, and Strowman as they talk trash to each other.
(2:00) McIntyre and Lashley are working together, and they pull off a VERY impressive vertical suplex on Strowman, holding up in the air for a few seconds before dropping him.
(2:03) We’re only a couple minutes in, but this match has been everything I wanted it to be. Three tanks playing demolition derby with each other.
(2:08) McIntyre and Lashley are brawling at the top of the ramp, and McIntyre throws Lashley into the LED boards, sending the champion crashing through in a sea of sparks.
(2:09) I missed it when it happened, but there was a spot earlier in the match where Strowman did a running senton from the ring apron to the floor, crashing onto both of his opponents. What I didn’t notice was that Braun either over rotated or miscalculated things, because he was set to make a landing on the top of his head. That much mass from that height… Braun would’ve broken his neck, if not outright killed himself, if McIntyre didn’t catch him at the last minute and help ease his landing. That was very close to being a tragedy.
(2:14) McIntyre drops Strowman with a Claymore, but he gets thrown out of the ring by Lashley, who hits Strowman with a Spear to pick up the win. The champion retains in a wild brawl. Again, it was everything I wanted the match to be. Let’s call it 4 stars. Fun, fun stuff.
(2:18) Main event time. Roman Reigns defending the Universal Title against Cesaro in what could be a Match Of The Year candidate.
(2:23) It’s crazy that this is the first televised singles match for any sort of World Title. He’s been in an Elimination Chamber and a Money In The Bank match where the WWE Title was on the line, and he’s had one singles match at a house show for the old World Heavyweight Title, but that’s it.
(2:29) I like the pacing so far. This is the biggest match of Cesaro’s career, but he’s a veteran, so he isn’t wrestling an overly eager style like a lot of first-time main event people often do. Cesaro is wrestling with control and poise, not letting Reigns goad him into anything.
(2:34) Reigns has become the undisputed King of facial expressions. He just looks so disgusted about having to be in the ring with someone he feels doesn’t deserve a spot like this.
(2:37) I don’t think anybody is predicting Cesaro to win here, but man, the reaction to a Cesaro title victory would be something else.
(2:40) Beautiful corkscrew plancha by Cesaro, flying over the top rope and onto the floor.
(2:44) Reigns staring dead into the camera and talking shit to Daniel Bryan as he attacks Cesaro’s arm. Beautiful.
(2:47) We know it’s coming eventually, but no sign of Jimmy or Jey Uso just yet.
(2:52) Such a simple, yet effective, story being told. Cesaro has been wrestling with an “injured” arm for a huge chunk of the match, but he keeps fighting through it. His arm has given out on him three or four different times so far, potentially costing him the match.
(2:54) This is the type of match that a live crowd would be going banana pancake for. So many twists and turns.
(2:57) Cesaro passes out in the Guillotine Choke, which means Roman Reigns wins the match clean as clean can be. After the match, Cesaro “regained consciousness” and was confused as to what was going on. That was really well done by Cesaro. Little things like that… little bits of attention to detail… go a really long way in telling an amazing story.
(2:59) Jey Uso runs into the ring and hands Reigns a lei. Jey then goes after Cesaro, attacking him. As Jey goes to the top rope for a splash, he’s interrupted by… Seth Rollins? Rollins gets in Reigns’ face, then smiles, and he also goes after Cesaro. Damn, ol’ Pepperoni Nips ain’t got no friends on Smackdown? As Rollins continues his assault, Reigns and company leave the ring.
(3:02) Rollins wraps Cesaro’s bad arm in a steel chair and then slams the chair into the ring post, followed by hitting Cesaro with a Stomp. We go off the air with Rollins gloating in the ring. The main event was 4.5 stars, for sure.
That was a really fun show overall. Six matches on the main show… one great match, one really good match, three good matches, and one wrestling match version of a colonoscopy. Pretty good ratio of good-to-bad.