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Welcome, one and all, to Part 1 of Mr. Tito’s PHAT Wrestlemania 36 review that is exclusively posted here at WrestlingHeadlines.com, a LordsofPain.net company. As you may have read in past “Ask Mr. Tito” columns, I was fully supportive of the WWE continuing Wrestlemania to give us a sense of feeling “normal” as every other sports league has cancelled or postponed. Then, I was worrisome about the news that Wrestlemania would be TAPED, as I didn’t want Spoilers to ruin any surprises for the show. However, the usually leaky WWE somehow kept the results tight-lipped and it makes you wonder what they aren’t doing that causes all Production meetings notes to appear in newsletters weekly.
So here I am… I wanted Wrestlemania to continue onward so thus I’m going to “put my money where my mouth” is by not only getting the WWE Network once again but reviewing Wrestlemania here on WrestlingHeadlines.com/LordsofPain.net.
Of course, I wasn’t expecting it to be 2 nights… Oh man… But, in my opinion, Wrestlemania ought to take a page out of Wrestle Kingdom’s playbook by making it a weekend given how many matches are on the card. Going 6pm to Midnight for the past few years has been BRUTAL to ensure. Going two nights of 3 hours each is more tolerable.
Away we go…
WRESTLEMANIA 36 is TITO – Part 1 – 4/4/2020 Saturday Show
I did tune into the Pre-Game show… It was OK… The Miz and Morrison rap song, though, was brutal and the 1990s wants their rap parody song back. Yikes.
Atmosphere in the Performance Center has been much improved for the presentation of Wrestlemania 36 versus RAW/Smackdown lately. Focusing the camera angle on the entrance way is a smart move and the Wrestlemania 36 decorations helps make the arena look fuller.
Cesaro vs. Drew Gulak
Cesaro on the Pre-Game show of Wrestlemania… You know, once your contract runs out Cesaro, please go to AEW. You are 39 years old and have about 4-5 years of prime wrestling years left. Escape while you can, as you’re an 8 year WWE veteran who continues to be wasted on the main roster. Match was good… Very crisp, in-ring work between the two and Cesaro doing the airplane spin with no hands was freakin ridiculous. Kind of a short match that might be more of a television match rather than appearing on Pay Per View. Cesaro won the match which won’t matter long-term for him. GET OUT, Cesaro! [ **1/4 ]
Nothing else happened (though I started watching it at 6:07 after I cut grass).
Onto the Main Show…
Oh no, Stephanie McMahon starts off the show by demonstrating her Communications degree with her public speaking abilities.
“America the Beautiful” was mixed between artists of the past and it was nicely done. Anyone hating on Kevin Dunn and the production truck should watch that…
I laugh at all of the Pirate Ship stuff yet the WWE can’t fully display those decorations in a big stadium. The opening promo and hype videos are extra long to kill time…
Host Rob Gronkowski has arrived and his volume has been turned up to 11… And that is just his jacket. Mojo Rawley joins him, as Mojo will forever be appreciated in the WWE by helping to deliver Gronk to the WWE (especially if Gronk somehow figures out how to be a good wrestler).
First official match of the big show was Nikki Cross/Alexa Bliss versus Kabuki Warriors for the Women’s Tag Titles. In my opinion, Asuka should be DOMINATING the Women’s Division and pushed as a dominant champion. But no, here she is part of the poorly pushed Women’s Tag Division that spans across both brands. NXT was at its most entertaining when Asuka dominated as its champion. I’m noticing that both teams are being highly vocal inside the ring to help cover for the lack of crowd noise… That, or they are always this loud and we’re just now hearing it? Funny how Bliss is always pushed like she’s an underdog… Isn’t she, what, a multiple time Women’s Champion? Because Nikki got the hot tag in this match and the announcers (Cole and JBL) were baffled by her screaming. And poor referee work just let Kairi Sane drop an elbow despite her clearly not being the legal woman. And now Bliss does the same with her Twisted Bliss. Eventually, the Kabuki Warriors double teaming would fail, as Asuka dove into the ring post and Sane then fell victim to Cross’s neckbreaker and then another Twisted Bliss. Overall good match, some sloppy referee work at the end for legal persons at the end. All 4 ladies worked hard… New tag champions! [ *** ]
King Corbin vs. Elias is up next… Not sure how Elias could have survived his big fall to make it here tonight, but hey, I’ve seen wrestlers in cars and coffins get smashed and still appear the following week without a scratch… So go figure? Well, at least Elias bashed a guitar over Corbin’s back to even things up. OK… Corbin is highly vocal in this match… Yep, wrestlers have been told to be louder with their emotions to help hide the missing crowd. In the case of Corbin, he’s twice as obnoxious. This match is really suffering from being in an empty arena, as it felt very one sided in offense and emotion by Corbin. Remember when the WWE had serious thoughts about having Cena vs. Elias at Wrestlemania? Those were the days… The mighty has fallen. Ending saw King Corbin trying to use the ropes for leverage on the pin but the referee caught him. As Corbin was yelling at the referee, Elias rolled him up and held the tights for the win. Just a dull match as it seemed one-sided in emotion and offense by Corbin until the end. Not a big win for Elias. [ * ]
The RAW Women’s Title match between Becky Lynch vs. Shayna Baszler was up next and in my opinion, this is make or break for Shayna in Vince’s eyes. She is normally not what Vince McMahon wants to push and it would be her workrate that impresses over what else Vince obviously wants. “The Man” arrives in a semi-truck, as last year she was denied an entrance over Ronda Rousey who had Joan Jett and Charlotte arrived in a helicopter. Both ladies are less vocal than previous matches but are more aggressively going at each other. Becky and Shayna are full of energy as well conditioned athletes and are going for a more traditional mat based match. Looking good so far… Oh damn at Shayna picking up Becky like a powerbomb and bashing her head off the side of the announcer’s table TWICE. Shayna Baszler tried to lock in her submission hold but Becky flipped the submission hold like Bret Hart did to Steve Austin during late 1996 for pin. That’s a good loss for Shayna and keeps her strong in defeat. I loved this match… [ **** 1/4 ] Great athletic contest that looked like /a legitimate fight all the way. Bravo!
Daniel Bryan vs. Sami Zayn for the IC Title was next… Ah yes, we’re back to Bryan wrestling for the World Title at the previous Wrestlemania and then the IC Title at the next. History keeps repeating itself. I really like the newer Intercontinental Title, by the way… I wish that the World Titles had more gold plating in them instead of the stupid “WWE” logo. The many flunkies at ringside should help boost the atmosphere of this match without a crowd. I just don’t get this Zayn, Nakamura, and Cesaro alliance. As heavily expected, Zayn has a 3 on 2 personnel advantage and it eventually overcame Bryan to be defeated. Couldn’t Bryan find one more guy? [ * 3/4 ]
And now, a Triple Threat SINGLES Ladder Match to determine the new Tag Team Champions. Yeah, wrestle with that logic. Kofi Kingston vs. John Morrison vs. Jimmy Uso, as I wonder why couldn’t it be a Triple Threat Tag Team match for the TAG Titles? Probably my lack of RAW and Smackdown viewership must be missing something here? By the way, Kofi, you won the WWE Title at Wrestlemania last year. Welcome to midcard hell! This match really gives you upward shots of the Performance Center to prove that Triple H spared no expense building this facility. The 3 guys hit some interesting moves but this kind of high impact match needs a crowd. Feels quite bare without the crowd yelling “Holy Sh**” at a major bump. Nice touch by Kofi Kingston by climbing on the inside of the ladder to knock Uso down. This match is making me appreciate having John Morrison back in the WWE as a bumper and great athlete. Uso is holding his own, too. I LOVED the ending of this match, though… All 3 wrestlers were at the top of the ladders and grabbed the titles simultaneously but Morrison/Miz won when Morrison took a sick bump after getting headbutted by both Uso and Kingston but on his way down, Morrison grabbed the titles. [ **** ] Great effort by all 3 without a crowd. Excellent finish added to the match significantly for me.
Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins is up next. Let me remind you that Seth beat Brock Lesnar just last year for the WWE Universal Title and cleanly. I really dislike this Monday Night Messiah character. Kinda lame. About as lame as wrestling in a t-shirt weekly. Speaking of shirts, look at that entrance and ring attire for Seth Rollins complete with the man bun hairstyle. This guy has zero concept as to what gets over with wrestling fans which is why he gets in many fights with internet fans. Match resembled every match that both guys have wrestled for the past 5 years. WWE has tried everything with both guys and it’s a case where both guys would need to go elsewhere to freshedn up. DQ finish as Seth Rollins clocked Owens with the ring bell. [ * 3/4 ]
However, after the match, Kevin Owens called out Seth Rollins to challenge him to an instant No Disqualification Match. Do the fans get a vote on this, too? The previous match was tired so how would adding the usual foreign objects help? Well, Kevin Owens did jump off the Wrestlemania sign onto Seth Rollins who was on a table… That was impressive but again, a Hail Mary for this match-up which needed it. Rollins was then pulled into the ring and took a Stunner by Owens to lose the restarted match. [ ** ] for the bump only.
R-Truth was hanging out with Mojo and Gronk when both guys tried to steal his 24/7 title. Gronk went for the pin first but Mojo pulled him off and Mojo then became the new 24/7 Champion. Glad that the WWE didn’t give it to Gronk here.
Braun Strowman vs. Bill Goldberg for the WWE Universal Title is up next and I’m happy to see that Goldberg’s entrance is maintained. I really wanted to see if Roman Reigns could step up and make Goldberg look strong but damn that Coronavirus… Let’s see what Braun can do. “Don’t blink, as neither of these guys work by the hour” said JBL. Ouch. After some feeling each other out, Goldberg hits 4 spears and then tries the Jackhammer but Braun reverses into a Powerslam. Then another Powerslam and then another Powerslam! And then another Powerslam, it’s 1, 2, 3 and we have a NEW WWE Universal Champion! Not much of a match, but that’s a cornerstone win for Braun Strowman who has been poorly booked as a potential Main Eventer for the last 3 years. Not much of a match, [ *1/2 ], but it got the point across and no botched moves (that’s important for a Goldberg match). If I were the WWE, I wouldn’t have Braun Strowman lose that title for a long, long time. Congrats to Braun…
Wrestlemania in Los Angeles for next year…
Our MAIN EVENT of night #1 AJ Styles vs. Undertaker in a “Boneyard Match”. We’re in a graveyard for htis. Old Man Tito would normally rip this, but going Empty Arena for Wrestlemania is forcing the WWE to be creative and I sort of appreciate the effort. Better yet, we get the Bikertaker version. That’s pretty cool… Awesome music playing to really add some extra boost to this match-up. Or should I say production? You know, this might be a decent way for the WWE to get around the quarantine issues by having specialty matches like this? This production is really cool… Both guys were brawling with hard punches thrown and the vehicle getting trashed. Taker got the better of AJ and then the OC appeared… And then a bunch of Druids appeared! Whoa… Undertaker makes quick work of both the OC and the Druids and that distraction allows AJ Styles to come out of no where with an attack with a foreign object that chattered. Nice touch on AJ selling that he broke his hand over the Undertaker’s head. AJ speared Taker through the wall of the garage nearby and Undertaker was in pain while AJ Styles, as a heel, taunts him. AJ Styles hit the Undertaker with a shovel to knock him into the grave and then tries dump dirt on him with construction equipment. THEN, the Undertaker suddenly appears behind AJ Styles… AJ runs away and climbs on top of the garage. Goofy part where Undertaker was able to summon fire to appear like pyro… The OC join the top of the garage only to be owned quickly by the Undertaker. AJ Styles then takes a Chokeslam off the top of the garage. Undertaker comes back down and asks “what’s my wife’s name? How old am I?” Undertaker taunts him further and then acted like he’d show mercy towards AJ Styles… Nope, big boots Styles into the grave and now Undertaker hops onto the construction equipment to bury styles with dirt. That was fascinating, unique, and entertaining… I’ll give it [ *** 1/2 ] – REVISED to [ **** 1/2 ]
THE LAST WORD: That wasn’t bad… Certainly, the WWE had a chance to edit the show and clean up any mistakes, but most wrestlers performed well despite having no crowd to emotionally uplift them at times. The ones who are tired acts were just exposed as being boring without a crowd. The Women had a great night and that ladder match for the tag titles performed well. The AJ Styles vs. Undertaker match was unique… I sort of enjoyed the risk taken with the highly produced fight between those two. I’ll give the show an [ B ] overall grade for Night #1. Not a bad show with some great effort shown by various wrestlers. Good job to all those involved in making a difficult show like this seem entertaining.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT… CLICK HERE to read my Book Review of Jim Ross‘s Under the Black Hat.
So just chill… Until the next episode!
Play my Super Mario Maker 2 courses on the Nintendo Switch:
Die Hard (themed after the Bruce Willis Film): 2YH-48W-HMG
Die Hard 2 – Die Harder: QQ1-MHW-YTF
Die Hard with a Vengeance: 5MB-2YG-VRG
Hoarding the Toilet Paper: 43G-S79-TVG
Star Trek 2 – The Wrath of Khan: 1LV-L7L-KDF
Inside Her: FC1-TW9-7YG
Star Wars vs. Star Trek: N3X-R6M-Y9G
Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time Wrong Warp: 2RX-QCV-N9G
Super Link Bros: HBD-H5C-QRF
Santa Bowser Came Early: GL8-F48-3XG
Super Wrestling Bros: 0H6-9HT-S5G
WWE Royal Rumble: SDH-JC2-HFG
WWE Elimination Chamber: P3B-5DJ-91G
WCW World War 3: BT4-W1Y-HRG
Extreme Championship Wrestling: 42J-4GT-W3G
BEST OF TITO’s POLITICAL CARTOONS
– Alfred E. Vince McMahon on Wrestlemania 36
– WWE’s “Developmental System”
– How Triple H views CM Punk’s physique
– How Pro Wrestling Controversies keep pulling me out of the Retirement Home
– Seth Rollins cannot resist the Internet!
– Truth About WWE’s “Executive Directors”
– More Truth About WWE’s “Executive Directors”
– Jim Cornette as Godzilla against Indy Mudshow Wrestlers
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