The Main Event Vol. 110 - Wrestlemania 36 Review

The Main Event Vol. 110 – Wrestlemania 36 Review

WrestleMania

Welcome to another edition of The Main Event. I am your host, Don Franc, back with another column that you will all hopefully enjoy. Long introductions aren’t my thing, so let’s get right to…

THE MAIN EVENT

Wrestlemania Review

Stephanie opens up the show by addressing the viewers. In essence, she’s giving us a reason why Wrestlemania should go on. Well, of course it should go on. It’s not like we’re all going through a global pandemic or anything.

Rob Kronkowski is the host and he’s already annoying me. And then the annoyance is doubled by bringing Mojo in to aide him.

Kabuki Warriors vs Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross (Womens Tag Team Championship)

So Alexa hasn’t turned on Nikki yet? That’s unlike WWE. Although, Asuka still being in this division is very much like WWE. This match was lengthy which is something I didn’t expect. The match was not bad by any stretch of the imagination. All four women put in a decent effort. Surprising choice for opener though. Then again, with no crowd, does that really matter? Bliss & Cross pull off the victory and regain the titles they lost to Kabuki Warriors in October of last year. Looks like there hasn’t been a lot of growth in this division…

That just shows how stagnant this division has been. No movement in five months, although Asuka did feud with Becky Lynch for awhile. Nevertheless, this division needs to be freshened up. In hindsight, this division never popped. The beginning of the end was when Bayley/Banks lost the belts at ‘Mania last year and the division never recovered. There’s just not enough women to go around. Hopefully Asuka goes solo again because that’s where she belongs. Either WWE brings in/creates women tag teams or scrap the division altogether.

A decent segment by Sami Zayn gives me a bit of insight into his character as I haven’t been watching WWE TV as much in recent months.

King Corbin vs Elias

Apparently the host, Rob Gronkowski, made this match. Who gave him such power nobody knows. There’s some aggression in this match so maybe that’ll make it better. It didn’t make it better but it fit into my expectation. It was a slightly above-average match that these two could have had on RAW. Elias picks up the win and I’m confused because isn’t the king the one that normally gets pushed? Never been a fan of Corbin but I don’t mind Elias in his current role. At least Elias has the capability of being entertaining.

Becky Lynch vs Shayna Baszler (RAW Womens Championship)

Weird to see Becky Lynch so far down the card compared to main-eventing this very show last year. Is Lynch not as over as she used to be or something? I know Vince still prefers Charlotte though. Nice video package to get me up to speed on what was happening in this feud. I enjoyed that, and based off the video package this feud seemed pretty decent. Lynch is pulling up in a truck and it looks pretty cool. Baszler looks like a beast. It will be interesting to see who picks up the win here.

Quick little brawl to start the match but the funny part is how you can hear every shot due to the deafening silence. I actually thought this was a pretty good match while it lasted. Some good spots and both women brought it here. However, the finish was really shitty. That’s two ‘Mania’s in a row where Lynch won by some sort of roll-up. I get they may have wanted to protect Baszler, but that’s basically saying that in big matches Lynch can only win by luck.

Nevertheless, the match would’ve been even better if their was a live crowd involved. Baszler was likely to win here, but at least they didn’t have Lynch lose the title in a year-long reign to no fanfare, which in essence would lessen the importance of the title change. One thing is for sure, this feud ain’t over yet

Sami Zayn vs Daniel Bryan (Intercontinental Championship Match)

Drew Gulak is now affiliated with Daniel Bryan due to Gulak having earned Bryan’s respect in their Elimination Chamber match. They’re a good match due to their similar style and I like that method of forming a partnership. I also like Sami’s faction, The Artist Collective. It’s been weird to see Zayn in a more managerial role but he is good at it. The last time I watched, Braun Strowman was I.C Champion and that wasn’t too long ago so it’s strange to suddenly see Zayn with the title.. The belt itself? I don’t think I can get used to that belt.

This match is a pretty one-sided affair with Sami playing the coward. It’s like he’s not an extremely talented wrestler with years of competitive match experience. . I didn’t like this as I thought this would be a great match, especially considering the two wrestlers involved. After cowardly antics and dominating Zayn for the entire match, Bryan loses the match with one move after interference from Sami’s cohorts. Typical WWE match. Same shit, different day.

Kofi Kingston vs Jimmy Uso vs John Morrison (SDL Smackdown Tag Team Championship)

I don’t know if this match is unique or stupid. It’s unique because each team has a representative fighting for them in this match. However, it’s still a tag team match. I’ll decide by the end of this match if this idea is unique or stupid. This was the only teams that would make sense for this match as the division as a whole seems thin. Admittedly, each team picked the perfect member for this match and it’s evident in the early exchange.

This was a good match. Then again, can you even find a truly bad ladder match? Some good spots like Kofi’s springboard hurrincana onto Morrison who was on a ladder, Morrison’s tightrope walk, Kofi springboard dropkick attempt through the ladder and Morrison’s Starship Pain from the top to Jimmy who was on a ladder, to name but a few. This is definitely a match you should check out. Very interesting finish and something I don’t think I’ve seen before.

Kevin Owens vs Seth Rollins

I like this new character Rollins has, although I’ve heard of those who don’t. Blasphemy I tell you. He’s Jesus dammit! Although I like the concept, I’m not sure how it’s being executed on television but the potential is there for something pretty cool. You have to say, though, that CM Punk did his version better. Rollins kind of dropped down the card since his feud with KO. He’s not involved in anything important this year. I just thought he’d be in a bigger match. That’s not a knock on KO, but you can’t argue that Rollins is above him in the hierarchy. But in all fairness, their feud probably warranted a Wrestlemania match.

This match was pretty solid if not unspectacular. Nice false finish with Rollins getting disqualified to deny KO his Wrestlemania moment. I would have been very disappointed if the match ended like that but I enjoyed the bait and switch. From a storyline perspective that angle added to the match. The silence actually added to this match a little due to the verbal exchanges they had throughout. Nice spot from KO off the ‘Mania sign which brings into play the Wrestlemania moment aspect. KO wins shortly after and I’d say this was definitely a match to check out.

Nice little exchange with R-Truth who I always think is funny for some reason. Mojo ends up winning the 24/7 Title and I’m surprised that it’s still a thing.

We go backstage and Paul Heyman is hyping Lesnar vs Mcyntire. It’s pretty much the same from him but I’ve always liked his hyping ability.

Goldberg vs Braun Strowman (Universal Championship)

Still not sure how I feel about Goldberg beating The Fiend for the title, but I hardly watch so I’m not as invested. Although things like that is why I rarely watch WWE anymore. As for Strowman, I think WWE took too long elevating him to the next level and because of that he is not as over as he was a couple of years ago. If Strowman doesn’t win the title now he may never win the title. The match itself though, should be aided by the taped nature of it and I’m hoping it’s at least semi-decent match.

I barely finished typing the above paragraph when the match ended. I don’t know what I was expecting but at least it wasn’t bad by any means. Short and to the point. Braun Strowman is one of those wrestlers who won the big one due to getting an opportunity from a shitty circumstance. Nevertheless, this is long overdue and well deserved. Braun was dominant here and I’m hoping that WWE books him as a completely dominant, unstoppable monster champion and he should have a good reign. I may even tune in to see how his title run unfolds.

The Undertaker vs AJ Styles (Boneyard Match)

Enough has been said about The Undertaker needing to retire so I’m not going to get into that (although he totally should!). I wouldn’t be surprised if he wrestles another ‘Mania next year. Another informative video package and I really like the premise for this storyline. I like how this feud incorporated the fact that The Undertaker’s time is up. The personal touches to this feud also made it feel real and I really liked that aspect of it. We head to the boneyard now and I have no idea what to expect. AJ Styles entrance was awesome! Got a crackle out of me. ‘Takers entrance was corny as hell with the 1980s theme music. But at least we got Biker Taker.

Okay, so I’m not going to lie, I loved this glorified Buried Alive Match. This was campy and hammy as all hell but that’s what made it great. This was like the boss fight of a low-budget movie. I wouldn’t blame anybody for thinking this was pure shit, but I’d have to disagree. Perhaps that Hardy match in TNA made matches like this possible but I really enjoyed the hell out of it. The dialogue during the match also fit in perfectly with the story. But the person whom this match benefitted the most was Undertaker.

This match hid his many shortcomings. The cinematography wasn’t that bad either. This match could be looked at as WWE’s subtle way of telling us to stop saying ‘Taker is old because no matter what he’s still wrestling. There’s no denying that considering AJ lost here. Overall many won’t like this match, but from where I was sitting it was enjoyable.

Night 1 was a mixed bag of average and good, although more average than good. Hopefully Night 2 is better…

Night 2

Night 2 also starts with Stephanie McMahon, but at least she barely speaks.

Same opening as yesterday so nothing really sets the two nights apart besides the matches.

Rhea Rhipley vs Charlotte Flair (NXT Womens Championship)

Very interesting choice for opener. I didn’t expect Charlotte Flair in this role. I must admit that I’m excited for this match as I’ve heard plenty of good things about Rhipley but I’ve never seen her in a match before. Let’s see if she can live up to the hype. If she can’t have a good match with Charlotte then she’s probably not all that. Management does seem to be high on Rhipley and they’ve put her in a historical ‘Mania match. So now is definitely the opportunity for Rhipley to show the whole world what she’s made of. I liked the video package as it gave me some background on this match. Just like last night it’s a good addition.

I thought this match was good. A nice, hard-hitting affair between these two ladies. Rhipley showed me her potential and I do agree with the hype, although I’m sure she still has more in her. I still say Becky/Baszler was better, even with less time. However, that could be because this match really suffered from a lack of crowd participation. I’d have loved to hear how over Rhea was. Disappointed that WWE chose Charlotte to win, although it shouldn’t be a surprise. I’m pretty sure Rhea will win the title back from Charlotte. Overall this match was more than watchable and worth checking out. Good start for Night 2.

Aleicester Black vs Bobby Lashley

I have no idea why this match is happening and I bet those who watch every week do not know. I am a huge Black fan and I think there is a possibility that he could fit into ‘Takers role since Wyatt is too damaged. As for Bobby Lashley… Yawn. I don’t think WWE knows how to book him. As for the match itself, slightly better than a match that these two would have on RAW though equally forgettable. Black wins with Black Mass, which is being put over as a dangerous finisher. Hopefully this is the beginning of better things for Black.

Backstage, Bayley is doing an interview basically saying she and Sasha are still good friends even though they’re competing. Banks doesn’t seem too sure. Bayley’s heel turn has not been working for me. Not everyone can play a heel.

Otis vs Dolph Ziggler

WWE can’t seem to help themselves when it comes to these love stories. The only good one was Jericho/Stratus/Christian. Based off the video package this seemed lame. Since when is Mandy a good guy? Could this lead to Mandy and Sonya breaking up? Lord knows the Womens Tag Team Division needs them. The finish sees Mandy coming out and beating the shit out of Sonya and hitting a low blow on Dolph. This allows Otis to pick up the win… and Mandy. This is definitely a fictional universe. The match was not bad. Standard television match affair and very skippable.

Edge vs Randy Orton (Last Man Standing Match)

This show has been boring since Black/Lashley and I hope these two can turn things around. In fact, I’m expecting it. These two are legends who I fully expect to have a great match. I loosely followed this feud and it’s been really good. Based off his Rumble performance it looks like Edge can still go in the ring. What a great comeback after 9 years on the shelf. That’s amazing. The only sad part is that Edge won’t be able to have this match infront of tens of thousands of adoring fans. And after being out of action for so long I’m sure that’s something he has thought about.

Loved the beginning of Orton posing as a camera man and RKOing Edge from behind. Nice throwback to Edge’s return in 2008 after Batista/’Taker in a Hell in a Cell match. I thought this was a really good match. Leave it up to these two greats to put on an entertaining bout in this situation. The entire PC was their playground and they made full use of it. This was a straight up brawl, an all out fight. It was just aggressive by nature which fit the story. A few nice spots sprinkled in as well. This match was everything that it was meant to be, in my opinion.

Fantastic match with a fitting end by having Edge pick up the win with the Con-Chair-To. This is the best match I’ve seen thus far across both nights. Edge looks like he still has alot left in the tank and I hope he still continues to wrestle.

A brawl ensues for the 24/7 title and Gronkowski dives off his podium onto the crowd of wrestlers and pins Rawley to become champion. Has the 24/7 Title run its course? It appears all the interesting angles for the belt has been done already.

Street Profits vs Austin Theory & Angel Garza (RAW Tag Team Championships)

I don’t really know who Theory and Garza are but this seems like a weak match for the RAW Tag Team Championships. I always enjoy the Street Profits but I’ve no interest in this match whatsoever. This match could have taken place on RAW and nobody would bat an eyelid. In fact, why didn’t this match take place on RAW? Like Corbin/Elias and Black/Lashley, this match feels out of place on this show. Very skippable match, but at least The Street Profits won. Bad guys beat up the good guys after the match. Yep, typical RAW match/segment. Bianca Belair assists The Street Profits after the match. I didn’t know Belair was married to Ford. You learn something new everyday.

Titus O’Neill takes over hosting duties and I’d have preferred him over Gronkowski.

Bayley vs Sasha Banks vs Tamina vs Naomi vs Lacey Evans (Fatal 5-Way Elimination Match for the SDL Womens Championships)

Despite Sasha’s heel turn, she still hasn’t gone anywhere. WWE do not like her much, do they? Lacey Evans should be a heel, she’s such an unnatural face. Tamina… Can get off my television screen. I’m sorry but I just don’t think she’s any good. Naomi is always welcome in the division. And Bayley, like I said earlier, does not fit with a heel persona. But that’s just me. Tamina surprised me as the monster in this match before she became the first elimination. Perhaps this is the type of environment she can thrive in.

Naomi was really the star in this match until she got eliminated second. I really think Naomi is underrated. Bayley/Banks were on point as a team until Bayley accidentally hit Sasha with a knee. After an argument with Bayley, Sasha gets eliminated by Evans and Bayley just watches on while she gets pinned. Looks like we know the next feud for Bayley. But then that’s another loss to the Womens Tag Team Division! Nevermind, Banks assists Bayley in picking up the win. Unless this is all a ruse… This was a pretty good match and definitely worth checking out. These women surprised me in this one.

 

The Fiend vs John Cena (Firefly Funhouse Match)
What more can be said about Wyatt that hasn’t been said a thousand times before? He is damaged goods. Every character that he has portrayed has somehow been compromised by WWE’s poor booking. Someone suggested that this be the beginning of an arch for Bray Wyatt where he gets The Fiend to get revenge on everybody who has defeated/buried him in the past. I think that could potentially be a fantastic storyline, although I doubt WWE would think of something that cool.
Anyway, I’m hoping this match can compete with the Boneyard Match. I have no idea what to expect here. It’s already starting out weird. This was hilariously ridiculous and fantastically awesome at the same time. I think it is even better than the Boneyard Match. This match was absolutely brilliant as a showcase for Bray Wyatt. Make no mistake, this was all about Wyatt and the injustices he has faced and I absolutely loved it because of that. It really was amazing to see how they played through all the criticisms John Cena has faced. This really felt like a shoot disguised as cinematography wrestling. Wyatt “wins” and I hope this is the start of Bray Wyatt rewriting his own history.
Brock Lesnar vs Drew McIntyre (WWE Championship)
I like how they played into Drew’s history with the company mentioning that he was once the chosen one. I think he is ready for this push, but how he is booked after he wins the belt will be make or break. He should win here. I’m so tired of Lesnar so I’m rooting for Drew in this one. Typical Lesnar match. A bunch of finishers and nothing else. This was lame and quite possibly one of the worst Wrestlemania main-events in history. At least McIntyre is the new champion. Avoid this match, unless you like seeing Brock lose.
Overall this was a mixed bag of a Wrestlemania and one I think can be passed. There is only a handful of matches that you actually need to go have a look at. The rest just felt like filler, were average or was just pure crap. Admittedly I had fun reviewing this show, but that’s because I wanted to see where WWE was at right now after not watching a full show since the Royal Rumble. Well, a lot has changed in this Wrestlemania and their television shows can prove to be very entertaining if booked right. They’ve laid the groundwork for the coming months, now they’ve got to build something great.
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And that does it for this edition of The Main Event. What did you think about Wrestlemania? Please feel free to leave a comment below. Or you can pop me an email on donfranclop[email protected] or follow me on Twitter @donfranclop. Any and all feedback is always much appreciated. In my next column I speak in length about what Wrestlemania 36 could/should have been. But until next time…
This is Don Franc signing out.
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