It was the biggest crowd in WrestleMania history. A total of 101,763 people packed AT&T Stadium for WrestleMania 32. If you love professional wrestling, it doesn’t get any better than this show. WrestleMania has become bigger than professional wrestling. It’s a pop culture event. And for the MMA hardcores out there, the show has an MMA feel to it as well. Mauro Ranallo called the pre-show. Brock Lesnar was there. And I stopped counting the submission holds at 75 attempts.
Seven-Man Ladder Match – Kevin Owens (c) vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder vs. Sin Cara vs. The Miz vs. Stardust
It’s the Kevin Owens show. The crowd pops for Owens and Sami Zayn, and everyone else here is just a prop. A great prop, though. All of these guys are great performers. Sami Zayn stole the show early with an amazing dive through a ladder to the outside. Sin Cara jumped off a ladder, into a springboard off the top rope to the outside on the six other combatants. Kevin Owens dove from the top rope onto Zayn, in a move that Owens was probably second-guessing seconds after he hit it. Zach Ryder had his WrestleMania moment, diving off a 20-foot ladder onto Dolph Ziggler. Sin Cara was pushed off the top of ladder by Kevin Owens onto Stardust, breaking the ladder, to a huge pop from the crowd. The match ended with Sami Zayn slamming Owens off the ladder, into a ladder on the ground. And then, in perhaps the most unbelievable moment in WWE history, and I am not joking, when it looked like The Miz was about to win, none other than, yes, Zach F’N Ryder pushed The Miz off the ladder, to grab the belt and win the intercontinental title. Ryder, the jobber, who has been calling for a push for years, is the champ, and hell just froze over.
AJ Styles vs Chris Jericho
Next up is The Phenomenal AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho in a match designed to put two of the best workers in the business against each other. It’s Styles’ WrestleMania debut against Jericho, who is at the point in his career where win or lose, his legacy is safe. The match suffered a bit from the perfect syndrome. Both of these guys are so good that the match looks too good, almost choreographed because these guys are so smooth. Jericho almost tapped Styles twice with the Boston Crab, before Styles reversed it into a calf crusher. The match was slow, probably because of Jericho. They seemed to be thinking too much about their moves and reversals. Maybe Styles was struck by the moment, or maybe Jericho has slowed down. A good match, but it felt more like a Triple H, methodic pace, than a battle between two of the sports greats. The match ends when Jericho delivered a codebreaker to Styles attempting a splash from the top rope. Mild upset, but guys from other organizations debuting at WrestleMania, haven’t faired well the last two years. Just ask Sting.
The New Day (c) vs The League of Nations – Handicap match (3 vs 4)
The New Day wins the best entrance award for the night, coming out of a box of Booty-Os cereal. This match was typical fare — Kofi Kingston high-flying, Xavier Woods played his horn, and Big E was, well, just big. This match ended with a Brogue kick from Sheamus. But the real story of this match came after it was over. The League of Nations won the match and Wade Barrett took to the microphone to declare that they were the best tag team in the world and no one could beat them. This isn’t going to end well. No, it’s not Hulk Hogan who comes out, but someone who can actually work: Shawn Michaels. Michaels looks like he could step into the ring and fight Jon Jones later this month. Why he’s not wrestling is ridiculous. He’s actually in his ring gear. Next up is Cactus Jack, who doesn’t look like he is in ring shape. And of course, we know who’s next: Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin looks great and we know where this is headed. Sweet Chin Music. Mandible Claw. Stunner. If the WWE had played its cards right we could have seen Shawn Michaels vs. Stone Cold, in a match that would have actually been something historic at WrestleMania. The two guys from Texas stealing the show. Still, Stone Cold drinking a few “Steveweisers” is worth the price of admission, or at least the $9.99 a month for the WWE Network.
Brock Lesnar vs Dean Ambrose – Street fight
Poor Dean Ambrose. He’s a better worker than Roman Reigns. A better talker. A better everything. Still, he’s just an appetizer here for Brock Lesnar. Paul Heyman made a killer introduction of his client. Ambrose was able to pull out all of the stops in this match. He used the chainsaw, the kendo stick, the baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, the fire extinguisher. None of it worked against Lesnar. Surpisingly, Lesnar didn’t bleed at WrestleMania
Charlotte (c) vs Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch – Triple-Threat Match
The women have arrived. We’re a long way from The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. Former WWE Women’s Champion Lita earlier in the show presented a new women’s belt, which resembles the WWE heavyweight men’s belt. Snoop Dogg, newly inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, rapped his cousin Sasha Banks to the ring, in a match where the WWE tried hard to equalize women’s and mens wrestling. Charlotte retained the title, with the help of her father, Ric Flair. Charlotte is a great representative of women’s wresting and she’s going to carry the belt far. Charlotte vs. Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania 33?
The Undertaker vs Shane McMahon – Hell in a Cell
Shane McMahon looks like he just walked out of a tanning booth. He’s got his three sons with him during the entrance. How come he gets to bring his kids? For all of McMahon’s striking videos, he’s got nothing. The Undertaker knees him to the stomach and begins to wallop on him. The Undertaker looks so much better than he did back when he lost to Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. The first half of the match consists of The Undertaker pounding McMahon, until Shane tries what may be the worst submission attempt since Ken Shamrock vs. Kimbo Slice. The match changes, however, and Shane gets some offense in. Undertaker reverses it and chokeslams McMahon into the steel stairs. This match is a lot of The Undertaker, but it will be most remembered for Shane McMahon’s ridiculous 40-foot leap from the top of the cell onto a table. This move was unreal. McMahon didn’t really jump off the top, more like walked off of it, throwing an elbow onto The Undertaker, who moved out of the way before McMahon crashed into the table. McMahon said he came back so his three kids could see him wrestle. They got their moment. McMahon joined Mick Foley as a Hell in a Cell legend (Foley’s jump was still cooler. He was thrown off the top, and turned while in the air). The Undertaker, though, put McMahon in the tombstone and pinned him for the win.
— WWE (@WWE) April 4, 2016
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
This matched filled what used to be the Divas spot: A time killer before the main event. With the women’s title getting a higher priority, the battle royal become the new filler. In a lame celebrity involvement, Shaquille O’Neal was a surprise entrance into the rumble. He did nothing. He tried to choke out the Big Show, got choked out by the Big Show, and then thrown over the top rope and eliminated by members of the Social Outcasts. Like the Intercontinental title match that opened the show, this match outcome was a surprise. Baron Corbin, a former NFL lineman for the Indianapolis Colts and the Arizona Cardinals, won after throwing out Kane. This is the show of surprise winners.
Triple H (c) vs Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns won the world heavyweight championship for the third time, defeating Triple H after Reigns accidentally speared Stephanie McMahon (who was wearing perhaps the hottest black outfit ever). Triple H tried to rally by using the sledgehammer, but Reigns won with a spear. The match was OK, but typical Triple H: slow, methodical and deliberate. Reigns, who is no Shawn Michaels inside the squared circle, was booed throughout the match, but Reigns is younger, sells more merchandise and has been groomed for the top spot for nearly two years now. He probably won’t hold the title long. He finally got his WrestleMania moment, and the WWE can start planning for the next guy (probably Kevin Owens).
Show Highlight: The Rock, The Wyatt Family and John Cena
So The Rock showed up and, no, he didn’t interfere in the main event. He didn’t help Roman Reigns. He didn’t help The Undertaker. In fact, he showed up and did very little, other than typical comedy. The Rock announced the attendance record, then was interrupted by Bray Wyatt, who was too injured to compete in the match. Wyatt came out and threatened him in the most spooky way possible, but the Rock responded and challenged any one of the Wyatt’s to a match. Poor Erick Rowan. Six seconds later, The Rock pinned Rowan. As the rest of the Wyatts ganged up on him, looking to triple team him, none other than John Cena, looking awfully skinny, returned to the ring to help The Rock. Cena is recovering from a torn rotator cuff, and somehow managed to return about six months ahead of time. Cena is known for his ability to quickly recover from injuries, but he seemed not quite ready, moving a bit slowly and looking a lot thinner than ever. Still, it was a WrestleMania moment, even if it was nowhere near the level of The Rock/Rousey vs. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon moment a year ago.
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