Monday, July 15, 2024

WrestleMania Recap For Those Of You Without Seven Hours to Throw Away

Share This Post


That’s how long fans of professional wrestling and WWE spent yesterday watching the biggest pay per view of the year, the show dubbed as the “Super Bowl” of wrestling and the “Showcase of the Immortals”.

It’s too damned long.

As the WWE has grown and WrestleMania chugs along, it’s run time has grown with it. To the point that I was ready to throw in the towel last night, especially in the context that you also have three hours of RAW as a follow-up tonight, and two hours of SmackDown! tomorrow, also as a follow-up show. That’s over 12 hours of WWE in three days (and this is me not counting the NXT Takeover pay per view on Friday, and the Hall of Fame induction on Saturday). Enough, here’s the towel.

But, dear readers, I did come away with some thoughts overall, so without further ado, here are the hot takes and memorable moments from the Showcase of Past My Bedtime from last night.

Brief thoughts on NXT Takeover and the 2019 Hall of Fame

Johnny Wrestling finally won the big title and even had a feel-good moment with Tommaso Ciampa showing up at the end. I still don’t give a rat’s ass about any part of this, but it was nice to see the follow through. Elsewhere, Velveteen Dream retained his North American title against Matt Riddle and continues to prove why it’s a damned shame he hasn’t been called up to the main roster. Shayna Baszler defeated Io Shira, Kairi Sane, and Bianca Belair in a fun fatal four way to retain her title and she stood tall post-match. All four women definitely have huge potential on the main roster if they don’t also fall victim to the roster bloat plaguing WWE in general at the moment.

The Hall of Fame had some touching and fun moments, especially with DX being inducted and Chyna finally getting a fraction of the recognition she’s long deserved. It doesn’t appear like the WWE are willing to pull the trigger on a solo induction, so this might be the best we get for her, and the crowd was appropriately over for it.

Speaking of the crowd, however, a disturbed fan entered the ring and tackled veteran Bret Hart and Natalya Neidhart as they were memorializing Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart (Nattie’s father). This was not scripted, and several of the wrestlers quickly entered the ring to take care of business and deal with the fan. He’s since been charged. Thankfully, the rest of the show went on.

WrestleMania Pre-Show

THERE ARE FOUR MATCHES ON THIS. FOUR. This should have been my first clue that this night was going to go south.

Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Tony Nese for the Cruiserweight Championship

Nice fun match to kick off the event and get the crowd’s blood pumping. Nese pulled off an upset, and I’m legitimately surprised they finally let someone else have the title after Murphy’s six-month reign. I really wish this division would get even half of the attention they deserve. 205 Live is a veritable wrestling clinic week in and week out.

Women’s Battle Royal

Okay, so not only did they job Asuka out for a pointless Charlotte title win, they couldn’t even let her win the damned battle royal on the pre-card. The treatment of one of the best wrestlers in the world is shameful, and the WWE is now on the precipe of permanently damaging Asuka’s character. Carmella won in a “hide until nobody is left and slide back in” strategy which feels far more heelish than her face character can get away with, especially when we got to see Sarah Logan of the Riott Squad elatedly celebrating what we think is her “WrestleMania Moment” only to have the rug yanked out from under her. Overall, the match was pointless and just an excuse to get as many women on the card as possible, and it couldn’t even function to help build Asuka back up.

The Revival (c) vs Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder for the RAW Tag Team Championship

Like Dan, I am less than impressed with the Revival. The “old school” style doesn’t do much for me in the era of modern wrestling and I leave most of their matches feeling bored. However, it was nice to see Curt Hawkins break his 269 match losing streak, and for him and his old tag team partner Zack Ryder to get their moment and some tag team gold out of it. They definitely should’ve tried to give even a few weeks of build to this, because a Ryder and Hawkins win should have felt bigger than it was.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

This is ostensibly the “get as many guys on the card who don’t have matches already as possible” match, but basically jobbed all those poor suckers out so we could culminate the abysmal Braun Strowman vs Colin Jost and Michael Che comedy skit. Yes, that’s right, we’re going to focus on some of the least popular Saturday Night Live cast members for a comedy jobber match at the expense of the rest of the guys on the roster. Swell.

Main Card

Alexa Bliss, the show’s host, comes out and tries to save this segment she’s forced to do where she “creates a WrestleMania moment” at the snap of her fingers… by bringing out Hulk Hogan. Divine retribution strikes moments later when Hogan flubs his lines in front of 80,000 people (after poking fun at a previous flub to boot) and the rest of the world watching. Insert an “it’s what he and the WWE deserve” gif.

It’s fine, it’s fine. They move along and out comes Paul Heyman, saying if Brock Lesnar can’t main event, he wants to go first so he can get the hell out of there. Lesnar’s got the right idea, this show is going to drag like molasses and I honestly wonder why someone would aspire for the main event of a seven-hour card anymore. But more on that later, we have a match.

Brock Lesnar (c) vs Seth Rollins RAW Universal Championship

This was a fun match to start the card and Seth Rollins honestly shocked me by winning. I thought after his dominating Lesnar the last few weeks they’d for sure let Lesnar keep the belt until the Saudi Arabia blood money supercard when Roman Reigns could win it back from him. Shows you what I know. At least we can get back to having the top title regularly appearing on RAW again.

AJ Styles vs Randy Orton

These two have been work shooting on each other for weeks and the match kept the overall intensity. Styles won after two Phenomenal Forearms. Look, this was a good match. Even a PPV blowoff worthy match. But with a massive bloated running time, did this match really need to happen save for a way to jam two veterans on the card?

SmackDown! Tag Team Championship Fatal Four Way

Again, like the RAW tag titles, this had zero buildup. Alexa Bliss popped up on the show the week before WrestleMania and announced the titles would be defended. That’s it. At least Styles and Orton had build up that made me care. The only possible excuse you can use here is that they wanted to showcase the titles a little bit. (Fun note, every active title in the WWE was competed for at WrestleMania this year, so at least they’re trying.) The Usos retained, and I want to care, but I really can’t.

The Miz vs Shane McMahon: Falls Count Anywhere

We’re back to a match with buildup, but a finish that left me scratching my head. Shane-O did not need the win here. He’s an authority figure and part-time wrestler at best. The Miz is a marquee wrestler who more than deserves to go back up to the main event scene. And yet Shane picks up a win with a screwball finish by basically just flopping on the Miz after an admittedly impressive 15-foot superplex off the stage? What? I will touch on this later.

Women’s Tag Team Championship Fatal Four Way

WWE, look. I know you’re obsessed with an even level win and loss record. Fine, it’s your money. But you couldn’t even let the inaugural champions (Sasha Banks and Bayley) have a WrestleMania moment and actually hold the belts for more than a couple of months? I would not have minded the IIconics’ win nearly so much if this had happened at Summerslam. I like the cowardly heel schtick, and it would have made for a great win… at another show. This is not how you build up storied champions. On a side note, Beth Phoenix looked phenomenal in her “out of retirement match special”.

Daniel Bryan (c) vs Kofi Kingston SmackDown! WWE Championship

Well, thank the lord that Kofi didn’t catch fire back around Summerslam like Becky Lynch, because the WWE booking would have absolutely wrecked his WrestleMania push. As it is, they got lucky and found lightning in a bottle at Elimination Chamber, and managed to not ruin a by the numbers story that resulted in one of the best feel-good moments of the night as Kofi finally, finally, got his moment. An 11-year veteran, he more than deserves it, and I have nothing negative to say about this match.

Samoa Joe (c) vs Rey Mysterio United States Championship

Rey’s recent injuries probably necessitated what wound up to be a brutal squash of a match. I’m okay with it because they had to follow Kofi’s win and the crowd was already burnt out. Overall an effective and quick match that let Samoa Joe finally reach the Showcase of the Immortals and add legitimacy to his title reign. Rey will bounce back fine, and I’d rather they keep Mustafa Ali away from a glorified squash when they could build him for a massive showdown with Joe come Summerslam.

Roman Reigns vs Drew McIntyre

Well. Roman won. It’s frustrating if you’re a fan of McIntyre, because every single time you think brass is finally going to launch him to the main event scene, he’s cut off at the knees. Roman wouldn’t have been hurt in the slightest by taking the L here, and setting up McIntyre as the dominant heel that Seth Rollins has to overcome moving forward. But no. Roman needed a meaningless win and once again, McIntyre was cut short when it counted.

Elias and John Cena remembering he was a white Marky Mark Rapper

Look, it let Elias get onto the card and I did giggle at the return of the Doctor of Thugganomics. But that’s all I really have to say about it, and it honestly could have been cut.

Triple H vs Batista: No Holds Barred

For a guy who hasn’t wrestled in some years and another man who is semi-retired, this match had absolutely no business running as long as it did. While it was filled with some honestly brutal and hard to watch spots, it went on far too long for a card that was already bloated for time. I guess good on y’all for getting a final blow-off match for Trips and Batista, but it came several years too late and took an eternity to finish.

Kurt Angle vs Baron Corbin

Okay, let me preface this by saying I have no problem with Kurt Angle doing the job to a new guy to help solidify him on the roster. I also have no problem with Kurt retiring as it’s become obvious his years of in-ring work have finally caught up to him and fast. However, Kurt retiring and doing the job to a guy with such an obvious ceiling as Baron Corbin seems like a colossal waste of an opportunity when you have the likes of guys who had no opponents like Kevin Owens, the when is he coming back Sami Zayn, Mustafa Ali, or even Drew McIntyre would have been better served than his job out to Roman Reigns.

What. A. Waste.

Bobby Lashley (c) vs Finn Balor Intercontinental Championship

Hopefully the rubber match for the two and their feud, Bobby Lashley drops the title back to Finn Balor who shows up in his demon persona. Back in NXT is was clear his demon persona had a story behind it and it meant something when Balor went demonic. We didn’t really have any sort of buildup for why this matters in this match, but at least his demon gimmick was protected and Balor walked away once again with the belt. Maybe he can hold onto it for longer this time around and build up a historic run with it like Seth Rollins did last year.

Becky Lynch vs Ronda Rousey vs Charlotte Flair Winner Take All

As mentioned waaaaaaaaay back at the beginning of this monster, Charlotte punked out Asuka for the SmackDown! women’s title which let the WWE brass decide to put both belts on the line for this main event fight. Honestly, I don’t even care at this point. I’m burnt out. Why do you want to be a main eventer at WrestleMania when the crowd and audience at home has put in almost a full day’s work shift waiting to get to this point? When the card is this long how does it help your main eventers when a not insignificat chunk of observers is just begging for the show to be over?

Anyway, this match was thankfully short with an absolutely awful finish that I’m sure will serve to kick off yet a further feud with Ronda and Becky tonight on RAW because don’t ya know Ronda’s shoulders weren’t touching the mat? It used to be that WrestleMania was a time of clearing all the stories on the card so the new season could start fresh and people could move on. Now… it just seems like we’re set for round eleventymillion of the way too overdone Becky and Ronnie story that Charlotte will still find a way to worm into and keep every other woman on the rosters still buried beneath them. It’s the same issue I have with Shane McMahon’s win setting up the feud to continue. Let. It. Die.

I love the Man, I love what she represents and how hard she’s had to work to get where she is. I’m truly happy for Becky to have her WrestleMania moment at the Show of Shows. But the creative staff nearly ruined all her heat getting her there with stupid angles and unnecessary twists and turns, and now they’ve added a wonky finish that won’t even let her fully have that win without assholes wanting to add an asterisk to it.

Update: Okay, so maybe just Charlotte vs Becky moving forward, apparently Rousey broke her hand last night and will have to take some time off to rehab that injury. That also might have played into the wonky finish from last night. Injuries happen and sometimes plans have to change on the fly.


So there you have it. All of Kori’s hot takes from the show that never ends. What did you think? Do you agree that the show lasts an eternity, or did you find yourself wanting more? Do you agree with the match opinions? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of WWE

Latest Posts

New Iron Fist 50th Anniversary Special Preview Shows A Dark Past And Uncertain Future For Danny Rand

Featuring stories from an all-star lineup of creators, the issue will pack a startling ending that sets up Danny Rand’s next saga.

‘Fresh Kills’ Uses the Mob to Explore Women’s Rage

The best movies about the mob are rarely merely...

Faeforge Academy: Episode 169 – Rebirth

The Void Mother speaks. And Rain must choose... The Faeforge...

The Dissonance: Reflections on a Conversation with Shaun Hamill

We’re doing things a little differently, this time. Shaun...

The Acolyte Delivers The Rest Of The Story, But Still Feels Incomplete

In my review last week, I mentioned that now...

From the Vault: ‘Cotton Comes to Harlem’

"Keep it Black until I get back." The names Melvin...