The longest WrestleMania in history has, by the time you’re reading this, concluded. Longest, because it did span two nights. Night one was, I think, a very strong start to the weekend’s festivities. You can check the report card for yourself, if you are so inclined. By the end of the weekend, I had one significant thought. This was not what we wanted. It was what we needed. How can I explain that? We wanted a traditional WrestleMania. Fans jam-packed, 75,000 strong, in a football stadium (I am guessing at numbers, I am sure WWE would have embellished those anyways). The big, elaborate stage. WrestleMania in the WWE Performance Center was not what we wanted. But it was what we needed. In a world where people can’t stream the latest Netflix show fast enough, WWE gave us two nights of new content. This was the most unique WrestleMania. It was not what we wanted. It was what we needed. And with that in mind, let’s crack open this second WrestleMania 36 In A Nutshell!
Best Match of the night:
I debated and debated…and for me I have to go with two choices.
One obvious, one not so much.
— WWE (@WWE) April 6, 2020
The no so obvious one? I go with Otis and Dolph Ziggler. Why? Because that felt like a traditional WrestleMania program-we got a nice, feel-good ending to a program that had been building for months. It was satisfying, even if I said out loud “wow, Ziggler just jobbed for Otis”. Now, in a true next step, this week will have that masked man revealed to Ziggler, giving us the next program.
Don’t know if quarantine will allow that so fast, but we shall see.
The second? That’s easy. Last Man Standing, and it was not even close.
Worst match of the night:
I have to be honest…the Firefly Fun House match may be well received by some. Maybe many. I was not a fan. Like, was it going to be like that in Raymond James, in front of the thousands of fans? It’s hard to imagine it would have been. I get that things are different now with the shutdowns due to the pandemic. I totally understand that.
But comparing the Fun House to the Boneyard match? Saturday got the better match, and it wasn’t even close.
The Fun House required way too much suspension of disbelief, more than in almost any other WrestleMania match I can remember. I mean, what match, heavily produced or not, has an opponent seemingly going along with costume changes and comes off like a bad trip?
As a promo? As a way to hype the actual match? Sure, it would make sense. As the actual match? It fell short. And having looked at Twitter, it does seem like I will be in the minority here. Maybe it will grow on me. I do appreciate the content and the jabs and jokes and all that. I do. It just didn’t do it for me in a match perspective, and that’s how I judged it.
Star of the Night
As with night one, I give a broad tip of the cap to the entire WWE team. The Superstars, the production folks, every person involved in putting these two days together.
From someone who has covered this for a good portion of my adult life, who is in one of the more locked down cities in the United States, these last two nights provided me with more of a break than I even thought I needed. Also, more than I thought I could even get from a pre-recorded ‘Mania.
I think the unsung heros here were every single soul who knew the results for over a week, and managed to provide no spoilers.
Spot of the Night:
I can’t single out a specific spot. Not like Saturday.
No, for Sunday, I will take the easy way out and say “the Last Man Standing match”. For a few reasons, naturally.
For one, we got some good spots. I particularly liked Edge dangling from the ceiling to drop the elbow on the conference table. The other would probably be the leap from the top of the storage cage, through Orton and the table.
For another, after nine years, to see Edge taking those bumps was both exciting and nerve-wracking. While I doubt WWE would have let him do the match if there was a grave risk, accidents can happen. I think that’s a big reason why the first guy to go toe to toe with him was Orton.
Jobber of the Night:
Can I go with Mojo Rawley here? I mean, he did lose the 24/7 title to a man (Gronk) who isn’t officially a WWE Superstar yet, right?
Upset of the Night:
I know the announcers framed it as though Ripley winning and retaining over Charlotte would have been an upset. I actually see it the other way around. Charlotte winning the NXT Championship is a bit of an upset to me…or at least, a shock. I gather WWE wants to elevate NXT a bit more, and/or give RAW and SmackDown some Charlotte-free time. We shall see how that goes, especially now in a quarantined world.
Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:
That Last Man Standing match. Just…wow. Impressive display. Not really a match, obviously. Rather, a brawl. But it worked.
Commentary of the night:
No lines, just this observation. Having the commentary done, loud as they are, in an otherwise empty arena? Sucks for the instant replay, because you heard them. Just weird. I noticed it more over the last two days than the previous couple weeks of taped shows.
LOL Moment of the night:
Titus O’Neill, fill-in host for Gronk, after the Fun House match came to an end…”I don’t know what I just saw”.
New WWE Champion-Drew McIntyre. New NXT Women’s Champion in Charlotte Flair. Edge survived his comeback match. The Firefly Fun House was forgettable. All noteworthy.
And, throwing this out there, Bianca Belair came in to take out Zelina Vega, who was beating up Belair’s husband. Noteworthy, because up till that point, Belair was more of a heel. Wondering if we will have a broader face turn for her.
For me, I was somewhat disappointed with Charlotte winning the NXT Championship. I reserve final judgement until I can see where this actually goes…because the payoff could be good. My concern here though is, the payoff that the WWE envisioned when things were hatched two to three months back may not be as achievable in the world now.
That’s how much the world has changed in a couple months.
The bigger flop was the Fun House match. I hated the Orton/Wyatt heavily produced match a few years back. This one was, I think, even worse.
Happy to see Drew McIntyre finally get that elusive main roster World Championship.
The women’s five way was better than I figured it would be.
Last Man Standing was the highlight for me, I think. For night two, it rivaled what the Boneyard Match was to night one-at least, in my opinion.
After the final bell:
— Will Menzies (@WillMenziesArts) April 6, 2020
It wasn’t the usual type. It wasn’t ideal. But just like how it’s been during the ECQ for some of us, it was a time to experiment– to try new things, to discover what works and to hopefully take advantage of those that do in the future.
— A b i (@AbiYuson) April 6, 2020
These tweets sum up my feelings. Both are very true and very accurate.