Drew McIntyre is your new WWE Champion. In the main event of the strangestof all time, McIntyre pinned Brock Lesnar, clean in the middle, to become world champ.
But that’s not what this show will be remembered for. Instead, it’ll be remembered for the preposterously delightful Firefly Funhouse “match” between John Cena and Bray Wyatt. It was like, where the Boneyard match completely overshadowed Braun Strowman’s Universal Championship win — but the Firefly Funhouse was even better.
Elsewhere on the show, Charlotte Flair won the NXT Championship and Bayley retained her SmackDown Women’s Championship. Between those two matches and Saturday’s Tag Team and Raw Championship matches, the women had a clean sweep of strong performances this weekend.
The lowlight of the show was, surprisingly, Edge versus Randy Orton. I know, it hurts me to say it too.
WrestleMania 36 is also available via the Fite service.
Drew McIntyre defeats Brock Lesnar
We got ourselves a new WWE Champion. After four Claymore Kicks, Drew McIntyre pinned Brock Lesnar to win the title.
This was a simple match. McIntyre hit a Claymore Kick on Lesnar. Lesnar kicked out. Lesnar got a few suplexes in and three F5s. McIntyre kicked out. McIntyre hits three more Claymores for the win.
Rating: 2 stars. Nothing but big moves. It may have worked with a crowd, but it didn’t here — especially since we saw basically the same match on Saturday between Goldberg and Braun Strowman. (It was better than that match, though.)
Bray Wyatt “wins” Firefly Funhouse match
OK. Bray Wyatt versus John Cena in a Firefly Funhouse match. Heaven or hell, right? 99% chance of awful, 1% chance of being unforgettably great.
This was unforgettably great.
I implore you to go out of your way to watch this, because talking about it does it no justice. Like Saturday’s Boneyard match, it was essentially a short film. Imagine Bray Wyatt as a videogame boss, taking John Cena through different moments in his career and making him relive them.
There was John Cena’s debut. John Cena as a rapper. John Cena’s match against Wyatt at WrestleMania 30. And, for some reason, John Cena as Hulk Hogan and Bray Wyatt as Eric Bischoff during an episode of WCW Nitro. After all this insanity, Wyatt turned into The Fiend and laid out Cena with a Mandible Claw.
It makes no sense. I cannot explain to you why this was good. It was just ridiculous and absurd but in the best way. Watch it.
Bayley retains SmackDown Women’s Championship
Bayley successfully defends her SmackDown Women’s Championship against Sasha Banks, Lacey Evans, Tamina and Naomi in a five-way elimination match.
After a slow start, this five-way ended up as a very good match. Tamina was out first as all four women hit top-rope moves on her, one after the other, and then stacked themselves on top to pin her. From there, it was Bayley and Banks teaming together against Evans and Naomi.
After Evans was thrown outside, Naomi took on both Bayley and Banks alone. This was a lot of fun, as Naomi put up some creative offense. But eventually she was overcome by the two, and tapped out to a Banks Statement. It looked like Evans would suffer the same fate, but Bayley accidentally hit Banks with a knee causing some discord. Among it all, Evans scored a Women’s Right punch to Banks and eliminated her.
Evans has improved an impressive amount over the past 9 months. She did great here, having a strong back-and-forth with Bayley. As she looked to win, Banks returned to the ring and hit a Backstabber, allowing Bayley to get the win.
Rating: 3.5 stars. Charlotte versus Rhea Ripley was a better wrestled match, but in the empty-arena environment this may have been the best match of the night so far. Bayley’s best match as SmackDown Women’s Champion, too.
Street Profits retain Raw Tag Team Championships
The Street Profits retain their Raw Tag Team Championships in what would have been a solid Raw match. Angelo Dawkins pinned Austin Theory after Montez Ford hit a huge Frog splash on Theory. After the match, Theory, Angel Garza and Zelina Vega beat down The Street Profits. They’re saved by Bianca Belair, who I suppose makes her Raw debut by attacking Vega.
The match wasn’t particularly memorable, but it was high-energy — exactly what was needed after Edge versus Orton.
Rating: 2 stars.
Rob Gronkowski wins 24/7 Title
Umm. Yeah. Why not?
Edge beat Randy Orton in a Last Man Standing match
Edge is a legend. Randy Orton is great. No disrespect to either guy. But this was an offensively boring match. It went on forever. And ever. And ever. And so on.
It had a cool open. Edge was waiting in the ring as Orton’s music played. Orton appears out of nowehere and RKOs edge — he had been dressed as a cameraman and snuck in behind Edge. What followed was over 30 minutes of generic brawling throughout the Performance Center. Below is a gif of the only noteworthy moment:
They brawled in the gym. They brawled in the warehouse. They brawled in a board room. In the end, they brawled on top of a production truck. Atop that truck, they hit their finishes and Edge ultimately won with a Conchairto chair shot.
Rating: 0 stars. So long. Nothing happening. Announcers sounded bored. I was bored too.
Otis defeats Dolph Ziggler
I mentioned before that Charlotte and Rhea Ripley would have been particularly helped by a live crowd. This match was that times 10. Otis’ schtick is so over the top, it relies on crowd affirmation to make it work. Watching him do his Hulk-up air humping, for instance, really doesn’t work without the crowd reacting to it. Plus, so much of this match is about Otis finally getting his hands on Ziggler — another element that the crowd needs to affirm for it to work properly.
For his part, Ziggler did great. His offense was crisp and, as usual, selling was on point.
After a distraction from Sonia Deville, who escorted Ziggler to the ring, Ziggler hit Otis with a kick to the groin. Later, Mandy Rose came out to the ring and, with the ref distracted, gave Ziggler a low blow. Otis nails his Caterpillar elbow drop for the win.
Otis and Rose celebrated in the ring after, with Otis getting a kiss. It was kind of gross. Happy WrestleMania!
Rating: 2 stars.
Aleister Black pins Bobby Lashley
After a decent match, Aleister Black defeated Bobby Lashley with a wicked Black Mass. Lashley, in control, had Black on his shoulders for a Dominator slam, but Lana encouraged Lashley to put Black down and hit Black with a spear instead. He acquiesces — but gets caught mid-spear with a Black Mass.
The problem with this bout was that Black was the obvious winner. That made Lashley’s offense, which took up the majority of the match, feel flat. Even in an empty arena, though, it’s fun watching Black flip around and hit his gnarly strikes.
Rating: 2 stars.
Charlotte wins the NXT Championship
The main show kicks off with Charlotte Flair winning the NXT Women’s Championship, submitting Rhea Ripley with a Figure Eight.
All matches at these shows would be better with a crowd, obviously, but this one would have particularly benefited. The two flowed so well together, with the bout going back and forth throughout, you get the sense this would have been an extremely hot opener for WrestleMania day two.
It began with Ripley starting on top, hitting a Riptide slam very early. It was but a two count, and before long Charlotte gained control and worked over Ripley’s leg. Charlotte is fantastic at looking like she’s trying to win a fight, as opposed to performing a wrestling match. That helps a lot in a situation like this.
The two had strong chemistry, though Ripley, just 23 years young, looks a little sloppy at points. (Still impressive to be so good so quick, though.) There was no uber creative spot that you’d never seen before, but it was a fun match throughout.
Rating: 3.5 stars.
Liv Morgan defeats Natalya after a short match with a rollup.
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