Sunday, April 3, 2016

WrestleMania Live Blog and Comments

Thanks for joining CST for its first live blog of WrestleMania. Renee Young, Booker T., and Lita on the preshow kickoff. Lita looking good and has a surprise for us in hour two.

Kickoff matches:

United States Championship: Kalisto (C) vs. Ryback:
Kalisto makes his way to the ring in a new mask over his normal mask that looks like the Denver Broncos logo, although I'm sure it's a dragon. Ryback follows. Ryback spikes Kalisto and throws him over the top rope with one arm. Jerry Lawler is embracing his new heel persona. Kalisto over the top rope with knees but Ryback comes back and slams Kalisto onto the floor and barricade. Goldberg chants from the crowd and Ryback throws Kalisto like a rag doll as Jerry Lawler says. Commercial break? I guess we need to take a breath from the furious action in the ring. Back at it. Ryback still dominating. Kalisto with kicks but Ryback thwarts all offensive attempts from the luchadore. Lawler calls him the Mexican Mosquito. How good is heel Lawler?  The more this goes, the more I think Kalisto is winning this as Ryback dominates and toys with Kalisto. Lawler continues to rag on Kalisto's small size. Delayed superplex reversed by Kalisto for a two count. Comeback by Ryback again. Kalisto reverses something into a DDT. Corkscrew torpedo thingee off the ropes by Kalisto. Ryback with a spinebuster. Network freezing damn it. Turnbuckle becomes exposed. Kalisto drop toe hold to Ryback on the exposed turnbuckle followed by the Solida del Sol for the three count. That exposed turnbuckle is deadly I tell ya.
Winner: Kalisto

Total Divas vs. Team B.A.D. and Blonde:
Total Divas out first. Daniel Bryan is a lucky man. The heels are out next. Lana's first match along with Emma repackaged from NXT. Alicia Fox and Summer Rae start out. Alicia's pretty good. Tamina Snuka tags in and now all ten divas are in. Commercial break as we settle things down in the ring. Back with Eva Marie and Emma. Eva Marie booed and then gets a nice pop with a nice move I can't spell.  Eva Marie hard tag to Natalya for no reason. Natalya and Naomi . Natalya tags in Paige to a big pop. Hart Foundation closeline by Natalya and Paige. Naomi flying press into the ropes. Emma comes in and takes control. Quite a difference from when she was dancing with Santino a couple years ago. Lana in to a big pop and taunts Brie. Tamina for the pin attempt on Paige. Tamina is a giant compared to the other women. You'd think Tamina would've made a bigger impact in her career. Chaos on the turnbuckle. Paige with a flying cross body to the outside on the heels. Emma back in. Paige tags in Brie. Yes kicks and the crowd pops. Lana saves the pin. All ten women taking turns hitting moves.  Brie mode blocked by Naomi.  Lana throws Brie off top turnbuckle but Brie reverses Naomi with a damn nice move into the Yes Lock for the win. Nikki Bella in neck brace comes out to celebrate with Team Total Divas.
Winners: Team Total Divas

Lita in the ring now with some kind of unveiling, putting over past Divas. Lita seems more comfortable on the mic than in her wrestling days. Lita putting over the triple threat divas title match. Lita unveils the first ever WWE Women's Championship belt, which looks like the WWE Heavyweight Championship belt but red and white. Nice looking belt and it looks like the Diva Era is over in the WWE (about time... a bit of a degrading name if you ask me).

Usos vs. The Dudley Boyz:
Usos out with their dance and chant. Rikishi's sons got themselves over the past few years. The Dudleys out now. Good to see the Dudleys back in the WWE, although I did like the Bully Ray gimmick in TNA. Dudleys take control off the bat. Bubba yells something about Rikishi. Bubba's got some good mic skills. Bubba continues to trash talk. He really improved in TNA. One of the Usos tags in the other and the Usos are in control now. What's Up dive to the nether region from the Dudleys. Superkick by the Usos. Dudley Death Drop and kickout from one of the Usos. Usos win with a superkick in a pretty lame match. Dudleys attack after the match and out comes the table. Network freeze again.  Usos reverse with superkicks, which seems to be their new complete move set. Double dive by the Usos through the tables BY GODDDD!
Winners: The Usos

And now for the Main Card...

Waiting on the main card to begin, with a vignette about Roman Reigns's title hopes. Roman has been heavily booed by smart mark types who didn't enjoy Vince McMahon writing horrible promos about Jack and the Beanstalk and Bugs Bunny. Vince is a great heel and hilarious in ring, but he's tone deaf when it comes to natural conversation.

Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: 
Two Clevelanders get called out first for the opening event of the main card: Dolph Ziggler and Miz, followed by NXT phenom Sami Zayn. Next is Stardust, wearing polka-dotted attire in homage to his father, the late Dusty Rhodes. Next is Sin Cara, who's been pretty much buried but should be good for a high-spot or two. Kevin Owens rounds out the card. He looks like a guy who plays a lot of softball and yells at the umpires. We're experiencing technical difficulties folks, so please bear with us.

***The WWE Network crapped out on Amazon TV at the home front reducing two 40-something dudes to huddle in front of a laptop for 5 hours, which, unfortunately made it near impossible to continue the riveting, live coverage you fine folks deserve. We at CST apologize... Amazon and WWE will be getting a strongly worded letter.

As to not disappoint our fans, we will continue this post from this point in the card as a review of the show. Buckle up... it's about to get "bumpy"...****

Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match (continued): 
There was a lot of furious action in this match, one of the best of the night. The true stars, in my opinion, were Sin Cara and Sami Zayn, both delivering incredible spots. Sin Cara got pushed off a ladder and managed to spring off the top rope onto a pile of competitors. Later, he fell of a ladder onto Stardust, who was draped across another ladder that was draped from the ring apron to a table I believe. You had to see it. The ladder and Stardust bent in half upon impact. Zayn's spot, although a bit less daring, featured a dive through the ladder, over the top rope and onto the others. It looked really cool. In the surprise of the night, Zack Ryder won the belt taking advantage of the Miz's showboating. That's a life lesson for you all.
Winner: Zack Ryder

AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho
In my WrestleMania 32 Preview, I said that I would boycott WWE if Styles lost to Jericho here. I've been known to make bold "I will never" statements in regards to my sports teams and I may have been a bit dramatic in that statement, however, I was NOT happy about this finish. Why? It made Styles look like an idiot in my opinion, playing to the crowd which ultimately cost him the match when Jericho caught him with a Code Breaker amidst a Phenomenal Forearm. Memo to WWE... Styles isn't a rookie. Sting losing to Triple H and now this...
Winner: Chris Jericho

The New Day vs. The League of Nations
No titles on the line here. Just a pointless 3 on 4 matchup. New Day's cereal box entrance was okay, other than that, nothing to really talk about here.
Winners: League of Nations

After the match WWE Hall of Famers/Legends Mick Foley, HBK, and Stone Cold Steve Austin came to the ring and took out The League. Rousev sold a stunner amazingly... best since The Rock. New Day came back in the ring to dance with the legends. Xavier Woods received a hellacious Stunner and the legends celebrated with beer.

Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose (No Holds Barred Street Fight):
How a match between Lesnar and Ambrose was boring is beyond me, much less a no holds barred street fight. In case we didn't know, Brock is a beast. Ambrose got suplexed a gazillion times as to be expected. Suplex City still receives a huge pop, but it's getting old in my humble opinion. Not much of no holds barred here either... a kendo stick, a chain saw that didn't work, and a barbed wire baseball bat that missed... crazy I tell ya. Eventually, Ambrose succumbed to an F5 on a pile of steel chairs.
Winner: Brock Lesnar

WWE Women's Championship Triple Threat Match: Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks:
Sasha came out with cousin Snoop Dogg and some chick singing her entrance song. Cool moment as Snoop Dogg dropped some rhymes on the way to the ring. Loved the match. Hated the ending. Charlotte hit an insane moonsault from the top turnbuckle to Sasha and Becky on the floor. You never saw her dad do that. Why did I hate the ending? Because I hate what they did with Becky. Not only did she eventually tap out (somewhat) cleanly  to the Figure Eight (Ric Flair held Sahsa back from making the save), she got put in no less than 3 Bank Statements. Becky deserves more than to be the punching bag. I really hope she gets a run with the title someday.
Winner: Charlotte

Hell in a Cell: Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker:
Undertaker pretty much dominated this one, as he probably should have. We got treated to insane Shane, when he leapt from the top of the cage to (try to) deliver a Macho Man elbow to Taker on a table below. This was scary folks. Shane missed. Taker tombstoned. Game. Set. Match.
Winner: Undertaker

The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal:
Almost forgot about this one. Not in the review, but during the event. Once slated for the kickoff show, this match FOLLOWED the Hell in a Cell match. Some nice surprises... DDP and Tatanka... and SHAQ! Wow Shaq is humungous. He towers over the Big Show. Shaq and Big Show eliminated a bunch of jobber/midcarders in some cute little spots before being eliminated together. NXT's Baron Corbin eliminated Kane to win this otherwise uneventful time sucker.
Winner: Baron Corbin

The Rock came out next with the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders and what looked like a T-shirt gun but turned out to be a blow torch. Yes, a blow torch. He lit up his name in flames for some reason. After announcing a new attendance record, the Wyatt Family hit the ring to confront The Rock. Apparently, The Rock knew this was going to happen, because he was dressed in full wrestling gear under his clothes. Suddenly, we're treated to an impromptu Rock match at Mania.

The Rock vs. Erik Rowen:
Stare down, Rock Bottom, new record. 6 second match. The Wyatt family surrounded The Rock and suddenly John Cena's music hit. Say what you will about Cena, this was a pretty cool moment. Cena and Rock fended off the Wyatts and the two former enemies celebrated.
Winner: The Rock

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: Triple H vs. Roman Reigns:
Stephanie started with some weird speech dressed in a nice dominatrix outfit. Trips then came out in his traditional over-the-top WrestleMania entrance. Good ol' Triple H... always putting himself over somehow. Reigns followed to a mix of boos and cheers. After beating the crap out of each other for the last month, the two started with.... a collar and elbow lockup. This one was boring and the crowd let them know it. At one point, we thought Triple H had part of his forehead ripped off, but it turned out to be confetti. Seriously, that was the most intriguing part of the match next to Stephanie taking a pretty big bump from a spear. After some shenanigans with the sledgehammer, Reigns won the title clean with a spear.
Winner: Roman Reigns

The show ended blandly with Reigns celebrating his victory.

Overall the show was okay. The matches were good, entertaining matches but as a whole this WrestleMania was pretty lackluster.

Second opinions from the DawgCatcha (Includes April 4 Raw results):

--Zack Ryder winning the IC title was a nice surprise. I'm not a huge fan of Ryder's broski shtick, but the way he's built his online fanbase has a certain DIY charm, and I'm glad he got his Wrestlemania moment. A short-lived moment it was, however, as Ryder dropped the strap on Monday's Raw during a match against The Miz, an affair that included Miz's real-life wife Maryse slapping Ryder's over-muscled father right in his tanned face. A longer-term feud among these parties could provide some entertainment value.

--Though Styles will eventually win his war against Jericho, WWE not putting him over on the biggest show of the year is a mistake. These two have already wrestled four times. Their 'Mania match-up could have been a No. 1 Contender bout for the next off-month PPV main event. The fact that Styles won such a match Monday - this one of the four-way-dance variety - does little to alleviate the problem of jobbing him out to a 45-year-old part-timer currently cruising along in "cool dad" mode.

--Ambrose vs. Lesnar may have been the night's biggest disappointment. The chainsaw spot was at least funny, if for nothing else Paul Heyman's horrified schoolmarm reaction when Ambrose tried to rev the thing up. The match's relative restraint made sense for the TV-PG era, I suppose. No blood allowed means no chainsaws, working or otherwise, and no barbed wire bats used for anything else but stage dressing. Which begs the question of why a "no holds barred street fight" was scheduled at all. A simple no-DQ contest would have tamped down expectations and made the match's rather abrupt steel chair coup de grĂ¢ce more palatable.

--The women's contest was my match of the night. Fast paced with some good psychology behind it. The new women's championship belt looks very cool, too. Still, I'd like to see the family aspect of Charlotte's title reign get fazed out. Let Charlotte stand on her own with her old man interfering or otherwise 'woo-ing' up the spotlight.

--The men's championship match was decent enough, and I have no problem with Triple H losing cleanly to Reigns. The  rise of the "Roman Empire" was inevitable, even if smark fans hate it. The trial balloon had to go up some time, and that time is now. However, WWE still has a Reigns problem, if Monday night's Wrestlemania fallout show was any indication.

Reigns was unmercifully booed by what the commentators spin-doctoringly deemed a "passionate" crowd. For WWE, boos are better than apathy, but it's going to be difficult for the Fed to pass along Reigns as a face after the way they've mishandled the character for the last year plus. Fans don't like being told who to like - I'm guessing they see Reigns as WWE's houseboy even as he's spent the last months fighting against the on-screen version of corporate avarice.

The way Reigns was booked Monday night may point to the company's plans moving forward. Reigns responded to the cascade of boos with a smirk and a short statement: "I'm not a bad guy. I'm not a good guy. I'm the guy." He then challenged the entire roster to a match before tossing the mic aside, and was answered by Jericho, Styles, Owens and Zayn. As the foursome fought, Reigns picked up his title and left. This segment accomplished two things: It kept Reigns off the stick, where he's nothing more than mediocre, and established a kind of "I'm the best, so screw the rest" attitude that could work even for a babyface. We shall see.