I have been to many a wrestling show in my 37 years on this planet. Admittedly, I have never been to a WrestleMania. The sounds, the smells, even the very energy throughout AT&T Stadium was infectious. I had my concerns with this show. Just 48 hours prior, NXT Takeover Dallas put on one of the best shows WWE has aired in months, if not years. I had my doubts as to if World Wrestling Entertainment could follow it up with their biggest show of the year. Complaints about the writing, nearly a quarter of their roster on the injury list and a slew of other problems further reinforced my doubts. However, I still held out hope that WWE would surprise me.
RYBACK vs. KALISTO (United States Championship): I have been lukewarm to this feud from the very outset. I knew this would be the most basic David vs. Goliath feud and story wise, it has proven me right. There was a slow build, with Kalisto trying to break down the Big Guy, but Ryback would not go down that easy. Ryback laid in several blows, disorienting the champion. Kalisto kept the pace up to keep Ryback off of his game. However, each time Kalisto tried to get to the top rope, Ryback cut him off. Ryback delivered a devastating suplex. But it wasn’t enough to keep Kalisto down and he finally was able to rebound and deliver Salida del Sol, picking up the win. WINNER: KALISTO
TEAM TOTAL DIVAS vs. TEAM BAD & BLONDE: With a ten person tag match, things are expected to get out of hand very fast. Alicia Fox started against Summer Rae and before Fox could get off a beautifully executed backbreaker, all members of both teams immediately got involved. The referee cleared the ring. Emma then tagged in against Eva Marie. The “you can’t wrestle” chants towards Eva Marie were deafening as there were a few strikes and arm drags. Then Naomi and Natalya squared off. These two have great chemistry and would do well to start a feud soon. Paige and Natalya teamed up to deliver the finishing move of Natalya’s blood relatives, Jim the Anvil Neidhart and Bret the Hitman Hart, the Hart Attack. Lana made her in ring debut delivering a sharp wheel barrow kick to Paige. Paige cleared all of her opponents out of the ring and performed an amazing splash out of the ring, taking out all five opponents. Brie Bella then got the hot tag and looked past her opponent Naomi, wishing to take out Lana. Eva Marie shocked the crowd delivering Sliced Bread #2. Brie cornered Naomi and locked in the Yes Lock, making Naomi tap out. WINNERS: TEAM TOTAL DIVAS
THE USOS vs. THE DUDLEY BOYZ: This feud is red hot, so there weren’t going to be any arm drags or holds at the opening of the bout. This was a brawl from the moment the bell rung. Bubba Ray did what he does best, taunted his opponents and called their father, Rikishi, washed up. He, like D-von, unleashed a whooping on Jey Uso. Jimmy was finally able to get the hot tag, but the nine time tag team champions had it scouted. An inverted 3-D was not able to keep Jimmy down. He tagged in Jey, who delivered a super kick. The Usos won the match, but the Dudleys looked to get the last laugh by putting Jimmy and Jey through tables. The Usos turned the tables and splashed the Dudleys through their namesake weapons. WINNERS: THE USOS
DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. THE MIZ vs. SAMI ZAYN vs. STARDUST vs. SIN CARA vs. ZACK RYDER vs. KEVIN OWENS (Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match): This match wasted no time getting the fans involved with a Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn face off as nearly 100,000 were cheering this on. The Miz threw a ladder at Sin Cara, not trying to be fancy with taking his opponents out. Ziggler and Zayn tossed Miz from the ladder, with Zayn then delivering a Blue Thunder Bomb to Ziggler. Owens then delivered a back body drop to Owens onto a ladder. Ryder delivered the Rough Ryder to Owens. While all of the opponents were outside of the ring, Zayn dived through the ladder and over the top rope, taking them all out. Ziggler then delivered super kicks all over the place. Stardust pulled out his own ladder from under the ring, which matched his polka dot ring attire. He spun the ladder around, shades of the great Terry Funk. But the Miz delivered the Skull Crushing Finale to Stardust onto a ladder. Owens performed a splash from the top rope to Zayn, onto a ladder. The bodies around the ring resembled a car wreck. Ryder delivered an elbow drop, shades of the late Macho Man Randy Savage, from the top of a ladder to the Miz. Ziggler then performed a facebuster to Ryder from the top of a ladder. Sin Cara was pushed off the top of the ladder, falling out of the ring onto Stardust, who was laying across another ladder. Mayhem ensued all over ringside. Zayn delivered a half Dragon Suplex to Owens onto a ladder. Zack Ryder shocked everyone by making his way to the top of the ladder and grabbing the Intercontinental title belt. This was an unexpected ending to a phenomenal match. WINNER: ZACK RYDER
CHRIS JERICHO vs. AJ STYLES: The rubber match in this heated rivalry, both men locked up in the most aggressive collar & elbow tie up ever seen. Styles clotheslined Jericho out of the ring early on, aggravating the Ayatollah of Rock & Rolla. Jericho went for his corner springboard dropkick. Styles had it scouted, dodged it, then delivered said move to Jericho. After all of the high spots thus far this evening, both men wisely kept the high flying to a minimum and kept it on the mat for the most part. Y2J sank in the Walls of Jericho, but Styles made it to the bottom rope to force the break. Styles tried to connect with the Pele kick, but Jericho caught his leg and locked in the Walls of Jericho again. Styles countered it and locked in the Calf Crusher. Jericho escaped, as he did Styles’ attempt at a Styles Clash. Jericho connected with the Code Breaker, but it wasn’t enough to put Styles away. Jericho attempted to finish Styles with AJ’s own move, the Styles Clash. Styles escaped, then nailed Y2J with the move, but that couldn’t put Jericho away. Styles went to the top rope, but the veteran Jericho caught him with a Code Breaker off the top rope to seal his victory. WINNER: CHRIS JERICHO
THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS vs. THE NEW DAY (Tag Team Championship): The New Day’s entrance (coming out of a giant box of Booty-Os, dressed up as Saiyans from Dragonball Z) might have been one of the greatest Wrestlemania moments ever. The New Day did their best to get into the heads of their opponents, but Sheamus, Rusev and Alberto Del Rio would remain as focused as lasers. The League cornered Xavier Woods early on and proceeded to hammer away on him. Del Rio connected with one of the best running Enziguris in the business. Kingston finally got the hot tag and was like a human pinball, taking out all of their opponents. He landed the Boom Drop to Rusev and Sheamus simultaneously. Sheamus tried to sink in the Texas Cloverleaf, but unable to lock it in, he just powerbombed Kingston. Big E was tagged in and suplexed everything in sight, then did a suicide dive to all of his opponents outside of the ring. Del Rio did his top rope foot stomp to Kingston on the ring apron. Woods tried to roll up Sheamus to no avail. Del Rio caught Woods with a cheap shot, then Sheamus finished him with a Brogue Kick. Though the League won, they were then greeted by the entrance themes of the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels, the hardcore legend Mick Foley and the Texas Rattlesnake Stone Cold Steve Austin, who proceeded to unleash hell on the League of Nations with Sweet Chin Music, Mister Socko and a Stone Cold Stunner. The New Day then tried to dance with the three hall of famers at the end, only for Stone Cold to deliver a Stunner to Xavier Woods. WINNERS: LEAGUE OF NATIONS
DEAN AMBROSE vs. BROCK LESNAR (Street Fight): Lesnar truly is not paid by the hour and unleashed with German suplexes right out of the gate. Ambrose wouldn’t say die and tried to wear down the Beast with a Kendo Stick. This failed. Lesnar then grapped a Kendo stick and broke it over his knee…and then delivered another German suplex. Ambrose actually gave a thumbs up after that one, showing how truly unhinged he is. Dean tried to grab a kendo stick, but Lesnar’s foot was on it. Ambrose in animated fashion, tried to fight Lesnar’s foot off of it. Ambrose caught Lesnar with a low blow, then several Kendo stick shots and followed up with a suicide dive out of the ring. Ambrose pulled his gift from Terry Funk, a chainsaw, from under the ring apron. Before he could even start it, Lesnar nearly clotheslined Ambrose out of his boots. Ambrose made his way to the top rope, but Lesnar rebounded and quickly suplexed Ambrose off of it. Ambrose made use of a fire extinguisher, blinding the Beast. Ambrose then nailed Lesnar repeatedly with a steel chair and finished it off by dropkicking the chair into Lesnar. Ambrose used the chair to drop the elbow to Lesnar, but was unable to gain the pin fall. Ambrose threw a dozen chairs into the ring. Lesnar caught him with a German suplex before Ambrose could use them. Lesnar tried to F-5 Ambrose onto the chairs, but Ambrose delivered Dirty Deeds onto the chairs, yet Lesnar kicked out of the pin. Lesnar finally delivered the F-5 onto the steel chairs, pinning Ambrose for the win. Though the Beast reigned triumphant, the battle scars he took from this match let him know that he nearly underestimated Ambrose. WINNER: BROCK LESNAR
BECKY LYNCH vs. SASHA BANKS vs. CHARLOTTE (Women’s Championship): The stakes were already high, but the fact that they’re retiring the demeaning Diva’s title belt and debuting a new Women’s Championship belt, has spurred these talented women to go for pin after pin after pin in the early minutes of this match. A botched double team sunset flip wasn’t enough to tarnish this amazing match. Banks delivered a top rope head scissors so crisply that Eddie Guerrero would be proud. Charlotte caught Banks with a wheel barrel suplex into the bottom rope. Lynch then delivered a reverse DDT to Charlotte. Charlotte repaid her with a Rude Awakening off of the top rope. Lynch tried to sink in the Disarmer to Charlotte but Banks broke the hold. Charlotte then locked in the Figure Four leg lock to Lynch, but Banks stopped it with a Frog Splash from the top rope. The action was so fast and frenetic that the camera crew could barely keep up. Also, these women know each other so well, that they had to take it to the next level. Banks delivered a suicide dive to Charlotte, but nearly landed on her neck. Lynch followed up with a splash from the top rope onto Charlotte’s father, Nature Boy Ric Flair. In the chaos, Charlotte did a top rope moonsault to both of her opponents. They each went for their submission moves in succession, neither able to make the other tap out. Charlotte caught Banks with a devastating Spear. Lynch then caught Banks with a Tree of Woe, while simultaneously delivering an Exploder Suplex to Charlotte. Lynch got blindsided and Charlotte locked her into the Figure Eight. Banks tried to break the hold, Charlotte’s dad pulled Banks out of the ring, securing his daughter’s victory. WINNER: CHARLOTTE
SHANE MCMAHON vs. THE UNDERTAKER (Hell In a Cell): On the line is Undertaker’s Wrestlemania Legacy versus Shane-O-Mac’s control of Monday Night Raw. Taker took it to McMahon early in this match, delivering blow after blow after blow. McMahon tried to catch him off guard with a flurry of punches, but Taker had it scouted. Undertaker delivered Snake Eyes and then looked for his vintage Big Boot, but Shane had that scouted and caught Taker with a reverse elbow from the second rope. Taker then slowly decimated McMahon, drilling him into the cage repeatedly. He then delivered the Last Ride powerbomb to McMahon, but Shane miraculously kicked out. Shane locked Undertaker in a Triangle choke, nearly putting Taker out cold. Taker leveraged McMahon’s shoulders to a pin fall predicament, so Shane had to break the hold. Undertaker quickly grabbed McMahon and chokeslammed him onto the steel ring stairs, but Shane kicked out of the pin. Taker looked to follow up with an elbow drop, but McMahon moved and Taker hit the stairs full speed, then suckered in Taker and nailed him with a DDT onto the ring stairs. Undertaker locked in his Hell’s Gate submission, but Shane reversed it into a Sharpshooter. Shane pulled one out from the vault as he did a coast to coast dropkick to a garbage can to the Undertaker’s face. Even that didn’t fell the Phenom. Shane then used some bolt cutters to pop the hinges on one of the gates of the cell. This backfired as Taker tackled him through the cell and onto the Spanish announcers table, then followed up by smashing a monitor into McMahon’s head. Undertaker attempted to deliver the Tombstone Piledriver onto the other announcer’s table, but McMahon countered and placed him in a sleeper hold. Taker’s only way out was an amazing spot where he sacrificed himself by driving his own body and Shane’s through the table. Shane recovered and smashed a tool box into Taker’s head. McMahon then did the unthinkable, by climbing to the top of the cell. He tried to drop an elbow to the Dead Man through a table, but Taker dodged at the last minute. Shane crashed through the table so hard, it didn’t look like he’d get up again. Undertaker carried McMahon back into the ring and finished him off with a Tombstone Piledriver. Not the finish I would have went with as far as storylines are concerned, but a great match nonetheless. WINNER: UNDERTAKER
ANDRE THE GIANT MEMORIAL BATTLE ROYAL: There were several surprise entrants in this match (Diamond Dallas Page or Tatanka for example). But none shocked the fans moreso than Shaquille O’Neal. The match opened with O’Neal, Kane and Big Show squaring off. O’Neal and Show delivered a double chokeslam to Kane. Both men were eliminated as the other men wisely ganged up on the two. Many teams wisely worked together, like Goldust & R-Truth and the Ascension, the latter being eliminated though. Mark Henry both showed dominance throughout until Kane and Darren Young teamed up to eliminate him, but the win was picked up by someone that many overlooked, NXT’s Lone Wolf. An oddly brief but decent match. WINNER: BARON CORBIN
THE ROCK vs. ERICK ROWAN: The Rock cut one of the most hilarious promos in a long time, clowning on the Wyatt Family. But Rock got serious and stated that Bray had all the tools to be a top guy in the company. He then challenged either of them to a match. Rowan entered the ring and The Rock delivered a Rock Bottom, pinning Rowan in six seconds. The other members of the Wyatt Family prepared to jump the Rock until John Cena’s entrance music hit. He and Rock made short work of the Wyatt Family. It was weird seeing Cena and Rock hug afterwards, given the heat between them from a few Wrestlemanias ago, but that seems to be water under the bridge. They truly delivered a Wrestlemania moment. WINNER: THE ROCK
ROMAN REIGNS vs. TRIPLE H (WWE World Heavyweight Championship): The fans nearly booed Reigns out of the building from the moment his entrance music hit. I feel so bad for this as he’s a solid worker that’s being given poor material to work with by creative and he’s not being booked wisely. None of this is his fault. Triple H and Reigns played mental chess in the opening minutes, trying to feel each other out. Reigns seemed to develop a newfound confidence, or arrogance depending on your perspective. Triple H tried to work the arm, but Reigns over powered him in the corner, then gave a D-X crotch chop to Helmsley. It appeared that Reigns tried to hit his Drive By kick on the apron, but perhaps Triple H moved a bit too early. Helmsley then delivered a low blow. Triple H followed it up by multiple Atomic Drops. He then drilled Reigns in his surgically reconstructed nose with several hard punches. Reigns started to come back, but Helmsley delivered a beautiful powerslam. They took the fight out the ring, slamming each other’s heads into the announcer’s table. Triple H avoided a Superman punch and rolled out of the ring. But Reigns leaped off of the ring stairs with a powerful clothesline. He followed up with a Spear to Triple through the security barrier. Reigns went for the Superman punch again, but Triple H went for an armbar, trying to make the Samoan bad ass submit. Reigns powerbombed his way out of the armbar. Reigns went for the Spear, but Triple H delivered a knee to the face. Reigns delivered the Spear and tried to pin Helmsley, but Stephanie McMahon pulled the referee out of the ring. While she and Triple H spoke with the referee, Reigns went for the Spear. The two men dodged and Stephanie got hit by the Spear. Helmsley retaliated with a Pedigree, but Reigns kicked out of the pin fall. Reigns finally connected with a Spear and completed a two year long journey by defeating the Authority. WINNER: ROMAN REIGNS
Wrestlemania 32 was a solid show with minor problems. Several good matches with quite a few questionable finishes. I expected the worst and was pleasantly surprised. What were your thoughts on the WWE’s grand spectacle this year?