WWE WrestleMania XXXVI: Night 2

WWE WrestleMania XXXVI: Night 2

By Big Red Machine
From April 05, 2020

WWE WrestleMania XXXVI: Night 2
STEPH GIVES A SIMILAR ANNOYING SPEECH - Again… if you want to help me escape, just show me the wrestling instead of reminding me that I’m escaping from something!

GRONK IS ALSO ANNOYING - Just get me to the damn wrestling!

Rhea Ripley(c) vs. Charlotte Flair - 8.25/10

I thought this was an awesome match, and by far the most worthwhile thing we’ve seen so far this weekend. They told a good story and Rhea sold wonderfully. The only thing that held it back was the fact that I didn’t for one second buy that Charlotte really had a chance of winning.
And then Charlotte won. WHAT THE F*CK? How does this help anyone? Our top, big tough babyface- the woman who finally toppled Shayna Baszler- taps her title away clean a few months later to someone from the main roster? For what purpose? Do they really think f*cking CHARLOTTE is going to pop the ratings against AEW?


This was fine. They did your usual shine-heat-comeback stuff for a while until Lashley went for the Dominator but Lana told him to do a spear instead so he put Black down and went for the spear but got caught by Black Mass for the finish.

KAYLA BRAXTON INTERVIEWS SASHA BANKS & BAYLEY - Snore. The same usual “will Sasha and Bayley turn on each other” bullsh*t that it feels like we’ve gotten for YEARS now. I think it’s pretty damn telling that WWE STILL couldn’t think of anything new to do with these two at WrestleMania.

They advertised MITB for May 10th. Huh. I guess they’re optimistic about things getting going again.

KAYLA BRAXTON INTERVIEWS GRONK - Terrible. She asks him for his thoughts on Mojo stealing the 24/7 Title from him last night. Gronk said that he “wouldn’t mind wining the 24/7 Title.” He doesn’t even “want” to win the title. Just “wouldn’t mind” winning it. I didn’t even think it was possible to bury this title any more than they already have, but they found a way.

OTIS DOZOVIC vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Sonya Deville) - 5.75/10

This was a decent little match, but as a cap to the story, it was PERFECT. Sonya stuck her nose in the match to distract Otis and allow Dolph to hit him in the nuts, so Mandy decided that she had had enough and came out, slapped Sonya in the face and beat her up, then hit Dolph in the nuts when Dolph yelled at her, helping Otis win. Then Otis picked her up and they kissed. This is the sort of moment that makes me so sad that there was no crowd here because this feels like the sort of thing that would have been a real WrestleMania moment. Not a WrestleMania Moment™ that the announcers insist to us happens in every single match, but an actual, honest to G-d memorable moment.

Also, because I haven’t been reviewing (or really even watching) Smackdown, let me take this moment to say that this is the kind of undercard feud that has sorely been missing from WWE for a very long time. It was a well-told story that has actual consequences for the parties involved. This is not the usual we have our blow-off and then everyone goes their separate ways and if you missed the entire feud and tuned in the next night when both wrestlers started their new story, you wouldn’t know that anything had ever happened. Mandy is now a babyface and with Otis, Mandy and Dolph are no longer dating, and Mandy and Sonya are no longer a team. If you tune in on Tuesday, these people will all be in a much different situation than they were when this feud started.

Randy Orton vs. Edge - 7.5/10

Dude… Seriously. If your opponent always comes out at the beginning of his or her song, and you get fifteen seconds in and he or she hasn’t come out yet… TURN AROUND. I think Edge was the only person in the world who didn’t see this sneak attack coming.

Said sneak attack was an RKO. Edge had to get to his feet for the bell to ring and did, but was very dazed. He through a stumbling punch Orton and was caught with another RKO right away for a nearfall (or near-count, I guess).

WWE is actually trying to explain why there are ladders lying around the building (they were here for the SD tag title match last night). Did I fall into an alternate reality or something? Now I just wish they could explain to me why there was randomly a chain-link fence on the ceiling of a conference room?

They fought all over the Performance Center and did some very creative things. They told their story well and things build well within the narrative structure of the story, but the pace was pretty constant throughout, which is not a good thing when your match goes OVER THIRTY-SIX MINUTES, because it really feels like it starts to drag after a while. If they had changed the pacing up or cut ten minutes out of this, I would have rated it much higher.

Street Profits(c) vs. Angel Garza & Austin Theory (w/Zelina Vega) - 5/10

This went less than six and a half minutes. The babyfaces won clean but got jumped after the match. Zelina joined in the beat-down but Bianca Belair ran down and took her out, while the Dawkins and Ford made their own comebacks, so the heels have been beaten a second time and the babyfaces have already gotten revenge for this pot-match attack, so what the hell was accomplished by any of this? I guess you turned Bianca babyface?

On a totally different note, as badly as I thought the Street Profits needed the clean win here and as much as I hate doing short title reigns, I was kind of hoping that the heels would win, then lose the titles back tomorrow night on Raw, just to give Theory this quick main roster title reign that he can go to NXT and use to tell everyone that he’s too good for NXT and doesn’t need to be here. It’d be a rather unique way to do that angle, and the idea of theory having that sort of instant success to brag about feels so perfect for him.

TITUS O’NEIL IS OUR NEW HOST - Gronk apparently won the 24/7 Title while I wasn’t looking, so Titus is out here to be our new host because “someone has to host this show.” Do they really, though? What was the last thing Gronk- or any WrestleMania host, for that matter (Bliss, New Day)- did that actually affected the show in some way?

Bayley(c) vs. Naomi vs. Sasha Banks vs. Lacey Evans vs. Tamina - 6.75/10

Michael Cole referenced Team B.A.D. saying that they were “an important part of the Women’s Revolution five years ago.” They really weren’t. They were just kind of there. All of the actual stories were about Team PCB or Nikki Bella. Sasha didn’t do anything important until after she left the group (which was a mere six months into their run, and Sasha was actually off TV for the final month of that). Cole’s comment was prompted by a stare-down between Naomi, Sasha, and Tamina. After that stare-down they all put their fist in and did a salute. Then, moments later, Naomi and Tamina superkicked Sasha, then started to fight each other, so what the f*ck was the point of even teasing an alliance in the first place?

I was actually really liking this match until the end. They told their story with Sasha and Bayley extremely well, leading to Lacey eliminating Sasha. Then the match turned into a great little babyface vs. heel match with Bayley and Lacey. I thought Bayley using the rope that holds the turnbuckle cover on to tie Lacey’s hand to the rope so she couldn’t hit the Women’s Right nad also couldn’t move was brilliant. Lacey escaped and hit her stuff but Bayley kicked out so Lacey want at her some more… and then Sasha ran in and helped Bayley win.

After all of the effort they put into telling that story and all of the build they put into it, they gave us YET ANOTHER Sasha vs. Bayley false start. This should have been Lacey getting the big babyface victory and Sasha and Bayley blaming each other and finally starting to have a real feud, but no. Instead WWE just hit the f*cking reset button. You know that thing I was talking about earlier with Otis/Mandy/Dolph/Sonya storyline? This was the exact opposite of that.

John Cena vs. The Fiend - see below for rating…

Like last night, we have a match that I have no idea what the rules are. Cena came out to the ring, then Bray appeared on the TitanTron and cut a promo saying that Cena would have to wrestle himself. Then he walked out the door of the Firefly Funhouse, and Cena was teleported there off-screen, as when the camera panned back from the door, Cena was standing in the Firefly Funhouse, confused. Join the club, John.

Rambling Rabbit told Cena where Bray went, so Cena walked out the door, which apparently leads to a very dark room. A Vince puppet with Devil horns appeared, and the “DUN-DUN-DUNNNNNN” music was played. We’re getting f*cking comedy with puppets here in the semi-main event of WrestleMania. The puppet asked Cena if he was willing to show the necessary ruthless aggression and make the necessary sacrifices to become a star. We then got footage of Kurt Angle’s open challenge promo that led to Cena’s debut, interspersed with Bray in a ring, cutting the same promo while the camera cut a bunch of times and we got a Dutch angle, because that’s hack producers do when they want to try to be artsy.

2002 Cena showed up and Bray cut a promo on him. Cena just kept saying “RUTHLESS AGGRESSION” and taking swings at Bray while Bray ducked and a goofy sound effect played. Bray makes a comment about how it’s no wonder Cena almost got fired. Ah yes, the credo of the lazy wrestling booker. If you can’t book a competent angle, just have someone say something insider and hope the smarks go “ooooh!”

Bray ran away, then we cut to Saturday Night’s Main Event, with the Vince puppet and Mercy the Buzzard dressed as Randy Savage on commentary. We’re already at about negative five right now. We waste a bunch of time showing the intro to SNME, then Bray cuts a promo behind the old “blue bars” cage. Bray said Cena was all muscles and no talent. Then Cena showed up lifting weights and cutting a very loud promo that I could barely understand because Bray decided to talk at the same time. This is SOOOO f*cking dumb. What am I even supposed to think is happening right now? Is this John Cena a magical illusion? Is Bray controlling the real Cena and forcing him to act like an idiot?

Cena gets tired while lifting weights. Bray tells him he has a big ego. Now we’re up to rapper Cena. He’s standing in the ring having a rap-battle with Bray. Cena’s battle-rap mentions the fact that he just randomly switched gimmicks. He can apparently now only talk in rhyme. His dig at Husky Harris did make me laugh. That was one enjoyable second out of what feels like it has been ten minutes. If I’m generous, it’s now only at -9.75/10.
More dumb sound effects happened between Cena’s rhymes. He said Bray was “a slut fro opportunity. You’re blowing every chance.” That had me rolling. Only -9 now.


Cena eventually tried to attack Bray but Bray teleported out of the way of Cena’s attempted big splash in the corner. Bray then magicked Cena’s chain into his own hand and punched Cena with it. Cena is knocked out, but instead of going for a pin, Bray cuts to a promo by pre-puppet show Bray Wyatt. It turns out he’s been sitting in a rocking chair in the ring. Cena is just standing in the corner, no longer knocked out, and in what I guess is supposed to be circa 2014 John Cena gear. I don’t really remember. Bray tells Cena to “run,” then runs out of his chair and hits Cena with the clothesline in the corner. Isn’t that so artsy and clever.

Bray dances with Cena, kisses him on the forehead and goes for Sister Abigail but Cena is able to slip free. Bray magically has a chair but Cena snatches it from him. We flash back to the spot in Cena vs. Wyatt from WrestleMania XXX where Bray tried to get Cena to hit him with the chair and get DQed but Cena refused. Bray tells Cena he has a chance to “fix” this “mistake.” Cena swings the chair at Bray but Bray teleports away… and now we’re into Nitro. I would rather watch twenty minutes of the nWo taking apart the Nitro set, because at least that had a sense of progression to it. I knew that once they changed all of the WCW placards to nWo ones and made the cameramen all change their shirts it would be f*cking over. The horse sh*t I’m watching right now has no end in sight.

Bray is now Eric Bischoff for some reason. Cena is Hogan now. Nitro announcer Vince puppet says “this is such good sh*t.” No, Vince. It’s just plain sh*t.

Cena turns around, tackles Bray, and starts wailing on him, much like I have spent the past ten minutes imagining myself doing to everyone involved in coming up with and authorizing this abomination.

We cut back and forth between shots of Cena beating up Bray and the puppets reacting to it. Then we get Cena making a goofy face while we cut between shots of his various career opponents standing victorious over him. There’s even a shot of CM Punk blowing him a kiss before escaping through the crowd at Money in the Bank 2011 to make the easily-impressed mess their pants. Cena suddenly turns into jorts Cena while Bray has disappeared and been replaced by Huskus the Pig. Cena is sad because he punched a puppet a bunch of times.

Then The Fiend rose up from behind Cena. Just hit your f*cking move so this can end already!

The screen gets all grainy for some reason as they both stand up. Cena turns around and The Fiend locks in the Mandible Claw. We hear Cena’s promo from a few weeks ago vowing to put an end to Bray, while the screen does rapid static cuts between Cena locked in the submission hold and stock footage of The Fiend’s face. The Fiend hits Sister Abigail, then climbs on top of Cena and locks the hold back in. Bray appears and counts the pin. Is it over now?

Much laughing happens, The Fiend stands up and hits his pose, and Cena disappears. Cut to black. SO we’re done now? NOPE. Cut back to The Fiend growling “LET ME IN!” Now we’re done.

I’m going to do something I said I would never do and turn into post-Omega/Okada Dave Meltzer and just break my own scale willy-nilly. I rate this match a NEGATIVE 50 BILLION/10. And no, that’s not hyperbole for the sake of a joke. That is my honest to G-d real, objective rating for this piece of sh*t.

This was the worst f*cking thing I’ve ever been subjected to as a wrestling fan. At least Jenna Morasca and Sharmell were trying to have a wrestling match! I really try not to say things like this in my reviews, but this match has given me no choice: If you liked this, you’re a f*cking moron.
You can try to defend it if you want, but I already know what you’re going to say, and no; this was not art. What this was is the sh*t that results from a group of idiots confusing “weird and different for weird and different’s sake” with actual art that happens to be weird and different.
I don’t care if they made reference to a spot in a match six years ago, I don’t care how many references they made to criticism of Cena over the years or how many periods in history they played around with. THERE WAS NO F*CKING STORY HERE! It was over twenty minutes of a clip-show promo that Bray cut on Cena, and then one wrestling move at the end. F*ck this sh*t, f*ck this company, and if you enjoyed this and want to see more things like it, then f*ck you, too, because you’re part of the problem.

We cut to Titus O’Neil who is speechless, before telling us “I don’t know what I just saw.” Which is exactly the f*cking problem because what we were supposed to see was a G-d damned professional wrestling match!

Brock Lesnar(c) (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Drew McIntyre - 2.5/10

Our first finisher was hit at the fifteen-second mark of the match. It was a Claymore that got kicked out of. Drew sets up for another one but Heyman warns Brock so he’s able to avoid it. Cue some German suplexes. F-5 gets kicked out of at one. A second one gets kicked out of at two. There’s another F-5 kicked out of. Drew reverses the fourth attempted F-5 and hits a Claymore. Drew hit two more Claymores and won the title. Your time of the match is four minutes and thirty-five seconds. In that span we saw SEVEN finishers. That’s just about ONE FINISHER EVERY THIRTY SECONDS.

Final Thoughts
This show SUCKED. I should be f*cking ecstatic right now that Drew won the title and Brock’s reign of terror is over, but I’m not, because I just had to sit through what felt like a twenty-minute abomination of a clip-show (Wikipedia claims thirteen minutes, but that can’t possibly be true), and my reward for doing so was another world title match main event going less than five minutes. The combined time of the two world title matches on this year’s WrestleMania is over a minute and a half shorter than the Becky vs. Baszler match that I lamented had gotten criminally screwed on time. F*ck this stupid company and their atrocious decision-making. I never want to see Brock Lesnar, Bill Goldberg or any form of Bray Wyatt ever again and I never want to see another of these special effects matches ever again. F*ck them and their sh*t booking and atrocious decision-making. If it wasn’t for NXT and NXT UK, I would cancel their stupid f*cking Network. And if I ever want it again, I can just get it for free by buying a box of cereal (yes, really. They’re offering three free months of the Network if you buy a box of Golden Crisp. I saw that in the store last week. That’s how f*cking desperate they are).

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