*REFRESH FOR LATEST UPDATES*
It’s what we’ve all been waiting for. After an incredible weekend of wrestling, it’s now time for the biggest show of the weekend. I still feel like a 7-year-old on Christmas day. I don’t want to plague this review with my excitement more so than hustling to the match reviews and info. With that being said, I thank you for choosing Wrestling With Words’ coverage of WrestleMania 32. I’m here all night to cover “The Grand Daddy of Them All,” and all 11 matches on deck. Let’s get to the show!
Two Hour WrestleMania Kickoff
JoJo was with Kevin Owens. He explained he didn’t want this match, and ran down all the competitors. Dolph Ziggler is always at the wrong place at the wrong time. Sin Cara in Spanish means no face, apparently. Stardust is going to be too busy building a spaceship. A few weeks ago, Zack Ryder was going to buy tickets to WrestleMania, and The Miz “is the Miz”. He forgot Sami Zayn, and he asks who he is! Kevin cares about tonight only, and tonight is KOMania; and that KOMania is a showcase of one man and not the Showcase of the Immortals. Solid interview.
Paul Heyman joined Tom Phillips and Cathy Kelley. Heyman was fantastic literally 5 seconds in, mocking Tom Phillips for not putting Brock Lesnar first in his description of the matchup. We got all the stupid kayfabe Twitter questions, but intellectual answers from Heyman of course. Heyman histaricically laughed at the statement that Lesnar could be “conquered” by Ambrose. Heyman DUG INTO Tom Phillips, telling him he doesn’t mean shit and he doesn’t matter. Heyman ranted about the match tonight and then on the down low, complimented Cathy Kelley. Amazing.
They’re doing tale of the tapes for matches. Kalisto got cool pyro and Ryback got larger sounding fake pyro. Nothing too special though.
Alright match, nothing too special but there were some special moments. It felt as if Ryback destroyed Kalisto only for beated down, worked over Kalisto to get out of near-finish predicaments. Kalisto got chucked out of the ring and thrown around up and down (literally all directions) throughout the match, and got little offense in, but when he did it was exciting like jumping double knees and his spike hurricanrana. Ryback went for a superplex and screamed “WrestleMania moment brother,” but was countered into a crossbody for a great near fall. Cockscrew for a kick out, Ryback countered with a spinebuster and Kalisto powered out. Kalisto hung on to the turnbuckle for dear life, and it was ripped off completely upon Ryback tearing him off of it. That led to Kalisto tripping Ryback into the exposed turnbuckle and hitting a modified Salida Del Sol for the win. Great finish to a good enough match. It did its job.
This was better than expected. Still sloppy and awkward at times but it wasn’t a 5 minute get your shit in tag. It was more like a 10+ minute solid tag match! Summer Rae and Alicia Fox kicked off things hot, and Eva Marie was sprinkled in throughout the match to ridiculous heat. If you thought Full Sail heat was a spectacle…none the less, Naomi and Natalya also added in a workhorse aspect with Speedball spots and Natalya’s signature spots. Some sweet bumps include: Naomi crossbody, hitting the ropes, a WHEELBARROW GEMRAN from Emma to Paige, Paige diving onto everybody but Lana and more. Everybody got their spots in after that, and it left Brie and Naomi. They put on a solid yet sloppy finish with YES Kicks to an ovation, a Nikkisawa forearm, and Brie escaping Naomi’s tricks, including a Lana cheap shot whilst Brie was on the top rope, all to lock in the YES! Lock for the Total Divas victory. Nikki Bella came out to celebrate after the match. Nothing offenseive at all, and most girls looked very good for what they did. Lana’s debut was a tad weird, coming in for two moves, being protected, but not really doing anything with Brie aside a few spots and interactions. This was also a quick yet hollow way for Brie to end her in-ring career. Why couldn’t she face Lana and put her over that way or something? None the less a short but sweet ending to a polarizing career.
They unveiled the new WWE Women’s Championship with Lita. She put on a good speech about women’s influences and her path to WWE, etc. The title is identical to a leaked image on the net, which has a red tint on the main surface with all white straps. It looks good and I look forward to a more serious women’s championship going forward. Great move from WWE.
This was extremely short and solid. Bubba Ray Dudley was the absolute highlight of the match, with incredible banter, screaming about beating up The Usos like they did to Rikishi and dragging on hold spots and beat downs with his loud voice. He was about to do a tribute Stan Hansen lariat but got superkicked and Jey Uso got the hot tag, but The Dudley Boyz got the momentum back and for some odd reason (queue for Usos to do their spot) called for tables which got a complete face reaction, as well as the nuts headbutt did. D-Von got his knees up for a Jey splash, Jey kicked out of a 3D neckbreaker, and Jey eventually pinned D-Von with a superkick. Simple as that, where as the post-match angle mattered more. The Usos did stereo splashes to The Dudley Boyz through tables. That’s the passing of the torch. Short, simple, and as alright as possible for a pre-show. Usos getting the rub is cool. Dudleys are pretty much in limbo now.
That’s it for the two hour pre-show. All solid matches and the huge Women’s Championship announcement made it worth a watch. It is now time for WrestleMania 32.
Fifth Harmony kick off the show performing “America The Beautiful”.
The opening video package airs, and it’s one of the best ever; right up there with WrestleMania 17’s. The cinematography was unreal, with half authentic highlights and half depictions in a smoke filled room, such brilliance like Cena’s hat flying across the frame and that’s all you see. “What’s next” leads us into Fort Minor’s “Remember The Name” with an epic beyond words montage of everybody involved in the event.
PYRO AND WE’RE OFF! IT IS NOW TIME FOR WRESTLEMANIA 32, “The Grand Daddy of Them All”!
Just like last year, the Ladder Match kicked things off. This was close to a 5 star match. You will never get a better spotfest than this in the next few years. These guys killed each other in each and every way possible. It was booked to perfection, with so many twists and turns. Definitely my favorite Ladder Match of all time. Between the stadium becoming unglued for Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, to every single spot performed, to the aforementioned unpredictability; it was near perfect. Every guy took multiple career threatening spots. We got Zayn and Owens killing each other, Sin Cara springboarding off a ladder onto everyone, Ziggler superkicking everyone, double superkick spot, a Dusty tribute sequence, a Skull Crushing finale on a ladder, one of the most deadly neckbreakers I’ve ever seen, a KEVIN OWENS FROG SPLASH ON THE LADDER to Zayn, Zack Ryder doing an elbow drop off the ladder in one of the coolest spots I’ve seen in a long time, Sin Cara being pushed off the ladder only to go completely through a ladder, landing on Cody, and so much more. It came down to an incredible sequence between Zayn and Owens to thunderous reaction, with back and forth and a Dragon Suplex on a ladder from Zayn. They did a ladder tease between the two after this entire beautiful sequence and Miz pushed Zayn off! However, Zack Ryder was the last man standing and ACTUALLY WON THE INTERCONTINETNAL CHAMPIONSHIP. This was booked to perfection, with death defying stunts, hope spots, everyone getting their spots in; and best of all, it got insane reaction, and people were shitting on the build and paritcipants. A complete 180 in terms of total quality. A show stealing match and something everybody needs to see. Zack Ryder celebrated with his dad and it was incredibly emotional.
Another tremendous match. The psychology and pacing of this match far outweighs any of their past bouts. It was worked at a slow pace at first, which played into Jericho not being blown up for the fast paced finish. This just felt like a good workhorse match and nothing much else; it wasn’t a brawl to end a rivalry nor anything else but two guys trying to prove who’s better. We got some insane kickouts like Styles powering out of a Codebreaker, and Jericho kicking out of the Styles Clash. They also traded submissions for some great drama. Jericho went for the Clash but AJ slipped out and delivered a 2nd facebuster of the match for a tremendous near fall. So much more quality wrestling with unseen counters in their feud which ended up seeing both guys put knees up for something and lastly Styles hitting a 450 Splash … just kidding, that was still kicked out of! Styles went nuts, as he pulled out all stops (but the Spiral Tap but shh…) and as he was about to hit his flying forearm Jericho countered in mid-air with the Codebreaker. Bizarre for Jericho to go over, unless if he’s being inserted into a post-WrestleMania title program? Styles deserved a big win but I’m not going to rage, they put on a quality match that seemed to be the end of the feud; at least for now.
Maria Menounos was with Zack Ryder! Zack explained that he just wanted his music to play at WrestleMania, but he ended up winning the damn match! He saw Razor and Shawn live, and he took mark pictures there, and now he’s going to get Razor to hold HIS Intercontinental Championship.
The New Day had an awe-inspiring WrestleMania entrance. Booty-O’s spilt out of a life size container. AND SO DID THEY. They had Super Saiyan gear equipped.
Yes, this was non-title. This was a great tag. Nothing spectacular or blow away, but one of the units best matches against each other. There were tons of cool little things such as Trevor Lee stomps making the ‘Mania stage, Rusev and Big E stealing the show in their own ways, and Xavier being a great little man and face in peril. Rusev and Big E brought out flipping big boy sentons, triple apron spears, etc. Xavier and Kofi worked well together even pulling out a Dallas sized assisted double stomp. The finish was great in which Sheamus kicked out of aforementioned double stomp, Del Rio gumbi stomped Kofi off the apron, Xavier superkicked Del Rio, and went for a leg drop but Rusev protected Sheamus by crawling on him. Sheamus kicked out of a roll-up which launched Xavier into into a Barrett Bullhammer which led into a Brogue Kick hit for the League of Nations victory.
League of Nations cut a promo after the match, saying no three men could ever face them. SHAWN MICHAELS CAME OUT IN FULL RING GEAR. MICK FOLEY IS OUT. STONE COLD IS OUT TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST POPS I’VE EVER HEARD. It’s still 4 vs. 3 and New Day as well as the three legends clear League of Nations out. Del Rio ate a superkick, and Rusev ate mudhole stomps and a stunner! Sheamus was lucky enough to eat Mr. Socko. Barrett got hit with a combo of everyone’s finish! What an awesome post-match segment, although New Day rank third in terms of memorable acts to do with this segment and match. UNTIL, however, they got into the ring, and everyone danced together; solidifying the unit as huge babyfaces. WHAT WAIT. Stone Cold was reluctant to dance and he freaking went over brothers and sister. A huge Stunner for Xavier Woods. I hope these three get the inaugural WWE trios belts. What a time to be alive.
This was fantastic for many reasons, and wasn’t worked for ridiculously long which is a testament to Lesnar’s current run. This WrestleMania already had tons of variety and this just added to it. They told a story of Ambrose going from gifted weapon to the next one, only for Brock to have answers. Brock kept blocking the kendo stick from being used, only to eventually be smashed with it to massive reaction. The psychology in this match was unreal, with a callback low-blow to Lesnar after he blocked the kendo stick from being used one last time. A fire extinguisher, tons of chairs, and a barbed wire bat all came into play, but Ambrose after taking out the bat, swinged and missed on Lesnar and was suplexed into the chairs (which was a spot that harmed Lesnar more than Ambrose when done before). Then, a F-5 was hit on Ambrose onto the chairs for the Lesnar win. This was worked so short, so crisp, and just like a big fight. There were great kickouts but not too many as well, and verbal banter from both sides. Well done, but another questionable loss for someone. Ambrose could have benefited from the win, and it was almost bizarre that The Wyatts didn’t get involved. None the less, another match to add to this fantastic event so far.
A Snickers commercial aired at first, which didn’t even seem like an advert until it was turned into one. It featured Ric Flair, Charlotte, Zack Ryder, and The Miz. All based around the “WOOOO” of course. Ryder wasn’t himself when he was hungry, and was WOO WOO WOO’ing all the way through, until he magically appeared into Charlotte. Flair probably asked for Ziggler considering he loves him so much and let him copy him. I assume Miz too.
We get the yearly Hall of Fame class lineup, with Howard Finkel doing announcing duties. Every year they show him but they didn’t this year. He had to be helped out of the ring because he can’t get out himself. It hurts to hear that, and it would suck to see that live. Sting got his own personal entrance, and now that he’s retired, it’s a special moment.
Sasha Banks gets entrance of the night award for now. She came out with Snoop Dogg and has special Eddie Guerrero gear. Charlotte then came out with a Flair robe with fragments of Flair’s WrestleMania 24 attire on it and got massive pyro. Becky only got steam punk pyro. Sad face.
This was already one of the most anticipated matches of the weekend for me without the Women’s Championship added into the mix. Now that it is, even better. This was an amazing triple threat match. This was the perfect match to place these “Superstars” and WOMEN’S wrestlers on the map, for their own title. This was about on the same level as the opener if not a little less, and showcased everything about the three girls and then some. Sasha Banks was by far and large the star of the match. She pulled out countless Eddie spots, oozed charisma, and was the girl in the match who’d be beaten up, thrown out, only to come back and ruin the others’ chances. This was the best WWE main roster women’s match ever. There are so many things I want to add into the review but can’t because of a cap on my words that I want to put into effect. Charlotte even pulled out a moonsault, Sasha pulled out one of the best looking Frog Splashes ever, and Becky pulled out a top rope Bex-plex! My entire notes included me marking out in all caps. A pumphandle Uranagi, electric chair dropkick tumble, Charlotte saving Sasha’s life on a tope, double Natural Selections, brawling on the ground tirelessly, and so much more defines this fantastic professional wrestling match. Charlotte got Bex-plexed off the top rope, Sasha landed on her feet off the top rope and locked in a Bank Statement which she did countless times in the match, Charlotte placed a Figure Four on Becky and Flair held Sasha down whilst Becky tapped out. The first ever (new) WWE Women’s Champion, Charlotte. I’m not the biggest fan of Sasha not getting the win, but the finish was designed to piss people off, and it did, majorly. I don’t think the finale Flair spot was done for “no reason” or an escapist route. We’re getting a Charlotte vs. Sasha feud, and I see Sasha overcoming the odds when she challenges Charlotte at one point. Incredible stuff, and so much advancement for the WOMEN’S division. It feels so good to say that.
Shane O’Mac’s sons came out with him and did the money dance! It goes hand in hand with the legacy theme of the match. Love it. Undertaker’s entrance looked amazing because of the indoor atmosphere compared to half-sunny California last year. The entrance ramp was lit up with mystical designs and the lighting and vibe were just great. A deafening sustained pop occurred for at least 15 seconds of Undertaker coming out from gorilla. We also got huge height on fireball pyro.
This is a historic match in professional wrestling’s timeline. 46-year-old Shane McMahon took a leap of faith off of the Hell in a Cell to crash-land onto Undertaker. In what was the most unselfish bump in wrestling history resulted in an iconic image for decades to come, and placed a marker in everyone’s mind. When you think of this match, you won’t think of the grappling, submissions applied, build to the spot, nor anything else. You will think of Shane McMahon smashing a toolbox over Undertaker’s head, only to take that very leap of faith onto Undertaker. This is the updated Foley bump, and is also an iconic image for WrestleMania’s history. You cannot rate these kinds of matches, yes, in-ring, it was sluggish, the work was abysmal for the most part and got nothing done. Pundits may complain that Shane kicked out of a Last Ride and Chokeslam within the first few minutes, but it all built to the spot, and fans will only remember that as the defining point of the match and of this WrestleMania. Shane laid there, helpless, limp, as E.M.T.’s rushed in post-match to help him. Everyone on planet earth needs to respect the man for the bump he took, what it means for wrestling, and how crazy Shane McMahon really is as an all-timer performer. Undertaker won, but Shane lost in more than one way. This bump may take years off his life, this match may have drained his health completely, hell, Undertaker may have gotten a concussion from the lockbox shots. This isn’t the workhorse show, this is an annual spectacle, and this was one of the biggest spectacle matches ever, as now when I look back, I will think back on that fearless bump, not the lead-up to it.
Baron Corbin, DDP, Shaq, and Tatanka walk into a wrestling ring. And they were in this match. Big Show was eliminated first so a new winner was guaranteed right away. DDP had an in-match feud vs. The Ascension. I wish I was kidding. One of the face painted geeks threw DDP out. Tatanka and Adam Rose worked each other. BANTER CORBIN ELIMINATED TATANKA. The best rub for an NXT talent yet. Speaking of a rub, all the goofs were eliminated by Kane, Darren Young made the final three, and Baron Corbin threw Kane over the top rope to win the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal! Great way to introduce a guy to the crowd, they loved the finish, cheered for him, and he’s immediately on the main roster. I cannot wait for Banter Corbin on RAW’s and SmackDown’s this year.
We get a brief break where the Dallas Cowboys cheerleader squad performed a routine to “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC. ****3/4. In all seriousness, it’s time for THE ROCK!
"You represent a lie" – Bray Wyatt after Rock announces tonight's attendance
— Live Audio Wrestling (@LAWradio) April 4, 2016
The Rock made his electrifying entrance with a flamethrower? Apparently he’s had a big announcement to make. There are letters “ROCK” in a statue on stage that he lit on fire. He walked down the ramp with Cowgirls cheering him on. The Rock announced the WWE and AT&T Stadium all-time attendance record of 101,763. The Wyatts and Rock had a long alteraction which led to disses, but also Rock putting Bray over. THIS RESULTED IN A MATCH. I KID YOU NOT.
The Rock pinned Erick Rowan in 6 seconds with a Rock Bottom.
Post-match The Wyatts were closing in when Superman John Cena officially returned from his injury, and The Rock and John Cena got rid of the clan, establishing a great WrestleMania moment in the process. I am stoked out of my mind for the return of Cena in a much dampened roster as of late.
I am in a dream. So much weird stuff has happened tonight, and then came this Triple H entrance. A bunch of minions flooded the screen and then Stephanie did a speech on a throne about Authority. He walked down the entrance way with MINION MEN WITH SKULLS all holding replica titles. This was a complete babyface entrance. How could you not cheer for the two and these theatrics? My god. It was so 2000s era Helmsley. Roman Reigns is as polarizing as ever but got the biggest pyro filled entrance ever. Vertical pyro shot up AT&T with a massive lighting board screen showing his logo with pyro circling around the arenas exterior as well. Basically an epic celebration just for an entrance. I preferred his WrestleMania 31 entrance. Now it’s time for the match itself.
Roman Reigns vs. Triple H managed to be the worst worked match on this show. All pre-show matches made more sense in-ring and delivered a more satisfying end game much like the rest of the card before it. The match nearly went 30 minutes and was one of the most nonsensical, forced, piece of flaming trash main events I’ve had to sit through, and in WrestleMania history. The crowd throughout the match only popped for signature spots, with the biggest reaction going to babyface encouraged Stephanie McMahon eating a spear. The crowd chanted “Nakamura,” “Gable Gable, Jordan Jordan, Jordan, Gable,” “I wanna know-ow-ow-ow, if you can be my girl,” “Roman sucks,” among so many other self-entertaining endeavors since they weren’t entertained with the in ring product. This feud was built up as a hot one to everyone with parking lot incidents, locker room brawls, and it ends with maybe 3 minutes total hot action and the worst psychology on the show. Nothing made sense. Everyone took turns taking a shit on the plans for this match, and it was transparent to not only the crowd but fellow wrestlers. Roman worked as a heel to open but was positioned as a face in peril throughout the match with the crowd routing for Triple H the whole way through. Although the reaction got better towards the end, it was after feet-on-trail 20 minutes of shitting on the match from your ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND FAN audience. We got too many superman punches to count, with so much bizarre move stretches like Triple H working catchpoint style and doing a neckbreaker off the announce table. Stephanie yanked the ref to save her husband and eventually got speared as aforementioned. Haitch even boma ye’d Roman out of a spear whether planned or not. Roman kicked out, Stephanie handed him the sledgehammer, and Roman deliveres two more superman punches, ducks the sledgehammer, and spears Triple H to be crowned the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Pyro went off as most fans left (even some early) confused about role positioning and how the main event went 27 minutes and hardly did anything. One of the worst ‘Mania main events ever. It will be in the talks for worst worked match of the year come December.
WrestleMania still managed to be a great show, but questionable booking decisions all the way through screwed its current impact. The historical impact of the show outweighs almost all Manias sans a few, with a new Women’s Championship introduced, Shane McMahon taking a leap of a life time, mainstream news being made as well as for the aftermath for celebrity appearances, as well as an all time great Ladder Match. The match quality was mostly great, with the top three matches all being either spectacle or horseshit. It is the spectacle show, but a lot of the spectacle failed to be exciting.
This will be my finale. WrestleMania, nor WWE are about making new stars. Dean Ambrose lost to Brock Lesnar. A trio of legends stood tall over the two dominant forces in the tag team division. Sasha Banks, the biggest female star on the main roster, didn’t get her big moment after the biggest entrance on the show except Triple H, and AJ Styles lost clean to Chris Jericho on his debut WrestleMania where he’s previously lost to Jericho in the program. This grossed over $17 million dollars, and managed to draw 100,000 people, yet couldn’t bank on that worldwide audience to move anything forward for its brand. Roman Reigns will be the most polarizing champion in company history, and with John Cena returning, it will only make that pressure on the guy worse as even people who are anti-Cena prefer him over the main event pool we have right now. There are no legitimate heels on the roster, and no one who I believe can go over Roman right now except for Brock, but they will not do that. I’m clueless as to where the company goes from here, but most of us will be watching RAW’s, SmackDown’s, pay-per-view’s and the like to see all the new talent thrive no matter what positions they’re in like Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Baron Corbin, AJ Styles, and more. They aren’t made stars, there are no made babyface top guys, nor heel top guys. This company is in a state of halt, in a game of tug of war with Mr. McMahon and Triple H. The tug of war sees the line of old stars and new stars, as the rope has never fully gone to one side. This show all but proved that. The RAW after WrestleMania will be sure to be as interesting as ever. Until next time, thanks for reading this super-review of WrestleMania, and choosing Wrestling With Words as your #1 resource for WrestleMania weekend coverage.