By Will Pruett
Once again, Will Pruett finds himself live at WrestleMania weekend. Once again, he is processing this by writing about it.
As I right this, my body is being jostled by turbulence as I fly home. I am exhausted after eight wrestling shows in five days. I am ready to not be surrounded by people and to crawl into an introverted cave with my wife, my dogs, my cat, and no one else. With all of this said, I have had an amazing time.
Future generations will hear legendary tales of how poor the crowd management at AT&T Stadium was for WrestleMania. I wasn’t exactly on the terrible end of it, but my companions in WrestleMania visiting were. While I didn’t get caught slipping through the barricade and getting a sweet spot in line, my brother and Jake Barnett did. They ended up waiting an extra two hours in a barely moving line to make it inside. AT&T Stadium was even a mess on the way out, as we basically had to walk a lap around the place back to our car. This is a beautiful venue with a terrible crowd control staff.
WrestleMania was one of the prettiest shows I have ever seen. Inside the stadium, it was like nothing I have seen before. The set was stunning. WWE production absolutely killed it here.
After WrestleMania, I found myself pretty exhausted on Monday. I visited the coffee shop I decided was my office to write and tried to hide the fact that I was rewatching the WWE Women’s Championship match on my phone. I am a strong supporter of women’s wrestling, but in public, you still look like you’re a pervy gross dude when watching it.
Raw on Monday night was an interesting experience with a crowd I mostly didn’t care for. They did the standard post-WrestleMania things far too soon into the show and were, at times, absolutely disrespectful to the wrestlers. This wasn’t what I hope to see from post-WrestleMania crowds and it was nothing like the super great crowds from the Raws after ‘Mania past.
Now, enough about my travels and coffee drinking, I’m sure you all came here for the matches of the weekend. Here you are (please note, this list gets pretty WWE heavy at the end):
Enzo and Cass w/ Carmella vs. Blake and Murphy w/ Alexa Bliss from Axxess – The pickin’s were slim when it came to finding a match of the day for Thursday. Axxess didn’t feature many matches during this session because of the Stone Cold Podcast and Dusty Rhodes trophy presentation. This was the match you’d expect from these teams, with Alexa and Carmella getting involved to the delight of the crowd. It was on the high end of what I expect from matches at Axxess.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn from NXT Takeover: Dallas – Duh. This was essentially the match of the weekend we all hoped it would be. Shinsuke is otherworldly in person. Sami is always a favorite. They delivered a match on the very high end of my already insane expectations. This wasn’t just a favorite match of the weekend, it was one of my favorite matches ever.
Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Will Ospreay from Evolve 58 – I have to confess, I didn’t pay enough attention to this match. I like both guys quite a bit, but I ended up making a new friend instead of fully watching. Being in the crowd, I could still feel the emotional ride the fans were on, see the story being told, and catch the highspots. This was enough to declare this a match of the weekend and something everyone should go out of their way to see.
American Alpha vs. The Revival from NXT Takeover: Dallas – This was a party for the fans in attendance and I know it came across loud on the broadcast. Jason Jordan and Chad Gable are absolutely adored. It was the perfect moment to put the titles on them. It was a great match from start to finish with a pure fire emoji hot tag.
Ricochet vs. Will Ospreay from Evolve 59 – When I think of modern high flying wrestlers, I think of these two. Ricochet is the best flyer in the world today. Ospreay is quickly climbing the ranks to challenge him. These two had a delightful and innovative match with moves I had never seen and some I had never imagined. They knew they were having an awesome crowd pleasing match and they played into it. Ospreay and Ricochet were great together. Bonus points go to Ospreay, who I was told was absolutely exhausted all weekend.
Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Chris Hero from the WWN Supershow – This was a great ride for fans to go on. Hero structures some very fun stories and this effort with Sabre Jr. was no different. Their match fit the feud they had built and, even though it was the opening match, definitely felt like a main event. It took the crowd on such a journey, they were burnt out for a good portion of the show after.
Johnny Gargano, Kota Ibushi, and T.J. Perkins vs. Tommy End, Marty Scrull, and Will Ospreay from the WWN Supershow – Confession time: I left before this match. Wrestling burnout caused me to miss what I heard from many was a spectacular display. They used the country-themed city facade as a launching point for high-flying. From everything I heard, this was all sorts of wonderful. If it had gone on earlier in the night, I even would have seen it.
Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks from WrestleMania 32 – They stole the show at WrestleMania. They impressed the heck out of me and many others. They changed minds in the span of one match. What more can I say?
A.J. Styles vs. Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro vs. Chris Jericho from Raw – Raw was not on a good path until just before this match, but these guys were able to whip a weird crowd into a frenzy. The surprise return of Cesaro and the major moment for A.J. Styles will make this match stand out in my mind for a long time.
That’s the list, folks! That’s also the end of the WrestleMania weekend blog for this year. Thank you to every human I met this weekend. From my fellow press friends, to fellow fans, to most of the folks working at events, you were all great to hang out with. A huge special major thank you to WWE’s Public Relations team, who was awesome to work with all weekend.
This was a total blast! Watch the matches, especially those from indie shows because showing support is important. Let me know what you thought from the weekend!
Want to follow more of my adventures in real time? Hit me up on the Twitter @itswilltime!