By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE WrestleMania 32
Aired live on WWE Network and pay-per-view
Dallas, Texas, at AT&T Stadium
The following is Jason Powell’s live review of WrestleMania 32 from April 3, 2016, which was rebroadcast on ESPN on March 29, 2020.
Lilian Garcia introduced Fifth Harmony, who performed “America the Beautiful” from the stage… A WrestleMania video package aired… Michael Cole, JBL, and Byron Saxton were on commentary. Entrances for the Intercontinental Title match took place and then foreign speaking broadcast teams checked in…
Powell’s POV: The set is looks tremendous with a great star shaped video style stage and a big WWE logo behind them. It’s not a monstrously tall set they usually have, so they sold tickets from the second level up. There’s a big WWE tarp that covers the Gorilla position. The set isn’t as elaborate as we’ve seen in past years, but it allowed them to sell a lot of extra tickets. They may not be fibbing when they claim they topped 100,000. The Kickoff Show featured Kalisto beating Ryback to retain the U.S. Title, Brie Bella, Eva Marie, Paige, Natalya, and Alicia Fox beat Naomi, Tamina, Lana, Summer Rae, and Emma in a 10-Diva tag match, and The Usos beat The Dudley Boyz.
1. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder vs. Sin Cara vs. The Miz vs. Stardust in a ladder match for the Intercontinental Title. Stardust wore a polkadot outfit that had “Hard Times” written on the back in tribute for his father. Sin Cara wore an all white outfit. Owens and Zayn fought to start the match. Miz took an early bump off the ladder when he was stopped from climbing it.
Sami had a big moment with a dive over a bar onto Owens that popped the crowd. Sin Cara made a play for the belt. Sami pushed the ladder over. Sin Cara performed a springboard off the top rope as the ladder was falling and dove onto several opponents on the floor.
Ziggler had his offensive run and tuned up the band before superkicking Ryder. Ziggler climbed the ladder. Owens tipped him off. Dolph landed on his feet and then both men superkicked one another. Stardust pulled a polkadot ladder out and performed the spinning Terry Funk spot with the ladder wrapped around him, leading to him striking several opponents with it. Owens broke it up and threw the polkadot ladder to the floor, which led to boos.
Owens got Zayn lying on a ladder that was leaning on the bottom rope. Owens went up top and performed a frogsplah onto Zayn. A “this is awesome” chant broke out. Ryder performed an elbow drop onto Miz off the second from the top rung of the ladder. Ryder made a play for the belt, but Ziggler cut him off at 10:40. Ziggler performed a facebuster on Ryder high off the ladder.
Ziggler came up limping and hopped up the ladder. Owens pulled him down. Sin Cara kicked Stardust onto a ladder that was set up over the ring and the barricade. Sin Cara pulled the ladder away from the title belt and climbed up it. Sin Cara kicked Zayn off. Owens tipped the ladder over, causing Sin Cara to land on Stardust and breaking the ladder.
Owens climbed the ladder and touched it, but Sami raced up the ladder to stop him. Owens and Zayn traded punches with Sami getting the better of it. Owens recovered by gouging Zayn’s eye. Zayn ended up pulling Owens down and then performed a wicked suplex onto a ladder. The Miz ended up on top of the ladder and posed with the title rather than take it down. Ryder knocked Miz off the ladder and then pulled down the title belt to win the match. Ryder’s father joined him in the ring for a celebration…
Zack Ryder beat Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler, Sin Cara, The Miz, and Stardust in a ladder match to win the Intercontinental Title in 15:10.
Powell’s POV: A nice moment for Ryder, who certainly deserved better when he got himself over via his online show and the company didn’t take advantage of his popularity. The live crowd ate it up. I would have kept the strap on Owens, but I like this more than going with Sami simply because they haven’t told Sami’s story yet. What does this mean for the Hype Bros? Pretend like you care.
A commercial for Tapout aired… The broadcast team set up a video package on AJ Styles and Chris Jericho…
2. AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho. Jericho had GOAT written on the back of his tights. Styles went for a tope and Jericho caught him with a dropkick on the floor. Jericho went up top elbowed Styles on the way down and covered him for a one count. Jericho slapped the back of AJ’s head to taunt him and then suplexed him. Styles came back and hit a seated Jericho with a forearm. Styles followed up with a nice dropkick. Jericho avoided a kick, and ended up rolling into the Walls of Jericho. Styles reached the ropes to break it.
At 7:25, Jericho went for a running bulldog, but Styles pushed him off and Jericho flew into the corner. Styles positioned Jericho on the ropes. Jericho fought back and called him a stupid idiot. Styles headbutted Jericho and then performed a face first move off the top rope.
Jericho came back with Walls of Jericho again. Styles rolled out of the Walls, punched Jericho a few times, and then applied the Calf Crusher. Jericho broke it with an elbow and rolled Styles over for a two count.
At 11:20, Jericho caught Styles with the Codebreaker. Jericho was slow to make the cover and got a two count. Cole said Jericho didn’t have his wits about him and that may have cost him. At 12:45, Jericho set up for the Styles Clash, but Styles performed a face plant for a two count.
Styles had a nice setup to get to the Styles Clash, and rolled Jericho into a pin, but Jericho kicked out at the last moment. There were some dueling chants for both men as they traded shots. Styles knocked Jericho down and then went for a move, but Jericho caught with a punch. Jericho went for the Lionsault, but Styles got his knees up. Styles performed a springboard 450 and got another near fall. Styles went to the corner and set up for his finisher. Jericho pulled the referee in front of him briefly. Styles went for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Jericho caught him with a Codebreaker on the way down and pinned him clean…
Chris Jericho beat AJ Styles in 17:05.
Powell’s POV: Maybe this is the part where I’m supposed to bitch about Styles losing, but the match was entertaining enough that I’m cool with the continuation of this program. I didn’t think I would like Jericho going over when I pondered it going in, but the match was strong enough that it breathed new life into their feud.
Stephen Amell was shown in the crowd, and Bill Simmons was shown in another part of the crowd…
Backstage, Maria Menounos, who wore a homemade Shane McMahon shirt, interviewed Ryder about his title win. He said it was the greatest moment of his life. Ryder spoke about watching Razor Ramon battle Shawn Michaels in a ladder match. He said Razor is backstage somewhere and he’s going to take a picture with him. He said he lived his dream and closed with Woo Woo Woo, you know it…
New Day made their entrance. There was a giant BootyO’s box that tipped over and giant cereal fell out and Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods emerged wearing black and gold Dragonball gear. Woods’s trombone was also black and gold…
Powell’s POV: Well, it was no flying unicorns and I’m too old to appreciate the Dragonball homage, but the giant cereal box entrance was fun.
3. Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods vs. Sheamus, Rusev, Alberto Del Rio, and King Barrett. Woods sold early in the match as the League of Nations members took turns working him over. Kingston tagged in and it wasn’t long before League of Nations got the better of him.
Big E tagged in and performed a belly-to-belly on Sheamus. He tried to do the same to Rusev, who ended up on the ring apron with Sheamus. Big E performed his spear through the ropes and landed awkwardly. Meanwhile, Del Rio performed a double stomp on Kingston off the apron. Moments later, illegal man Barrett clocked Woods from the floor and then Woods stumbled into a Brogue Kick and was pinned…
League of Nations beat New Day in 9:50.
Powell’s POV: The highlight of the match was the New Day entrance. The live crowd didn’t seem to care. Here’s hoping that Big E is okay and that he gives up that spear through the ropes spot. This certainly isn’t the first time it’s looked risky.
After the match, League of Nations stuck around for a promo. Barrett boasted about their win and said there are no three men in history who could go toe to toe with them.
Shawn Michaels music played and he made his entrance dressed in his ring gear to a huge pop. Out next was Mick Foley. Finally, Steve Austin’s music hit and he came out dressed in…a Dallas 3:16 t-shirt and jeans. Austin gave the double bird salute.
Kofi Kingston reached in and pulled Barrett to ringside. The legends threw punches and kicks at the League of Nations members. Foley performed the Socko claw on Sheamus, HBK hit Sweet Chin Music on Del Rio. Austin performed a stunner on Rusev. New Day rolled Barrett back inside the ring. The legends hit their finishers on Barrett. Austin’s music played as Austin threw Barrett to ringside.
New Day’s music suddenly cut off Austin’s music and they entered the ring apprehensively and then danced. Foley was down. HBK shook his ass. Austin made a mean face and then started smiling whenhe saw Shawn. JBL said he’d never seen Stone Cold dance. Austin started to dance, then kicked Woods in the gut and gave him a Stunner to a big pop. Austin, HBK, and Foley had a beer bash with Austin’s Broken Skull IPA. Austin took bows as Foley was handing his beer to a fan at ringside….
Powell’s POV: I was going to ask what the legends would have done if New Day had one, but I guess Austin hitting the Stunner on Woods helps answer that wise ass question. This isn’t what many Stone Cold fans hoped for when it was announced that WrestleMania would be in his home state, but it was a really fun consolation prize that the live crowd loved. By the way, Big E was up at ringside and helped his teammates throw Barrett inside the ring.
A WWE Network commercial aired… The broadcast team spoke at ringside about how incredible the legends were. They came close to going overboard and ruining it, but they transitioned into setting up a Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose video package just in time…
4. Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Dean Ambrose in a no holds barred street fight. Heyman delivered his and Lesnar’s introduction and said Lesnar is from the University of Violence. Brock jumped out to his usual quick start with a shoulder block in the corner and a German suplex.
Ambrose ended up at ringside. Lesnar followed and Ambrose emerged with a kendo stick that he attacked Lesnar with. Brock recovered and then broke the kendo stick over his knee before giving Ambrose another German suplex. Ambrose gave him a thumbs up.
Lesnar continued to dominate, but Ambrose slapped him across the face. Lesnar smirked. Ambrose threw a bunch of punches at Lesnar, who responded with another German suplex. Saxton said he admired the fighting spirt of Ambrose, but he wondered how much more he could take. Saxton said Ambrose had already taken nine German suplexes.
Ambrose caught Lesnar with a low blow. Ambrose struck Lesnar with the stick repeatedly until Lesnar rolled to ringside. Ambrose performed a suicide dive. Ambrose pulled out the chainsaw and couldn’t get it started. Lesnar gave him a tenth German suplex. Brock walked over to Ambrose, who struck him with something off one of the broadcast tables.
Back inside the ring, Ambrose went to the ropes. Lesnar popped up to the second rope and suplexed Ambrose from there. Ambrose went back to ringside and ended up spraying a fire extinguisher at Lesnar. Ambrose slammed a chair over Lesnar’s back and then threw some weak jabs with the chair in the corner. Ambrose got a running start and kicked the chair into Lesnar.
Ambrose went up top with a chair and came down with it on Lesnar. He went for a cover that viewers couldn’t have taken seriously given that Cole just spoke unconvincingly about Dean pulling off the upset. Ambrose went to ringside and pulled out all sorts of chairs from underneath the ring and threw them all inside. Ambrose swung a chair at Lesnar, who avoided it and gave him yet another German suplex. Heyman shouted encouragement from ringside.
Lesnar picked up Ambrose and went for an F5, but Ambrose slipped away and performed Dirty Deeds onto the chairs. A very good near fall. Ambrose took his shirt off and flexed monster style. Ambrose went to the floor and pulled Mick Foley’s barbwire baseball bat out from underneath the ring. Much like Janice, the weapon can’t be used, so Lesnar performed a German suplex and followed up with an F5 onto the chairs for the win. Afterward, Lesnar sprayed the fire extinguisher at ringside and then tossed it inside the ring before heading up the ramp…
Brock Lesnar beat Dean Ambrose in a street fight in 12:50.
Powell’s POV: Damn, those legends really let Ambrose down. First, the chainsaw that Terry Funk gave him didn’t start, and then Ambrose lost after trying to use Foley’s bat. The match was never dull and it had one believable near fall for Ambrose. It didn’t go long enough to feel like an epic war. It was pretty straight forward with Lesnar going over. I thought they would have done more to make Ambrose look strong in defeat. By the way, the longer they hold off on the Andre the Giant battle royal, the more I wonder whether John Cena is going to enter and win The Dre.
In a pre-taped commercial, Ric Flair tried to teach Zack Ryder how to woooo, but he kept saying Woo Woo Woo. Dolph Ziggler showed up and did it right. Flair gave Ryder a Snickers bar and suddenly he turned into Charlotte, who woooed to Flair’s liking…
A WWE Hall of Fame video aired with highlights from the ceremony… Howard Finkel introduced each member of the 2016 class as they stood on the stage. Sting’s entrance music and video played and he walked onto the stage last and howled a couple times and pointed at his classmates…
Cole set up a video with Lita introducing the new WWE Women’s Championship, then a video package for the Triple Threat aired…
Becky Lynch made her usual entrance. Snoop Dogg and a female singer played Sasha out. Cole noted that Sasha was wearing Eddie Guerrero inspired gear. Charlotte had a killer robe that Cole noted was made from pieces of the robe that her father wore at WrestleMania 24. Lita stood in the ring with the new title belt. Charlotte brought the butterfly belt to the ring. Lilian delivered the in-ring introductions. Sasha and Becky received babyface ovations, and Charlotte was booed…
Powell’s POV: Sasha had the entrance of the night. Charlotte’s robe was right there with it. Poor Becky received a pretty ordinary entrance by comparison. As my buddy Pooch noted, it’s not her fault that she’s not related to any pop culture icons like her opponents. I love that it was Lita introducing the women’s title in both segments. Did they learn their lesson with Stephanie or is it only because they want her to be a heel tonight?
5. Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks for the WWE Women’s Championship. Lynch had a feather in her hair. She applied an armbar submission hold on Charlotte, which Sasha ended up breaking up. A short time later, Charlotte had Lynch in the Figure 8 when Sasha came off the top with a Guerrero frogsplash to break it up.
At 6:40, Lynch threw a nasty suplex on Sasha, who rolled away. Lynch performed a Stunner and a uranage on Charlotte, then Sasha got back in the mix. Later, Sasha performed a wild dive onto Charlotte. Sasha and Flair had a woooo-off. Lynch dove over the ropes. The idea was that Sasha shoved Flair into Lynch’s dive, but Lynch was diving right at him. The crowd ate it up.
Charlotte performed a moonsault onto both of her opponents at 9:40. JBL said she may be the greatest female athlete in WWE history. Charlotte performed a Natural Selection on her opponents and tried unsuccessfully to pin them both twice.
At 11:40, Lynch applied the Disarmer on Charlotte. Cole couldn’t wait to say that it was all over. Of course, that means it wasn’t over. Sasha performed a Backstabber on Lynch and then applied the Bank Statement. Lynch nearly reached the ropes, but Becky got her back in mid-ring.
Charlotte put the Figure 8 on Sasha, who punched at Charlotte’s knee. Lynch eventually pulled Sasha to the ropes to break the Figure 8. All three women were on their knees at 13:20. Charlotte threw chops, which drew wooos. Sasha and Lynch fired back with punches. Sasha and Becky hit each other. Charlotte speared Sasha.
Lynch put Charlotte on the top rope in a seated position. Becky threw punches at Charlotte, who fired back. Sasha recovered and joined them. Sasha threw Lynch to the mat then replaced her on the top rope. Lynch aggressively tripped up Sasha, who was tied up in a tree of woe. Lynch performed an exploder suplex on Charlotte.
Lynch went for a move on Sasha, who rolled over and performed the Backstabber and then applied the Bank Statement. Charlotte recovered and threw Sasha to ringside. Charlotte put Lynch in the Figure 8. Flair held Sasha’s leg to prevent her from returning, and Lynch tapped out to the Figure 8. Afterward, pyro shot off on the stage and then they showed pyro shooting off around the outside of the stadium…
Charlotte defeated Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks in 15:55 to win the new WWE Women’s Championship.
Powell’s POV: The most entertaining and dramatic match of the night and the best main roster women’s match to date. I loved the finish with Flair’s interference saving Charlotte. It gives them time to establish Sasha’s character and she lost nothing because of the way the finish was executed. In fact, I think the match was a big win for all three women and the overall division.
The broadcast team raved about the women’s match and laid it on really thick. They’re just not a believable trio. They set up the Undertaker and Shane McMahon video package…
Shane McMahon made his entrance. His three sons came out wearing his t-shirt and they all did his dance on the stage. Shane’s sons accompanied him to ringside and then Shane handed them off to complete strangers in the crowd! Okay, I’m sure they were attendants.
Once Shane’s music stopped, the crowd got fired up with anticipation. Undertaker had a great multicolored light show on the stage with lightning bolt effects and fog. He made the slow walk to the ring. as fireballs shot off on the stage. Once at ringside, Taker thrust his arms up for another round of fireball pyro and then removed his jacket and hat at ringside before entering the Hell in a Cell structure and slamming the door behind him.
6. Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon in a Hell in a Cell match. If Shane wins, he gets control of Raw and Taker can’t wrestle at WrestleMania ever again. They boxed to start. Taker eventually took offensive control and took the fight to ringside. Taker took the ring steps apart and then ran Shane into the cage at ringside.
Taker did his legdrop onto Shane, whose head was lying over the edge of the ring. Undertaker performed the Last Ride on Shane, who kicked out at two. Taker knelt down and slapped Shane. Cole said Taker was telling him to stay down.
Taker brought a piece of the ring steps into the ring with him. He reached down to grab Shane, who caught him in a triangle submission hold. Taker eventually powered up and broke free, then chokeslammed Shane onto the bottom part of the ring steps that he set up earlier. Taker covered Shane on the steps for two. Taker went for a running elbow and Shane rolled out of the way, causing Taker to crash onto the steps at 9:15.
Shane sat on the steps and motioned for Taker, who walked toward him only to have Shane spring up and DDT him onto the steps. Shane got a two count. At 10:45, Taker applied Hell’s Gate. Shane teased tapping out, but he instead rolled into an awkward Sharpshooter transition. Taker powered out with his legs.
At 13:15, Shane threw punches at Taker, who was lying in the corner. Shane threw a clunky looking punch from the floor and then pulled out a trashcan from underneath the ring. Shane kicked Taker a couple times, then put the can in front of him, and performed Coast to Coast (Van Terminator). Shane covered Taker for two.
Shane looked up and Cole asked what he was looking at. Shane went to ringside and pulled bolt cutters from underneath the ring and snipped away a section of the cage. Taker recovered and drove Shane through the cage, and Shane’s head hit one of the broadcast tables hard. A “this is awesome” chant started.
With both men outside the structure, Taker took the Spanish broadcast table apart. Shane approached him, but Taker struck him with a monitor and then hit him with another monitor shot while he was down.
Taker and Shane fought into the crowd and Shane ended up lying on top of a box or something that was next to the barricade. Taker made the throat slash gesture while standing on the box. Taker went for the Tombstone, but Shane slipped behind him and applied a sleeper. With Shane on his back, Taker dove onto one of the broadcast tables in a way that drove Shane through it first at 21:50.
For some reason, Shane was up first and he picked up a toolbox and struck Taker over the head with it. Shane hit him again with it and the box popped open. The crowd popped as Taker was lying on the table and Shane’s facials told them he was about to do a big stunt. Shane hit Taker with the toolbox, then he looked up at the structure.
Shane climbed up to the top of the structure while the unconvincing broadcast team acted stunned and called for him to forget his legacy and get down. Shane eventually stood up on top of the structure. Shane slowly walked to the edge of the cage, made the sign of the cross, and then dropped an elbow. Taker moved, and Shane crashed through the table. Two referees were there to check on him immediately.
Taker sat on the ground against the barricade looking dazed. Taker eventually got to his feet and stumbled toward the cage. A “this is awesome” chant started and stopped quickly. Shane reached up and tried to pull himself up. Shane got to his knees and motioned for Taker to keep it coming. Taker picked up Shane over his shoulder and brought him back inside the cell and then rolled him inside the ring.
With Shane on the ring steps that were left in the cell earlier, Taker mocked him by calling for him to bring it. Shane motioned back to him. Taker grabbed Shane’s face with both hands with Shane appearing to sell it as if he was going limp. Taker hoisted him up and gave him a Tombstone piledriver and then pinned him…
Undertaker beat Shane McMahon in a Hell in a Cell match in 30:05.
Taker’s music played and he lumbered his way up the ramp. Paramedics buzzed by him with a stretcher on the back. Taker turned and looked back to Shane and then smiled before heading to the back. Two referees were in the ring tending to Shane, who was then strapped the gurney and carried out by EMTs while JBL laid it on thick about how he’s never seen a man put up a fight like Shane did. Shane received a nice ovation from fans, who cheered loudly once he gave the thumbs up at the top of the stage. Shane then pounded his chest before they went to a commercial…
Powell’s POV: I really wanted the offense that Shane got to feel logical. They went halfway there by having Taker dominate early, and I was waiting for Shane to avoid a big move or for Taker to run head first into the ring post. I just wanted something to make it seem like Taker was dominant until he put himself at risk and left himself vulnerable to Shane’s offense. Instead, we got too much Super Shane. The dive off the top of the cage was absolutely insane. Words can’t describe how bad Cole and JBL were in that moment. They take you out of the moment as much as Super Shane’s offense does. Pooch noted that it appeared like something deflated after Shane landed on the broadcast table. I didn’t catch it live, but I hope it was a safer stunt than just Shane diving through a table from those heights. I really wanted Shane to go over so that we would get some real change on Raw. I’m so burned out on heel authority figures. I’m already cringing at the thought of seeing it continue.
The pre-show panel were all smiles and jokes as they spoke briefly before The Dre…
7. The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Baron Corbin was among the group of wrestlers who didn’t get entrances, though Cole at least acknowledged him. Mark Henry, Kane, Dallas Page, and Big Show received their own entrances. Shaquille O’Neal received his own entrance. Yes, that Shaq. Is there another?
Shaq and Show had a staredown. Kane walked up and grabbed them both by the throat, but they grabbed Kane and chokeslammed him together. All the wrestlers aside from Shaq and Show were dumped to ringside. Fandango ran in and danced and was eliminated. Sandow ran in and he was eliminated.
Shaq and Show jawed at one another. Show grabbed Shaq by the throat. Shaq sold it, then grabbed Show. The rest of the wrestlers ran in and eliminated both Shaq and Show. Big Show helped Shaq up and they headed to the back together. Oh, and Tatanka is apparently in the match. Page eliminated one of the Ascension members. I believe the other one eliminated him.
Tatanka threw a bunch of chops at Adam Rose. Tatanka was going for a big move or something when Corbin tossed him over the top rope to eliminate him. Corbin told Tatanka to go back to the WWF. Nice. Truth was bounced by members of the Social Outcasts, who also eliminated Goldust. The Outcasts took a victory lap inside the ring and stopped when they ran into Kane and then Corbin.
The final four were Corbin, Kane, Bo Dallas, and Darren Young. Kane eliminated the pretenders, then Corbin ran up behind Kane and eliminated him for the match. There was an NXT chant from the crowd. Corbin poxed in Andre style next to the trophy while JBL raved about what a future he has…
Baron Corbin won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal in 9:45.
Powell’s POV: So the battle royal is the new Divas buffer match. I want to believe that something good will come from Corbin winning The Dre. It meant nothing for Cesaro or Big Show, but maybe this will be the year. I liked the silly Shaq surprise. Eddie Huang must be thrilled.
Cole set up a video package for WrestleMania 33 on April 2 in Orlando, Florida…
The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders were introduced. They did a dance on the stage and that led to the introduction of The Rock, who received a massive ovation. Rock brought a flame shooting gun out with him. Crew members could be seen running away from a big Rock sign on the side of the stage. Rock lit the previously mentioned Rock sign with the gun.
Rock headed to the ring with the Cowboys cheerleaders lined up on on both sides of the ramp. Rock stopped to show his bicep to one of the cheerleaders, who smiled. Finally, Rock has come back to Dallas and WrestleMania. Rock put over the cheerleaders and the crowd.
The Rock said he saw a lot of smiling faces and had the cameras show fans on various sides of the ring. He spoke about how there will be a lot of Rock babies born nine months from now. He did the “millions” routine and had the crowd chant along.
Rock said he told Dallas that he said they would make history. Rock said records are made to be broken. Rock announced a WrestleMania record breaking crowd. A graphic showed 101,762 as the attendance. Pyro shot off on the stage.
Powell’s POV: That’s an awesome number. Not to be Debbie Downer here, but it’s not an AT&T Stadium. George Strait’s concert drew 104,793 fans, and the NBA All-Star Game drew 108,713 attendees, according to the Cowboys website.
Rock said now it’s going to get good. The Wyatt Family’s music interrupted him and the lights went out. Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman, and Erick Rowan headed to the ring. They stopped short and Wyatt took the mic and said Rock may not know him, but he knows Rock. Wyatt introduced himself and he and his minions climbed onto the cage.
Wyatt said he was not there as a friend nor an enemy, but as a reminder of the truth that he chose Rock. Wyatt said he chose Rock because he represents success and greatness. Wyatt entered the ring and said Rock represents a lie. Wyatt said this is not Rock’s moment and it most certainly is not a moment for the fans, it’s his moment. Wyatt said he would eviscerate Rock and make his people watch every second of it.
Rock said they made history and there are going to be Rock babies, but instead Wyatt said he’s there to eviscerate Rock’s soul and then go to Cracker Barrel. Rock said it looked like he’d been hitting the bong for about eight days. Strowman and Rowan entered the ring and Wyatt held up his arms to keep them in place. Rock took verbal jabs at them.
Rock said he knows who Wyatt is and he’s had his eye on him ever since he showed up. Rock said he’s been watching him because he has it all. Rock said Wyatt has the ability and the charisma. Rock said Wyatt holds people in the palms in his hand and 100,000 people had their phones out when he walked out.
Rock said Bray is knocking on a door that he doesn’t want opened. Rock said Bray likes to call himself the eater of worlds, but he sees an eater of hot pockets. Wyatt said he wasn’t there to knock on a door, he was there to kick one down. “You have no idea who you’re fooling with, friend,” Wyatt said.
Rock said he has an idea and it goes like this. Rock removed his shirt and said no WrestleMania fight, they were having a WrestleMania match. Rock called for a referee. He said it could be Wyatt “or these two Duck Dynasty bitches” but one way or another someone was getting their ass kicked. Rock removed his pants and had his gear on underneath.
8. The Rock vs. Erick Rowan (w/Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman). The referee called for the bell and Rock hit the Rock Bottom and pinned Rowan. It was announced as a six-second win and a new record.
After the match, the Wyatts teased attacking Rock, but then John Cena’s music played and he made his entrance. The fans popped big for Cena, but there were the usual “John Cena Sucks” singing to his theme song. Cena ran to the ring in his gear and joined Rock. Rock and Cena had a fight with the Family. Rock hit the Rock Bottom on Strowman. Cena performed the Five Knuckle Shuffle spot on Rowan and then performed the Attitude Adjustment.
Bray attacked Cena and went for his finisher, but Rock broke it up. Rock punched Wyatt and gave him a spinebuster, then performed the People’s Elbow on him. Rock took the mic and said, “Welcome back… If you smell what The Rock is cooking.” Rock and Cena hugged as Cole spoke about their WrestleMania history. Rock went to ringside and hugged his mother, daughter, and other family members. Betty Skaaland was also there…
Powell’s POV: A cool moment that the live crowd popped big for. You have to turn your brain off when it comes to Rock being ready to wrestle for no reason and Cena just hanging out backstage waiting for a reason to run out to wrestle apparently, but I think the masses are quite content. There was a time when I would have complained about the Wyatts being roughed up by a part-timer, but I’ve given up. I just hope I don’t hear any crap about how they got rub from that segment. It was a WrestleMania Moment. By the way, they’ve already ran past the top of the hour, which explains why replays for WrestleMania on the WWE Network are listed for 4.5 hours rather than the usual four hours.
Cole hyped the main even and then a video package aired…
A video aired with zombie-like creatures with their mouths covered. A Triple H skull was shown and then it pulled back. Leather clad empress Stephanie McMahon with wild hair stood on a Triple H throne and gave a speech about how your lives are meaningless and the fans owe everything to them. She said there can be only one and raved about Hunter in an over the top action movie manner. Hunter came out in his gear with the title belt and they headed to the ring together.
Roman Reigns’ entrance music played and he walked onto the star on the stage, did his usual punch down, and the stage screen changed. Pyro shot off outside the building on on the stage star. Reigns headed to the ring and then stood on the ropes where he was booed.
Lilian Garcia delivered the in-ring introductions for the title match. Reigns was booed, which drew a smirk from him. Hunter was cheered loudly…
9. Triple H (w/Stephanie McMahon) vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Hunter took Reigns down with a side headlock to start, but Reigns knocked him down with a shoulder block. Hunter blocked a hip-toss and threw Reigns over the top rope to ringside. Hunter opened the ropes mockingly for Reigns. There was a “Roman Sucks” chant.
The crowd remained behind Hunter and booed Reigns as they traded shots. The fans cheered when Hunter caught Reigns with a low blow. Hunter got the better of of Reigns following the low blow. Cole told the story that Hunter was targeting the nose of Reigns with his punches. Hunter tossed Reigns to ringside at 7:50.
Hunter threw Reigns over the German broadcast table. Reigns fought back from there, but Hunter ended up catching him with a neckbreaker off the German table. Reigns made it back onto the apron and was greeted with knees to the head at 10:40. With Roman dangling over the middle rope, Hunter performed a knee drop off the middle rope and covered Reigns for two.
Hunter went to the middle rope again and jumped into a punch from Reigns, who caught him with a kick. There were some boos and no audible cheers. Reigns performed a Samoan drop on Hunter and got a two count. Reigns set up for the Superman Punch, but Hunter rolled to ringside to avoid it.
Reigns also went to ringside, got a running start, leapt off the ring steps, and caught Hunter with a clothesline. A short time later, Hunter tossed Reigns over the German broadcast table again. However, Reigns recovered quickly and speared Hunter through the barricade.
Stephanie stood over Hunter and told the referee to go ahead and start the ten count. The referee did just that. Reigns dragged Hunter back inside the ring. Reigns was holding his left hand or arm in pain. Stephanie jawed at him. Roman stood p and went for a Superman Punch, but Hunter grabbed him by the bad arm and applied the Kimura lock.
Reigns eventually rolled to a standing position, but Hunter held on. Hunter had a small cut on his head that opened early in the match. Reigns powered up Hunter and slammed him down for a two count and broke the hold at 20:00.
Rinse and repeat with Hunter applying the hold and Reigns powering out again. Hunter went for a Pedigree, but Reigns backdropped him over the top rope. Stephanie was there to tend to Hunter. Reigns set up for his dive, but Hunter caught him with a punch. As Hunter returned to the ring, Reigns speared him. Steph pulled out the referee briefly. He returned and counted, but Hunter kicked out.
Stephanie entered the ring while the broadcast team said that was close to a DQ. Hunter grabbed the referee. Reigns went for a spear and both Hunter and the ref moved, causing Reigns to spear Stephanie. Hunter hit the Pedigree on Reigns for a good near fall.
Reigns absorbed having his face driven into Hunter’s knee and came right back with a Superman Punch at 25:00. Reigns sat in the corner and pumped himself up while Hunter struggled to get back to his feet. Reigns went for a spear, but Hunter cut him down with a great running knee to the head. Hunter covered Reigns, who kicked out at two.
Stephanie was down at ringside, but she managed to hand Hunter a sledgehammer. Cole said Hunter would be disqualified and retain the title if he used the sledgehammer. With Hunter bickering with the referee momentarily, Reigns caught him with a Superman Punch. Reigns followed up with a second. Reigns dodged a sledgehammer jab from Hunter and then ran the ropes and speared him before pinning him to win the match….
Roman Reigns beat Triple H to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in 26:50.
After the match, Reigns stood up with the belt and was booed by many. He played into for a moment by appearing to taunt them a little, then he head the belt over his head as pyro shot off on the stage and then a shot of pyro going off outside around the stadium was shown as the cameras cut back and forth from inside to the outside of the stadium. Reigns stood on the middle rope and celebrated.
Cole announced that Roman Reigns and Charlotte will both appear on NBC’s “Today” on Monday morning at 8CT/9ET. Cole closed the show as Reigns stood on the second rope and smiled with the belt raised over his head…
A video recapped the show…
Powell’s POV: There were cheers for the pin even though the vocal majority were behind Hunter throughout the match. Maybe the plan was to wear out the crowd with a long wait in line combined with seeing all or portions of a nearly seven-hour show before giving Reigns the win? It worked on JBL, who lost his voice by the time the show was over. Some of those early matches are just a blur at this point.
Overall, WrestleMania delivered in terms of being an entertaining big show. It didn’t do nearly enough to focus on the current stars. I’m guessing they would point to Reigns and Charlotte as examples, but so much of it was about the returning stars and it’s hard to be excited about too many of the younger stars coming out of the show. Still, I was very entertained by the overall event and I look forward to discussing it with Will Pruett and Jake Barnett in members’ audio later tonight.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Jake Barnett co-hosting the Boom and Dot Net Weekly combo show. Jason and Jake discuss Becky Lynch announcing her pregnancy, Alberto Del Rio being accused of sexual assault, WWE's IC Title tournament, Mike Tyson appearing at AEW Double Or Nothing, Undertaker's Last Ride documentary, AEW Dynamite and NXT TV thoughts, and more...