By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WrestleMania 36 Kickoff Show
Aired April 4, 2020 on WWE Network, FS1, and WWE social media pages
-Corey Graves and Peter Rosenberg hosted the show while dressed in tuxedos at WWE Headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. They touted Rob Gronkowski as the WrestleMania host and then spoke about the two-day event.
-The hosts indicated the night one will feature Undertaker vs. AJ Styles in a Boneyard match, Becky Lynch vs. Shayna Baszler for the Raw Women’s Championship, Goldberg vs. Braun Strowman for the WWE Universal Championship, John Morrison vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Jimmy Uso in a three-way ladder match for the Smackdown Tag Titles, Sami Zayn vs. Daniel Bryan for the Intercontinental Championship, Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins, Elias vs. King Corbin, and The Kabuki Warriors vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles.
-A video package aired on the Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens match.
-After some advertising, the hosts spotlighted the WWE Women’s Tag Title match.
-The WWE Universal Championship match between Goldberg and Braun Strowman was discussed.
-A Miz and John Morrison music video aired. Back in the studio, Rosenberg said the video was horrifying. Graves said it was a gift to his eardrums.
-A WrestleMania Moment video focused on Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 30. The hosts discussed the Intercontinental Championship match.
1. Drew Gulak vs. Cesaro. Michael Cole was on commentary and both wrestlers were introduced by ring announcer Greg Hamilton. Gulak caught Cesaro in an early armbar, but Cesaro powered him up and slammed him down. Cesaro went for a Neutralizer, but Gulak countered into a crossface. Cesaro reached the ropes to break the hold.
Gulak dumped Cesaro over the top rope to ringside. Gulak clotheslined Cesaro from the apron. Cesaro fired back on the floor with a punch, then rolled Gulak back inside the ring, When Cesaro got to the apron, Gulak wrenched Cesaro’s arm over the top rope, then dumped him to ringside again. Gulak dove at Cesaro, who caught him, then Gulak countered into an armdrag. Gulak ran Cearo into the ring steps.
Gulak rolled Cesaro back inside the ring. Gulak went up top and leapt into an uppercut from Cesaro. Gulak quickly came back with an another armbar, which Cesaro broke. A short time later, Gulak stuffed a Neutralizer attempt and was shoved toward the referee. Gulak stopped short of hitting the referee, then ate an uppercut. Cesaro performed an airplane spin and put his arms at his side while performing the move, which led to him getting the three count…
Cesaro defeated Drew Gulak in 4:25.
Powell’s POV: This felt like a television match and they just didn’t have enough time to make it special. It was solid while it lasted, but it’s sad because these two are capable of delivering a gem. Cesaro’s no-hands airplane spin was cool, but it was strange to see it used as the match finish.
-After some advertising, the hosts ran through the night two lineup: Brock Lesnar vs. Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship, John Cena vs. The Fiend in a Firefly Funhouse match, Edge vs. Randy Orton in a Last Man Standing match, Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler, Aleister Black vs. Bobby Lashley, Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Tamina vs. Naomi vs. Lacey Evans for the Smackdown Women’s Championship, Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair for the NXT Women’s Championship, and The Street Profits vs. Angel Garza and Austin Theory.
-Kayla Braxton interviewed King Corbin. She said his match with Elias because of Corbin’s attack on Smackdown two weeks ago. The footage of the attack was shown. Corbin laughed and asked, “Any questions?” Corbin said he ended Kurt Angle’s career last year and it would be the same for Elias this year. Corbin said he would take his win by forfeit. Corbin played the harmonica and sang a song about Elias.
-Graves said he closed his eyes and thought he was listening to John Popper (of Blues Traveler). Funny.
-A WrestleMania Moment video recapped Becky Lynch beating Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair in last year’s main event.
-After some advertising, a video package spotlighted the Raw Women’s Championship match between Becky Lynch and Shayna Baszler.
-The hosts turned things over to the WWE Backstage crew of Renee Young, Booker T, and Mark Henry, who spoke about the Raw Women’s Championship match.
-The hosts set up a WWE merchandise ad video.
-Graves and Rosenberg discussed the Undertaker vs. AJ Styles Boneyard match, then closed out the Kickoff Show.
Check out my full review of the WrestleMania main card in a separate post on the main page.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ring of Honor's PJ Black discussing the ROH Pure Title tournament beginning on ROH Wrestling TV this weekend, ROH's COVID-19 safety precautions, his run in WWE as Justin Gabriel with The Nexus, wrestling as The Bunny, and more...