Pruett’s WrestleMania XL Live Blog: Live commentary on Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes II with Bloodline Rules, Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre for the World Championship, and Bayley vs. Iyo Sky


By Will Pruett, Co-Senior Staffer (@itswilltime)

WWE WrestleMania XL Night Two
Streamed April 7, 2024 live on Peacock
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at Lincoln Financial Field

– Last night was a weird WrestleMania show from where I was sitting, but ultimately a fun one as well. This show is definitely the biggest of the weekend though. Cody Rhodes and Roman Reigns feels like a bigger match now than it did 12 months ago, when it still felt huge. WWE has managed to thread the needle well with this main event and building this show. Let’s see how this plays out.

– Michael Cole opened up the show saying no one has seen Cody Rhodes all day. He’s been locked in his sponsored bus. Did he overdo it on vodka after the loss?

– The War and Treaty’s rendition of God Bless America was delightful, but the two key changes in the middle of it baffled my musical mind a bit. One key change creates a bop. Two? What are we even doing? That’s a wild amount of key changes. How can you even fit that many into a song?

– Stephanie McMahon appearing as more than a special guest at the Hall of Fame is a major surprise. I’m assuming she is just welcoming folks to the show, but one has to wonder what her involvement could be with modern WWE with Vince McMahon fully disgraced and out of the picture (as he should be).

– “This is the first show of the Paul Levesque era” is quite the statement from WWE. This is a company fully building around Levesque as its savior and creative genius. Stephanie McMahon is a branding person after all.

– What does make sense for WWE is replacing Vince McMahon, who they often listed losing as a risk factor because of his creative involvement, with another “creative genius” and building their company branding around him. I get it. I won’t say I think it’s the best move, but I understand the move.

1. Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
– Drew McIntyre receiving the Roddy Piper-esque entrance to kick of WrestleMania is a very fun move. It upsets CM Punk (who is on commentary). It also gives McIntyre a fun moment in front of actual fans, which he deserves.

– I don’t know what a mummer string band is or why they all have accordions, but this is a much better entrance for Seth Rollins than last year’s fake conductor poorly conducting a crowd. This works way better. And Michael Cole making an Adam Rose reference has me giggling. He has to be at home screaming about Rollins stealing his gimmick.

– This is the first year with two WrestleMania nights directly playing into each other and Seth Rollins being caught off guard by that Claymore Kick and selling his injuries from last night is a great touch. It also allows for this match to start fast and draw fans into the action. Trading early finishers can be risky, but it has been well done here.

– When Drew McIntyre grabbed a phone early, it was to post this Tweet:

Amazing work all around.

– This match went from opening bell to finisher spamming at a record pace. It was not just the opening trade of a Claymore and a Stomp, but most of the moves these men have hit would be listed as signature moves or finishers in WWE 2K24.

– Drew McIntyre and Seth Rollins had a finisher sprint of a match that was pretty fun. I wouldn’t say a title match built around Cody Rhodes, The Rock, and CM Punk makes the belt Seth lost to Drew look amazing, but WWE is going to WWE.

– Drew McIntyre’s work leading up to this title match has been amazing. His character is shining in this scenario with Punk as a natural enemy.

– CM Punk getting upset at McIntyre and attacking him is definitely interesting. Damien Priest cashing in his contract is more interesting.

2. Drew McIntyre vs. Damien Priest for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship (Money in the Bank cash in).

– Before I could even write about Priest cashing in, he had already pinned Drew McIntyre. That was a very fun and fast moment. WWE has now changed that title twice in one night after having it on Seth Rollins for almost a year. They have also motivated Drew McIntyre to stay mad at Punk. There are so many moving pieces in that scene, but ultimately it is impossible not to be happy for McIntyre.

– Damien Priest is a great reset for the World Championship on Raw and should be able to grow and thrive with that title. Whether he will do so as a part of Judgement Day long-term will interesting.

3. The Pride vs. The Final Testament in a Philadelphia Street Fight.

– Playing the role of last night’s ladder match is tonight’s Street Fight. You’ve got to have a giant wild brawl as the second match up (not counting cash ins) I guess?

– I could do without Bubba Ray Dudley in most circumstances, but this should be a fun spot for him. I’m sure he’ll do the table thing. He loves doing the table thing.

– The next compelling Karrion Kross match or segment I see will be the first, but this one could make it over that hill with Snoop Dogg on commentary letting us all know he’s either high, drunk, or both. Great stuff all around from the WrestleMania legend who defeated the Miz last year.

– A year ago I was predicting WWE could make Montez Ford into their next major star, even saying he had an outside chance to main event WrestleMania. I was wrong, I guess. He’s in the same place he has been for years, which is disappointing.

– The B-Fab and Scarlett table spot seemed like a bump neither woman was ready for and it looked painful.

– Snoop Dogg is making this Bubba Ray Dudley comedy work for me and I’m angry at both myself and Snoop for that.

– Montez Ford continues to impress and deliver highlights. Hopefully he is beyond tag matches in a year and doing more at WrestleMania. I can’t say The Final Testament is an impressive faction, but they existed in this one and gave Lashley and the Profits something to do at WrestleMania. That is neat.

– The Pride vs. The Final Testament felt like a match that could have happened at a random house show in Philadelphia anytime in the last three years.

4. LA Knight vs. AJ Styles.

– This is a battle of guys who love initials in their names. LAAJ! Yay for letters!

– After being left off of WrestleMania 39 while being very over, LA Knight getting a major spot against AJ Styles at this show makes sense. I am not a big LA Knight fan, but crowds are obviously very into him.

– Styles is in yet another major WrestleMania singles match. When he debuted for WWE in 2016, I don’t think anyone saw him hanging around in the company this long or main eventing WrestleMania (as he did in 2020).

– These all night WrestleMania parties overseas look very weird. Who gets together with their friends to yell and chant? My friends would throw me out if I tried to start a chant. I know this from experience.

– Why did WWE get the absolute worst possible theme music for AJ Styles? His previous theme was very good and maybe too enjoyable for a heel, but his new theme joins WWE’s large library of theme music no one will recognize or react to. We might be in a renaissance for WWE, but we are in a dark age of WWE theme music.

– I do not believe there are 6 grams of protein in that ring post, despite how it is labelled.

– I will continue to wonder if LA Knight and Logan Paul was the move on this show, but I enjoyed the Knight and Styles match for what it was. Should Paul retain, there are plenty of major shows in the coming months for Knight and Paul to wrestle on. Knight still strikes me as the obvious next United States Champion.

– I will not be live blogging Saudi Arabian PLEs.

– WWE is doing a better job lighting the crowd tonight. Last night was downright strange with how they let their massive crowd fade into nothingness.

– Bull Nakano looks like she could still have a great match today.

– ECW Nostalgia strikes me as gross these days, but inducting Paul Heyman in Philadelphia makes total sense. And Heyman would be deserving even without ECW ever existing, as his work before and after ECW was exceptional.

5. Logan Paul vs. Kevin Owens vs. Randy Orton for the United States Championship.

– I had hoped Kevin Owens would end up in another WrestleMania main event to go three in a row, but I guess this match is a nice consolation prize.

– WWE’s hype packages before matches have gotten much more routine. There does not seem to be a unique outline to them. They’re just promos back and forth. We are a far cry from the Rock and Austin “My Way” video that could still cause me to run through a brick wall.

– The Prime Truck could only be more insufferable if it were a Cybertruck. I believe I mean this as a compliment to Logan Paul, who is a great heel.

– I had wondered if we would see Sami Zayn encourage Kevin Owens, since Owens did the same for Zayn last night. We did! And then we saw Owens drive a golf cart, which does seem more impressive than the Prime truck.

– Randy Orton on the back of a golf cart might be my favorite vehicular WrestleMania entrance. Randy Orton’s fun loving era is pretty fun to watch.

– Kevin Owens and Randy Orton methodically collaborating about how to hurt Logan Paul brought me a ton of joy.

– WWE still will not name Logan Paul’s Buckshot Lariat. I can only hope that CM Punk, when an inevitable match against Paul happens, will not try to do his own version of it.

– I actually wanted Randy Orton to hit the punt kick on Logan Paul, simply because Pat McAfee calling a punt on commentary would have been fun.

– I do not know who was in the Prime Bottle, but I’m sure folks younger and cooler than me do. I am not young. Or cool.

– Logan Paul’s win here makes sense. He continues to be a great in-ring performer and an even better heel. Paul is naturally insufferable and it comes across brilliantly in the ring.

6. Iyo Sky vs. Bayley for the WWE Women’s Championship.

– Yet another video package that solely contains one promo from each woman. This year has had some really great packages (The Usos!) but the paint by numbers approach to others is super disappointing.

– I am so glad WWE ditched the show-specific names for their women’s championships. They were awful from the start and going with names that match the men’s titles is a far better approach. No one has ever dreamed of winning a Smackdown-specific title.

– I had hoped this would be a chance for a nostalgic Bayley entrance with her old theme music, but instead got a weird Egyptian themed entrance. Alright then. That’s a choice.

– For the second night in a row, Asuka and Kairi Sane are dancing to someone’s theme music. Let them hang out at ringside for the main event and jam out to Roman Reigns’ entrance.

– Bayley seemed to be moving too fast for the in-ring camera with a shallow depth of field during the ring introductions. Watching that camera operator try to find and keep focus was entertaining.

– This weekend is the first time I’ve noticed WWE using a special podium at ringside for championship belts and it’s a nice touch. I don’t know if the podium needs to be as branded as it is, but at least it isn’t sponsored. I assume it will have LED walls and sponsorships within a year.

– Iyo Sky and Bayley had a very good big match in a very tough slot. They are more than two hours into the show and the crowd could br tired snd unengaged. Instead Bayley and Iyo brought them into this one.

– I’d love to see more big matches from Bayley and Iyo. This is one of those WrestleMania matches and feuds that could rematch to death and lead to a cage or something fun like that.

– And now we hit the long period where WWE tends to stretch a little too much before the main event. Last year I felt like night two of WrestleMania lost all momentum as WWE took ages to get the main event going in the ring. Hopefully this year is a little quicker.

– WWE getting to announce a two night total for WrestleMania attendance has to make them quite happy. It’s a major show and making it two nights has been super smart. It also allows them to get all of the attention for WrestleMania weekend.

– And we are already heading into the main event video package. WWE has fixed one of their biggest errors from last year’s WrestleMania. I am impressed by how succinct the attendance announcement segment was and by the lack of advertisements around it.

7. Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes in a Bloodline Rules match for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship.

– I am curious to see how Cody and Roman’s entrances differ from last night’s. Making two major main event WrestleMania entrances in a weekend is a tricky challenge for these wrestlers and the production team. I don’t think they can just repeat last night.

– Cody Rhodes chose a tribute to Paul Levesque with his skeletor-gone-patriotic headpiece as he rose from the Cody-vator and into the crowd. Brandi Rhodes even made a guest appearance to receive the headpiece and fans seemed to greet her with joy. Maybe the Codyverse was where we were all meant to be all along.

– That percussion ensemble for Roman Reigns is absolutely not mic’ed and absolutely just playing and singing to a track. Why can’t they just mic these kids? Why not let the kids sound as awesome as they surely do? I know I am a nerd who works in production with an orchestra, but we can do so much better than just an orchestra pretending to play on a stage for Roman Reigns. Last year’s three piano situation for Roman was a better choice.

– I was stunned by the big fight feel of Cody Rhodes and Roman Reigns last year and this year it seems to have been turned up even more. This already feels like one of the biggest main events in WWE history and it is a compliment to the booking and performances of both men over the last 12 months.

– I am enjoying the setup portion of this match quite a bit. The chemistry is there. Neither man is going wild trying to push the pace. This match is setup to go very long and likely have a ton of twists and turns.

– We are getting into the finisher trading portion of this match and WWE main events have The Rock and Steve Austin’s WrestleMania XIX match to thank for all of the finishers traded since. 21 years of finisher trading!

– Much like last year, the appearance of Bloodline members means we are getting deeper into this main event.

– Jimmy and Jey Uso’s quick brawl in this main event was more dynamic than their entire match last night. 

– After all these years, Roman Reigns has been speared through the barricade by someone else. It’s a waste of an OMG moment for Cody, who could have lit a table on fire instead, but that is alright. At what point will we go a full year without a barricade break in WWE?

– Cody Rhodes is going to survive being thrown off of the giant L tonight, isn’t he?

– John Cena runs out to a giant pop from Philadelphia. This is a really fun cameo for this match and makes me wonder how intense The Avengers assembling for Cody Rhodes will be.

– Cena and Rock are about to step back 11 years in time.

– Did Seth Rollins bleach his hair mid-show so he could look like Shield Seth Rollins? This is the most insane thing I have seen in quite a while. I wondered when The Shield popped up onscreen if we were about to see Rollins and Jon Moxley somehow.

– Undertaker’s quick cameo was something else as well. Cody and Roman getting almost 40 years of history behind them to make this main event epic is something else.

– What a moment as Cody Rhodes pinned Roman Reigns. The match itself was a wild ride from the first run in and Cody finally finishing the story will be a major moment in the history of WrestleMania, up there with so many great ones.

– Samantha Irvin getting emotional announcing Cody Rhodes as a new champion is right up there with some of the best “And New” calls in history. The emotion in that moment was so real and so heavy. 

– The babyface roster coming in to celebrate with Cody also feels like a wild major moment. Like Bret Hart on the shoulders of the roster in 1994, Cody represents something so much more here.

– Cody Rhodes calling in Bruce Pritchard and Paul Levesque to celebrate with him, calling this a new era, will be a clip we can look back to. So much of this weekend was about the wizardry of Paul Levesque and the overarching narrative of WWE seems to be about Levesque now more than it is about any single wrestler.

– Fun fact as we watch Cody Rhodes and Michael Cole hug onscreen: Rhodes actually edited the JBL and Cole online show back in the day. He was one of the creative humans behind it and actually traveled with Michael Cole at the time. The emotion in Cole’s voice for his friend is real.

– As the show ends with WWE’s always impressive made-in-one-night music video of WrestleMania, I have to say this was a good but not great Mania. We’ll remember the main event as an epic and a wild ride, but possibly not a great match. We got some great moments with the Damien Priest cash in, Bayley’s win, and Rhodes finishing the story, but the show did not fly from segment to segment. This was an improvement over night one, but pacing remains an issue.

– WWE is hot right now and it feels like they can keep this pace up, especially with new momentum and new stories coming out of WrestleMania.

– No wrestling company does big moments and big celebrations on big stages like WWE. Cody Rhodes’ victory will be remembered not just for the match itself or the two year story, but for the moments WWE took after. This time is precious and giving fans the chance to celebrate with the babyface and see the babyface take it in is so important. WWE might seem like they go overboard on celebrations like this at times, but that’s better than deciding not to stick with the big win.

– No one does a major show like WWE and so much of WrestleMania XL was about proving that is still true. WWE is in a new place without the creative mind and the production mind that made them what they are. Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn were detriments to WWE for over a decade before they left and WrestleMania XL was about showing that they were never necessary. In this way, WWE becomes bigger than even its founder, the man who always tried to seem larger than life and larger than the company he created. He’s at home now, disgraced and facing a major lawsuit. This was a show about WWE moving on.


Readers Comments (1)

  1. Snoop Dogg made Booker T sound like Gordon Solie on commentary!

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