WrestleMania XL Kickoff Show report: Powell’s live notes on the night two pre-show

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WrestleMania XL Night Two Kickoff Show
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at Lincoln Financial Field
Streamed April 7, 2024 on Peacock/WWE Network and WWE social media pages

This will not be a full-on recap of the Kickoff Show with listings of all the video packages or the match predictions from the hosts. Rather, I’ll stick to listing any notable developments from the two-hour show. Refresh the page for the latest updates.

-Michael Cole hosted the show from a stage set up in the parking lot of the stadium. Cole was joined by Pat McAfee, Big E, and CM Punk. Cole introduced Punk as the man that “internet wrestling marks use to make headlines.” Funny.

-The second part of Megan Morant’s interview with Paul “Triple H” Levesque aired (part one of the interview aired on the night one Kickoff Show). Morant asked Levesque how CM Punk’s return came about. Levesque said there were a couple of conversations between Punk and Nick Khan. Levesque said Khan asked if he minded if they spoke to see if anything was there. Levesque said he didn’t mind.

Levesque said he still considered it a long shot when he called the WWE Music department to ask about using “Cult of Personality” just in case. Levesque said they were live on the air during Survivor Series when he got word that it was going to happen. He said he got word right before Punk arrived the building that everything was agreed to. Levesque said he pulled the talent who were in the main event aside before they went to the ring to talk about it. Levesque assumed there were a lot of mixed emotions and he said he had a lot of interesting private conversations about Punk returning.

Levesque said Punk is a different Punk since he returned. He said he’s been nothing but a wonderful employee and a wonderful addition to the team. He said they have kept him involved in everything despite being injured because things have gone so well.

Morant brought up the drama between Punk, Seth Rollins, and Drew McIntyre. Levesque said Punk and Rollins may not be the biggest fans of each other, but there is respect there.

Morant asked what fans can look forward to most about 2024. Levesque said he couldn’t be more excited about the people he works with and the product they are putting out. He said it’s hard for him to put into words how excited he is about the future. Levesque said he thinks it will feel like a whole new place by next year’s WrestleMania.

-Levesque was asked if he had any final words of wisdom. He laughed at sharing words of wisdom, then told the fans to express what they like and dislike because they are listening.

-Cole asked Punk when he went to Allstate Arena. Punk said it was very late in the day. Punk said he didn’t know some of the things that Levesque said in the interview. Punk said Levesque was asked questions and answered honestly and he said they are similar and that might be why they didn’t get along for so many years. Punk said that for anyone who is worried about who he was, they should be worried about who he is becoming.

-WWE Women’s Champion Iyo Sky was interviewed on a backstage interview set by Byron Saxton. Sky said they kicked Bayley out of Damage CTRL because she deserved it.

-A WrestleMania “By The Numbers” video was shown.

-A video package featured in-character comments from Bayley about building Damage CTRL and now wanting to do everything she can to break them.

-Journalist Tom Rinaldi spoke from the entrance ramp and set up a video feature that he narrated on photo journalist Neil Leifer. The Rock was shown greeting Leifer and asking for a round of applause. A legendary Leifer photo of Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston was shown. Footage was shown of The Rock telling Leifer the story about Ali’s family telling him that the boxing icon wanted him to use his People’s Champion monicker. They also showed shots from Leifer’s photo shoot with Rock.

Powell’s POV: Another cool feature from Rinaldi, who did the great piece on Saturday’s Kickoff Show regarding Kansas City Chiefs’ player Trey Smith calming down a young fan after the Super Bowl parade by showing him his WWE replica title belt.

-Byron Saxton was again stood next to the fire hazard that is Cody Rhodes’ tour bus. Saxton said Cody told him that the Blood Line Rules match is the card that he’s been dealt and he will not fold.

-Jackie Redmond and Wade Barrett checked in a little after the top of the hour. Big E stuck around while Cole, McAfee, and Punk departed. The panel was joined by the WWE Special Olympics Community Correspondent Cody Field, who did a great job of firing up the crowd. He said his favorite part of his experience so far was meeting his idol Cody Rhodes. Redmond presented Field with a gold medal. The fans behind the panel chanted “you deserve it.” Nice.

-Peter Rosenberg did his annual backstage walkthrough. He encountered Drew McIntyre, who was texting on his phone. They walked through the covered area that leads to Gorilla Position. McIntyre looked into the camera and told the fans to remember the fear they went through four years ago. He said WWE was there for them and so was he, so he deserves his moment. McIntyre headed out and then Chad Gable and Otis showed off a sponsor’s chair phone (that’s not a typo). Rosenberg walked into Gorilla Position and onto the WrestleMania stage. Big E chimed in and spoke about the feeling of walking down the WrestleMania entrance ramp.

-JBL joined the panel.

-Bobby Lashley, Montez Ford, Angelo Parker, and B-Fab were interviewed on a backstage set about facing The Final Testament. Lashley said it was time to end the feud because they have bigger fish to fry. B-Fab spoke and then Ford talked about seeking violence. Dawkins chimed in briefly at the end. Saxton acted like he was taken aback by what they said.

-Cathey Kelley spoke with “The Final Testament” faction of Karrion Kross, Akam, Rezar, Scarlet, and Paul Ellering. Kross wore an ECW t-shirt and spoke about taking things to the extreme.

-Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, an outstanding comedian, was interviewed by Rosenberg (they misspelled Fluffy’s last name when they showed the graphic). Fluffy said Rock had to be freezing when he poured water on himself last night. It was also noted that Fluffy is the new host of WWE Rivals on A&E. He joked that if you hang out long enough, they put you to work.

Powell’s POV: I have already started dropping hints to my girlfriend that Fluffy tickets would be a great gift because he’s in town on my birthday this August. He’s a terrific storyteller and I would love to see him in person. No, she’s not reading this, so I’ll keep dropping those hints and hope for the best. Anyway, as I wrote yesterday, the WrestleMania Kickoff Shows have been more enjoyable than past WWE Kickoff Shows. They did a nice job of including some unique content and kept things moving at a good pace. It looks like they are wrapping things up with some video packages. I’ll pop in with any updates if they happen to have anything else notable before the end of the pre-show.

-CM Punk was shown making his entrance. Redmond assumed this was a sign that the World Heavyweight Championship match would open the show.

Join me for my live review of WrestleMania XL night two in a separate story available via the main page.


Readers Comments (2)

  1. Literally I just want Bayley to win. After that I’m happy whatever goes on.

  2. Welll…
    So much for Serious Gable.They should’ve had Tazowa doing that.

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