Powell’s WrestleMania XL Night Two Hit List: Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes for the WWE Universal Championship, Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre for the World Heavyweight Championship


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

WrestleMania XL Night Two Hits

Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes for the WWE Universal Championship: They stuck the landing. The long wait for Cody to avenge his loss at WrestleMania 39 was worth it. As someone who was excited about the idea of Reigns facing The Rock at WrestleMania as long as Cody finished his story at SummerSlam, I now can’t imagine there being a better ending to WrestleMania than this. I have history of being wrong when it comes to Cody. I didn’t think he was a future WWE world champion when he left company (due in large part to Vince McMahon’s proclivities). I also wondered if he was a malcontent when he gave up his executive vice president position and departed AEW. Cody bet on himself in both cases and it has paid off in spades. The fans connected with Cody’s story and he took them on an emotional journey that concluded with a spectacular ending. Fans have run the “you deserve it” chant into the ground, but it absolutely applies in this case. Cody Rhodes deserves it because he’s earned it. Congratulations to him for finally becoming the team quarterback. Meanwhile, Roman’s championship reign was truly epic. The Bloodline saga has been sensational and the company reached new heights during Roman’s long run as champion. I am can’t wait to see what comes next for both men.

Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre for the World Heavyweight Championship: Night two kicked off with a bang when the bell rang and then McIntyre immediately blasted Rollins with a Claymore Kick for a near fall. I thought they would slow things down after that, but they actually maintained the fast pace and hit finisher after finisher. This approach would annoy me had this occurred during some random television match. There’s a time and a place for this style of match and the biggest show of the year certainly qualifies.

Damian Priest successfully cashes in the Money in the Bank contract: McIntyre and Rollins were both so emotional after their match that I never would have guessed that Priest was going to successfully cash in. It was a wild moment that felt right for the McIntyre and CM Punk feud. It also sets up Priest as a champion that fans will view as vulnerable. I don’t expect him to have a long title reign, but I hope they give it some time because I think there will be a lot of interest in his title matches because the fans will believe there’s a good chance of him losing to a variety of opponents.

Iyo Sky vs. Bayley for the WWE Women’s Championship: A very good match. It’s a shame that Sky’s title reign was so weak. This was only her second televised title defense in 2024, and she only defended the title a few times at live events. I’m not sure why they didn’t do more with her as champion, but she and Bayley rose to the occasion and produced one of the better matches of the night.

Logan Paul vs. Randy Orton vs. Kevin Owens for the U.S. Championship: A solid Triple Threat. It was fun to see them go against the grain throughout the build by not having a meltdown moment between Orton and Owens. Given the booking we’ve seen for so many years, I think we were all just waiting for that to happen but it never did. Even when Orton finally tried to hit Owens with an RKO during the match, Owens just shot him a “Really?” look and then Orton essentially shrugged his shoulders. Paul is a freak athlete who is so much better than he should be. But I can’t decide whether I’m more bored by seeing influencers dress up as the Prime mascot or Paul using brass knuckles. Here’s hoping they will shake things up a little bit because they have a really good thing going with Paul.

LA Knight vs. AJ Styles: A quality match with the 41 year-old veteran Knight finally getting his WrestleMania moment. They worked hard to sell this match with multiple brawls in the weeks leading up to the show. Now it’s time to work on the Styles character. WWE creative has done a very good job of adding layers to a lot of characters, but Styles continues to be one dimensional. He came back angry following an injury layoff and they still haven’t taken the time to explain why. Will this win move Knight into contention for the U.S. Championship?

Bobby Lashley, Montez Ford, and Angelo Dawkins vs. Karrion Kross, Akam, and Rezar in a Philadelphia Street Fight: The build for this match didn’t do anything for me. It felt like the match cracked the WrestleMania lineup to avoid leaving Lashley off the WrestleMania card for a second straight year. But it actually turned out to be an enjoyable undercard brawl. The addition of Bubba Ray Dudley as the special referee was a nice touch. I’m still not sold on either faction working long term, but everyone involved worked hard and made this match work for what it was.

WrestleMania XL Night Two Misses

None: The first night of WrestleMania looked stronger on paper, but night two was better in execution. The night two matches that didn’t look promising all exceeded my expectations. It was also a newsworthy show thanks to all of the major title changes. WWE spent the weekend sending the message that this event marked the beginning of a new era. While it’s clearly the right message to send to distance themselves from Vince McMahon, the message would not have mattered had nothing actually changed. They backed up the talk by presenting a WrestleMania that did indeed feel fresh and new. This messaging should also go a long way when it comes to maintaining the interest of fans and avoiding the WrestleMania hangover. WrestleMania often feels like the end of the story. Despite building the show around Cody Rhodes finishing his story, the company did a great job of telling fans that things are just getting started.


Readers Comments (8)

  1. I was really pleased when they showed the footage after the match when everyone came out because sometimes the show goes off the air before that.He would’ve thought when Roman won the title that an AEW wrestler especially Cody Rhodes would be the guy to take it from him?I’m curious as to why Austin wasn’t somehow part of this though or even Lesnar?

    • I’m with you. The post match stuff really emphasised the new direction. They either all genuinely feel happy to be out from under shits mcmahons ‘leadership’ or they’re out to sell that they are. Either way, it worked for me.

  2. Funny how everyone brings up LA Knight’s age, but no one brings up Damien Priest’s. They’re the same age. Well, Priest is older by 2 months.

  3. I hope they don’t bring back Lesnar, and his silly hair. If you read the filing, just because circumstance prevented him from going to Ms. Grant’s room, he had the intent to. He’s no better than McMahon, using a woman as part of his signing bonus.

    I thought Iyo vs Raquel Gonzalez in NXT was a MOTY contender, but here main roster matches show a lot of moonsaults landing on people’s heads.

  4. Really enjoyed the show, the payoff for Cody, and Iyo v Bayley put on a great match. Was I the only one frustrated by the lingering stupid Bayley song the Brits insist on singing during her matches? It’s ‘what’ chant cringe for me and self indulgent. I’m glad the rest of the crowd eventually overtook that nonsense by being into what was a great match.

    • The Bayley song was cute initially. It’s more than run its course and I was also cringing when they started singing it and then kept going and going and going…

  5. Yep, great to see WWE ushering a new era by crowbarring The Rock, John Cena and The Undertaker into the main event. All in all there was some good stuff in this Wrestlemania but that main event was one of the dumbest things I have ever seen (and that’s no criticism of Cody or Roman, who played their parts perfectly).

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