It's gonna be hard to explain this year's Wrestlemania to future generations. It’s something we have never seen before, a Mania that will always be remembered, for better or for worse. Some things were great and some things were not so great, here are my 6 notes from this year's weird Wrestlemania.
Lack of Crowd
A lot of the matches this year suffered because of the lack of crowd. Especially the gimmick matches like the last man standing match and the ladder match. Fan reaction and noise during a crazy spot is what makes those matches so exciting to watch. Guys jumping off ladders or diving off the stage like Kevin Owens against Seth Rollins with no crowd just makes the spot less impactful and unnecessary.
The announcers also didn't do their jobs and make the viewers feel the excitement for those spots. They sounded like it was a typical basic wrestling move. The no atmosphere hurt the commentators, and I honestly felt bad for the performers too. It didn't have the same flare and it suffered. It didn't feel like Wrestlemania or a spectacle.
A lot of the finishes during Mania were a disappointment. The fatal 5 way women's match especially felt a little lackluster. Sasha Banks helping Bayley to retain the Smackdown Women's title was pretty lame considering Bayley helped Sasha get eliminated earlier in the match. Lacey Evans shouldn't be champion but having the match end like this isn't good. The ongoing saga between Sasha and Bayley is tiring and getting old in my opinion.
Another bad finish was the triple threat ladder match for the tag titles. All three men grabbing the tag titles only to have John Morrison slip off the ladder and grabbing the titles was crap, not to mention Morrison lost his grip of the title when he got knocked off. Making it confusing on who won the match. Becky and Bazler's finish was lazy, and the ending of Black and Lashley's match made Bobby look dumb as a brick by getting distracted by his own manager Lana.
Some of the finishes just simply did more harm than good.
Best Match of the Weekend
Ripley and Charlotte had the best match of the weekend by far, well in the ring that is. Both had great chemistry. Charlotte especially really showed off her great in-ring psychology, and credit to Ripley for her selling her injured left leg. Both ladies deserve credit and both were able to perform at a high level despite not having a crowd to work off of.
Ripley's a bigger star after her encounter with Charlotte, so I suppose that makes up for yet another Charlotte victory (she's already a 10 time women's champion). Personally, I believe Ripley should have gone over in the match, but you really can’t complain given the quality these two women put forth. A rematch is something I would look for down the road between these two. Charlotte going down to NXT is a nice change if WWE is going through with this route.
Edge's Return Fell Flat
Man Edge's return at this year's Royal Rumble was amazing, it brought tears to my eyes and I was looking forward to the prospect of the Rated R Superstar returning to action. After being gone for almost a decade Edge had a feel good story. Many fans, myself included, felt as though he and Orton were gonna steal the show, but it just didn’t deliver.
It was long, boring and slow. The match was basically a tour of the performance centre, even worse, Orton choking Edge on the weight rack was distasteful given Chris Benoit's Dark Side of the Ring episode airing just a few weeks prior. The anticipation was high for Edges' return and this match really felt like a waste, it probably would have been better if this one was cancelled. A weird ending and bad pacing really put a damper on Edge’s Wrestlemania return.
This year we saw both Goldberg and Brock drop their belts to Stowman and McIntyre and to be honest, they made the right calls. Braun winning the Universal title might have been a few years too late but taking the title off of Goldberg was the right call. We don't need to see Goldberg being the champ at this stage of his career. While it was originally supposed to be Roman beating Goldberg, Braun gave Goldberg a taste of his own medicine looking like a monster in the process.
Meanwhile Drew Mcintyre finally winning the big one was a great full circle moment for the former "chosen one". While coming back to the WWE for his second stint in the company, Drew has looked more devastating than ever, especially in recent months. It might have taken WWE a while to see the potential they had in Drew but putting him over and giving him the richest prize in the company was another wise move. A short, but good match overall.
The scenery would have been one for the ages if it was in a packed stadium with fireworks going off in the background with the Scotsman holding the belt high for all to see, but regardless it was nice to see a fresh face as the champ.
Cinematic Matches Knocked It Out of the Park
Riding the motorcycle and wearing the bandana, American Badass Taker was officially back! Despite the declining wrestling ability of the legend, he and AJ Styles really pulled the Boneyard match off. Although it's hard to see Taker in the ring ever again, these types of cinematic matches made Taker look better than he has in years. Hearing the smack talk between the two, the twists and turns, the way the environment was used and the overall feel to the contest was different. If I were to nitpick I might change Taker burying Styles at the end, but really I have no complaints other than that. If the WWE is going to continue using the Undertaker this style would be the perfect fit.
The Firefly Fun House match between Bray and Cena was “unique” to say the least, I wouldn’t even call it a match really, but it was good and that’s all that matters. The different vignettes of Cena doing his old gimmicks and Bray doing his was a great nostalgia.
The gimmicks would wander back and forth, but in a complete act of randomness the two break out into an NWO vignette. With Bray being Eric Bischoff and Cena acting as Hollywood Hogan. Many speculated that the NWO vignette was a reference to the Cena and Hulk comparison. Shoutout to the Vince McMahon doll with the line of the night saying "this is such good shit".
In the end, the Fiend gives Cena the Sister Abigail and chokes him out, FireFly Fun House Bray Wyatt counting 1-2-3 in the process. An insanely entertaining match given the history between these and that’s what makes it work the most. This and the Boneyard match were excellent! Easily the two best things to happen at this year's Wrestlemania, WWE we need more of this please!
Wrestlemania 36 was different; it would have been better if Vince and company held It off until this crisis is over but I give WWE credit for trying to entertain their fans, it just didn't feel like Wrestlemania this year. The show wasn't a disaster nor was it flawless, it was just ok. Hopefully next year we get our Wrestlemania back and make it feel like the WWE's greatest show of them all!