Night one of Wrestlemania is in the books. For the first time ever, the event was held without fans in attendance in the WWE performance center. There were some matches that didn’t connect with viewers from a storyline standpoint or from an on-camera standpoint. One match was the Intercontinental Championship bout between current titleholder Sami Zayn and Daniel Bryan. In the beginning of the match Zayn went the rout of weasel running away and using his henchmen Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro to keep his opponent away. The outside aspect of this match took over and just took away from what was going on in the ring which spoiled it in my mind. Zayn and Bryan have done battle before in other companies, and I think this match should have had more in-ring competition but with the outside interference, Sami Zayn got the win.
With everything going on in the world, the WWE had to do some maneuvering with its card. Roman Reigns beat leukemia for the second time last year, and so with his immune system taking a hit he was moved out of his Universal Championship match with Goldberg and was replaced by Braun Strowman. Goldberg is 53 years old and has more matches behind him than in front of him. The match between Goldberg and Strowman was about ten moves. Strowman hit four running power slams to pick up the victory and his first Universal Championship. Given the fact this match was made days before Wrestlemania, I give credit to the two for putting on the match relatively smoothly.
A few matches stuck out to me, the first was between Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens. This match had been building for five months and reached personal levels and with no fans in attendance, the two men took advantage of the situation. The talking in the match added to what they were doing and add to the overall story. The initial match was ruled a disqualification after Rollins slammed a ring bell into the side of Owen’s head. It was restarted and made a no disqualification match, and it quickly turned hard hitting. After a few chair shots by Rollins, Owens returned the favor using the ring bell twice and placing his opponent on the announce table and jumping from the top of a sign through his opponent and the table to seal the victory. Technically Owens won twice, but this was a bookmark match to me meaning we’ll see this rivalry renewed down the road, maybe at the WWE’s next big show Summerslam which is being held in Boston.
Speaking of Boston, BC graduate Kofi Kingston competed in a triple threat ladder match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships. Kofi took on Jimmy Uso and John Morrison. The match had to be rebooked Morrison’s partner, the Miz was sick and couldn’t compete. This match was a potential show stealer with all three men being known as highflyers. A highlight was John Morrison hitting a Spanish fly on Kingston off the top rope which was executed beautifully. The finish was something I have never seen before. With the titles hung 15 feet in the air all three men had their hands on the bracket that holds the titles up. As Morrison was pushed off his ladder, he pulled the titles with him to get the win. This was my number two match of the night.
Number one is a match you might have read about on twitter. The boneyard match between the Undertaker and AJ Styles was pre-recorded and had a production value that some companies would kill for. The Undertaker, much like Goldberg, doesn’t have the cardio to go 25 minutes straight in the ring. So with a match that doesn’t take place in an arena full of fans, there can be different aspects added and cameras can be stopped. The Undertaker won, but this match looked like a full movie. Both competitors entering in their own special way – was Taker on a motorcycle and Styles in a hearse to stick it to his opponent. There was music underneath for most of the match and the talking between both competitors made it feel more personal, but if you haven’t seen the match it’s something you need to watch.