This year’s Wrestlemania was the most unique event in the 36 years it’s been held. Split over two nights and pre-recorded, it accomplished a major feat. Take people’s minds off of everything going on in the world, and for 6+ hours just simply watching wrestling. The superstars of the WWE had to turn the clock back on their careers, competing in front of only announcers and production staff, something not done since their first days lacing up their boots.
This article will feature a couple of night two card contests which featured more great matches.
The first match of note was the last man standing match between Randy Orton and Edge who was returning after a nine-year absence. This was a match that the no crowd aspect actually worked to WWE’s benefit. This had a very deep storyline that brought family members into the rivalry which is great for storytelling. These two fought all over the WWE Performance Center, turning the clock back to the late 90’s when wrestlers would fight all over the building using whatever was available. This was by far the longest match of the night, but this was my favorite match of the night.
The point of the last man standing match is to beat your opponent so badly they can’t get to their feet until the count of 10. As mentioned, Edge was out for nine years after two neck operations coming into the match. Both Edge and Orton did a great job playing that up with the back of Edge’s head hitting garage doors, walls and the concrete floor. After about an hour, both competitors climbed to the top of an 18-wheeler where Edge sandwiched Orton’s head between two steel chairs for the move known as the conchairto. A+ match between two ring veterans.
In the last article I wrote about the Boneyard Match between the Undertaker and AJ Styles, night two featured Bray Wyatt and West Newbury Massachusetts’ own John Cena in a Firefly Funhouse Match. With everything going on in the world, the WWE had to get a bunch of stuff in the show in a small amount of time which meant some segments being pre-recorded a long time before ‘Mania. This match is what WWE on drugs might look like with puppets and big fists.
A lot of the match was dumping on John Cena’s initial failures as a competitor, and a lot of 4th wall breaking. The interesting thing about both Cena and Wyatt is they have been rebranded a few times and this “match” pointed that out at length. Wyatt's new persona, "The Fiend" got the victory after getting Cena to pass out to the Mandible Claw. Typically, after a match your left feeling either good or bad, and this one left me confused and wondering what in the world did I just see? Production value B+ but as far as the match, to coin a phrase from the company in 2002. Get the F out.
The host of Wrestlemania was Rob Gronkowski, and it was only a matter of time before he saw action. The 24/7 championship features a lot of competitors that don’t get the TV time of top competitors, including Mojo Rawley who played a role in getting Gronk to join WWE. During a brawl among the superstars Gronk joined the fray jumping from a platform 7-8 feet in the air on top of everyone. Gronkowski covered his buddy Rawley for the 1-2-3 winning the 24/7 championship. For what it’s worth, Gronk is the 2nd athlete with New England ties to win the belt, which was won last year by the Celtics’ Enes Kanter.
Overall, I didn’t know what to expect when this show started on Saturday night. There were good matches and a couple bad ones, but we need to find the silver lining. I’m interested in hearing the behind the scenes features and what the referee says to help the superstars plan out the match. Give credit to the competitors, referees and announcers for putting on a great show and provide normalcy for a few hours.