Folks, it’s no secret about the situation that’s been going on for the world as we’re all under confinement due to the Coronavirus pandemic that’s going on not only in the United States, but across the globe. What was originally thought to be another blip on the radar, which we at AAOG hoped it was for most of February, became a global pandemic that has crippled everyone in some sort of way. It’s ended jobs, made me file for unemployment, it has postponed events, it ended schools, and it has even killed off sports. March 12th-March 14th were the days that sports died, as the MLB, NBA, MLS, NCAA, NASCAR and the XFL all closed their doors amidst the growing concerns of the pandemic, and even the PGA, Premier League Football and Cricket games got canceled, and not only that, this entire thing happened in the midst of a major event in sports: WrestleMania week.
WrestleMania 36 was meant to be held at Raymond James Stadium where the Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL reside and it probably would’ve been the first time WWE had some sort of wink and nudge that the XFL is here, and it’s here to stay but unfortunately, on the 10th of April, it seems like the XFL has died completely as they’ve declared bankruptcy, due to losing tens of millions due to this virus, marking the end of the second run of the XFL. This is the third time I’ve edited this article related to the XFL. Numerous wrestling events that were going on that week were being ultimately cancelled due to the slowing containment protocols that every country and state in the world were doing. And by the end of March, WrestleMania week was no more, but the WWE pushed on, as the show must go on. And let’s be honest, WWE were never gonna cancel or postpone WrestleMania, because if Owen Hart literally died in the ring at a minor Pay Per View in 1999, they were gonna keep their most major show going during a pandemic. Vince doesn’t believe in sicknesses, case and point. But WWE isn’t the only other major wrestling company that has their doors still open, as AEW has managed to keep their doors open long enough to make TV tapings to as far as mid-May, everything after that is completely unknown as they have officially closed their doors for an indefinite period of time, and the severity of Coronavirus is also up in the air as no one will know when this virus will die off, and not only that, MLW is another wrestling company who has continued with empty arena shows as well, however it’s unknown as to how much material they’ve taped for TV, and frankly, I couldn’t give an answer if I asked the people I knew within MLW.
So here’s the setting, WWE have their hands tied in where now they can’t do WrestleMania at RJ Stadium as they decided to play a game of chicken with the City of Tampa, and instead, the state of Florida gave the call for everyone to stay home, and then President Trump eventually got involved, and here we are now. So, WWE decided to keep their entire operation running at the WWE Performance Center, but even that didn’t last long as there’s tapings to the 8th of April (as I’m writing this) and this meant that WWE pre-taped WrestleMania and a lot of other episodes of Raw and SmackDown. NXT got the ECW treatment and barely got anything on it. Unfortunately, NXT Takeover Tampa was canceled, and WWE replaced it with two nights of WrestleMania, making it the only WrestleMania too big for one night, and now I’m here to review the whole f’n show to my best ability. And no I’m not making two articles for this, we’re gonna ingest all of this as a family, and read the whole thing. So pack a lunch and grab your popcorn, because this is the WrestleMania 36 Review in one article.
Here we go.
Match 1: Drew Gulak vs Cesaro
The first match to start the show although it was a pre-show had a showing of Gulak and Cesaro, both wrestlers known for their technicality and their in-ring prowess as damn good wrestlers in their own right. This match is part of a feud with Daniel Bryan and Sami Zayn with Drew siding with Bryan to fight off Sami, Cesaro and with Japanese wrestling icon Shinsuke Nakamura siding with him to form “The Artist Collective”. At least it’s not The Viking Experience. The match doesn’t last long as Drew tries to go airborne too often and keeps failing in his aerial maneuvers for Cesaro to get him up in a torture rack position, and he did an airplane spin with no hands, threw him off and got the three count for the win. It was a pretty good match for the pre-show and it did its job in getting me ready for the first night of action.
Match 2: Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross vs The Kabuki Warriors (title defenders) for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
The match to begin the whole show is for the Women’s Tag Team Championship as Bliss and Cross face The Kabuki Warriors, which consist of Kari Sane and Asuka. They’ve both been the tag champs for quite a while now and while their promos are pretty much incoherent since they’ve mostly spoken in Japanese, I’d assume the backstory of their promos is “we’ve been a legit tag team, Bliss and Cross aren’t” something along those lines. It’s a decent match seeing Bliss and Cross win against The Kabuki Warriors being the first two time Women’s Tag Team Champions.
Match 3: Elias vs King Corbin
Y’know, this match I didn’t really care about unfortunately. I never liked Baron Corbin, and the build to this match was… eh. Also Elias fell about 10 feet from the ground the week before and didn’t sell any injury besides his shoulder. Elias won in 9 minutes with a roll-up.
Match 4: Becky Lynch (champion) vs Shayna Baszler for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship
Well this was a very short match, and a lot shorter than expected. This match had a lot of hype behind it, especially since a year ago at WrestleMania 35 was when she won the Raw Women’s Championship, and Shayna Baszler is a literal killer in the ring. This match ended with Becky winning after making a pinning predicament after being put in the Kirafuta Clutch (basically a sleeper hold) and retaining her championship in 8:30.
Match 5: Sami Zayn (champion) vs Daniel Bryan for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
There’s nothing I hate more than very talented wrestlers being booked as chicken shit heels, which is basically wrestling slang for “cowards”, along with being booked as they can’t wrestle at all, while looking like Fidel Castro all in one. This match fell really flat with me within two minutes and ended 7 minutes later with Sami winning by distractions from the outside from The Artist Collective and retaining the Intercontinental Championship.
Match 6: Kofi Kingston vs Jimmy Uso vs John Morrison (champion) in a Ladder Match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship
So here’s context as to why a triple threat ladder match is happening, as a literal triple threat match. This was supposed to be a tag team triple threat match, but The Miz fell ill and WWE decided to keep the match going with one member of each team fighting to see who’ll win the tag titles. Yes, it sounds stupid, the match should’ve been cancelled, but in a way, I’m glad it didn’t. This was a match I didn’t expect to be so good, but it was one hell of a match from beginning to end. The match ended with Morrison winning as Kofi and Jimmy hit Morrison off the ladder, but he was holding both titles, so he fell with both titles in hand to retain the tag titles with him and The Miz, in a very creative end to this match.
Match 7: Kevin Owens vs Seth Rollins
I originally hated the ending to this match because it ended with Seth being disqualified from hitting Kevin with the ring bell, but Kevin calls him a bitch, and the match gets reset into a no DQ match, with Kevin going over in this match after jumping off the WrestleMania sign onto Seth with an elbow drop and a half and a Stone Cold Stunner in the ring to get the win over him. Thank God it ended this way, a super satisfying end to the match.
Match 8: Braun Strowman vs Goldberg (champion) for the WWE Universal Championship
Originally Roman Reigns was supposed to face Goldberg, but because Roman’s immune system is not so strong due to his previous battle with Leukemia, he decided to pull out of the match a week and a half beforehand, and he was replaced with Strowman. Yeah I hated this match. Strowman went over eating four spears, and giving Goldberg three powerslams making him the new Universal Champion. This match sucked.
Match 9: AJ Styles vs The Undertaker in a Boneyard Match
I want Undertaker to have more matches like this. Not only did I see American Badass Taker with my own eyes, but he entered the boneyard with Metallica in the background, and this match was an insta win for me. It’s hard for me to explain everything in this match, but the Boneyard Match was basically a variation of a Buried Alive Match, and Undertaker went over making his WrestleMania win-loss record at 25-2, and since it main evented the night, Undertaker is the only wrestler in the WWE to main event WrestleMania in four different decades.
Match 10: Liv Morgan vs Natalya
I didn’t watch this match. I missed out on it, but this was one of those matches that was announced completely out of the blue and didn’t click with me since they haven’t been on TV in months. Liv Morgan wins in 6:25 for this pre show match.
Match 11: Charlotte Flair vs Rhea Ripley (champ) for the NXT Women’s Championship
What a hot start to this second night of WrestleMania. This was easily a great match from start to finish, although there were some weird parts that when my friends and Twitter made light about it, I realized that there’s no way that I will never unhear it, and basically, Rhea screams and moans too loud when she’s getting hurt or worked on and it sounds like porn lol. Other than that, it was a great 20 minute match they both had, and Charlotte won with a Figure 4 Leglock and bridged into the Figure 8 to win by submission due to working Rhea’s leg the whole night, to become the new NXT Women’s Champion and being a two time champion at that.
Match 12: Aleister Black vs Bobby Lashley
This was another match that was announced out of the blue, but I sat and watched because why not, and it was live. Well, “live”. It was a decent showing of the two and a short and sweet match with Black going over with the Black Mass to win the match after Lana, Bobby’s kayfabe wife demanded that he spear Black instead of Bobby doing the Dominator on him. I forgot that this storyline was still going on between those two. Either way, a decent match.
Match 13: Otis vs Dolph Ziggler
This match NEEDED a crowd, but you know what, I’m still happy about this outcome regardless if there was a crowd or not. This was a multi-month storyline of Otis having the hots for Mandy Rose, and what nearly developed into a relationship, unfortunately fell flat on Otis on the Valentine’s Day edition of Friday Night SmackDown when Dolph stole his date. However on the go home show of SmackDown, it was revealed that Sonya Deville plotted the wedge between Otis and Mandy, and now, Otis is extra pissed with Dolph. This match was fantastic in the story it told, and it ultimately ended with Mandy slapping the hell out of Sonya and taking her out, sending Dolph to dick punch city, and Otis winning and getting the girl in the end and the both of them embracing with a big kiss. This match was the perfect ending to this storyline, although if it keeps going on, I’d be interested to see where it goes down the line, highly recommend seeing this match and this entire storyline.
Match 14: Edge vs Randy Orton in a Last Man Standing Match
37 minutes of awesomeness. That’s all I need to say about this match, and not only that, two months of fantastic build. I can’t even put a lot of input in this match other than to anyone who said this match went way too long, Johnny Gargano vs Tommasso Ciampa at Takeover New Orleans went 37 minutes and got 5 stars out of 5 from Dave Meltzer and had similar pacing within the two matches. In the end, Edge won by giving a con-chair-to (a play on words on the word concerto) to a lifeless Orton. I highly recommend watching this match, it was fantastic.
Match 15: The Street Profits (champs) vs Angel Garza and Austin Theory for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
This match was alright for what it was. There’s nothing much to say about it besides it did its job and it was a pretty good match with the Profits going over in 6:20, and Bianca BelAir came after the match to give Zelina Vega some comeuppance after she interjected herself in the post match beatdown.
Match 16: Bailey (champ) vs Sasha Banks, Tamina, Lacey Evans and Naomi in a Fatal 5 Way Elimination Match for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
I skipped this match. There wasn’t enough build for it in my opinion and it just never grew on me leading up to the show unfortunately. Bailey wins and retains her championship in 19:20
Match 17: “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt vs John Cena in a Firefly Fun House Match
I genuinely have absolutely no idea what to say about this match besides it was total anarchy, and full of hokey shit that made me smile ear to ear. Bray Wyatt goes over in 13 minutes, and I highly recommend watching this match if you like total anarchy.
Match 18: Drew MacIntyre vs Brock Lesnar (champion) for the WWE Championship
Unfortunately WrestleMania ended with a semi flat note with the ending of this match and the structure of it being very similar to Goldberg vs Strowman. However, Drew did get the win over Brock in 4:35 hitting three straight Claymore Kicks to become the 52nd WWE Champion and the first ever Scottish born Champion to hold the main championship. This was a perfect ending to WrestleMania, but slightly lukewarm due to the structure of the match that was similar to the night before.
Match 19: Drew MacIntyre vs The Big Show for the WWE Championship
Well according to Monday Night Raw, this match happened about 20 minutes after the match Drew had with Brock Lesnar, and this is technically the main event of WrestleMania, making Drew MacIntyre the third wrestler to have two matches in WrestleMania if you exclude any cash-ins with the Money In The Bank briefcase. This would also be Big Show’s first time since WrestleMania 2000 (the 16th WrestleMania) that he would be in the main event of WrestleMania. This match was made official as Big Show thought that Drew didn’t have what it took to be the WWE Champion so he goads Drew into having the match with him by slapping the hell out of him, and the match was underway, and was longer than the Lesnar match as this match went on for 7 minutes. The match ends when Drew ducks Big Show’s WMD Punch, hits the ropes and hits the Claymore Kick to win and retain the championship and for a minute, I honestly thought they were gonna pull a Tommy Dreamer and take the championship off of Drew under a half hour after winning it, thank goodness it didn’t happen. This was a pretty good match for what it was.
Night 1 was an alright night with a few flat matches but ended fantastically with the Boneyard Match. I highly recommend everyone to watch that match, while Night 2 was even better than the first although also having flat moments within it and also, Firefly Fun House, watch it. If I were to give WrestleMania 36 a rating between 0 and 5 stars, this was easily a 4 Star Event. WWE delivered in the best way possible during a time where the literal worst could’ve happened, and it didn’t and it shows that even when the WWE are backed up in a corner, they will do their absolute hardest to entertain the audience and help them forget about the pandemic that’s going on and all the bad in the world, because even though WrestleMania didn’t have its celebration that it usually have, everyone watching at home enjoyed the show as it had a little bit of everything wrapped up into this entire show. It’s definitely a WrestleMania everyone will remember for all the right reasons and will be in the history books, that even during a time of darkness, WWE will shine a light on us and help us feel better during all of the tragedy that’s going on in the world, because they do what they do best: entertain you. Then. Now. Forever.
WrestleMania 36: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5