Although Cinema Smack is a destination for all things film and television, Wrestlemania weekend was upon us and it’s time to take a quick look back at it. Don’t get the wrong idea. The “Smack” in Cinema Smack wasn’t meant to signify wrestling, or “sports entertainment” as the WWE likes to put it, but Wrestlemania comes once a year so we’re recapping it. After all, it is meant to be a cultural event with not only wrestling but appearances by musicians, movie stars, and entertainers. Let’s get to the recap, shall we?
- Kalisto defeated Ryback to retain the United States Championship
- I actually didn’t really watch this match since I was preparing food at the time. Apparently, a large chunk of the fans that attended Wrestlemania in Dallas didn’t get to see it either as WWE had issues getting fans in the door on time. This was a match that had minimal buildup and didn’t really belong on a Wrestlemania card anyway.
- Team Total Divas (Brie Bella, Eva Marie, Natalya, Alicia Fox, and Paige) defeated Team Bad and Blonde (Naomi, Tamina, Lana, Summer Rae, and Emma)
- In all honesty, this match was not as bad as many expected it to be. Was it great? No. It did its job as a pre-show match and allowed each of the women to show off their respective finishing maneuvers. The Dallas crowd booed Eva Marie hard. She didn’t get over in NXT and she won’t get over if she is now being pushed to the main roster again. It’s interesting to note that this match was rumored to be Brie Bella’s last. After her sister, Nikki, came out, the Total Divas were about to hold Brie up on their shoulders before WWE abruptly cut to an advertisement. Is WWE trying to quell the rumors?
- The Usos defeated The Dudley Boyz
- Decent but short match. Bubba Ray Dudley talked a lot of smack to The Usos. People have wanted to see a singles run from Bubba Ray in WWE so that may eventually be the plan for him. The crowd heavily booed The Usos after the match when they put the both Dudleys through tables with dual splashes off the top rope. No 3D from the Dudleys at their first Wrestlemania in over a decade proved to be a misstep.
- Zack Ryder defeated Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn, The Miz, Stardust, and Sin Cara to win the Intercontinental Championship in a Ladder Match
- Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night kicked off the main Wrestlemania card. Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler, and Sami Zayn came out to big pops from the audience. Owens vs. Zayn has money written all over it as the fans ate up their feud for the majority of this match. Owens and Zayn should’ve been in a singles match for the title while Kalisto and Ryback should’ve taken their spots in a ladder match for the US title. Zack Ryder emerges as the new Intercontinental Champion in the first Wrestlemania match in his nine years on the main WWE roster. The crowd popped when he won but you have to wonder where WWE goes with Ryder from here. He was basically thrown into this match for no reason and has no current storylines that he’s a part of. Overall, this was one of the best matches of the night (if not the best). The only problem with these multi-man ladder matches being that they end up as spot-fests and the participants take turns doing high risk stunts instead of putting on a technically sound wrestling match.
- Chris Jericho defeated AJ Styles
- As much as people love Chris Jericho, it was too bad that WWE didn’t let AJ Styles have his moment in this match. Jericho is a part time wrestler at this point and Styles is full time and new to the roster so why not put him over? He is beloved by fans all over the world but it was only a few months ago that he finally joined the WWE so he definitely could’ve used a Mania win to push his character. Anyway, the match started out a tad bit slow but eventually picked up. They were given enough time to work and both men pulled out everything in their arsenal. Even though it would’ve been nice to see AJ Styles pick up a win at his first Wrestlemania, he shouldn’t be hurt by the loss and at least he was able to show off what he can do.
- The League of Nations defeated The New Day in a Six Man Tag Match
- The New Day received a huge pop from the crowd and emerged from a giant box of Booty O’s cereal. Xavier Woods’ hair was perhaps the best part of this match though. This was a big waste of The New Day’s talent in going up against the likes of Sheamus (who no one cares about), Alberto Del Rio (who has been horribly misused upon his return to the WWE), and Rusev (who gained a fiancee but lost his singles heel push as a result). After the Tag Team title stipulation was dropped from this match, it seemed blatantly obvious that the League of Nations would win this match. The New Day wasn’t given much to work with when they were thrown together as a team last year but they have become huge fan favorites and WWE would be crazy to take the tag titles off of them at this point. After the match, Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, and Stone Cold Steve Austin came out to brawl with the League. The moment was kind of pointless but it’s always worth seeing a few Stone Cold Stunners and a quick beer bash with legends the magnitude of Michaels, Foley, and Austin. Xavier Woods took an awesome stunner Scott Hall style as well.
- Brock Lesnar defeated Dean Ambrose in a No Holds Barred Street Fight
- In all honesty, there’s not much to say about this match. It was drawn out and boring. Brock Lesnar was the beast that he is known to be and Ambrose was his usual self. Ambrose’s schtick is starting to become a bit annoying. He’s bordering on being a caricature of Mick Foley as opposed to being the unhinged character that WWE has built him up to be. It might be time to turn him heel so people can start taking him seriously again.
- Charlotte defeated Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch in a Triple Threat match to determine the new Women’s Champion
- Thank god WWE is finally doing away with that hideous Divas Championship. The new Women’s Championship looks too much like the World Heavyweight Championship but anything is better than the butterfly belt. This and the ladder match were the two best on the card. These three women showed a lot of chemistry with one another from their time in NXT and they were given plenty of time to work. This wasn’t the typical divas match thrown in as a bathroom break between two of the main event matches. This was a women’s wrestling match and it was one of the best in a very long time.
- Undertaker defeated Shane McMahon in a Hell in a Cell Match
- This is another match where there isn’t a whole lot to say. Undertaker looks old and slow at this point of his career. As beloved as Undertaker is, it’s time to call it quits. Shane McMahon saved this match with his insane Mick Foley-esque spot where he jumped off the top of the cell through an announce table below. Beyond that, the match was overly long and not believable. On a total sidenote, the commentary team wasn’t that bad except for at the end of this match where JBL would not shut up the whole time the EMTs were checking on Shane after the loss. As a viewer, you’re supposed to believe that Shane is really injured and JBL’s yammering just killed the moment. Sometimes being a good commentator is to know when not to talk.
- Baron Corbin wins the 20 man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
- Remember when this event was introduced at Wrestlemania XXX and it was supposed to bring prestige to the winner? Yeah… that was a thing until this year when the entrants were a bunch of jobbers, a nearly 60 year old Diamond Dallas Page, Tatanka, and Shaquille O’Neal. Ouch. At least NXT star Baron Corbin picked up the win.
- The Rock defeated Erick Rowan
- I love The Rock. Even if what he’s doing isn’t really worthwhile on the show, it’s always a pleasure to see him. That being said, an impromptu Rock vs. Bray Wyatt match would’ve been amazing. Instead, fans got to see Erick Rowan take a Rock Bottom and lose a match in six seconds. Then John Cena came out and the burial began. Poor Bray Wyatt. The guy seriously does have all the tools to be successful but WWE keeps burying him and the Wyatt family. After The Rock cracked a bunch of jokes at Bray’s expense and John Cena came out to help save the day, it’s safe to wonder if Bray can come back from this. But hey… THE ROCK!
- Roman Reigns defeated Triple H to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
- Ugh… Just ugh. Again, there just isn’t much to say about the final main event level match of Wrestlemania. It’s painfully obvious (and has been for over a year now) that Roman Reigns is not over. The way that WWE pushes him down everyone’s throats will not get him over. His matches, his limited moveset, his awful finishing maneuvers, etc. will not get him over. Even “The Game” Triple H could not get him over with the fans. Reigns spearing Stephanie McMahon was the only pop of the night for him and he was still severely booed at the end of the match. Triple H was cheered like a hero during the match but WWE stuck to its guns and gave Reigns the win. No heel turn. No run-ins. No nothing. Roman Reigns beat Triple H in the middle of the ring in a boring match and then WWE set off so many fireworks to mask the resounding boos of the audience as Wrestlemania went off the air. Wow.
Overall, this was a decent Wrestlemania. The midcard was by far the best part of the show with the ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship and the triple threat Women’s Championship matches taking top honors. The three main event matches (Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose, Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon, and Triple H vs. Roman Reigns) underwhelmed and the match quality was predictable. WWE should take note of the audience reactions to Owens, Zayn, Ziggler, Ryder, The New Day, and the women. Not to mention, they should also start looking at their own developmental territory in NXT to learn how to book a wrestling show. NXT TakeOver: Dallas was exceptional on Friday night. Start building new stars, WWE!
Well, there you have it! That’s the Cinema Smack recap of last night’s Wrestlemania! Comment below on your thoughts about the show!