April 7 2019
We’re at the Met Life Stadium. This show is so, so long. I’ve already watched 17 shows this weekend. I’m not exaggerating, the reviews are up on the site, you can check. We’re in for a wild ride here. 16 matches, 7+ hours. Kick-Off shows starts at 10pm in the UK. I have cans of Monster at the ready. Alexa Bliss is hosting the show. Pre-show is Coach and people chatting.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Tony Nese
This kicks off at 10.21pm, for a frame of reference. The building is mostly full. Which is an improvement over the shambles of last year.
Neither guy is over as a face so naturally they try and have a nice flashy cruiser style match to get the crowd involved. Murphy gets hard-way cut above the eye in a spot I don’t even see. Having seen a few death matches this weekend I’m hoping for a blood soaked thrilled ride here. Work the cut Tony! Murphy smashes out his usual New Japan inspired offence. Lot of knees for Nese. I like how Murphy bails to avoid a move and Nese follows out with the Fosbury Flop. There’s a reason for it! Dig it! Murphy’s Law would win but Nese lands by the rope, unfortunately telegraphing it by shuffling closer. Running Nese puts Murphy away and Tony picks up the strap!
Final Rating: ***3/4
Women’s Pre-Show Battle Royal
There’s so much talent involved here. Compared to the men’s battle royal, which is Scrub City. Notable that only a few get a personal entrance though; Naomi and Asuka. Although Lana is dressed as Wonder Woman so there’s that. Nikki is out early thanks to Asuka and that doesn’t go over well. Naomi is also out early, which is a shock with her getting her own entrance. Lana shoves Ember out too.
It’s all a bit untidy and a lot of the eliminations are not well met. Dana gets the big push and throws out the Riotts. She’s still not very good. I appreciate her moxy but there are better talents out there. Sonya, Sarah Logan and Asuka are the final three. Mickie James going out immediately before the standard final four stand-off. Asuka sweeps Sonya out but Sarah throws Asuka out! Only Carmella appears. She was never eliminated. Carmella superkicks Logan out and Mella is money!
Final Rating: **
RAW Tag Team Championship
The Revival (c) vs. Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins
It’s now 11.11pm.
Apparently I’m supposed to route for the losers because they lose a lot but I’m routing for Dash Wilder because he socked that MMA guy. Why should I care about Ryder & Hawkins? You’ve got Captain Losing Streak and his mate with spray on hair. Hawkins is a local boy so he gets a big pop for the hot tag. I’m screaming Shatter Machine at my TV and have been for a while. The match is all formula apart from a suplex to the floor where Dash and Ryder nearly die. Hawkins flukes a roll up and his streak ends at 0-269. Like a reverse Goldberg finally picking up the reverse loss. Shame Scott Hall didn’t tazer Dash. I don’t buy a maverick shooter like him picking up the L against two scrubs.
Final Rating: **3/4
Andre the Giant Battle Royal
Yes, the tag went nearly 20 minutes! My first question here is who are Michael Che and Colin Jost? Apparently they’re from SNL. It takes six minutes to get everyone out here but then Braun turns up last. You can see people trying to hide. Braun chucks a few people out and then gets gang attacked. Hey, Luke Harper! Another push has collapsed on him. Loads of guys get lobbed out. Most of the are total filler. Braun spends a while on the floor to allow it to clear out before he comes back in with eyes filled with murder. The boot to kill Harper and Ali is vicious. Braun clears everyone out and the SNL guys are left.
Braun puts up with some shit and then gets rid of them both. Braun wins the Andre. Should have won it last year.
Final Rating: **1/2
SHOW STARTS HERE.
Host is Alexa Bliss.
She brings out notorious racist piece of shit Hulk Hogan. He rambles a bit. Paul Heyman is out and mad that Brock isn’t last so if he’s not on last he’s on now and they’re going to UFC.
WWE Universal Championship
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Seth Rollins
Seth comes down looking determined and eats an F5 on the floor. Seth gets his back destroyed as he’s thrown through bits of the announce table. Rollins goes low and hits three Curb Stomps for the belt. Huh.
Final Rating: **1/2
AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton
Jerry Lawler joins commentary. Strike one. Claims Orton “did everything himself” to earn his spot. Sure he did. Strike two. I won’t even get into how horrible all three of these people are. Oh and Corey is on comms too and Tom Philips. So a full set of absolute cunts. I’m not overly keen on either wrestler. AJ as a worker is good and I’ve enjoyed his work for a long time. Orton I just don’t like. The obvious finish here is the Phenomenal Forearm/RKO and they tease that here with AJ stopping in mid move. WWE finally get the message and switch off the lights that are plaguing the crowd. The match comes to life after that with AJ eating an RKO but kicking out. Not sure I agree with the logic of that but it’s Mania there’s no finisher effectiveness. Randy senses it and goes for a Super RKO and fails. They do some interesting stuff with the Phenomenal Forearm; to the floor, a blocked RKO and then an actual PF for the pin. Match was about 15 minutes and felt a lot longer.
Final Rating: **1/4
SmackDown Tag Team Championship
The Usos (c) vs. Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev vs. Ricochet & Aleister Black
Sheamus is looking Cut. Ricochet & Aleister Black come out last, which is some kind of reward for killing it at Takeover. It’s pretty rare to work both in featured matches. Sami Zayn did it in 2016 after working Nakamura on Takeover. Ricochet immediately looks like a world class flier. Remember when they refused to take him on because they already had guys like him? Who did they have in mind? Ricochet takes the big swing from Cesaro for so long I feel dizzy for him. Ricochet is the guy who can do everything so everyone wants to work with him. He makes their spots look cool!
They do a killer finishers bit, switching between various guys. It starts with Ricochet too and briefly it looks like they’re winning but instead the Usos hit the double splash to retain.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Falls Count Anywhere
Shane McMahon vs. The Miz
About two minutes in Miz needs saving by his dad.
Then the poor old man takes a thrashing from Shane to within one inch of his life. Beaten down by the best pure striker in wrestling history. Oh the humanity! They brawl out into the crowd and Shane McMahon takes a bump over a rail that’s completely irresponsible and could easily have killed him.
— Italo Santana 🇧🇷 (@BulletClubIta) April 8, 2019
Miz suplexes Shane off a tower and Shane lands on top so he wins. But they’re both dead. Amazingly the finish looked way, way safer than the bump Shane took over the rail.
Final Rating: ****
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
Sasha Banks & Bayley (c) vs. Nia Jax & Tamina Snuka vs. Natalya & Beth Phoenix vs. The Iiconics
I was initially worried that there were too many teams involved and wanted the focus on the champs vs Nattie & Beth but then I had forgotten that Peyton Royce is great. Also the Nia & Tamina team decide to attempt stereo top rope splashes and then randomly don’t. We sometimes drift back to champs vs. Nattie/Beth and it’s pretty good. I get sad again that it didn’t happen. Glamslam off the top puts Bayley down and the Iiconics steal the pin! Holy shit.
Final Rating: **1/2
Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Kofi Kingston
This has had a nice organic build that’s come on late and only because of an injury to Mustafa Ali. This has had a terrific build and the support for Kofi is from his mates at ringside and everyone in the back. They do a good job of establishing an injury, Kofi crashing into the announce table, and Bryan being a master at working a body part. It becomes a battle of Bryan’s strategy and technical expertise vs. Kofi’s heart and desire. It’s a simple storyline but those are the most effective. Crowd really wants Kingston to win. They manage a couple of absolutely incredible counters. The SOS Drop into the LaBell Lock is stunning. Kofi builds slowly with his ability and then his heart. The crowd respond to everything. He’s got them in the palm of his hand. The stuff with Rowan is great. Kofi kicking out of the Busaiku Knee is great. The build has been perfect. Now we’re reaping the rewards. Bryan does a great job of being a bully and the support comes from the crowd and from the New Day. It’s a team effort. The atmosphere is electric. Trouble in Paradise! There’s your feelgood story of the year. Holy shit. What an atmosphere, what a reaction.
Final Rating: ****1/2
WWE United States Championship
Samoa Joe (c) vs. Rey Mysterio
This is over quick. Joe grabs the Koquina Clutch and that’s it.
Final Rating: NR
Drew McIntyre vs. Roman Reigns
I am so tired. Kofi’s performance woke me up. But this match just grinds at me. It’s all Drew heat and it’s boring. I’m glad Roman is healthy. I really am. I’ve always liked him but this is dull. Spear finishes.
Final Rating: *
Look mate, I’m fucking shattered. I don’t give a shit if you can play the drums. He threatens the greatest song of all time, or some such, and we get footage of Babe Ruth calling his shot instead. And it’s John Cena. Doctor of Thuganomics.
He cuts a few rhymes and lays Elias out. This was fun enough. What it really did was remind me that John Cena has spent virtually his entire career playing a vanilla hero when he had this hidden inside.
Batista vs. Triple H
The entrances take ages. Dave falls over the ropes during his. HHH gets a car from Mad Max. It’s very self indulgent and I could live without it at nearly 4am. Hunter comes after Dave with a pair of pliers. I’m reminded that if HHH loses he has to retire. Neither one of them is in particularly good wrestling shape. Batista hasn’t had a match in five fucking years. He’s actually much better at acting too. He found his true calling. So this match is a funeral procession. It creeps along. They get in big spots but the crowd are clearly bored. Dave takes two sickening bumps. One on the table, one on the ring steps. Both pale in comparison to Shane’s stupid bump but both times he bounces. They do some weird shit with sledgehammers and HHH wins with help from Ric Flair and a Pedigree.
Final Rating: *
Kurt Angle’s Last Match
Baron Corbin vs. Kurt Angle
I’m really hoping for a squash here as Kurt is falling apart and Corbin is boring at the best of times. They stretch it out a bit. Angle eats End of Days and goes out on his back. Nobody cares Barry, now fuck off.
Final Rating: NR
Bye Kurt. Thanks for the memories.
WWE Intercontinental Championship
Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Finn Balor
Big Bob gets all weirded out by Balor putting on his face paint. The match is very rushed, quickly leading to Lashley hitting a ridiculous spear through the ropes. They rush through some more stuff and the Coup de Grace finishes with Corey Graves convinced that Balor couldn’t have done it without the makeup. Sure, Corey, sure.
Final Rating: *3/4
82,265 is your attendance. That’s a big number. Alexa Bliss looks happy about it. Her hosting duties clearly drawing people in.
Winner Takes All
Smackdown Women’s Championship
RAW Women’s Championship
Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Becky Lynch
Joan Jett plays Ronda to the ring, which is pretty cool but we also have Charlotte arriving via helicopter and I’m looking at the time and wondering how they’re still running late when they had a 7h30m time slot. It does have that big fight feel. It may never happen again if Ronda decides to leave.
Rousey dominates early but gets double teamed and lands horribly on her hip. She comes back in but looks hurt. Ronda tells Charlotte she “chops like a bitch” and Flair chops her in the goddamn face. This match is one spot after another that looks downright frightening as they live on the raw edge of work. Ronda’s leg is fucked, which plays into Charlotte’s tactics but it’s savage. Heavy bruising and cuts. Ronda takes exception to a table being brought in. “Tables are for bitches”. The one downer here is that the crowd are quiet because the show has been so painfully long. Charlotte goes through a table. Ronda tries to murder Becky but gets rolled up and pinned! Her shoulders were up!
Final Rating: ****
Honestly, a lot of this Mania was excellent. Far better than it looked on paper. The only real issue I have with the show is that it’s seven and a half hours long. Imagine a friend asks you to go to a movie and it’s seven and a half hours long? Would you go? Even if I liked the actors and the director and the character I probably wouldn’t. It’s a huge chunk of time to commit to and WWE’s main events are suffering for it. The reaction for Becky was far too muted for the achievement. She won the first ever women’s main event at WrestleMania and the crowd were barely there because they were exhausted. Compare that to Kofi Kingston’s win and there’s no comparison.
It also made me incredibly grumpy. I legitimately have no recall of anything between Kofi’s win and the main event. Stuff happened I guess? Oh well. Genuinely tempted to watch Mania on delay next year. Watch the first half, go to sleep, watch the rest when I wake up. I hope you enjoyed it. I think I did.