April 8, 2018
Mercedes Benz Superdome
New Orleans, Louisiana
Watch: WWE Network
Meet Our Reviewers
Kelly Harrass: Look, none of us want to review this giant show. My friends and I are just going to make jokes about it. I’m in NOLA and wouldn’t go to this show if you paid me. Find me on Twitter @comicgeekelly
Brennan Patrick: Not a WWE fan but a warm body. Follow my non-WWE thoughts at @bren_patrick
Lee Malone: I am here because everyone else is either in NOLA or knows better than reviewing Mania. There is no guarantee I make it to the end of this show before sleep takes me. Find me on Twitter @Malone_713
JR Goldberg: I have no clue why I’m doing this. Is Mr. Niebla on the show? Follow me on twitter @wrestlingbubble
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Winner: Matt Hardy
Kelly Harrass: How many shoes do you think Jerry Lawler could jerk off into while he was calling this match? This match was about as good as every battle royal for wrestlers that sold five tickets, much like the ones on shows that Jerry Lawler works. This match gets docked for featuring the return of Bray Wyatt. I thought we were done with him. *
Brennan Patrick: I didn’t watch this but I thought Bray Wyatt was gonna be BRAUN’s partner? N/R
Lee Malone: I have spent most of this match entering my name onto the 108 matches on this document so I have no idea what has been going on. So, it’s come down to Matt Hardy, Baron Corbin and Mojo Rawley and Bray Wyatt reappears and helps Matt eliminate Corbin and Rawley and Matt wins because Wyatt wasn’t an official participant and now Matt and Wyatt are in the weirdo alliance we wanted? But what about Brother Nero… **¼
JR Goldberg: I didn’t watch this, I was watching the end of a NASCAR race. *****
WWE Cruiserweight Title Tournament Final
Cedric Alexander def. Mustafa Ali
Kelly Harrass: Fantastic storytelling in this one and really stands as a credit to the reinvention of 205 Live. These guys went out there and put on a match that would not have been out of place higher up on this card or on any other indie show from this weekend. Ali took some crazy looking bumps, including a very rough one to the outside. I loved how Alexander seemed like he hated having to put his friend down, but Ali couldn’t live with himself if he didn’t give this his all. This is how you do a match between friends without things reverting into a petty rivalry. This was strong, simple storytelling at its best. Heart vs. Soul branding dragged this down to be honest. ***½
Brennan Patrick: Cruiserweights doing cruiserweighty things. **
Lee Malone: We all expected the work in this to be pretty great if given the time but I don’t think anyone expected the character work to be so great. I love the finish with Ced screaming at Ali that “this has to stop”. A great finish to what a was a damn good tournament and relaunch of the Cruiserweight division and 205Live as a show ***¾
JR Goldberg: This is actually pretty strong character work for a face/face match, as both guys start out just going about everything as friendly competition, but they slowly get frustrated and heated. The work, as you would expect is strong, although I found the “heart vs soul” narrative to be forced and empty. If you scream about something enough, it eventually starts to be meaningful, right? Rating: A really strong 08 ROH match cosplaying as a late period HBK Wrestlemania match.
WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal
Kelly Harrass: Fuck right off for eliminating Kairi Sane during the commercial break. The direction has been absolutely terrible so far tonight. Ultimately, this felt like a waste of all of our time. *¼
Brennan Patrick: Not good. *
Lee Malone: The best part of this match was Beth Phoenix mentioning a name being like the Kiss of Death. Unfortunately this was not good. A NXT alliance of women that made little sense, Absolution disposed of with ease, Bayley and Sasha working together until they didn’t with Bayley coming across as a dick and Naomi another face, just hanging about outside until the end to pick up an easy win *½
JR Goldberg: My favorite thing about the early parts of this is Lana not even trying to join in on the group beatdowns. My next favorite thing was Michael Cole have zero idea what anyone’s name was. None whatsoever. The booking for the finish felt right, because I could see Sting losing a Rumble in similar fashion. Rating: I will never think about this match again. It was probably better than the men’s BR I didn’t watch, but it was almost certainly worse than the NASCAR race.
WWE Intercontinental Championship
Seth Rollins def. The Miz & Finn Balor
Kelly Harrass: I appreciate that the Mania set looks like Kamen Rider Ex-Aid’s mask. That’s completely unrelated to this pretty great match, but I figured that five or so people would enjoy that. Mania needed a hot opener and these three delivered. Essentially, this was an extended sprint with a bunch of big spots. I’m not sure where it happened, but Miz’s ribs got messed up at some point. Fast paced, action packed, and a ton of fun; this was a perfect opener. ****
Brennan Patrick: A dumb fun way to open the show and heat up the crowd. Spotty, unpredictable, entertaining. ***½
Lee Malone: Best opening match at a WrestleMania in manys a year. The crowd were hot throughout the whole thing and all three men were on top of their game. Seth in particular was the MVP of this one and him as IC Champ is something fresh for the post Mania portion of the year. ****
JR Goldberg: Some matches don’t need to be complicated. They just need to showcase the people involved, and get the crowd invested in the show as a whole. This did exactly that. Sometimes I don’t need ambition. Not every match needs to be Cassablanca. Sometimes a match needs to be 2 Fast 2 Furious. Rating: “Yo Dawg, I heard you like finishing stretches”
WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
Charlotte Flair def. Asuka
Kelly Harrass: Regardless of the fact that I think this had the wrong winner, I enjoyed this match quite a bit. These two women have great chemistry and they were laying their shit in. For me the highlight of the match was the Spanish Fly, which had a nuts looking impact. Then the ending kind of just happened. It felt oddly tacked on to a match that was worked at the pace of an epic to suddenly have this quick finish. I honestly don’t know where I have Asuka lose, but I wouldn’t have done it here. ***¾
Brennan Patrick: I haven’t seen any women’s wrestling in 2018 but this seems like a pretty darn good pro-wrestling match. Stiff, great dueling limbwork, counters, selling and incorporation of high spots…but a bad end result and lame finish. Come on, Asuka, use your hands, specialist. ****
Lee Malone: Best women’s match ever at a WrestleMania? I think so. Great limb work, absolutely insane spots and this delivered far beyond my expectations. Interested to see where both women go from here and with Charlotte retaining Carmella successfully cashing in remains a viable option ****
JR Goldberg: On some level, it’s fun to still see a match that I can readily admit I would have liked a lot better if another person won. This was stiff and good, and I love that Charlotte had to go outside of her wheelhouse to win, it made everything seem important. Rating: Very good. A testament to how far women’s rasslin has come in the WWE.
WWE United States Championship
Jinder Mahal def. Randy Orton, Bobby Roode & Rusev
Kelly Harrass: Imagine taking a guy like Rusev and surrounding him with three of the most boring people on your entire roster. Imagine making it look like Rusev was going to win, only to have him beaten by Jinder and his Jipples. This was bad. *¾
Brennan Patrick: Rusev should’ve won. **
Lee Malone: I went to make coffee and have a look at Twitter while this one was on. Jinder won I think ** seems fair
JR Goldberg: Rusev slapped his leg on a kick he missed.I assume that they changed the finish on the fly to punish him. Rating: I dunno. Do you really care about my rating for this match? Will it determine whether you watch this or not?
Kurt Angle & Ronda Rousey def. Triple H & Stephanie McMahon
Kelly Harrass: When did Kurt Angle officially transition his character to being a playful simpleton? Probably around the same time that Stephanie became a decent submission wrestler. Ronda did fine in her debut, but she could benefit from slowing down. She rushed in a lot of her offensive and didn’t do much to protect herself, as shown by how red her face was following a DDT from Stephanie. Ronda was made to look even better by her tag partner, Kurt Angle, who never needs to wrestle again. Triple H held this match together, but this was WWE’s Telling Stories at their most annoying. **¾
Brennan Patrick: The best scenario for Ronda was a sub-five minute Goldberg squash. She’s rough around the edges but has the intensity to fire up the crowd. Instead we got a pretty lame soap opera. The stuff with Triple H was dumb but worked. Too many bad false finishes in what should’ve been a short match. Ronda should not be struggling against a Stephanie McMahon-applied submission hold. But there’s something about flaming car wrecks. **½
Lee Malone: A new star for the women’s division was made tonight, step forward Stephanie McMahon! She had an answer to 90% of Rousey’s submissions and it was great. This was so much better than anyone could have anticipated. It was stupid, fun, dumb, had plenty of intergender for those who enjoy that and importantly Ronda came across as a star. Kurt Angle is done and should never wrestle again but lets ignore that for now, Ronda stepped up and if protected she could be a wonderful edition to WWE ****¼
JR Goldberg: I’m glad we established what was really important: Stephanie McMahon is the greatest defensive MMA fighter of all time. In all seriousness, this was actually super fun. Ronda was great when asked to be and perhaps more importantly, she was involved and attentive throughout, giving a tremendous apron performance. I didn’t expect to watch this match and have Ronda make me think about Negro Casas. Rating: A match doesn’t have to be an in ring classic to be successful at WM. This was a great WM match, even if it wasn’t a great match.
WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships
Bludgeon Brothers def. The Usos and New Day
Kelly Harrass: Fast paced match that had solid enough action, but there wasn’t much to it. It was a squash really. **¾
Brennan Patrick: Five-star piss break.
Lee Malone: What a night this has been for the Wyatt Family. I’m happy a super bomb actually ended a match ***
JR: Goldberg: I thought this was fine.
The Undertaker def. John Cena
Kelly Harrass: BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Everything about this was so bad. Why did Undertaker’s clothes appear in the ring only to be struck by lightning, only to then be worn by Undertaker? Why did Cena get squashed? This was a bigger waste of time than anything else on this card. Undertaker looked bad and I truly hope that he’s done now. I laughed through most of this so I suppose I got some enjoyment out of it. PCO vs. Cena would have been a barnburner. *
Brennan Patrick: Real sad American Badass didn’t come out. This was an Undertaker squash and that’s exactly what it needed to be. ***
Lee Malone: From the Elias bait and switch to Undertaker squashing Cena I loved this. Yes it makes no sense and yes it wasn’t needed but it was a MOMENT. After a confusing buildup this paid off perfectly with Cena being squashed because he never truely expected Taker to show up. ***
JR: Goldberg: I feel like John Cena getting squashed after his repeated challenges went unanswered is actually a pretty prescient and powerful metaphor for toxic masculinity and not obtaining enthusiastic consent.
Daniel Bryan & Shane McMahon def. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
Kelly Harrass: SNICKERS ZAYN! Uh shit, I don’t have any idea how to rate this because the first two thirds of the match were legitimately terrible. Shane McMahon is completely awful and of course we had to do the injury angle. They’re going to find a way to fuck up the easiest thing in this company no matter what. Daniel Bryan’s return should be his moment and it was taken over by Shane. Unsurprisingly, Bryan is still incredible and his control period of the match was great. Please give us singles matches with Owens and Zayn. Keep Shane far away. **¾
Brennan Bajdek: Daniel Bryan is back. That’s about it. **
Lee Malone: This one is easy to explain, Shane McMahon = BAD. Daniel Bryan = FUCKING GREAT! From the moment his music hit it was magic. The injury angle, stretcher tease was unnecessary but I can get past that. The hot tag and DB fighting back tears is a moment I’ll never forget. ***½
JR Goldberg: You might be shocked to learn that the parts of this that Shane had to carry sucked real bad and the parts where Daniel Bryan got to do everything ruled. Expert analysis by JR. I’m pretty drunk at this point, expect this surface level stuff from here on out.
WWE RAW Women’s Championship
Nia Jax def. Alexa Bliss
Kelly Harrass: At this point my attention span is shot so this match didn’t have much of my focus. I’m glad that Nia actually got to have a cool moment that wasn’t ruined to put something else over. **½
Brennan Patrick: Cool moment for Nia. Not a good match but she got a big gnarly spot of the top rope to cream Bliss. **
Lee Malone: Nia taking out Mickie at the beginning was clever and made sense but then the match just went too long. Right result and not a bad match but now wasn’t the time for it **½
JR Goldberg: Reviewing this show was a mistake. I am very, very drunk. I really wanted Nia to bust out a World’s Strongest Slam. I feel like the match they had was a good match at a B PPV, but not a great match for Wrestlemania. Does that make sense? It’s going to have to, because I can’t explain it right now.
AJ Styles def. Shinsuke Nakamura
Kelly Harrass: I didn’t like this at all. I really wanted to like this too. The match was completely aimless. The post match attack from Nak was 1000x hotter than anything in the match itself. Not only was the work boring, but the direction was so bad. The amount of camera cuts seemed excessive ever by normal WWE standards. Honestly, this heel turn is the best possible thing for Nak because he’s a cover band of himself. The Chinsuke Nakamura experience is the same thing as the real Shinsuke Nakamura. At this point in the night, everyone that I’m watching this show with has completely turned on it. **
Brennan Patrick: Took forever to get going, picked up a little toward the end, but it was just a match. ***
Lee Malone: Technically a good match but the crowd is exhausted at this point. Both men worked hard and I think on a rewatch I will enjoy this more but yea this was just kind of there and ultimately a disappointment for me. Nakamura heel turn after the match was unexpected but I guess it’s a fresh direction for him if they aren’t going to put the belt on him. ***
JR Goldberg: I watched most of this and stayed off of twitter, so I don’t know if I’m really in the minority, but I thought this was a little flat? Like, both guys were fine, and everything looked good, but I was really hoping for something that was a little more dynamic. I’m not usually a guy that needs a finishing stretch in sixth gear, but this match would have really benefited from a change of pace. Again, much like the Nia/Alexa match, the post match stuff here made this feel like a match that would have been better served at Fastlane and not Wrestlemania.
WWE RAW Tag Team Championships
Braun Strowman & Nicholas def. The Bar
Kelly Harrass: I hate this show. I hate wacky Braun. This kind of shit is what ruined Dean Ambrose. Don’t let it happen to Braun too. *
Brennan Patrick: Nicholas needs to man up. *
Lee Malone: That was something. Braun is an absolute star and The Bar can make anyone look good and the hot tag to Nicholas was one of those surreal moments. I start work in 2 hours, I just want this show to end now. **
JR Goldberg: ***************** I love how much fun Braun has with the WWE Universe
WWE Universal Championship
Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns
Kelly Harrass: Remember how great the first Roman/Brock match was? Yeah, this isn’t that. What the fuck was the point of this? This was Roman’s moment that we’ve been building to for years. YEARS! THIS WAS THE GODDAMN ROMAN REIGNS TRAIN FALLING OFF A FUCKING CLIFF! Everything about this was trash. Brock Lesnar is boring and needs to go. This was the dumbest match I’ve ever seen. Oust Vince. It’s time to take grandpa’s keys away because he just drove into a farmer’s market.
Brennan Patrick: Absolutely incredible shitshow. Lesnar is such a scary human being with zero regard for anything that isn’t edible/mountable. Ragdolling Roman with those overhead suplexes on the floor was something else. Bizarre bizarre match. Roman needs to do something that isn’t what he’s currently doing. ***
Lee Malone: I have no idea what the fuck that was. FOUR YEARS OF BUILD AND CLEARING THE WAY FOR ROMAN AND THIS IS WHAT WE GOT. Fucking hell, I can’t explain this at all. I can’t even rate this goddamn mess.
JR Goldberg: I remember reading history books, about things like World War I, and thinking about how literally every decision was the worst possible one that could have been made and lead unequivocally toward disaster. This was that. Honestly after that I wouldn’t be surprised if Roman was suspended for a wellness policy violation. One of the dumbest things I’ve ever watched.